My heart is heavy with sorrow. Yesterday was our final goodbye to two people who have paved a way for African Americans, and to a family of four who everyday people can relate to. A family who received so much praise at one end but at another so much hate. A family who had it’s flaws and owned up to them because just like all of us, they are only humans…
I was nine when Barack Obama won the election. I remember not going to school because this was a day that will always be remembered. I remember my family waking me up- saying this was something that couldn’t be slept through. I remember not truly understanding why in this moment, a moment where we were all sitting at the kitchen table watching in full depth the screen of a black man placing his hand on a Bible, it was so important. But I never asked why I was woken up early. I never once opened my mouth in my sleepy state. Because deep down I knew.
I knew this was a changing moment for the United States. I knew that my family wasn’t the only family sitting at their kitchen table, watching immensely at their TV screen, in just complete silence.
It was something I’d never forget. And it is something that I don’t ever want to forget. In my eyes, and most likely the eyes of others, it was a turning point in society. Us African Americans had something to be tremendously proud of. The fight that our ancestors gave, the speeches NAACP speakers gave, the walk from Selma to Montgomery, all led up to this moment and it was a moment that well forever be documented.
In my eyes then, I had figured we had finally won. That we had overcome racism and discrimination, that we were finally equal. Granted, at a young age, I believed racism didn’t exist due to where I was raised. I believed that Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream was being accomplished throughout America because we had an African American President who was elected into office.
I was a proud nine year old girl.
But oh how my eyes opened throughout the years.
I understand now that the fight is not over. Especially with the man who is taking Obama’s place in office. I understand now that our fight might not ever be over. That our ancestors who fought for our generation to be where it is today hasn’t yet been accomplished. Because regardless of discrimination and racism no longer “existing” to society eyes, we still carry that burden. We might have gotten a lot out of our fight, but there is so much more to be done. So many more voices to be heard. So many more stories to be told. America is not equal. We might be “Home of the Free” but yet how can we say that when African American lives are put in jail cells, majority of them for a crime they did not commit? How can we be “Home of the Free” if we don’t understand the culture that is mixed in with this nation? Not just with African Americans but with Hispanics, Muslims, Asians, etc.
This is not where I wanted my blog post to go- I had something else completely different to say. But yet, I can’t help but write.
Continuing to write about the things I see on television. The things I see in my school. The sanctions we have even though “we overcame slavery/racism/discrimination years ago”. That quote itself sickens me to the core. The amount of times my teachers, fellow classmates, have said that in class discussions has made me shocked. We’ve overcome slavery? We’ve overcome discrimination? We’ve overcome racism?
Then what is it when African American men and women are shot dead by police? What is it when Muslim women don’t feel safe with wearing their hijab because they’re afraid of what society will do to them? What is it when a young black girl points at a young white girl and says she’s pretty but to herself she’s ugly?
That’s overcoming slavery/racism/discrimination?
I think not.