If after emancipation the goal was integration into main stream business, political and social life in America, we've made tremendous strides and we've reached that promised land. If the goal however was to create a respected, strong, secure and economically stable Afro American community we've actually digressed from where we were headed before the intervention of the NAACP and other integrationists. But if the goal was a Wakanda like state we've failed miserably and that promised land ain't even on the radar.
It's the goal that ultimately determines what if any progress has been made. Without a goal every movement is just a repositioning.
The point has been made over and over again among Afro Americans that we are as diverse as any other group. We are conservatives and we are liberals. We are republicans and we are democrats. We are straight and we are gay. We are rich and we are poor. We are Christians, Muslims, atheists, etc. Yes we are all that and more. The common denominator of it all here in America, just like our brothers and sisters in Brazil and the rest of the west, is the history we share as descendants of African slaves and their captors because of the color of our skin.
That history connects us in such a way that none of us can stray too far from the rest without either getting snatched back or pulled forward. The history that connects us is like the chains on the necks of each individual slave, if one of us is pushed or stumbles the momentum affects us all. Try as we might, and believe me many, many, and many more have tried, none of us in all of our diversity can escape the consequences that come with being who we are here in the land of the "free." Conservatives, liberals, officers, civilians, politicians, constituents, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, rich, poor, straight, gay, the free and the slave, the dead and the living, all have felt the sting of the masters whip.
Consider for a moment the Madison street bus that goes as far east as Michigan ave and as far west as Austin, the street that borders Chicago and Oak Park. That bus line services many diverse people going to many diverse locations. Its in the interest of all those people to maintain that bus line, even though they couldn't care less about it past the point of their stop. I'm sure many of them would have it so that the bus only makes two stops, one to pick them up and the other to drop them off. But that bus line was established to service them all.
As inconvenient as it may be to each of us in all of our diversity it is nonetheless imperative that we establish a similar construct that would benefit us all. I'm absolutely sure following emancipation that some form of the three goals referenced above was imagined and sought after from our then recently freed great and great great grandparents. Today we have the resources and wherewithal to satisfy those diverse yearnings by working together. We are not all getting off on the same stop but we are all starting at the same place headed in the same direction. We either go together or go nowhere.
The global goal must be a shared one, an independent nation-state, that empowers each group to satisfy itself without impeding on the liberty of the other. We didn't authorize the right of man to chose and we can't take that choice from him without damning ourselves in the process. Salvation wasn't forced on us and it didn't anoint us to force it on others whatever that salvation may be. At best it charged us only to present the option.
The connection we share in all of our diversity, like the chain on the necks of our ancestors dictates that to move successfully toward our goals we must synchronize our movements or else every step we take will not only choke us but it will also choke the neck on the other end moving in a different direction frustrating all of our efforts and causing us all discomfort in the process which is exactly our collective experience today.
That nation-state sounds impossible from where we stand today but we're not that far from it. We just have too many selfish, self appointed, self anointed "leaders" in the way. Move them out of the way and the vision becomes more tangible. So if the nation-state is the goal, progress means moving in that direction and following our interests and objectives is the road that will get us there. So I’ll ask again, are you going my way?
Interests Over Party and Personality, ALWAYS!
Walter Mitchell Jr.