Well, it’s been 50 years since that pivotal moment in history. Fifty years since “Bloody Sunday.” And all I feel compelled to do is apologize. I would like to say I apologize on behalf of all blacks, but I’d be lying if I said that, not because of my regret, but because all blacks don’t feel the sense of remorse, shame, and dishonor I that I feel. Everyone says that great kids come from great parents, and so I would have to say, that’s where my apology first begins.
You see, I’m a mother of six daughters. Two are adults, two are teens, and two are in kindergarten. So if anyone has a full spectrum of parenting outcomes to use for evaluation, it would be me. And on most days, I feel grateful and blessed to have my daughters. No, on all days I feel that way. It’s the days when they refuse to watch anything regarding black history that I am appalled and feel like a failure. “It’s too painful to watch,” they say. Or, “I don’t like seeing THAT stuff!” So they won’t watch with me. And they act annoyed and disinterested when I try to teach them of our past. Now me, on the other hand, I can sit and watch programs on our history all day long, and in fact, I have. Ironically, this just happened to me recently when I just accidentally land upon a television show that has forever changed me. I hadn’t seen any advertisements about it. Didn’t know any of the story line. I actually thought it was fiction. But it wasn’t. It was a real story of Aminata Dialla and the series, “The Book of Negroes.” Never heard of this woman. Never knew this story. And with me as a mother of six girls, had I known of her, surely one of my girls would have been named Aminata for she was fiercer than any woman Beyoncé ever sang about. And I just so happened to stumble upon the show.
And that’s something else I’m sorry about. I mean, how much stuff do we miss about our rich and powerful cultural heritage and ancestry simply because we don’t know? I don’t know. That question alone could have me tarrying on the altar for eternity.
But it’s more than just that.
We celebrated black history month in February, but I don’t recall my four daughters who are still in school saying anything about it. Should I have gone up to the school and demanded curriculum include this? Or did the school actually provide it and they just “didn’t like it” because “that stuff is too much”? I don’t know…
What would my grandmothers think of me?
What would my grandmothers think of today’s youth?
One of my grandmothers always used public transportation and there is no way on God’s green earth that she could ride a bus now. When I think of the sacrifice and intention that went into Rosa Park’s refusal to sit down on that Montgomery bus, which was no happenstance event as we were taught. Intelligent, resilient, and persistent black folk planned that just so, and now look at our kids on the bus today. I thought I was going to have to go to jail for the way boys would accost my daughters on the bus. They couldn’t even have their phones out to text me that they were nearby, let alone listen to music or read for fear that some young black hoodlum would snatch it out of her hands.
And we are the children of those from the bridge in Selma.
People died for us to have the conveniences and luxuries that we have, and for us to be able to go to school, and yet the dropout rate and suspension rate is higher for minority males than any other group. I can’t help but wonder that if they knew they were of the clan of Aminata they would know they are kings.
My heart breaks because of our ignorance.
What can we do to help our children be more involved and interested in black pride than black privilege? Because it’s not just kids. It’s adults too. It’s pe0ple who think they don’t have to work and sacrifice to achieve the life they dream of, as if someone should just hand them a dream job like they used to hand out aid checks and food stamps. I feel sad and sick about this.
And I’m on no pedestal. I know there are things I have to do better. I guess what makes me different is that I have a desire to change.
I don’t know.
All I know is that I’m sorry.
Dr. King had a dream for people to be loved, respected, have a right to vote, and have equal opportunity, but he never dreamed that we would be the first ones to hate on each other. We can’t even celebrate the success of our current black writers and actors because we call them sellouts. It’s as if I’m a buffoon for loving “Empire” and as a Christian, as if I’m lost with a demon spirit for believing Lee Daniels has the right to marry any person he chooses. Oh the demons shudder when black Christians talk about issues of sexuality and freedom of choice. I’m amazed that the same Good Book with sermons on love and equality are used for separation, hatred, and divide. That’s why Dr. King and all those involved chose to march across that bridge. And today, fifty years later, we are still divided by hatred and ignorance.
And dare I even get into “Scandal”? I mean, we (black church folk) can’t even support this kind of show because “it is the devil!” Never, and I do mean never, would any good God-fearing person support a program where a black woman is sleeping with a white man. The nerve! The scandal!
Never mind the fact that church folk watched soap operas from their launch day to the day it went off the air. And everybody knows soap operas had more scandals than Shonda ever wrote about, and more steamy infidelity and fornication than David and Bathsheda.
It’s as if we have some internal activation system that makes us repel the truth.
We won’t even go out and vote if the weather is bad. God have us mercy on us.
Another famous King is known for saying it so simply: “Why can’t we all just get along?”
I just don’t get it.
And I’m sorry.
But I’m also hopeful.
Like Dr. King, I believe in us. In spite of it all, I do. As a mother of six daughters and a grandmother of–you guessed it, a granddaughter–I sure better have hopeful vision. And I do–I too, have a dream.
I dream of a world where black children love themselves and know the power they possess within. I dream of a world where girls aren’t ridiculed about hair texture and hair style and feel free to shine in whatever glorious way God created them. I have a dream where we celebrate the accomplishments made by our brothers and sisters and aren’t the first ones to tear them down with criticism and ridicule. I have a dream where children are inspired and motivated to live their lives to their fullest potential unencumbered and untethered by fear, finances, and famine. I also dream of seeing young black boys walk the street with pride and dignity dressed like the young princes and soon to be kings that they are. I dream of a world where people are addicted to love, laughter, and the pursuit of happiness more than alcohol, drugs, sex, and food. I have a dream.
But for now, I just have an apology.
**About Me: I’m a wife and mother who evangelizes the importance of health, fitness, and happiness. Keep the conversation going and like my Facebook Fan Page “In Fitness and In Health.” Why vow to live “in sickness” when you can live IN FITNESS? Plus, you can have my latest blogs sent directly to your inbox. Just click the Subscribe by Email tab above. It’s free, and there’s no spam.