06 February 2007

I'm watching PBS, and being that it is once again Black History Month, they are airing a special about an inventor named Percy Lavon Julian.

The guests being interviewed all say that he never allowed anyone to stop him from doing what he wanted to do. It goes without saying that intestinal fortitude is admirable. However, when that particular sentiment is repeated often enough, the unspoken message becomes clear: racism cannot stop you from succeeding.

My response is that they are wrong.

People of African descent need to recognize that even when individuals fail to hurdle the obstacles placed in their path by bigoted people, that in no way negates the fact that racism in America was and continues to be an abominable and, too often, lethal practice--it does not nullify the deleterious effects those obstacles have on a human being.

If individuals that share my skin color and African ancestry do not transform into super-humans who traverse the perilous gauntlet of racism unscathed, we should not turn around and blame them for not somehow succeeding (financially or otherwise). At the same time, we should look critically at those who are considered a success after entering into unholy alliances with those who would do our ethnicity harm (read: Condoleeza "tha' Skeeza" Rice).

I celebrate Percy Julian, and all my brethren and sistren who came before me to make my path in this country of high ideals a little smoother. Yet, I empathize and identify with other brethren and sistren who found that they were too human to psychologically survive being bludgeoned by the cudgel of racism.

I do not blame those who succumb, I honor their fight.

3 comments:

Still Wonderin' said...

"I do not blame those who succumb, I honor their fight."

It's never appropriate those who try their best and succumb. Particularly because the success is in the trying. But do you honor those who refuse to try?

Eveyone has something standing in the way of success. Mental illness, physical disabilities, an, yes, racism.

There is never an excuse not to try and it's a form of racism is believe that in most black people, unless they are the 'super-human' type; are bound to fail.

Even worse to blame and denigrate those who do as being partner to unholy alliances. People of African descent are like everyone else. Everyone is entitled to jump into the game. Regardless of color.

Still Wonderin' said...

My editing error; first sentence:

It's never appropriate to blame those who try their best and succumb.

Isome said...

"But do you honor those who refuse to try?"

Any person of African descent in America is trying just by virtue of getting up in the morning and leading a normal life. However, I have a sneaking suspicion your definition of 'trying' involves jumping through the hoops of acceptance held up by some (too many in my experience) non-Black people.

I doubt there is anyone you know personally or can name that isn't 'trying'.

"...it's a form of racism is believe that in most black people, unless they are the 'super-human' type; are bound to fail."

You deaden the true impact of racism (cheapen its destructive value) when you thoughtlessly use the word. That is especially true when you've obviously misconstrued the part of my post where I used the term super-human.

One would HAVE to be super-human not to be affected by racism in this country in one way or another. That is the essence of my statement using that term.

"Even worse to blame and denigrate those who do as being partner to unholy alliances."

If you consider Condoleeza and Colin's alliance with a racist party like the GOP and the backasswards, walking malaprop GWBush to be a holy alliance, that's your opinion.

The party and the little man have demonstrated pure contempt for people who share their/our skin color, so my opinion remains that it is indeed an UNHOLY alliance.