It's Good To Be Black

by Ololade Siyonbola

The problem is that we are ignorant. Our problem lies in what we do not know, rather than in what we think we know. The tables are turning and the world is changing, but we don’t know it. The Truth is unknown to us. But we don’t know it. We are concerned with movies and MTV. In order to keep the stress at bay, the things we concern ourselves with are insignificant at best, stupid at worst. We need weaves to go out to the club in heels and short skirts. We need the newest colognes and get our dreads done nice and pretty so that the women will flock to us and we will get laid and have something to talk about when we go drinking with our friends tomorrow night. What is your purpose? Is it really to look your best at all times? Is it really to get great grades? Or just to make that money so you can rock that gold and drive that Range?

The generation of marchers and protestors and sit-ins and boycotts was killed and jailed and forgotten when crack came. And until today, it still has not been truly remembered. Remember it. Because it is the reason why you can sit in that bar and drink with your friends ten-deep and not get arrested for being in the wrong part of town. Of course, this still happens today. But at least today you have a cause for retaliation. You can go to a judge and he will usually look at the facts and acquit you for the nothing you were doing when they arrested you. Will this keep the NYPD gangsters from harassing you the next time? No, but at least you’ll be vindicated…Whatever. If you don’t get it, you will.

We are too busy spreading AIDS, selling weed and browsing MySpace to start a revolution and it’s a shame. We watch television to wind down from a busy day at work or between midterms so that we don’t have to think.God help us. If we were to think, the Television we marry might not portray us as murderers and thieves, liars and sexpots.If we were to think…If we were to think, it would make sense to us that we were once the “superior race”. Whatever the hell that means, right? Please put down your cheeseburger and OPEN YOUR EYES. What is missing? What is the missing link? What is wrong with this picture? Please look. Closely. Do you see it? Can you see the Black blood running through their veins? Does it make sense that we came first?

Did you know the Egyptians were white? Nearly Persian-looking, right? God, if we could just see the truth, if we could just seek the truth. We would be so unsatisfied with the state of the world, we would not be able to sit still. We would be antsy and anxious with action. We would go crazy trying to do something. There are sirens going off outside my window right now. Every night, too. On my corner there are two men–GROWN MEN–selling weed. Does anyone know what they are doing? Hmm. Let’s see. Two grown men, outside, just standing. What would make a grown man just stand. For hours. For hours. Why is he wasting his life away on the corner? What is he getting from it? A little money? A little recognition among his customers? Excuse me, please, because I am not insulting Weed. Some would have you read “The Benefits of Marijuana” by Joan Bello. But why do they want you to read it? So that you will buy weed from them and thereby pay the rent for their pimped out apartment in the hood? or so that you will “enrich” your life with Marijuana? Across the street from those two, there are another two Grown Men Standing, and on the other corner, and on the other corner and on every major Black corner from LA to Amsterdam. And why? Do we care why? Or is it more important that we get that visa so that we can go to America!?

And then we bleach our skin. And we perm our hair. And we wear weaves down our backs to look like who? To look like what? Who are we trying to be? I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than a Black woman with well-groomed dreads or an afro out to here. What could be more beautiful than Black in its realest essence? How could someone try to bleach and perm that away? It breaks my heart and confounds my spirit. What the hell is wrong with us?

Do I sound angry? Does it drive me crazy that we are sleeping on concrete, cleaning toilets and evading immigration when we created Mathematics, literature, architecture, engineering and the list goes on?  (Cheik Anta Diop) YES. It drives me insanely mad. I don’t understand what we are doing with ourselves. I don’t understand why we are complacent in this. Why we are “just getting by” and “making it” through the system when we created the first systems. I don’t understand why we do not know or care to see our Greatness. I don’t get it. I don’t get what we are doing with ourselves. Why we are okay with having been gentrified, indoctrinated, deluded. We are okay with it. Because we just want to make a quick buck and feed our children so that we may have peace and pay the rent.

The point is: Black blood paid for the first civilizations to be built. We lived in some semblance of peace back then, some form of community. There was a little less gun-running death going on. And then we spread out and built more civilizations, based upon the Egyptian model that we’d created. And then the world was full of Civilizations. And then. We were raped and stolen and beaten and hung. And we built the Americas and many “small” arbitrarily drawn colonies in Africa to the tune of England and Belgium and Denmark and France, and made them filthy rich. And we built what is currently the world’s “strongest” nation and continue to uphold it by cleaning its toilets, sweeping its floors, writing its java programs and healing its sick. We are the backbone to it all, but we don’t know it. As far as we know, all we are good for is “bouncing that a – ” and “getting that money”.

Am I the first to state this? Of course not. Am I feeling myself because I think I’ve just stumbled upon some little known fact? Not at all. It has been documented in this country in particular since 1974. So I guess my problem is why aren’t we SHOUTING IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS? Do we know that we have been lied to? Then what are we doing about it? Going natural? Getting dreads? Silent rebellion? Who gives a – about your silent rebellion? What are you doing about it?

“There is something called history, which is made up of much fragmentary data and which can be twisted” (Che Guevara). Our history has been twisted. Beyond twisted, it has been deformed. It has been beaten with a pistol in the face until it is unrecognizable, its left ear has been cut off and it has been drowned in the Mississippi Delta weighed down by a cotton gin.

We need to rewrite our history, because as it stands now, most of what we learn is based upon a long-term fabrication of the truth done by those with something to hide. In order to rewrite it, we will first have to learn it.  I am by no means the authority on Black* History, I am learning.But I would like to rouse you all to learn with me. Please pick up a book on Ancient Black Civilizations, written by an un-discredited author. Please look up Anta Diop, Van Sertima, Sankara. Educate yourself, so that you cannot be lied to. Please. Please. Please.

The blatant insults to my intelligence by these governments and these systems are seriously wearing my patience thin. I am a Christian. And we turn the other cheek, give them the other to slap. We’ve been doing this for the hundreds of years since we met the “superior race” and we still are. Time is up. I say, Time is up.

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Cynthia Leonard August 13, 2010 - 5:01 am

This is great! Motivated me to do my homework. Thank You.

romelo January 19, 2010 - 9:21 am

at last im not alone

Rosie November 28, 2006 - 6:43 pm

I love your prosaic piece…make into poetry…it will read like dynamite!

Anonymous November 25, 2006 - 4:20 pm

Excellent writeup.

Pete November 24, 2006 - 2:33 pm

Great article


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