She packed a gun for one reason and one reason alone.
Once you got on the railroad, you didn’t get off.
She couldn’t risk them being found out.
She couldn’t allow one scared fool to ruin her chance at freedom.
She went down into the rebellious South over and over again, a black Moses, working to set her people free, but she didn’t trust all of her people.
That’s why she carried the gun.
“We’re all in this together,” we say, but what does that actually mean?
I read those words and just meditated on them, and then thought, what category did I fit into?
That’s the mantra of black America. Light, dark, brown to almost white, bound by shared sacrifice and suffering in victory and defeat, bound by racism and the solidarity that comes with being in “the fold” together.
And we’re still holding Harriet Tubman’s gun to the heads of every African-American who dares to step out of line.
The “sell-out,” the “turncoat,” the “Tom”—these all describe the fool who dares to threaten the majority who holds that gun, who can fire at any given time.
Sometimes it’s a misfire. Sometimes the aim is lethal.
It can even lead to banishment.
Some might not think much of it, but the black community is small and banishment is painful for those who feel they should belong, those who feel they are misunderstood and those who believe there was a misfire.
Most African-Americans do not understand the struggles of what happened to their ancestors.
Today’s most controversial public policy questions concerning race in the United States come from the debate of affirmative action and racial quotas to financial demands for reparations.
These ultimately derive from the fact that those who founded this country did not abolish the institution of slavery as part of their project to establish a nation dedicated to the cause of liberty.
It wasn’t long ago that blacks were unable to attend school
alongside their white counterparts.
It wasn’t long ago that bathrooms were separated between “colored,” people and white people.
It wasn’t long ago that riots were held in the street to fight for equal rights, yet many have forgotten this.
The reasons why we weren’t allowed such things at the time were due to weak excuses and logic, but our generation seems to prove those reasons to be true.
We are more focused as a unit on making it rich in the rap game, focusing on our three-point shot rather than hitting the books.
We are seen in the hallways of the University, raising our voices to the point of yelling, clapping our hands in tune with the beat just to make a point to the person right beside you.
We are seen wearing clothes much too big to be the actual size and stature of any decent human being’s body in an attempt to show off one’s “street cred.”
It’s disrespectful in the way that we spit on the graves of those who came before us as if their struggle and their sacrifices while our slogan becomes that of Lil Wayne and his “purple drank.”
It’s more than that, though. Generation X African-Americans seem to have the “crab mentality,” saying that if I don’t have it, then you can’t, either.
This generation feeds on that behavior and operates on it. It’s breaking away from this behavior that causes one to be shot with the smoking gun.
Is this really all just for our want to be successful? What it should be called is mercenary behavior. I say mercenary because that implies a deliberate, volitional act.
Many so-called “coons” (a derogatory term used in decades past) as well as “Toms” or “sellouts” are thought to be simply ignorant of themselves, their history and the impact of what they do.
It’s believed that when you’re are educated, then you change. You “do better, when you know better.”
However, when you deliberately do things that cast yourself or your people in terrible light, it’s thought that you’re “selling out.” This is especially true before the majority who definitely has no true understanding of your background and culture do so in the name of the almighty dollar, trying to justify it through ratings, “harmless right,” “it’s what the public wants,” etc.
However, to be cast in a terrible light is already accomplished through the simple act of those who point the finger.
I ask, what did people say of Martin Luther King Jr. when he became an educated man looked up to by many in his time?
He was a genius. He was revolutionary.
I ask, what did people say of Malcolm X who went forth with the thought, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste?”
He was strong, He was independent.
That was the thought of the time interpreted by the struggles that they faced.
The problem that our generation faces is that we have no issue to unite on without it being laughable, such as the “Free Weezy” movement.
We need to be one cohesive unit. We need to support each other and not tear each other down.
We need education and we need to think outside of a rap song.
We need to think more of what our existence has to offer and work toward fulfilling our potential.