One word that I am tired of hearing in the Black community is the word ‘woke’.
I used to love that word, because it meant being on a level that no one else was on. It was a symbol, a status if you will, of true Blackness; I used to think that by being ‘woke’ it somehow validated my Blackness. I used to think that being ‘woke’ gave me the Black card that I’d so desperately been searching for; I felt validated by being ‘woke’. Now, I laugh at the concept of wokeness, because nowadays any ole negro can go on Google and find some (mis)information and claim to be ‘woke’. And even that wokeness can come into question when it doesn’t fit a certain standard of wokeness by a group of Black people I didn’t know owned the rights on how to be woke.
‘You ain’t woke if you married to a White person’
‘If your girlfriend don’t have big lips, nappy hair, a wide set nose and she ain’t dark as Gabrielle Union, you ain’t woke’
‘If you believe in ‘White Jesus’ or organized religion, you ain’t woke’
‘If you a Muslim, you ain’t woke’
The list goes on and on.
I have learned that wokeness is a social construct created in order to further keep us entrapped in a war within our community. You see, while we’re sitting around worried about ‘is you woke or nah’, we’re really just sleep with our eyes open. Because wokeness and consciousness go far beyond the Black definition; to be woke is a spiritual mindset, a state of being if you will. Even on a spiritual level you can only reach a certain level of consciousness, because to obtain full consciousness is to ascribe to a level of spiritual perfection, which is impossible so long as you reside in human flesh.
Wokeness is a powerful thing and it extends beyond the Black community. Everybody in the damn world been trying to be woke since the beginning of time.
To be woke seeks to answer three of life’s biggest questions:
Why are we here?
What happens when you die?
And my personal favorite,
Why do bad things happen to good people?
It’s why we fight and search so hard to prove God’s existence. It’s why we fight amongst each other; it’s why wars are started and how greed is created. Basically, wokeness is merely a quest for knowledge. But in the Black community, wokeness is a symbol of validation. Everybody and they mama tryna be woke. When it comes to being woke, we jump through ridiculous hoops to prove a word that holds no true value-we study quantum physics, we deny organized religion, we embrace our African roots, we change our names, we go natural, we become militant, we hate White people…but why?
Because we have learned how to market our Blackness and wish to do as our oppressors and place it (being Black) into this neat, tiny little box that’s perfect and orderly. Blackness is anything BUT orderly. So instead of embracing that, we fight over who’s woke and who’s sleep. And while we’re doing this, the enemy (who is not necessarily White Supremacy or White people) is laughing while applauding us at the same time. We are essentially destroying ourselves, though we have the tools to freedom within our grasp. We bypass knowledge everyday; we know more about New World Order and The Illuminati than we do financial freedom. We trust more in conspiracy theories than we do in each other. The only way we can get free is if we ALL free. Still, though, the Willie Lynch letter is in full effect; we’ve become so engrained in the belief that “I got mine, you better get yours,” that we are FAILING ourselves, our community, and our ancestors every day.
Every other race can come together to fight for what they want; why can’t we?
Now, I am all about placing blame where blame is due socially, economically, and politically, but we as a community need to sit down and have a serious conversation. I studied Sociology in college, and I’ve done my research about the plight of the Black American. I know all about the generational trauma that exists within the Black community. I am all about fighting for the right to not let others diminish that pain by telling us to “get over it” or by rewriting our history. I am all for fighting for the rights of my people and our freedom-mentally, spiritually, economically, socially, and politically…
But I cannot stay silent about the problems that I see within my community.
I can no longer fight for justice while refusing to acknowledge our culpability in what we as a community have become any longer.
Dear Black people, I love y’all I love us, but we gotta get past the symptom stage of our problems and address the root issue. No, it’s not all “The White man” or “The System”. While I believe, based on research and my understanding of how the system works, that those who brought us here in chains 398 years ago are at least, 65 percent responsible for how we as a people turned out, I CANNOT hold them fully culpable any longer.
In the 1960’s, YES, in the 1970’s, 80’s and even some of the 90’s, YES, they were largely and at times, solely responsible for the destruction of perhaps one of the most beautiful, intriguing races of people in the world. Today, in 2017, I cannot and will not hold them fully responsible any longer.
Two words: Technology. Education.
We have access to vast knowledge, but yet, we choose not to take it and use it to our full advantage. We know the most important thing for the Black community is economic freedom, yet we STILL refuse to bank black. We STILL would rather spend two BILLION dollars on Air Jordan’s than investing two BILLION in stocks, small start up tech companies, or real estate. We would rather buy a benz to ‘stunt on our haters’ before buying a house, even though that house can be inherited by our children, and their children, setting up wealth for GENERATIONS (fun fact: wealth isn’t always money, it’s moreso assets).
We cry, fight, protest, and complain about how ‘the system’ and ‘the White man’ is unjustly killing and or imprisoning our young Black men, but we refuse to vote. We’re quick to say “Voting is pointless, the system is rigged against us anyways,” So if you know the system is rigged, why complain? That’s like complaining that the sky is blue and water is wet. You can’t change either, so why complain about them? If you know the system is rigged and it’s never going to change, why are we shouting ‘Black Lives Matter’ why do we march, why do we protest and riot? There are AMAZING Black senators, congressmen, congresswomen, and other political pundits who fight EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY for your rights, but we don’t bother to watch the news, we don’t bother to pick up a newspaper, we won’t watch their podcasts, we won’t subscribe to their YouTube channel, we won’t follow them on social media…but yet we know ALL about what’s happening in the lives of the cast of Love and Hip Hop.
But again, the second a cop kills an unarmed Black man, we’re marching, we’re looking to the NAACP or some other powerful Black figurehead, wanting THEM to fix the problem, but then when the cycle continues, we blame them. We blamed President Obama for doing more for the Latinos and the LGBT community than he did for Blacks. What we FAIL to realize is that those communities MADE OBAMA FIGHT FOR THEM. For most of his presidency, Barack Obama was ambivalent about same sex marriage; he didn’t publicly endorse it until around 2012. The LGBT community was constantly in his face, constantly calling their local senators, calling their elected officials, suing the shit out of people, writing him letters, tweeting him on Twitter, getting funding and endorsements from other companies and organizations, telling and sharing their stories. The same thing with the Latino community; they did the footwork; they put President Obama’s hands to the fire. For Black people, Obama was just a status, a symbol of ‘look mama we made it’. We simply expected him to do for us without us doing any of the work ourselves, because he was one of ‘us’.
We’ve become lazy in the days since Martin Luther King Jr, Malcom X, Medgar Evers, and Hugey P Newton. Albert Einstein once said “to do the same thing over and over but expecting different results is insanity” Black people have been insane for years; we want change but continue to allow the same people to remain in power for years and years, collecting coin after coin (people in congress make almost $200,000 a year) but continue to hope for change and when no change comes, we blame the system, which we refuse to engage in, which we refuse to dismantle, which we refuse to fix.
For me, it’s like this: either fix the system or shut the hell up, plain and simple.
Black unemployment is usually higher than the national average, but instead of raising our children to go and get STEM jobs (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), we would rather teach them to play football, pushing them into dreams of becoming pro athletes or to get them into the NCAA, for whom they make MILLIONS of dollars and yet…you as a parent can’t get time off from your job to watch your baby play. Better yet, your child makes the NCAA MILLIONS of dollars but they have to come home to the projects during breaks for school. Let’s not even begin to talk about how quickly Black athletes who do go pro end up getting injured, spend most of their career being traded or riding the bench, or go broke in less than ten years due to poor financial advisement by White financial investors, oh, and because they don’t read the contracts they sign because most of them read far below their grade levels.
I know I sound like I’m ‘bashing’ Black people but I’m not, I promise I’m not. I’m simply pointing out problems I see within our community.
If we want to do better, to actually be better, we have to be willing to have some tough conversations. We love to say ‘we’re not our ancestors’, no the hell we are not, because unlike them, we rest on our laurels, we look for change to just come, floating out of the sky. We’ve become comfortable with the luxuries and the trappings of freedom. Sadly, we don’t even realize that everything that our ancestors were beaten, raped, killed, and marched for, was slowly dismantled by harsh policies and legislation. The fight for freedom didn’t end in 1965 with the Voting Rights Act, it only begun.
It is 2017 and we are still marching.
Let me say that again:
IT IS TWO THOUSAND FUCKING SEVENTEEN AND WE ARE STILL OUT HERE IN THESE DAMN STREETS MARCHING.
This makes ZERO sense to me; we were given the tools to success by our ancestors, they LITERALLY passed us the blueprint to freedom. They gave us EVERYTHING: a foundation of faith and belief in something bigger than ourselves, the education on our history and our culture (HBCUs Black History Month, Juneteenth), the way to gain economic wealth (why we ain’t got a Black Wall Street again?), the talent to attract money (hello Michael, Whitney, Prince, Beyonce) the knowledge (Garvey, DuBois, Douglass) the strength and courage (Tubman, Turner, Truth), the power to lead like warriors, but with enough elegance to terrify and intrigue the White man(Zulu, Kente, King, X, Newton, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Tupac, Muhammad Ali, Barack Obama, Colin Kapernick, Jesse Williams), hell we’re a TRILLION dollar spending entity so we ain’t broke. We’ve had it all right here in front of us for the last 52 years and we’ve had our fists closed up like some damn fools. We are setting the next generation up to fail, BIG TIME.
So the time is now to stop asking ‘is you woke or nah’ and just wake the hell up, forreal.
I love my Blackness and yours…even if we too damn stupid to see it.