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Surviving In An Upside Down World

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - surviving in an upside down worldWe’ve all heard the words, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” Now in the post Bush economy, we are watching it with our own eyes in disbelief that the Republicans and Tea Party people are working to stop Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits, so they can give more tax breaks to oil companies and insurance companies. I am still in shock that the Tea Party and Republicans are for breaking up public education and firing teachers while maintaining corporate welfare called, subsidies, for giant, rich corporations.

The Republicans say they wanted to get Osama Bin Ladin who masterminded the 9-11 bombing in New York and caused the death of nearly 3,000 Americans on American soil.  And yet when a Black American President named Barak Obama catches and kills Bin Ladin, these people are finding reasons to criticize him. Indeed, Rush Limbaugh is saying he still wants Obama to fail. Others are saying he should have asked permission to kill him. But these same people want the police to act and question crime suspects without reading them their Miranda rights to remain silent.

Hello. The racists that rule the conservative wing of the Republican Party are the personification of the old African American joke that says no matter how much education, money, or status you have, if you have one drop of Black blood, you are still just a N----r. Indeed, the request for the President’s birth certificate brings back memories of the South African Pass requirement. Now that President Obama has shown his “pass”, he’s trying to keep moving, while they spend time thinking up other unreasonable requests.

I am of a generation that never saw Blacks on television or in the movies unless they were playing criminals or maids. My generation saw few, if any, Blacks in positions of power. We shouted when we saw the first police officer and when we saw Blacks move from elevator operator to sales clerk. We fought to get Blacks into the Fire Departments and into professional schools, including medical and law schools. We lived in two worlds where it was all for the whites and none for Blacks. We saw schools integrated only to have the integrated schools discriminate in the class rooms with biased, racist teachers.

We shouted when we saw a Black Principal assigned to schools where there were white students. We glowed when we saw the firsts in all the nations’ opportunities because we had been taught that we had to be twice as good as our white competition to get where they were, although we knew we could do anything as well as anyone else. We were WEB Dubois’ the Talented Tenth, and we could do anything. We had Jackie prove that on the baseball field and Motown prove that in entertainment.  We had Thurgood prove it in the courtroom and, finally, Barak Obama to prove once and for all, as the old childhood saying goes, “Anything you can do I can do better.”  But still we grieve because we see on one hand the doorkeepers like the Republicans and the Tea Partiers have joined with the modern White Supremacists like Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck. They have stated they would rather destroy the whole nation than admit the truth, that Blacks can do anything as well as anyone else. 

The racists claim to believe in the Constitution, which promotes equality. And they say they believe in the Bible. But we are a resilient people. We were snatched from our own African kingdoms, some as Kings and Queens, and came across an ocean against our will.  We travelled Route 66, as memorialized in the songs of other Kings like Nat King Cole. We created our own Kings like Martin Luther King, and home run King like Hank Aaron.  We created our own Queens like Queen Latifah and the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. Others are too numerous to mention.  In my house, I and my Queen, Ruthie, raised three Kings, my sons, Josef, Omar and Jamal. Their accomplishments soar and include world travelers, performing artists, and public speakers.  They all are now training other Kings and Queens (my grandchildren). These things were not commonplace when my generation grew up, but we opened up the doors that my sons and others of their generation may follow and walk in.

And there were always those Blacks like Ward Connerly and whites like the Limbaugh’s and David Duke  who would see the doors close on us, but still we rose, and still we rise, as long as we don’t forget the past.  We can NEVER get too comfortable. Remember, the Tea Party brand of racists would see their own grandmothers suffer rather than give credit to Black progress and achievement. 

This is a new chapter for America and the world, and while it may feel like an upside down world, we as a people have seen it before.  We just need to run on like we did before.