The Myth of Sisyphus

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - civil rights and myth of SisyphusAs I watched the national college basketball championship game between Kentucky and University of Connecticut, I was struck by a couple of facts. First, here we were watching Kentucky, a state in the heart of the historical Confederacy that was determined to maintain slavery. They were so determined because of what they considered inherent inferiority of Blacks to Whites that they fought and died to maintain the slave industry. And second, here we were watching a team of, primarily Blacks, fighting for the national championship for Kentucky. The third thing I was struck by was the fact that a Black man was coaching the team that won the brawl. The result was that the University of Connecticut won. The Confederacy lost, again.

The next day I turned on the news and saw the trial of the legless South African track star, Oscar Pictorius. The judge was a Black woman. The message that jumped out was one message: Nelson Mandela won. I must repeat, in South Africa, a Black woman was the judge in what may be their most famous trial today. The next item on the news was the news conference where President Barack Obama was talking about the inequality of pay. President Obama is the product of the unity of an African male and an American female. He’s truly an African-American.

In other news, a freshman congressman from Louisiana, that Black southerners call racist, who had won his seat by promoting family values, was apologizing for his affair with a staffer. He said he had fallen short of his values. And it goes on, and on, and on.

One of the myths of Greek mythology is one of Sisyphus. Sisyphus was condemned to the absurd task of pushing a rock up a hill on a daily basis. Each day Sisyphus would wake and push it up hill, see it fall back down, and push it back up the mountain again and again. Absurd. Futile. Does one keep pushing the rock up the hill or commit suicide in light of the futility of the rock continually falling back down?

For those of us who are old enough to have seen and lived in the world pre-Civil Rights struggles, we are always amazed at the futility of some White men who are still fighting the Civil War. They want to take our vote away, take away the right to an equal education, take away equal pay, and even take our right to pick a mate of our choosing. It’s as futile and absurd as the actions of Sisyphus.

Blacks are not inferior. There are ample examples to prove it. Arthur Ashe, the Williams sisters, General Colin Powell, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, and President Barack Obama, just to name a few.

What more needs to be said?