The Dichotomy of Black Life has looked at—to a degree—the various points of contention that lie within the Black community. Not to say that we don’t see this in the world as a whole; but in concentrating on people of color, and the choices that we make and that were made for us. Those choices, whether deliberate or not, has had a huge impact on our lives—home, work, communities. We have conditioned ourselves to react instead of respond to certain stimuli. Some have learned how to master and overcome the many obstacles that they are presented with; while others succumb to the various roadblocks, hindrances’, and oppositions.
In the beginning of the series, questions were asked concerning how two persons who had the same opportunities, same love, same upbringing, can be so vastly different? Is it by choice? Do circumstances and situations have an impact? Or, is it the way in which we perceive things and analyze situations as individuals? One is successful, while the other is plagued with failure after failure. What is it? Why does this happen? Is it the environment in which a person lives that can determine whether a person succeeds or not? We all have made choices in our lives. Some good; some not so good. But they were choices. There are choices that were made for us, and the affects upon our lives were anything but positive. In fact, it may have altered who we may have become in this life. The choices we make, or that someone else makes all have consequences. For every action there is a reaction. We have spent much time reacting. Because of this, we are face with situations that still remain to hinder us as a people, and cause division amongst ourselves. We spend so much time running from who we are and where we came from; that we don’t embrace what we know, and grow from there. When we do not learn from the past or from mistakes, guess what? That’s correct; we are doomed to repeat them.
We have divided ourselves along class lines. Having two opposing forces that seem to clash at every turn. Yet wanting the same thing; how we go about attaining them are vastly different. Our lives have been divided along our socioeconomic status. It is evident in our education, housing, employment, healthcare, politics and even church. Through slavery, lynching, Jim Crow laws, civil rights, down to affirmative action, we have come far, but still have a way to go. We were separated from the rest of the world. Classified into a group of people that were deemed to be less than. Because of this, we formed an alliance. Yes, there was dissention among the ranks at times, but we managed to overcome and pull together. Why? Because we knew that we had each other. We had a bond that no other race had. Forced to come to a country and build it from the ground up. To have our families ripped apart. Fathers sold; children sold; mothers, sisters, daughters, raped. Families lynched, burned, hunted like animals. A people, not seen as human, but as savages, and unequal in every way that mattered. Stripped of our voice. Stripped of our God given names. Identities washed away with each passing year. The flesh ripped from backs. Skin becoming like leather. Forced to fight against what would free us. Dying so that children might live and there might be a legacy to pass on. We stood shoulder to shoulder as a community. We developed relationships and bonds that were unbreakable. We made a choice to become one voice. A voice of unity that carried through the lines of from generation to generation.
Then something happened. The fabric that held us close together—knitted as one—suffered a tear. An invisible tear that has begun to unravel the seams that were once knitted by the blood and sweat and lives of generations long gone. Today’s successes have become a noose for some. We, amongst ourselves, have become our own enemy. No longer fighting for one another, we are fighting against one another. Some have tasted of the “good life” and forgotten the life lessons of yesteryear; forgetting the struggles of those that came before us, and forgetting to pass on the life lessons that were taught so long ago. Responsibility and accountability have flown out the window. It is much easier to blame others for the sins that we commit. It is much easier to turn a blind eye to what we have let slipped through our hands. We’d rather wear the rose-colored-glasses, and believe that everything is fine. That all will work itself out; rather than contemplate on all the “good” and “positive”, than give account for all the bad and negative.
What good will it do a person to be given a million dollars, and they haven’t the skills to manage $100. What good will it do to take a test, when you know absolutely nothing about the subject? What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul? If we want to see a change, then we have to recognize and look at what is going on around us. We must begin to look at the choices that we have made and the effect it causes not only in our own lives, but also our families and communities. No man is an island unto himself. We live and breathe in a world that is occupied with many. We all have things that we need to take responsibility for. We have to understand that the choices we make today have a profound affect on tomorrow. It is pertinent that we revisit the past—there are lessons that we need to learn. Lessons we need to pass on.
The opportunities available to us are many. There are a plethora of programs out there. Yet, too many people do not know this. Many are stuck where they are and have no way of getting out—unless someone comes along and shows them the way. Education, housing, employment, healthcare, politics and the church all have a way of bringing us together or separating us. We can decide to tear down the differences that build a wall between us, and begin to clean house, take responsibility and be accountable. Or, we can remain divided amongst ourselves, until we have destroyed who we are as a people. The choice is ours. It has always been ours. We can make a stand and decide, that from this moment on, we are our brothers and sisters keeper, and be committed to repairing the rift that separates us, and meet somewhere in the middle and begin the healing process, and get back to the business of being one body. One sound mind…despite the amount of money one may have or the lack there of.