I remember reading history books growing up where the summation of the Black history section was:
- the civil rights movement
- and George Washington Carver inventing peanut products
That’s pretty much it.
In other words:
- things were bad
- they eventually got better
- but we’re all good now
I remember thinking “that was so long ago” and “it’s a good thing things have changed since then.”
But what I’m realizing is, it wasn’t THAT long ago. And things haven’t changed AS much as I thought they had.
It just all looks different and is mixed in with a little bit of progress.
But you know what they say, “Slow progress is still progress.”
And it’s a valid statement.
But I think we’re missing something here. Although it’s still progress, we have to acknowledge that it’s still slow.
That we’re not where we want to be just yet.
It’s important to celebrate where we are. But we also must keep moving forward. Even in the tension of the “now” and the “not yet.” We still have a long way to go.
One recent example of how far we have to go is the modern-day lynching of #AhmaudArbery that happened in February of 2020. He would’ve been 26 today – May 8, 2020. I’m going to be 26 this year.
It’s a weird, imperfect, messy, and broken world that we’re living in.
And as confusing as it all is, I hope that it all gets captured in the history books just as it is. The highs, the lows, and the in-betweens.
⚫️ We had a black man as president BUT there were still countless black men unjustly shot to death.
⚫️ Black women were the most educated group in America and YET were paid 39% less than white men and 21% less than white women.
⚫️ Many white people stepped up as allies and advocates. And YET were crippled to silence when that *comment* was made over family dinner.
⚫️ Black culture shaped society BUT was also appropriated and often not credited for its contributions.
⚫️ Black people were no longer paraded around in chains BUT were now 5 times more likely to be imprisoned by the chains of the incarceration system than white people.
Does all of this feel overwhelming at times? Absolutely.
But we have to talk about it. Honestly. In all its glory and its darkness.
… so that our history can be remembered correctly with all of its nuances.
… so that our dreams for the future are anchored in both hope and reality.
… so that our present can change.
.. so that the darkness can be brought to light and the light can get so much brighter.
For the sake of progress.