2008: The universe saw fit to arrange the election of the first American of African descent. For the first time in history for Americans of African descent, the leader of the free world looks like a friend, brother, father, uncle, husband or grandfather of ours. We were happy…exuberant…joyous…hopeful! I can imagine if Rev. Dr. King would have been an earthly witness to this spectacular event, he, too, would have believed his leadership, and the countless leadership of others was not in vain…or was it?
Could it be that Rev. Dr. King was being used? Pimped? Exploited? Probably. Like Jackie Robinson, he had to be sculptured into the best prepped “Negro”. Carrying the burden of withholding his natural born manhood to “fight” for a greater cause non-violently…a choice. Ok, so maybe you’re saying what the hell is the difference between the two. Simple: The former is typically groomed by others as to feel comfortable about being able to conform to a change which is socially acceptable (i.e. King has a Ph.D., he’s a minister from a prominent family, he’s articulate, etc.). The latter is a decision an individual makes regarding the level of sacrifice necessary to maintain his or her dignity, and protect the lives and livelihood of self and family.
Essentially, King knew it wise to bring some comrades and warriors with him for he could not do it alone. Yet, the natives grew leery when his message of peace extended beyond the parameters of Black folk. When the Vietnam War and other peace causes in the country and the world became premise, some of his “people” wondered where he was going with this. You see growth and development is inherent in any leader. How many of us have outgrown friends and family; or careers and occupations? How many of us have changed our entire worldview because of life or world events? I venture to say all of us!
That’s why I like this picture of Rev. Dr. King pointing both fingers at the audience; in this case, You and I. I sense him saying, “What are you going to do”?! OR “It’s your turn, now”! In other words, Rev. Dr. King did not do it alone, nor did he settle for one cause. In his words, “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere”! Not just in the rural South, or the inner cities, be it Chicago, Newark, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, or Little Rock. No!! If there’s injustice in Germany, that means US! If there’s injustice in India, that means US!! If there’s injustice in Africa, that means US!
2012: The re-election campaign of President Barack Obama is on the horizon. As an American of African descent it pains me to hear “he hasn’t done anything for Black people” or “Don’t you believe he should something for Black people”?! For what?!! He’s the President of the United States of America…PERIOD. Trust, no naivete here. I know he’s catching hell because of his skin color. Being of a darker hue, I have caught hell too. Yet it’s no one’s responsibility to have my act together but me. I’ll do you one better, instead of leaning on President Obama, ask yourself what are you doing to participate in the overall process. Whether you are providing free haircuts before the first day of school or negotiating deals that would provide capital for projects near and dear to your heart as an American of African descent, CONTRIBUTE!
Rev. Dr. King would have been 83 years old…do you really believe being King for a day is enough?