The above title is a question that was directed towards me one day so I decided to share its premise with you.
So I'm on one of the social networks one day engaged in a conversation with another brother who felt very strongly that Black folks should get reparations. Initially the topic of conversation was in reference to the 507 Billion Dollars that Black folks pump into the economy annually but somehow got steered towards reparations. This is a topic that has been debated for some time and was also presented before congress in 1989.
This particular brothers reasoning for wanting reparations was for the simple fact that he felt that Black folks of today should receive compensation for the years of free labor America had siphoned off the backs of slaves to build this country. Now don't get me wrong. I feel America owes an insurmountable debt to our people for the atrocities our ancestors have experience from the oppressive and murderous hands of white slave owners too. However, I definitely do not understand how putting large sums of cash in the hands of people is going to rectify the issue. The amount he thought would be appropriate was about one million dollars to be distributed to Black families. Somehow this would give us Black folks a share in the wealth and I guess sort of balance things out. So I asked him if he was advocating that every Black person or household be given the sum of one million dollars to level the playing field so to speak. Personally, I felt that it would be useless for the simple fact that the money would be squandered and would go right back into the hands of the ones who provided it. His response was as follows ( I have never, nor the majority had a million. It's a chance and a mercy. We deserve it and would at a minimum accept that as repentance for the harm caused by slavery in the hope that we could move on with some sense of normalcy ). He further went on to say that ( I am saying that this could be a viable option to finding a solution that could stop the wholesale murder of our people. If you choose to view it as a share of the wealth I can accept that. I believe that it is a small portion of what is due ).
I was amazed and just a little perplexed at this brothers reasoning. I mean he couldn't really be serious, or could he?
I responded to the brother as follows (With all due respect brother, that is ridiculous. The money will do absolutely nothing. It will never be enough !!) Evidently I must have really pissed the brother off because he started to become real indignant and began to call into question my Blackness. Man, I gotta say that it's just like some qwerty board revolutionary to become insulting and disrespectful when you don't agree with their position.
What in the world are the majority of Black folks going to do with one million dollars besides, piss it away. Most don't have the slightest clue as to how to manage the little that they do have and besides once uncle Sam takes his share you'll have a lot less than that. They know absolutely nothing about investments or cash management. Hell, most can't even manage their lives. Now I don't say this to be insulting, I'm just speaking the truth. If any person lacks the ability to manage their household, they most definitely aren't ready for prime time..
I was asked, are you a Black man and what suggestions did I have. Well, I simply responded to the brother that I am the kind of Black man who is not begging the white man for some money. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme.. Oops, he didn't take that response to well at all. The next thing I knew, the brother had blocked and un-followed me. Now, these are the type of brothers who are continuously claiming that we need to come together and stop fighting with one another but are quick to drop an insult on you when you disagree with them. The type of brothers that are always saying how down they are for the cause but are the first ones to haul *** and leaving you hanging. You know the type I'm referring to. Black when it's right and out of sight when it's time to fight.. You can spot them anywhere, because they're always talking about how the white man is holding them down. The white man has his foot on their throat and they can't breathe. So forth and so on...
Well **** brother, you need to get a little bit of a fight in you and tell him to raise the heck up and if he doesn't, remove that foot and get him up off of you. But no, that's a little bit to difficult for you because it requires some heart and hard work. It is much easier for you to just complain about it rather than do something about it. But you are all ready to pump your chest out to lead the charge and be the cheer leader for reparations as long as no one challenges you. Apparently when you are challenged to a mature, intelligent and constructive conversation you tend to get unnerved and take your pom poms and go home. Now, with all that said I still will not question his Blackness but I will call into question his heart as well as his agenda.
With all due respect, ( can I say that after such a brutal but truthful lashing) oh well, this Black man will not require your services at all because I am not that kind of Black man. You see, I am the kind of Black man who has come from the inner city roach and mice infested projects, dropped out of high school and has experienced the perilous journey of life through drug addiction, self-doubt and much self-inflicted pain. The Black man who decided to choose life over death one night while contemplating suicide. The Black man who sought help from others because I wanted so desperately to turn a life spiraling out of control around. The kind of Black man who rose up, fell and then rose again. You see, I know what it is like to do without and having to stretch that coin in order to make ends meet. I am extremely familiar with sacrifice and having to work with a steadfast determination to be successful. Yes, I am the kind of Black man who has payed his dues, who has made mistakes in his life but holds no one else accountable for them but myself. I am the kind of Black man who today has his own company which was built from the ground up. Yes and didn't beg the white man for a **** thing. Yes I am the kind of Black man who is self-educated and a proud father and husband who has unparalleled love and devotion. The road has not been an easy one but it has been a road nevertheless that was manageable and success realized through prayer, determination, dedication, discipline and diligence. I committed myself to the process and continued to press on and press through.
I am the kind of Black man whose African lineage can be traced back five generations to the proud Akan people of Ghana and the Temne people of Sierra Leone. Yes, I am a direct descendant of Africans who were sold into Slavery in the 1800's who endured a life of painful subjugation and upon gaining their freedom went on to build meaningful and successful lives. I can say with enormous admiration and humility that I am the kind of Black man whose ancestors were a proud African people who endured a hardship that I would never know during a period of extreme racial divide and violence but were able to construct a respectable legacy from hard work, education and devotion to family in the process.
Part of this legacy can be found in the book "African-Americans of Lower Richland County". So as a 5th generation African-American and a direct descendant of Slaves who rose up and triumphed over the most extreme adversarial period, I am the kind of Black man who has risen up and was also triumphant over adversity as well, but my hardships will never parallel theirs.
In closing I want to emphasize how we should refrain from criticism of one another and attempt to be more understanding and respectful. We need to practice the reservation of judgement especially when we are not in the least familiar with the other person or their life. We can of course express our sentiments about the comments made but should definitely refrain from personal attacks. Some of you who read this may or may not agree which is understandable, but at least you have some food for thought... Peace and Blessings
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Written by: Africafifth
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