- Posted June 23, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Stop Denying My History
"I was disturbed by the content and wanted to write a reply to the author." Bounds said, "People are upset with him because of the insulting tone, and his enthusiasm and preference of the contributions of a few whites over the many, many sacrifices of black people." The iReport team shared Bounds' essay with Blake.
- taliaday, CNN iReport producer
I do think this denial (perhaps refusal) of examining history to be a balm for those who are guilty of certain behaviors and who have historically and currently benefit and are comforted from our silence. For example, slavery. Many feel ashamed of something we have Nothing to be ashamed of. We did nothing wrong, we were stolen and put in the worst possible situation. We survived it all and although the struggle continues, we can say Never treated humans the way we were treated. We survived, and dare I say - thrived. Even to the point of obtaining the highest office in the land. The response to this achievement: public schools closing, voting rights restricted and aid to the poor cut during one of the most economically challenging periods since the great depression. Yet, Mr. Blake seems to be saying 'don’t look at how we conquered this problem in the past’? I do agree that the way history is portrayed is often skewed to help the oppressors feel less guilt. Always emphasis on the help of a few whites, and not enough emphasis on the tenacity and brilliance of the many, many, unnamed who endured it all. Not enough emphasis of the courage of those who were murdered and missing. Not enough emphasis on the land stolen, economic disparity, and blatant racism that occurred then and now.
Another example is with the phrase “victims of racism”. We don’t want to call ourselves ‘victims’ because it makes people feel week and powerless. But it also acknowledges that someone is behind what is happening. It points to ‘of whom’ and ‘what.” And many times, we are victorious.
It is no accident that history (a whitewashed version) is taught in school from elementary through high school. Most colleges and universities have a requirement of history classes. It is very important for a person to understand what has happened. It is very empowering to know what those who came before have accomplished. And Mr. Blake finds this aspect of our history boring and suggests we should not talk about it? I find this appalling from an educated person. Perhaps we are dealing with a case of self hate? Internalized white supremacy? I’m not sure but I find his perspective to be dangerous, damaging and a hugh step in the wrong direction.
Even if Mr. Blake felt the need to walk out of civil rights meetings and songs, is that a reason to put down those who stayed? I still feel a bit sad that no one remembers the Negro National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” which acknowledges beautifully the struggles in the past and encourages hope for the future. The lyrics are timeless. (review them on google)
I’m just a bit weary of worrying so much about the feelings of others. And racism only seems to be getting worse, as we stuff ourselves down to get along. The civil rights movement and it’s success should be a source of great pride. We went from being silently lynched, kept in menial jobs, etc… to a better day. Yes, there are still many problems: jobs remain a problem, fair treatment, drugs and guns allowed in our community, but the biggest problem seem to be our acceptance of it all without a wimper of resistance, or even an acknowledgement of how these problems came into existence. (Nod toward COINTELPRO)
So #1 The phrase “It’s a Black thing” was about our hair and our humor. It was never about civil rights.
#2 - Talking about race - Mr.Blake’s aunt should have just owned her history, apologized and admitted she was wrong and that maybe she has grown since that time.
#3 It belongs in the past - well, the past is repeating itself. We are 1/2 step away from lynching and black codes with the Travons, Jordan Davis, voting rights being repealed, and racial profiling. You cannot repair past wrongs and keep them from repeating if they are not acknowledged. People will not know about Dr. King’s radical side if all of the civil rights movement is relegated to ‘let the past, be past’.
Also, John Blake had no problem with the civil rights when he was writing his book about it. Why put it down now? This seems very hypocritical.
Sorry to go on and on, (and I could say more) but this article left me feeling some kinda way.