I know the issues that America currently faces with regard to racism and sexism have been addressed at many levels. While I’m encouraged by the conversations people are having (even the immature ones), I’m saddened with the reality that our country…our world…is saddled with such unnecessary burdens. I hate that we are so ignorant and fearful to learn about others’ cultures and ethnicities.
Beautiful people come in many shades and so many miss the opportunity to realize their full potential because they allow their fears to guide their reactions and actions throughout life’s journey.
I am concerned that the negativity expressed during the Democratic Primary season of 2008 ignited these fears. The mere fact that women and blacks have been classified, albeit not officially, as second-class citizens, by white men (and I recognize not all of them do so intentionally), has put us all in a predicament of sorts. What’s more, black women have had to choose which of the two scenarios -- being black or being female -- has been their biggest obstacle…their blackness obviously won that internal battle for most.
Recognizing that each of us is a product of our upbringing, the socialization of community, the exposure to external elements, and the injection of mass communication we either absorb or ignore. As time goes on, we pick and chose which influences to acknowledge, oftentimes disregarding that which would be most positive. Still, the pain we feel, even if only subconsciously, rears its head and triggers our defense mechanisms. Many times we refuse to grant permission to anyone who offers contradictory information—it just doesn’t seem to fit. Try as we may, we want equality but we seemingly set up barriers to allow it to “happen.” The chips on our shoulders, if you will, seem to get bigger and, if we’re not careful, the resistance to positivity grows, often beyond reach.
So then, here we are, somewhat separated…no, very separated. We’re afraid of what that actually means. Ahead of us is this wonderful opportunity to do something that will benefit us all. I pray, for my son’s sake, for your sake, for women’s sake, for men’s sake, for the world’s sake, that we get this right. The whole world is watching. A beautiful opportunity lies ahead for us to finally prove we are all that we have perpetrated to be. I pray we’re up to the task and will make ourselves proud.
-- by Donna Perdue