#Selma50: To The Bridge

This past Saturday, I watched on CNN as Obama spoke at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. I was glad just to be watching the events unfold live. The longer I watched, the prouder I felt to be culturally connected to the many struggles that have been overcome by the efforts of black men like Martin Luther King and Hosea Williams; producing President Barack Obama.

As I watched, I questioned (as I often do) the time, thought and energy that I put into educating myself on race issues and attempting to bring awareness to them as I see necessary. It seems that so much was done during the eras of slavery and segregation that there is nothing left to fight for. There is plenty though; as long as lives are being lost there is plenty to fight for. The tricky part now is finding out what angles to fight the injustices from as most of them are covered by laws riddled with loopholes (i.e., The Stand-Your-Ground law).

There is enough for me to fight for and still make a difference; even if it is just in my community. Besides, the fight for Civil Justice, could soon turn into a fight for Religious Rights — this could be practice.

Sunday morning, I headed to Selma with a tank full of gas, a heart full of pride and a very inquisitive little sister.

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On the way, we got more and more anxious with every road sign marked for Selma. The traffic was thick, but flowed smoothly. We saw license plates from all over the country, but being an Alabama native gave me game an attitude to want to welcome everyone else to the state. There was no horn-blowing, no fighting for parking spaces (even though there were none), and everyone seemed to know everyone. I found myself in conversation multiple times with people that I had never even seen before; yet I cannot call them strangers. The theoretical sense of unity that I often speak of was present there; all of our differences were overlooked by perspective, compassion and love.

When I first laid eyes on the Edmund Pettus Bridge from five blocks away, I took it as the sight of our Statue of Liberty. It was beautiful, and I could not wait to get to it (neither did the thousands of other people there).
IMG_6988As I read the name, Edmund Pettus, stretching across top of the bridge, I saw an awful name, that represented an awful person, and should remind us of an awful past. Instead we took that awful person’s name and monument and made it a symbol of equality and freedom that is now more closely related to our triumph than our bondage.

My march across that bridge represent more to me than I realize yet. I am still taking in the fact that I was there for such an event in history. I believe as time goes on, I will be able to build from what I experienced on the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama.

Selma – 50 Years Later

Disappointed that plans to be in Selma, Alabama this morning fell through, I sit and watch the program on CNN. This may be a once in a lifetime occurrence to be in a reunion of the Civil Rights Movement that changed the face of this nation hosted by an African-American president. Usually I refer to our people as Black American as we all identify differently. In this case, however, our president is in fact half Kenyan! He is African American.

I am in part, surprised and relieved of his blatant admittance of the existence of America’s lingering racial issues. It is not a dead horse that we continue to beat. I am no criminal and never have been, but I feel as though I have experienced enough discrimination to know personally, that skin color is enough to get you in trouble. Over the last few years, with the publicized deaths of a few innocent blacks, I believe that the nation is becoming more aware as well.

I am glad too that he is discussing the personal responsibility of Black Americans to vote and make sure that our call for equal rights are met. As we grow more and more complacent with the  illusion of equality, actual equality start to slip back into nonexistence.

I have just as much patriotism as the next man, but it comes in a different form as I come from a different branch in our nation’s history.

February Recap

Unfortunately, I did not cover half the topics that I wanted to cover. The topics could have waited, but I really wanted to cover key people whose actions contributed to my personal outlook on races relations; or people that I relate to or would like to relate to. That’s a long list too.

The good thing is that I learned way more than I had expected to learn. There are so many things that you think you already know, but every once in a while you need a refresher. Your understanding change as you grow older and add experience to your life. Malcolm and Martin are not the same Malcolm and Martin that I had learned about in grade school; I had not even been called a nigger yet. 🙂

I have literally fell into a pit of questions ranging from music to how county zoning works. America’s foundation —the very foundation — was built along lines drawn by race. How is it then that race is no longer an issue when it is what our country is built on? People act as if talking about race relations is beating a dead horse. That horse isn’t dead at all. Just because we choose to ignore it, or act as though we have risen above it, does not mean that it does not exist. I was told that black people still make it such a big deal because we teach it to our children from generation to generation. To logically refute that, I simply ask, “Are black parents the only parents teaching?”

As the country grows and more social developments take place, there seems to be less and less room on the political agenda to ensure that black people are treated fairly. We have just enough equalities (on paper) for there to be nothing left to profit any political candidate, so the fight and struggle becomes the responsibility of each black individual. While I worry about the condition of Black Americans, I question whether or not there is actually a fight to be fought at all. If the majority of our people are content with how we are portrayed in the media, who am I to challenge that mass opinion? If we are content with being the most marketed people in the country, who am I to change that? I cannot say that injustices happen everywhere all the time to black people, but I can say that it happens so much that I see personally that I am numb to it.

There was speculation that the low Oscar ratings this year was due to a boycott of blacks refusing to watch. I had hoped that there be some press coverage on it, but then I considered, it would not be smart for media to bring awareness to the power of our numbers. We have power to change whatever we have problem with. However, if we continue to learn from television and social media, what is important and what it not, we will continue to be molded into the consumers that we have been led to become.

The best example of a family I can find on TV is the Duggar’s from 19 Kids and Counting. I cannot even think of a current TV show where black people are shown in a positive light. Then we wonder why  black children think like this:

There is a fight to be fought, but we have to be awakened to it. The unfortunate and scary thing is that the time for fighting for Black Rights is running down, while the time for fighting for Christian Rights are just beginning.

Selma – (Very) Unoffical Review

I just saw Selma a couple hours ago. I am always very reluctant to watch movies depicting the history of Black Americans and our struggles in the United States. There are so many thoughts, imaginations, and emotions that these movies provoke that I would rarely just ignore the cinema depictions and learn through reading. While watching the movie, I realized in a helpless and nearly hopeless state, that it is nearly impossible to to advance further as a people without the togetherness we once had and a single leader to lead the charge. It also became very clear that there are so many inequalities we still face that are masked by the laws; there is no law that can heal the condition of the minds of the people being torn down by the illusion of freedom and equality. However, this condition is not limited to the minds of Black Americans alone…

There are so many topics that a movie like this set in motion that I can not cover them all. I am actually quite drained. It took all of my might to stay after the first ten minutes, but I forced myself to continue watching. Since I have gotten through Selma, and can agree that it was a total success, I recommend it to anyone who may have the slightest interests in what the movement was all about and its role players. I LOVED IT! Now maybe I can go back and watch the backlog of movies depicting our peoples’ struggles that I have avoided year after year after year. I’m a pretty easygoing guy, except when it comes to family and race relations. I feel as though all of my passion has been reserved for simply wanting everyone to be treated fairly; a task so simple, but yet nearly impossible.

Since I won’t do a review, I have sharde my notes (something I never do) that I took during the movie. Instead of a review I will break down the major themes that I took from the movie, to be discussed next month as what I feel to still be issues today.

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I am completely satisfied with the movie. It was great! Casting was great! Acting was great! Plot and theme of the movie itself was great!

But I’m tired…

In February I will devote more detail into my personal perspectives surrounding the movie.