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Blacks defying the odds

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

I think it is only appropriate during Black History Month to embark upon the perilous uphill battle African Americans have had to face and are still facing in this country. It is a salute to their tenacity and perseverance in the face of the most treacherous, inhumane, and diabolical treatment by one people towards another group.

No, I do not choose to dilute or whitewash the truth of the African American trek while in this country. My narrative is not one of promoting hate but to honor an awesome race of people and awaken this country to their strength, spirituality, and intellectual fortitude, especially when this country has done everything possible to diminish African Americans’ worth. The African American experience in this country is nothing short of a reoccurring nightmare with the victims literally crying out for justice, equality, validation, and acceptance. This can only be accomplished when this country acknowledges their wrongdoing and try to make things right through overdo reparations.

The African American plight in this nation includes a history that shouldn’t be hidden, diluted, whitewashed or untold—regardless of how some people may feel. The history is heinous and disturbing, but it is happened and is real. It should be a learning opportunity for America in going forward. One of the major problems for this country is not learning from mistakes. Not recognizing or acknowledging the wrongdoings of one’s past don’t make a person better but continues to fuel a sickness that is prevalent in our country today.

I would argue with those who claim that divulging the shortcomings of our country is treasonous and unpatriotic. I believe that such recognition heralds love for this country, wanting it to be the best it can be. We should voice concerns about the absence of this truth. We should refuse to listen to the polarizing rhetoric of some politicians who are quick to vilify and demonize anyone telling the truth about the history of this country. It is in knowing and understanding our true history that you can see how things have evolved today.

I can’t imagine any group or race that has been more mistreated than African Americans, other than native Indians. This country hasn’t missed any opportunity to minimize or trivialize the worth of African Americans, even as we have literally begged to be treated fairly and equally as Americans. African Americans’ only shortcoming may be in loving a country that doesn’t love them back. This country as a whole, intentionally, did everything possible to keep African Americans from prospering economically, socially, and politically.

African Americans were enslaved for centuries. And even once slavery ended, the White ‘system’ found other ways to subjugate Blacks through Black Codes, Jim Crow, share cropping, segregation and discrimination. Blacks were shut out of opportunities to advance in all areas that would promote their growth. This country’s shared racism spilled over into all its institutions and major corporations, which can still be seen today. This country has never wanted to do the right thing voluntarily when it comes to Blacks. Many of the rights and liberties Blacks enjoy today were won through major court battles.

Despite their tumultuous experience in this country, African Americans were able to establish prosperous communities and towns such as Tulsa, Oklahoma and Rosewood, Florida that were self-independent and self-sustaining. But all too often, these communities were undermined and destroyed by Whites. These Blacks were independent and self-supporting, so that debunked the myth by some Whites of Blacks as being lazy and unintelligent.

White banks played a detrimental role in holding Blacks back. Such banks controlled where they could live by using fraudulent, discriminating practices to steal their land and properties and deny them loans to open businesses. This plot to destroy or undermine the existence of Black industry and habitation was further fueled by the flooding of drugs into Black neighborhoods. That served a multitude of purposes: making money by having Blacks do the legwork; destroying and dividing the Black family with the repercussions brought on by drug addiction; and inundating the penal system with Black bodies.

Blacks had to form their own universities (HBCUs) because White universities and colleges refused them admittance. When one looks at the insidious practices and experiences thrust upon Blacks, one may wonder how they were able to keep on surviving. But in spite of all the adversities Blacks have had to face in this country, they have continued to be a monumental factor through their contributions and achievements in making this country what it is today.

No amount of racist rhetoric can dismiss Blacks’ contributions to the greatness of this country. Only through teaching the truth about our history can African Americans and other races gain a true appreciation and respect for a beautiful, resilient and highly gifted people—a people who continue to prosper despite the never-ending adversities thrown in their path.

I can only ask a person of another race this: If you endured what Blacks have endured in this country, how would you feel? Blacks, for the most part, are spiritual people who don’t harbor hate. They only want to be treated equally, just as their White counterparts. Hate only makes us more resilient.

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