Friday, January 13, 2006

Stamina...

Happy Friday! A bitch plans to refuel this weekend!

2 cups coffee followed by Splenda and 1% organic milk, 1 Claritin, 2 Sudafed and cigs…

Stamina…
A bitch has been thinking about the Civil Rights Movement. With the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday approaching and Black History Month on the horizon the country has once again turned its gaze brownward. Now, a bitch is always frustrated by the language of these celebrations…love, unity, community, solidarity, dreams and so forth and so on. By mid-February the oration contests will be in full swing and a bitch will tune out.

My frustration comes from the fact that many of those who use the language of the struggle have no idea what they are saying. And my ass is on record…saying shit does not make it a reality. And isn’t that the real message of the Civil Rights Struggle? Better yet, isn’t that the real lesson we should take from the life of Martin Luther King Jr.?

The Civil Rights Movement can best be understood by an examination of the citizens who participated in it. King, as a leader and a constant source of inspiration, is an amazing example of the power of one…but he should be evaluated as one of the whole. This bitch understands that folks admire King…a bitch admires him too…but part of my admiration is based on the fact that he is not deified in my mind. When viewed as a man, with all of the faults, insecurities, fears and obligations every human being holds, King’s accomplishments and courage are all the more inspiring.

As one of the whole, King stands as an example of the journey experienced by many Civil Rights activists. The reluctance/fear to initially join, the clear identification of their individual role, the entry into the fold, the solidarity of organized struggle, the fear and anxiety, the denial and humiliation and yes, for far too many, the violence and possibility of death. Every marcher, every child walking for justice, every student risking it all faced many of those same elements.

And so what are you trying to say, bitch? Well, chil’ren, a bitch is glad you asked!

Today we face a drought of courage and stamina. And no, that isn’t just an inner city black people drought. Many who profess a commitment to social justice constantly demonstrate that lack of stamina, courage and dedication. A bitch sees it across the activist spectrum…pro-choice, anti-war, feminist, gay and lesbian equality, education reform and all manner of political activists burning out before getting waste deep in the fight.

And that, to this bitch, is the ultimate insult to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and all the many unknown heroes of the Civil Rights Struggle.

Do you think it was easy? Do you think, because you can sit down in your living room and watch Eyes on the Prize, that it went down in a carefully edited 8 hour video shoot? Have you considered that it took years…that the struggle began prior to Emancipation and continues today? Have you digested the unique experience of women of color…that for too long the feminist struggle rejected us and that our own efforts during the Civil Rights Struggle bore a limited crop and we were thrown meager rations from that?

Have you considered the toll apathy has taken on those earlier activists? What is must do to see young people scoff at what you risked your fucking life to achieve? And what it must feel like to have activists do everything and anything but embrace the power of the vote…after you took blows all over your body, risked life liberty and the pursuit of all happiness to gain what so called activists now lack the stamina…the courage…the respect to protect.

A bitch does not say this to deflate, but rather to inspire. Get up, get motivated and get busy! Our crops need tending and there are so many more mouths to feed.

Securing, protecting and nurturing equality is an on-going effort...they don't call it a struggle out of tradition.

So, this MLK Day a bitch plans to fortify my soul, fill my spirit and refuel…for the struggle continues…

‘til victory is won, right?

You bet your happy ass...

6 comments:

Hammer said...

Hey ABB!

I understand the idea that cultural evolution takes time and that many people don't like that (or want to deal with it). I mean,
I know that I am impatient and always push to get everyone/everything in shape for a change that I hope the rest of the world will be ready for. But isn't it the 'push' by people like myself that actually fuels these movements? (not to sound like I'm glorifying what I do, because it's not that exciting!).

Clearly all the struggles of human kind take years. However, I think that the psychology of saying "movements take years" has negative implications. We need to make sure people don't "settle into" the idea that movements take years because apathy and inaction are born from that stagnation.

I think it's fine and good to be indignant and impatient. it fuels the movements. Each generation plays a role in a movement by adding their energy (derived from impatience/indignation), demanding small changes, (which they become gratified by and work for more/larger changes) and thus fuel the movement.

Am I making sense? Flying out to Boston this week zapped my energy, I feel cloudy.

Anyway, this comment is just based on my experience with movements like the SOAW/Anti-war movements/SPAN/Pride movements, etc.

I'd like to know your opinion on my comment!

Peace!

Hammer

Shark-fu said...

Although a bitch agrees that movements need pushes and the infusion of young eager activists, my ass was speaking specifically of the 'oh shit, this is a lot harder than my ass thought it would be and why didn't my ass wake up with equality this morning' segment out there.

Groups must motivate and sometimes having young and fresh ideas is motivation in intself.

But there is line, and some activists cross it, between enthusiasm and a complete lack of understanding the mountian, our distance from it and how tall that motherfucker actually is.

This bitch thinks that one may not really want to reach the mountiantop if one doesn't have the patience to measure its height and the stamina to climb to it.

Peace unto you...

Hammer said...

Excellent! But, I guess you just defined a role for the older, more balanced individuals in social movements...the young bring impatience, the older (hopefully) generally bring balance, stamina and of course, wisdom that can only come with age.

I guess we're all doing what we are supposed to be doing after all!

woo hoo!

Thanks for your feedback and again (as you know) this blog kicks some ass. Keep whipping us into shape with your thoughts! I know most of us (non-anonymous) folks enjoy it!

Peace to you (and do some relaxing!)

Hammer

leena said...

well said.

Anonymous said...

You really need to get over it. This isn't 1920, and we have a legally elected Black president. All people are considered equal. Look it up. It's a law.

Shark-fu said...

Anonymous...

You really need to get with it.

Look at how many treat the new black president.

All people are not treated equal regardless of the law.

Look it up...acknowledge it...and then do something about it.