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…
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...