The truth shall set you free….always….

July 16, 2008 § Leave a comment


In an effort to focus more on Senator Obama, the man, instead of Senator Obama in the midst of a fake controversy and what he should/should not do, how he should/should not respond, what he should/should not wear — I am going to just write a little bit about his speech at the Annual NAACP Conference.

I watched this speech the other night on Youtube and I kind of laughed to myself at how easily we all get caught up in the way a person is portrayed, perceived, and analyzed, instead of just seeking out moments when the individual is probably being closest to who he/she really is behind all of the “controversies, crises, and crap”.

I appreciated Senator Obama’s speech for its historical references and for his understanding of what we all need to do and the fact that we, as human beings, have a lot more work to do.

The fact that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, Julian Bond, Diane Nash, and so many more were only in their 20s when they “refused to settle for the world as it is” and sought to fight for the “world as it should be”. It is something that I know that I definitely forget all the time and almost fall and believe that I cannot do anything because “I have not accomplished anything in my life yet”. I know that I sometimes discriminate against my own self due to my young age in the scope of the world. However, remembering all of these great people who have come before me who began fighting at young ages reminds me that it is not about how much you have done up until this point or how old you are, but what you are doing right now.

I also appreciated Obama’s speaking on the undeniable tie between social justice and economic justice in order to achieve equality and create opportunity for so many people who need it. I appreciated his knowledge of many issues that affect all people in this nation, not just African Americans….but I appreciated even more his knowledge of these issues and the fact that they affect the African American community a bit more.

But more than anything, I appreciated his honesty in pushing for more governmental responsibility and more responsibility on Wall Street AND pushing for more of our own responsibility in our own communities. I am so grateful for his honesty and for saying it, in this public forum with his speech now on Youtube, that individual responsibility AND collective responsibility are equally important.

We have to demand more from ourselves….we have to. We will not get anywhere by blaming everyone else and not also looking in the mirrors. I honestly believe this…I truly do.

“None of it will make a difference, at least not enough of a difference, if we also at the same time don’t seize more responsibility in our own lives. Dr. King understood this. Dr. King talked about this. It is not an either/or proposition but a both/and proposition. We need societal responsibility AND we need individual responsibility….That’s how we will truly honor those who came before us. I know that Thurgood Marshall did not argue Brown vs. Board of Education so that some of us could stop doing our jobs as parents. That wasn’t the deal. I know that nine little children didn’t walk through a schoolhouse door in Little Rock, so we could stand by and let our children drop out of school and turn to gangs for the support they are not getting elsewhere in the community. That’s not the freedom that we fought to achieve. That’s not the America that our leadership sought to build. That’s not the dream they had for our children. So, if we are serious about reclaiming that dream, we have to do more in our own lives. There is nothing wrong with saying that.

Now, if Jesse Jackson still thinks that Senator Obama is “talking down to Blacks” and “needs to have his nuts cut off” for being HONEST with the African American community and encouraging us to lift up ourselves and lift up this country — well then Jesse needs to go take a nap and hush up. Not being HONEST with ourselves is not going to help us at all and he is completely missing the point of what we should be fighting for.

By being more honest with ourselves, we will allow ourselves to be and thrive as more wholly human and not just two dimensional caricutures of Blackness, not just 3/5 of a human being, not just as stereotypes perpetuated and supported by the media and by the damn foolish lies we tell ourselves. If we love ourselves, if we want to love ourselves, then we have to be honest with ourselves.

The truth shall indeed set you free.

Amen.

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