“Girl you overreacting, you’ll be alright. We already went through 400 years of slavery, it can’t be that bad.”
But what if it is? Have we ever taken the time to think maybe, just maybe, our people’s problems may feel like shackles and chains on their own feet?
For so long, we as Black Americans have seen slavery as our cushion in a sense.
That it--slavery--set the tone for conversations, jokes and interactions and was the meter that told people how far they could go with us.
But in these days, it seems like slavery doesn’t matter anymore. It makes you wonder, was the pain my ancestors felt enough? And if so, is it stripping my pain from its own validation? Why is it that the pain of being a Black woman or a Black man is not enough? Why is our pain always compared to the magnitude to that of slavery?
No other race, it seems, has to feel less than because their pain isn’t equivalent to that of hell on earth.
Maybe the solution to our problem is hiding in between the lines. Question: Did Black people have a history before slavery?
Don’t answer that in your head, of course we did.
The pain our ancestors have felt has set the tone for our triumphs, our failures, and our let downs;you name it and it has done us a great disservice. We have gotten so caught up in standards we as a people didn’t create that we forgot we were once kings, queens, innovators, creatives, travelers, business men, business women, and the list goes on and on.
Maybe being Black “isn’t enough” because we have two different standards of Blackness. One is associated with pain, misery, poverty, and injustice, while the other is associated with success, entrepreneurship, innovation, creation, and leadership.
Is being Black enough, or are we associating ourselves with Blackness we don’t identify with?
Why have we become idle with requirements we have not placed upon our own lives, pain we no longer want to define us, and an eagerness for acceptance and understanding?
The truth is, being Black will never EVER be enough because the definition of Black for however long has always had two definitions;
One being our financial and economic status in the country and the other being cultural influencers.
It is time we stop expecting people to understand who don’t want to understand to care with no intentions of empathizing. We have to accept that we must be free with ourselves, to ourselves, and amongst ourselves. There was a life for Black people before slavery, and there is a life for Black people after slavery.
The choices may be limited for us more often than not, but this choice is ours. We deserve a life that is defined by us not what has happened to us or against us. We control our own destiny.
Our pasts may shape us to some extent, but they don’t define us. We define us. It is imperative that we give ourselves an unbiased definition.
That definition can and will start with us.