Advent is here! Usually it is the season that marks the beginning of Christmas celebrations; a time for healing and recalling the merriment of yore.
Yore. That’s a nice word which suggests that the past times were good- worthy of nostalgia.
But, every day I am reminded that the past is merely prologue; it is toward the future where we need to keep our eyes turned.
If you can just pause for a moment to recollect, the past for black folk is filled with acts of violence and mayhem against our people, and seemingly, every three steps we make forward, we have to take at least one to two steps back.
Just examine the headlines.
This constant tug of war between the souls of black folk and the policies and practices of our, once and constant, masters has taken a toll and we are still being held hostage to various unjust laws- so firmly in place- and which are poised to become further entrenched by the shift of the Supreme Court further to the right, the roll back of certain civil rights, voting rights, and the implementation of draconian policing practices in our communities.
Do I need to go on?
Did you actually follow the recent Florida election? Are you keeping up with the plight of embattled Broward County Elections Supervisor, Brenda Snipes?
These are not good times, and any drift back to the past is dangerous for people of color in this universe.
I say universe because if you look closely at what is happening around the world: in Europe, nationalism is on the rise from Brexit’s underlying race/ethnic issues; a strong push back on the masses migrating from former colonies into their ‘conquering’ countries; Russia’s growing dominance and invasion into western Europe; and, the colonization of Africa by China, is there any doubt about where the world is headed?
Not to mention the constant bombardment we have suffered from the incredulous racist behavior of our President. But enough words on #45 have already been spoken.
I just want to talk to you, my people, about us.
In this advent season, I urge us to go back to our beginnings- to refresh our memory of the legacy of those whose sheer acts of survival guaranteed our place in this society.
Currently, there is a very credible theory about how our collective past trauma (chattel slavery, etc.) has become part of our DNA; passed down to successive generations!
How do you fix that?
By waking up! Remember: this country belongs to you. It is your right to proclaim with a righteous dignity that America was bought and paid for by the blood and toil of our ancestors. Never forget.
If you must, take a knee. Raise a fist. STOCK PHOTO But the most important action you should take is to fix your mind on what is the truth.
Once you understand who you are, the relatively short passage of time of our stay here (it is all relative) should help prepare you for the present and future times.
Most times, I think we do ourselves a disservice when we place so much attention on the few high-profile folk and herald the material marks of success: titles, money, celebrity status, etc. Remarkable as some of their achievements are, I lament the dearth of pronouncements about our scientists, scholars, researchers, inventors, philosophers (rap artists may be the exception), and other thinkers.
Look around you! There is an undeniable presence of black folk in almost every quarter and corner of American society. Yes, the ghettos may be teeming, but there too are the seeds of success: our survival instincts are strong!
And it’s time for a settling of accounts: Afrofuturism is the new Negritude, showing us the way to love ourselves, incorporate our diverse cultures, integrate technology and philosophies across the African Diaspora, and find new ways of being in this world without compromise.
Need proof? Just check out the multiple offerings of cultural exchange during this week of Art Basel/Miami/Art of Black Miami, etc.
Tis the season of advent. Begin again. Embrace the future; never forget the past.