Wednesday, March 3, 2010

More than just a Month

Hello to all my Sonny Essence Beauties, 
Now that the month of February has came and gone, and the remnants of love and Black History are slowly dwindling away now is as good as time as any to re-build that love back up. Let us rejoice and remember the pains and struggles of the past in order to know what to fight and live for in the present and future. So let us not only celebrate our heritage and the most sought after culture that exists, in only one month out of the given 12 but rather every day of our lives. In today's society, coming together as a whole and providing that support and love to each other is more vital than ever. Let's look to elders for positive role models and the strength to persevere over our struggles. Let's educate ourselves and teach others. Let's be that role model and show kids the right path to go down. Let's rebuild the strength, courage, determination and so many other positive attributes that Black People are known for. Be that #BOS (Brilliance of Success). 

In honor of celebrating Black History:
I'm excited and proud to present a poem from my Poetry class written by an eloquent Black Women named Karen. Each time I read her poetry, I learn something new about life, myself, the world or it just makes me think. She and her work are filled with such wisdom. Her work inspires me to be better. 

This is her poem: 

Karen Ready
A Political Rap
February 4, 2010
Back In 1828

Back In 1828
Fearful folks who were filled with hate
Believed white supremacy to be
Synonymous with democracy
And the god of Christianity
Favored white humanity.

This god condemned all Africans
By the melanin present in their skin
To lives of slavery and servitude
And for this, expected gratitude
Because without him they were godless
And therefore, subject to transgress.

Sinful and “evil” because they were black
Whites needed to counteract
Their slaves “wicked ways and devilish deeds
By ensuring that they aimed to please
Their masters and their masters’ god
Who condemned them in the land of Nod.[1]

Back in 1828
Noah Webster believed the hate
Should be reflected in his dictionary
So the color black would correlate
With the white man’s vocabulary.

By personifying the color to make
An entire group or culture,
Even lower than Eden’s snake
He made a devastating mistake.
Resulting in the black caricatures
Still alive in Faulkner’s literature.[2]
Based solely on their depth of color
Regardless of father, brother, or mother,
Or blood containing one black droplet,
They were reminded lest they forget
They still had dark skin, hair and eyes
And for this they were beaten, hanged, despised.

How in this world could a color be
“Thoroughly sinister, sullen, and angry”
“Atrociously wicked, soiled, and dirty?”
“Very sad, dismal, mournful and gloomy,”
Or have a “grim distorted, cloudy look?”
Could it be racism residing in Webster’s book?

Perhaps it’s oversensitive to think
That black has been personified.
It has nothing to with the missing link,
Negros should be satisfied,
They are no longer slaves,
Praying to god for the eternal grave
Where they’ll be forever purified.

But when the color white is defined
Words like ”innocent, favorable, fortunate,”
“Clean, faithful, pure and passionate,”
Are positively chosen and designed
To shed light upon white superiority.
Because whites are “Free from moral impurity,”
“Conservative in action and political outlook [3]
Could racism be residing in Webster’s book?

Well, it is now 2010
And the White House has an African
Presiding over America’s land
But the white racists
Unable to take this
Have taken a rigid stand.
To jeopardize their own health care,
Say no to gays, sex and abortion,
While any quote by a terrorist,
Or escalating Iraqi’s mess,
Gets a resounding, heartfelt “Yes!”
From the peanut gallery of emotion.
But I digress.

What of Webster and his definitions
Of colors that describe human behavior?
Especially the negative black of the Negro,
While the defective white of the Albino
Receives not even an honorable mention?
All this hatred over the melanin gene
The human body’s natural sunscreen.

 How can a country come together when
Its people don’t know they’re all Africans?[4]
Webster’s dictionary needs revision
To help rid America’s language division.
A step forward is to eliminate race -
A social construct[5]  that has no place
In a world moving at tomorrow’s pace
Away from an archaic color tradition.

[1] During the 18th-20th centuries, this racist theory was used to justify slavery. It held that Noah’s son Ham saw his father drunk and naked so god punished Ham’s son Canaan with black slave descendents. Genesis 9:20-27

[2] Dilsey in  Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury is the epitome of the Mammy stereotype: “Nurturing and protective, self sacrificing, long suffering, wise, often world weary but never bitter……depicted as behaving more kindly to the white children in her care than to her own….” and the question is WHY would she love white people at all?

[3] Words in quotations are taken directly from the first and the latest editions of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

[4] “Millions of years ago human life started in Africa… Africa provides a comprehensive and contiguous time line of human development going back at least 7 million years.” From Africa The Home Of Human Civilization.
[5]“ No society is composed of genetically “pure” people. It is now understood that humans are one species with great phylogenetic variability- we are in fact one race- human. From "Race is a social construct."

"Look at me. I am black. I am beautiful."-Mary McLeod Bethune (Educator)

~Delesa J~

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