See Us

Negus- A royal title in the Ethiopian Semitic Languages.

I was about 12 years old when I became consciously aware that our world was segregated by political affiliation, religion, economic status and race. It was in my 6th grade history class when I first learned about the civil rights act of 1964. In this moment, my innocence and naive 12 year old belief that I was the same as my white counterparts was dismantled.

As I grew and matured spiritually, I often wondered that if we were all human beings that lived on the same planet and breathing the same oxygen, then why were we not treated the same? I soon realized that this million dollar question, is one that has been uttered by many.

This realization is something I’ve tried to “spiritualize” and rationalize but no longer can. You’ve often heard me say things like, “we are all spiritual beings having a temporary human experience,” but unfortunately, not everyone’s experience will be equal nor the same.

Those who do nothing while witnessing injustice and wrong-doing do worse than those who commit acts of injustice.”- Martin Luther King Jr.

So what makes people so uncomfortable? Is it the melanin in our skin? The braids that we wear? Or the fullness of our lips and nose? Now, before you write me off as the bitter black woman who’s playing the victim card again-hear me out. 

The state of consciousness on this planet is shifting. People are slowly becoming consciously aware that systemic racism is alive and well. This type of racism is apparent in Sports, entertainment, corporate America, the wealth gap, employment, housing discrimination, incarceration and infant mortality. Should I keep going?

I can remember in the early 90s when the clothing label FUBU, For Us By Us, came out. At the time, I thought FUBU was just another trendy clothing line with a catchy name. But, in hind sight, the significance of this name was much bigger than that. The name represented bringing a sense of inclusion and unity to the African American community.

Like FUBU, there have been several organizations whose intentions and goals were similar. Organizations such as HBCU’s, the NAACP, Black Panther party, and the black lives matter movement all had one common goal:  equality. It was never the intention, of these organizations, to ostracize any particular group or to perpetuate the narrative of reverse racism. But, an outcry of- See us.

See us as the Oscar worthy actresses and actors that we are.

See us as the capable and competent chief operating officer in a Fortune 500 company.

See us as worthy of living in a safe neighborhood with the white picket fence.

See us as doing more than just running with a football or dribbling a basketball

See us more than just a common thug that’s looking for a hand out

See us, as you would see yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                     Love & Light

Edited by: Aleshia Webber

Photo Credit: Rashanna Baker, Costa Rica