I won’t go on to do a long introduction to what the topic consists of, I will simply go into a few points that answer the question of why we can’t just “get over” slavery. Just note that these are not all points, the complexity of the black struggle goes deeper than I think a single blog post could offer.
Firstly, the fact that many of us don’t see how the struggles of the past relate to our current state of poverty and violence. Most people don’t know blacks were arrested after slavery for not having a job, when getting a job especially in the south was nearly impossible without becoming a slave again. Many previous owners would set their black “employee’s” up for failure by creating job expectations that no man can meet which in turn indebted blacks making them slaves again. If we were to look back at our history of struggle for rights in a “free” country we see that we still are marching and asking the government for more jobs and fair justice as done in 1963 when MLK lead a march in Washington. How this relates to poverty and violence is the fact that if there are jobs, people can pay their bills, lessening poverty. If people have a job what will they need to do with killing each other over drug money and other illegal sources of income. When the police are harassing our young boys and girls, people don’t have jobs, schools are failing our children, that plus many other factors create a hostile/stressful environment in our communities. When immigrant Italians came over to America, they faced similar issues with jobs, when it became a well known issue, the whites fixed it by creating jobs and feeding them. And still blacks have yet to have enough opportunity to make their own means to fix these problems. Instead of rehabilitation, most blacks are sentenced to jail over drug offenses compared to the fates whites in the same position face. Most people including some black folk themselves don’t find sympathy for a drug user of color, instead we see them as a failure and despicable.
Secondly many of us are still stuck in a slave mentality. Too many of us agree to the ideas that light skinned blacks are of higher beauty than darker tones. Same goes when we believe in the term “good hair” and maintain preconceived ideas of who men and women from the “hood” are. Even some of us who don’t fully agree but feel like we should just “let it go” and “go with the flow” are those who still believe that there is truth to some of these false beliefs.
Thirdly some of us do not recognize the same beliefs that hurt us exist in most whites. In short we can begin with the Trayvon Martin case and the amount of people supporting the laws brutal force on a child of color’s death. Then we have some white friends that make comments about your African features and maybe some that seem to make you out to be racist by your beliefs in equality and fairness. They are instilling a slave mentality they don’t understand. They may say they aren’t racist and avoid discussing the topic yet continue to hold stereotypical expectations of your behavior. Whether you play up to them or attempt to do the opposite, which is behaving like them, they and you are playing Yes Massa! When this happens it makes us slaves on a psychological level especially if we are one to filter the black out of our IG pictures and wear everything but our natural hair on top of our heads. To add before the next point, there isn’t anything wrong in switching up our hair, however if we are constantly attacking our curls to appear of a different race, even subconsciously we are sending ourselves a twisted message. Getting something such as beach waves is attempting to give yourself the perceived “good hair” that does not originate from you culturally.
Lastly, if we do not care to research our own history even as we know it’s been purposely hidden from our educational view, we are stuck in slavery. The fact we don’t know and our own white peers don’t know makes them believe the lie even more themselves which in turn keeps the subconscious racism alive in both parties. The hate or high dislike for the unknown is something we can find in ourselves when we don’t know ourselves. All we know is where we are presently and where whites are going, which is the same place we wish we were going. When we are aware of our true history we can feel who we are is supported by those who’ve made tremendous leaps before us. Watching people who look nothing like you succeed is not giving us a vision of who we are, it simply teaches us how to be which is opposite of who we are.