By William (Willie) Cameron, Jr. –
This question was asked musically back in the 1990s by the soul group Enchantment.
Seems the question is one that minorities in America should be contemplating right now.
I am a senior now and have been privileged to see segregation and integration first-hand during my lifetime. Both had their good and bad points. Segregation allowed people to depend on themselves and their communities in order to survive and move on. On the other hand, it held these same people back and is a big reason for today’s racial challenges. Integration gave minorities access to the best the country had to offer; however, it sort of led to a false sense of security.
The years following WWII and including the Civil Rights Era produced an America that outwardly was headed toward fulfilling its creed that “All men (women) are created equal”; yet below the hype a large segment of the population felt betrayed. The privileged mainstream community sees this country as theirs because of its favoring them in every area of life for so long. It seems that the election of President Obama for a second term, in their eyes, was the last straw.
The problem with this line of thinking is that minorities, especially African Americans, to this point in history have never been on an equal standing with the majority population—not even under the leadership of the first black president. Reference the number of black people killed by police in the last four years. Locally, the church that I attend (black congregation) tried for years to get funding to rebuild uptown property and was repeatedly turned down by financial institutions. I am of the opinion that a majority-white church would have gotten funding.
Minorities have made very significant financial advances in the last fifty years, advances which may have clouded their view of real life in modern America. They have houses, cars, TVs, computers, phones, etc.; however, compared to people in the majority, minorities are still behind.
So where do we go from here? I say go back to basics. Take notes from the generations that had to deal with real inequality. Worry less about material wealth and form alliances with those of like minds and goals. The elders should advise the young and allow them to lead. The next very important election is in two years. Register as many as possible and this time VOTE to replace those who fight against equality, from local races to Congress.
Three branches of the Federal government will soon be run by ultra-conservatives. There will be very little checks and balances going on except from citizens who believe in freedom and who make their objections—to things like voter restrictions, racial gerrymandering, and favoring one religion over another—widely known, as our forefathers and mothers did. Minorities must be very knowledgeable of our history in this nation. Self must be put in the background.
The future of the children is what really matters. The CONSTITUTION matters.