After taking a trip to Wakanda this weekend, I really wanted to cover the topic of Black Emancipation. Black Panther, while its utopic state sucked me in, I left disappointed, that Wakanda was only an imaginative nation, and not a real one. Seeing uncolonized Black women and men alike, thriving, left me Erik Killmonger to the bullshit. Ready to send out weapons and resources to Blacks around the world, to fight back against the oppressor.
Leaving Wakanda, and heading back to America though, I wanted to discuss The Miseducation of Black Emancipation, by describing moments in history where we were promised freedom and were greeted with systematic oppression.
During the Civil War - which was partly based on the south wanting to keep slavery - on January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, with the promise of "freedom" to slaves, but not all slaves. Commemoratively, Black people celebrate Juneteenth, June 19, 1865, which signifies the day it was announced that slavery was abolished.
So what next? You have a group of people, who have been told and shown, that they are beneath humans. They have been beaten into submission and tasks. They have no money, no rights, and were unable to be educated legally. So what next?
During The Reconstruction Era was the aftermath of the Civil War, where the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were passed. The later two - the right of American citizenship, and the right to vote - were not enforced. Additionally, one of the main jobs for Blacks during this time was sharecropping, given their range of known skills, and without slaves, slave owners had now had no one to tend to their land. Therefore this birthed the sharecropping arrangement, that still looked very much like slavery. Blacks were forced to rent land, tools and seeds, and work for extremely low wages. Therefore, in order to make money, Blacks still needed to depend on the white man, which was the oppressor's objective.
Can we all just admit that the CIA brought crack to Black neighborhoods, and then created the war or drugs to gut us out? In 1933, there was a housing "shortage," which lead to the government developing suburban neighborhoods for white middle class, to lower white middle class. Forcing Blacks into urban housing projects, which consisted of everything "we needed to survive," so that we would leave whites the fuck alone. Which is also known as segregation. The Federal Housing Administration furthered the segregation efforts, by not granting mortgages in or near Black neighborhoods.
Shaking my damn head at all the gentrification that is now going on in the very neighborhoods they pushed us in to, to get us away from them. After these projects were built, limited resources, and lack of opportunities came to a head, when the CIA flowed drugs and weapons into Black neighborhoods. While funneling the profits to the CIA's Nicaraguan army during the Contra war. After Blacks utilized the resources in their community to provide for themselves and their families came the war on drugs. AKA the war on Black people.
One of Nixon's top advisers and a key figure in the Watergate scandal, domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman noted that the war on drugs had two enemies, the anti-war left and Black people. With the hopes of getting Black people off the streets and into chains, and behind bars.
Of course, education is something that we weren't initially granted the right to obtain. Which is unfortunate, because often times we are placed in situations, where our only option it to think our way out. Making school, perceivably a good thing right? However, the public education system, is another place in which Blacks are being systematically oppressed, while being promised freedom, and betterment.
The school to prison pipeline refers to the disciplinary policies that feed students from school, and into prison. Ironically enough, since 1990, the spending on prisons has increased three times as quickly as education. A report by the National Black Women's Justice Institute, noted that Black girls though black girls only made up 16% of female students in U.S. public schools, they made up 43% of girls who were referred to law enforcement and 38% of those arrested. Forcing them to miss time learning, and thus opportunities to truly better themselves. While getting stuck in the cycle of a system that cares nothing about you.
With all of that said, I do believe that while there is a ton of systemic issues that we need to address, and dismantle. Nina Simone said it best, when she noted that "Freedom means no fear." From my perspective, now that I am aware, or conscious of these deep rooted issues, the spirit of my ancestors won't allow for me to be afraid. Instead, I am living my life in spite of these systems that were designed to make us fail, by living my life on my own accord, and spreading word to my brothers and sisters. In this space we're in, we must be fearless as we continue to learn and play our roles in the revolution. #WakandaForever