America, Where Have You Been?
What does it take for America to notice the depth of her problems, or how infected she is with the cancerous-like diseases such as gun violence, substance abuse or mental health?
It takes White America to notice these issues, and it takes the voice of White America to expose the deep black and blue bruises on the pale skin of America to have these issues on the grand stage with the appropriate light shining down on them.
For anything to be properly addressed or seriously taken into consideration, observation or examination, it appears that White America has to be effected, and the comfort zone of White families, businesses, and reputations must be threatened. Undeniable circumstances must be as conspicuous as a blue sky after a storm has come for America to consider the issues that have been placed before her. It’s sad but true.
The irony that sits at the doorstep of America right now reminds me of the old saying “the chickens have come home to roost.”
It is jaw dropping to hear some of the statements and opinions concerning the condition of America from the mouths of White America. As an African American, my only response is a sarcastic, “Oh really!”
In the most sincere way, I ask you America…where have you been for the last 242 years to not see that this government has always been delinquent when it comes to the citizens of this country?
The falsehoods that you have recently discovered, and are so appalled about, are no surprise to us in Black America. We have attempted to warn and inform Americans for decades about these issues. You have ignored the part of this nation’s proverbial resume created by your forefathers, which documented its deceitful nature. Where the problem lies is in your own arrogance, pride, sense of entitlement and lack of concern for the well-being of others. You suffered from the “other side of the track syndrome.”
When illegal drugs were being pumped throughout minority neighborhoods, destroying our families, you waged war because it was on the other side of the tracks. But now that you have opioids in your home, you seek sympathy and call it an epidemic.
For the last 70 years, Black America has unveiled how flagrant the legal system has been, but the foul motives of the U.S. Intelligence agencies were the least of your concerns. You sat by and watched while Black America marched in protest against the pollution within these entities, turning your heads as Black people were beaten, hosed down and attacked by dogs. Your silence gave consent to this foolery. Your neutral position was the okay that was heard, but never spoken, and now it has spilled over into your own backyards. Black America even advised you, through her oldest form of communication – via songs – but like the overseer ignored the sounds of Negro spirituals echoing in the cotton fields, you failed to decode the message while ridiculing, ignoring and missing the message. The notification of the gun violence was reported to you in the greatest form of journalism, but you rebuked it, and called these hip-hop artists, thugs and hoodlums. You allowed the blonde hair, blue eyed reporters to report from their tunnel vision prospective. The jaded view of Black America painted neighborhoods as hell. You described the people who lived within it as demons, and your conclusions drawn about the young people dying on a daily basis due to gun violence as “that’s just who they are.”
The same message preached by millions of White America’s youth is only a replica of what young, brilliant and brave African American teens have been crying out for years in cities like Baltimore and Chicago. It wasn’t until your children were threatened at school, and the lives of your families were subject to change in an instant, while you were at church or work, did you find it a national problem.
America, your focus has always been pointed in the wrong direction and you’ve always centered your attention on the action and not the message. You would rather vilify an individual for exercising his First Amendment right to kneel in protest during the national anthem, instead of understanding his message.
If not now, when will you learn to listen? It’s no longer Black America alone warning you. Now there is a generation of young people who have removed the barriers of cultural, gender and economic separation that you can’t ignore because they are now your children and your grandchildren.
Willie Jordan IV is a Journalist major at Texas Southern University.