“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time to plant it is NOW!” -African Proverb
Integration was a trick designed to destroy the sense of urgency of Black people. Being forced to live amongst our own, do business amongst our own, worship amongst our own and go to school amongst our own gave us the false belief that we were merely surviving, when we were actually building. Now I hear many of the supporters of integration, who lived through the sixties, refer to the days of segregation as “the good ole days”. Once we were able to have tea and crackers with the children of our former slave masters we thought we’d hit the lottery of humanity. This illusion gave us a “do nothing” mentality. And a “do-nothing” mentality creates a “have-nothing” reality.
There is something about living through a crisis that gives the human being an “A.S.A.P” mentality. They understand the importance of achieving objectives “as soon as possible”. We are more inclined to, as the the Nation of Islam teaches, be quick thinking, fast moving; right down to the modern times. Joshua led Israel across the Jordan River during a period of crisis. Moses was dead. Morale was low. The Jordan River was a dark, muddy, murky body of water. They were on high alert. Every step taken across the river was met with impending danger. There was no time to waste. They had the A.S.A.P. mentality which produced the A.S.A.P. energy that got them safely to the other side.
Just as The Creator dried up the Jordan River in order for Joshua and The Children of Israel to get closer to the Promised Land, God has always prepared a table for Black people right here in the midst of the enemies of our progress. However, we tend to lose our sense of urgency once God has gotten us through periods of crisis. We must be like Joshua and the strong soldiers who were with him. Not only did they use the ASAP mentality to cross the Jordan River, they used that energy to conquer the city of Jericho on the other side.
What is it that rocks us to sleep in our personal lives, as well as our community life? What destroys our sense of urgency? Why does God have to keep us in a perpetual state of struggle in order to create in us a sense of NOW? It is the “illusion of inclusion” that integration, affirmative action and having a Black president of the United States has afflicted us with. At the end of the day, being Black in America is still the uphill road that it was when our forefathers set the soles of their feet onto this soil in Jamestown, Virginia in 1555. It is time that we resurrected the A.S.A.P. mentality in self and community. We have to tap into that Harriet Tubman spirit that freed a thousand slaves and use it to free ourselves from apathy, complacency and fear.
TAKE IT PERSONAL! When your mother and father conceived you, billions of sperm were released in the process. Only one made it. That one developed into the miracle that is called YOU. If the sperm that created you had a sense of urgency, you have it too. What is taking you so long to start that business, purchase that land, marry that “good” woman or man or commit yourself to that cause? The short time you will live on this Earth amounts to nothing when you consider how long you will be dead once it’s over. YOU DO NOT HAVE TIME TO WASTE! You do not have the luxury of being afraid of the mountain that stands in front of you. Prayer before war is the soldier’s protocol. You are that soldier. Make your prayer, determine your destination and go to war with all obstacles in your path.
Joshua was so focused on the Promised Land on the other side of Jordan that it minimized his fear of the danger of crossing. Harriet Tubman was so obsessed with the freedom of her people that her fear of the slave master evaporated. There is a spiritual force within you that has the power to quicken the forward pace toward your success. Stop complaining about how cold the world is. Focus on making sure it is a better place when you leave it.
Black people in America have many issues. My book, A Street Activist’s Perspective, focuses on some of the most critical of our times. While it is meant to create meaningful dialogue, my real motive is to create in us a sense of NOW in addressing these issues. In so many ways we have become “jaded” toward our own suffering. We make mockery of our own destructive behavior. Through television shows like “Love & Hip-Hop”, as well as “Scandal”, we promote that which demotes the dignity of our community. The book is small in size; but so is a match. The size of a fire is never limited to the size of the match that lights the fire. In cities all across America and beyond we must come together as a people and create a “let’s get it done” mentality when it comes to addressing our issues, mapping out a strategy to solve our problems and executing a plan with perfect precision. Let us quicken the pace toward freedom by adopting the A.S.A.P. mentality. Let’s go!
You may purchase Deric Muhammad’s critically acclaimed book, ASAP (A Street Activist’s Perspective), at www.dericmuhammad.com.