I made up in my mind that my ancestors didn’t die in vain. That is the principle that I’m going to live by. People today make the decision to get mad about cotton. The idea of cotton is so tumultuous and evil for some people because it symbolizes racism or a time when Blacks were picking cotton. You can look at it that way but I believe that successful people decide to take the good out of bad situations.
My ancestors picking cotton is them putting a stamp on the development of society. Building roads. Tilling land. Although it was a bad situation for them, I’m going to decide that I’m not going to cry about the negative but utilize the positive. My ancestors put their stamp on this country and that’s something that I’m proud of. For the rest of my life I’m going to do what they couldn’t do. They had to be in the fields. They couldn’t vote.
Instead of crying and complaining and acting all “woe is me”, I’m going to go vote because they couldn’t vote. I’m going to go out and work hard because they didn’t have that opportunity. I’m going to honor the country that they fought to build. I’m going to do what I have to do to be successful. I’m going to speak the truth. Me not doing that is failing them. Me feeling sorry for myself makes all of their hard work, blood, tears, bruises, and whips pointless.
We claim we care about Martin Luther King, Jr. so then you have to start actually doing what he said. If I do not judge people by the content of their character, if I don’t progress forward and speak truth to people and do what I can to help society – even if it’s making videos – then they died in vain. Instead of crying and being “woe is me” and saying that Black people have been through so much in this country and believing that Black people have to work twice as hard as everyone else, you can change your mentality.
You can choose to feel that way and be a victim the rest of your life. I feel that if I have to work two times harder, I’m just that much better. If somebody tells me “no” then that’s just going to make me work that much harder. You’ve gotta make a decision what side of the fence you’re going to be on. Are you going to be the victim or the victor? I’m done with complaining. I’m done with feeling sorry for myself. I’m done with feeling sorry for my ancestors. I’m going to glorify them through doing positive things and making a difference. That’s what my obligation is.
Instead of complaining about the police, become the police. Instead of complaining about your legislators, become somebody in power to change something. Instead of crying about this country, take advantage of your opportunities. Once you get it in your mind that you don’t want to play the victim anymore you can start looking out of the box and start incorporating other people to help you. Start allowing other people to be in place to help you become successful no matter what their color or background is. This is what this country is built on.
Stop looking at this country as if it’s just about slavery or racism. In reality, our country has racism and it has anti-racism. When people owned slaves there were people that did not own slaves. They didn’t want slaves. There were the same amount of free states as there were slave states. Harriet Tubman who wanted to free slaves through the underground railroad had the help of other people who also wanted to free slaves.
Keep going through our history. We wanted the first African American athletes to be on the scene and to be Olympians. People fought alongside them to give them opportunities. Owners of some of these teams stepped outside of the box and said they were going to give that player an opportunity back when it wasn’t popular.
We live in a country that wants diversity. It’s not just racism and division. People are making efforts every day to combat that. For every single racist person, there’s probably 100,000 people that want this country to be better, that want to join arms with each other and make it better. We just have to start going down that path of saying “I forgive you”, “I love you”, “You’re my brother/sister”, “Whatever I did to offend you, I’m sorry”. And to whoever felt offended, remember that you offend people too, so say “I’m sorry”, “I forgive you” and then move forward together.
We cannot accomplish anything by hating each other and being mad at each other about stuff that neither one of us was a part of. Let’s take each instance and each situation and address them together. Let’s take the hardships of this country and have a real conversation about real injustices, not perceived ones. Let’s sit down at the table together and let’s go over them together as citizens and Americans who all care about a common goal. Let’s talk about racism or reverse racism.
It is not okay that people come on national television and criticize the President for giving a speech in Alabama, saying that these people are racist just because they’re white. In no way, form, or fashion is that okay. Just like it’s not okay to call Black people the N-word, it’s not okay to call white people racist just because it feels good or it’s convenient.