With a nod to Charles Schultz and his creations, Charlie Brown and Lucy, I’ve been facing the possibility that the country I was born into is not capable of facing the truth of how the United States came into being.
It’s Black History Month. That’s a good thing. It’s the shortest month of the year. That’s a bad thing.
I have an understanding of the struggles a black person goes through in this country, because I was the partner and then wife of a black man from 1978 to 1993. We lived in the West Village of Manhattan for most of those years. Without doubt, outside of the Castro in San Francisco, this was the most liberal neighborhood in our country, and we experienced racism on a daily basis.
With years, hopefully, come wisdom. I now understand that a racist is an insecure person who needs to put someone else down to feel like they have power over someone and are therefore in control of their life. You see it in the grins of the white men and women beside the hanging corpse of a black man they just murdered. I despise it, but I understand it.
What I cannot understand is the person who can look at the scope of history and not acknowledge that this country was built on the blood, sweat and tears of the African slave. If every slave owner had to pay their slave a living wage, we would have never created these United States of America.
That’s not insecurity. That’s greed. And that’s where I despair.
Yes, there are improvements. The separate white and colored water fountains of my youth are gone. Thurgood Marshall succeeded in getting Brown vs. the Board of Education passed. But we now have a woman in charge of education for this country who is systematically trying to dismantle public education and elevate private schools. This can only be calculated as a systemic change to bring back segregation by creating a system where only those who can afford a good education get it. If you keep someone ignorant, you can control them and manipulate the system to your own benefit. Like I said: greed.
We are currently held hostage to an administration that is built on greed. Will we collectively be able to acknowledge this and reverse course in the next election? I wish I was confident that we will. But there are so many powerful people who are silent. I suspect that they are silent because the radical actions of this administration is leading to their bank accounts growing exponentially.
Can we build a collective conscious to face our past, our present and build a wiser future? Of course we can, but will we? Or will we forever be the football Lucy pulls away from Charlie Brown at the last moment? All our lives. All our lives.