Life begins when you follow the heart, not the herd

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “History is a set of lies agreed upon.”

If that statement is true, then is there a possibility everything those in power told me are lies? 

As Black History Month begins, I hate to admit I’m fatigued. It’s the same thing every year: Emmett Till, Birmingham, freedom rides, protests and the assassination of Martin Luther King.  It’s like spinning your wheels and never moving.

We are nearly 60 years away from 1965, and no one is standing at the doors preventing Black youths from college. You can sleep in any hotel or visit any hospital. You can marry anyone. You can even become president. 

Yes, racism exists, but it doesn’t seem to be in Alabama or Mississippi — but in liberal strongholds such as Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. What’s even more bizarre is the people who squawk loudest about racism seem to re-elect people that maintain the system that keeps them in dire straits.  

I don’t understand areas with decades of Democratic rule such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. However, no matter how bad the homelessness and crime are, they blame Republicans and vote for another corrupt Democratic politician. 

I admit I feel lonely living in Washington, D.C. I don’t get it. I’m not a Democrat, but I’m a product of leftism. 

You marched in Selma, protested Vietnam and burned your bras. You claimed white males have suppressed and oppressed you, but you elect an 80-year-old who is the white patriarchy’s poster child. 

Maybe because I grew up in New Jersey, I was on my way to being a victim. I went to public schools, learning that being African American meant being doomed to poverty, jail or a casket. 

However, I never bought into the narrative, for I grew up with a father that worked and a mother big on education. I was fortunate to see Africans, Haitians, Hispanics, and Asians own businesses and put their kids in college in this racist white-dominated America.

I have always lived through contradictions. My father, who voted for Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, was self-employed, paid taxes, and owned stocks — and a business.  He wouldn’t let me use racism as a crutch or allow me to make excuses for my mistakes. He believed in taking personal responsibility instead of blaming the white man. 

Being young, you can see how confusing this was. He voted Democrat but believed in personal responsibility: a conservative trait. 

I never saw black or white but right or wrong. If a Black man is on camera robbing an old lady, and someone shoots him, I’m not going to defend them because they are Black. 

What is race? If someone African American robs and loots, what does that have to do with me or the Black race? I share nothing in common but skin tone, and I don’t wear blue or red or want to kill anyone because I’m poor. I share commonality with my blood relatives, but why am I lumped in with Northern Africans, Saharans and South Africans when my ancestors came from Sierra Leone?  

As we approach 2023, I’m confused. Is this what the left turned the world upside down for? How can you whine about racism and then support someone like Joe Biden? 

He was a senator from a slave state who began his career as Dixiecrat, whose friends included Jesse Helms and Robert Byrd. He opposed school busing and signed a crime bill that sent Black men to prison, but the same people jumping up and down about Donald Trump’s racism are crickets on Biden’s racial past. 

There is good news: many African Americans are evolving their views on race. Many Black people are descendants of incredible people such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman and many others who come from proud family legacies who owned successful businesses and invested. They are proud of their history, not bitter about it.

As for me, I’m not hoping for any compensation such as reparations because of past injustices. I know what I’m up against, but I love the competition, and I have the confidence that I will prevail no matter what forces are against us. 

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We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.