stokely carmicheal

It’s just understood that the struggles, the gains that we made, pass on to the people unconsciously. Of course, as a disorganized people, we cannot do it properly. So when they yell at our youth; ‘our youth don’t know anything about history’; well what organization did you join to help make sure that the history was institutionalized and passed on to the youth? None. Shut up. You can’t send your child to the enemy and think the enemy is going to give the child its’ history, that’s clear. So since you’ve made no effort at all to come together with those who want to give their children proper education, proper history of what’s going on; now that your children don’t know the history, don’t be screaming at the children.
—  Kwame Ture
Selma vs. Ferguson

I finally saw Selma today and it was absolutely incredible. I had chills, it was very powerful and better than I expected because it was so raw and real. Obviously I am not black, and I take that into account when I talk about these things. I know the anger, frustration, and sadness I feel is no where near that of people directly impacted by it. I know the racism I experience is different than that of the racism black people face. But I do empathize so much and I don’t think I’ve ever learned about something more moving and powerful than the story of civil rights in America.

I think this movie was absolutely perfect in its timing because of recent civil rights issues and the #ReclaimMLK actions today. It definitely played true to MLK’s actual character, beliefs and goals. I literally learned more form that movie than I ever have about him in school. It was so real and refreshingly not white-washed like so much about him is. Since Ferguson, there has been more attention on the issue, and I think it’s been a huge wake up call in us realizing civil rights is far from over. Of course we face very different circumstances and have a different kind of struggle today, but institutional racism as a whole is still very prevalent. If anything, it’s more difficult for our generation because it isn’t as obvious. They have the right to vote. They go to school with us. People are, for the most part, politically correct. However, we don’t consider how ingrained racism still is in our society. We don’t think about how real it still is today, especially those of us who don’t experience it and therefore don’t think about it because it doesn’t directly impact us.

We learn a white-washed, maybe a few class periods long version of civil rights. They filter what they teach us. U.S. History is a required core class, African-American History is an elective. I’ve done so much more in depth learning of the movement on my own and I wish everyone learned about it more.

It scares me to see the use of police violence and tear gas in the movie because in the past few months, that shit was happening in Ferguson, just hours away from me. It seems unreal. The fact that people are still protesting for the lives of black people seems unreal. But think about the fact that some of those who were part of the original civil rights movement are still alive today. It wasn’t that long ago. Black people’s lives are still compromised and their humanity is still put up for question.

Previous to watching this movie and recently learning more about MLK’s ideas, I was definitely more into the ideas of Malcolm X and Stokely Carmicheal and the Black Panthers leaders. Just being someone who’s young and angry and extremely critical of white people, I always agreed with the more “radical” ideas. I still do. But gaining more insight on the thought process and logic behind non-violence and being more inclusive is also so important and I understand its necessity so much more. I hope for some kind of middle ground, although it’s very frustrating sometimes. Someone I know and look up to once told me, even when you get frustrated and you feel like your words and actions are pointless - to consider if people in the past had just gotten frustrated and given up. We wouldn’t have anything. That idea has always resonated with me. First, in appreciating the leaders and the struggles and the lives lost that got us to where we are. Secondly, in knowing I have power and that what I do matters, even if it only clicks in the minds of a few people, that’s all it takes to contribute to something larger. Silence and neutrality is allowing these problems to be perpetuated. Change has never been comfortable or easy. If you’re making people uncomfortable or angry - chances are you’re on the right track when it comes to issues like these.

There is so much beauty in the struggle and I have mad respect. I will always support black movements. I will always especially support black women. I am always here for black excellence and recognition. And I want to see more of it in my lifetime and I want to contribute in whatever ways I respectfully can.