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The TownhallSocial issues

Lost in America: An open letter to Black America

The absolute truth of the matter is that no one is coming to save you, not even God himself. I believe in the Almighty, but do not be mistaken and think that an omnipotent creator would involve themselves within the trivial matters of their creations. Life does not care about the circumstances you may have been born into, nor your past, nor the history of the people that look like you.  

Despite the harsh circumstances present that make life difficult, the only “help” you have is that of the person you see when you stare into a mirror. I state this truth to remind you that as we live within this nation that has a documented past of harsh treatment towards Black Americans, none of that matters. The constant reflection of past events, positive or negative, has done nothing for the current state of Black Americans, nor does it change anything for future prospects. 

The truth is that you are not oppressed. Yes, you read that correct, you are not oppressed. The media may pontificate rhetoric that may lead you to believe that Black Americans are suffering, (and essentially, we are), but it is not the result of the White man.  

Sure, centuries of systematic oppression through slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and many other prejudiced ideologies has taken its toll on the current state of Black Americans within this nation. There is no denying this and doing so would make much of what I’ve written here disingenuous. 

 Yet, there comes a time when we must let go of the past. The constant focus of the sins which occurred against our ancestors continues to stagnate the progress that needs to be made within our communities. We have constantly been bombarded by rhetoric, images, and media of our turbulent past that has done nothing but kept us collectively stuck within a perpetual mental state of victimhood. 

This victimhood mentality continues to push us deeper into despair, centering us in a belief that being Black in America comes with existential dread. For decades we have allowed other groups to co-opt our movements while using us as pawns in their quest for political gain. We have become gluttons for pain, addicted to our own traumas, not realizing that this victimhood mentality creates a reality that’s nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy.  

The famous philosophical argument of French philosopher René Descartes comes to mind, in which Descartes argues the dictum, “I think, therefore I am.” He notes that the statement “I am” expresses immediate intuition of oneself and thus, a definite fact. Furthermore, through this notion, Descartes proposes that whatever one is thinking must indeed exist.

Make no mistake, again, I admit that racism and prejudices against race unfortunately occurs within our world. This has been around for centuries, and honestly, it may never cease. Yet, the constant thought or idea that “Blackness” is the natural born enemy of the world creates that reality, in which one manifests that world for themselves based on that belief. 

Again, I remind you, no one is coming to save you. The belief or hope that a new leader will emerge to lead you out of the oppressive systems you feel are subjugating you and the people that look like you is not happening. The days of the Civil Rights movement are over. There are no Martin’s or Malcolm’s to follow behind any longer. You are solely responsible for your own salvation as you’ve always been.  

For far too long, major institutions within our society have kept you under a mental trance of self-sabotage. They said you were victims of this society, incapable of making your own lives better. They taught you to maintain a false sense of hope, absolving yourselves of all sense of accountability and relying on outside forces to make the changes that are only reserved for self.  

You’ve bought into the reality they have created for you. You’ve accepted all the rhetoric and ideologies appropriated towards you, and through this, all your greatest fears have manifested. Despite all of this, it’s not too late to take back control of your destinies. 

There needs to be a total and complete revitalization of what is considered culture to Black Americans. Despite whatever obstacles you feel stymie your progress because of your skin color, you must hold your system of values accountable for the outcomes you experience.

That is to say that beyond the ideals of racism, systematic racism, or any other ideology that looks to subjugate Black people, the choices you make trump all of them in regard to your successes or failures.  

To totally absolve yourself of the responsibility of your own fate, and to say that external factors are solely responsible for the outcomes you experience, is to regard yourself as childlike within an optimistic lens. However, in reality, you are nothing more than a slave.  

Learn to love thyself so that this same node of grace, empathy, and compassion can be extended to others. This is the most important lesson to learn because it is the one that is key to all the change you want to see. No matter the conditions present, if you expect better for self, no one can stop from shaping your reality to meet those expectations. 

In closing, I say everything here with love, because I understand the truth can be unpleasant. However, the beauty of the truth is that it doesn’t care about feelings and that it simply is. Furthermore, I understand that we all seek to have what is idealistic for all, and to live in or create a perfect world to our liking. Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter what we want, it matters what is, and as it stands, the things listed before you within this open letter are what it is.  

Now, with that being said, we have a distinct obligation and expectation to rectify all matters within our community on our own. It is our sole responsibility to make the changes we would like to see. No one else, but us. Let’s go to work.

Barrington D. Martin II

Contributor

Barrington D. Martin II is the leader of the new school. Born and raised in the great city of Atlanta, GA, he is one of the foremost thought leaders and community leaders of his generation. He is the founder of the United Alliance PAC and a former Congressional Candidate for the Fifth District of Georgia.

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