I have had the very fortunate experience of growing up in America as a Black male. That experience has taught me a lot and I am sure it will continue to teach me much more. But I want to do something I rarely do, unless I am teaching Diversity or talking amongst close friends. I am going to talk about my Black male experience and perspective in terms of my work as the Letting Go Pro.
Recently, I listened to a radio show on 88.1 FM, WFSK in Nashville, TN. It is called Beneath The Spin. This past Tuesday (last week) the fill in host of the show, Menaq Amurr, asked people to call in and share their stories/experiences in which they were called the “N” word. The point was to help younger generations, and others, to realize the negative impact that the word has had on people in this country. The other point was to help impress upon those who use the term as one of “endearment,” how STUPID, self destructive, self degrading, self deflating, self defeating, self diminishing, and self hating it is to do so – in this current age. Another point of the show was to demonstrate, and I stress,
I am amazed at how LITTLE young Black Americans know about THEIR OWN HISTORY.
Many people responded with very emotional stories. One lady, who is 51 years of age, told of an experience she had at age 7, in which someone called her the N-word. She began to cry as she told the story, which means that for 44 years the internal pain and torture of that experience has haunted her spirit.
Can you imagine holding on to something so painful for 44 years? It is hard for me to imagine it. Obviously, there are many people who are in her shoes. Many Blacks who have had experiences “similar to hers” have held on to those experiences for God only knows how long.
For me, I was spit on by a group of white kids who drove past me and a friend as we walked along a street in Nashville, TN. After they drove past and spit, they then drove back by and called us choice words, including the “n-word.” But hey, that was life in Nashville TN, in the 70’s, for many people of color.
That was in 1974 (or thereabouts), almost 24 years ago. I acknowledged it, processed it, went through changes over it, adjusted my attitude about white people in general, convinced myself that not all are “like that,” grew up, and the LET IT GO. It was a process however, and it took a while, but I was fortunate to have been able to let go and move on with my life. That, and other experiences like it, hasn’t become a chip that I carry around. Now that was just one of many experiences I have had over the years since. You adjust and move on. BUT what you don’t do – is hold on to the memory and allow it to taint your perspective about the people you deal with on a daily basis.
I received an email from a dear friend who asked me about another situation relative to Black Americans in this country. Apparently there is an email floating around (the author is unknown as far as I an tell) about how Black people DO NOT READ. The email paints a grim picture of our culture. The author of this email also says, in so many words, that
self destructive consciousness within the Black American culture is self sustaining – at this point in our short existence as a country.
The person who sent me the email suggested that I write about this on my BLOG. So here I am. But my friend also suggested something that I thought was powerful and want to attempt to expound upon it.
She said (I am paraphrasing here) that it is time for the Black culture to
“terminate its TOXIC RELATIONSHIP with its past” and “develop a new loving relationship with the FUTURE.”
Even though she didn’t say it in those terms – I am.
It is time for us to begin the process of Letting Go of Stuff™ so we CAN move beyond our pain and barriers of being able to truly get to know ourselves.
Now Letting Go of Stuff™ is a very complicated and involved process. It is not just a catchy phrase for the title of a book. It is a serious process in which the first step is to Acknowledge Your Stuff.
Okay, get ready ’cause here it comes…
I believe that WE (Blacks) have been “acknowledging” for FAR TOO LONG. It is time for us to move beyond this step. The dear 51 year old I referred to on the radio station (and others like her) needed to let go of her pain LONG AGO. She has held on to it for FAR TOO LONG. It is not her fault, but she is responsible.
In my humble opinion,
it is time for Black Americans, on an individual level, and then collectively, to move beyond “acknowledging” and on to the next steps for Letting Go of Stuff.™
It is also important to remember that if YOU are successful alone, then it does no good unless you reach back and grab the hand of another, whose face is similar to yours.
Finally, it is important to know, teach, and represent the accurate and true history of the Black American culture. But first you must learn it.
Want to learn?
Try the following two resources for starters:
100 Amazing Facts About the Negro With Complete Proof: A Short Cut to the World History of the Negro – by J A Rogers
Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery – by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank
Stolen Legacy – by George M. James
More to come…
Darren L. Johnson, The Letting Go Pro