Rebel Without A Pause

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Rebel Without A Pause
Can We Create Greater Good?–Yes, We Can
Cut by: Davita Cuttita

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children…

–Martin Luther King Jr, “I Have A Dream”

I was in absolute shock and ecstasy when Obama was announced as the winner of the U.S Presidential race.

Eversince I was a little girl, my biracial father and I would have long discourses—on just about everything. He always encouraged me to challenge and deconstruct any and all ideologies and authority (he still does). Years and years ago when I was perhaps thirteen, we were on the (short) topic of a Black president and he said to me “Never, we will NEVER see that in our lifetime. Your children or maybe they’re children will see it, but we’ll be dead”.

And I agreed.

And I’ve never been happier about being wrong.

I didn’t have to ask questions then. Even as a little Black girl growing up, I knew that there were jobs “we weren’t allowed” to do not because of our qualifications or education level but because of our skin colour. I knew that there were dreams I could not dream unless I was asleep.

Watching Obama walk up to the podium was like waking up to a brighter day after a century in darkness.

When I picked up the phone to call home that night (I live by the campus in an apartment), I said “Remember, Daddy? We said we’d never see it but look—we lived to see,” and laughed. When I spoke to my youngest brother whose Canadian history textbook only has two pages–the very last pages, I might add– featuring Black people only as slaves or runaway slaves; and being able to tell him that now no matter what; he is going to see at least ONE face like his that means he can be someone, that he can walk through hell and make it, to be able to have him understand that YES, some people will always hate you because of your skin colour but they can be conquered in all ways by one’s own preserverance was simply surreal. When I looked at the latest pictures of my half Portuguese and half Jamaican neice who’d just started walking…when I smiled at her little, round, bewildered face and realized that she will grow up seeing a Black man on television as President of one of the most powerful nations on earth, and to know that there is hope her perceptions of the world and herself will be better than mine as a child…the feeling was overwhelming.

After all of that hope and glory overflowed, after all the cheers I shared with friends, fellow students, family and colleagues; I realized one thing.

We still have a long way to go.
Obama’s win does not mean the Black community owes White people anything.
Obama’s win does not mean that racism no longer exists.
Obama’s win does not mean that the Black community can stop being angry about racism and be satisfied: There are tons of racist things happening to all people of colour across the globe everyday; and even in your own backyard. We will never be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Obama’s win does not mean that racist people didn’t vote for him or that racism has ceased to exist: some racist people did. And if you’re going to be naieve and tell me that EVERY SINGLE person who voted for him doesn’t, has never or will not continue to think, say or act discriminatately against Blacks or other people of colour, I, as a Black person, am going to tell you that I think you’re full of shit (and so will some White people).

Obama’s win does not mean that America, or the world will ever change into an anti-racist utopia. Or anything close to it.

Obama’s win does not erase the injustices of the past.

Nothing ever will.

Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Harriet Tubman, Ghandi and many others have all come in the name of Peace, Justice, Equality, Knowledge and Love. All fought passionately until the bitter end and yet; the dragons they armed the minds, hearts and souls of countless others against and sacrificed so much for; outlive them to this day. Countless other outstanding men and women from all over the globe, were also the crème de la crème of human integrity and strength; yet racial intolerance, slavery, poverty, ignorance, hate, segregation and injustice continue to transform and hide within our (social) institutions, our schools, the media, economics and the human heart.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters of all races, genders, ages, classes, sexualities, faiths and creeds; we too must strive to rise and not only transform but reinforce ourselves against these forces for they are the forces of evil. We cannot follow in footsteps, rather must be prepared to place our bare feet on that road leaving footprints of our own; a road of concrete hatred, weeping broken glass and mercilessly destructive fire—this, the most uncomfortable, painful and difficult road towards the Promise of true freedom. Many people have died on that road and those who do not die on it fall into its bottomless cracks.

Obama’s win is one of many more steps we all must take on the road to victory; on the road to the Promised Land King spoke of.

Obama’s win is a step in the right direction; a step on a road already littered with footprints from those before him, but still with room for millions more.

Obama’s win is an invitation for all of us to walk this road together and as we march, our feet strengthened by knowledge, hope, compassion and strength will soften the concrete of hatred into the grass of hope, the broken glass of fear and sorrow shall be washed away by our tears of joy and the flames of destruction will smoulder into the reassuring breeze of liberty.

I’ve already started on the road. You’ve already started, too. And generations and generations after us will continue until either the end of all injustice, the end of humanity or the end of time.

However, while we are in the Now…
Let us never stop marching.

… And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

–Martin Luther King Jr, “I Have A Dream”

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~ by davitacuttita on November 7, 2008.

4 Responses to “Rebel Without A Pause”

  1. AHAHAHAHA!

    Just yesterday at work (I work at a regional grocery store and was VERY surprised that someone would be stupid enough to say this in a public place) someone said, and I do quote, “now that Obama’s president, I think racism is over. Blacks can finally shut up about it.”

    If I wasn’t so shocked I probably would have pointed out that the latter part of the statement sorta negates the first part Dx

  2. Yup! I completely agree with you, Almira.

    Wow, just because someone is elected it makes the WORLD not racist anymore? What a crock of ignorant shit. I’m pretty sure most people aren’t that ignorant, but at the same time;
    Riddle me this Batman…so far, why does it only appears to be WHITE PEOPLE saying this? Whute people who have not taken part in our struggle telling us that it’s over?

    *insert side-eye here*

  3. xDDD Don’t be rediculous, davita, the best way to deal with any problem is to ignore it and hope it goes away! By wanting to talk about it, it’s you black people that are making things worse!

    /sarcasm.

    In seriousness, I am both fortunate and unfortunate enough to be exposed to racism and ignorance FREQUENTLY because of where I live (probably ignorance more often than blunt racism, but the two go hand in hand.) Fortunate because it has made me more aware, and even a little sensitive to, the issue. Unfortunate because it makes me want to stab out my ear drums Dx

  4. Ahahaha!

    Oh racism…will you ever learn? What a scallywag you are!

    *smokes pipe while giving a fierce side-eye*

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