An excerpt found in Richard Wright’s novel ‘Black Boy’ , published in 1945 reads as follows:
“Our too-young and too-new America, lusty because it is lonely, aggressive because it is afraid, insists upon seeing the world in terms of good and bad, the holy and the evil, the high and the low, the white and the black; our America is frightened of fact, of history, of processes, of necessity. It hugs the easy way of damning those whom it cannot understand, of excluding those who look different, and it salves its conscience with a self-draped cloak of righteousness.”
I was born four (4) years after the 1945 publication of the above Richard Wright description of the United States, and am moved by both his ability to see things as they are, and his fearlessness in conveying them to all who would listen. I am not surprised, yet surely disheartened, that this description held true then, and still holds true today. With an overly assertive being taking on the highest political office in this nation, we might want to involve ourselves in addressing this ongoing description of our country.
Fear is still the tactic employed to keep us hoping that our so-called leaders will not allow harm to come to us as long as we adhere to the statutes that they have agreed upon and use to govern us. We’d like to think that we the people had a say so in the construction of these laws, yet we have no real knowledge of the motives for their imposition and enforcement. Most of us want to know why we must adhere to things that don’t seem fair, yet we don’t even ask the question cause we assume we’ll get the answer my father always gave me…”Cause I said so.” We’re scared that if we even dare to question Big Daddy’s authority we risk losing protection from the threats of terrorism, global warming, xenophobia and other oft repeated fears.
Now these fears are all justifiable, however they mask the fear that undergirds this country’s strategy. The United States’ fostering of racial inequity, its advocation of being right and other countries wrong, and its penalizing of those who dare to challenge its intent, are simply tactics employed by those in proverbial power to both offset and obscure the fear that surpasses all others…the fear of being found out.
Let’s grow up y’all, and stop being satisfied with what’s being said and find a way to make folk accountable for what’s being done. We all have fears but let’s focus less on those being perpetuated by folk who want to own and control everything, while convincing us that we can get some of it if we obey. We can then focus more on the practice of the real American dream…that being the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all, both here and abroad. We must look for, find and share the truth. Then and only then will our unsubstantiated fears have a chance of disappearing.
I thank Richard Wright for the insight and inspiration, my father for inadvertantly furthering my desire to know why, and all of you for lending an ear.
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