“Brooklyn we did it”. Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls, the larger than life hip-hop icon, carried a lot of weight, most of the load he carried was from his corpulent frame, but another portion was from carrying the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant on his back. As Brooklyn’s unofficial ambassador in the mid-nineties he gave a lot young people hope. Through Biggie, many aspiring rappers, and those who never dreamt of aspiring at all, saw that it was possible to become successful without having to use illicit activities as a means to garner that success. When Biggie said “Brooklyn we did it”, he implied that his accomplishments were the shared and collective achievements of everyone in his borough. While his borough jingoism on it’s face sounded good, in actuality Biggie’s accomplishments could not be attributed to all of the roughly 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn.
Fast forward to November 4, 2008. If Biggie was still here he would say “America we did it”. Although all of the United States didn’t actually do it; 66,882,230 people actually did. Through a historic grassroots campaign and effective get-out-the vote campaigns that touched every nook and cranny in the United States, millions of Americans helped turn Barack Hussein Obama into America’s first Black president. Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back. Now that we feel like better people, let’s have a frank discussion. What America accomplished was remarkable and well overdue, but if we acquiesce now (I’m afraid many people already have) we will nullify all the progress we have made – some real and some imagined. So since New Years is all about enumerating resolutions, I shall follow suit. Here are my suggested resolutions on how to stay actively engaged in the political arena, while also staying off of the intoxicating kool-aid of “post-racial” rhetoric.
- Stop trying to close the book on civil rights. The mere fact that Supreme Court even considered overturning Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act lets me know that we must remain on the front lines fighting for the full citizenship of all Americans.
- Show up at the polls in 2010. No excuses.
- Don’t be afraid to speak out. It’s okay to be critical of our President (even if you are a minority). The worse possible thing we could to do to Mr. Obama would be to give him a free pass because we’re proud.
- Be patient. There is no quick fix to healthcare reform or economic reform. However, continue to put pressure on your elected officials to fight for you, and the rest of their constituents.
- Stop putting athletes and entertainers on pedastols. The higher you build them up the farther they fall. If you don’t want to be disappointed, stop forgetting that they are humans.
- Forget the term “post-race”, it doesn’t exist in the real world.
- Don’t allow yourself to be “hypnotized” by the “juicy” rhetoric of talking heads, because most of time they’re “dead wrong”.
Happy New Year!