I’m apprehensive that the impression someone will get from this blog, judging from the nature of this and future posts, will be that I’m just another pretentious race-baitor who just wants to get arguments started. This is only half true. I am not pretentious, nor am I race-baitor, but oh how I would love to grind your gears. Complacency is so Victorian era.
What is this blog about and how will it be different from other blogs? I’m not sure. I don’t think I’m even trying to be different. The simple fact of the matter is I’m just really annoyed with modern society, particularly in America. I’ve tried different means of coping with my young 21st-century African-American male life and I’ve had varying degrees of success in the actual coping part. During this process a lot of people have probably come to regard me as racist, unpatriotic, ignorant, blasphemous and heretical, unyielding, myopic, etc. Maybe some of this is true, though where they may see me as racist, I see myself as painfully aware of the disparities in race relations in America and abroad. I refuse to let racism die before white Americans understand it has and continues to kill me, my family and my friends. White Americans, especially the young, have to come to terms with the fact that racism is still very much an issue and it will not go away, contrary to the beliefs of even some blacks, by just ignoring it.
And if I am ignorant, then it’s only because sometimes, somehow, I manage to cling to a childlike naïveté when regarding American society, believing that in 21st century America the American Dream is finally an all-inclusive concept. Unpatriotic? Maybe. America, definitely has its shining points, and I’m proud to be an American (most days), but I would be remiss to overlook the glaring issues that prevent my country from being truly exceptional. When reality heavily sets in, as it never fails to do, I have to respond accordingly. I simply cannot live in delusion. So, yes I’ll often be the first to say “America ain’t got no business doing (insert a myriad of possibilities to end this statement)”, especially when it comes to foreign affairs. I love to shine the spotlight on our country’s hallowed elected leaders, past and present (especially the founding fathers), to point out their blatant inadequacies while leading in this country (looking at you Reagan, Washington, Wallace, etc). While most Americans seem to readily regard them as paragons for humanity and leadership, I see them for what they are–mere men who, yes, did some exceptional things, but when given the opportunity to significantly help redeem a society from its detrimental attitudes and practices, failed to answer the call. The buck stops here. I choose reality. I choose truth. I’m throwing off the blindfold of chauvinist national pride. Shall I help you with yours?
My undergraduate study was a success in that it challenged me to step outside of the mindset I had been conditioned into by years of nationalist high school history curriculum and critically think about the world around me. By attending a predominantly white university in the Deep South it also made me appreciate my “blackness”. It reaffirmed the idea that while I may be different from the mainstream depiction of greatness, of success and beauty, I am, without a doubt, all of these things and much more. It made me cling to my country Alabama roots and the proud, rich history of my family and their resilience, the same history and resilience that will not afford me the comfort of sitting idly by while black women, men and children are shot in their faces with shot guns; while gay men are beaten, stabbed, decapitated, burned and left to die on the side of dusty backwoods roads; while women serving in the American armed forces are raped and their assailants sleep easy in amnesty; while young latino street artists are tazed to death by the police; while the murder rate in Chicago outweigh the death rate of those dying in foreign war zones…
Thus the inception of this blog. It will serve as a mouthpiece for airing grievances, to report on life in 21st century America as I see it. It will be unapologetic. While I’m mindful of others’ sensitivities I cannot be held back by a spirit of timidity. Bullets are not timid as they fly out of the barrels of guns in the direction of innocent children. Laws aren’t timid when they drastically inhibit the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of human beings. I’m not quite sure what ends this blog will bring about, but I’ve got a mind to help make a new world and I believe its high time to go about taking care of business. The name of this blog and the subsequent title for this inaugural post are derived from a scripture (Acts 2:17) I came across in reading Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo’s Red Letter Revolution. It really inspired me to move forward with the charge of seeking social justice. In the text God proclaims in the last days “young men will see visions” and “old men will dream dreams”. Not one to take scripture out of context, I recognize the “last days” implication, but I see no harm in nurturing my visions and the dreams of the men and women who came before my generation. Along with this blog there are other projects that I have in development (which I will share through this blog) that I hope will help realize the visions and dreams of myself and so many people have for a better world. Civil Rights powerhouse activist Ella Baker said in the 1960s that “we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes”. Here in the latter days of 2013 we are still waiting. Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream has not yet been fully realized. There’s still so much to be done, so many conversations that need sparking and I, for one, would like to be one who wields the flint. I welcome your comments, suggestions, questions and concerns for we’re all in this together. Would you care to join me in changing the world?