With the insertion of social media in this present time, the space for a variety of protests, however authentic, is in our hands. In the ‘Age of Information,’ I have observed that some people are authentic in gaining information, others in spreading information, and several in creating information. But the genuineness is not just the time and space that is in our hands, but the work that we have put our hands to; the workers that we have put a voice to; the representation that we have put a face to.
The existence of systematic oppression is no small feat, so the reactions in attempts to solve and resolve both the legislative and de facto issues that plague our existence are bound to a similar level of intensity. First, we are always compelled to define what ‘oppression’ is because the idea of power is appealing in ways that empower us to be positive, yet having power over someone else is an arrangement for separation of powers that we are not prepared to examine without finding the hypocrisy in our own love for power. That paradigm then obligates us to History: not to define oppression for us, but how the oppressed has fought against the mere notions of superiority and inferiority. History compels us to redefine our present, our presence in it, and what is now in our hands is time and space that we are uncertain of, yet are confident in holding.
We are confident in holding it because when we look back at the so-called Urbanization and Renaissance of the 20s, black people sang the blues for a world war, cleaned the war on streets with jazz, and made an impression for anti-depression in the 30s. We are confident in holding it because when we look into the so-called Golden Years of the 40s and 50s, we find black people laughing their way into black & white where the telecast exposed the typecast, and so we knew the social justice fight ahead in the 60s. We are confident in holding it because when we look back at the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s and 70s, we dream of our identity, our role, our power, how we turned our fists into snapping fingers and sweated afros into curls from dancing for the 80s. We are confident in holding it because when we look back at the Globalization and Diaspora of the 80s and 90s, crack sales turned into music sales, where crooked cops were popped with hip-hop, and a culture was crafted to trend into the 2000s.
And now, into beloved 21st Century, we are not stuck in a land of struggle and corruption any more or less than the decades that precede us; rather, we are faced with the task of combining the accumulation of 10 decades into a great lesson for 1 that will not allude us. This task is not to romanticize our History or Future, but to equip our Present. We are always faced with the task of learning, but when we take on the challenge of teaching, what will we have for others to read? Certainly, no less than 140 characters a minute, but no more belligerent protests for 140 days and peaceful ignorance for the remaining 225.
If we are to let anger enter our energy at all, be angry that we have been unaware, and channel that energy into a voice that will not just be narrated, romanticized, monotonous, represented, or respectable, but simply learned.