I listen to WVON 1690 AM exclusively. Because of that, I depend on them for news and information. And for the most part, they do a stellar job of letting me know what is going on in the black community. Occasionally when callers get on the air, they too offer facts about things going on that are not a part of the news normally reported on a major news station.
One of the things that bother me most is the lack of knowledge that some callers display when calling in — for example, when they claim that “black people’s right to vote” is solely based on the Voting Rights Act with no regards to the 15th amendment.
I am also disturbed when callers make things so “100%” without looking at the entire picture. What do I mean? Well, the way that they blame “white people” for every ill without putting things in complete context. For example, slavery in this country. Yes some white people did own slaves but not all. Native Americans owned slaves and so did other black people. And we cannot disregard the Africans who sold our forefathers to the slavers to begin with. Nor can we overlook the white abolitionists who fought and spoke out against the evils of slavery. And the many white families who risked their lives along the Underground Railroad to help escaped slaves make the journey from the heart of Mississippi to Canada. Our “true” history in this country cannot be seen in any one singular context. As with everything that has gone on in this life, it is a complicated history with so many facets that no one statement becomes a “blanket” fact. I am also finding it interesting how we have embraced President Barack Obama so fully as the first “black” president without acknowledging that his “white” mother was more responsible for making him into the man he became than his African father.
Another issue that really irks me is listening to people who make “the Republicans” the evil-doers without looking at the decades of Democratic rule that has led the black community to the current state it is currently in. I have lived my entire life under Democratic rule.
When I look at what is going on locally, nary a Republican can be named because all the mayors in this city have been Democrats and the the lack of investment, opportunity, advancement and everything else in the black community has been a direct result of those Democrats, whether they be aldermen, ward committeemen, or mayors. And we cannot overlook those who represent us on the Cook County Board and within the state legislature.
It was a Democratic mayor who closed 50 schools. And please, to those who like to point at the Republicans in Congress, it is your local politicians who affect your life more than those in Washington D.C.
This past weekend was the commemorative celebration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. It was there that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Listening to that speech while hearing the now daily sounds of gunfire here in Austin is not the dream that King spoke about. Those of us living here have decisions to make and that’s one time being 100% will be the most important factor. We can either work to make Dr. King’s dream come alive here or we can sit back and allow a nightmare to happen.
It is a choice. And our choice will not only affect our lives but the lives of generations to come.