The Weekly Dream: A Tree Without Roots
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
“Do not remove the kinks from your hair–remove them from your brain.”
Happy Black History Month! I was having a discussion the other day in various circles I travel in, and the same topic kept coming up: Where is the youth’s sense of history? Technically, in America, our historical memory is extremely short. We suffer from Societal Alzheimers. I am constantly surprised at how many people do not think about or remember major events they have lived through. In the alternative, perhaps we cannot appreciate it. It is too fresh. But what ends up happening is that either we begin to take things for granted or a lot of injustices occur.
Lift Every Voice
I believe that a major source of the ills in the African American community stems from a lack of knowledge of our history, which is partly our fault and partly not. I was surprised that my little cousins did not know the Black National Anthem. And then, Garlin posted the “Girl Like Me” documentary and it confirmed what I had already seen. The younger generation do not have a true sense of history. Thus the question becomes, how can we do a better job communicating our legacy and see it as a source of strength and pride?
I think we must begin by respecting and educating our legacy ourselves. How many of us “older” individuals (a relative term)really appreciate our own legacies and history? Respect begins at home. This comes by educating ourselves. Read about the men and women behind the movement. Any body can tell you about Dr. King (no disrespect), but what about the Marcus Garveys, the George Washington Carvers, and the list goes on.
Next we need to realize what the generation beneath us is dealing with and the world they live in. Every generation and time has its own zeitgeist, and we have to respect that. We may not agree with it, but we have to meet them where they are. The older generation has the responsibility to bridge the gap, come to the table without judging. There are some things about us you are not going to understand, shoot we do not understand it. But we need more inter-generational dialogue in our community.
Younger cats, lets restore the respect for the Elders. We should humble ourselves enough to soak up the wisdom and the knowledge they have. Even if we feel it is outdated or they are out of touch, you can learn something from anybody-if you are ready for it.
We must realize that our history lays the ground work for where we have come and where we are going and where we are now. It is because history is more than events in time, but they represent ideologies and ideologies do not die because they are replicated and become a part of our society, systems and culture (e.g. Slave/colonial mentality).
At the end of the day, it is all about respect. We need to educate ourselves and pass it on-By Any Means Necessary.
Realize you are the hope of your ancestors and appreciate their sacrifices. The ball is in your court.