The divide within

January 9, 2015
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As I listen to many conversations and watch the news, I realize we as an ethnic group are divided. The concept of sticking together seems so distant.

Every other ethnic group seems to have a representation of their culture – the Chinese have Chinatown, the Puerto Rican community celebrates Puerto Rican Day. But what do we as African Americans have?

We have been through a lot, the struggles and hurdles have been many. But the beginning, when we stuck together and fought for what is right, has become a distant memory.

We complain and are upset about the killings of our men and boys by white cops, and I get that.

But no one seems to address how we kill each other or what has happened to our culture.

We don’t feel the need to band together for something of value to ourselves and our community. We have become hunters of each other, lying, stealing and cheating from the highest level of politics to the youngest resident. We dissect each other like a three-course meal, then we burp and move on to the next.

We think our secrets and wrongdoings will be kept in the closet. I have never seen in all my life such division among us. It used to be if your neighbor needed a cup of sugar, you would provide it. Or if they were running late, you’d pick up their kids from school.

Now it’s every man for himself. What kind of life lessons do you think it teaches our children?

Let’s go back to around 1960 when Madison and Pulaski was the place to get all your needs met; when Dr Martin Luther King was murdered, Madison and Pulaski was destroyed by our people rioting, and as you can see today, Madison and Pulaski has not been the same since.

There was no rebuilding, and businesses left. We destroy our neighborhoods, we hang out on our corners, we rob our seniors, we throw garbage in our neighborhoods, we stand on the corner selling drugs.

Yet we want respect, but we can’t respect ourselves or the community in which we live.

Our political representatives sell us out, our money goes to the suburban areas. We rob, steal and cheat to protect what we think belongs to us.

We sit and complain but forget the power we have to make a change. There’s too much fear of standing up for what is right. We smile, nod our heads and keep moving all the while acting like we don’t see. We get upset when our voices are not heard, and we never ask the question why.

What happened to integrity, honesty, compassion? Have we become so infected with wrong that we forget what is right and how to do right?

Has the fear of standing up to make sure your community is represented been buried in excuses and blame? Have we become so broken that we don’t know how to fix, or is it even worth fixing?

When our ancestors were being sold, it was a fight. But they stuck together and changed the situation;  when the rights of our people were being denied, we banded together and change happened. So what has happened now that we don’t feel the need to stick together and make an impact?

Everyone is not going to like your thought process or the way you do things, but if we are to make a difference, we have to put our dislikes aside for the betterment of our community.

Far too long we have allowed others to neglect us and our community, and it is time for us to stop the complaining and stand up for what is right. A fist can’t be powerful with your fingers spread wide, but if you close those fingers, you can have a powerful punch.

We need to close the gap in our community and stop holding the legs of others when they try to progress or make a positive difference. We need to groom young people to take the reins and make the vision of greatness greater.

We need to look at our community and respect the place where we live and the people who live in it.

We have to learn how to stick together as a race of people; we are the voice, we are the shopper, we are the people who make up a sizeable percentage in voting.

But we are also people who do not stick together and that causes cracks in the foundation. We are in need of a serious repair, so what do we do to fix this problem? And what part can you play in repairing the foundation to be a stronger race of people?

Talk is cheap, action is required, and evidence of change needs displaying.

It’s a New Year, and we need to have a new vision and a new goal for us. We can no longer keep traveling on the same road.

Where is the legacy for this generation or the next? What kind of history will we leave in the books for someone to read? Let’s become a race of people who can stick together. Unity speaks volume. What part will you play?

Renna Thomas has lived in Austin for over 42 years. She loves conversation that “provokes a thought process” and helps “bring you back to reality.”

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