Report of our EXpedition

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nation of Cowards or Nation of Heroes

I have to agree with Attorney General Eric Holder. In a recent statement from the Attorney General( , he states that America is a nation of cowards in regards to the race issue. It's sad that on the same day, a political cartoon featured in the New York Post reiterated the idea of America still not being able to come to grips with race (view the cartoon at the Huffington Post, ). The cartoon shows two police officers, one pointing a smoking gun toward a a dead chimpanzee, who is riddled with bullet holes, while the other police officer stands with a caption over him stating "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill".

As a Black man, I often live in a world of either anger or self-doubt. The anger comes from the thought of being treated as less than worthy because of the ignorance of racism. While the self-doubt comes from a fear of being unqualified or just not good enough. What we see within the media either compounds or conflicts with the experiences of our realities. Being Black, you're always on guard, hoping not to be harassed by police or treated as if you are an outcast. While I cannot speak for Whites, I do not believe that they walk around with that same apprehension.

After having struggled, and continue to struggle to break into the animation industry, I have lived with the confounded dichotomy of anger and self-doubt which questions my abilities, talent, and education. Ever since graduating from the School of Visual Arts, It has been an uphill battle to get work as an animator, while at the same time receiving praise for what I can do. I have not been alone in this kind of story. I have heard from colleagues and former classmates whom are of African decent who have told similar tales. So maybe it's not paranoia, but barrier of discomfort and fear that has kept us out.

It may have been much easier for this nation to elect a Black President than for a company to hire a Black animator, engineer, lawyer, accountant, associate professor, and etc. I know that there are successful African Americans in the fields I just mentioned, but not many. And I would guarantee that the road they had to travel to reach such goals gave them much pain.In order for Barack Obama to become President, he had to use more money and media time than any other candidate in history, to get elected. He had to persuade America that he was non-threatening, and trustworthy. He had to work to make America comfortable with him, not as a person, but as a African American. Without the money and media coverage(along with his education, charisma, and experience), there would not be a President Obama today.

For everyday African Americans, we have to work hard just to be lucky. Meaning, we HAVE to have to be high school honor students, we HAVE to have a college education, or we HAVE to be the best athletes in whatever sport, just to wait and hope a White employer or team owner to pick us. Until then, the many hard working African Americans wait in fear that either we are not good enough or that our race will hinder us from our success. This is not a delusion, but a reality where as the longer we wait, the more susceptible we are to giving up on our dreams, and accept lives that are far beneath our abilities and talents. African American people still have to prove their worth in this country in order for Whites(who own and control the vast majority of businesses and job opportunities) to feel comfortable enough to give us a chance. I do not mean to offend anyone by this post, but the pain and hardships people of African Decent experience everyday, should never have to be burdened upon anyone. We shouldn't have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars and constantly be on TV before we can be "judged by the content of our character" as Dr. Martin Luther King once said.

We as Americans must confront our pain and fear of one another in order to survive. Lets make sure that we give ALL people a fair chance to succeed and thrive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have to blame it on the founders of our country and the laws they set since the beginning of our nation. Locke, Ashley, Jefferson, etc. all put forth laws, constitutions, acts and so on that placed a definite description and distinction between white and black to provide a hierarchy of wealth and class status. Our nation was built on hypocrites. We left the tyranny and oppression of British rule only to continue division and separation in our own land. Every now and then someone is brave enough to break the barriers, the comfort zones, the laws, the unsaid rules in order to break down a racial system that's been around for more than 300 years.

The only way to break this mold is to continue to fight, speak-out and break the barriers. It's an engrained way of thought sadly tattooed within our country and may not ever be removed by a simple laser surgery fix. But, if we fight for equality long enough, then those that perpetuate this division will be exposed even more for their gross actions on humanity. All you can do is to keep praying and hoping for those that are ignorant to gain knowledge and understanding; for those that are blind to begin to see. And maybe, just maybe one day we can all be proud to live in a country called the UNITED states of America.