“We Can Affect the Revolution’s Character, But We Cannot Alter Its Inevitability.”

We were the darker people in the house. We cooked the food, set the table with the freshly signed silverware, lifted those heavy trays that barely made it inside the fancy main dining room, and then the master sent “the help” to eat what was leftover in the kitchen. What so many people of our color learned about racism was not from the difficulties of street life, but from being part of the service crew in the house-life, which meant serving twelve long hours a day until everybody that looked like you resembled a sweating corpse. The Unions that fought for eight hours a day did not include me or my neighbor, who would finish up and leave the house at night and return before sunrise, day after day, with Sundays off.

The government for the people was not thinking about our people then. Then, is when we stood in separate lines and drank at separate water fountains and did whatever we could to have white people recognize we were good people underneath all that dark tissue covering our brown and black bodies. Perhaps they could have seen it decades earlier and much more clearly if they had used knives instead of a noose, that the blood that bled from our bellies was not unequal after all.

We always knew that our struggle for freedom on this planet would not be finished in our lifetime, and maybe not even in our children’s lifetime. But if the Declaration of Independence is ever to transcend the Memorandum of Dependence, it would necessitate a different mindset that must be quickly developed and imposed swiftly throughout this nation. The sun has grown too strong for the rose-colored glasses we’ve worn on our faces. The founding principles of democracy and equality were aborted before birth. Just like the “right to choose” is the same as the right to vote, remains unprotected,

The history of black people has never been simple. We have learned to live with what works while we have lived, unfailingly, with a punishing realization that the social forces positioned against us have not changed that that much at all. We had to learn and teach what works while we always lived, with a cautionary awareness of the social forces aligned against us. Our grandparents, parents, and our young people were slaughtered for looking “‘’the wrong way” in a country that has never exactly defined the right look for a black person in this country. At the same time, there was laundry to be done, floors to be mopped, and if you were lucky, an education to be had despite universities that resented your attendance. and we pay for the electricity. How do we raise children to deal with these realities? For if we do not, we only disarm them, send them out into the jaws of the dragon unprepared. If we rear our children without an accurate picture of the world as we know it and as they see it, then we impair their most potent weapons for survival and growth, as well as their motivation for social change. As Malcolm so accurately stated, “we are not responsible for our oppression, but we must be responsible for our own liberation.” The question that lies before America as a whole, how many will stand with us?

President Joseph Biden now has a unique opportunity and obligation to prove sincerity in the struggle for success of the system that touts liberty and justice for all; to disprove those critics at home and abroad who question America’s purpose and our competence. This is Joseph Biden’s baptism as the Commander-in-Chief of the United States. He stands amid the flames of the nation’s most divisive and continuing civil rights problem, voting rights. President Biden has almost unlimited authority to handle this outrageous situation.

Black people in America have had 300 years of nationally sanctioned slavery and another two hundred sixty years of deceitful enslavement outside the law. Now the children of the oppressed are unceasingly devoted to personal worth and fairness as a people.

Well, we will not be eating in the kitchen of any modern-day overseer anymore. Of course, we will force the door open or knock it off the hinges, but we will not eat the crumbs of the kitchen table of a man who tells us how much food we have the right to eat.

How long did you think that we would ride on the back of your bus after standing on our tired legs? While your white man crawled between the legs of our ancestors as they memorized the Constitution? The same United States Constitution that said that black people are only three-fifths of a human being, and at the same time refuse to acknowledge it takes an animal to rape a woman, something beneath a human being. As much as the truth sets you free, it does not have to be engaging. Nothing is engaging or humane about being treated like a domesticated captive when your own country creates its homegrown facade the world pretending America is treating you like a man. Our white counterparts are insulted why black protestors shout, “Black lives matter.” Are we to assume that you have somehow become a victim of your own racist pathology? More than 1,000 towns, lakes, streams, creeks, and mountain peaks across the U.S. are still named with racist slurs that disparage the lives of Native Americans and black slaves ripped away from their existence only to be scorn and treated below any animal creation.

We knew, for example, that the rage we felt and kept carefully under lock and key would one day be matched by a similar rage in my children: the rage of Black survival within the daily trivialization of white racism. As a people, we had to discover ways to own and use that rage productively if we were to stay alive long enough to instruct them on how to protect their fragile bodies so that they did not wind up between the noose ropes choking on saliva and rage.

Learning to recognize and label waves of anger, and to put them where they belonged in some effective way, became crucial for our survival. But, unfortunately, white racism refuses to relinquish its attempt to allow our voices to be heard and our votes to be cast.

It was not the lessons of restraint people of color had to learn to control their rage but how to react to racist anger to create productive black power to counter rage against our freedom.

Presidents have risen from the ashes of campaigns that had basically flatlined to become the President of the United States. One of the greatest weapons of their campaign war chest has been the vote of black people. This advantage moved him up in the polls, and until now, his support among black voters has been rock-solid. We tend to think of rocks as unchanging, immutable solids, or the bones of the Earth, as old as time, and the rock-solid foundation on which our lives and buildings take their stand. However, there are places where the ground shakes occasionally. Near the surface, rocks tend to be cold and brittle. If you stress them far enough, we must remind the president that they will break. For too long black people have been subjected to broken promises of America’s bigotry, driven to the rigors of political survival from the bureaucratic charades of the Trump administration. Certainly, he is bearing witnesses to the charades we see are continuing and appear unstoppable.

Black people should not have to make white people see they are equal before the law and that their black lives matter; it is time for those leading the Republican party to stop doing everything they can to show that they do not believe that we do. The Democrats should stop using “bipartisan” as an excuse to sit back and let whatever happens just happens. What has changed since the collapse of Jim Crow has less to do with the basic structure of our society than with the language we use to justify it. In the era of politically correct, it is no longer socially permissible to use race explicitly as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and

So we don’t. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color “criminals” and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against black people.

The behavior of the Republicans illustrates, in many respects, the old adage, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” In each generation, new tactics have been used for achieving the same goals shared by the Founding Fathers. Denying people of color citizenship was deemed essential to the formation of the original union. Hundreds of years later, America is still not an egalitarian democracy. The arguments and rationalizations that have been trotted out in support of racial exclusion and discrimination in its various forms and the outcomes have remained largely the same. An extraordinary percentage of black people in the United States are being denied the right to fairly participate in our electoral democracy through election subversion by Klan-type intimidation.

Black people born in the United States were denied the most basic freedom that democracy promises: the freedom to vote for those who will make the rules and laws that govern one’s life. President Biden must come from sitting on the sidelines while Black people wait to exhale. Let’s face the facts, America has never been an inclusive democracy, but there were signs that it was heading in that direction. Now it appears we got on the wrong side of the highway.




Dr. Khalilah Sabra, LL.M, (@khalilahsabra): Muslim American Doctorate in International Law, Executive Director (MAS Immigrant Justice Center)

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Khalilah Sabra

Khalilah Sabra

Dr. Khalilah Sabra, LL.M, (@khalilahsabra): Muslim American Doctorate in International Law, Executive Director (MAS Immigrant Justice Center)

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