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Martin, Montesinos and Machel
Over 500 years ago a Dominican friar uttered the first words against racism. Back then it wasn’t even a word. The word wasn’t even placed in the Oxford Dictionary until the 1900’s. Imagine standing up for something that didn’t even have a name yet! Close your eyes for a moment and think about how this sermon would have been received. Imagine how useless the masses viewed him. How many people would have said to him that he was wasting his time and that oppression due to race was never going to change.
A voice in the wilderness would be an understatement.
Antonio de Montesinos left only a seed and for the next 500 years brave men and women watered it, yet in 2018, while we have made significant strides, there are still those who oppose the marriage of British royalty to a Black American and while those gone before us must have rejoiced in Heaven when the US elected its first black President, we cannot pretend that there isn’t still a very long road to be walked.
Change does not occur overnight and I started off with this tiny history lesson to demonstrate just how patient we must be when championing a cause and what realistic expectations must be set.
Our culture is so rich, but unfortunately, it has over time become more and more vulgar and subtle messages encouraging women to not only quietly accept abuse but to now crave sexual attention in manners that are disrespectful, have become more and more brazen. Men have been taught that it is okay to “tief ah wine” all in the name of culture and those that oppose this are being met with much resistance.
I was saddened that on a day as special as Martin Luther King Day, one of our local icons would appear in the press as having publicly encouraged lawlessness. I could not believe my eyes to be honest, so I sought the footage and there it was “they go hadda lock up all ah we, cuz we whining on anybody we want.” What a waste of influence. What a total waste and even bigger shame.
The inability for most people to see that these seemingly little acts are the vary factors that contribute to the bloodshed we are experiencing right now is saddening, but to be deterred by the lack of support of the masses would be even more folly than the acts against which we fight.
Our carnival mentality will not change in this generation and quite possibly neither in the next, but it is our responsibility to water the seeds that were planted by our forefathers and to teach our children to continue to water them generation after generation. We must instil in our children a sense of persistence and unwavering leadership. It is our responsibility to raise up the next generation of champions who will fight for change regardless of the cost.
And in closing I’d like to leave a message to those who aren’t willing to try. For the very least, just stay quiet and keep your negativity and doubts to yourself and say thank God men like Antonio didn’t listen to naysayers like you.
MARSHA L RILEY
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