What is revolution? As a noun, Dictionary.com provides a few different definitions for it. I’d like to highlight three:
1. an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.
2. a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure, especially one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence.
3. a sudden, complete or marked change in something
I won’t bore you by attempting to dissect and expound on each interpretation, but I will say that this blog is not encouraging a forcible or violent overthrow of government or its political systems /structures. I will encourage you to view revolution as having several meanings even as Dictionary.com provides, and for this dialogue, I’d like to focus in on the third definition provided. I often thought about revolution in the same context as what the old church called revival before even thinking to look up the official definition. If you’re in anyway familiar with a church revival… you know that there will be some evangelist (leader) delivering a power message about the gospel (good news). What’s supposed to happen in the context of a revival is that the congregation (those receiving the message) would gleefully receive the words being spoken, dramatically draw in the energy which the evangelist is delivering, and then make the ultimate resolve to change their lives. This change in their lives equates to a change in their living environment and structures as well, as they themselves will be the individuals in a position to affect, encourage, and create that change.
Okay... I’m done talking about church, but let’s process the analogy and compare it to the subject matter at hand: REVOLUTION.
Now, there are black individuals who propose that the best way forward for Black America is found in each of us, as individuals, taking initiatives in our own personal lives to create a better path. Other African Americans believe that the best way forward in creating sustainable change lies in continued aggressive political action. Personally, I think both options should work together in harmony, simultaneously without us trying to tear each other down. I don’t think it’s that hard and this conversation goes as far back as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois. So first off – let’s do both! Why not?
What is the end result that we hope to achieve as Black Americans? I’m not sure that there is a “one size fits all” answer for that one, as many of us have different expectations regarding our experiences or the lack thereof. However, in my view the end result should be true equity, equality, liberty, and freedom in every facet of life. Legislative bills are passed to violate the voting rights of African Americans. Laws are created to protect innocent civilians, yet policies are constructed to provide high amounts of police presence in Black neighborhoods. Blacks then get arrested, charged, and convicted for crimes at an alarmingly disproportionate rate when compared to their white counterparts who commit the very same crimes at the same frequencies.
Blacks then disproportionately overpopulate the prison industry (naysayers: research the phrase disproportionate minority contact). Blacks come out of jail and prison to the same economic and living conditions and are now denied the ability to vote, attain certain careers, receive federal assistance for higher education, and so the cycle continues. There is a system in place that was not created for African American involvement nor advancement, and that system is what literally guides everyone’s daily lives in America. So we need a revolution! That system needs to be changed! Okay, yes… everyone knows this, but how though?
I contend that African Americans must have the resolve to do and support BOTH! Participate and support political action. Participate and support continuous self-development. Each and every one of us Black Americans must approach education with excitement! Education for ourselves and the same for our children! How else will we see the change that we would like to see? How do we attain the political goals and outcomes we seek if we do not, first, establish ourselves as stakeholders at the decision table externally and internally. We must build our own and sustain our own with cooperative economics. We can start from where we are by spending our money with ourselves, which we normally would have spent outside the community. Those of us who are willing can depart from the traditional workforce as we know it once our own enterprise becomes sustainable should rightfully do so, and the others who decide to stay in can be our pillars of excellence who are championing our causes in industry and politics.
That’s revolution! A sudden, complete, or marked CHANGE in my life! In your life! In government and a system that oppresses the colored masses while exalting and holding guiltless privileged fair skinned individuals with malice! Should we only focus on self, then we might turn a blind eye to the systematic oppression that consumes black people by the masses. Should we choose to only focus on the systematic oppression then we might forget to continuously sharpen up ourselves, families, and communities. We must be able to joyfully do both if we want to see a revolution and sustain the impacts of a revolution. The irony of this blog is that the author actually believes that this revolution has already begun.
It is clear that many leaders, scholars, and activists have paved the way for Black America from Harriet Tubman to Martin / Malcolm and beyond. However, today’s official face of the revolution could arguably be Colin Kaepernick. He applied himself to education and excelling in his craft. He excelled in his craft. He used his voice and extremely powerful, yet vulnerable position to take a stand against the corporate structure of his employer and the corporate structure of the United States Government which turns a blind eye to the continuous willful, systematic destruction of black life. Mr. Kaepernick is not hurting for money. He is not depressed while reflecting on “what ifs” regarding remaining status quo. Mr. Kaepernick is a prime example of revolution and what it takes to succeed in doing both.
Are there black civil rights attorneys that can fight for us? Yes. Are there African Americans interested in the police force who can top the ranks? Yes. Can I put a high emphasis on my child’s education? Yes. Can I meet with friends, brainstorm, put our monies together, and build a business? Yes. Can black people practice cooperative economics, just as other races do, and build a strong economic base whereby we become a greatly valued, independent stakeholders on all issues black? Yes. And the answer to that last question is yes, not because of the color of our skin, but because of the color of currency (which might or might not be going crypto btw). We can do these things! We can pursue excellence in every single area of life! Hell, it’s not like some of us aren’t doing these things now or that we have not done it before as a collective unit. But the revolution has begun!!! And we must do both to sustain it.
Post Word: The owner of Editor’s Corner, Francis W. Minikon Jr., is also the Chief Operating Officer of Melanin Origins, LLC. When you find a black owned publisher creating black history books for kids… trust Melanin Origins. Frank is intrigued by the resilience and tenacity of African American leaders who stand for truth, justice, and overcoming any obstacle placed in their way. Thus, Melanin Origins was created to share messages of lesser-known African American pioneers to the children of the world and empower them to aspire for excellence and chase their dreams regardless of the complications they may face. Thank you for taking valuable time from your day to share with us in this blogosphere. Please provide any thoughts, comments, and/or questions in the comments section… and when you do please be sure to answer this question as well – What’s Your M.O.?