Something to Think About: Selma: Taking a Look Back

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michael_vaughn2Op/Ed by: Michael Vaughn

In my column this week, I would like to do some reflection.

Recently, a movie has hit theaters called, “Selma.”

It is the story of the famous march by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,  in Selma, Ala., and the events which led up to it.

While I have not personally seen it, I am familiar with the time from history class.

And, because my wife and daughter have seen it, it’s as though I have seen it vicariously through them.

As I’ve listened to them talk about it; I’ve begun to reflect upon some of the things which occurred in the era; things which we may need to ponder, for what we face today.

One huge reality of the day was that, the black men and women who were part of the civil rights movement definitely had been victors, and not victims.

They had not been demanding the government give them welfare, and take care of them; they had been demanding basic human rights, and the right to “sit at the table,” in order to equally compete.

They had the fortitude of victors, and did what it took to move things forward.

These were strong black men and women, who kept a dream alive, and did not allow beating, lynching, name-calling, etc. to deter them.

In fact, at the time, it seemed those things may have made them stronger.

By comparison, today’s African-American has seemed to complain about what the government has not been doing for him, and explain why it is someone else’s fault.

That is not the legacy of our forefathers, and shame on people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for fueling these victim-like ideas.

They know that was not the true message of the Civil Rights Movement.

Another thing we should reflect upon is, there were many white people who had taken up the struggle.

And, just like in slavery, white people helped black people get to the victory, and liberation, they sought.

So, while there have been bad people in every walk of life, there have also been good people in every walk of life, and we should never forget that.

Some African-Americans want you to believe all white people are bad, and mean us no good.

However, we have to vehemently reject that notion, and realize that God uses all shapes, sizes and colors to get His will accomplished.

There is no way we could have gotten where we are, without the help of white people.

Just like all black people are not criminals, all white people are not racist bigots.

Finally, one of the last things we should reflect upon is how we, as African-Americans, have allowed other groups to co-opt our struggle as their own.

For example, there’s the struggle of homosexuals.

The struggle of African-Americans cannot, and should not, be compared to the things with which homosexuals have had to deal.

And, while I’m not saying homosexuals have not been discriminated against, I’m saying they have not been targeted in the same way as African-Americans.

To my knowledge, homosexuals have never been enslaved.

They have never had to sit in the back of the bus; they have never been denied the right to vote; and they have not been beaten just because they were trying to obtain basic human rights.

The struggle of African-Americans can only truly be compared to Jewish people, and how they were treated by Nazi Germany, and others.

So, to equate the struggle of the African-American with that of the homosexual, would be to belittle all of the lives which have been lost, and the blood that has continued to be shed as a result of the African-American struggle.

I believe watching the movie, Selma, would drive this point home quite well!

In addition, I think a little reflection would be good for all of us.

Thus, as we look ahead, to Black History Month, we should celebrate what African-Americans have done.

We are indeed a strong, proud, purpose-filled people.

We need to make sure our children hear this, and know this, as they prepare to take their places in representing what the next generation of African-Americans will do!

We have stood on a solid foundation, and now we have to take care in how we build!