Martin, Malcolm, Medgar, Jessie, Rev. Al, Andrew, Huey, and Nelson. Who’s next in line? All of these great men made impact’s on society. Who can we say have stepped into their footsteps and made a new path? There are several reasons (will only name 3) why we do not have leaders like the ones I’ve named.
1. Lack of Transition
In order to build great leaders we must reach back and mentor individuals who we can see has potential to continue the fight. Many times individuals whom we keep around us because we see great things in them are only able to watch what the leader does and never received teaching on how it is done. Hence, leaving the next generation of leaders trying to figure out how things are done without the background knowledge.
For example, in math class teachers would annoy us by wanting to see how we derived to our answers. Sometimes our methods were wrong even though we still received the same answers. Similar to becoming a great leader, at times people know how to look at a problem and solve it by creating a movement of change. Yet without knowing how to properly organize, ignite, and motivate the people the movement will only become a moment and die out quickly.
When the Trayvon Martin case happened it sparked a momentum amongst black people to unite and stand for justice. However, hundreds of black males wrongfully die daily but we do not fight for every man. Just like in the 1950-1960s, blacks were lynched daily. Sure Negros at the time could have become desensitized but they decided to address the issue head on and make strides to fight against lynching. Today, we must ban together and fight against wrongful killings amongst our black man via blacks against other races, blacks on blacks, and blacks being put into the system to kill off their dreams.
2. Lack of Support
Where is the U-N-I-T-Y? What happened to everyone under the African diaspora uniting for greater causes? If a Hitler type arose in American wanting to kill blacks he would not separate the African Americans from the Caribbean Americans from the Africans? Guess what…we would all die because of the pigment of our skin which unites us back to the same continent.
Too many times blacks have developed this “Look out for yourself” mentality. When did that develop? When did the black community stop looking out for one another? The biggest problem with blacks uniting is lack of support from other blacks. There was a time when blacks knew if they stood up for a cause that they could at least depend on their brothers and sisters to support them. Now, blacks will throw one another under the bus and not think twice about it.
How were movements, such as the Civil Rights Movement and the fight to get African American studies in schools, able to occur without the support of blacks fighting for a cause. We must learn how to unite behind the new leaders that blossom out of our society. Everyone did not trust Martin, Malcolm or Medgar at first. However, they respected their positions and respected the way they carried themselves. In addition, they held them up when they were weak and encouraged them when they felt the pressure of the world on their shoulders. We can’t tear them down the first time they make a mistake or not do things the way we would do them if we had the courage enough to stand in their place.
The media decides what we listen to, what news we are given, and who we notice in society. This is called hegemony (taking whatever society gives us and never questioning it). If you want knowledge-you must search for it yourself. For example, out of the many slave narratives televised each year in February, why is it that we had to wait until 2013 to hear a slave narrative from an educated black man who was kidnapped and wrote a book about his experience in 1853. Makes us question, how many other books have been written by educated blacks which have not been televised?
I am certain there are individuals from the African diaspora who are doing positive things in the community. Yet the media does not televise them as they should. However, the news will have a 2 minute segment on Sharkeisha. Or better yet, they will manipulate a television show which educated blacks for 30 minutes Monday-Thursday to once a week for an hour. Where is that BET show now? None existent on television like our new leaders.
I am not stating there are not individuals who are doing their best to make changes in society. However, how long will it take the media to recognize those individuals and crown them the new Martin, Malcolm or Medgar? We need to acknowledge that the leaders of the last century are getting older and tired. Now is the time for new blood, new energy, and new ideas with the right foundation. So I repeat my first question again….Who’s Next???