The Atlanta Compromise surmised “blacks would work and submit to white political rule, while Southern whites guaranteed that blacks would receive basic education and due process in law”. The basic training would be limited to vocational or industrial training, liberal arts education such as college education in classics humanities, art and literature would be forbidden! This situation makes it clear that for blacks in the United States, freedom and equality would not be achieved after a single protest. Thus every generation would have to fight and protest for a little bit more of freedom. So whereas some people chant psalms of ”Make America great Again” implying America is not all that great, those same people have the audacity to question the patriotism of those who protest against injustices and inequality in our society. If these same people were well versed in history, they would have the least inclination to question the patriotism of African Americans and social progressives for that matter.
News Flash! I am here to announce, without fear or favor, that patriotism is not the exclusive preserve of one ideology or one race. African Americans fought in the War of Independence against Britain as slaves when they were counted as 3/5 of human beings! African Americans have since fought in wars for the United States even when they were living in segregated quarters and subjected to discrimination and limitations on social and economic opportunities. Black athletes like Jesse Owen, who were treated much better in Nazi Germany, competed for the US flag even as they sat at the back of the bus and were refused service in restaurants in their own country. So yes we can disagree on policy and ways of protests but don’t ever question our patriotism!
Today, my question to black America is must we address racial bias and inequality in a similar fashion as Booker T. Washington did with the Atlanta Compromise?
If that is the path we wish to follow then I propose the following!
- Nobody of African American descent must seek the presidency of the United States for the next 100 years and even if they do we would start with someone with only one black great grandparent, then an individual with only one grandparent of African descent before we consider a biracial individual like Barack Obama or even a full blooded African American.
- And it is true that Starbucks allows people to rendezvous at its cafe without buying anything but Blacks have not gained that right yet! It would require another Civil Rights March!
As far as I am concerned if we want to abide by the spirit of the Atlanta Compromise; Starbucks doesn’t owe Black people any apology at least until we earn that right!
On the other-hand if we believe that racial bias and its resulting inequality is a taint on the ideals that we as a country stand for then, let us all irrespective of our race, gender, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status make it an ongoing effort to always examine our actions thoughts and believes to better understand our own ingrained biases.
Until we recognize and own up to our own biases we would continue to subject our fellow Americans to unnecessary harassments and disrespect all in the name of public safety.
Peace to the max and let’s make our rendezvous at Starbucks great again!