Wednesday, December 05, 2007
A football player is dead, another in jail. Imus is back. Tasers are the new choke-hold. Young girls go missing. Prisons populations grow. War rages, towed by greed. Borders contain nothing. Jobs export, disparity imports. Blacks are becoming more and more dissatisfied, volatile and angry with each other, and others. The Urban Killing Fields cry for a fix.
But before we start fixing all the problems we must fix one problem. A kid can learn in school only if he wants to be there. And before Blacks can start to make America the place of their dreams, they have to want to be here. This is not easy, and not to be confused with not wanting to be somewhere else.
Being happy to be in America does not, in my opinion, make you a sell-out. Sure this country mistreats its citizens for various reasons, including race. But just go to Kingston, or Lagos or Rio and see how folks are doing. For my ancestors who died in Africa as competing tribalists, or as slaves in America, I am grateful, and I try to show it by treating my existence as something precious, a gift.
Does this mean supporting my country right or wrong? No. But does it mean acting like this country, with all of its warts, is the best place on the planet to get an education, get a job and have a family? – damn right. Where is this place where people will judge me only by the content of my character? I think it is called heaven and to get there I must be dead. No thank you. I don’t want to die yet, and I can’t wait. I’m too impatient.
If I honestly thought Africa, or any other place, was a better place for me, I would pack my bags and go there. But it is not. Circumstances, good and bad, brought me here to America. I start each day thinking that I want to be here because those before me sacrificed and the place has potential, including my contribution. But I must strive to contribute, not complain or tear it down on general principle. Grumbling in moderation is good. Voting, even protesting, against things that should stop, even better. Wanting to be here, priceless.
Sure, throw out the bath water when it’s spent, but keep that baby who just might grow up to do great things that make you proud. This is fix #1.
James C. Collier
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