Every year, during the month of February, we pause to celebrate Black History Month. It is a time in which we focus on the accomplishments and achievements of noted Black historical individuals and Black people in general who sacrificed much for the advancement of African-Americans and people in general. One such individual who paid the ultimate sacrifice at the hand of an assassin’s bullet was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Therefore, no Black History program is complete without a rendition of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech and the giving of the “Martin Luther King, Jr., Life-time Achievement Award” to some worthy contemporary person who has dedicated their life to Civil Rights and seeking justice and equality for all people.
Now before I go any further, I am not against celebrating Black History Month! I am not advocating that we quit remembering Dr. King and other historical figures who sacrificed so much for the advancement of civil rights in this country and the world. That’s not my point at all! What I am suggesting is that we stop being so infatuated with their accomplishments that we forget that each one of us has also been called to do something significant in our own generation! They did what they were called to do then, we must do what we are called to do now!
We live in a different world than that of Dr. King and the Civil Rights era, therefore, it seems highly unlikely that there will be or even can be “one” individual who can be “the leader” of a movement. This is unsettling to some people because they are looking and waiting for a savior or a superman to save them and the race: They are looking for another Malcolm X or Dr. King! But actually, we don’t need another Dr. King because there is already a “king” in all of us!
In Genesis 1:26-28, we read: “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (KJV) We were created to have and exercise dominion; that’s kingdom authority, over the earth! There is a “king” in all of us! We keep waiting and looking for help to come from an outside source, when God has already placed all the help we will ever need within each of us! But we will never exercise our dominion until we seize control. And how do we seize control? One of the ways we can seize control by letting go of the “victim mentality” and by accepting and taking responsibility for our own lives!
Now this is not to accept, excuse, or even deny the existence of overt oppressive racism in America by blaming the victim! No! Racism in America is still very much alive and well today! If you don’t think so, just read the media reports of some of the emboldened racist actions within the last couple of years! To those sympathetic White people who insist they shouldn’t be blamed for the past and that racism is history and that Black people should just “get over it,” You are right! You should not be blamed for the sins of your fore-fathers. But it’s really hard for Black people to “get over it” when some of your “cousins” are keeping the sins of your fore-fathers alive this very hour by displaying nooses, spray-painting the “n-word” on LeBron James’ gate and practicing racially bias policing and unjust sentencing toward Black defendants in the justice system and in the courts every day! You are mistaken, racism is not history; it’s current events! Even today, for some White people, it doesn’t matter how much money a Black person may have or how educated, famous, or cultured they may be, at the end of the day; they are still Black! Still Black? Yes! Still Black, as if that’s a sin or a mark of inferiority! As if that’s something that a Black person could or would want to change, even if such a change was possible!
But I’m digressing now, so let me get back to my point: There is a “king” in all of us! We cited Genesis1:26-28, where God gave man dominion over all the earth and over all the creatures of the earth. But if you look at the text closely, you might note that God never gave man dominion over other men! (That’s why racist theologians and others tried to suggest Black people were not human!) There is a “king” in each and all of us, but the kingship is not to be exercised over other “kings” but rather over one’s environment and circumstances of life.
The racial problem in America would come a long way toward being solved if the White “kings” would understand and accept the fact that the color of their skin does not make them any better than others! Skin color doesn’t make us any better or worse; it just makes us different! The racial problem would also come a long way toward being solved if those White kings who accepted and understood this would be determined to educate rather than just passively tolerate those who didn’t! This is especially true of White Americans who profess to be Christians! Racism would dissipate to a much greater degree if those “White Christians” were truer to their biblical calling than to the standards and cultures of some of their social and country clubs!
And in the meantime, the Black “kings” must realize and adopt the mantra: “If it is to be; it is up to me!” Quit looking for another “Dr. King, Malcolm X, or even the government for salvation! The best way to resist the victimizer is to refuse to play the role of the victim! It’s simply not fair, nor is it an accurate assessment of the truth to blame the “White folks” for all of our problems! Sure, racism does play a significant role in some of our ills, but there are some ills that are maladies of our own making! No! The best way to collectively lift the race is to not expect “one” man or woman to do it, nor to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to fix the blame on other folks. No! The best way to elevate a race is for each individual to do his or her part in accepting their responsibility to elevate their own social and spiritual consciousness. The best thing you can do for me is to be the best “you” that you can be! The best thing I can do for you is to be the best “me” that I can be! All the while, realizing that my being my best me doesn’t make me better than you; it just makes me a better me than the me I used to be! And our being the best “us” involves being all that God created us to be!
At the end of the day, Dr. King was right! “We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools!” And for those who believe in an after-life in Heaven or Hell: What kind of Heaven is reasonable if we mistreat our brothers and sisters down here and then expect to live in harmony with them in Heaven? And talk about Hell! It sure enough will be Hell, to hate and mistreat someone on earth and then have to spend an eternity with them in Hell!