Everything old is new again.
The upside of being born in the 1970s is that I was born after the “struggle” when the question of equality was settled in the courts and in the legislature. I was born when all men – and allegedly women – were really created equal and the question of segregation and discrimination was answered.
The downside of being born in the 1970s is that it led to a false sense of security that in turn led to the rudest of awakenings when the bubble of comfort was popped by the reality that a post racial society does not exist and Westboro Baptist reminded me that god hates fags.
I am old enough to sit at the feet of my elders, listen to their stories, and learn their lessons. I am also too old to understand the fight, the need for it, the reasons behind it, and maintain the energy to sustain it, the fight.
I am old enough to be raised at a time when Bonnie could and did, insulate me from the things that would harm my existence in my formative years. I am young enough to be able to navigate the Internet and realize that what I was insulated from children today are now bombarded with and it scares me.
The children of today – exposed to that which I was not – are being raised by people like me. Born into a time of prosperity, of tacit acceptance of the role of the Black in America. I was born in the eye of the storm unaware that destruction and chaos awaited me after, or the damage that it cost those who came before.
As the eye passed and I looked around I understood that the fight for quality was still going on – I simply was unaware of its existence. I was also unaware that the fight for equality was about more than skin color, that it was about real equality.
As Arizona politicians contemplate a law that will separate her citizens instead of providing quality I am reminded of the struggle and question if we – my peers of the 70s and 80s – have prepared our children for the struggle.
I am unsure.
In the current state of the union, we don’t seem to understand the relevance of laws like the one proposed in Arizona. We do not seem to understand that civil rights are not about skin color they are about how we treat all of our people including but not limited to our LGBQT citizens.
We don’t seem to appreciate that ones sexuality should no more be a tool to segregate than the color of ones skin.
We don’t seem to get it to the point that we can create a coalition of advocates who pool resources instead of treading water in our individual ponds.
The quote injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere seems like a fairy tale as we deny the importance of equality for those who have a different sex life than the rest of us. Until we reach that understanding, we can’t look at Arizona as an aberration, it is a reflection of reality.
Is this the reality we choose or do we have the heart to continue the struggle?