Birth of a Nation....then and now...and the relevance of the National Anthem....what changes do we m
It's a noisy Sunday afternoon and I'm getting the family geared up for football. As I'm gathering the family snacks I hear the distinct sound of a Black Man's voice singing, angelic, in the background with passion and reverence....the National Anthem (sigh). Funny the conflict of emotions that arose inside of me, feeling exalted from the sound of his beautiful voice but revolted at the words coming out of his mouth.
I moved to the screen to ensure that I was listening to a Black Man's voice and low and behold it was and he was wearing a sailor's suit at that....how ironic I thought...considering the underlying message of Black People "sailing" to America....sailing to be made slaves, tortured, beaten and belittled for the freedom of others and not our own.
Now we find ourselves a few 100 years later, singing a song, written for the white man's freedom, by a white man of course, with such passion and reverence as if it was met for us and our names were written all over it.
I can't help but think that when we sing the anthem today it's simply out of a Stockholm Syndrome effect. Convincing ourselves that "O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave" actually refers to us as the "free" and the "brave" while ignoring the other verses: "No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave". I guess that part applies to the condition of Cognitive Dissonance. Whatever the case, we act as if those words aren't really there and it's not referring to anyone in particular for that matter. Just words to make a song a rhyme perhaps.....Hmmm....
The notion then arises as to why we haven't written our own song of Freedom since our own freedom has been won. After all, It's been long enough since we've been freed to start working on that...ijs...just about 154 years have passed since 1862. And as I further think about it, I wonder why do ALL Americans continue to allow the National Anthem to be the National Anthem? Considering all the changes in our nation since the initial start of it all.....it seems that there's been change but maybe it really hasn't.
It also seems logical as a changing nation that some traditions we've established need to be changed to sincerely indicate the inclusion of ALL people and that some traditions just need to be archived because its purpose has been served.
As I sit down ready for some football...suddenly, it all begins to become clear. Not much time has really passed when I really think about it. Some of us have relatives still alive that are over 100 years old. That leaves only 50+ years out of 154 that a generation has not been enslaved. And of course, the end of slavery on paper wasn't the actual end in "real" life. It continued on and most remained on their plantations doing what they always did.
You have to meditate on that thought in order to let that sink in.
And here we are in 2016 convinced that we are "included" even though we continue to fight for "inclusion". We've buried the thought that our existence can be valid and "exclusive" of what the white man has built for himself. We don't address the fact that the white man has built his own nation and we have to do the same...build our own Nation.
In some ways, do you blame the white man for his tactics....who in their right mind anyway, would fight hard for their own freedom to just give it away? Especially give it away by a simple vote or give it away too easily to the very people he used unfairly to gain his own freedom in the first place.
FREEDOM can not be won without a fight.
FEAR bounds us.
We are now bound by the mind instead of the shackle.
Bound to a system that manipulates us into thinking that it wants to be fair ....but continues to be unfair. And the systems motto is "work with me people not against me" and we follow inching our way to freedom.
Thank God for Warriors such as Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X and the like for thinking "outside the box" and not letting FEAR bound their thinking. I'm almost certain that Nat Turner nor any of the above would have ever sung the National Anthem with any reverence. They would have paid close attention to ALL the words and then been inspired to sit down and write their OWN words of FREEDOM. The Birth of our Nation starts with us....and our THINKING....no one else.