As a middle aged African American man, I have observed the human condition over a period of time and I have constructed my own personal time-line that has given glimpses of change for the better as it relates to the community of our people.

In the ’50s and ’60s I believe that period was a time of reinvention, due to the country as a whole rebounding from the situation created by financial ruin of the late ’20s, and devastating wars of the ’40s. African Americans were clear on what it took to build a strong and financially resourceful community, so with that understanding the struggle to acquire education for the children of the community was vital in perpetuating progress. In the ’60s and ’70s the country as a whole saw the movement of the African American community and felt this would be problematic, and you could see the covertly subliminal attack on dumbing down the diaspora of
these communities.

Some still struggled through to attain higher degrees of learning, and then the bar was set higher by increasing tuition and sidelining the ability to enter colleges. Not only was education being pushed out of reach, but jobs as well. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was a joke, workforce discrimination was evident and in full practice, and I personally believe it was all by design. Then the resurgence of drugs into the communities to further dilute the cohesiveness of a group of people that have been struggling to build. Then police brutality so vivid and in your face to recreate the fear that was used during the days of slavery. Subliminal messaging to diversify and dilute cultural beliefs, it’s a wonder why we haven’t just completely exploded. Political exclusion in passing laws that protect and propel our communities into better and safer places to live and raise a family.

The answer to change is simple: stick to our narrative, understand our worth, and stand united.

Tony B. is a longtime Amsterdam News reader.

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