stand up and challenge racism on micro and macro levels. Will we eradicate it? Not in my child’s lifetime. But we can move the needle, we can change hearts and minds and legislation. And we can get to a place where we love ourselves so much that we don’t see others (or our unrealistic image of others, more accurately) as the metric by which we should judge ourselves.
We know who taught us to hate ourselves. We see the blood on the leaves and the blood at the root and where it all began—and those of us who don’t are, at the very least, vaguely familiar with the concept of how we got to this point. But many may find themselves at a loss for words when asked what I think to be the most salient follow-ups to Malcolm’s query. Who taught you that you could politely excuse yourselves from racism with superb manners and “good Negro” behavior? Who taught you that you had to be “good” to be respected?
Jamilah Lemieux is the News and Lifestyle Editor for EBONY.com. Views in the “Beautiful Struggler” column are her own. Follow her on Twitter @jamilahlemieux.