Life in My Words
By: Monique K. Rose
Our minds are mendable
so that our reality is bendable.
We are not victims.
We suffer because we’re warriors.
God gives his toughest battles to his greatest soldiers.
How dare we lay down and surrender to a black reality that we can change?
This is my mentality and I am Black American,
I know what my reality is and that is not the one that we were conditioned to believe
or was historically painted for us as African Americans.
By: Monique K. Rose
What is the Black Reality?
We are constantly exposed to this notion that being African-American or Black American equates to suffering. The idea that Black Americans are born into unfair circumstances, often disadvantaged by individual and institutionalized racism, leaves many Black people feeling hopeless about their future success and family growth. Historically, we were displaced in a white supremacy society that inherently made us victims of an identity crisis because we struggle to fit in a society that constantly enforces we don't belong.
Thousands of African-Americans can relate to some of the experiences that leaders in the Black community highlight in their music, art, books, podcasts, and more. Take, for instance, this clip of Meek Mill, spotlighted as an advocate for prison reform, as he describes the experiences he faced as a Black man in America.
My story may not be one of immense financial struggle but it certainly is one filled with pain. I learned early on that as a Black women I am subject to living a laborious life, working double the time and triple the effort to achieve success. Compounding the physical labor of black womanhood is the ongoing emotional fight to be strong when I am deeply saddened and the psychological damage caused by years of verbal and physical abuse. I battle self-doubt as I avoid making life choices through a tainted lense of reality caused by dysfunctional relationships and traumatic experiences that I once considered a norm. Growing through these ongoing pains has given me the strength to break through every glass ceiling and put me in a position to inform and inspire Black girls on how to do the same.
The Black Reality Is Divided.
The collective feeling of hopelessness that is caused by a collection of testimonies that convey Black hardship, is birthed in what Kanye West dubs the “slave mentality.” Referencing slavery, he states during his visit to the White House for a press conference with Donald Trump, "You were there for 400 years and it's all of y'all. It's like we're mentally imprisoned."
West left many people, especially our Black community disheveled and uproarious for various reasons. I evaluated the media's response to Kanye’s analysis of members in his culture and felt the magnitude to which he ignites this feeling of black victimization. He reminded us that oftentimes black people feel targeted and misunderstood. The question that lingered in me as I listened to the press conference was how can a fellow African American, who himself went through the trenches of the black experience, share beliefs that do not resonate with his own people?
As I reflected on Kanye West's successes, admiring the fact that despite our horrid history in America and his shortcomings, West still made it on top of the game in his era, becoming a world-renowned billionaire, I resonated with his beliefs on the "slave mentality" and imagined the opportunity to approach him with this query:
Does he imply that some Black people suffer because of the mentalities we derive from our experiences and history of suffering and now we've become this abyss of suffering energy that gravitates more suffering because we continuously, consciously and subconsciously, hone in on these experiences of suffering?
The question should not demote, denounce, or disclaim the facts of our history and the fight our ancestors faced daily, many of them dying as a result. I acknowledge discrimination, racially organized socio-economic standards, and injustices that my fellow African Americans face even still today. However, I can't help but ask how do we stop the growth of that seed planted in our lives throughout history? How do we blossom despite the tainted fertilization of our history.
Let's change the narrative to one of Black Excellence
Has it dawned on the people that defame and denounce West for marrying a woman that is not Black and embracing the the world's most hated president, Donald Trump that maybe, just maybe, he no longer thinks from a "slave mentality" or the struggling Black American mentality that we are conditioned to harboring due to our school history textbooks?
The expectation in most cases for Black women is that we’ll end up unhappy, struggling, single mothers with messed up children and lifestyle diseases. As a African American female, I must say that we have potential far greater than our fears.
I, myself, experienced my potential to be like Donald Trump; jumping through the loop holes, utilizing the system to our advantage, and infamously being my natural self without regard to society's life standards and expectations.
The picture painted for Black men is that they’ll be fatherless absent- father’s that are forced to work multiple jobs to make a living or spend their life being emasculated and humiliated in prison. Many are afraid that they'll be victims of police brutality or killed by their own people in their community. Why is this the generalized story? Why aren’t the positive, prosperous, and peaceful sides of our culture glamorized the way the drugs, aesthetic bodies, foul language, and crime rates glamorized in the media. Could this also be what Donald Trump Calls “fake news?”
Perhaps successful African Americans like West, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle & Barack Obama, Shaquille Oneil, Lebron James, Supa Cent, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, and Beyonce, (just to name a few), have transcended from the Black struggle to a mindset of power, passion, self-will, and meritocracy. Maybe West thinks from a superior force, a higher calling placed on from some higher being he believes in and we too can all beat the odds and design our lives to create the success stories that our ancestors did not have the freedom to choose. We can choose to be in God's image, prosperous and purposeful, or we continue to point blame while blossoming into society’s image. God promised us all a life grander and greater than the life we imagine when we put our faith and trust in him.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)
Thousands of prosperous Black Americans discover that they have a gift, believe in their gift, and align their life purpose with delivering that gift. The power of our gifts is that it gives us something to live for and shapes the vision we aim to blossom into. The gift distracts us from the negative stories and the false realities painted for us in the history books we read and the media we see. Twelve Years A Slave and Django Unchained are movies that constantly regurgitate the pain of our past instead of our promised purpose - we are Children of God and we are made in his image (1 John 3:2). We all need to recognize who we are. Our suffering is no different from the suffering Jews underwent like segregation, third world countries experiencing poverty, or middle eastern countries battle like religious wars. Let’s stop allowing unfair treatment to define who we are. Let’s unite to determine our future and recreate the Black narrative. Let’s stop calling ourselves victims and decondition our minds from a failure mentality?
God's greatest gift to us is the ability to change and grow. I am proud to say that being Black American is an added advantage in 2020 and beyond. We have multifarious resources at our disposal, limitless access to information, unrelenting creativity, mental freedom and the privileged opportunity of owning our craft by becoming business owners. It’s time we collectively change the Black American reality by mastering our crafts pushing the negative narratives to the back of Black American history.
We respond with violence.
But are we changing systemic corruption by destroying businesses, looting,
and hurting innocent people?
We resorted to those tactics for decades. Has it worked?
Was justice served for Trayvon Martin when we rioted?
Did Eric Gardner’s case stop “I can’t breathe” altercations from police?
In my eyes, barbaric behavior has only led to more inequality.
As I contemplate the trials and tribulations of life and the depressing circumstances in 2020 so far, I realize that we’re more likely to make changes when we have a seat at the power table.
We need more Black politicians, especially in the Senate.
We need more Black officers, more Black educators,
more Black owned businesses in all communities.
Despite the multifarious barriers and systemic racism that hinders
Black people from succeeding, it's not impossible to overcome.
We will see unprecedented changes when we collectively lessen the gap of inequality by taking back ownership! There’s no doubt white supremacy exist but that it’s also Black talents, skills, and ideas that make some of these white owned institutions superior. Let's not forget that Slavery was the use of exchanging Black people, termed Negros, for labor and exchange of goods. The American slave trade started in Massachusetts on a ship called Desire. Americans always had a desire for Black strength and Black ability. They needed to exchange Black people for labor and money. Slavery is still, in a different form, embedded heavily in our systemic corruption. Some argue that White people are afraid of becoming the minority. Could this be the reason for the hate?
In my eyes it’s not about competing for wealth or superiority between race. It’s really about improving Black behavior, Black perspectives, Black culture and establishing Black power by having more Black people on powerful platforms. How does it happen if we don’t work on ourselves?
Black people have the highest rate of lifestyle diseases, gang violence, fatherless children, and financial hardships. I taught incarcerated youth for 4 years and was heartbroken by the level of trauma our Black youth faces. It made me more passionate about advocating for Black excellence. Our youth did not realize their power because of the painful experiences they faced at home. It honestly made me more upset about Black on Black violence.
It’s no secret that we fail to support and uplift each other unless it’s about dismantling white supremacy. But how can we change the world without changing the climate in our home?
#BlackLivesMatter just as much as all lives. Quite frankly, in my eyes, Black behavior plays a major role in how we’re treated. We can’t keep expecting to combat violence with more violence. Let’s end the blame game and start becoming the change we want to see. Our respect grows when we stand united, healthy, educated, financially free, and spiritually sound in our Power! ✊
I stand with the protestors.
But I won’t stand for the violence.
Be safe but in prayerful power 🙏
Monique is a teacher, entrepreneur, mother, and writer. She wears multiple hats due to her mission - living her best life unapologetically as if every day is her last day. She aspires to help all people with personal development and their health and fitness journey.
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