short memory, long history

in all the discussions about what's going on with black folks, i often hear references to things like post traumatic slave syndrome, the industrial prison complex, loss of identity and culture, etc.

i agree with these explanations, and we should definitely be aware of them.  however, what i rarely see woven into the conversation is the more recent history that has decimated our communities and placed gaping holes in our historical memories.

vietnam scarred our parents' generation and layered generalized PTSD onto our other wounds.  many were lost during the war, but we'll never know how many were lost in the streets after it.   

in the 80s, the crack epidemic and reganomics formed a perfect storm in urban america.

on its heels, the early days of AIDS wiped out scores of queer elders, simultaneously claiming the intravenous users crack left behind.

but even before all this, before integration and the civil rights movement, there was the destruction of places like rosewood and tulsa's black wall street.  we had our own businesses, banks, goods and services, schools and social supports. but when we got too good at it, we were often put back in our place.  

despite it all, we have survived and thrived. no doubt about that. still, when we start to wonder "what went wrong?" i think we can have a tendency to reach back a little too far for the answers.

the fact is, in the last 30-40 years, we've lost many--known and unnamed--who could still be singing songs, writing words, and painting pictures to inspire, enlighten and lead us.  mentors who could have ushered us over the ground we seem destined to endlessly retread--because we're leaving too young to tell our stories and share our gifts.

just a thought.

so when the scripts start running for the millionth time, stay mindful. dig deeper.

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