Life isn’t fair, unless we make it fair

September 12, 2014

Rahim Islam is a National Speaker and Writer, Convener of Philadelphia Community of Leaders, and President/ CEO of Universal Companies, a community development and education management company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. Follow Rahim Islam on FaceBook (Rahim Islam) & Twitter (@RahimIslamUC) Whoever told us that life is fair was a liar. What is the evidence? When you examine what men do to each other without any visible evidence
of consequence – at least in this human dimension, fair doesn’t come into play. What humans do to other humans can sometimes be absolutely brutal and animalistic and many times without apparent consequence. The fact is that Black people have had an absolutely terrible journey in this country beginning with a brutal kidnapping. Followed by a massive series of pillages, wholesale murders, atrocious brutalities, industrial and structural exploitations. Additionally a series of disfranchisements have created the current level of disparities that threaten to commit the Black community to a permanent underclass in America. I often wonder how did this happen? How were so many Blacks forcibly sold into mass slavery? Who is guilty? How were these kidnapped Blacks then be placed in the hulls of cargo ships encountering documented atrocities that were so foul and inhuman, that many died? The diseases caused by the filth, urine and feces that our ancestors lived in during nearly 9 months of transportation, pregnant woman and those that were ill received no medical treatment whatsoever. Our ancestors were treated as less than cargo. While the trans-Atlantic passage was absolutely horrific, that was overshadowed by a life of hell and horror for untold millions that would continue for nearly 300 years. How did this happen and why? This was and is the biggest crime against all humanity that was ever committed; yet we treat it like some incidental event of the past. How can one group inflict so much hurt and pain on another people? We’ve seen many human atrocities but many never get to mature because the world addresses them. Why hasn’t the enslavement of our ancestors who were so disrespected and their pain and suffering so minimized been address and treated? Life can’t be fair! Unfortunately, no one cares because life isn’t fair. If life were fair, our struggle wouldn’t be so pronounced and so prolonged. If it were fair, slavery wouldn’t have happened. If life were fair, the struggle for human and civil rights for Black people wouldn’t have been so difficult. There is absolutely nothing
fair about life – our history in this country has been unfair and today finds us in a dilemma that is a direct result of that history. For any sane and rational person, seeing this is a “no brainer;” then why has it been so difficult to even get traction? Our problem is exacerbated by the fact that many Blacks believe that life is fair and we waist time, energy, and resources, trying to get the White community to feel our pain and do the right thing by us. It hasn’t happened and yet, why? Those that oppress very rarely feel the pain of those that are oppressed. Those that victimized very rarely feel the pain of the victim. Those at the top of the food chain very rarely understand the plight of those at the bottom of the food chain. No one will care about our plight except those who have had similar experiences of persecution and/or discrimination. No one cares and no one should care except for us; however; we don’t. Why? I believe after approximately
100 years (1619 – 1719) of harsh and extreme slavery that represented the concept of “breaking the slave.” There are no words that I can use to reflect the horror that many of our ancestors experience during this period of the American institution of slavery. Every known and many new unknown atrocities were perpetuated against our ancestors with the sole purpose of breaking the Black man and woman to force them into submission. What I’ve learned that happened
during this time is not suitable for the newspaper but I urge everyone to read more about our history and to learn firsthand what happened to us. We don’t care about what has happened to us because while we are physically free, the mental slavery exists for so many members of our community. Over the past year, I’ve been writing about our community as part of an effort to challenge the status quo and begin to organize the Black community. My writing is not intended to preach but to teach or at least encourage us to rethink why we’re in this mess and how important our history is connected to our current plight. I’ve received so many criticisms from a few of our Black leaders with the majority questioning why I continue to bring up our past – why do you have to go there? I continue to bring our past because it’s fundamental to my argument. Where you start is critical and every issue we face today results in the reality that we
have no capital in a capitalistic “free market” society (this fact handicaps every aspect of Black life in America). While we suffer from other social and economic issues as the result of our history in this country, none is bigger than the fact that we have neither capital nor so sense of self that could assist us with overcoming this deficit. I bring up our past to honor our Ancestors and the sacrifices that they made to advance the self determination of our people. I bring it up to keep reminding Black people that our socioeconomic conditions have been manufactured. I also bring up our past because I am a big proponent of the concept of reparations and I will never stop bringing up this issue until our community
has been repaired by the psychological and mental scars that remain with our community.