This weekend I watched as much as I could of “Birth of A Nation” a beautifully photographed well thought out script of a story of the slave Nat Turner who was taught to read and who ultimately became a preacher. The real story is not of this man’s brutal revenge on his white slave masters but the story of how a man who was mistreated long enough to turn into a man who led other slaves to rebel against and murder their white masters.
It was a painful story and a vivid reminder of what it might have been like for poor white masters holding on to the human capital with which they created their income. It’s a story that could only end in Civil War which was a war about slavery- despite the fact that historians argue that it was about State versus Federal rights. Humans cannot enslave other humans and speak the words of democracy and equality for all.
Race has been the most used word to describe the division in our country. I believe that racism is still rampant. I also believe that the issue of race hides the real issues which are education and economics.The huge under-educated population of all races are angry. These people of all races and both genders who are under-educated live in a rapidly changing technological world where they are not trained, educated or equipped to fully participate. This huge population compete for limited jobs in service or sales or manufacturing. These jobs do not pay them enough to get out of their working poverty much less, change their economic status. These people feel left behind and left out.
The media and the Internet don’t help the divisions in our country. At best these divisions are reported using highly edited and slanted video on local and national news stations and are not always “unbiased” reporting. As amazing at the world wide web maybe it is also a place of wrong or false misinformation. It’s hard to tell what is really real anymore or whether it has been photo-shopped and created to fit some one’s agenda.
In the last few days there have been leaks hacked from the campaign of our Democratic Presidential Nominee and at the same time women coming forward accusing our Republican Nominee of unwanted sexual contact. I have stayed far away from television and politics- except for seeing “The Birth of a Nation.”
There were only a handful of people watching the movie- which has been labeled a “flop”. I wonder if a pre-release story of the film maker’s former accusation of rape held movie goers at home or whether we as a country simply hope that our unspeakably long history of enslaving people will simply fade from our collective memories. Out of sight out of mind. There are as many reasons as one could conjure as to why this beautiful movie about a terrible event in our history was so avoided by everyone.
However, in the midst of this time where the issue of race and gender rage on, today I ran into the young lady who is the subject of the photo of today’s blog. She was the subject of an earlier blog called “THE NARROW BOX OF RACE”. I wrote that blog about race when I met this bi-racial young woman. Her mother is Caucasian and her father is African American and Asian. I spoke to her today about race and the election. She reported being appalled by both candidates but that she was going to vote for Hillary Clinton because she was “the lesser of two evils.”
This young woman who is African American yet who doesn’t appear to be Black is a growing part of America where 6.9 % of adults have at least two races in their background. The majority of these mixed race people say they are proud to be multi-racial, but more than half of them say they have been subjected to racial slurs or jokes or people have made assumptions about their race. The hope is that as this population of bi-racial adults grows larger perhaps we as a country will stop seeing our nation’s issues as white versus non-white or even Republicans versus Democrats or Women vs. Men or Young vs. Old, but rather look to see what the real issues are. I believe those issues are not enough higher education for all and better paying jobs that reflect better education.
We are about three weeks away from an election that could literally alter the face of America. Hopefully our largest population- the Millennials- will use their high level of education and their genuine hope for a better world and vote. We understand that that group of young people are of high moral fiber and frown on anything that appears corrupt or dishonest. I believe this group will be the problem solvers of our time. Hopefully they will provide an opening for an America willing to deal with the bigger issues that hide behind the mantle of race.
With Light and Love,
Brianna S. Clark