Maybe where you are, it’s one of those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer. When the July 4th holiday rolls around you know that fireworks gonna be flying and temps gonna be soaring. When it’s behind us we’re in the dog days of hot weather. On those lazy days you just don’t feel like doing much. The hazy days might have you trying to stay cool to the point of chill. What about the crazy days?
Well, we can start with the drumbeat around civic and social issues. Whether it’s the cancel culture debate or the critical race theory backlash, there’re some who want to keep the grievance thing going. There’re also some public officials who seem to believe democracy is up for sale. Not to be overlooked are events around the isms and schisms of our era. These situations make you wanna flashback to a time and consider what to do when history calls.
That flashback might reveal that the worst of America wants to be stuck on rage. While the best of America wants to reach a new stage. Throughout our history we’ve tried to balance how White America thinks and how Black America treads. It’s also been a balancing act of trying to do big things in the spirit of history and doing other things more like in the spirit of misery. So what do we see happening today?
From our founding to current we’ve had social change come about in waves. Whether that wave made a difference tells you something about how moments in time became movements of a people. A sports commentator might say a wave in the stands is a sign of boredom. A beachgoer might see a wave as a time for fun or relaxation, but a lifeguard knows it can also come with a dangerous undercurrent. So in terms of social issues, a wave might be an indication of being on the right side or wrong side of history, depending on whether it’s driven by boredom, a racial undercurrent or a higher sense of purpose.
See America In Color (SAIC) as a social edge campaign/platform reveals a fairly basic thing about the waves in American history. In the early days they started out being tied to two sets of colors, not simply black and white but also black and green. In 1607 when the first settlers arrived in Virginia it was in part about the ‘green’ of the Benjamins. They were looking for new export markets and many would eventually build their enterprise around the ‘black’ side of slavery. In 1620 there was a different group (known as pilgrims/puritans) who came on the Mayflower and landed at ‘Plymouth Rock’. They came in search of religious freedom. Where the two paths seem to meet is in suppressing and distorting the freedoms of Blacks (seems like a ‘freedom’ contradiction, right?). Since then, we’ve seen these waves play out in:
- Revolution – Declaration of Independence
When it seemed like the freedom thing wasn’t quite working out for settlers, they eventual got to the point of revolution. This meant breaking away from England and forming a new country with a statement of purpose drafted as the Declaration of Independence. There was a ‘meeting of the minds’ around the notion of equality, which right off the bat fell short in practice. There was also a resolution to turn grievances into a set of ideals and principles which were put into the founding documents.
2. Suffrage – Declaration of Sentiments
When women saw how the equality thing wasn’t working out, they got together to fight for suffrage and the right to participate in civic affairs. This led to the Declaration of Sentiments as a statement of purpose around duty to country and gender equality. Interestingly, the equality thing wasn’t working out for blacks either and for black women especially, it was a matter of feeling hidden or having their roles lessened. It’s important to note that there were men (including Frederick Douglass) who signed-on to this declaration to show support.
3. Secession – Declaration of Causes
The equality thing was still a struggle for blacks. This came to a head as the fight around slavery led to secession, the Declaration of Causes and eventually a civil war. This declaration was more a statement of animus than purpose because it was about maintaining the enterprise of slavery and protecting states’ rights. The 11 seceding states broke away from the union to be separate from the Federal government and to keep the dehumanizing function of slavery intact for economic reasons. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost but eventually, the Emancipation Proclamation was the preview of a movement which continued towards civil rights.
4. Destiny – Declaration of Emergence
So while the struggle has shifted over time from freedom to suffrage to slavery to civil rights, yet still the journey continues. Now we’re at a point where it’s about handling the truth. It’s as if the words “we hold these truths to be self-evident” are on a path to being eroded or erased. With GPS, you get to your destination with the truth-in-location that guides you to your destination. Similarly, with SAIC we can get to our best self individually and ‘a more perfect Union’ collectively as a nation with SAICs Declaration of Emergence and the truth that guides us to our destiny.
So if you’re wondering how some white people think, look at how America continues to struggle around issues of race, access, opportunity, duty. If you’re wondering how black people have had to tread, just look at the voting rights debate and other aspects of history that seem to be repeating themselves. We’ve seen different kinds of waves over the past 400+ years. Maybe after Independence Day we can think about a new wave in how we See America In Color to help ease the struggle around equality and move closer to our destiny. We shouldn’t be afraid to look truth in the eye and know our worth.
You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Letters and Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.
Tracks: Nico & Vinz – Don’t be Afraid – https://youtu.be/U5k8d4oK45E
Khalid – Know Your Worth – https://youtu.be/aEDULPGIwcg