Dec. 26, 2021

Seeking Umoja All Of Us

“Some whites were willing if not exactly eager to push for civil rights and integration. But national fatigue over racial militancy was setting in. We are all, let us face it, Mississippians. We all fervently wish that the Negro problem did not exist, or that, if it must exist, it could be ignored. Confronted with the howling need for decent schools, jobs, housing, and all the other minimum rights of the American system, we will do our best, half-heartedly, to correct old wrongs. The hand may be extended grudgingly and patronizingly, but anyone who rejects that hand rejects his own best interests. For minimum rights are the only one we are willing to guarantee, and above these minimum rights there is and will continue to be a vast area of discrimination and inequity and unfairness, the area in which we claim the most basic right of all—the right to be stupid and prejudiced, the right to make mistakes, the right to be less and worse than we pretend, the right to be[…]”



These words could have just been published in the December 2021 edition of an online journal as they were published in the mid-1960 edition of The Saturday Evening Post.  These words definitely could have been published in 1921 the height of Jim Crow America, or 1927 and1937 when Black Americans were in mass leaving the bigotry and racial hatred of the south for more of the same hatred in the American cities of destination in the north, midwest and west, 1947 or 1957 when the civil rights movement was in its infancy.  We all must have thought that because of the civil rights movement in the 1960s a change was gonna come. We should’ve overcome the race issue by the 1980s. But each decade that followed the turbulent sixties brought with it racial hatred, racial ignorance, a racial economic disparity that continued to cause divisions in this country. 


Today we celebrate the first day of Kwanzaa, the spirit of Umoja, the energy of Unity. Yet not only are our racial communities divided but ideological divisions within those communities continue to cause additional tension and disruption which minimizes the chance of securing unity of people in this nation, no matter their race, creed, religion.  Shouldn't the day have finally arrived in these supposed United States where people can look past color distinctions, religious distinctions, political distinctions, social and class distinctions, or even economic distinctions?  Umoja, shouldn't be a festive celebration just for people of color. Umoja celebrations should have no bearing on class, race, religion, or political leanings. It should simply be a celebration that stretches across the nation, the globe, and reaches every home in our global human race.  Umoja is a life philosophy that should embody everyone's hope for mankind.  


Yet, as we end 2021 just as we have ended every year in this nation, in almost every nation on this planet we continue to focus on what divides us rather than what unites us. Rather than being Mississippians, we should all seek to gain the spirit of unity. Let's all become Umojians and find purpose in peace, love, humanity, and ensuring that the lesser of us have risen to the level that eliminates hunger, lack of education, disturbing dreams, and shattered hope. I think I will rather be a 2022 Umojian than continue to fester hate and nurture confusion amongst mankind. How about you?