"Mother mother...there's too many of you crying. Father; father; father...there's far too many of you dying. You know we've got to find a way; to bring some lovin here today...". These are the immortal words of the late iconic Marvin Gaye, who recorded this song on a hit album by the same title in the early 1970"s. It immediately became the theme song for a race of people in the United States of America...Black Americans who sought after answers to the hundreds of "whys" plaguing us.
In a decade that was ripe with extreme racial unrest, political corruption, and the fall out from the Viet Nam war, this song was a fitting mantra. We asked "what's going on?" about racial bias and prejudices, bigotry, violence in the streets and the lack of opportunities for a better way of life among our people. The truly tragic thing about all of this is that some forty-odd years later...we are asking the same question for many of the same reasons.
Sadly, the same biases and prejudices are alive and well. Oh, not as much as before, and not so easily recognized, but as thinly veiled as it may appear...make no mistake...we can see, touch and witness to it. The ugliness has taken on new forms and has morphed into something that is shielded under and by indifference, apathy, and two-faced personalities. It can almost be called a case of "the better to know the devil" because too many times we just don't know who we are facing and where their head is on the above issues. Who can be trusted and who are the mock sympathizers? Not fully referred to as "the enemy" but not actually a friend; thus the phrase "frenemy" can be applied. These are those who straddle the fence and to our faces will agree with the happenings of society as applied to Black Americans, but would they be your tie-breaker in a standoff, or march with you in a protest?
Here's the thing; yes I am thrilled that the violence of the 60's and 70's is behind us. I am equally thrilled that there are no organized protests, no policemen beating us with fire hoses, and clubs. Happy that our children of today can go to school and play with each other...brown and white together. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for ALL of his efforts to promote racial harmony.
But, even though we have come so very far and conditions and situations have improved drastically, the underlying hatred for Black Americans remains. No matter how well educated or prosperous we become, we still cannot say we have arrived. Yes, I do believe that part of the problems lie with our own, and many of us (especially our Black males ) have become stereotyped. And no, I don't think that the majority of us a proud race of people are whining about anything. Just as it was then, it is the same now...we want to know what's going on? How do we emerge from that mold?
So, I guess maybe this is one of the timeless questions that while it may have an answer, it has no answers. Yea..that's right and it's deep too. A real conundrum. And it may remain so for many years to come. I hope not. While we have made significant progress let us not be satisfied to let that progress rest on its laurels. We want to always be in a mode of continuous improvement so that the next generation that asks the question "what's going on"? will find a satisfactory solution not just an answer.