400 Years is a Long Time

400 years is a long time.

It’s a long time. They pointed to our skin and said, “You are not human.” They said, “You do not have a name.” They said, “Your life is nothing.” They said, “Your mind, your body, your hair, even your genitals are not human.” They said, “You are a nigger.” And with that name came concerted, endorsed, and systematic horrors against our black bodies. It’s a profoundly deep and pervasive programming; it clamps into our minds, souls, and hearts; and it takes hold not only of Black and white minds, but also the minds of all peoples from all nations: Black means nigger; Black lives have no value.

And we fought to reclaim our names, to reclaim our freedoms, and to make our dignity as human beings be seen, be felt, be known: we fought, we bled, we died, we raged. And today, despite all the sacrifices, hard work, art, music, and creation of new knowledge, we still fight today.

400 years is a long time.

When you fight in a war, you need to know your enemy. Do we know our enemy? Or are we fighting a war blindfolded? For that is exactly what the enemy wants: for us to be blind. And by us, I mean all the people. The enemy wants our minds to be parched of truth; removed from history; focused on individual acts; trapped in hate; warring amongst ourselves; propagating lies; participating as willful actors; defending individualism; consuming uncritically; chasing after manufactured dreams of riches, glory, and fame; distrusting our neighbors; scorning love; and killing community.

The enemy is not set to be temporary; it seeks to be perpetual. But to be perpetual, the enemy must be smart: it must change, accommodate a little, give in a little, rearrange itself to be more edible to the masses, and create clever and confusing justifications for its actions. Because the enemy knows that it if wants to live forever, it needs consent from the people.

400 years is a long time.

And this is our enemy, the enemy of the world: white supremacy. It’s time. I believe it’s time. I am confident. Hopeful. And I believe in the people. Because 400 years is a long time. And history shows us that we humans can only tolerate bullshit for so long. And the enemy knows this and that’s why it is fighting so hard to stay alive and immortal. But it cannot. It should not. Know this: the enemy is afraid.

So now is not the time to turn away, close your eyes, and put your hands up in despair saying, “Nothing will change” or “Fuck this shit” or “I’m done” or “This has nothing to do with me.” It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or where you call the home of your great-great-great grandparents: white supremacy affects us all. Everyone. It is a poison destroying humanity.

400 years is a long time.

So do whatever you can to fight for the living; to take a stand against the enemy; to give your time or resources; to educate yourself on the issues; read; learn; un-learn harmful programming…whatever it is, just take a stand. Because the enemy lives when we do nothing. There is hope. Change is always possible.

Because 400 years is a long time.

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