My Quest To Teach

January 10, 2015

“Selma” Encouraging A Dialogue About Racism and Civil Rights

Filed under: Uncategorized — William Jackson @ 3:13 am


“Selma” Encouraging A Dialogue About Racism and Civil Rights

A personal perspective on a monumental film that will influence
generations. Inspiring the hopes and dreams of Blacks and other
people of color and culture to continue the struggle for equality.

The movie “Selma” is a historical perspective that encourages a
continued dialogue and active engagement into the turbulent
Civil Rights movement of the 50’s, 60’s and even extends into
the 70’s Civil Rights movement. The reality is there is still a
Civil Rights fight in the 21st century.
Depicting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others in their roles
involved in peaceful protest to create changes in a country
that was/is happy to keep Blacks as servants, but will not accept
them (Blacks) as equal citizens even when the constitution
declares this country’s independence based on the rights that
all men (and women) are created equal and free citizens.
Blacks have equal rights and an equal responsibility to fight for
the rights everyone is supposed to enjoy, but the reality does
not equal the dreams and aspirations of the millions of Blacks,
Hispanics, Mexicans, Haitians, Native Americans and others
of dynamic complexions.
“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother
is still in darkness. “ 1 John 2:9

I have the opportunity to view “Selma” with several
hundred others, there will be mixed emotions, much
introspection about the continued presence of racism
as seen in the multiple events by law enforcement
agencies shooting unarmed Black men and women,
government sponsored programs that seek to deny rights
and in some cases the educational system across this
nation instituting practices of a “pipeline from school to prison,”
and a criminal justice system, as seen on numerous
situations that allow innocent Black men and women to be
incarcerated for years based on false information along with
sloppy and racists law enforcement work.

The growth of the mind sets of equality and reflection on
how each of us perceives those of other colors and a
wondering of how we are currently perceived now and in
the future is an important discussion. “Selma” provides a
view point beyond just the physical actions of peaceful protest,
but a view into the ramifications of demonstration and not to
demonstrate. Understanding the sacrifices that will be made
from emotional and psychological attacks to the potential of
physical death.

Jacksonville, Florida has made strives to have serious
dialogue that provided opportunities for discussion in the
community and gave Blacks and whites chances for
engaged conversation about race relations through
studies, talks, and interactions that opened atmospheres
of change. The reality is discussion on race and relationships
are a hard and sometimes challenging issue to implement
and even harder to assess changes in thinking. There is a
continued need for honest dialogue because “Black lives matter,”
then and now in the United States of America.

Past events conducted are “Study Circles” (The Study Circle
process, an initiative of The Jacksonville Human rights
Commission (JHRC), involves diverse groups of citizens talking
about the state of race relations in their community and in their
own lives.) In the Study Circles the dialogue (I have participated
in three) is coordinated and directed by trained facilitators that
are directed, “Conversations are likely to touch upon power and
privilege, fear and anger, hope and disappointment.” These
emotional states are seen in “Selma” and the responses
are varied by protestors and whites that interact with them.

Changes in race relations are difficult to measure because of
the volatility and unpredictability of human emotions. Other
events that have taken place to address race “Are You Living
Color” facilitated by E3 Business Group’s Real Talk
Real Change is progressive in its application to question the
mindset of individuals to seek truth about their relationships
with other races of people.

The issues of race and racism can be culturally divisive as
well as physically destructive, emotionally damaging and
psychologically limiting, if we allow it. Even in the 21st century
racism, bias and stereotypical thinking combined with rhetoric
that is borderline terroristic in nature still exists even though
there are claims it is diminished.
The mental state of racism has infected our societies.

“Selma” shows the organizational ability of Blacks, the
intellectual capacity of Black leaders with a purpose and
motivated by factors that seek to destroy them physically
and enslave them emotionally and mentally. Blacks are
shown that they can peacefully organize, they are connected
to their communities and values that strengthen the families
of Blacks that are the moral and ethical fiber of this country.

Whites are not the only race that is noble, intelligent,
passionate about its convictions, and progressive in working
to make sure each generation is better than the previous
generation. Racism, prejudice, bigotry, intolerance, and discrimination,
these actions have created situations of mental illness that has
manifested into many physical illnesses. To be involved a discussion
attend February 19, 2015 a discussion on mental illness:
facilitated by E3 Business Group – Real Talk Real Change – Is It Me?
http://events.jacksonville.com/event/real-talkreal-change-vi-it-me-look-mental-health-wellness

“Racism does not have a good track record. It’s been tried out for
a long time and you’d think by now we’d want to put an end to it
instead of putting it under new management”. Thomas Sowell

The election of an African American family to the Presidency of the
United States has shown a change in the perception of leadership
skills of this nation. Once thought of as intellectually inferior, a
human subspecies; the capacity to learn and survive in a “civilized”
society was seen as below the Blacks capacity. Blacks are leaders in
industry, education, politics, medicine, science and technology.
Blacks are called Blerds (Black Nerds) because of our
involvement in areas thought only that whites progressed. Blacks
are involved in STEAM / STEM / STREAM / CSTEAM and other areas.

Erroneous perceived racial superiority (by many whites) are obviously
flawed by the continued success by people of color in business,
education, technology, economics, medicine, space and the list continues
to grow. “Selma” shows the collaboration of religion, education, politics,
and economics. Leadership is important; without leadership many
protests will dissolve into ineffective mobs of mass destruction and
disrespected by political and law enforcement structures of this
nation. Blacks may protest, but if there is not a centralized leader or
leadership as show in “Selma” it will fade way, being ignored. Those
protesting for change need to view “Selma” as a tutorial in peaceful,
but effective change.

“My skin is kind of sort of brownish, pinkish, yellowish, white.
My eyes are grayish, blueish, green, but I’m told they look orange in
the night. My hair is reddish blondish brown, but its silver when it’s
wet, and all the colors I am inside have not been invented yet.”
Shel Silverstein

“Selma”
Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the
South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making
it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama
city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite
violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo)
and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma
to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon
Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

History will tell how these generations fought for equal rights,
whether they were successful or not, just as history has
judged the events of Selma and other places of protest.

“Selma”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6t7vVTxaic

“Which is more racist, the belief in undermining a race, or the
practice of undermining a race?” Unknown

Resources:
Study Circles
http://www.coj.net/departments/intra-governmental-services/human-rights-commission/study-circles/about-study-circles.aspx

If You Are A Racists Here Is A Chance To Change
by Professor William Jackson of Edward Waters College
http://jacksonville.com/interact/blog/william_jackson/2010-02-22/study_circles_address_racism_are_you_a_racist_and_not_know_

The Study Circle Process
https://www.unf.edu/uploadedFiles/aa/coas/cci/projects/Study%20Circle%20December%202010%20Report.pdf

Real Talk Real Change Is It Me? Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/events/721884241204328/
and
A Look of Mental Health and Illness
http://events.jacksonville.com/event/real-talkreal-change-vi-it-me-look-mental-health-wellness

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