My Quest To Teach

January 29, 2015

What I Learned from Watching Selma

What I Learned from Watching Selma

There are movies that inspire, there are movies that excite, there are
movies that create an effect on multiple levels of human psychology,
sociology and passions. Selma takes the viewer on a journey of mixture
of emotions, psychological enlightenment and rationalization to the
realities of how important voting rights are. The realities of societal civil
rights and the connection between the criminal justice system and juries
made up of inequality and racism.
Having a jury of your peers in many cases is not possible because peers
have lost voting rights and serving on a jury is not possible because many
are not registered or have felony convictions that keep them from exercising
their rights. Blacks have found this is a vicious cycle with long term affects.

Selma touched people in a way that encouraged and demanded discussion
and engagement on many levels beyond emotional turmoil and conflict
that many experience from viewing movies that address Civil Rights issues,
the institution of slavery, and other ravages of human conflict that Blacks
have experienced during their captivity to the Americas hundreds of year
before. There isn’t a conclusion to this story because the descendents in
each generation carry the emotional and psychological baggage
from slavery to freedom, from institutional bondage to the denial of
societal rights and privileges that are denied based on the pigment
of the skin.

The movie Selma offers an opportunity not just for Blacks, but the
diversity of culture in America to see and experience a small portion
of the Civil Rights movement, the importance of voting rights, serving on
juries and having a knowledge of the justice system. Historically Blacks
are disproportionally denied fair trials, they are historically given harder
and longer prison sentences, and Blacks lack the opportunity of fair and
impartial juries of their peers because too many “peers” have criminal
backgrounds denying them from serving on juries. Too many Blacks
lack the willingness to even register to vote because they do not see the
importance of doing so and do not see the historic and current value of
being an active and educated voter. Look at the Republican majority
in our Congress and other areas of government. This is what happens
when Blacks do not exercise their rights and wonder why others try to
take it away from them.

Selma dealt with these issues that needed to be shouted to Blacks
to show them that here are those that sacrificed and died for the
opportunity to vote. In order to bring justice to those that kill Black
men, women and children Blacks must be registered voters and
participate on juries. As stated in Selma that whites kill, and rape Blacks,
but go free because a jury of “their” peers sets them free. Blacks need to
understand if you don’t vote the laws will stay the same and the same
people that make those laws will always stay in power allowing their
power to grow and Blacks power to remain diminished and castrated
of voting power and political influence. Those in power will continue to
force Blacks into the position of third class citizens and continue to
deny Blacks their civil and human rights. This is not representative to
all whites, but when viewing Selma Blacks did have the support of
whites of many classes.
Some whites (men and women) were even killed for supporting the
right to vote by Blacks. All whites are not the enemy to Blacks, but
Blacks continue to be their own worst enemy in too many cases.

Before the physical altercations of Selma the mind was served with
the words that inspired millions to place their lives and the lives
of women and even children in the line of physical abuse from attack.
This is how important the right to vote is, the right to have equality and
to be treated equitably.
Today many Black men are portrayed as weak, because of the lack of
voting strength and high levels of unemployment. This will continue
if Black men and Black women and families do not unify and work
together to change the status que. In the blog America needs more
BMWing I try to show why America needs more Black Men Working.

It is understood that children interpret 85% of their communication
with their father or father figure in their lives by non-verbal gestures.
When you break it down, “most communication is actually non-verbal.”
This means that factors like not registering to vote, not voting even if
registered and other behaviors that are not positive are passed from
one generation to the other. Simplistically, if you keep the man/men,
fathers/grandfathers down and powerless this transfers to the family.

If you keep mothers distracted by having no husband, no father,
uneducated on welfare, happy to receive their EBT cards, keep them
complacent and needy they will be distracted by the challenges of life
and not care about voting or politics and eventually lose the will for
education and societal improvements. They will stay out of the way
and remain in their “hoods” with their little “hood rats.”

Blacks as seen in Selma must stop being comfortable in their “hoods”
physically, economically, socially, educationally, financially and
politically. Selma told the story to improve the lifestyles of and for
Blacks is through education, unity and cultural pride. Blacks do not
for the majority want to be white, they want an equal playing field
to provide for their families. To raise them with dignity and respect.

The author K. Harris of Prince, The Future King series states, “fathers
are critically important to their children’s well being and are a role
model for their children.” It is widely known how important fathers
are in the lives of their children; look at the lives of Malcolm X and
other men whose fathers were involved in Black Nationalism, but
also how racism, stereotypical thinking, and discrimination shaped
their lives as well.
Coinciding with writings in Proverbs 4:1 which states, “Hear ye children
the instruction of a father and attend to know understanding”. Black
men must teach each other and teach their children, guide them and
nurture them, but not lead them down the wrong paths that will
destroy their futures. Leading another generation to destruction and
being lost with no equal educational opportunities or chances for
employment to change their socio-economic situations.

Ephesians 4:25, “wherefore putting away lying, speak every man
truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another”. Men
unite in a common quest to raise our children whether in the home
or not and accept the responsibilities that we have as contributors
of life. To speak truth to our children and to each other, in
Ephesians 4:29 states, “let no corrupt communication proceed
out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying,
that may minister grace unto the hearers.”

The Civil Rights movement not moment was organized by students
and ministers. Through their works together and organized unity
they made great changes in society. They organized individuals
into a movement to effect change in their neighborhoods, in homes,
and in the hearts of their people first. Nothing will change if fathers
and men do not unify to make sure their families are provided for,
their children see them (fathers) fighting for equal rights in all of
society and the value of education.

Selma will just be another Black movie if Blacks
do not move forward to effect the changes that need to be
made in American society. Selma demonstrated the reasons
for the fight for justice that still rings true today. Blacks are
still in conflict with themselves and society, before we can
demand change from the government, the justice system
and even come to terms with our diverse religious
denominations that struggle in unity, Blacks must come to
terms with themselves.

Malcolm X in the 60’s asked a key question in the
evolution of Blacks in America stating.”

Men need to support efforts to mentor children, youth, teens,
and young adults to improve their futures from
potentially being targets to being the leaders their
community needs. Get out and register to vote then get
out to vote!!! If Blacks don’t vote we will see
the same faces with the same results with the same problems.

“Who is sick and tired of being sick and tired?”
I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, 1964

SELMA Resources:
The Selma and Montgomery Civil Rights Battles

Selma – Montgomery March, 1965 – p1
Bloody Sunday – Selma, Alabama

A Ride Through Selma Alabama

Eyes on the Prize (VI) Bridge to Freedom, 1965


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