By Peter Otabor
We hold this truth to be self-evident that all men are created EQUAL, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain alienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I look to a day when people will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.
It is this truth we hold to be self-evident and upon which we have built the ideals of today’s society but yet words remain words if men acknowledge but do not accept.
If anything is self-evident; a reflection of truth and an undeniable fact then reason begs that all men would embrace acceptance. If truly all men were created equal; society would not strive for equality in all things. And if truly a day came when men were not judged and defined by the colour of their skin; I am certain history would acknowledge its presence.
Colour! Fragments of perception shattered over the path of human acceptance as men define colour as the subjective representation of superiority and class. Black, White or the imaginary line in between; society plunges into division as the chains of freedom dangle over acceptance. So what then is colour; a class, a people, or simply a mixture of life’s beauty.
Of all the ideologies of the world; nothing holds much water like the definition or stigma of colour. Like a jar overflowing with water, colour has become a topical issue in today’s society. Although, the imprints of law express the fact that that all men are created equal and not defined by colour; societal acceptance is simply the great barrier holding reason. You simply cannot engrave acceptance into the hearts of people and so here we are at the very beginning of evolution learning the basics of life.
Who is the White man? What does he represent? The self-righteous indignation of men claiming superiority, perfection or is the colour of his skin simply just colour. Regardless, we are bound to the definition of colour and to the meaning men attach to it. For the Black man remains black in all things and the White man, white in all things; the great division as all primates are not equal, the Lion and the Gazelle, one to chase and the other to run in fear, in obedience and in submission until eaten up in that trio.
Africa remains the definition of Black and the representation of everything barbaric, primitive and lost. Our history is painted with the pictures of naked men absent thought or reason or organization and men in chains. Our leaders depict the height of greed and selfish intent like hungry-feed men who have not had their full. And so they plunder every fragment of hope starving their own people and to the White man’s land they sail in search of comfort or simply the illusion of it; a fool’s dream or fallacy. No wonder the Black man remains Black in the eyes of the White man, his achievements wrought with doubts as men only cling to acceptance in the absence of nothing else. And so the Black man remains the opposite of everything White and Right.
White and Right, Black and Wrong; an irony of sorts but then a lesson from history tells the tale of civilization existing in the Black man’s land before the colonials came to her shores. There was a system, there was a government, there was order and people lived with a sense of belonging and pride. For the great Benin kingdom was established by the Black man in the bushes of the Niger, the pyramids of Egypt built by the unenlightened Egyptians and the Ethiopian empire built by the Nomads in the North. Regardless of the prejudices; these feats were achieved by the Black man; the Black man. So what then is Black? Is it the reflection of worth, ability or simply the mixture of life’s beauty?
Survival! That is who the Black man is; a survivor and each day he rises to survive. From what? From the prejudices of today’s society, from the social inequality, from the harsh life of which he is not a creator of or in agreement to. But each day he must rise to survive as his existence is dependent on it. Survive, Survive and Survive. So he continues to inch on survival and every thought directed towards survival. This survival mentality soon becomes the culture passed down and there you have a generation lost; lost with a survival driven-consumer mentality and a man never grows if all he does is consume and not produce.
Reality tells no lies. Poverty is regarded as synonymous to Africa. But a man is not poor because he lacks but because he fails to take action to change his lack into abundance with what he has. So in the midst of plenty, only fools wallow in poverty. Truly the reflection of the African story but then if a people fail to rise from this pit of pity then hope would only seem a fool’s illusion. The Black man must rise from his self-made shackles and walk the path of wisdom and embrace change. He must take the leap forward rising on the shoulders of past heroes with the firm understanding that poverty is not a black thing, it is a thing of mentality; a mentality that has robbed off the Black nation where every man is survival driven. And for him to truly progress he must change; change his mentality.
The days of the Black struggle are over but then we are awakened to a new Black struggle as the Black man fights for dignity and respect of his rights. But despite the societal prejudices, the stigma of colour continues to hinder change. Are all men not created equal regardless of colour, sex, tribe, religion and are seen as equal. Must we fight for societal acceptance or simply watch our dignity lost to stigmatization. Must we stress we are not Black; a depiction of wrong and Black is simply a colour. Must we walk the path of defiance to fight for liberty and be chastised for our beliefs. Or must we just sit and wait until the saviour arrives. For if the chains of slavery and the whips of torment have taught us anything, it is that a man must fight, fight for meaning, fight for acceptance, fight for what he beliefs or be held captive forever.
And so I long for a day when men walk in the true image of their Creator absent the prejudice of colour; equal and free. For Black is no stigma, it is shrouded beauty for which the convoluted perceptions of men lacking wisdom and foresight cannot conceive. It is true beauty!
So who is the White man?
Black is not a race, it is not a people, it is a colour!
I have long held the belief that all men are not just created equal but are equal irrespective of colour or societal divisions. But never for once have I questioned my belief and the rationale behind it. For what makes a man less equal than his fellow men if there be any reason. For we are all bound to the same fate; to live and to die eventually.