Til they Can’t Bleed No More
There’s a young black woman somewhere who will never exercise her right to vote because she has absolutely no want or (in her opinion) need to do so. She’s criticized for what most would call ignorance, but what she simply calls living her life. The masses put her down for the slap in the face she’s giving the trailblazers before her, the people who sacrificed themselves, both literally and figuratively for black voting rights. Yet and still, she knows no different, all she knows is that her vote and her voice are mute and moot. Spiritually spent, yet perfectly content.
Defeat is a way of life for her and many many others.
So many people are defeated. Down and out. Out for the count. And it’s easy to dismiss them. They’ve given up, you say. They’ve taken the L, you say. They’ve lost the fight without even trying to get a lick in, you say.
It’s significantly easier to label helplessness as weakness than to take the time to find out what exactly has torn down our brothers and sisters, and how and why they have been robbed of their thunder. The power of oppression, the long lasting effects of history and institutionalized degradation are all underestimated to the umpteenth degree on a daily basis.
The fight for equal voting rights for blacks was (and many will argue, still is) a long and arduous fight. Lives were snuffed out and voices were drowned out. People like Jimmie Lee Jackson were physically shut up – young Jimmie killed and his frail and elderly grandfather nearly beaten to death in 1965 – for rallying for equal voting rights in Selma, Alabama. With the close relationship between advocating for equal voting rights and punishment and even death, who is to question black apathy toward such an alleged natural right? And when this apathy transfers to the 21st century, it can turn into complete disassociation. You have a young woman with no interest to vote…because she never learned anything about it. Her mother never took her to the voting booth…because her parents never took her to the voting booths…because their parents were threatened with lynching if they even spoke of voting or the NAACP or anything related to forward thinking for blacks in the Jim Crow south.
It runs deep.
Some people’s spirits are intact while others have been broken, broken again and beaten, over and over again, ‘til they can’t bleed no more. I’m talking about the broken spirit. Treat it the same way as you would a wingless bird. A wingless bird — full of potential, but also, full of defeat. A defeat as heavy as a ton of bricks.
So next time you’re so quick to judge, chastise and turn your nose up to people you consider to be less progressive, or less conscious or less educated than you, tie a ton of bricks to your back and try to fly.