Back in the 90’s there was this awesome song from the New Jack City soundtrack called “Get it Together (Black is a Force)” and my sister used to play it all the time. The lyrics from this song always stuck with me, particularly the chorus which almost chanted: “Black is a Force to be reckoned with, Black is a Force to be seen…”
These days I do a lot of work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. In this work, I have come up against negative attitudes and behaviours in my community that makes me question if others feel the same way I do. Trying to create change, particularly within the mindset of those younger than me, I have found opposition to this change – people are scared to confront negative behaviours, scared of being yelled at, scared of being abused by others in the community who don’t like their bad behaviour being challenged.
I recently thought of quitting and just giving up in my endeavours to create positive change in the younger generations of Black folk, but thankfully my fighting spirit hasn’t been crushed yet – and I have a lot of support from some really key people in my life. So I will continue on the path I have set, and not settle for second-rate behaviour from my fellow Black people. I refuse to say that these negative behaviours are okay, to condone them through silence, to back down from stamping them out just because others feel uncomfortable in confronting them or they abuse me because of my challenge to their behaviour.
And so I keep going inshallah, because “Black is a Force to be reckoned with, Black is a Force to be seen…”