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CALL ME "RUKUS"
I’ve been thinking about Mandela’s death over the past hour. An incredible leader with incredible ideals that fell in line with those of most great leaders: equality for all, power in the hands of common people, and making the world a better place.
This may sound strange, but I feel the age of “overt causes” is over. By that I mean the things common men would generally agree on as “injustice” have now become more systemic; they are marginalized either by our ever changing language, or our senses have been dulled to them due to media sensationalism. Racism has moved from obvious manifestations like segregation and apartheid; it now roosts in corporate glass ceilings, low key racial profiling, and division based on class/economic factors that are intrinsically related to race. Problems like hunger have been beaten to a pulp by the media - we’ve become desensitized to slow-motion images of African children standing shirtless, their tiny ribs poking against their skin - and the saddened white man or woman crouched over them begging for our tiny monthly donation. In an era of transparency, people are turned off by the fact that only 30% of their contributions make it to those needing help - the rest is swallowed up by bureaucracy and the rising costs of advertising, administrating, and travel for these massive charitable institutions. Civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are long gone as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have taken the reins, while cherry-picking causes or becoming embroiled in scandals themselves. Even if the cause is legit, if the spokesperson’s background is not spotless, we turn away.
What ideals are we actually willing to fight for these days? Who are the next leaders and what exactly are they leading against?
We are more fascinated with the pen (or the keyboard) these days. We write about what’s wrong. We write about what we want to see. We blog about it. We post status updates. We tweet about it. We create memes with sarcastic expressions of our views. We write, write, write. Ironically, I’m doing it now. But is any action actually happening?
The truth is, the wars against injustice, racism, tribalism, classism, hunger, disease, and more are all being fought guerrilla-style. The revolutions are not being televised. They are being fought by underpaid community leaders. They are being fought by missionary nurses and doctors. They are being fought by parents and teachers who are preaching diversity to their kids, and living it as well. They are being fought by role models as powerful and influential as President Obama or Oprah, and as gifted and talented as Alicia Keys…or as grounded as a single parent with 2 jobs, or a married couple involved with their children’s homework. People who let the words of Mandela, King, Churchill, Kennedy, and more stir in the back of their minds at all times. People who want the world to be better, or at least its children. People that are working towards fulfilling an ideal - not just a quota of money earned.
We may never have leaders as noble and brave as Mandela again. No one is perfect and we live in a society and 24 hour news cycle that is constantly trying to prove that. However, the freedoms some of our greatest leaders have given us is the ability to educate and raise our kids in a manner that makes them appreciate the liberty they have, and the ability for each of us to fight for how we want the future to look through our words, actions, and what we are willing to give and sacrifice.
R.I.P Nelson Mandela and the great leaders who have passed in our own lives.
-Kingsley Okafor@1 week ago with 5 notes
The same way it began,
suddenly, but not
a look in your eyes
and the realization
that whatever is next
is new.@1 year ago