Guest FMM by Jabari I Powell
“I hate math, but more accurately – I do not love division.” ~ #JonesGeneHumor
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Today is the beginning of a New Year, a symbol for new beginnings. Often on this day we resolve to make our own personal changes and hope to keep true to them beginning with the upcoming calendar year. Some we manage to sustain, while others fall by the wayside to be replaced by new ones we pick up through the year.
For those goals we do not achieve, what does that mean? Have we failed? Neglecting to achieve and failing are separate ideas that we tend to confuse. Targets not accomplished are goals unachieved. But the attempt and effort put forth means we cannot have failed. Failure is the absence of the attempt to achieve. Even though others may not perceive our efforts and judge us only by our results, we should never quit in our efforts to add to our growth and evolution.
This brings me back to math. Why do I hate math? Division – separating into parts; disagreement between two or more groups. Besides math applications, the only thing that comes from division is more division. What do I mean? Often caught in a color blind world, where lives are simply Black or White, we focus on the external hues of the individual.
“What are you?” is a question posed to me over a hundred times, but for which the answer “a person” doesn’t suffice. Those who ask believe in Black/White, or some mixing of such. But the expectation is that I will respond with a straight Black or White answer.
Do they know that black is the absence of color? People are filled with a diverse mix of hues, but most refuse to acknowledge this diversity.
Do they know that black originally insinuated a negative connotation to whatever it was applied to? Blackball, blackmail, blacklist, black market, etc. are all terms that describe less than desirable events or situations.
Do they know? Pride is a sin. We can remove the sting of a negative by turning it into a positive. But being proud to be denigrated does not change the history and essence of a description. Accepting or owning a term of denigration does not change its meaning in the eyes of its creators.
So what? Nothing at all. Well, except maybe this:
Once upon a time I was a man who identified as an African in the Black/White debate. However, often times an individual’s personal historical ignorance caused them to assume I wouldn’t identify with the parts of my “roots” that descended from the Motherland (actually my father’s “land”). However, after spending the greater part of two and a half weeks in the country of Wales while visiting my family I have learned many new ideas, and discovered a much simpler philosophy to identify myself. So, rather than pick or choose a side, I choose to accept them both and acknowledge that no matter which side of the Crook of Gibraltar #JonesGeneHumor (I say this because I can’t imagine any separation of land being perfectly straight, and because crook fits its nature of being a divisive body of water) I am simply a person. So I accept people for who they are and how they are, rather than what they may or may not identify as.
Now, I write these words as they exist in my heart in order to express a desire for freedom. Freedom from being categorized. Freedom, a right that should be as natural as life itself.
So why? Why are there Blacks and Whites, Reds and Yellows, or even Cuban, Jamaican, Irish, Welsh, German, Saudi, Iranian, Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese, etc.?
The answer/problem: Division. The belief that we are different because we do not appear the same, we do not originate from the same place, we do not frequent the same venues.
Is this true? Is this a fact? Or is this merely an opinion? If the answer/problem is true you can cease reading. All these words will be of no use to you. If it’s a fact – prove it. However, if this was simply your opinion, recognize that opinions are free to change as quickly as the weather.
I have no ideas whether someone’s opinion is subject to change. I mostly hope to present the idea that change is possible. Some minds, however, are closed and no amount of words or deeds will change that mind. Their opinions are their truths, and these words are of no use to them. They may change, or they may not. That choice remains with them, just like the rest of us.
Okay, and? What’s my point? No point. Points are narrow in focus, and often miss the bigger picture. But let me attempt to bring these ideas together.
In order for any of the ideas mentioned so far (change, division, freedom) to be accomplished, it begins with acknowledgment. First, acknowledging that these ideas and their opposites exist. Then acknowledging that there are more people divided than unified; more people trapped than free. And as a result, our lives are more likely to be subject to stagnant waters than changing tides.
After acknowledging, we must decide why such a situation exists. Much like these contrasting ideas, I believe there are two ideas that compete for dominion within us all. Simple ideas really. Love and Fear. We learn each of them even when we are babies, but have no control over which we learn in greater quantity.
And neither are these ideas that can be taught by even the most educated and experienced of parents. These ideas are the sum of the experience in our lives. Though received as experiences, they are molded by beliefs and how we perceive events.
The difference between how our perceptions and beliefs influence events boils down to our grasp of faith. With faith, love endures through all our trials and tribulations. However, our lack of faith is what allows fear to grow within us all.
So the concluding message today, on this first day of the New Year, is to accept only Love into our hearts. Let us allow it to replace any Fear we once knew so that we can begin this new year unafraid to take on the challenges that change requires. A change within us all to accept one another as equals.
*Jabari has launched a Gofundme S.M.A.R.T.I.E. campaign https://www.gofundme.com/rj2dkrba to be the difference he wants to see in this world. If you are interested, please visit his page and if motivated, contribute to his cause. Words without action are empty, and we wish to work towards One World, One People.
Happy New Year!
Jabari’s message, my *conclusion.