Where Have the Rows Taken Us?

In the midst of all the murder, hatred, and crime going on in the African-American community, my mind began to wonder what has led our people to such a dark place? Of course, I immediately began to think about slavery, but that wasn’t enough. There is something that is so imbedded in our culture, that we are having a hard time seeing what it is, and since we are struggling to see it, it is even more difficult to fix it.

What could it be that has us lacking concern for our fellow men and women? Why are we killing each other at a rate of extinction? Historians will say that we were taught to hate ourselves through slavery. I agree, but is that it? Some would say that the Willie Lynch letter played a role then, and is still significantly important now.

That could very well be true, but what causes me to not care enough about what is going on with the person who lives right next to me?

What causes us not to care about the less fortunate African-Americans in our communities? Mamie Till said it best when she said, “Two months ago I had a nice apartment in Chicago. I had a good job. I had a son. When something happened to the Negroes in the South I said, `That’s their business, not mine.’ Now I know how wrong I was. The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all.” Even though many of us remember the story of Emmett Till, it has not been impactful enough to make us change. But why?

We have seen numerous murders of our people by the hands of white supremacists, and law enforcement alike. We now have white supremacy rearing its ugly head again, and yet we cannot seem to come together. Where did this stronghold come from?

I began to think deeper, and now I can say that I may have the answer. It was the rows. Yes, the rows of cotton picked by our ancestors during slavery. We were living together. We were in bondage together. Other than being separated by way of being sold, the rows became the way of developing village people into individuals.

When our people were working the cotton fields of the South, we did not realize the lasting impact that slavery would have on us. We did not know the fear that was bestowed upon our people. We did not understand what cultural behaviors would be lost, nor did we understand the new culture that was being birthed.

Imagine yourself at the start of a row of cotton. What is the goal?

The goal is to pick as much cotton as possible to make rate. You, and every other slave has a responsibility to your own row. You are also individually responsible for the punishment of not making rate. So by the end of the day, the master is now taking tally of your daily picks. One by one he is counting the weight of your bags. Whomever had the lowest amount, and whomever did not make rate, were then punished by way of the master’s whip. When this was all taking place, I am sure their minds were transforming as well. For every lash across the back, that person was becoming more and more of an individually focused person. Competing against their own people as a means of survival was birthed, and still lives today. Some may ask, “Why didn’t they work together to cover whatever the overall final weight needed to be?”

This was all a part of the plan. Could they have worked together to get the necessary end result? Yes, they could have, but this would have been building people who worked together, as opposed to working as individuals. Learning to work together for the common good of all would have been dangerous to the powers that be. If we could work together, then freedom would become inevitable.

Fast forward to 2017, and you will see where the rows of the cotton fields have taken African-Americans. We have become self-serving people. We are people who focus on what it is that we want, need, and desire as individuals. Even when it comes down to matters that challenge our moral responsibilities, we fail. When someone kills our children, we go down our row, and say, “That has nothing to do with me.” Some of our rows look like higher education, better neighborhoods, higher salaries, better social groups, etc. Yet while we are going down our rows as fast as we can, we don’t dare to look up, and see who is struggling. We won’t take a little bit out of our “bags” to help someone make “rate,” even if we are well above the standard. We stopped being family. We stopped being tribal. We stopped being village people who cared for one another. We are no longer inseparable. We have accepted the role, and our row, while hoping to never feel the lash of the master’s whip on our backs. We have become immune to our own collective demise. We don’t mind watching our brothers and sisters fall, or fail. When we do, we somehow look at our own people and do not see ourselves. We must change this behavior if we ever plan on being impactful as a race.

Is your row important? Yes, but not more important than your brother or sister. We can make rate by working together. One thing is certain, they could not have whipped all of us. That would have made for bad business then, and it makes for bad business now. So why not come together, and collectively win? There will be individuals who disagree with this, but we can’t worry about them. As you go down your row, raise your head, look around, and see who is not making rate, then help them. This can look like advice, a phone call, a connection to a job, constructive criticism, or even just telling them the truth. If you want to see something great take place in the African-American community, learn to work together for the good of the whole, and not just for the good of yourself.

Gregory Meriweather is the CEO of Black on Black Network, talk show host, writer, and public speaker. email: gmeriweather1@gmail.com booking: info@blackonblack.network

 

 

16 thoughts on “Where Have the Rows Taken Us?

  1. I totally agree with you, we have gotten so used to our head being buried in the fields that we lost our tribal nature. One goal of the slave catchers was to filter the tribes so that they couldn’t communicate with each other and work together to escape. Then to your point, they made it a competitive work environment punishable by whippings, being sold/separated from loved ones and even death. That environment caused us to have an individualistic preservation mentality, that has carried on today. Even with our leaders, we see them focused on an agenda with an individualistic mentality. We have to get back to our tribal roots and come together to save our communities. Awesome Article!

  2. Thank you a lot for providing individuals with remarkably special opportunity to read in detail from this web site. It really is very pleasant plus full of fun for me personally and my office colleagues to search your web site the equivalent of thrice per week to study the latest things you have. And definitely, I am just always pleased for the stunning pointers you serve. Some 4 areas in this post are really the very best I’ve ever had.

  3. Thanks a lot for giving everyone an exceptionally brilliant chance to read in detail from this site. It is often so pleasant and as well , stuffed with a lot of fun for me and my office acquaintances to visit your site more than thrice in a week to learn the newest issues you have. And indeed, I am just usually satisfied considering the special creative concepts you serve. Selected 1 ideas in this article are undeniably the finest we have ever had.

  4. I would like to convey my passion for your kind-heartedness supporting men who require guidance on this particular theme. Your personal dedication to passing the solution up and down was rather valuable and has consistently made employees much like me to realize their ambitions. This informative instruction indicates this much a person like me and further more to my mates. Many thanks; from all of us.

  5. I and my buddies ended up taking note of the best information and facts found on the website and then at once I had a horrible suspicion I never expressed respect to the blog owner for those secrets. The ladies were absolutely happy to read through all of them and have now extremely been using these things. Appreciation for being so helpful and then for picking this form of superb subject matter most people are really wanting to discover. Our own honest apologies for not saying thanks to you sooner.

  6. The following time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I do know it was my choice to learn, but I truly thought youd have something attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could possibly repair in case you werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

  7. I want to show my appreciation for your generosity supporting men and women who require guidance on in this subject. Your real dedication to getting the solution along had been definitely useful and have surely encouraged individuals like me to arrive at their targets. Your personal warm and helpful suggestions can mean a whole lot a person like me and much more to my peers. Best wishes; from all of us.

  8. I really wanted to type a simple word to say thanks to you for the amazing recommendations you are placing at this site. My time consuming internet look up has now been recognized with awesome content to write about with my company. I would mention that most of us website visitors actually are unquestionably fortunate to dwell in a great place with many outstanding people with good points. I feel somewhat lucky to have discovered your webpage and look forward to really more cool moments reading here. Thanks again for everything.

  9. I precisely had to say thanks once more. I’m not certain what I could possibly have tried in the absence of the smart ideas shared by you on that theme. It became an absolute intimidating circumstance for me personally, nevertheless observing a new specialised technique you treated it forced me to jump over joy. I am just grateful for this information and as well , hope that you are aware of an amazing job that you’re doing instructing other individuals using your web site. Most probably you have never encountered any of us.

  10. My spouse and i have been lucky that Michael could carry out his research by way of the precious recommendations he got through the web page. It is now and again perplexing to simply continually be handing out guides the rest have been selling. So we recognize we’ve got the website owner to appreciate because of that. These illustrations you’ve made, the simple site navigation, the friendships your site help to create – it is mostly amazing, and it’s really leading our son and us recognize that that subject is satisfying, which is extraordinarily mandatory. Thank you for the whole lot!

  11. I as well as my pals were found to be taking note of the nice key points on your web page and so all of a sudden I got a horrible suspicion I had not expressed respect to the web blog owner for those strategies. Most of the men happened to be totally very interested to read them and already have in actuality been tapping into these things. Thank you for getting really considerate and also for picking this sort of brilliant issues millions of individuals are really needing to discover. My personal sincere regret for not saying thanks to sooner.

  12. Thank you so much for providing individuals with a very terrific chance to read critical reviews from this site. It really is very great and also jam-packed with a lot of fun for me and my office peers to visit your web site minimum 3 times every week to learn the fresh secrets you have. And of course, I’m also actually contented with all the excellent thoughts you serve. Some 2 areas in this post are truly the best we have all had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *