Mental slavery effects keeping blacks from reaching potential

As another Black History Month comes to an end, I begin to think. How many things have changed for the black race in America within the last 50 years?

For those individuals who feel like 50 years was ages ago, just realize that your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents probably lived through many of those injustices you read about in your history books.

Fast forward to 2008, and there are more black doctors and lawyers in this country than ever before.

A black candidate even has a chance of winning the United States presidency. But have blacks in America finally gained equality? The answer is no.

Just because physical and institutionalized slavery has ended, mental slavery is far from over. The late great Bob Marley said, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!” Believe it or not, many black minds still need to be freed to truly make us great.

As a youth I began to notice that everything blacks considered ugly in a person’s appearance is the physical characteristic of a person of African descent. If your nose is wide, this is considered unattractive.

Everybody knows somebody, or is that person, who was teased growing up about how “nappy” their hair is.

Being considered “too black” seems to be the ultimate sin. Our oppressors created this whole mindset. They told us we meant nothing, and our religious beliefs, languages and family values were destroyed.

Something that happened more than 200 years ago still has serious lasting effects on us in 2008. The most frequently reoccurring situation I’ve encountered is everybody’s fear of the sun.

“The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice,” and the phrase the late James Brown made famous, “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud,” are things this generation needs to remember – our predecessors lived by and truly believed in such ideals.

The last mental hurdle we have to get over is the thought that material things improve status in society. In America money does bring power, but so does education.

Individuals who don’t have money and finally achieve a certain amount of wealth shouldn’t spend it carelessly, but invest it.

Having five chains on your neck and shoes that cost $300 doesn’t help your children. Those things are only temporary pleasures.

I pray I see the day when we as a race overcome the lasting mental effects of slavery and rise to the occasion of true equality.