OPINION | Orisabiyi Williams
In 2017, the truth is discarded like old clothes, and those who stand with truth usually have no friends. Truth tellers are quickly identified as the troublemaker, and those who seek fame and success run from the truth and the truth-tellers because they don’t want truth to be a wedge between social or monetary gains.
It is so important to have Black media that sticks to telling our stories truthfully, no matter how uncomfortable it may make others, or how uncomfortable it makes us. It is in uncomfortableness that we grow morally and spiritually, and somewhere in between that, change occurs. Africans in America, even through our suffering, are afraid to speak truth to power. We seek justice, but we’re scared, to tell the truth. You can’t have one without the other. Truth is to justice as the bee is to the flower. They need each other.
“One does not leave truthfulness inside to purchase wickedness on credit.”
– African Proverb
Often times, Black folks have become accustomed to consciously hiding the truth for gains (as if someone told us that our pain was for sale) or some just don’t want to upset “good White folks.” We don’t realize that when we do this, we offer the suffering no voice, no love, and justice is denied on arrival.
When some White folks see Black organizations, or any Black person with a platform, most will immediately attempt to control that platform, and they use manipulation to do it. Malcolm X tried to tell us this on May 13, 1964, when he spoke at the University of Ghana. Malcolm X stated, “We who live in America have learned to measure Black men: the object we use to measure him is the attitude of America toward him. When we find a Black man who’s always receiving the praise of the Americans, we become suspicious of him. When we find a Black man who receives honors and all kinds of plaques and beautiful phrases and words from America, we immediately begin to suspect that person. Because it has been our experience that the Americans don’t praise any Black man who is really working for the benefit of the Black man.” This is why it is critical to be immune to flattery and immune to the wrong type of criticism when you are in the business of healing and liberating Africans in America. There are people who want to control your message, and they always send Black folks after you, to bribe you and make you feel like you are the smartest negro in the room. I know this is a harsh truth, but we must understand the game to keep ourselves from getting played. Stand in truth! When you stand in truth, God and your Ancestors will always protect you! O’ye of little faith!
A few days ago, I was blessed with an opportunity to attend a two-day symposium with keynote speakers Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Joy DeGruy and Dr. Derald Sue. The symposium was filled with information, encouragement and tools that are needed for mental health workers and community activists. Their message was all centered on one thing, “truth.”
Why is standing up and telling the truth about our conditions and what oppresses us so hard to do? If we are afraid to tell the truth about our stories, then we depend on other people to tell our stories their way, and with their truth. We have consistently lived in a state of accommodation, so much so that we prefer to be comfortable in our oppression, and because of that, we allow our stories and truth to be compromised.
It’s crazy that we as a people will curse, fight and disrespect one another, but we lack the courage to speak with conviction and authority in telling truth. We teach our children to tell the truth, but then we turn around and perpetuate a lie about who we are, what happened to us and we teach our children how to be prisoners of injustice. I have such an admiration for Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, twin sister of the late Terence Crutcher. She has been a force in seeking justice for her brother, and she stands boldly, graciously, unapologetic and non-accommodating while speaking truth to power. When I think of her, I think of the last thing I heard her say;
“We have to stop accepting ‘It is what it is!'”
Let’s stop accepting untruths and fabricated stories about what happened to us and who we are. It starts with US. I’m tired of our own people aiding in our oppression by comforting lies rather than demanding truth. In the words of Fannie Lou Hamer,
“I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
Where are the truth tellers?
Where are the truth tellers? Where are you? Straighten your backs, stand up and tell the truth!