"the struggle"

by C. Ikpoh

It is in this nation a struggle exists. It is my struggle and it is our struggle. Woo, God, do I love this struggle. I embrace it! No one else has it like us. No one. I wouldn't have it any other way either. My inflamed sense of pride.
I am who they say I am, but I am not defined by who they say I am. Judged Black, declared a minority, technically multiracial; embracing my European blood, I strive to understand it all, for it was my mother of European descent who told me to never forget that in this world -- in this world of hatred and oppression -- that I am a Black man. I am of African descent. Yes, I am Africa's ascendency. I am the Motherland's product producing productful progression professionally. Think about that for a second. My inflamed sense of heritage.
Should I embrace those who watch me with suspicion? Should I embrace those who "tolerate" me? You tell me to embrace those who would rather have it without me, without us. You tell me to embrace those who will accept ME but not US. I am to accept the looks of unfounded fear and prejudice? I am to accept their inflicted pain and injustice? I will not! I refuse. Therefore, I embrace the struggle. My inflamed sense of resistance.
I have a dream that by any means necessary my people will overcome. I have a dream that one day we won't be the ones killing us, and we won't be the ones knocking us off. I have a dream those few smoked filled rooms of the revolution will congregate to become one. I have a dream, and in this dream, I speak gangsta, think Muslim and act Catholic. Think about that as well... Yes, I have a dream that we aren't hoodwinked, that we aren't bamboozled. I have a dream that our struggle grows beyond the control of those who oppress, empowering us eternally. I have a dream the days and nights spent by our ancestors during travel in the Middle Passage, where they were forced to sleep in their own sweat, blood, urine, fecal matter and semen, are realized by us because they did it FOR us; they endured so we can be here. My inflamed sense of Malcom X, Dr. King, Farrakhan, Mya Angelou, Tupac, Beanie Siegel and the enslaved. My inflamed sense of our prophets and our brave.

When my dream becomes reality, they will say I am a separatist. They will say I am a racist. Nevertheless, they will be wrong. I am here to encourage my people. I strengthen the struggle because it is what bonds us. It is what will make us overcome. I champion for US. All the while, I welcome those who welcome us -- who support our fight and our struggle. I welcome those who support our overcoming. In the same vein, I despise those who do not. I will forever be the bane of their existence. I will make them wish I never went to the schools in the same country as them. I will make them wish I never was  given the chance to excel, because I have and I will always do just that. My inflamed sense of good versus evil.

Since my early years, I have been with all and been rejected by all. Since my early years, I have prayed with Christians, fasted with Muslims, shared theology with Jews, listened to and learned the words of Buddhists, discussed Hinduism and like culture with Hindus, and heeded stories of African religions. I have broken bread with men and women from all races, religions, creeds and backgrounds. I have held the hands of the sick and shaken the hands of the strong. I have carried the incapable and been carried by the capable. I have educated the ignorant and learned from the wise. I have led the young and followed the old. All this I have done because NOW is the time. Now is the time for our inflamed sense of the struggle.