Hope is a Black American’s Currency

Hope is a Black American’s Currency.

The relationship between Black Americans and America has long been (and remains) dysfunctional and abusive.  We’ve never been treated fairly or well by America.  There isn’t a single time period we can reflect upon as the “good ol’ days”.  But our history has taught us that we can endure.  The Black person’s American story is one of resilience.

One must wonder, how does the Black American persist day-after-day?  What pushes us to strive to get promoted at work (when we know that we are less often hired or advanced); to push to buy a house (despite discriminatory steering and unfair lending practices); to pursue a higher education (although a White man with a high school diploma makes the same money as a Black man with a college degree)?  How do we continue to push forward, oftentimes excited about our todays and tomorrows when so many of our yesterdays have been so bad?


Hope that tomorrow will be a better day; that one day we won’t fear our police, will get paid equally for equal work, will trust that our children will get an education where we are represented in the curriculum and our kids’ potential is seen, where our beauty is celebrated and not only imitated, where we get the same housing and business loan rates, where we can obtain equal housing and healthcare.

Hope is our currency.

We aren’t driven by the reality of who America is and how it has treated us; but rather by who America could be.  In stark contrast to how we are often portrayed (when we dare complain about America’s inequities) Black Americans are the quintessential Americans.  We have never, despite all of our mistreatment, given up on the American Dream. 

We don’t give up, primarily because of hope, which is why Chauvin being convicted of killing George Floyd was so important.  Had Chauvin been found innocent after the world repeatedly watched him, with cold dead eyes, kneel on George Floyd’s neck, while George cried out for his dead mother, and slowly died – I believe many of us would have lost all hope.

With each needless death, the ones the world sees because of video cameras and the ones that are only seen by a few bystander witnesses, many other lives are dramatically impacted.  Some of us march, conduct voting drives or prayer circles, and pour more into our families and Black-centered organizations.  Some of us avoid watching the videos and the news so that we can block out the pain and the reality of our collective situation.  We do what we can to cling onto hope and to work toward creating a better tomorrow.  Whereas some stop going to work, vandalize buildings, disassociate from society, and stop taking care of ourselves or our families, most of us push on because of Hope.

A physically fit man enjoying nature.

What happens to a Black American when he loses hope?  What happens when so much tells him that he doesn’t matter?  That’s what’s been scaring me lately.  I’m not only fearful for those who are being killed, but for all of the hopes that are simultaneously dying too. 

My hopes are also in jeopardy – at risk of dying.  And if my hope dies, then how could I not just be alive – but also truly live?  How could I continue to push myself and my children if I no longer believed in a better tomorrow?

One Response

  1. Well…it IS okay to let go the love for an American ideology that will likely never be realised…I felt the same way about Chauvin trial…now we have North Carolina…Mahkia etc…maybe we should be hoping for a future mass exodus, I certainly am!

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About Randi B.

Randi is a diversity and inclusion strategist, speaker, trainer and writer, focusing on making connections and cultivating empathy in this diverse world one trip, speech, article, book and conversation at a time.

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