Better to be strong

Are you weak are strong? When your rights are violated and you give up without a fight, you are mentally weak. Strong people fight for what they want and what they believe they deserve. Weak people lack perseverance and are often unsuccessful because they give up too easily. Regardless, how difficult the task, a person must fight for their goals. 

You must fight for your rights, even those that are guaranteed under the law. The police, corporations, and judges violate people's rights all the time. Most people just accept it, but there are a few who refuse to accept their rights being violated. People in power lie about your ability to fight back in order to make or keep you weak. Slogans such as "you can't beat city hall" and "he who represents himself has a fool for a client" discourages people from even trying. 

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed" – Martin Luther King, Jr.

This country was created by people taking power, not by people asking for it. It took a civil war to end slavery. In 1863 black men, half of whom were former slaves, helped turn the tide of war. Those newly freed slaves knew they had to fight for their freedom in order to keep it. Likewise, you must take (envoke) your rights or they will simply be taken away. 

More than a decade before Barack Obama became President of the United States, he wrote the book "Dreams from My Father". Obama mentioned a conversation with his Indonesian stepfather, Lolo, in the book. Young Barack asked Lolo if he had ever seen a man killed?  Lolo replied "yes". Obama asked, "why the man was killed?"  Lolo responded, "because he was weak". Obama replied, "That's all?", to which Lolo responded, "that's usually enough".

Lolo further explained:

"Men take advantage of weakness in other men." …"The strong man takes the weak man's land. He makes the weak man work in his fields. If the weak man's woman is pretty, the strong man will take her." … "which would your rather be?" … "Better to be strong" … "If you can't be strong, be clever and make peace with someone who's strong. But always better to be strong yourself. Always."

Reading that passage reminded me of Jack Nicholas' opening scene in "The Departed" where he says "no one gives it to you, you have to take it". Warning the video clip includes verbalization of  the word "nigger".  

Will you allow others to take what is yours or will you fight to keep it? I choose to fight. If you choose not to fight, don't complain about the consequences. Police brutality, mass incarceration, predatory lending, driving while black, stop and frisk, unequal protection of the law, illegal or unfair laws are all things that have successfully been used against black people in this country. This will be the legacy of your children if you do not fight against injustice. Some people give up their rights because it's quicker and convenient. Some innocent people even accept plea bargains involving jail time, because they fear the consequences of losing and being sentenced to more time. 

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety – Benjamin Franklin

Lack of understanding about the law is one of the black community's greatest weaknesses. You must educate yourself about the law to increase your strength. You have been purposefully miseducated so that you would remain weak and others could easily control and exploit you.

"Powerful people never teach powerless people how to take their power away from them" … "Powerful people cannot afford to educate the people that they oppress, because once you are truly educated, you will not ask for power. You will take it" – Dr. John Herik Clark

Traits of Mentally Strong People

  • Take responsibility. Strong people take responsibility for getting the results they want. They don't wait around for others to solve their problems. There may be times when other people cause your problems, but rather than complain or feel sorry for yourself, take action. Take responsibility, not for the problem, but for the outcome you want.
  • Don't allow others to take away power. Allowing others to make you feel inferior or that you have no control, especially over your actions and emotions takes away your strength. Allowing others to divide and conquer your group also zaps your power. People in power will often convince oppressed people that others in the oppressed group should not be trusted. You must be strong both individually and collectively within your group or community.
  • Embrace change. Change will happen rather you want it or not. Fortunes are made because of people anticipating change and responding to it. Strong people embrace changes, weak people fear change.
  • Learn from failure. Strong people don't give up after failure, learn from the past and look towards the future. The first time you tried to walk, you fell, just like everyone else. However, you kept trying and unless there was a physical barrier, you learned  not only how to stand, but also to walk and run. Strong people are willing to fail, over and over if necessary to achieve their goals.
  • Become stronger. No matter how good you are something, you can be better. Mentally strong people attempt to become stronger by increasing their knowledge, greater control of their emotions and going outside their comfort zone to take on new challenges. 
  • Don't worry about pleasing others. Some people will like you while others will not, no matter what you do. You can't demand your rights and freedom while trying to please others. The people oppressing you will not be pleased with your attempt to free yourself. Slave owners did not want slaves to be freed.