By Jineea Butler
So now that we know that the state of the Black Community is worse than it was 50 years ago, what are we going to do? Are we going to continue to point fingers or are we going to get active in doing what we need to do for ourselves? We do not need everyone in the United States of America to honor, respect and embrace our community. It’s not going to happen. Of course, we don’t need them to open fire every time they see someone who represents what they most dislike. We just need them to follow the law. So how do we peacefully co-exist and still reap the benefits that come with citizenship in the United States?
What I respect about the Black men and women in the generations that came before us is they refined their protests; they put on the equipment to fight the circumstances. They understood that they had to come armed with something other than a gun. They turned to the books, they out thought their oppressors, they outworked the competition and developed an attitude of perseverance. They learned to wear suits, they got educated, they got married, they changed their perspectives, their conversations, and their landscape. They became as aware as their enemies. This, my friends, is called strategy.
The oldest game of war is chess. I watched brothers on lockdown and in the streets play chess with more precision than Bobby Fischer so when considering a strategy I want us to analyze the game of chess. If economic empowerment was the opposing King, how would you play it?
First you have to set up the board, meaning you have to analyze your surroundings and align your team. In chess, each piece moves in a unique manner across the 64-square board with 32 white squares and 32 black squares. The goal is to trap the leader of the opposing army, this is called checkmate.
You have to use a combination of strategy and tactics to determine what moves you should make before you make them. You even have to plan well into the future. We should think no differently. Our only goal should be economic empowerment because economic empowerment solves everything else. We will have the man- and womanpower and resources to combat everything that we need to handle if we work collectively. Our problem is we are not using our pieces correctly.
Each team is given 16 pieces: eight pawns, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, a king and a queen. The first question you need to ask yourself is: Are you the piece being played or are you the piece controlling the board? Pawns are known as the weakest piece on the board, everybody should be a pawn at least once in their life. In the pawn position, you learn to take risks, you learn to make mistakes, and sometimes you are sacrificed for something greater than yourself.
And if you are a young pawn, you have the power to transform into any piece on the board. Some people stay pawns or are used as pawns for far too long purposely avoiding sacrifices and getting in the way of progressive moves of their team. This translates into a major problem in our community, some people don’t want to do the work to become a rook, bishop, knight, king or queen. And when they avoid the inevitable they hinder the flow and movement of every other piece on the board.
The rook, bishop and knight play as the king’s support system defending and attacking in his honor. The queen is the power of a bishop and a rook in one piece and stands next to the king. We know that if you are careless with your queen, you will be sure to lose her. The king is only able to move one step at a time; therefore it is the moves of his team that he must depend on to be successful.
The game originated as a way to show kings how important everybody is in their kingdoms. Everybody should aspire to be a king before they leave this life. Everyone should know how to lead a crusade for a common goal. It is unfortunate that most do not make it that far. It was considered an important part of formal education in ancient Egypt and other dynasties.
We need everybody’s minds all in to work and grow progressively without stepping on each other’s toes. We need you to find the courage to do your best to get across the board to become the most powerful pieces in the game. If you do not get across the first time, play until you do. We need you to develop strategies that can be used in the broader spectrum of combating economic empowerment. We just need everybody to play their position.
Jineea Butler, founder of the Social Services of Hip Hop and the Hip Hop Union is a Hip Hop Analyst who investigates the trends and behaviors of the community and delivers programming that solves the Hip Hop Dilemma. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet her at @flygirlladyjay.