So far we have come, but so far yet to go with racial parity

So far we have come, but so far yet to go with racial parity
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This little piece of real estate called the United States of America is definitely a bit different now than it was when my sharecropping grandparents were my age.

While it was unthinkable in their time, today we can attend the same schools, eat at the same lunch counters, drink from the same water fountains and use the same restrooms as white folks. We’re no longer just “the help,” and men and women who look like me have the letters and titles of respect before and after their names. 

In short, we’ve come a long way. We used to be on the menu but now, in many ways, we’re at the table.


We’ve come a long way — but we still have a long way yet to go.

So, while we acknowledge and applaud the progress we’ve made in some areas, we must all agree that some progress is far from enough progress.

Let’s be honest: How can we be free when countless black and brown voters show up to cast their ballots only to find their names have been purged from the rolls? How can we be free when they close precincts in our communities and the 21st century poll tax of voter ID is the law of the land?

How can we be free when rising costs and shrinking wages keep our communities shackled to poverty? Remember that, while some people like to brag about low unemployment, job growth doesn’t mean much when you need two or three of those jobs to make a living. Remember, black unemployment was virtually zero across the South once, during slavery.

Let’s talk about health care instead of just health insurance, because insurance doesn’t mean much to a black woman in Barnwell County, S.C., who had to live without OB/GYN care or even a hospital emergency room for many years.

Let’s talk about the communities in Durham, N.C., and Columbia, S.C., where living in public housing means you roll the dice with rats and rodents, open radiators that can burn your children and the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. But you still live there because there’s no other option. You know that the game is fixed, but you play anyway because it’s the only game in town.


Let’s be honest. They dump poisons into our rivers and streams and ignore the lead in our drinking water. They arrest our children for “disturbing school” and take money out of their classrooms to fund so-called “school choice” programs that promote re-segregation. They tell us that “all lives matter” and ignore the fact that it’s predominantly the black lives that are ending.

So, just this once, let’s be honest. Black folks are a minority in our nation and a majority in our nation’s prisons. That didn’t happen by accident. White parents don’t have to teach their child how to survive a traffic stop — but mine did.

Let’s not just wink and smile at the pages of progress. Let’s read aloud the complete story where mandatory minimums replaced the lynch mob and tiki torches replace the burning cross. Let’s acknowledge that, sadly, many of the same issues that have challenged families that look like mine challenge us still today.

Let’s be honest this February and reflect, but not redirect from the reality of our history recognizing that while we’re not where we were, we’re not where we need to be either.

And let’s use this month to rededicate ourselves to that journey — to truth, to liberty and justice for all.

Antjuan Seawright is a Democratic political strategist, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy LLC, and a CBS News political contributor. Follow him on Twitter @antjuansea.