A Letter To My President

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: Your Reactions to Personal Attacks

Dear President Barack Obama:

I am writing this letter to express my amazement and near adoration at your [and Michelle’s] equable persona in the face of unadulterated vitriol from many in Congress as well as from far too many in our country. How you are able to retain a graceful composure and speak in measured terms in response to vile racial epithets is worthy of mention.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time contemplating the human drama and its condition. For the most part, humans pain me more often than impress me. Though not quite a misanthrope, I find it challenging to see the “divine” in the devil called humanity. You and Michelle, however, are a unique combination of grace and equanimity [not to mention intelligence].

But let us be clear, Mr. President, I do not agree with some of the things you have done or positions you have espoused. For the record, I have to admit, I do not agree with everything “God” has done either.

Nevertheless, when I hear or read what your opponents and detractors hurl at you, it is clear that much of it has to do with your being Black as opposed to simply being President. They paint Michelle as an angry black virago and you as the embodiment of how they see black men – someone not worthy of the same measure of respect as your White counterparts.

If their critique is not overtly racist, then there is often an underlying tint of disdain based on your race. What is fascinating is that you never play the race card even when your critics deal it to you.

What I especially respect is that neither of you responded as would an “Uncle Thomas” or as an “Auntie Dash”, but that you reacted like people who personify dignity and self-respect; an example for others of our race. [Except that I would have added a bit more “pepper” to their “Kool-Aid” but I suspect you love people more than I].

Being supremely educated and having a scandal-free family is not enough to shield you from the vomit spewed at you and yours. It is as if some believe, “How dare you be black and not be a buffoon”. “How dare you be black and be the leader of the free world.”

I do not believe in heroes as others do. I am my own hero for who could be a better champion for me than I? Nonetheless, I must admit, I am impressed with you and Michelle as well as your two daughters. I hope that history will not only honestly acknowledge your record but that you accomplished much good in the face of intractable and virulent racism. May history note and emphasize that you two stood as giants who neither truckled nor savaged when too many of us would have done one or the other.

William Feather once stated, “One of the indictments of civilizations is that happiness and intelligence are so rarely found in the same person.”

I say, that one of the indictments of our nation is that the combination of grace and intellect in a black person is so rarely honored, but is feared and loathed as if she or he were neither intelligent nor refined.

Do and be well, my President

Published in: on July 28, 2016 at 4:46 PM  Leave a Comment  
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A Letter From a Pain-Filled Heart to White People of America

Suppose you were told that later on in the day, you would be stopped by a white police officer for an alleged traffic violation. But before you got into your car you would have to decide to either remain white or suddenly look every bit as African-American as can be [dark skin, full lips and kinky hair]. Which of the two [and you must choose one or the other] would you choose to be? In your heart of hearts, what would be your choice? Why? Why not? But before you answer, please note that the Washington Post, in June 2016, found that blacks are 2.5 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than whites.[see also: The Guardian – Black Americans Killed by Police Twice as Likely to be Unarmed as White People]

Other data indicate that blacks are more likely to be stopped and frisked by police than whites even though they are less likely to have contraband than their white counterparts [this according to data coming out of the city of New York and other municipalities]. Each encounter with the police creates the possibility of a deadly outcome — especially for black people. Thus, I suspect, that most whites would rather be white when they encounter white police officers.

Since the advent of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, many whites [or their colorfied servile surrogates — the type Harriet Tubman would have left face down dead in the mud because they would have warned “masssa” about her plot to help other slaves run away] have responded by saying “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter”. Such a response reflects an inane line of thinking. After all, if “All Lives” really did “Matter” then the likes of Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Philander Castille, Walter Scott and too many more, would not have been victims of lethally immoral police actions. A cursory review of available government data clearly reveals that there are some lives that do not matter as much as others. To illustrate:

What if those unarmed black victims were white and the officers who killed them were black? And what if the officers were almost never indicted or if indicted, almost never convicted? How would white America react? Here is what history tells us: From 1882 to the 1960s almost 5000 blacks were lynched for crimes or alleged crimes. Many of them were either innocent of a crime or were lynched before they enjoyed due process that would have been afforded whites. The cases are well documented. [From 1882 to 1901 there were an average of 150 lynching per year; from 1924 to 1955 no more than 30 per year] The reasons for lynching ranged from sending an “indecent” note to a white girl or owning land that might have oil on it or talking back to a white man to alleged rape or murder.

That is not to say those hypothetical black police officers would be summarily taken outside, bound, mutilated, hanged and burned as were blacks for almost a hundred years but they surely would be indicted, convicted and sentenced to the maximum. KKK membership would soar and FOX news would be at the forefront of a sustained campaign to do something about “the blacks”. White America would not tolerate a string of killings of whites by black police officers. White lives matter more than any other lives in America. There is no need to form an organization called, “White Lives Matter” because everybody already knows it.

A typical response by many white people about “Black Lives Matter” is, “What about black-on-black crime?” That response lacks the weight of a cogent argument. For one, it serves to deflect from the point under discussion. The issue is the killing of black people by white people who have taken an oath to protect and to serve. The black guy who robs me has not taken such an oath. This argument is also weak in that “black on black” crime is predominantly a function of poverty and poverty among blacks has long been established to be an inextricable function of white racism which has historically and currently denied many of us access to jobs, education, healthcare, affordable housing. To deny or dismiss this connection and reality is to prefer ignorance and or the comfort of a racist’s view.

Which is why whenever I am stopped by the police, I wish I were white. If I resist arrest, or flee, or curse at them, I am very likely to not be shot or choked. Or, if I cooperate and be nice, I still will not be shot. At the very worst, the encounter may be brutal but far less likely to be lethal. Being white would have its privileges one of which would be that police would protect and serve me. If I were white my life would absolutely matter without question.

To conclude: It is easy to blame the victim and exonerate the perpetrator in the name of “they put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve.” Though not publicized as much by the media, blacks do protest and bemoan crime in their neighborhoods more often than police criticize their batch of bad cops. Too many police officers simply refuse to break ranks and stand against their “brothers in blue” who go rogue. To be sure, there are criminals in the black community and there are criminals among law enforcement. We in the black community do not try to defend those criminals, so why, all too often, do police try to defend their criminals?

In the past, whenever law enforcement investigated lynchings, if they did at all, the investigation would conclude that death was caused by “persons unknown” or “suicide.” Today, investigations often make determinations that exonerate white police officers by asserting that the officer “feared for his life.” Feared because the victim was running away, or the victim was handcuffed and on his stomach, or the victim struggled trying to breathe, or the victim tried to run him down while the car was in park, or to cite the one reason that is not spoken but applies more than any other reason, the victim was black. And how dare we be black!

Published in: on July 9, 2016 at 10:38 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Advice From A Black Man To His Grandchildren

As children born in America, you are not citizens of the United States of America. Do not think that you are. Nonetheless, you have a special status bestowed upon you by virtue of your parents and my parents. This special status is exclusively a function of your physical traits. Nothing more and nothing less. You are a black African-American, which makes you a resident [as opposed to a citizen] of the United States of White America — for you, there is no United States of America.

There is an unofficial but socially constructed caste system in this country that shoves you, and others who have physical characteristics similar to yours, at the dirt end of the totem pole. White males sit atop this pole. Most non-black people of this country will stridently disagree with what I just stated; research by their own institutions, however, confirm my statements and disproves their objections.

Given these facts, I offer the following grandfatherly advice about how to navigate this Neo-Jim Crow system:

First of all, never forget that there are some non-black people who genuinely respect others irrespective of their skin color or sub-culture status. These folks are not racists; they are authentic in judging everyone by their character and not by the color of their skin. When you stumble across such a human being, love him, love her, tightly for they are uncommon.

There is another group, however, that is equally and overtly authentic. These humans are self-proclaimed racists. They do not hide behind a façade of acceptance of black African-Americans. They hate you and deem you to be intellectually and morally beneath them. Avoid these people as much as you can. They are feculent, foul and stupid.

Between these two extremes lies the majority of non-black people. Members of this group wear a mask behind which lies their authentic selves. They will smile, act courteously and proclaim they are “color blind” or “race neutral.” Their contempt for you is hidden until circumstances make it advantageous to reveal it. Their civil behavior with regard to you is a cloak that they wear most of the time. Underneath, however, these people fear you, disdain you, think you inferior as they behave as if they do not. Again, you will see the genuine person when it serves them best to remove the cloak — often at your expense or loss.

Translated, this is your reality and the reality of your future children: White skin privilege will always trump black skin misfortune because that is what the system is designed to do.

Since, as a black African-American, you have practically no institutional power, any prejudice or bias you have will have a comparatively minimal effect. Stated otherwise my children, White people operate almost all government, economic/commercial, and social institutions in this country. They have the power to hire, fire, give, take, create, destroy, grant, deny, etcetera, at a level we have never had or are likely to have in the foreseeable future. In short, Whites can inflict far more damage or bestow many more rewards, as they see fit, on us than we can on them. And any resources they grant you will be because they realize you still cannot hurt them.

For example, academic and government research data reveal the following:

You are significantly more likely to be turned down for a loan than a White person with the same financial profile.

You are significantly more likely to be charged a higher interest rate for the same loan as would a White person — even if your financial profile is the same as or better than his.

Even though White police officers are significantly more likely to be killed by a White person than by a Black person, White police officers are significantly more likely to kill a Black person than kill a White person.

You are significantly more likely to be arrested than would a White person for the same offense.

Or, if you are tried for the same crime as a White person, you are significantly more likely to be convicted even if your criminal history is the same as his.

Then, if you and a White person are convicted of the same crime and you two have the same criminal history, you are significantly more likely to receive a longer sentence than the White person.

Given the same education and experience [or better] you are significantly less likely to be hired or promoted for the same job as a White person.

And I could go on and on.

This is not my opinion. Anyone with the IQ just above stupid cannot mount a cogent argument to dispute the above findings. As a Black person, we are stunted at every turn with respect to housing, employment, healthcare and justice. The point is, you will be penalized at almost every juncture for having black skin whereas your counterparts will be privileged for having non-black skin. That is your reality. Your lives as Black people are represented by the equation:

Social Standing divided by Melanin = PRIVILEGE. Recalling your math in elementary school, the lower the amount of melanin, the greater the privilege.

To some extent, however, if you are a famous singer, athlete, actor, or the like, then you are not perceived to be as threatening because you would be entertaining the non-black folks. Many will flock to you with shallow adoration but in the absence of your fame, you would be just another black person deserving of no more respect than necessary not to reveal their racism.

Another point to remember is that some White people will say they do not see race; they say they are colorblind. Do not be misled for I am raising you to be smarter than that. So-called “color blindness” results in their being less sensitive to issues defining race. They become willfully clueless to the nuances and trappings of white skin privilege and black skin misfortune. An authentic non-racist sees race, acknowledges and embraces it as simply being superficially, but not substantively different. They see color, but do not judge you by it.

Others will declare that they cannot be blamed for what others in the past did. They will assert that they did not own slaves or lynch Black people or deny them entry into certain establishments. They will state that that was in the past and that they have nothing to do with that. Such a belief ignores a salient fact: They did not wield the whip that beat the slaves or provided the rope that lynched the black man and they did not deny a job to a qualified or more qualified Black person BUT they enjoy the benefits that accrue to them for what their ancestors or other White people did to Black people. They may not have stolen the fruit but they are enjoying the pie made with that fruit while we still stand in the back waiting for crumbs.

Then there are some who would, out of discomfort or irritation, exhort us black African-Americans to “get over it”, or they accuse us of always playing the “race card”. We will get over it when they stop doing it and we will stop playing the race card when they stop dealing it. In this country, White people invented the race card and they play it each time they exert their privilege at the expense of a Black person.

Furthermore, many non-black persons will point to “black-on-black crime”, [as if White people do not commit crimes against other White people] poor academic performance, and the plight of the black family as evidence that we are not worthy of a place in their sun. They complain that we “should take responsibility”. On the surface, that argument appears sound, but it is specious. First of all, many blacks do “take responsibility” but they still receive treatment as second or tertiary class people. The instances are plentiful where highly educated, well-spoken and well-mannered blacks are still subject to the same treatments as blacks who are not as fortunate. Secondly, given the centuries of horrific slavery, oppressive Jim-Crow laws, and the current systematic racism that is sanctioned by all the major institutions, it is a wonder that blacks have even moved from the lowest point of the dirt end of the totem pole to the highest point on the dirt end of the totem pole. Any group of people who have been treated the way we have for a sustained period of centuries would be right where we are.

Heed my words and pass them on to your future grandchildren for they will serve them well long after I have left this planet. Keep fighting for fairness. Do not pity yourselves but do not be delusional. Do not lie down but understand that you are standing in a room designed to keep you from standing erect. Power and privilege will never be willingly shared. They will never be given freely. The only way we will be ‘judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin’ is when society determines that the social construct of race is no longer utilitarian. Until then, as long as white skin privilege is protected, the battle against racism must continue.

Published in: on November 27, 2014 at 8:00 PM  Leave a Comment  
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So What’s Wrong With Affirmative Action?

On 22 April 2014, John Fund at the National Review wrote, “Yesterday, the Supreme Court voted six to two to uphold the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), which was passed with support from 58 percent of that state’s voters in 2006. It simply enshrines in Michigan’s constitution that the state should not engage in race discrimination. Opponents of the initiative sued, claiming the measure discriminated against racial minorities who might wish to lobby for preferential treatment.” Agreeing with the US Supreme Court’s majority, Mr. Fund took exception to Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent by stating, “Her insistence that existing affirmative-action programs don’t result in the admission of unqualified students — and effectively amount to quotas — is at odds with the facts.”

This case specifically addressed the issue of affirmative-action programs at the University of Michigan in which Michigan voters opposed the use of race as one of the elements for consideration in admitting students to its institution. In short, opponents of affirmative action characterize it as “reverse discrimination” and that it also stigmatizes the beneficiaries as being less qualified because they were chosen based on race as opposed to merit.

With respect to college admissions, opponents of affirmative action are disingenuous and hypocritical at best or, at worst, they have redefined discrimination as something that no longer happens to Blacks [at least not to any actionable extent]. I present several reasons for my assertions.

First, there is the matter of “legacy.” Students whose parents are alumni [especially if they have made donations to the college] are given an advantage vis a vis other students whose parents did not attend that particular college. This practice has as much to do with merit and objective decision-making as skin color has to do with morality. Legacy perpetuates the sense of entitlement — and often, by default, white skin privilege since more whites are college educated and have more financial resources than non-whites in America. To afford an advantage to those whose parents graduated from or donated to the institution is tantamount to buying that child a place near the front of the admission line. Legacy is a form of favoritism sanctioned by the elite. This being so, where is the outcry of discrimination from white students who are denied admission because another white student’s parents graduated from or are donors to that college? Is it more unfair to be passed over because of race as opposed to being passed over because of one’s parents’ alma mater — or lack thereof? Legacy is not borne of merit. Legacy is affirmative action for whites who were born into a status they did not earn.

Second, there is the matter of sport’s scholarships. It is painful to contemplate that a student who otherwise could not even qualify to clean the bathrooms at a college but can secure a full-scholarship simply because he/she can dribble a ball or throw a pass. Never mind if that person can barely multiply by seven or write a coherent paragraph about the economics of racism in America. Athletics are often a significant source of revenue for many colleges; athletes are often walking dollar signs. Thus, the college is faced with two choices: Offer full scholarships to students who would lack the facility to be admitted based on academics but who can generate thousands if not millions of dollars for the college by simply being good at running off-tackle or blocking a player from making a basket; or offer a full scholarship to a disadvantaged student who shows promise and could use the education to become a productive member of society. In other words, athletic scholarships benefit the college in the short-term. Academic scholarships benefit society in the long-term. To be sure, there are some athletes who are well-schooled and academically bright. Nonetheless, they are awarded a full athletic scholarship as opposed to an academic scholarship. Why? Could it be that though they are intelligent and have good high school grades, etcetera, they still would not qualify for a full academic scholarship? Money trumps merit almost every time.

This is where the hypocrisy can have revolting consequences. Most of those college athletes do not go on to play professional ball and too many are still academically ill-prepared for life in a capitalist society. These athletes generate revenue for the university but more often than not, they do not lead lives that are as productive as other students who gained entrance based on matters other than legacy or athleticism. The universities use them and then dismissively discards them. The leaders at the college perform a fundamental calculus: Invest thousands of dollars in an athlete and earn a huge return for the institution or invest in a non-athletic student and allow society to earn an even greater return. The college may assert that it does both because the options are not mutually exclusive. Both options would be on equal footing, however, if the athletes were also academically on par with non-athletes at the college.

So where is the outcry about sport’s scholarships? There is silence because there is too much money to be made. Where is the outcry from white people about scholarships being offered to black athletes [no doubt at the cost of some white students who could have used that scholarship money to become a physician or a CPA]? The answer to those questions can be inferred from a poster plastered around the streets of an old nineteenth century southern city: “Wanted: Dancers, singers, musicians … All others considered dangerous!” It is fine for blacks to entertain. People love to hear us sing and watch us entertain, but if we choose to pursue something other than entertainment, then we are often short-changed — we are considered dangerous or at least less worthy than our white counterparts. Colleges are big businesses that often mimic their Wall Street cousins for whom money is both the Alpha and the Omega.

Also, consider this: According to the Department of Labor and the Center for American Progress, data [from 2012] clearly indicate that white women were/are the greatest beneficiaries of affirmative action. This may come as a surprise at first thought but upon further reflection it makes perfect sense given that the task of distributing or sharing resources in a non-discriminating manner, lies primarily under the purview of white males. If people of color and women have historically suffered discrimination, then it would be typically human for those charged with implementing anti-discrimination legislation to favor those most like themselves — white, first — because color trumps gender — then, white females.

Last of all, there is the matter of racism in these United States of White America. Opponents of affirmative action [both white and black] will often quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words in which he longs for the time when a person “would be judged by the content of his character and not the color of his skin.” The problem is, many studies indisputably reveal that blacks are more often than not still judged by the color of their skin. To deny the prevalence [albeit less overt than during the old Jim Crow era] of racism is to deny facts as plain as five plus four. Chief Justice Roberts stated that to end racial discrimination, one must stop discriminating, hence, affirmative action or consideration based on race must be proscribed. I agree with Justice Roberts except that too many Whites have not stopped discriminating. That is the problem. If affirmative action is reverse discrimination, then it is discrimination in reaction to discrimination by those who are best served by it. Once the dominant group stops discriminating then there would essentially be no need for affirmative action [pejoratively called, reverse discrimination]. So, I ask, where is the application of MLK’s words on the part of those in power to determine who gets to enjoy resources and those who do not? Why is it that those words are invoked when whites feel discriminated against but there is silence when whites exercise White-Skin privilege at the expense of those whose skin is not white?

Or, we can address the argument of reverse discrimination from a different perspective. One person described this “argument as nothing more than semantic smoke and mirrors.” She explains: “There’s discrimination for something (presumably “positive” such as when countries like Germany pay reparations for a select group—Jews, in this case) and discrimination against something (presumably “negative”). But the narrative confuses the two and so have folks like Ward Connerly, Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas and others championing the dismantling of affirmative action. (Ira Katznelson’s book, “When Affirmative Action Was White”, is a good reference, as is Randall Kennedy’s, “For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law”).” In short, discrimination is not always baleful; it can be a positive action to correct a negative one. But those in the position of privilege are not willing to pay the short term cost. Do not be confused: The kind of affirmative action that the courts have struck down is not one of two wrongs [discrimination and so-called, reverse discrimination] trying to make a right.

Without question, there are many whites who are not racists and who actually fight against it at every turn — sometimes to their own detriment. But not enough of them do. Which is why there is persistent disparity in sentencing [and the enforcement of law], in compensation, in employment and housing as well as education. These facts are as real as the earth spinning around the sun and not vice versa — Justice Roberts comments notwithstanding. If education is one of the gateways toward equality then abolish legacy and award scholarships based solely on academics and other criteria that are not associated with privilege or physical prowess. And stop discriminating at the front end so that there will be no need to take corrective action at the back end. If no consideration should be given to race when applying for entrance into college, then none should be given to legacy or a person’s athleticism. But this is not likely because the status quo has a specific utility as does having a permanent underclass.

So what’s wrong with affirmative action? What is wrong with affirmative action is the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative because that decision constitutes a tacit sanctioning of affirmative action for some and the blatant rejection of it for others. This striking down of affirmative action is a way to resolve the cognitive dissonance borne out of racism by denying its prevalence so as to prop up the status quo that favors the privileged.

“… All Others Considered Dangerous”

After having watched the George Zimmerman trial in which he was charged with second degree murder/manslaughter for the death of Trayvon Martin, I told several friends that despite what I considered damning evidence of Zimmerman’s guilt, he would not be found guilty. I predicted that the jury would bless him with a verdict of not guilty because of the underlying framework of the major institutions in our society: White-skin privilege.

From before the inception of the United States’ Declaration of Independence, western Europeans have dominated and exploited non-whites primarily for commercial gain. This fact can be disputed but not in any way that reflects honest, fair and intellectual scrutiny of history [but past and current]. And to this very day, government studies and studies by various universities have proven that discrimination against African-Americans with respect to housing, education, employment and the judicial system [just to name a few of the major areas] is as vibrant as it is insidious — is as ubiquitous as it is effective. Today’s racism seldom reveals itself in an “in-your-face” kind of bravado but it usually hides behind a mask of decency and so-called, “equal opportunity or justice for all.”

Zimmerman’s attorneys’ arguments of self-defense are believable only if one suspends one’s faculty of reasoning and also if one denies the context of race relations in these United States of White America. Consider this: If seventeen year-old Trayvon Martin had been armed with a handgun while driving a car and decided to disregard the suggestion not to follow George Zimmerman but instead accosted him and then after a struggle, shot and killed Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin would have been immediately charged, tried and convicted of second degree murder. This is not mere speculation. Proof?

Proof: Please note the case of Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville Florida. This “mother of three fired a single shot into her kitchen ceiling two years ago to warn her husband, Rico Gray, against continuing his physical attack on her. . She was convicted of aggravated assault in a matter of minutes — and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. She was prosecuted by the same prosecutor who brought charges against George Zimmerman [as a result of the Governor, under pressure, appointing her as a special prosecutor. [http://mhpshow.msnbc.com/_news/2012/05/11/11658879-marissa-alexander-gets-20-year-sentence?lite]

So when a Black woman invokes the “stand-your-ground” law she is denied justice. Thus, there is no doubt if Trayvon’s and George’s roles were reversed, Trayvon would have suffered a fate similar to Marissa Alexander. But when a White man tracks, accosts and kills a young Black man, he is exonerated. In short, society and the legal system have, in effect, stated, “How dare a young Black man not stop and let himself be detained by a White man who had no badge, no uniform and no authority [until the police arrived]. How dare a young Black man fight back against a stranger whose only credentials were his white skin and a handgun. Don’t you Black people know that when a White man follows you in your own neighborhood, you had best comply and assume the position?”

But in order to assuage any possible feelings or perception of guilt, Zimmerman’s attorneys had to paint Trayvon as the pugnacious one who initiated the fight; as if Zimmerman was to say, “Trayvon made me do it.”  This is similar to the instance when during the first half of the twentieth century, two sheriffs approached the body of a Black man who had been lynched and shot through the heart. One of the sheriffs jokingly and derisively exclaimed, ‘How in the world did this n—– hang and then shoot himself?’ In keeping with this mindset, Zimmerman’s attorneys proceeded to lynch Trayvon [albeit posthumously] and then blame him. This is one of the most successful way to ameliorate White-guilt while preserving White-skin privilege.

Obviously, not all White people are racists; in fact, many are not. And I am always heartened by Whites who reject the racists beliefs about Black people held by many of their race. But enough of them, however, are racist to one degree or another,  so that the institutions and the system will always favor the dominate group and to ensure the perpetuation of White domination of all the major institutions. In short, racism is instrumental in that it serves to preserve the power and privilege of the one race vis a vis the other. And one way to preserve this power is to discount the value of a Black person’s life and place a premium on a White person’s life. Zimmerman’s freedom was worth more than Trayvon’s life.

Another way Whites reveal their notions of Blacks is indicated by responses to articles about murder. When you read an article about a Black person committing murder, there are often comments about Blacks being savages and miscreants by nature. When you read articles about Whites committing murder [even those murders of movie-goers or elementary school children] the readers’ comments almost never mention anything about Whites being savages or miscreants by nature. In other words, the perception of many racist Whites is that when Blacks commit murder, it is because that’s “who they are” but when Whites commit murder, there is silence about race — no comments from readers that mention race. That’s because when a White person commits murder that is just because that particular White person is a murderer. All these notions about Blacks, are sew into the mindset of many Whites and these views facilitate or lead to verdicts as mentioned in the above-two cases.

Finally, I find it revolting that many Whites are enamored with Black athletes or Black singers, Black actors — Blacks who entertain them. But in the absence of their fame, they would not want such a person to live next door to them or to marry their children. This is because, as one poster from the 1800s announced: Wanted: Singers, Dancers, Actors … all others considered dangerous.

PS. There is one take-away regarding the Zimmerman verdict. Now I can carry a handgun, follow somebody [against the advice of law enforcement] who is minding his own business, accost him, create a situation where a physical confrontation is likely, then shoot him because he is winning the fight by giving me two minor scratches on my head! And I will be found “not guilty.”  Oh, I silly me, I forgot: I cannot get away with that — I’m a Black man!

Published in: on July 15, 2013 at 2:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The vile and despicable legacies of slavery in the US are many but those legacies are trivialized when ludicrous or absurd connections to the realities of today are inaccurately linked to the slavery of African-Americans. For instance, Olympic medalist, Michael Johnson, stated that African-Americans have a superior athletic gene because of surviving the horrific rigors of slavery.[1] Does that assertion remain solid even after a cursory evaluation?

Mr. Johnson and others, such as geneticist, Dr. Rachael Irving, believe that there is a straight line between Africans taken as slaves and brought to America and the athletic prowess of certain Olympic sprinters. Dr. Irving is quoted as averring, “There was not much oxygen on slave ships so they had to use whatever they had to survive.” Then, as proof-positive of his belief, the article cited in the footnote quotes him as saying, “Of the eight 100m finalists four years ago … All eight are believed to be descended from slaves.”

Dr. Irving is a nocent sophist. What he posits just might sound logical, but only if one suffers from a condition commonly referred to as – being stupid. Only people who would rather leave their thinking to those who are deluded by their own sense of intelligence would concur with the likes of Dr. Irving. Please consider the following:

What if someone proposed that African-Americans today are burdened with low self-esteem and they lack self-respect because the slaves who survived the trip from Africa to the US were feckless and psychologically weak? In short, the psychologically strong and self-respecting captured slaves either fought back and were killed or they jumped overboard to their deaths rather than be treated like vomit. Once here in the US, any who happen to become strong tried to escape or otherwise fought back rather than to cower and at best, be treated like fertilizer or at worst, raped, beaten, scorned, demeaned and systematically traded like animals. Therefore, most African-Americans today are at the dirt end of the social and economic totem pole because they are descendants of those who were too psychologically weak to fight to the death or try to escape rather than to remain a slave.

Or maybe most African-Americans today do not perform well in school because of the meager supply of “oxygen on slave ships” which had a deleterious affect on our brains’ ability to process numbers and words.

Then again, perhaps the reason why most serial killers or mass murderers are not African-American is because slaves knew that they were not even suppose to even think about killing a woman who was not their wife or girlfriend. To do otherwise would result in a good ol’ fashion beat down or lynching by ‘Massa.’

With regard to Dr. Irving’s comment, “Of the eight 100m finalists four years ago … All eight are believed to be descended from slaves,” all the members of the US Olympic shooting team are White. Is that because they are descendants of slave owners who had plenty of practice shooting at wily runaway slaves?

I could concoct many more asinine scenarios to link with the experience of slavery in the US but I believe my point is made: Stupid has a way of sounding intelligent or logical and stupid is essentially innocuous until someone empowers it by embracing it.

To be certain, slavery did produce legacies that are evident today – most of which anyone with the ability to think critically and honestly can easily cite. That being said, people like Mr. Johnson and Dr. Irving actually make a mockery of the dastardly history of slavery in the US. People like those two humans just leave me SMH [shaking my head].

Published in: on August 8, 2012 at 4:43 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Gweneth Paltrow, Jay Z and the “N word”

[The following is an excerpt from an essay in my book, “Why They Think I’m Crazy – Except When They Really Think About It” in response to a recent tweet by Gweneth Paltrow about her experience with Jay Z during a concert in Paris, France.]

If denying the holocaust can be deemed a serious crime, why can’t we as Black people “outlaw” the use of the word that was designed to paint us as less than a piece of used toilet tissue that White bigots used to wipe their asses? Our use of the word, even within a different intent or context, does not in any manner render it acceptable, no more than a Jew wearing a swastika to a Halloween party changes what it stands for. The “N-word” is forever contaminated and heinous; it is offensive to all the senses as well as to the moral sensibilities of anyone with even a half a sense of self-respect – its context notwithstanding. 

From time to time, there has been much debate and controversy about the use of the word, “N_ _ _ _ _” (written hereafter as the  “N-word”), especially in the Black community in the US. By “N-word,” I specifically refer to the word that rhymes with “bigger” and is most often pronounced by Black people as rhyming with the word, “bigga.” Either pronunciation carries the same weight1 and either pronunciation is used to refer to African American Blacks. The use of the word within the African American Black community has generated tremendous heat between the camp that believes the word to be colloquial and acceptable or demeaning depending on the context versus the camp that believes the word to be inflammatory, degrading and revolting no matter the context. Hence the question: Should Blacks embrace the word as having various shades of meaning or should we eschew it with disdain at all times?


That word conjures up an image of what many White people judged to be foul, scornful, contemptible, revolting, despicable, loathsome and evil – or stated otherwise – what those White people thought of Black people. Not Jews, not people of the First Nations, not Latinos, or other non-Whites. This term was designed to reflect many White people’s view of Blacks – all Blacks – not just unscrupulous, low-life Blacks – all Blacks no matter if they were fathers, mothers, children, lawyers, business owners, physicians, teachers, President of the United States. As long as they were Black, they were considered an “N-word.”

Yes, I understand words and their definitions can change because language is vibrant and dynamic, but that particular word has not (because it cannot) morphed into a word so different in meaning that its original meaning is lost or its definition appropriately expanded. In short, no amount of using it in a different context can rid it of it foul-smelling, feculent stain despite the fact most Whites today do not view Black people in the same way those of previous generations did.

In other words, no matter how much we as Black people use the word in a different more benign or affectionate context, its original meaning looms large in ways that cannot be ignored or obfuscated. The word cannot be sanitized because its original meaning is stamped into stone. Not even “God” – so to speak can change the meaning of that word.

Black people who use the word – whether referring to other Blacks or not – demean their own humanity and continue to give life to the original and only meaning of the word – one of contempt and scorn for all Black people. Not even the worst of the worst of Black people deserve to be called by such a word because in its origins it meant that all Blacks were less than their White counterparts or any other humans – including most animals. The word meant Blacks were less than the slimy droppings of a pigeon. It was irrelevant to the racists that Black people are no worse than White people and that White people are no better than Black people.

Consider this: History tells us that, for some Jews, the name of their “God” was considered too sacred for any one to even utter. On the opposite end of the continuum, I believe the “N-word” is too despicable for any one, especially Black people, to utter or write.

Continuing with a similar path of reasoning, it is currently a crime punishable by imprisonment, in more than a dozen European nations, to deny the holocaust. The holocaust was one of humanity’s darkest displays of raw evil. Drawing a parallel (at least in my mind): To use the “N-word” constitutes not only a flagrant minimizing of the history of slavery in White America and the subsequent Jim Crow laws, but also an overt approval of all forms of White racism against Blacks. A Black person using the word is tantamount to a Black person joining the Ku Klux Klan at best or eagerly helping them to find the rope to lynch you with, at worst.

1 For those who think the pronunciation makes a difference, I present the words “floor” versus “flo,”  “more” versus “mo” or “it came loose” versus “it came a loose.” In short, the second pronunciation is simply the “ghetto” or “ebonic” way of pronouncing the word. The meaning remains the same.

Published in: on June 13, 2012 at 5:13 AM  Leave a Comment  
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