Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"We Don't Respect You" Dialogue, Continued

My response to Robert Lindsay's "We Don't Respect You" blog post continues. In this, I become a little bit more scathing, a little bit more mordant. No disrespect (how's that for an allusion) to Mr. Lindsay, but it just bugs me out of my mind how narcissistic and short-sighted whites are in regards to ALL non-white ethnic groups. The Black Thought blog focuses strictly on issues pertaining to those affected by the universal plight of blacks (at the hands of oppressors who are commonly white and of European origin) but does not hesitate to explore how white supremacism has similarly affected non-black ethnic groups.

As Tim Wise says, there is a sort of racial narcissism that serves to blind whites to the actual sentiments and perspectives of their heirarchially subordinate races. Since the early 20th century surveys have demonstrated that whites have always felt that blacks had equal opportunities even when the law books stated otherwise. On the other hand, the myriad non-white groups---blacks, Hispanics, Asians-Americans, Indian-Americans, Middle Easterners, etc---know all about white people because we are constantly forced to identify with the white cultural, societal, and political outlook. Hell, most of us know more about white people than we know about our own cultures. Some of us even know more about white people than white people themselves. It is extremely rare that you will ever find a white American who can even begin to identify with the experience of being black in Western society. You simply will not locate a white person (I don't CARE if they were raised in the ghetto) who can truly understand the struggles and vicissitudes that blacks have faced in the past and still continue to face today, many with little control over their fate. It's not about petitioning for white one cares about sympathy. Sympathy does nothing for us. But truth, concession, and understanding can accomplish everything.

Anyway, Mr. Lindsay, offers a comment in response on my previous post. In a nutshell, Mr. Lindsay is of the persuasion that whites more or less respect all ethnic groups except for black people. Despite the alarming number of white Americans who will assert in a heartbeat that, "there's no more racism" or, "black people are the real racists!" or some other absurd, asinine effluvia, in this I can at least see that Mr. Lindsay at least partially acknowledges the reality of white-on-black oppression and may even concede to the existence of the sociological concept of white privilege. He indirectly concedes that, yes, blacks have had it worse than everyone. What's absolutely offensive is that, in this, he doesn't acknowledge the extreme prejudice and racism that OTHER ethnic groups have undoubtedly faced at the hands of white subjugators. I assert that racism of the white supremacist sort (arguably the only sort at all) is not limited in what groups it has been employed against---every non-white ethnic group has felt that most common disrespect, albeit at different levels and to differing extremeties, that black people have.

"I apologize for my delayed response. I am often occupied by my school commitments.

Again, I fundamentally and respectfully disagree with your premise that whites confer respect upon all races except for blacks. It’s simply false, shortsighted, and (I daresay) ignorant to make such a claim. You say that whites have historically harbored so much respect for Native Americans IN SPITE of the myriad injustices which Native Americans faced at the hands of white subjugators.Did Captain William Tucker respect Native Americans? Sure, he respected them enough partake in the acts of deception which were all too common in the interaction of early white settlers with Native Americans. He took his soldiers to negotiate a treaty with the Powhatans. Unsuspecting and believing that a truce had been reached, the arguably na├»ve Powhatans (in that they had obviously never dealt with white people) agreed to Tuckers request to drink to a toast. They toasted to poisoned wine---approximately one hundred of the Natives died immediately and Tucker seized upon that moment and ordered his troops to kill at least fifty more. Oh, yeah, and they respected them enough to bring their heads back home as souvenirs (which was not an uncommon practice amongst whites who warred with Native Americans). So it’s not like this was just a unique, infrequent incident.

I have already pontificated upon the views of our former President Andrew Jackson and how his high level of respect for Native Americans led him to engage in a bloody war that was most devastating for the Native Americans. Maybe you also heard the anecdote (which is true) that he “directly supervised the mutilation of over eight hundred Native American corpses after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, at which time his men cut off noses and sliced strips of flesh from the bodies for use as bridle reins.” Or what about the Third Colorado Volunteer Cavalry, who “massacred both Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants at Sand Creek, scalping the dread, severing testicles for use as tobacco pouches, and parading in Denver with severed female genitals stretched over their hats”? Well, we also have our noble forefather Thomas Jefferson who, dissatisfied with the rapid (but slow, in his eyes) pace at which Native Americans were dying, said, “Nothing will reduce those wretches so soon as pushing the war into the heart of their country. But I would not stop there. I would never cease pursuing them with war while one remained on the face of the Earth.” My, my…respect. No, adulation!

I am not sure who made this ludicrous statement…either you or someone posting a comment on your blog…but they said something to the effect of, “yes, we respect Native Americans…I mean, we even give them Casinos and stuff.” …is that (expletive) serious? That’s like someone saying that black history month (the one oh-so-racist month out of the year where we actually don’t learn about dead white men) is proof that whites have actually worked to mitigate the disparity that institutional racism has rendered upon black folks. I mean…I hope it wasn’t you who said this; I truly hope I am incorrect in attributing it to you. Perhaps it was one of your readers.

It is beyond just “Native Americans”. Just as African-Americans do, Hispanic Americans face alarming rates of housing discrimination. Hispanic Americans, because of their non-whiteness, face the same types (though arguably less potent) of racial discrimination, job discrimination, and dehumanization as blacks do. Just like African-Americans, Hispanic Americans face violent attacks from skinheads, white supremacists, and even from whites who don’t necessarily label themselves as members of such groups, for being non-white. Are you SERIOUS in your claim that whites just really don’t give a damn about immigration into the United States by Hispanics? You’re not aware of how there is a direct relationship between the increase in Hispanic immigration and the rise in membership of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups? I should remind you, they are WHITE supremacist groups, not everyone-but-black-people supremacist groups, or not white-and-hispanic-too supremacist groups, as you have somehow concluded. Maybe you’re a member of one of those.

In American culture “Indians” have been relegated to the role of the savage noble---an individual who is spiritual and fortitudinous but at the end of the day is still a SAVAGE. Sure, it may be a bit less disrespectful than the magical Negro stereotype or the more ubiquitously believed sexually-rapacious, ravenous, uncontrollably-violent Negro ideal. Even today we constantly disrespect the Native American culture---we have sports teams and mascots mocking both their physical appearance and cultural characteristics (i.e., the “Washington Redskins”). So christening a football team the “Redskins” shows respect to a collective group but a hypothetical team called the “Blackskins” would be evidence of how whites don’t respect blacks in your eyes, correct? It’s modern minstrelsy! If whites TRULY respected Native Americans then they would HEED to outrage expressed by the Native American community at the fact that they feel tremendously disrespected by our symbolic trivialization of their culture---we would actually listen to them when they say STOP USING OUR CULTURAL TRAITS AS YOUR SPORTS MASCOTS. But no, in most cases white America just doesn’t want to hear it. The Washington Redskins changed, in 2002, to using an arrowhead rock as their emblem. Didn’t last long before they went back to the Indian head. I suppose that’s insignia was modeled after one of those decapitated Indian heads that Tucker’s men sawed off so very respectfully.

Your dubious claim that whites respect all non-black ethnic groups (including Native Americans) is IN OF ITSELF evidence that whites obviously don’t respect those ethnic groups! Because you’re so disrespectfully neglecting all of the injustices and atrocities that whites committed upon these groups for NOT BEING WHITE, obviously evidence that they lacked and still lack respect and courtesy for these groups on account of their ethnicity. Tens of thousands of Native Americans died at white hands, sometimes in war, sometimes as a result of outright genocidal attacks, virtually every “treaty” was broken, every attempt to make peace with whites was always followed by some conniving, nefarious, shamelessly exploitative attack, every forced land relocation was followed up by another land relocation by another until finally the Native Americans just agreed to be confined to reservations---just to get away from incessant white oppression. Not to mention that their population has been significantly reduced, their society forever damaged and broken due to the incessant war, disease, and devastation that the Aryan has wrought upon them, and their gene pool forever altered by whites who felt it acceptable for white men to rape or force Native women into relationships, but felt it unacceptable for those children to become apart of the white community and also saw it as intolerable and punishable by death that a native man might partake in the same type of a relationship with his white sister.

Maybe by Hispanics you mean the WHITE Hispanics…those amongst the populations in Spanish speaking Latin and South American countries who descend from the racist aristocracy that first imposed their supremacy upon aboriginal groups through violence, charades (smallpox blankets), and other manipulative, evil, DISRESPECTFUL means and still continue to maintain their putatively providential sovereignty over these nations on account of their whiteness. I know that in a legal sense, for purposes of racial identification, while they are practically Caucasian they are labeled “Hispanic”. Yeah, and they think they’re better than the mestizos who you claim are so lionized, so respected.

I believe that the type of racial discrimination that blacks have faced at the hands of whites, overall, IS worse than that of other ethnic groups. This I believe wholly. There is much evidence to substantiate this---I know so many whites have simply ignored and cast from their collective consciousness acknowledgement of the white-on-black racism that has characterized our nation’s history, so I might actually have to launch into a diatribe to remind some people of this---if it is necessary, just ask me. It really won’t take that long. But it is highly offensive and ignorant to simply jettison all acknowledgements of the racial discrimination, hostility, and dehumanization that whites have demonstrated on some levels to ALL ethnic groups who did and do not meet their standard of whiteness (and some who even did, but had to work to be accepted) and humanity, furthermore. Sorry to be mordant, but for a man with an IQ as allegedly high as yours it casts a bit of doubt in my mind as to your actual level of astuteness."

-Black Thought

Monday, January 25, 2010

They Don't Respect Us!

"We Don't Respect You!"

So begins Robert Lindsay's latest blog regarding the simple, evident fact that whites, as a race, don't respect blacks.

Obviously it's not an epiphany to devoted readers of the Black Thought blog. Mr. Lindsay is a blunt, straightforward white man and for that we should confer our respect upon him. Mr. Lindsay, in his blog, states that he is simply conceding the truth that most white people won't dare promulgate.

Here is my response:

"I agree with you entirely with your statement that whites do not respect black people. In reflection upon the history of America---such realities as the institution of slavery, Jim Crow legislation, lynching’s (and other myriad individual acts of racial violence, like the Tulsa massacre), denial of the right to equal education, denial of the right to vote, minstrelsy, the enduring power of white supremacist groups, etc. I think there’s exceedingly sufficient evidence to back up your assertion. Frankly, I don’t think it takes a genius to realize or comprehend the truth of this but I DO think it takes a genuine, non-PC individual to concede to this fact. Many white people will never concede to holding these truths because they feel it is promulgation of hatred (and, essentially it is) but, to varying degrees, pretty much all white people have some degree of disdain for blacks.

I believe that it should be firmly established that this racist perspective is a result of a collective white supremacist mentality that defines Western civilization in of itself (particularly in the last 500 years). Many often ponder upon the reasons why blacks were enslaved while other races were not. Today, many ask “why are blacks in last place” as far as their social, political, and economic development in the United States and the world throughout. The rationales that whites put forth as legitimate excuses for detesting blacks are many. Some speculate that because blacks did not establish themselves as militarily formidable opponents against white conquest that they have henceforth been subjected to the racial contempt of whites. Others believe that their greatly contrasting aesthetic attributes are the root cause of the great disparity between the races. Still, others maintain that blacks themselves are the primary determinants of why whites scorn them as a race.

Ultimately, I believe you are conveying this racial relationship as more cut-and-dry than it actually is. I wouldn’t be so audacious as to assert that whites absolutely respect Hispanics (and “model minorities” such as Asians) in contrast to ostensible absolute disrespect of black people. Let’s just be honest. Did whites not, at first, slaughter the Indians in substantial numbers? We have the intentional spreading of smallpox amongst Indian populations, the incessant military campaigns launched against Indians (as was done so vehemently by President Jackson), the forced removal of Indians (resulting in their forced confinement to reservations and the infamous Trail of Tears). I mean, if whites had such teeming respect for Native Americans and their modern Hispanic relatives they would have honored the numerous treaties that they established with them. I believe there was some admiration for the alleged “warrior spirit” of Native Americans and the belief in the concept of the “savage Indian noble” was undoubtedly ubiquitous. But at the end of the day, they were not white people and henceforth were regarded as being morally, physically, intellectually, and even spiritually less than. Asians are oft cited as the “model minority”. But the Chinese Exclusion Act was set in place for a long duration of time, denying Chinese Americans the right to come to the United States. Chinese here were given extremely low wages and at the center of at least a handful of racial riots. Japanese Americans were confined to internment camps during WWII while German Americans were merely ostracized. While not rivaling the plight of blacks, instances of racial prejudice against Asians certainly existed as well.

So, let’s not assert or insinuate that racism has been limited to black people, because it most certainly had not been that that idea is offensive to the tens of thousands of Native Americans who died at the hands of whites who sought to advance their own racial hegemony. It is mythical that blacks Africans posed no military threat to invading Europeans. Although there are several instances, I will cite two consummate examples---that of the Zulu, and the Ethiopians.

The Zulu (an undoubtedly Bantu people) inflicted the absolute greatest military defeat upon the British Empire by a native force (and experienced military successes rivaling those of Britain’s European neighbors). The Zulu were victorious in three major battles (one in which over 1,100 British troops were slaughtered by an unsuspecting Zulu impi) and in several more skirmishes in a war that dragged on from January of 1879 until August of that year when King Cesthwayo was captured. The infliction of causalities upon British troops was so great that reinforcements had to be requested by Lord Chelmsford immediately following the botched invasion. The British were also routed in additional encounters. The formidable nature of Zulu’s was well-understood and respected by the Boers as well, who (save the devastating Battle of Blood River) actually had a significant level of military trouble defeating Zulu. Because the Zulu could not be beaten in the open field the Boers had to establish the Laager formation…they had to hide behind their wagons and shoot, an efficacious albeit humiliating way to achieve victory. Even the British, initially, could not beat the Zulu in the open field.

The Ethiopians, of course, with the Italo-Abyssinian War, were able to fend off of Italian onslaught entirely. Now, the Ethiopians are interesting. Genetically, they are grouped right between Bantus and Indo-Europeans, so I sometimes wonder if the European negligence to impose imperial hegemony upon Ethiopians is really attributed to the fact that they aren’t “black” in a strict sense of the term (though it is quite funny that in America you can be 95% white genetically and still undoubtedly be black) and henceforth held a little more respect for them. Some Ethiopians (and other East Africans) literally look like white people, save their black skin and curly dark hair. Even as far as the ratios of fast-twitch muscle to slow-twitch muscles, Ethiopians more strongly resemble Europeans than other Africans (who are endowed with explosive, fast-twitch muscle). As far as the military success, Ethiopians acquired a significant amount of their weapons from the United States AND obtained support from some European nations in terms of fortifying their armies to face the Italian threat. Britain could have easily conquered Ethiopia---in 1868 a punitive expedition was launched to reclaim British hostages from Ethiopia. It took Britain all of two days to rout the entire Ethiopian army, reclaim their officials, and compel the Ethiopian king, Tewodros, to commit suicide (with the very pistol the Queen herself bequeathed upon him previously). But, Britain felt no compulsion to rule over the Ethiopians. In contrast, the very black Bantu Zulu, who gave Britain a far greater fight than the Ethiopians had, were conquered and subject to aggressive diplomatic policies imposed by Britain after the Zulu defeat. As far as evidence of racial differences as they pertain to the ability of individual ethnic groups to recognize such differences between themselves and others, it is worth noting that many Ethiopians and Somalis enslaved Bantus and still demonstrate racial hostility towards them as well.

My ultimate point is that the military prowess of the Zulus (and also Swazi and Xhosa nations who gave the invading Europeans in South Africa a bit of trouble as well) did nothing to stop the transpiration of apartheid right on South African soil. It is true that black Africans weren’t killed in the great numbers that Indians were (not in South Africa, at least!), but Native Americans weren’t subject to the same degree of racial discrimination and hostility that blacks were in both the United States and South Africa. The Zulu were, on some level, respected and are more renowned than any other African group throughout ("Zulu" being synonymous with "warrior" to many)---but this didn’t stop the political subjugation that transpired shortly thereafter. Something such as this indicates to me that despite what success blacks do or do not have, the aesthetic appearance, more than any other factor, is the key attribution for white-on-black disrespect.

On the whole, Native Americans/Hispanics are better respected than blacks. As far as Amerindians, it is quite fashionable for white Americans to boast of their “Cherokee” roots (or whatever tribe). Sure, some simply fabricate such information to be fashionable, but there was a significant level of miscegenation that transpired between whites and Native Americans. While only whites were considered actual citizens, never was the status of Native American humanity so audaciously reduced to 3/5s. There was a fair amount of mixing between blacks and whites as well---though you never hear whites claiming black ancestry. Perhaps this is largely because the blacks who passed for white and effectively transformed into white Americans probably themselves despised even their modicum of blackness and hence wanted no knowledge of it to be passed on to future generations.

Fundamentally, racism, as is expressed by white people, is characterized by a hierarchal nature. There’s a common (and most asinine) asssumption that racists loathe and despise all other races equally---this is quite untrue. I believe Tim Wise cited a study that proved that the darker an immigrant to the United States is, the less money they will be able to earn. I do think skin color makes a HUGE difference in one’s potential for success. Historically, the “blacks” who have made the social breakthroughs for the black race have been more lightly complexioned, even mixed. Do you really think Barack’s time getting elected would have really been so easy had he looked like Idi Amin? There is a relative regard in which the respectability of races is assessed and subsequently asserted by white people and I believe that the greatest determinant is skin color. In terms of economic success, the respective degrees of such minority races are as follows: Asians, Hispanics, blacks, Native Americans. I do believe Native Americans have been so socially and culturally ravaged by white American dominance that they are almost not a functioning group. I think a better indication of the racial hierarchal structure would be the status of their Hispanic brethren.

While I think, at the core, blacks are not respected as a race that is competent and capable of possessing group power (however unfounded OR self-fulfilling, by the empowered white group, this assumption may be) I do believe blacks are regarded as sort of a novel and---well, entertaining group. Music, athletics, comedy---blacks are well overrepresented in these areas. I believe that this in of itself is extremely disrespectful---the only facets of American society in which blacks have essentially been allowed to succeed in and have been seen as having potential in and, furthermore, respected in are those that are, in the scale of sociopolitical and economic influence, quite trivial and ineffectual. On the other hand, I believe blacks confer much respect upon whites. Much underserved resepect, one could argue reasonably. I believe the degree of respect (and adulation, even) that blacks hold for whites is attributed whites projecting a glorified, sanctified image of themselves all throughout (such as giving Jesus Christ, someone who almost certainly was not a white man, blonde hair, blue eyes, and white skin) and generally using the media to depict whites in a positive light. Blacks have accepted this with little question. Black women straighten their hair, get nose jobs, lighten their skin, wear colored contacts, dye their hair hideous blonde colors in a cheap mimicry of white women. Black men---well, they just chase white women and settle for whatever than can get, even a fat unwanted one. If a black male athlete has a big enough sports contract, maybe then he can manage to court the type of white woman that the black woman is so busy trying to emulate.

The inquiry that I ultimately want to put forth is---why should blacks seek the approval of whites? I mean, what sort of ludicrous narcissism is it that whites believe all ethnic groups must have THEIR sanction to---well, what, succeed? To this point, it has been futile to pursue that acceptance. Because although whites have a penchant for wagging the finger at blacks for not “getting it together”, throughout American history we see that any time that blacks have made a concerted effort to do so whites are always there to prevent the transpiration of that success. We have the Homestead Act in which MILLIONS of acres of land were distributed to whites but blacks were allowed none. We have the “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa that was bought down in flames, along with the sacrificing of hundreds of black lives. We have the massacre in Rosewood as well. Between 1868 and 1880, sixteen blacks were elected to Congress, most of them from the South. Many of them were remarked to have been eloquent and erudite individuals (free and former slave alike) but following the compromise made in the 1878 Presidential elections (followed by the Northern troops leaving the South) you instantly saw a decline in the numbers of blacks getting elected to Congress. There’s no end to the situations that can be cited as evidence of this. If I were to attempt to write a book detailing the myriad instances of white-on-black injustice I believe it would be the longest volume written in the entire history of mankind. In contrast, were I to seek to write even a paragraph sufficiently and comprehensively detailing the instances of black racial discrimination against the white race as a collective entity, would such information even merit this length? As far as the endurance of white on black racial discrimination (and it discombobulates me to no end, the degree of individuals, black and white alike, who assert that RACISM IS NO MORE) do you want a recent example? Housing discrimination was at an all-time high in 2006. Peering into our past, it is most fascinating that surveys from the 1960s reveal that even when de jure racism was still quite real (in the damn books!) whites still somehow felt that blacks were treated fairly and had equal opportunities. Even when it was beyond evident that they did not! “They simply weren’t taking advantage of them!” In 1960 many blacks still couldn’t vote! We hear the same claims today, that America is a level playing field although studies, surveys, and statistics indicate otherwise.

And beyond that, why is the blessing of the white race---the race that ravaged and exploited Africa, went across the world slaughtering and committing genocide upon non-whites, used deception manipulation to gain control over non-whites, at least once sought to conquer the world and establish a global empire exclusively structured for the advancement of white people (and came pretty damn close). If you want the honest truth from a black person, I do not respect white people, collectively, as a morally upright race of people (particularly in the ways of dealing with other races). And anyone of any race who is completely honest with themselves, as well as in possession of sound reasoning abilities and a significant degree of information regarding the history of racial relationships in America and the world throughout, America would have sentiments congruent to my own. A significant amount of the advancements and successes whites have achieved have been at the expense of non-white peoples. America was built by black labor. Black hands built the White House, Capitol Hill, the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument---black hands built American into the international bastion of wealth that it is. Black slave labor accounted for several trillion dollars worth of wealth---without that, would America be America today? And yet, when a black man speaks on the very real and corporeal sociological concept of white privilege it is dismissed as, “oh, you’re just complaining”. Now, that is EXTREMELY disrespectful to simply dismiss the real and very, extremely thoroughly substantiated truth of racism, particularly that of the anti-Black flavor, in both historical and contemporary America, and I think that’s probably the greatest testament to the truth of collective white disrespect that you yourself so veraciously and bluntly acknowledge. And though most whites will not blatantly state that they do not respect black people, they WILL NOT HESITATE TO SAY THAT THEY BELIEVE BLACKS COMPLAIN TOO MUCH. The latter basically confirms the falsehood of the former. It completely contradicts it. Many say that whites, as a race, are no more morally unrighteous than any other race, they simply have expressed theirs on a grander scale due to their power and alleged racial ingenuity, but I think such a claim is sort of foolish and difficult to substantiate. Genocides did not transpire in Africa, at least not before Europeans arrived. Sure, there was warfare, but never on the grand scale that Europe witnessed, even before her conquest of non-white nations. Celts, Scythains, Germans, Britons, Gauls---all extremely violent people who were just about always at war with each other. Warfare in Africa wasn’t this widespread and furthermore wasn’t this violent. African warfare was oftentimes more ritualistic than it was lethal.

I think there are numerous reasons that whites should respect black people and few reasons why blacks should respect white people. But somehow, the situation is quite twisted and has, since the forced introduction of blacks into the West, always been so. Essentially, there is no reason, other than the great difference between the races in physical appearance. To justify their irrational animus, whites will continue to forever fabricate perceivably legitimate reasons for expressing that hatred and, as well, by denying them their ability to achieve power, act towards blacks in manners that will substantiate and legitimize those reasons."

-Black Thought

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Black Man Murdered by neo-Nazi's in Cold Blood

In 2009, it is not uncommon to hear the mantra of "racism is gone" uttered as whites reminisce and reflect upon "those days, back then" and pat themselves on the back for having so benevolently and altruistically changed their ways and "stopped being racist". It's also not uncommon to hear African-Americans complement those truths so worth celebrating saying, "things haven't been racist since Dr. King died" and other such sagacious, thoughtful statements.

Unfortunately, anyone who feels that racism has been eradicated is either uneducated, blind, mentally retarted, or perhaps a combination of the three, because everyday life in America demonstrates to us that racism is as alive and well as it has ever been. Furthermore, one must understand that eradicating racism isn't about ensuring that people don't go around calling others "niggers" on account of their skin color and cultural affiliation. It's about restructuring the government, economy, and social attitudes of the United States which were all originally constructed and desgined to benefit white people the expense of other races, especially black people, and still unfairly benefit white people today.

The improvements and strides made since the Civil Rights movements are largely superficial and really don't have a lot of depth as far as efficaciously and effectively solving the problem of racism in the United States. We may have elected Barack Obama, but seeing as Barack Obama's campaign was funded by white Americans who sought to employ someone who would advance their white power agenda and was supported by a media that also advances this white power agenda and always depicts blacks as miscreants, social deviants, and social parasites, we cannot cite the election of a mixed-race President whose policies and approaches only serve to further advance this white supremacist power strucuture as evidence that the beast that is racism has been slayed.

Anyway, on a more superficial level blacks still have to worry about white Americans attacking them and murdering them on account of both their aesthetic and cultural qualities. In October of 2009, Anthony Rice was a victim of intentional vehicular homicide when neo-Nazi skinheads affiliated with the City Nights strip club tasered him and his brother, threw stones at him, and capped off their racist assault by hopping in a truck, driving after him, and brutally running him over.

Being a 98% African-American jurisdiction, East St. Louis wouldn't be the most likely of places to harbor a white-only strip club. City Nights defies that assumption. Further, considering that the city has legislation in the books barring "sexually-explicit businesses" from holding liquor licenses, it's a wonder how City Nights managed to defy two legal obstacles.

Anthony was out with his brother, Aubrey, celebrating the birthday of the latter when they were enticed by neon-signs flashing, "Beer" and "Hot Girls". They didn't observe any "White Only" signs and henceforth had no cognizance of the threat that loomed ahead:

"The Rice brothers were turned away at the door and taunted with racial comments by the manager at City Nights and club bouncers who attacked them with tasers." The son of Woodrow and Gail Allen, owners of the club, was a Nazi skinhead, featuring a tattoo on his neck, who then, Taser in hand, chased the brothers from the front of the club and proceeded to get inside of his truck and barbarically run Anthony Rice over.

East St. Louis mayor Alvin Parks Jr. did move to close the bar on the same night that the murder occured but would not definitively state that the murder was an act of racial prejudice. Its evident that his adminstration and his poor leadership permitted this travesty of law to take place at all. Obviously Mayor Parks did not enforce his law and did not thoroughly examine all "sexually-explicit" institutions to make their their operations were in accordance with legislation. Poor black leadership yet again.

The occurrence of this situation demonstrates that a black man can still be a victim of racial violence anywhere in the United States. Even in such a municipality where nearly 100% of the residents are black people, whites will still find a way to inflitrate and express their bitter animus through violent mediums. Blacks, guilty of nothing, demonstrating no hatred or hostility, and having never found themselves resorting to violence against whites to vent their frustrations, which are many, are still killed in cold blood, ran over, because of who they are. Two African-American males, having absolutely no clue as to what they were getting themselves into, got themselves into a whole lot of trouble although they transgressed against no one and did no injustice to anyone, and one of them paid the price with their life. That's the price of being black in America.

Sounds like the history of America.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Significance of Fortifying the Educational System in Black Communities

The states of enervation witnessed in other facets of black society, including in areas of business, familial development, etc, are critically congruent with the state of enervation witnessed in education system. The education system in the black community has been renowned for its inefficacy and its inability to inculcate into the black child and adolescent the proper values and enlightenment essential to developing and sustaining an empowered community. This broken educational system that has been entrusted with the duty of edifying our youth with the proper knowledge essential to black empowerment has failed miserably, as witnessed with the low college enrollment rates, graduation rates, and graduate school admissions rates. A system unable to enrich the future generations will breed children bereft of a sense of collective belonging to an ethnic group and henceforth fosters the growth of adults who will possess no grasp of the significance of economic empowerment, intraracial exclusivity and consonance, and general understanding of the magnitude of the contemporary black plight and means of remedying this plight.

It is the unstated goal of those agents of the white supremacist power structure to assert that the cause for such common academic underperformance amongst blacks is attributable innate ineptitude. In 2005, the mean composite mathematic and critical reading score on the Scholastic Apititude Test for African-Americans was just 864, compared with 930 for Hispanics, 1068 for white Americans, and 1091 for Asian Americans. In context of both the historical de jure and de facto denial of education to African-Americans (which today exists in the ongoing denial of access to equal educational opportunities, witnessed in underdeveloped educational systems in black communities) the reason for black underperformance can be understood. While it is critical to identify the cause of such far-reaching predicaments, simple identification of the problem is insufficient and is not a means for excusing oneself from seeking a solution to the existing problem. The legacy of racism intrinsic to Euro-American culture has ensured the continuation of black underdevelopment and social retardation. Anyone who calls themself a devotee to the cause of black self-empowerment should have this quotation engraved upon their grey matter structures. Still, while the white power structure may stand as the culprit in the cause of black educational impoverishment the black community cannot expect the white power structure to, at least not single-handedly (and on its own initiative), eradicate this problem. One cannot expect the white to actively lobby on behalf of the socially atrophied black community because, in their eyes, it would be to undermine their hegemonic establishment. It is the duty of the black to mobilize and formulate a solution to this societal deficiency.

One of the first and foremost reasons for the inefficacy of the Western educational system (for all practical purposes we will, from this point forward, reference the educational system in the black community as the "Western educational system" since the philosophies, techinques, and information taught are all Western in perspective and only "black" in the sense that they are rendered inchoate for distribution in the black community) is its being "Western" and Eurocentric in perspective. The children of the black community are educated in a system established, operated, and influenced (in terms of development of text books, methods of academic administration, and educational resources) almost exclusively by white Americans---the same ethnic group largely responsible for the plight we are in today. Given the lack of regard historically expressed by such a culture it cannot be expected that such a system will have the best interest of the oppressed group at heart. It does not take strong reasoning to figure this. To effect change in the Western educational system of black America will require a concentrated effort on the part of black Americans to 1) utlize government to enact legislation that will support equal distribution of tax dollars to ALL public schools as opposed to the current racist, conservative system that allows wealthy white communities to retain their tax dollars and forces poor black communities to scrape for change to keep schools open, 2) petition schoolboards, textbook publishers, and those involved in the education system to jettison the current Eurocentric cirriculum taught in black communities and incorporate knowledge of black civlizations, languages, and contributions to society AND the instruction of their ideas, and 3) develop independent community-oriented programs to act as a secondary supplement to educational instruction (in the form of afterschool and daycare programs) AS WELL AS programs designed to free current instructors of indoctrination and edify these beacons of knowledge as to the proper and effective ways of educating young black students, encouraging them to have pride in their blackness and Africanness, and encouraging them to pledge devotion to the value of building and maintaining the black community.

The goal of the contemporary American educational system is to sustain white hegemonic control over the United States, the remainder of the Western world, and the remainder of the "third world". The effort of white Americans, particularly conservatives, to oppose "socializing" America is nothing more than an effort at sustaining racial control over black Americans, who they seek to prevent from obtaining any benefits from social programs whatsoever. As difficult and arduous a journey as it has been to enact healthcare reform for the better good of black people (and poorer Americans) it would be even more challenging to nationalize educational standards and equally allocate tax dollars to poorer black communities as well as wealthier white communities. The impoverishment witnessed in the black community has been attributed to the unjust denial of myriad rights---employment, suffrage, housing, economic establishment (such as the ability to buy/sell land and real estate), and education---and yet for blacks to empower themselves and their communities, this most critical area that requires drastic restructuring and reform cannot be improved because blacks, denizens of a society that has been collectively disadvantaged by an oppressive white society and henceforth unable to accrue wealth to create those critical tax dollars for black public schools, receive so little funding to support the proper and efficicent operation of those educational systems. A curcuitous pattern exists---a system that cannot train professionals to acquire wealth cannot put forth the tax dollars to establish or sustain a progressive community. A system that cannot train teachers and indoctrinate them with imperative values pertinent to those individuals that they teach will never inculcate the community with understanding and cultural strength. It is an ongoing cycle that MUST be broken.

Structural racism rendered the black community unable to see the value of educaton. The Western education system traditionally never afforded the proper opportunties to blacks and henceforth to bother pursuing those opportunities was seen as a lost cause. In 1930, an African-American with a Harvard degree had almost no better a chance at success than a black without a high school degree. Times have changed and so must the black collective attitude towards education. Blacks must now begin to understand that education is indeed valuable but we must not act as individualists and simply acquire college degrees and only to assimilate into the white world. Educated black professionals must use their educational skills to support and fortify the black community.

The conscious black must be a pragmatist. We must apply practical means towards solving our community problems. We must take tangible and corporeal means towards effecting change in our community. As members of a mostly democratic government we must voice our concerns, we must stand up, we must let our cries be heard to the powers that be. They must know that we will not stand for injustice and inequality anymore. It is no longer tolerable for blacks, at the end of 2009, to still be so far behind other races who seek to conquer us and determine our fate. We cannot expect others to help us! They never have. They never will. WE are the only ones who can bring about the change that will save our people and Africa.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Magnitude of the Movement

A certain incident transpired that caused me to reminisce of the words of the late great John Henrik Clarke, one of the greatest warriors our people has yet seen. In his remarks he made only made a brief allusion. This allusion pertained to Malcolm X and the astounding power of his leadership. Malcolm X had a charisma and demeanor that had not yet been seen amongst our people since their arrival in the New World. His assertiveness, his eloquence, and his wisdom were those that can only be bestowed by holy powers. His stature (both physical and spiritual) was great. Malcolm X had the charisma, fortitude, and power that could match the greatness of the Pharaohs. Essentially, Dr. Clarke mentioned our people's inability to realize the signifiance of the impetus that motivates and sustains, not just the leader, but themselves. We attached our passion and devotion and reasons for our commitment to our racial cause to Malcolm X rather than to the essential principles and ideas he promulgated and sought to implement in our community. Dr. Clarke streesed that it must be understood that for our causes to truly endure, to bequeath longevity upon those causes, we must be able to turn to the next page and continue the struggle long after certain divine representatives and officials have departed us. Malcolm X was one of the greatest representatives in the history of our people but it is what he represented that remains essential and most imperative.

It must be understood that it may not be a death that is responsible for the loss of a cohort with whom we share this common cause. Furthermore, it must be understood that it may not be a particular leader to whom we assign our meaning for partaking in and immersing our souls in the movement. It may be an individual to whom we assign personal significance. No matter what the degree of this significance may be and no matter what the reason may be for the loss of or disconnection from this individual we must remain fixated on the principles and philosophies of the movement. We are slaves to fate, and none else. Fate bestows these leaders and individuals upon us so that we may be enlightened of the plight and struggles of our people and so that we can learn of the truth that will lead us to emerge from this decadence. Whatever passion we may vest in certain individuals essentially belongs to the movement, whether or not the epiphany has found us.

To a particular individual, I wrote:

"The movement is not about any individual. It is not about an alleged personal connection that never existed. It’s a cosmopolitan, universal idea and belief. It’s something that each devotee should carry with them and their conviction in that belief should be strong enough that it not be, not even in the least bit, partly influenced by its connection with any individual. Lest that connection with an individual be severed one’s conviction should endure wholeheartedly, without being subjected to enervation.

You know enough about our seemingly eternal predicament to have awareness of the selflessness that is required for this movement. You are cognizant of what is right and what is wrong. You know what will benefit and what will destroy our people. It is your decision as to which path you will take---because there are only two paths."

This applies to all those of our movement as well as those who contemplate mustering what courage this maganimous endeavor requires.

"History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day…it is also a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. History tells a people where they have been and what they have been, where they are and what they are. Most important, history tells a people where they still must go…what they still must be. The relationship of history to the people is the same as the relationship of a mother to her child."
-Dr. John Henrik Clarke

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Silent Holocaust: The Belgian Genocide of the Congo

In our reflection upon the grand history and innumerable events of humanity’s past we are inevitably forced to once again encounter the horrors and inhuman transgressions that our forebearers have made against others as well as the transgressions that have been made against our forebearers by others. In contemporary history there is perhaps no event more horrid and incomprehensible as the Holocaust. Following the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, his Aryan Ideal was put forth with unforeseen adamancy. To better facilitate the securing of Germany (and eventually continental Europe) for Aryan people, his racial agenda called for the elimination of untermenschen (subhumans), most of whom were, in Germany, Jewish people. Over the duration of World War II (and preceding this conflict) Hitler and his Aryan henchmen facilitated the mass elimination of nearly 6 million Jews. In addition to this, 4 million Slavs, Poles, and rarer minorities such as blacks were systematically eliminated. While the Jews were obviously not the only victims of the Holocaust or the mass German onslaught against those they deemed enemies and inferiors, the incessant memorials to this heinous and savage crime have characterized this event as one that has solely affected Jews. The term “Holocaust” has become effectively synonymized with “Genocide of Jews” although this is highly inaccurate and extremely disrespectful to those of other faiths and ethnicities who also died at the hands of the Nazis, the label “untermenschen” seared into their corpses.

One may often wonder why the plight of the Jewish people has become so well known, so mourned over, and so thoroughly impressed into the global collective consciousness. Why have so many, even the ancestors of those who perpetrated the heinous acts against the Jewish people, shuddered at mere thoughts and reflections of the brutality and callousness expressed by the German people towards their scorned Jewish enemies? And why is it that the innumerable casualties of Africans, Native Americans, Asians, and virtually all non-white ethnic groups of the world are deemed unworthy of tears, mourning, and remembrance. For them, a mere “sorry” must suffice for the tens of millions they lost, and the plight and suffering of their ancestors is merely swept under the rug, cast into oblivion---forgotten. While our school textbooks devote entire chapters to the subject of Jewish suffering, especially the Holocaust, other genocides, such as that of the Congolese, have not merited even paragraphs.

In the West, they never fail to remind us of the plight of the Jews and the extreme, gory adversity that they have ostensibly endured throughout the history of man. Holocaust memorials are erected, dates are observed, reparation money is distributed to the victims and their descendants, nations are commandeered and offered as polite compensation. As for the memory of the millions of blacks who died en route in the Atlantic Slave Trade (not to mention their brethren who died either tilling fields or being beaten to their demise), the millions of Native Americans who died throughout the Americas after the arrival of Europeans, and the millions who died at the hands of European colonialists in Africa, there is no memory. There has been no effort to mitigate the residual effects of the atrocious acts, no effort to appease the disturbed and restless spirits of those wronged. Memorials are few, acknowledgment is scant, and nowhere are apologies to be found. “It wasn’t me who did it---it was those people back then.”

During the mid-19th century the infamous Scramble for Africa was at its pinnacle. Every European superpower that was anything readily and enthusiastically partook in military conquest of African nations. Though several sovereign African states proved themselves formidable and presented valiant reciprocation of European aggression (most notably the Zulu, Asante, Herero, and Ethiopians) most African states succumbed to European belligerence rather easily. European technology, political impetus, and a most rabid and feral type of aggression were simply too much for most Africans to resist. And so, upon Mother Africa, colonialism was imposed with great ardency, and for the first time Africa was under the yoke of Europe. It was unprecedented.

In 1885, King Leopold of Belgium surveyed a map of Africa and tacitly observed the territorial highlights of nations that had been conquered by his continental cohorts. He was less than satisfied at the many possessions of Great Britain, the foremost Empire of the world, as well as those Germany, France, and Italy. Both a sense of envy and consternation overtook him. If Belgium could not conquer African territory then its status as a legitimate European power bastion would be thereby threatened. Before his eyes, all of his rivals were declaring war on African people throughout and acquiring territory, slave labor, and abundant resources. Hell bent on capitalizing off of the violent exploitation, King Leopold appealed at the Berlin Conference of 1885 and was granted the territory that would become the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The Congo was unbelievably wealthy---her jungles, soils, and wildlife abounded in rubber, ivory, and minerals. King Leopold’s personal army, the Force Publique, was swept up in a desirous frenzy to acquire this wealth that by 1908, when European powers actually had to retake the Congo from Belgium because of the gross genocide and carnage that had been wrought, it was conservatively estimated that over 10 million Congolese had died. That would be around 50 percent of the Congo’s population, an undoubtedly astounding amount. It is often contested that these estimates are grossly inaccurate and in reality a figure significantly higher than 10 million would be more fitting to account for these gross tragedies.

Like the nations controlled by his relatives, King Leopold II was transfixed upon the idea of white supremacy and white colonial domination. To impose European control upon Africa, they would stop at nothing. King Leopold not only extracted tremendous amounts of wealth from the land and henceforth bolstered the economy of Belgium (as well as his own personal wealth) but he did so through enslavement of almost all of the native populace. To King Leopold, these Africans were “subhumans” and “savages” and “life not worthy of life”. Each and every Congolese soul who perished at his behest was victim to a man who assigned absolutely no value or worth to the lives of Africans. To him, their lives may as well have been nothing---animals exceeded them in significance. King Leopold was a man who believed wholly (and shared this belief with many of his European colonizing cohorts) that the value of white life was infinitely greater than that of a black life. After all, beyond labor or sexual satisfaction, the black life had no true worth.

If the black inhabitants of the Congo were “noble savages” then it is only fair to christen their Belgian masters as “savage nobles”. Though the whites characterized the Africans as primitive, feral, and less than human, closer to simian creature, it was not the Africans who committed savagery and animalistic barbarity upon “cultured” Europeans. King Leopold’s henchmen utilized almost every known form of torture and punishment to murder Congolese people. Congolese were beaten, shot, beheaded, burnt to death, hung, starved, stabbed, impaled, infected with disease, and whipped to death. Those who didn’t die from the cruel punishment often endured lifelong injuries such as castrated genitals, severed limbs, severe burns, loss of eyes, and permanent scars from whips. Those who managed to remain physically unscathed still endured the pain of slave labor and the psychological torment that such an imposing and cruel slavocracy imposed upon them. No man was free from the yoke of King Leopold’s fierce, callous oppression, and every single inhabitant of the Congo was in some great way victim to the bloody subjugation. Contending with more conservative, doctored estimates, some estimate that up to 30 million Congolese perished during the brutal regime of King Leopold II as a direct result of his vicious efforts.

What memorial stands today to honor the millions who died from Belgian subjugation in the Congo? Who is to dictate what tragic transgression is worthy of eternal commemoration and which one should merely be cast into oblivion? As Africans, perhaps we should blame ourselves for not calling for remembrance of these atrocities. Of course the perpetrators and the descendants of the perpetrators are going to try their best to eradicate all memory of these horrid transgressions---in their aversion to altruism, honor, and humanity, they would rather deny responsibility and tarnish the memory of these brave individuals who endured so much but inevitably succumbed, than concede wrongdoing. In a most audacious and affronting statement, Christoph Muzungu, the culture minister for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, advocated the erection of a statue of King Leopold II. Oblivious to the fact that millions upon millions of his countrymen were murdered by this bloodthirsty despot, likely some of them being his familial ancestors, he argued that, “people should see the positive aspects of his rule.” The Congolese people, a bit more aversive to the memory of such a savage tyrant, immediately dismantled the statue within hours of its erection.

Are our ears closed to their never-ending cries and screams and pleas that will forever echo throughout history?

Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters! When will we REMEMBER the plight of our ancestors? Will we remain oblivious and ignorant to their anguish forever? Hear their cries!