A Day To Remember with Brother Dick Gregory

When I learned that Brother Dick Gregory had transitioned to be with the ancestors, I was saddened as I had hours earlier received a notification from The Shrine of the Black Madonna in Houston, TX, that he was coming to town.

Although I could consider Gregory’s demise weeks prior to attending one of his lecture’s, that blow is softened significantly by an earlier interaction that I had with the Civil Rights figure. The opportunity that I am alluding to, a luncheon with Dick Gregory, is attributable to my status as an African-American studies Professor on a collegiate campus.

Anyone who has attended such an event will tell you that the criterion for being invited has little to do with an individual’s understanding of the invited guest’s significance and everything to do with one’s importance within the university hierarchy. Trust me when I tell you that few, if any, of those assembled, had anything beyond a superficial idea of who Gregory was.

Their ignorance turned into an unexpected opportunity for me as their ignorance translated into a one-on-one conversation with Dick Gregory that lasted several hours. This cherished opportunity paved the way for a hilarious monologue that vacillated between the poignant and the absurd.

The organizer of this event immediately recognized that those assembled had no idea who Dick Gregory was or his importance to the movement and decided to make the best of the situation by walking him over to my table and literally parked him next to me. As expected, the moment that Gregory settled into the seat next to me he began what could only be referred to as a one-man comedic monologue that was peppered with historical figures, references, and events.

I don’t eat outside food. You do know that food is a classic way that the FBI and CIA have been able to take out black leaders. But you go ahead and eat up!!!!

Although this initial salvo straddled the line between observant and offensive, it was classic Gregory. However, I was a bit surprised that Dick Gregory still considered himself a notable threat to the U.S. Government. Although I did not verbally express my immediate thought that “Man, you aren’t a threat to the system anymore,” it was obvious that Gregory was convinced of his importance.

Although I did not verbally express my doubt and skepticism, Dick Gregory’s next comment led me to believe that he had read my countenance of skepticism.

Ah yeah young brother, they are still on me. When I got to the airport, the brother working at the metal detector told me, ‘They (FBI Agents) are on you today brother. There’s going to be four FBI agents on the plan with you.’ I’m telling you I can’t go anywhere without them following. Look around right here, I would bet you that a few of these people serving the food or working at this venue are “new hires.” As a person who shuns conspiracy theories with all of their might, I did not know if I should take Gregory’s salacious allegations seriously or burst out laughing at the ridiculous assertion that he was being pursued by a modern-day Counter Intelligence Program.

Over the next few hours, I listened to Brother Gregory weave a series of conspiracy tales that ranged from the assassination of Malcolm X to gentrification. In time, it became obvious that Gregory may have believed the things that he was saying; however, I thought he simply enjoyed the reaction that those listening to his conspiracy tales provided. Having listened to Gregory for years, I knew that each of his salacious allegations held a morsel of truth, however, when taken in their totality they were largely unbelievable; nevertheless, they were Gregory’s hallmark. And who doesn’t love a great story, and Gregory was one of our most entertaining story tellers that we have ever had. So I salute this brother and hope that he rests well among the ancestors; I am quite certain that upon arrival, Brother Gregory began weaving tales explaining all that has occurred in America to Malcolm, Martin, Marcus, and whoever else is willing to listen.

Rest well Brother Gregory, Rest in Power.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III


Rarely do I find myself using the same quote to address two separate issues in thirty minutes. Unfortunately, I have been forced to reiterate the biblical phrase (Luke 23:34) “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” that Yeshua ben Yosef (Jesus Christ — The Messiah — Jesus the son of Joseph) uttered when asking his heavenly father for a measure of mercy for those perpetrating an unconscionable evil that they did not understand.

As I am confident that you can imagine, the initial time that I cited Luke 23:34 on this date was in a posting addressing Trump’s blatant contradictions regarding the Alt-Left and the fact that there are “good people” within their ranks.

My subsequent usage of “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” has been caused by a colossal misstep by the Entertainment Sports Network (ESPN). Although I have never participated in a fantasy sports league, it is apparent that it is that time of the year for NFL fans to draft their teams as evidenced by ESPN’s fantasy sports mega fest. Inexplicably, the decision-makers at ESPN put a special touch on this year’s coverage; they auctioned off New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a gallery of white sports enthusiasts.

Although this decision by ESPN in the wake of the Charlottesville terrorist attack and Trump’s angry retraction of a condemnation of the KKK, White Nationalists, and the Alt-Right, to hold what amounts to a modern-day ‘slave auction’ is bewildering.

If nothing else, the above incident once again proves that when it comes to blind spots, whites reign without a rival. Although I always fight against the urge to generalize, however, on this occasion it appears that I am on relatively safe terrain to indict whites who would fill a political spectrum stretching from Antifa to the Alt Right with the charge that they are suffering from a witches-brew of racial insensitivity, cultural blindness, and historical illiteracy. Such a context makes me say, woe to every “minority population” that is ruled by such a blind society. Reinforcement for this view is found in the fact that millions of whites watched this spectacle and apparently found nothing wrong with it as many of them considered the auction process exhilarating and entertaining enough to seek to replicate it during the construction of their fantasy leagues.

When whites wonder why Race still matters in this nation, never do they consider that it is their many interlocking illiteracies (cultural, social, political, and historical) that are to blame.

Although I am confident that the following will bother most readers, however, racial bias, white bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, and institutional racism is woven into the fabric of this nation and will never recede from its bosom; it’s in our blood as a nation. American bigotry has been a fixture for so long that it is unsettling to consider who we would be if we were not fighting each other in a desperate pursuit of survival.

When you think about it, if this nation were absent racial conflict, there would be no population known as “white.” The only reason that “whites” exist is the presence of an “other” population that causes a multi-ethnic group of Europeans (English, Irish, Polish, Italians, Russians, and Germans) to rally against persons of African-descent on a continual basis. If you doubt this assertion regarding the defining effect that the descendants of enslaved Africans have on the development of “whiteness,” please tell me where else in the world do you find “white people” on the face of the globe? Where do “white people” hail from? Where is “white” land? Whether they like it or not, they exist as “whites” because “blacks” are their historical rallying point.

My understanding of such matters allows me to not be upset by the Alt-Right, Trump, or even the imbeciles at ESPN who failed to recognize what should have been the obvious racial overtones associated with auctioning off an African-American athlete to a crowd of eager whites who were jumping out of their seats to purchase that big black buck.

As a social commentator and writer on racial matters, I rest particularly well at night because I realize that there will ALWAYS be something for me to write about.

However, I will tell you one thing that I have never been able to comprehend. How is it that in a nation that has been haunted by racial matters for four centuries that neither blacks nor whites have any real understanding of what led to either the rise or perpetuation of America’s most peculiar problem. I am confident that you agree that if they have no knowledge of the rise of racial conflict in America that there is no conceivable way that they will ever develop and execute a plan to eradicate it.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

Donald Trump: The King of Dog-Whistle Politics

I am confident that you remember the repeated charge of being a divisive agent in the battle for racial tranquility that a wide swath of white conservatives and misguided Negroes hurled at President Barack Hussein Obama. If one listened to the hateful rhetoric emanating from these sources, two things are obvious: (a) a decade after Andrew Hacker made the assertion that America was Two Nations: Black and white, Separate, Hostile, Unequal it remains true as America remains divided nation along DuBois’ ‘color line’ and (b) there was a segment of America determined to disagree with everything Obama put forth. Please keep in mind that this is not an implicit attack on White America as the ranks of the latter included many members of Black America’s revolutionary class. Sensible Americans realized that such baseless assertions were aimed at retarding any effort at advancing Obama’s agenda.

In hindsight, it is evident that the most laudable hallmarks of the Obama administration were its inclusiveness and commitment to diversity. The Obama administration seemed to be motivated by former Texas Governor Ann Richards assertion that if we want new ideas, we must change who is sitting around the table. During Obama’s two-terms, everyone, including those who vehemently disagreed with him, was welcomed to the table by a gracious and accommodating host. Those days are gone.

If it can be reasonably argued that President Obama set the tone-and-tenor for what should have been a productive dialogue, it makes sense to cite Donald Trump and his administration for setting the tone-and-tenor for the rising climate of hatred emanating from the “Alt-Right” as they seek to “make America great again.”

We all realize that “dog-whistle politics” are nothing new for American Presidents. However, it’s hard to cite a single American President whose sub-discourse or “dog-whistle” has been discernible by so many people as Donald J. Trump. Trump’s decision to populate his cabinet with individuals who spew vitriolic hatred at those who oppose their white supremacist plans makes what I am certain he thought would be a subtle message to the raucous elements of his base visible to all. The figures mentioned above include “Alt-Right” and white supremacist values such as:

  • Steve Bannon
  • Milo Yiannopoulos
  • Alex Jones
  • Sebastian Gorka
  • Julie Kirchner

Although I do not blame Trump for the existence of White Nationalism, Neo-Nazism, and other repugnant verbal and physical expressions of racial bigotry. Truthfully, the seeds for such questionable viewpoints were sown centuries before Trump appeared on the scene during the attempt to settle Roanoke. Trump is at worst guilty of watering and tending to those poisonous weeds via rhetoric that was hurled into public spaces decades before his Presidential campaign.

No one can successfully argue against the fact that the Office of the President of the United States of America sets the stage for the terms and conditions of political engagement. There is even less room to assert that Trump’s political ascension encouraged white supremacists to emerge from the murky shadows they have always occupied and step under a bright center-stage spotlight. Trump has done very little to dissuade figures such as Bannon and Gorka of their foolhardy belief that their political priorities are a welcome addition to a vibrant American political scene with malleable boundaries that adversaries agreed on decades ago.

Trump’s failure to recognize that white supremacy is outside of the alluded to boundaries is a troubling sign. His inability to articulate such without the aid of a teleprompter is not only more troubling but also proves that a man devoid of an either a moral compass or common sense has no business heading this nation.

It is past time that American leaders on both sides of the aisle lay aside their bickering and take a serious look at Trump as the inherent risks associated with such ineptitude are unconscionable. When one considers the difficulty Trump had denouncing white supremacy and domestic terrorism, it should be frightening to think what could come from his dealing with foreign policy matters such as Russia, North Korea, China, and a host of other crucial issues that will permanently alter this nation going forward.

Boy do I miss Obama; hell, with the way things are going right now I miss George W. Bush’s leadership. And as you well know, that is a thought that I never in a million years thought that I would have. However, these are desperate times.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017




Committed to investigating, examining, and representing the African-American male, men, and manhood by offering commentary regarding the status of Black Men and Black Manhood as it relates to African-American Manhood, Race, Class, Politics, and Culture from an educated and authentic African-American perspective aimed at improving the plight of African-American men and African-American Manhood in regards to Politics, Culture, Education, and Social Matters.

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