Giving Respect When It’s Due: Why We Need More Joakim Noah’s in our Community

Let me first say that I actually do not like Joakim Noah, the son of World Class Tennis player Yannick Noah, for a few reasons all of yannick-noahwhich begin and end with his play on the Basketball Court. My unsettled anger began after I witnessed the aforementioned Noah aid his Florida Gators win back-to-back NCAA National Championships, the last one over my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes by a score of 84 – 75; a contest I might add that the Greg Oden and Michael Conley led Buckeyes entered ranked No.1 in the nation.

Let’s be clear, my dislike of Noah is totally sports related, I don’t know him personally. Anyway, away from the hardwood floor I have found Joakim Noah to be a ‘breath of fresh’ air in regards to his athletic peers. Although he is not very boastful regarding the social and political causes that are important to him, those who have paid any attention to Noah’s activist career have found him to be particularly courageous, intelligent, and in possession of a keen insight. Put simply, Joakim Noah, whose foundation Noah’s Arc is committed to addressing gun violence throughout the nation, could be considered the anti-Jordan in regards to championing social causes; meaning that he has been everything that Jordan refused to be during his playing days.

It is my understanding of Noah’s propensity to occupy principled positions on important political issues and social matters that took much of the shock regarding his recent refusal to participate in a recent dinner at West Point Military Academy, the locale of the New York Knicks training camp. The alluded to dinner featured not only current cadets but also a speech that sought to align the lessons that a former colonel learned during war with the game of basketball. Noah, an individual who publicly opposes all forms of war, particularly those that call for young people to kill one another, shared that he held “mixed feelings” regarding even being at West Point Military Academy.

According to ESPN.COM Noah shared the following,

“It’s hard for me a little bit. I have a lot of respect for the kids who are out here fighting. But it’s hard for me to understand why we have to go to war, why kids have to kill kids around the world. So I have mixed feelings about being here. I’m very proud of this country. I love America but I just don’t understand kids killing kids around the world…At the end of the day, I’m not anti-troops. It’s just not comfortable for me to see kids going out to war and coming back having seen what they’ve seen, having done what they’ve done. It’s sad for me. It’s sad for me because they’re just sent out for things that I don’t really want to get into it to be honest with you. It’s hard for me.”

As I related above, I doubt that I will ever forgive Noah for what he did to my Ohio State Buckeyes during the 2007 NCAA Championship Game, however, such a petty disdain does not preclude me from tipping my hat to this brother and wishing that we had tens-of-thousands, if not millions more just like him fighting for a principled cause.

According to Noah, there is plenty of room for others to select a cause that they are passionate about. “I think there’s a lot of topics that definitely need to be more than addressed…it’s great athletes are taking a stand. But it has to be about more than that. This country’s out of control. Kids killing kids.”

It is his commitment to being proactive and addressing pressing issues within our community that leads me to not only salute Joakim Noah, but also hope that others, regardless of their notoriety, fame and fortune, follow his lead and use their own platform in a similarly progressive manner.

Go Bucks!!!!!!! — I may respect him, but I still roll with my Buckeyes. OH-IO

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016

Blackface on an HBCU Campus?: What occurs when Cultural Illiteracy and Racial Bias Reigns Supreme

In a climate where many whites are repeatedly displaying for the world that they have no restraint in regards to displaying horrific racially based bias toward African-Americans, no one, and I do mean no one, could have ever anticipated that Brooke Merino, a white female freshman student at Prairie View A & M University, a Historically Black University, would possess the unmitigated gall to post a ‘selfie’ of herself in Blackface with the caption “When you just tryna fit in at your hbcu.”

Moments such as this remind me of why I think that it is critically important for all Americans regardless of their race/ethnicity to be forced to take at least one African-American studies course. The dangers of anyone existing in ignorance should be apparent to all; particularly, when such ignorance is not only unnecessary, but also revolving around such an important topic as ‘race relations’.

KRS-ONE (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone) of Boogie Down Productions fame, succinctly addresses the pernicious and reverberating evils that afflict all American students in the following lyric,

I believe that if you’re teaching history
Deal with straight up facts no mystery
Teach the student what needs to be taught
Cause Black and White kids both take shorts
When one doesn’t know about the other ones’ culture
Ignorance swoops down like a vulture

Although there has been a rush to denounce the reprehensible actions of Brooke Merino, I would admonish many of those who have rushed to address this matter that the vast majority of students have absolutely no comprehension of the history of American race relations, the source of contemporary racial inequities, the historic contributions of persons of African descent on the North American continent, or even possess the ability to define prejudice, discrimination, or racism.

It is the comprehensive ignorance that ill-informs the vast majority of ‘discussions’ regarding American ‘race matters’ that is inexcusable. Particularly when one considers that such ignorance could be eradicated within a generation or two if this nation ‘doubled-down’ upon educational programs designed to illuminate the contributions of all Americans via culturally relevant curriculum.

One can rest assured that until the aforementioned priorities take hold in this multi-racial/ethnically-diverse nation that incident such as the one involving this Prairie View A & M University student will become increasingly frequent.

Who ya’ rootin’ for?

Dan Freeman

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016

“I ain’t no Martin Luther King”: The Ignorant Mind of Michael Crabtree Has Been Revealed For All To See!!!!!!!

I was most certainly not surprised when Michael Crabtree told a white reporter seeking commentary on the recent protests involving michael-crabtree-2Black athletes and the National Anthem, issues that are closely associated with his former teammate Colin Kaepernick, “I just play football. I ain’t no Martin Luther King.”

To be honest with you, I am surprised that a person of Crabtree’s ilk took this long to arrive on the scene as his arrival was in a word, predictable. The Michael Crabtree’s of the world seem to arrive every time whites need reassuring that Blacks are neither politically astute nor desirous of first-class citizenship.

In fact, Brother Malcolm spoke about this type of fool when he stated that anytime that a proud Black man in possession of his ‘correct mind’ says something that white folk don’t like they go and find some bootlicking, buck-dancing Negro to come forward and dispute the obvious truth that he has spoken.

Michael Crabtree’s desperate attempt to ingratiate himself to whites via displaying to the entire world his absolute ignorance regarding all things extending beyond the gridiron is not only unfortunate, but also reeks of someone who has been wholeheartedly convinced that his only contribution to the nation will occur via catching a football. What a pitifully small life Mr. Crabtree has chosen for himself.

Just consider for a moment that here is an individual with what can only be termed an attentive audience eagerly waiting to hear his michael-crabtree-1position on contemporary social and pressing political issues and the only utterance that he is capable of sharing is “I ain’t no Martin Luther King.”

Maybe Michael Crabtree is on the verge of being a marketing genius and planning to trademark his drivel. I can see it now, t-shirts with the saying “I ain’t no Martin Luther King” in every sporting goods store across the nation placed right next to Nike’s well-known slogan of “Just Do It”.

Unfortunately, I suspect that Crabtree’s shirts would appeal to a segment of up and coming African-American athletes who have been duped by teachers, parents, and society in general into believing that the development of their physical prowess and maintenance of a feeble non-inquisitive uncultured mind is the most assured path to “the good life”.

If the next generation of athletes choose to follow the well-worn path that Michael Crabtree has traveled, the world will most certainly be worse off because of it. History has displayed that any individual who travels down a path devoid of politicization and the development of the mind will undoubtedly set the African-American liberation struggle back immeasurably if for no other reason than its propensity to fight against one of our greatest traditions, that being, the creation of politically astute Black athletes. Put simply, if succeeding generations of Black athletes follow Michael Crabtree’s example, not only will we never have another Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., nor will we ever produce another Paul Robeson, Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Arthur Ashe, and the list goes on and on. And for that reason we should all be saddened because the world will be a much worse place for all of us to live.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016

How Recent Black Power Salutes Are Little More Than America Reaping What It Has Sown

Now it is not that the names do not matter, it is that there have quite simply been too many of them to keep track of. This past Saturday Delton Williams, Gabe Sherrod, Kenney Lyke, Jourdan Lewis, Khalid Kaepernick 1Hill, Devin Bush, and Mike McCray, among I am certain a host of others, joined others by participating in a symbolic protest of raising their right fist in a ‘Black Power salute’ during the playing of the National Anthem that has historically been one of the most audacious signs of Black solidarity on this side of the Atlantic. It is the aforementioned gesture that brought infamy to John Carlos and Jimmy Smith at the ’68 Mexico City Olympics nearly a half-century ago and has done the same for San Francisco Forty-Niner Colin Kaepernick more recently.

There is no doubt that there is no more polarizing gesture on what many term the American racial battlefield than when an African-American defiantly raises their right fist in protest of this nation’s embarrassing record of racial oppression.

Truthfully, it is a bit amusing to see the reaction of whites whose sanctimonious aura paves a comfortable path to them being aghast at the nerve of African-Americans, a population that self-righteous whites feel should be grateful for the myriad opportunities that this nation has provided them since the first Africans arrived under white control in the Jamestown colony in 1492.

Although it is rarely addressed in public, the truth of the matter is that whites’ comprehensive belief that African-Americans should be slavery 1grateful for their association with America is rooted in pervasive unconscionable ignorance and a bountiful portion of hypocrisy. Put simply, whites have historically refused to believe that there is one undeniable commonality found among all of mankind, that being ‘there is not a man under the canopy of heaven who does not believe that freedom, justice, and liberty are correct for him’. If history teaches us nothing else, it is that if the oppressed within America’s borders are in possession of their ‘righteous mind’ they will unceasingly agitate for their portion of freedom, justice, and liberty.

It is only when whites develop the ability to view the ever-increasing racial strife broadcast occurring on a seemingly nightly basis via an unbiased lens that they will possess the ability to comprehend the angst and anger that is serving as the springboard for contemporary ‘Black Power’ protests.

If provided the opportunity, I would point whites toward the words penned by David Walker on September 28, 1829, in his Appeal: To the Coloured Citizens of the World, but in Particular, and Very Expressly, to Those of the United States of America. Walker charged whites with the following charge.

See your Declaration Americans! ! ! Do you understand your own language? Hear your languages, proclaimed to the world, July 4th, 1776david walker“We hold these truths to be self evident — that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL! ! that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! !” Compare your own language above, extracted from your Declaration of Independence, with your cruelties and murders inflicted by your cruel and unmerciful fathers and yourselves on our fathers and on us — men who have never given your fathers or you the least provocation! ! ! ! ! ! 

Although it must be awfully challenging for whites to recognize that the genesis of America’s historic racial problems not only has its genesis within their house, but also its perpetuation emanates from the same location.

So pardon me if I am not in the least bit persuaded by whites’ weariness when it comes to ‘race matters’. I am certain that it is finally becoming obvious to the vast majority of them that this moment of racial strife is little more than karma or better yet, a case of ‘the chickens coming home to roost’.

It is slightly amusing to witness whites strain to escape the yoke of racial animus, an obvious sign that they have yet to realize that ‘race matters’ will certainly dog this nation until it no longer exists.

This persistent haunting of America by racial strife should be expected if for no other reason than the historical reality that racial animosity was one of the first seeds that whites planted in North America’s extremely fertile soil. Racial strife super-cedes even ‘King Cotton’ in its pre-eminence and presence in America.

Today’s racial discord is little more than this nation reaping what it has sown. If whites’ seek to blame anyone for the current plight, maybe they should speak with the God that they frequently called upon prior to their most dastardly deeds because it was him who advised us all that ‘we shall reap what we sow.’

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016

Committed to investigating, examining, and representing the African-American male and offering commentary regarding his status in regards to Manhood, Race, Class, Politics, and Culture from an educated and authentic African-American perspective aimed at improving their plight in regards to politics, culture, education, and social matters.

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