Make no mistake about it, to be black in America ensures a host of definitive moments. Often these classic moments are excruciatingly painful on physical, economic, spiritual levels. When the alluded to moments are considered in their totality, one is led to believe that African-American are at best unwelcome guests in a hostile land.
Of all the issues facing African-Americans, the most pernicious may be the reality that they will never be fully accepted by what is best considered a tyrannical white majority. Although difficult to take for integrationist-minded blacks, at the current moment, the majority of whites have little interest in working toward racial equality as they have tired of the racial conflict that has shadowed them since this nation’s creation. I believe that the words of the great emancipator Abraham Lincoln best convey the average white citizens perspective regarding racial dynamics. According to Lincoln,
I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is physical difference between the two which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.
A cursory glance at American History will impress on anyone that persons of African descent have always been second-class citizens.
Malcolm X addressed this matter directly when he admonished blacks to cease attempts to separate this nation along geographical lines that made the South a hellish nightmare and the North a bastion of racial progressivism. Brother Malcolm warned a gullible black populace that “as long as you are south of the Canadian border, you are South!” It is this second-class citizenship that not only shadows African-Americans, regardless of age, gender, educational accomplishments, class, or political affiliations at every waking moment, but also defines blackness in America.
So, I was not particularly surprised when the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) issued a “travel warning” regarding the dangers awaiting African-Americans in the state of Missouri. In fact, I thought that the warning should have extended to every inch of this nation as there is no safe-haven for African-Americans on the North American continent.
In many ways, the issuing of this “travel warning” proves that the N.A.A.C.P. leadership is prone to repeating previous errors. In actuality, the referenced “travel warning” amounts to nothing more than a “now y’all be careful out there” piece of advice. In fact, the measures greatest impact is not found in any increased protection for African-Americans in the state of Missouri; rather it displays the inefficiencies of a fledgling black leadership for the entire world to see.
I am certain that other groups only sigh and shake their heads when they realize that black leaders have yet to learn that it is imperative for them to organize Black America’s politico economic resources for crisis moments. One has to wonder how in a nation that has enslaved their ancestors, oppressed their immediate predecessors, and currently works to undermine all efforts at the advancement of Black America that black leaders could not make the mobilization of a bounty of politico-economic power their priority. It is after all the only means of protecting prior gains and making future advancements.
Unfortunately for Black America, the alluded to leaders continue to avoid tried-and-true uplift strategies that contradict favored reactionary politics. Hence, I am unsurprised by the new ‘travel warning’ because it does little more than tell the black populace “now y’all be careful out there.” This familiar refrain reflects what we have always done in this nation called America.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017