An understanding of racial concepts is by-far the most difficult thing for my undergraduate students to comprehend. Now, I fully understand how confused they must be when they hear my belief that the only reason they call themselves black is due to the presence of whites. The bare bones truth of Race in America is the fact that if white people did not exist there would be no black people. After all, the current racial identifiers have been haphazardly constructed over the past four centuries.
The historical record proves that regardless of geographical location or other peculiarities, the most reliable solidifying agent for any group is the presence of what is best termed the “other.” It is this opposing force that threatens a particular group’s access to limited resources and therefore causes them to mobilize under a racial or ethnic grouping. There is no room for sensible debate disputing either white’s status as the “other” for blacks or the phenomenal impact that White America’s decisions and actions have had on Black America.
The general threat that White America poses has sporadically caused blacks to abandon petty disputes in favor of an attempt to organize their prodigious politico-economic resources in an attempt to fight against white world supremacy and the tyrannical leaders who impose it on black men, women, and children.
Donald J. Trump, the current occupant of the Oval Office, is the most recent representation of white tyrannical rule over a politically disorganized black populace that has failed to make any significant strides for racial equality since the Black Power Era’s decline.
Although difficult to comprehend, Donald J. Trump is actually the best thing to happen regarding the political engagement of a black community whose interests in such matters tends to ebb and flow. It appears that the most reliable steroid shot for black political engagement is the appearance of a veritable “boogeyman” capable of efficiently reminding Black America of their subordinate status. A cursory examination of the plight of blacks displays that not even their lagging behind in every economic, political, health and educational measurable is as powerful as the arrival of a polarizing figure such as Trump. The mere presence of the alluded to figure reminds the black community that there is unfinished business in the battle against discrimination, bigotry, racial bias, and institutional racism.
Without the presence of a “boogeyman”, a sizable portion of the community has little interest in political engagement, while a few “educated” blacks can be found debating if Civil Rights Organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored or the National Urban League have outlived their utility.
Although unfortunate, it appears that the foremost pre-requisite to a significant reengagement with political matters by Black America is the appearance of a hateful, ignorant, and socially inappropriate figure that offends all. Donald J. Trump is that figure for Black America.
One needs to look no further than the quickening politicization of professional athletes occurring throughout the National Football League and the National Basketball Association for proof that Donald J. Trump has intentionally fashioned himself as the “other” as it benefits his drastic efforts to pander to a disenfranchised white populace; unfortunately for Trump, his traveling vaudeville show has also quickened the political pulse of Black America.
It is this increasing interest in political matters that causes me much concern as many are mistaking it for a growth in political acumen and sophistication. Trust me when I say that those are two very different things. Instead of serving as a sign of burgeoning political maturation, much of Black America’s increasing awareness of political matters is merely a superficial reaction that will invariably be overcome by some other distraction. I am certain that we agree that when this occurs, the African-American community will be left in an all too familiar position. Indicative of such knee-jerk reaction politics is the presence of persons such as Ray Lewis who do their best to ride the rising and falling political winds; an obvious indicator that their interests are in a word, unanchored.
At this crucial moment, it is imperative that politicized blacks infuse their community with a progressive political education aimed at improving the black community. Failure to do such will serve as yet another indicator that blacks have yet to develop an understanding of this thing called life.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017