Category Archives: Politics

Why Are So Many Black Folk Acting Like They Disagree with Trump’s Comments Regarding Africa? He’s Only Saying What Many of Them Say Behind Closed Doors

In many ways, the damage that Donald Trump and his roving band of liars have done to the office of the U.S. Presidency is not worth even a slight discussion. If Trump is nothing else, he is certainly a pillar of consistency. Without fail, Trump has proven that he

  • Lacks social graces.
  • Has no sense of decorum.
  • Is historically illiterate.
  • Is untrustworthy in every area of life.

As if he needed to add to his well-stocked arsenal of intellectual feebleness, Trump has shocked the world by adding yet another polarizing, yet highly revealing, statement where he has termed Haiti and several African nations as “shit holes” that the world would be better without. Undoubtedly, Trump’s reckless commentary has achieved what most thought was impossible, that being, taking the Office of the U.S. President to a new low.

The national furor surrounding Trump’s deplorable commentary has shielded the African-American community from a much-needed discussion regarding African-Americans and their view of Africa; a location that many blacks inexplicably continue to deny is their ancestral homeland. Although it may be politically incorrect to assert the following, I have always been determined to speak the truth at every turn. Prior discussions with blacks have left me with no doubt that the spirit of Trump’s biting comments aimed at both continental Africans and others strewn throughout the diaspora is unfortunately supported by a wide-swath of Black America.

Although many feign ignorance at the assertion that a sizable portion of our community do their absolute best to distance themselves from any connection to Africa, the truth of the matter is that such a position is far from a well-kept secret among black folk. In fact, it is relatively easy to find African-Americans who loathe their ancestral homeland. One only needs to bring up the topic at any place where African-Americans congregate and within moments a relatively harsh denunciation of Africa appears from the descendants of Africa. I have personally heard black folk state the following regarding Africa.

  • “Man, I ain’t leave nothing in Africa.”
  • “Stop calling me an African-American, I ain’t never been to Africa.”
  • “Man, they still living in huts and shit over there. What I need to go over there to see that for?”
  • “I’m black!!!! I know nothing about Africa or no damn Africans.”
  • “You do know that they don’t like us over there. Look at how those Africans that came over here think that they are better than us.”

Such commentary from a segment of Black America betrays the public outcry regarding Trump’s maligning of Africa and her descendants. It appears that many of those who have somehow managed to psychologically position themselves in an awkward posture that allows them to simultaneously oppose Trump while also retaining their negative and wholly uninformed view of Africa fail to see the obvious contradictions associated with their position.

I am absolutely certain that noted historian and scholar John Henrik Clarke is rolling over in his grave at the hypocrisy of those who have no desire to learn anything about their ancestral homeland and their uproarious denunciation of Trump for articulating their private thoughts and feelings regarding Africa. There is no possible way that Clarke’s spirit can be at rest as his people have yet to accept his most important teaching of “Until Africa is free, you will never be free.” Sadly, if the liberation of Africa from worldwide domination and exploitation is a pre-requisite to African-American freedom, we are going to be in this position indefinitely; because as you well know, most black folk “don’t want nothing to do with Africa.”

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2018

Reconsidering the Activist Legacy of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on MLK Day

It is quite the conundrum for one individual to simultaneously occupy a position as one of its most notable and noble citizens and one of its most misrepresented in the public arena. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is that individual. In the historical recollections and reconstructions of progressive-minded Americans, Dr. King is celebrated as “the dreamer” who encouraged our populace to strive for a moment when racial identity was no more notable than eye color. In these well-worn historical reconstructions, “the content of one’s character” was all that mattered. Unfortunately for King’s legacy, the alluded to reconstructions sit at the core of why most historians agree that Dr. King’s legacy has been skewed, if not intentionally misrepresented during the half-century following his assassination at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Rest assured that I am not particularly disturbed if you happen to be one of those people who take issue with the above contention that the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has been misunderstood and therefore misrepresented in the 50 years since an assassin’s bullet silenced “the dreamer.”

This day that has been set aside to honor Dr. King always leads me to reflect on Dr. King and how much of his message to the world has been overshadowed, if not totally silenced by the monumental words this American icon delivered on August 28, 1963 during ‘the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.’ In many ways, it is ironic that it is Dr. King’s gradually increasing radicalism that occurred during the post-March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom period of his public life that has remained hidden from an American populace that remains enchanted by his hopeful words delivered on that late August day in 1963.

Those who have studied Dr. King realize that the most significant aspects of his role as a Civil Rights activist. According to historian Anthony Quinn, “Dr. King is remembered as ‘The Dreamer’ whose greatest goal was the ending of racial discrimination. That is only part of his story, so that makes it at best a partial lie.”

Ironically, most of those who will stand on stages celebrating Dr. King’s legacy is totally aware of the ideological transformation that Dr. King underwent after his vaunted March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom speech. It is not a stretch to state that those fashioning themselves as King supporters have imprisoned his legacy by ignoring the increasing radicalism that occurred during the last five years of his life. When considered in the harshest light possible, such individuals could be considered opponents to Dr. King’s final vision. According to Mike Hinton, “The Dr. King that was speaking out against poverty and the Vietnam-War is a figure that would disturb the vast majority of Americans. It is one of the reasons why we don’t deal with it. We prefer to portray Dr. King as an accommodating, self-sacrificing, and eternally optimistic figure who never tired of the economic equality occurring throughout this nation. And that is simply a lie, a lie of major proportions.

An examination of Dr. King’s post-March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom speeches and writings reveal a radicalized figure that stands in stark contrast to the long-suffering accommodationist tag that has been unfairly affixed to the Civil Rights icon for far too long. The alluded to latter writings and speeches reveal a Dr. King that would frighten many of those who have claimed ownership of his legacy for the own selfish reasons. It is during the post-March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom period that Dr. King offers the following view of America’s misunderstanding regarding the path to racial justice. According to Dr. King,

[W]ith Selma and the Voting Rights Act one phase of development in the civil rights revolution came to an end. A new phase opened, but few observers realized it or were prepared for its implications. For the vast majority of white Americans, the past decade — the first phase — had been a struggle to treat the Negro with a degree of decency, not of equality. White America was ready to demand that the Negro should be spared the lash of brutality and coarse degradation, but it had never been truly committed to helping him out of poverty, exploitation or all forms of discrimination. The outraged white citizen had been sincere when he snatched the whips from the Southern sheriffs and forbade them more cruelties. But when this was to a degree accomplished, the emotions that had momentarily inflamed him melted away,

When Negroes looked for the second phase, the realization of equality, they found that many of their white allies had quietly disappeared. Negroes felt cheated, especially in the North, while many whites felt that the Negroes had gained so much it was virtually impudent and greedy to ask for more so soon.

King feared that since many Americans foolishly considered the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts a magical cure-all for the nation’s race problem, its failure would disappoint many.

Dr. King realized that Lyndon Baines Johnson’s 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act secured equality on the law books of America, a feat that must not be ignored as Blacks had never been equal in the eyes of the law at any earlier period in this nation’s history, however, this theoretical equality had no impact on the average Negroes day-to-day existence, particularly in regards to delivering jobs, money, or housing. If allowed to speak today, I am quite confident that the Dr. King who has been silenced by the heaps of adoration placed on his “I have a dream” motif would take powerful whites and conservative blacks to task by reminding them that although the alluded to legislative acts secured theoretical equality for the Negro, the subsequent stage, the exercise of equality, had yet to occur. According to King,

“(t)he practical cost of change for the nation up to this point has been cheap.  The limited reforms have been obtained at bargain rates.  There are no expenses, and no taxes are required, for Negroes to share lunch counters, libraries, parks, hotels, and other facilities with whites.”

There was no equivocating in King’s mind that whites, including the so-called liberals that Minister Malcolm X routinely took to task, were not prepared to share politico-economic power with Black America. This reality simultaneously served as a crushing blow to the hopes for racial justice for thousands of politically naïve blacks pursuing integration and emboldened an insurgent population of young black activists seeking liberation “by any means necessary.” According to Dr. King,

…had taken the President, the press and the pulpit at their word when they spoke in broad terms of freedom and justice . . . The word was broken, and the free-running expectations of the Negro crashed into the stone walls of white resistance.

Dr. King predicted that the white community’s resistance to racial equality would invariably push an impatient group of young black activists toward an impatient “Black Power” politic. The radicalizing figure that Dr. King was transforming into after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom articulated an interesting, yet totally ignored by contemporary depictions of the Civil Rights icon, view of both the language and imagery supporting Black Power politics. Although the extreme shift in movement strategies and goals saddened King, the Civil Rights stalwart was sensible enough to realize from whence the articulated disappointment emanated. From Dr. King’s perspective,

Many of the young people proclaiming Black Power today were but yesterday the devotees of black-white cooperation and nonviolent direct action.… If they are America’s angry children today, this anger is not congenital. It is a response to the feeling that a real solution is hopelessly distant because of the inconsistencies, resistance and faintheartedness of those in power.

The conscious decision of today’s black leadership to ignore the teachings and lamentations of a radicalized King can only be considered an inexcusable betrayal of his most powerful moments as a race leader. It appears that the alluded to leaders are ashamed to publicly state Dr. King’s developing belief that whites did not possess a moral compass capable of guiding them toward any semblance of racial equality. Even a cursory examination of Dr. King’s public life reveals that by 1965, the year that LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act and the Watts Rebellion occurred, King abandoned persuasive speeches aimed at the white man’s morality. One is left with no other conclusion than, Dr. King no longer believed that white Americans would ever abandon their devout commitment to racial bigotry and discriminatory activities.

The above realities led Dr. King to realize that the most sensible path to Black liberation was for African-Americans to forego a continuation of failed efforts “to integrate into a burning house” and pool their politico-economic resources for the uplift of Black America. Although many find it comforting and politically expedient to ignore these facets of Dr. King’s intellectual legacy, such dishonesty seeks to hide Dr. King’s final efforts at saving this nation from a future of unprecedented racial conflict and economic inequality. During the last twenty-four months of his life, Dr. King dedicated much of his time to addressing the cavernous gap between this nation’s rich and poor. Such a focus serves as the catalyst for the following statement.

As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people in this world cannot expect to live more than twenty-eight or thirty years, I can never be totally healthy even if I just got a good checkup at Mayo Clinic. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are interdependent.

As evidenced by ‘the Poor People’s Campaign’, Dr. King’s final social movement, we must also not forget that Dr. King was in Memphis, Tennessee, the location where he would be assassinated, speaking on behalf of sanitation workers striking for increased wages and better working conditions, ‘the Dreamer’ had awakened and made several important conclusions regarding America. Most notable of these conclusions was the realization that mankind was “…caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

It is Dr. King’s assertion that we are inextricably connected to one another that should motivate and guide those who seek to honor Dr. King. It is the only path that we have to avoid a harsh judgment that the Civil Rights patriarch warned us about. According to Dr. King, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

It is this final call that best represents Dr. King, however, such an expression will continue to be ignored because it places the onus for activism on the backs of everyday Americans. Dr. King’s call means that each of us, particularly those to whom much has been given, are existing under a mandate that orders us to loosen our grip on worldly things to pursue the sweetest things that this world has to offer, yet has never experienced: racial equality, gender equity, universal health care, and the ending of hunger throughout the planet to name just a few.

James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2018

She’s in School Now: What Representative Mia Love Should Now Understand About Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party

The crux of the most recent public spate involving Donald J. Trump is found in the unfortunate reality that far too many people believe that they are special. It is this belief that leads them to then believe that they should therefore be afforded special treatment regardless of the quality of those seek to curry favor from.

At this present moment, Representative Mia Love, born of Haitian immigrant parents, is expressing shock and dismay that fellow Republican Donald J. Trump has simultaneously disrespected herself, her heritage, and cultural inheritance by referring to her land of origin as a “shithole.”

I am certain that Mia Love now understands that in the eyes of Donald J. Trump, she is NOT SPECIAL. Considering her seeming naïveté regarding this nation’s culture wars, it may be time for someone to inform the Utah Republican that Trump has much company in regards to hating Americans who are non-white or not wealthy.

When reviewing Love’s strident defense of her parents who hail from that “shithole” called Haiti, it became very clear that the Utah Republican does not understand that the hatred spewed by Trump and those who follow his life principles have nothing to do with those that they hate. So it matters little to them that Love’s parents, Mary and Jean Maxime Bourdeau,

Took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with. They never took a thing from our federal government. They worked hard, paid taxes, and rose from nothing to take care of and provide opportunities for their children. They taught their children to do the same. That’s the American Dream. The president must apologize to both the American people and the nations he so wantonly maligned.

People like Love have convinced themselves that only if they were better citizens, more loyal to the nation, diligent about their lives, avoiding any and all appearances of stereotypical depictions of African-Americans that the reliable bigotry train will not make a scheduled stop at their doorstep. Such persons believe that bigotry will by-pass their lives if they avoid ghetto behavior such as:

  • Welfare dependency
  • A house of kids with a slew of ‘baby daddies’
  • An absence of educational achievement
  • Flawed values/priorities
  • Use of socially inappropriate language
  • Avoidance of inappropriate dress in public spaces

White bigots view individuals such as Love with what the great scholar W.E.B. Du Bois termed “amused contempt and pity” if for no other reason than their failure to understand that they have yet to understand that there is nothing they can do to either avoid or escape it.

If I was provided the opportunity to offer Representative Love one piece of advice, it would be the following. Please stop believing that the prejudice, discrimination, bigotry, and institutional racism that droves of African-Americans who fought for your right to become a citizen in this nation with equal protection rights were somehow flawed in either their efforts or character. They most certainly were not. They were courageous, valorous, diligent, and committed to forcing America to be the nation that it claimed to be. Yet, not even people that Jesus would term “salt of the earth people” were immune from the horrific politico-economic tyranny of hostile white elites whose sole priority was the pursuit of money and power ‘by any means necessary.’

Although many Americans are offended by Trump’s words and antics, I think that they are a much-needed cautionary tale for the beautiful white women from Norway that Trump welcomes, if for no other reason than an opportunity “to grab them by the p#$$%”, to those black and brown people escaping “shitholes”, who Trump believes add nothing to this nation, that this is what you are signing up for when you enter America.

One thing is for certain, in the minds of millions of people seeking entry into this nation, America remains a fabled land of unconscionable and unpredictable opportunities. Those hopes and dreams are not without merit. Consider for a moment that it is only in this nation that a person could,

  • Find the opportunity to be choked to death in public like Eric Garner by police officers.
  • Have the opportunity to be fondled by Donald J. Trump on a commercial airline flight like Jessica Leeds.
  • Have the opportunity to have your ass kicked by Donald J. Trump after a poor plastic surgery job like Ivana Trump.
  • Have the opportunity to be shot by a law enforcement officer at the age of 12 like Tamir Rice.
  • Have the opportunity to be disrespected by Donald J. Trump because you are a Haitian.

Yeah, this is the land of opportunity; enter at your own risk. I am quite certain that Representative Love has learned this lesson very well.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, & Culture, 2018

Too Respectable to Fight?: Why I Am Not Surprised that Derrick Johnson, Chokwe Lumumba, Myrlie Evers Did Not Take The Fight to Donald Trump at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

There is no other way for me to say this; I have tired of dignified black leaders. To be honest with you my list of dignified leaders that I have tired of reads like a who’s who of the modern Civil Rights Movement. This list of far too dignified black leaders includes the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, Barack Obama, and after allowing Donald Trump to bring his vaudeville show to their environs with minimal interference, I must include every purported black leader within the state of Mississippi.

Although many consider the respectability politics that serve as a thin-veil over what any courageous people would recognize as cowardice, there is no doubt that today’s black leaders routinely seek an escape route from political fights and cultural wars. When examined in its totality, black leaders avoid direct public conflict with whites “by any means necessary.” However, even a cursory examination of recent history proves that it is only black leaders who are devoted cowards.

I am confident that you remember the blatant disrespect that President Barack Obama routinely experienced at the hand of whites behaving as if they were raised by wolves. Let us not forget that such treatment aimed at black men possessing some semblance of power as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., suffered similar treatment on a routine basis, not even MLK’s application of a forgiving and long-suffering Christian ethos protected him from white bigots.

Although I am certain that this determination to not address whites in the midst of their most inappropriate moments may have begun as an attempt for black leaders to “not show their color.” However, after watching this sordid saga occur to black leaders throughout this nation’s existence, such avoidance of conflict has transitioned from an act to remain above the public moments of disrespect into the realm of cowardice; one can rest assured that angry whites recognize this fact. One has to wonder if none of these black leaders are capable of channeling the spirit of Frederick Douglass who courageously advised our kind that “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.”

The latest moment of white folk disrespecting not only contemporary Black America but also our ancestors who miraculously were able to “make a way out of no way” is the appearance of Donald Trump in Jackson, Mississippi, to deliver a speech at the new Civil Rights Museum. Now I fully understand that it was Mississippi’s Republican Governor Phil Bryant who extended the invitation and there was little that the black community could do about Trump’s appearance. However, one has to wonder why none of the leading Civil Rights leaders in that city, let us not forget that Jackson, Mississippi, the location of the Museum, has an African-American mayor, did not use their political clout to deliver a message inside of that venue in Trump’s presence?

Make no mistake about it, moments such as this one are wasted opportunities to strike a blow for black liberation that would make both our ancestors and future generations of Black America proud. It is time that black leaders abandon their respectability politics and begin channeling the spirit of Malcolm X who admonished Black America over a half-century ago that they “make it hard on themselves when they go around that white man with those sweet words. No! Tell that man exactly how you feel.”

Instead of taking the fight to a figure like Trump who has spent his entire life opposing Civil Rights and one could argue the right for black people to exist on planet Earth with even a modicum of dignity, black leaders adorn themselves with a cloak of cowardice also known as ‘respectability politics’ and rationalize that this is not a good time to address racial matters in the presence of whites. I am here to tell you that there is no better time to address those whites who routinely execute devious plans and public statements that rally a bigoted base to double-down on their attacks on Black America than the present. It angers me that white bigots and the conservative Sambos that dance to their tune never measure if the time is right to demean, disrespect, and exterminate our kind.

It is this failure to take the fight to these avowed enemies, meaning white conservatives and their black Sambo lackeys, at every turn that causes me to express my righteous indignation at the black demonstrators who stood outside of the venue protesting, a location that guaranteed that they could be easily ignored, and Derrick Johnson, the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Chokwe Lumumba, the Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, and Myrie Evers, the wife of Civil Rights stalwart Medgar Evers.

I have no problem with saying that each of these figures displayed copious amounts of cowardice that they couched in typical respectability politics. Johnson and Lumumba were not even on location, choosing to have a “news conference” a safe distance away from where the action was occurring. While Myrlie Evers was inside of the room listening to Trump fumble and stumble through a prepared 10-minute speech that amounted to absolutely nothing.

It appears that black folk in general, and our so-called leaders in particular, are afraid of “white folk power.” One thing is certain, if the tables were turned, there is not a single racial/ethnic group in America — white, Jewish, Japanese, Mexican, or Chinese — who would have behaved like good little children while an African-American President who demeaned their kind at every turn appeared to address them about matters that his entire being and financial resources have been used to oppose.

It is befuddling that the most significant resistance that Black Mississippi could muster was a statement from Myrlie Evers who broke an earlier promise to directly address Trump in her comments by offering the following. Regardless of race, creed or color, we are all Americans. … If Mississippi can rise to the occasion, then the rest of the country should be able to do the same thing.

Anyone interested in the liberation of black folk has to be left scratching their heads at the antics of so-called black leaders. Where is their anger? Where is the impulse to attack this enemy at every turn? Judging by the actions of our leaders we have not had our fill of white oppression yet. Now what it will take to get us to that point; only the Lord knows. At least we didn’t “show our color” on national television.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

What Can We Expect from Donald Trump’s Keynote Address at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum?

When considering American racial politics, it is reasonable to consider Mississippi “the crown jewel” of white bigots heart. Whenever I lecture about Civil Rights Movement atrocities, I rhetorically ask students the following question, “What are the two most racist states in this nation?” Invariably, one of the two states cited is Mississippi; Alabama is a distant second in this unscientific poll. So I am unsurprised that at racial discord has arisen the same moment Mississippi is unveiling a state-sponsored Civil Rights Museum. I am even less surprised that Donald J. Trump sits at the center of this discord.

Considering Trump’s record of working against the interests of African-Americans it is strange that he would accept Mississippi’s Republican Governor Phil Bryant’s invitation to speak the Civil Rights Museum opening. I am confident that anyone with even a basic understanding of American racial politics would agree that this arrangement is a lighting-rod for criticism from Civil Rights Leaders. As expected, Civil Rights stalwart John Lewis (D-Ga) issued a joint statement with Bennie Thomas (D-Miss.) expressing their disappointment in Trump’s participation.

“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum. The struggles represented in this museum exemplify the truth of what really happened in Mississippi. President Trump’s disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants, and National Football League players disrespect the efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Robert Clark, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and countless others who have given their all for Mississippi to be a better place.”

When one considers Trump’s tired routine of political opportunism and intentionally fanning the flames of racial discord for a bigoted base with little understanding of either racial matters or the continuing reverberations flowing from this nation’s historic racial injustice, one would have to be extremely naïve, if not absolutely foolish, to believe that Trump’s participation is anything beyond a political ploy aimed at achieving some dastardly goal of further retarding the descendants of those being honored by the new museum. Although difficult for Trump supporters to accept, this polarizing figure’s insincerity for all things, including his base of poor and working-class whites, is in a word, colossal. The man has repeatedly displayed that he has no sympathies for anything beyond himself.

It is for this reason that I fully expect Trump to once again do the impossible and live down to the expectations of a national populace that has no expectations regarding his capabilities to lead this nation. At these critical moments, Trump has displayed a pattern of shocking on-lookers by being more polarizing and offensive than even his severest critics could have ever imagined.

Although I recognize that it is in many ways a foolish endeavor to pray that even an omnipotent God is endowed with the power to either bestow wisdom on or bridle Trump’s foolish tongue as he delivers a speech at the least likely of places, a Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.

So the world will be looking with bewilderment as Donald J. Trump approaches a microphone to deliver a speech regarding this nation’s historic wrongs regarding African-Americans and the path forward. Predictably, it would be Myrlie Evers, the widow of famed NAACP activist Medgar Evers who was murdered by Byron de la Beckwith in his driveway on June 12, 1963, in Jackson, Mississippi, who provides a glimmer of hope regarding this matter. Myrlie Evers related that she hoped Trump would “learn something” during his visit to Jackson.

I guess at moments such as this one, all that we can do is hope and pray that a miracle such as Trump learning something of value about this nation’s deplorable record on racial matters occurs. Let us pray.

 Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

Please support Independent Black Scholarship by purchasing a book. I am confident that you agree that such support is the only way that we are going to free our minds. Books published by Dr. James Thomas Jones are as follows:

Creating Revolution as They Advance: A Historical Narrative of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

‘Foolish’ Floyd: The Life & Times of an African-American Contrarian

O’Bruni: An African-American Odyssey Home?