Category Archives: Politics

The Failure to Prioritize: An Essential Ingredient in the Extension of Black America’s Oppression

There is probably no more frustrating quality found among African-Americans today than their inability to evaluate current events and then prioritize. Trust me when I say that it is our failure to prioritize matters affecting our collective well-being that not only extends African-American suffering but also makes us accessories to our oppression.

The lack of a significant response from Black America regarding Trump’s decision to repeal the Affordable Care Act speaks volumes about the average African-American’s inability to monitor, prioritize, and respond accordingly to pressing political matters. Instead of addressing the looming curtailing of reasonable access to health care, Black America has preoccupied itself with relatively mundane issues such as a proposed Atlanta Orgy, the 20th Anniversary of the Notorious B.I.G.’s murder, or some other brain draining social media topic such as Remy Ma’s ‘Shether.’

Considering the disproportionate amount of time that African-Americans spend upon topics that can be efficiently termed “mental masturbation” exercises, one could be fooled into believing that their community is not lagging behind other groups in every single political, economic, and educational measurable. A critical mass of African-Americans decision to bury their head in the sand regarding our contemporary politico-economic blight that paves the way for African-Americans to behave as if they do not have a single care in the world, put simply, so many within our community behave like “good time Charlie’s.”

Although I would never deny the pernicious effects of discrimination and institutionalized racism, the failure to take life seriously also severely compromises African-American progress at every turn. Black students across a wide-swath of educational levels often behave as if they have absolutely no interest in learning anything of utility during their educational experience. Anyone who has dealt with our people will tell you that the following variables exist. There is a segment of African-American males of varying ages and socioeconomic classes proudly flaunt their immoral ability to skirt responsibility for their offspring. Many females within our midst busy themselves executing voluminous amounts of unnecessary mischief that invariably facilitates the arrival of a small mindedness that serves as the primary socializing agent in their children’s lives.

Make no mistake about it, until politicization becomes the standard mindset of Black America, these issues will not only remain but also serve as a reliable point for our individual and collective exploitation.

This issue should be considered an absolute blessing and curse. The blessing is that the development of a politicized mind and the ability to prioritize continually shifting political issues is achievable via a voracious regimen of study dedicated to Black life. The curse is that the most reliable agent in black activism is an outrageous offense from whites. Until the African-American community abandons its usual reactionary position and begins to understand that pressing political matters such as the repealing of the Affordable Care Act are markedly more important than the anniversary of the death of the Notorious B.I.G., ‘Shether’, or an event such as the “ATL Orgy” that definitively proves the comprehensive nature of the social dysfunction enveloping far too many members of our community, liberation will continue to elude Black America. The addressing of this matter requires an abandonment of reactionary politics. It can be done. However, it is solely up to Black America, and there is “the blessing and the curse” that continually haunts our collective liberation.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017.

Where Are the Black Nationalists Today?: How Malcolm X Would Answer That Question

As I am confident that you can understand, February 21st, the date of Malcolm X’s assassination, will always be a particularly challenging day for those who still revere the Black Nationalist Titan. The alluded to admiration is little more than a public recognition that Malcolm X’s political life remains the gold standard for “what a black man ought to be and ought to do.” It is this recognition of Malcolm as our “black shining prince” that forces me to expose my students to his revolutionary legacy repeatedly. Experience has taught me that my best intentions to discuss the legacy of Brother Malcolm with my students will invariably leave me disenchanted by their lack of knowledge and what it says about the flawed education occurring within today’s Black America.

In many ways, my angst regarding yet another generation of African-American youth having neither exposure nor comprehension of Malcolm X is heightened because it definitively proves our failure to apply one of his most basic admonishments regarding who should have access to the minds of black children. In his usual style, Malcolm X sternly admonished Black America that “Only a fool would let his enemy educate his children.” When one considers the current absence of knowledge and understanding found in the latest generation of African-American students, it is clear that the unwise educational philosophies of so-called African-American leaders have proven them to be the fools that Malcolm’s brilliant quote cited.

The alluded to black leaders have apparently failed to understand even the most basic lessons of racial uplift that Malcolm propagated throughout his political life. It is this failure to adhere to logical positions such as Malcolm’s directive that it is crucial that the black man and woman adopt Black Nationalism and focus all of their energies on controlling “the politics of their community, the economics of their community, and the educational base of their community” that has helped create yet another generation of African-American youth devoid of an understanding of their past, their current status, and what needs to occur in the future.

Make no mistake about it; a confused and unanchored citizenry is one of the many consequences that will be visited upon any people that fail to control the politics, economics, and education of their community. The implications of Black America’s collective failure to control these variables are displayed on a daily basis by the woeful state of today’s Black America.

This matter brings us to an all-important question of why have these things occurred? Although it is a harsh and daunting conclusion, it appears that the African-American threshold for pain and misery is unconscionably high. Put simply, the miserable plight that Black America has seemingly always existed within is not bothersome enough to cause them to learn and then apply basic Black Nationalist principles such as political solidarity, economic collectivism, and providing their children with an education that addresses their particular issues and problems.

The consequences of this failure should make every African-American cringe. At this present moment we are being exploited for our economic resources by any group that needs them, black political leaders have repeatedly proven ineffective at every turn, and even our intellectual class has turned their focus away from educating and liberating our people for money and prestige from white institutions. Consider for a moment that few black academicians are even attempting to address the large politico-economic problems affecting their kind.

I often return to Malcolm’s quote, “Only a fool would let his enemy educate his children” because it succinctly explains this mess of a community that we are currently witnessing. If Proverbs 23:7 (As a man thinketh, so is he) is valid, it is not difficult to understand why it is increasingly rare to encounter young black people interested in working for the uplift of their community. The best explanation for this occurrence is that they are neither receptive to nor are receiving Black Nationalist ideas from parents, teachers, mentors, or professors.

It appears that our failure to “hold the line” and make the development and protection of the black community our greatest priority haunts us in an unconscionable manner. Consider for a moment that in a national climate where racial bias is most certainly on the rise, much African-American youth are seeking to deny the existence of racism. The alluded to persons foolishly advance an idea that if we just refuse to acknowledge the existence and detrimental effects of prejudice, discrimination, bigotry, and racism in the black community that these vices will magically disappear.

I am confident that if he were alive today, Brother Malcolm would angrily state that “these things are predictable when you allow your oppressor to educate your children. These very children have no choice but not only to adopt but also assist in the further destruction of their community. They have become just what you are. A Negro that is not only totally out of his mind, but also not in possession of enough courage or sense to take a single step toward solving his problems.” Despite my most fervent attempts to come to a different conclusion, I know in my heart that such a statement does characterize who we have become. And for that reason, we should all be ashamed and disappointed.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

Unqualified and Inexperienced: Why Betsy Devos’ Nomination Must Be Blocked

I remember the statement very well for one simple reason; it made so much sense to me. The alluded to statement came from a gentleman who painstakingly explained to me that he considered himself neither Republican nor Democrat. Instead, he preferred to “look at the issue for myself, evaluate how it will impact my loved one’s, and then make an educated decision based upon my priorities. Anyone who is voting along party lines is often working against their best interests.”

I have noticed that the older I get, the less likely I am to experience moments when logic converges with common sense. I partially attribute this fact to my increasing understanding of political matters. However, I also believe that the rise of illogical individuals who often work against their own interests can also be partially attributed to a decline in the American educational system.

Unfortunately for  American schoolchildren, a partisan fight between the Republicans and Democrats regarding the confirmation of Betsy DeVos has placed their access to a quality education in further peril.

In a classic case of what more could go wrong with American education, the future of U.S. schoolchildren is close to being placed in the hands of Betsy DeVos, a person that persons on both sides of the political aisle agree lacks any of the necessary qualifications to become the Secretary of Education beyond being a billion-dollar donor for the Republican Party. There is no other explanation for the nomination of this candidate other than the fact that she has proven willing to reach into her

There is no other explanation for this candidate’s nomination than the fact that she has routinely reached into her deep pockets to aid the Republican Party. One would think that a person nominated to lead the Department of Education would possess some form of education experience. Frighteningly, DeVos has never taught a class, run a school as a administrator, or even led a PTA club. The alluded to lack of experience was prominently displayed during a recent hearing that not only displayed her lack of understanding regarding all things education, but also devolved to a point that her Republican supporters shut the much needed debate that highlighted for the nation her lack of knowledge regarding all things education and set the stage for a quick vote.

One would think that a person nominated to lead the Department of Education would have some form of prior experience with the American educational system. Frighteningly, DeVos has never taught a class, run a school as an administrator, or even led a PTA club. Devos’ lack of experience was prominently displayed during a recent hearing that not only displayed her lack of understanding regarding all things education but also devolved to a point that her Republican supporters shut the much-needed debate down and therefore set the stage for a vote regarding her nomination.

It is frightening to see so many politicians allowing financial campaign contributions to shape their perspective on a matter as important as education. At this moment, it is crucial that American voters, regardless of their political leanings, send a definitive message to their elected officials that when important matters such as the education of American schoolchildren arise that partisanship must be muted. Failure to take such a logical step not only marginalizes American schoolchildren in the present, but also handcuffs the nation’s economic future.

It is with the best interests of our children in mind that we must do all that we can to urge elected officials to display their concern for American schoolchildren and deny Betsy DeVos this crucial position.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017.

 

 

How the Rush to Aid the Arab Community Once Again Displays How Little African-Americans Know About Political Matters

It’s hard to witness African-Americans repeated failure to understand that their drastic attempts to aid other groups either stabilize or expand their political position will ultimately have no effect upon their liberation. In actuality, it siphons off crucial resources that could be very beneficial to the African-American freedom struggle.

The most recent manifestation of Black America’s tendency to be highly moral and non-strategic is found in their response to Donald Trump’s Executive Order that placed a 120 day travel ban on the arrival of refugees from predominantly Muslim nations — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia — from entering the country.

Predictably, Black America was instantaneously up in arms regarding the ‘un-American’ Executive Order. Many within our community publicly stated that they would not stand for such a gross injustice as they hurried to join a political protest that has nothing to do with Black America. Sympathetic African-Americans who could not make it to the protest did their best to turn our community’s focus toward this blatant injustice.

If nothing else, the repeated occurrences of African-Americans rushing to aid groups who have ignored our politico-economic issues and often served instrumental in causing our long-standing problems long ago established this segment of our community as the most righteous people on Earth. Despite their fervent protests, the truth of the matter is that the alluded to Negroes seemingly innate urge to aid any and every cause except those affecting their community highlights the pervasive foolishness undergirding their political activism.

Let’s be honest about this matter, those blacks who have rushed to aid the Arab community in their time of crisis have either conveniently forgotten or unwisely forgiven the hostility that community has spewed toward the African-American community. The Arab community has often failed to fully embrace Minister Farrakhan and his cadre of ‘black Muslims,’ a term that I have heard repeatedly used in that community.

We must also never forget the daily social conflict and economic violence that occurs in “Arab stores” positioned throughout our community. It is this population that our dear brother Malcolm X termed ‘bloodsuckers’ who establish businesses in our community and drain it of economic resources that they take back to their community and parlay into an empire.

My primary frustration is found not among the Arab community that has taken their angst and indignation with Trump’s Executive Order into airports and American streets. I am pointing my disbelief at the Negroes that have chosen to ignore this nation’s poor immigration policies toward places such as Haiti or any African country in favor of championing the causes of people who have not and will never come to their aid on any front.

Many of these Negroes who have joined their Arab ‘friends’ in protesting Trump’s Executive Order believe that they have established an alliance of some sort with the Arab community. Time will show them the error of their ways. Unfortunately for such politically naïve Negroes, their miscalculation will become apparent at a moment of political need. History has repeatedly shown that it is at this alluded moment of need that the truism of “We All We Got” will once again be verified.

The saddest part of this entire sordid tale is that Negroes continue not to understand the most fundamental political realities. Very few non-black groups have aided African-Americans in their pursuit of politico-economic freedom if anything they have worked to ensure a continuation of their political disfranchisement. Unfortunately for the future of Black America, we will remain in this marginalized state until we not only understand these principles but also get serious about developing reliable mechanisms to execute them.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017.

 

They’ve Been Had: How Poor White People Have Been Tricked by the psychic wages of Whiteness Yet Again

Following Donald Trump’s recent Presidential victory, cross-sections of America are bewildered by the ascension of a person that they deem lacking any qualifications could rise to such a powerful position. Most Americans refuse to believe that a wicked cocktail of voter suppression, half-truths, and the repeated use of racially-tinged icons and innuendos that enchanted poor and working-class Americans throughout the nation paved Trump’s path to political power.
Although the factors mentioned above were crucial to Trump’s ascension, I still believe that the new President’s ability to tap into the angst, fear, and hatred of poor and working-class whites is the issue that the most recent Presidential election pivoted on. Put simply; the newly elected President accessed what noted scholar W.E.B. Du Bois termed ‘the psychic wages of whiteness.’
The above term is an apt description of poor and working-class whites propensity to consider themselves superior to other poor and working-class individuals solely based upon their racial classification. The pre-eminence of whiteness in every facet of their politico-economic analysis of not only their own but also other groups status invariably causes them to work against their interests illogically. Historically speaking, whiteness has blinded poor and working-class whites to the very class and worker issues that have extended their status as serfs to an exploitive ruling class.
Rest assured that Trump’s playbook of pandering to a frustrated and vengeful white populace who feels that non-whites have stolen their birthright to rule in a nation that was founded by white men to serve the interests of white men.
As mentioned above, these slick political maneuvers are nothing new. Consider the following moments that definitively display ‘the psychic wages of whiteness.’ It is this preoccupation with whiteness that paved the path for the U.S. Civil War.
One of the most omitted realities surrounding the U.S. Civil War is the fact that poor whites throughout the South foolishly picked up guns to preserve deplorable cultural priorities while wealthy whites made plans to further enrich themselves by not only maintaining but also expanding the chattel slavery system. It was an apparent obsession with whiteness that prevented the vast majority of Confederate soldiers from lessening the slavery system to bolster their economic status. The economic interests of the alluded to white men were severely curtailed by the presence of enslaved Africans.
History provides yet another example of ‘the psychic wages of whiteness’ during the post-Reconstruction era. During the demise of American Reconstruction and the ascension of the Jim Crow era, poor whites aided their wealthy white brethren in disenfranchising what should have been a natural ally, recently emancipated African-Americans. Unfortunately for poor whites, they foolishly worked to denigrate poor blacks by aiding in the extension of a southern culture that sought to re-enslave persons of African descent in every way imaginable.
Although painful to admit, the truth of the matter is that the Trump campaign’s use of not so thinly veiled racial dog whistling in which he has denigrated Muslims, Hispanics, African American’s, and all other minority groups worked. Despite what it says about us as a nation, the truth of the matter is that such race-baiting has worked in the past, apparently collaborated in the present, and promises to be a viable strategy in the future. Until whites can get beyond a preoccupation with whiteness that has repeatedly proven not to be a profitable strategy in regards to uplifting their politico-economic status, there is neither hope for class solidarity throughout this racially/ethnically diverse nation nor the improvement of their status. What a stupid people, poor and working-class whites have proven to be.

Alex Goodwin