Category Archives: Race

A LOOK BEHIND THE VEIL: THE SILENT SUFFERING OF BLACK PROFESSIONALS AT FOX NEWS

In the timeless classic, The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois penned the following regarding the awakening of his racial consciousness and the subsequent falling of a “veil” between himself and the white world. It is this metaphorical “veil” that has served as a formidable obstruction that limits understanding between every racial/ethnic group in our diverse nation. Du Bois relates that

In a wee wooden schoolhouse, something put it into the boys’ and girls’ heads to buy gorgeous visiting- cards–ten cents a package–and exchange. The exchange was merry, till one girl, a tall newcomer, refused my card, –refused it peremptorily, with a glance. Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt

Experience has taught me that the majority of whites are primarily concerned with finding reliable paths to improving their socioeconomic status, concerns that usually trump any participation in some vast conspiracy to extend African-Americans politico-economic marginality. Now the above statement most certainly does not cancel out the collusion of groups working together to protect politico-economic interests from rivals; in a Capitalist society, such politico-economic strategies are to be expected. Such efforts are neither strange nor peculiar. In fact, while African-Americans repeatedly accuse others of colluding and working against the collective interests of Black America, the alluded to strategies sit at the core of our calls for “Black Power.” Consider the following directives regarding the creation of “Black Power” by Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton.

The concept of Black Power rests on a fundamental premise. Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks. By this, we mean group solidarity is necessary before a group can operate effectively from a bargaining position of strength in a pluralistic society. Traditionally, each new ethnic group in this society has found the route to social and political viability through the organization of its own institutions with which to represent its needs within the larger society . . . the American melting pot has not melted. Italians vote for Rubino over O’Brien; Irish for Murphy over Goldberg, etc.

There is a consensus among the politically astute that politico-economic solidarity is crucial to any population “getting ahead in America.”

Unfortunately for the sake of racial tranquility, the separation that politico-economic collectivism requires tends to construct a veil that reminds one of Du Bois’ metaphors. Put simply; group efforts to circulate dollars among their own and mobilize political currency tend to unintentionally create an increasing unfamiliarity with other racial groups and ethnicities. Hence, whites are rarely provided a view beyond the “veil” that shrouds the daily realities of Black America.

Whites’ inability to see beyond the “veil” explains their ignorance regarding the tremendous challenges that black professionals face on a daily basis. Whites ignorance regarding black life is prominently displayed via their failure to understand that many black professionals consider a strategy of “eat shit and grin” as their most reliable path to professional success.

Despite what many opponents may believe, African-American professional’s public silence regarding the many indignities they routinely face does not mean that such events are neither serious nor damaging. Many black professionals hesitate to share the insults that they experience out of fear that others would doubt their authenticity. Nevertheless, shocking racial incidents in professional workspaces are relatively common for African-Americans.

I am confident that few Americans would be shocked to find that Fox News, that bastion of Conservative political thought, has found itself mired in a controversy involving African-American employees. I am also convinced that most will understand that black employees within Fox News have adopted the strategy of “eat shit and grin” as a means of surviving what can only be considered a hellish workplace.

Two African-American female employees of Fox News, payroll manager Tichaona Brown and payroll coordinator Tabrese Wright, have recently come forth with shocking claims regarding the treatment they and other black employees received within the alluded to institution. Brown and Wright allege a workplace filled with “top-down racial harassment” and inappropriate behavior by Fox News Comptroller Judith Slater. They allege that Slaver made “numerous racially charged comments, including suggestions that black men were ‘women beaters’ and that black people wanted to harm white people physically.” As if that were not bad enough, the duo accuses Slater of forcing black employees to engage in “arm wrestling matches” with white female employees as well as “forcing a black woman employee to ‘fight’ for the amusement and pleasure of her white superiors…”

Within a nation where racial animosity is an integral aspect of its identity, it is tough to believe white protestations that racial hatred does not exist within American workplaces. It appears that white’s feigned ignorance regarding racial matters absolves them from taking a definitive stand against racial bias and discrimination. One thing is sure; Fox News has much company among American corporate entities and institutions in making African-American professionals silence regarding racial hostility a pre-requisite for continued employment.

White silence within Fox News regarding the above incidents of racial bias is yet another moment where individuals have allowed their financial interests to silence their moral compass. It is this expression of cowardice that leads me to believe that the majority of whites have little interest in looking behind the aforementioned “veil” that separates them from their African-American contemporaries. Unbeknownst to whites, their failure to take definitive action against racial bias in the workplace makes them accessories to the crime. Whites conscious decision to neither address nor counter-balance these occasions of workplace racial bias through tangible action are not only sickening but also makes one wonder how they can look at themselves in the mirror.

Maybe it is best that White America not peak behind the “veil” that shrouds so much of Black America’s misery and pain, at least if they do not see such things they will not have to carry the burden of being an accomplice to such matters on their shoulders.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017.

Steven Stephens: A 20th Century Bigger Thomas? (Black America’s Native Son)

Experience has taught me to expect the inquiry regardless of the venue or situation. Whether while being interviewed or in the aftermath of an exhilarating lecture regarding the dilemmas facing African-American males, someone will ask “What is the greatest issue confronting the black male today?” To the chagrin of interviewers and audience members, my answer to this poignant query is never singular as the foremost problems facing African-American males revolves around mutually reinforcing issues of mental illness and their adoption, due to both socialization and their environs, of what can only be termed a toxic manhood that possesses the ability destroy all that they contact.

The wicked cocktail of mental illness and toxic manhood is the only explanation for the actions of Steven Stephens, the African-American male who not only murdered Robert Goodwin Sr. (74), a defenseless elderly black male on a Cleveland, Ohio, street, but also uploaded his heinous crime onto Facebook. Although Black America reacted with horror to Stephens’ diabolical actions, the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of us know several black males whose existence mirrors that of Steven Stephens; a personable individual, who on the surface fails to exhibit the wear-and-tear of being black in America publicly, yet is privately straining under the weight of being a have not in the land of plenty. The alluded to frustrations feeds directly into the dawning of a daunting query of “Is life worth living?” Such internal strife has reverberating repercussions for all around them. Unfortunately, it appears that the appropriate motto for disassembled black communities in every inner-city may very well be “A place where life is not worth living.”

Considering the mantra that “you cannot change what you do not acknowledge,” it is past time Black America shed their thread-bare lie of being shocked by regarding the actions and activities of the Steven Stephens found within their environs. If we were serious about improving our community, we would stop feigning ignorance and acknowledge that we have normalized public indecency and uncivilized behavior toward within the black community. It is not accidental that Steven Stephens murdered another black man as a means of expressing his frustrations at the two black women to whom he was closest, his mother and a former fiancé.

It is imperative that we not miss this opportunity to at least examine, if not address the cause of the development of angry, brash, illogical, directionless, socially inappropriate African-American males whose moral compass is a toxic manhood possessing more power to destroy themselves and their community than Hurricane Katrina. We must face facts that figures such as Steven Stephens are a reflection of who we have become as a community; cold, distant, foreign to one another, combustible, and dangerous to ourselves. When considered in this light, it is clear that today’s troubled African-American male is a modern-day Bigger Thomas, meaning Black America’s Native Son. Such individuals reflect the frustrations, contradictions, and sadness that has been comfortably situated in our hearts for so long that we no longer notice its presence. For better or for worse, it is who we have become to each other.

And for that reason, we should all weep.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture 2017.

Children’s Rhymes: Why the eagerness to hear Nicki Minaj’s response to Remy Ma is crucial to understanding the present state of Black America

I particularly like the saying of “If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.” Put simply, if you desire to see a particular result, you simply have to repeat the actions and decisions that led to the result that you seek to repeat. Despite what many think, success is far from being accidental, in fact, it results from the adherence to several logical steps. It is the science behind “luck” that guarantees that the same people will experience success while others languish in a pitiful mediocrity.

When one reflects on it, the above quote may be the most efficient way of explaining unceasing African-American politico-economic powerlessness. There is little room to debate the reality that African-Americans repeated failure to prioritize pressing politico-economic issues has led to their consistent position as the have-not’s regarding important matters.

Recently, the general foolishness that rules the lives of so many negroes was reiterated yet again when I noticed that hip-hop icon Nicki Minaj was the top trending story in Black America. Apparently, out of all of the issues facing black folk (rampant unemployment, alcoholism, police brutality, domestic violence, the disappearance of black children, the sexual exploitation of black girls by forces within and foreign agents from outside), the “rap beef” between Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma supersedes them all.

Although I would love to attribute this foolishness to yet another routine engagement of African-American youth with an inconsequential black popular culture moment, however, I do not have that luxury as many of those mesmerized by this absolute nonsense are adults whose attention would be better served on a host of other important issues such as raising their children, improving their credit rating, or even pursuing long overdue entrepreneurial endeavors. Consider for a moment that at a time when African-American women are being attacked by non-black men as they shop, African-American children are disappearing from their homes for one reason or another, and injustice continues unabated for the members of our community at every turn, huge swaths of Black America have somehow managed to ignore such matters and create sufficient psychological space to eagerly await Nikki Minaj’s response to Remy Ma’s Shether.

What a stupid people we have become.

At a moment where African-Americans are outperformed in every societal measurable, the cowardice of our population, especially African-American men, is best displayed in their refusal to engage their opponents in the realms of education, business, or politics. Instead of battling their opponents in meaningful areas, African-American men do their fiercest competition via video games while black women display a similar level of ridiculousness by denigrating other black women regarding hair weaves, designer bags and clothes, not to mention their ferocious commitment to maintaining copious amounts of unnecessary drama, usually regarding a no-good man, that serves as stifling agent to their advancement.

I am confident that in due time, Nicki Minaj will respond to Remy Ma in the same vein that Jay-Z responded to Nas, or LL Cool J responded to Kool Moe Dee, Canibus, MC Shan, MC Hammer and Ice-T. Beyond the sheer entertainment value that it provides, these rap battles are in a word, worthless. However, I doubt that their absolute lack of utility in the uplift of Black America matters one iota to the droves of hip-hop heads perched on the edge of their seat awaiting Minaj’s response. One thing is for certain, if African-Americans continue to make useless black popular culture occurrences their top priority, they will pursue their age-old pattern of lagging behind all other groups in every important facet of life. Despite our most fervent attempts, there is one rule that we will never conquer, that being, “If you do what you always did, you are going to get what you always got.”

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

The Micro Aggressions that White America Never Witnesses

I have come to believe that the reason so many whites fail to understand the perspectives of African-Americans regarding racial matters is not attributable to any innate malice in their hearts. I fervently believe that the vast majority of whites are reasonable-minded individuals who honestly do not consider themselves to be in possession of any significant malice toward African-Americans. Experience has taught me that the genesis of what can be comfortably termed objectionable attitudes and behaviors regarding racial matters from the white community is a by-product of their operating with limited information regarding the many micro-aggressions that African-Americans deal with on a daily basis.

Make no mistake about it; American residential segregation prevents whites from having any understanding of the micro-aggressions that every African-American regardless of age, gender, educational accomplishments, political affiliation, or socioeconomic status will experience at some point. I offer the following incident as an example of the unfortunate reality that every African-Americans time to deal with white micro-aggression could be right around the corner. I now understand that it is these moments that not only ferment the hatred and distrust that so many African-Americans have for whites but also cause a widening of the racial divide as the vast majority of whites are seemingly oblivious to the occurrences.

A few days ago I was leaving a doctor’s appointment and heading to wash my car, an activity that I enjoy as it is not only physical but also provides me with moments of solitude to think about anything that is weighing heavy on my mind. As I made the left turn to enter the road where the car wash was located, I noticed that several cars behind me a white sports utility vehicle made the turn, I thought nothing of this matter. However, within the next sixty seconds, it became apparent to me that this SUV, which was most certainly a law enforcement vehicle was weaving in and out of traffic in a desperate pursuit to get behind me. Just as I expected, the law enforcement officer not only followed me for the next half-mile but also would periodically accelerate his vehicle to within inches of my rear bumper. I did my best to ignore these juvenile antics and made the right turn into my desired location and found an empty bay to wash my vehicle. To my shock, the law enforcement vehicle followed me into the car wash. I instantly decided to ignore this ‘officer of the law’ and proceeded to put quarters into the machine, however, before the last quarter dropping, this fool rolled down his window and said, “I thought that you were someone else that we have been pursuing. You better be careful out here.”

Make no mistake about it; I took his comments as both a veiled threat and warning regarding the precarious nature of being a black man in America. As someone who continually writes about American racial matters, I long ago understood that I am inextricably tied to my brothers at every moment of the day. The animosity undergirding the racial bias and blind hatred that serves as the standard modus operandi for so many, certainly not all, law enforcement officers makes the fact that I am a gainfully employed, educated black man who has earned four degrees from a leading university, as well as a loving father and husband non-considerations. All that they see, all that they consider is the fact that I am an African-American male that they have chosen to place within their crosshairs. And as an African-American male, I will tell you that once an officer has selected you, your singular goal is to survive the encounter ‘by any means necessary.’

Despite the propensity of non-blacks to believe that we are crying wolf when complaining about the actions and treatment that we receive at the hand of law enforcement officers and officials, the truth of the matter is that they will never fully understand the terror and uncertainty that flows from even the most “routine” interaction with law enforcement officers. Ironically, it is these moments of mundane conflict, these microaggressions so to speak, that fuel the natural hatred that black men feel for law enforcement officers and extend the average white citizens skepticism regarding the dire nature of American race relations. If only they could spend a moment in our shoes, their eyes would be opened to a harsh new reality that they have failed to recognize although it has been occurring around them the entire time.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

WHY HASN’T BLACK POWER COLLECTIVIST ECONOMIC PLANS WORKED FOR BLACK AMERICA?

One of the most reliable indicators that a person has not only studied, but also comprehended the multi-faceted and incredibly complex issues that have faced persons of African descent from the moment that they arrived in the Jamestown colony is the understanding that of all the solutions presented after that moment, collectivist economics and political solidarity provides the best opportunity for liberation. Honestly, there is little room to argue against the belief that the “Black Power” strategies mentioned above have historically provided the greatest opportunity for “the liberation and salvation of the black nation.”

Although difficult to admit, when one considers the politico-economic marginalization rooted throughout Black America, it is apparent that “Black Power” politico-economic constructs have failed miserably. Considering this harsh reality, we must diligently seek to answer the following query; “Why has Black Power failed to uplift the black community?”

In light of the certain tendency for our people to deliberately derail important matters such as this one with diversionary minutiae, I think that it would be wise to define Black Power. Once again, by providing this definition, I am only seeking to avoid this discussion being intentionally sidetracked by unnecessary haranguing regarding alternative definitions of “Black Power” for no logical reason. To prevent such ‘mental masturbation,’ I have decided on the definition of Black Power that Charles V. Hamilton and Stokely Carmichael’s used in their brilliant book, Black Power. According to this duo,

The concept of Black Power rests on a fundamental premise. Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks. By this, we mean group solidarity is necessary before a group can operate effectively from a bargaining position of strength in a pluralistic society. Traditionally, each new ethnic group in this society has found the route to social and political viability through the organization of its own institutions with which to represent its needs within the larger society . . . the American melting pot has not melted. Italians vote for Rubino over O’Brien; Irish for Murphy over Goldberg, etc.

When stripped to its essential parts, Hamilton and Carmichael’s construct amounts to a call for politico-economic collectivism. From their perspective, politico-economic collectivism has been the path that “each new ethnic group in this society has (traveled) to social and political viability through the organization of its institutions with which to represent its needs within the larger society.” Considering the relative simplicity of this route to liberation, one must ask, “Why has Black Power not worked for African-Americans?”

The answer to the above query is fairly straightforward, yet woefully troubling and disconcerting. The answer is that during the past 60 years, the vast majority of African-Americans have failed to make either collectivist economics or political solidarity a fixture in their lives.

Considering that most reasonable-minded individuals agree that political activism is essential to the uplift of the black community, it appears that such a perspective has failed to inspire African-Americans who make up 13% of the nation to participate in the electoral process at a rate that exceeds their proportion of the American populace. Black political participation occurs at a blasé rate until a figure such as Barack Hussein Obama appears.

As political participation lags behind, many African-Americans have foolishly convinced themselves that the key to “the liberation and salvation of the black nation” is the generation of financial might. Unfortunately for Black America, it appears that their political inefficiencies are only exceeded by their understanding of economic collectivism.

As mentioned in a recent post on this site, one does not need to look any further than the embarrassing manner in which African-Americans fail to circulate the dollar within their community to understand a primary pillar in their economic struggles. It appears that for all of their adoration of Malcolm X the vast majority of African-Americans have failed to heed one of his most basic admonishments regarding economic foolishness. Malcolm charged his people with the following admonishment, “You run down your community when you don’t circulate your dollar amongst your own.” Consider the following data regarding the circulation of dollars.

  • It takes 6 hours for a dollar to exit the black community.
  • It takes 17 days for a dollar to exit the white community.
  • It takes 20 days for a dollar to exit the Jewish community.
  • It takes 30 days for a dollar to exit the Asian community.

In light of such economic inefficiency, it is unsurprising to find that of the 1.1 Trillion dollars of annual spending power that passes through the African-American community, a number that means that on average every man, woman, and child within the African-American community has in excess of $26,200 at their disposal on a yearly basis, a paltry 2% of those dollars are spent with black-owned businesses. One can only wonder where does all of that money go? The answer to the above query is equally daunting and astonishing. Studies indicate that African-Americans spend a significant portion of their dollars in the following areas.

  • Tobacco — $3.3 billion
  • Whiskey, Wine, and Beer — $3 billion
  • Non-alcoholic beverages — $2.8 billion
  • Leisure time spending — $3.1 billion
  • Toys, Games, and Pets — $3.5 billion
  • Telephone services — $18.6 billion
  • Random Gifts — $10 billion

There is little doubt that the political disengagement and economic foolishness listed above would banish any populace to socioeconomic marginality.

What makes Black America’s continuing politico-economic marginalization even more disconcerting is that it could have been eradicated if we only adhered to a few ground rules a litany of “race men” have provided. Considering that so many of our people have found comfort in the Church and guidance from scripture, I think it appropriate to relate that African-Americans have continually behaved as those described in Jeremiah 5:21, “Hear this now, O foolish people, Without understanding, Who have eyes and see not, And who have ears and hear not.”

One has to wonder when God will cease sending prophets to these woe-smitten people who have repeatedly proven that they have no desire to use either their eyes or ears to save their kind. It is too late in the game for our people to continue making the same politico-economic mistakes that they have always made. Unfortunately for our sake, it appears that they have yet to tire of banging their heads against an immovable wall.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017