Category Archives: Race

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

Do Black Preachers Play a Pivotal Role in Keeping Black Christians Clueless About Finances?

I am quite confident that the majority of African-Americans born prior to the eighties will understand my assertion that the primary socialization agent in our lives occurred within the sanctified walls of a Black Church.

Within these hallowed walls, we learned that there was an omnipotent and omnipresent God who “had the whole world in his hands.” Repeatedly hearing this message mesmerized my peers into believing that their life path was pre-determined by the guiding hand of God.

Of all the points emphasized in “praise houses” throughout Black America, one of the most common is the need for each of God’s children to live a life that would allow them to enter the kingdom of heaven. Entrance into heaven meant that we would be eternally reunited with our deceased loved ones and no longer subject to the daily hurt, pain, struggle, and strife that shadowed us in the land of the living.

The message being shared by black preachers was a simple one; that being, the struggle, pain, disappointment, and heartache experienced in “the land of the living” was more than worth it as the righteous would be rewarded with heavenly gifts and treasures that no man could conceive.

To the chagrin of many of my superiors, the omnipotent God previously mentioned gifted me with an intellectual curiosity that encouraged both an active engagement and investigation of scripture. After engaging the Holy Bible that a series of Sunday School Teachers at Mount Calvary Baptist Church had taught me was the very breath of God, I realized that black preachers were making conscious choices to accentuate certain portions of scripture while avoiding others. As a burgeoning Revolutionary Nationalist who was doing his best to balance faith and an unending urge to work toward the liberation of Black America, the reality that black preachers intentionally avoided prominent politico-economic issues and disparities that cut across racial lines troubled my soul.

My soul was definitely not comforted by routine teachings that advised Black America to be long-suffering and not conform to the ways and desires of this world. I am quite confident that I am not the only one who tired of hearing sermons built around Mark 8:36For what does it profit a man to gain the entire world and lose his soul.” Such a message always sounded like unwise advice seeking to get Black America to not only agree to be oppressed but also to participate in their downtrodden position. Even as a teenager, I wanted to rise form my seat, reprimand the preacher and tell him to turn his “good book” to James 2:17 and build a liberation sermon around the idea that “Faith without works is dead”. If I did not know any better, I would be convinced that black preachers, realizing that their people would carry the stain of blackness for eternity have colluded and decided to sell them hope, instead of life skills that hold the potential to liberate them from the terminal illness that has wiped out several generations of Black America.

Although I can only speak with authority on my personal experience, I can definitively say the Black Church led me down a path of being pious, considerate, and accommodating toward others and rationalizing my non-engagement with Capitalist America as an assured path to Heaven. With the benefit of hindsight, I clearly understand that the vast majority of African-Americans have avoided opportunities to accumulate wealth as such action would invariably curtail our chances of meeting our heavenly father. Could it be that such thinking flows from having heard far too many sermons revolving around Matthew 19:24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

At no moment during my tenure as a member of the Black Church did I ever hear a black preacher articulate a message that addressed the gap between the words he spoke from the pulpit and the luxurious lifestyle that he and his contemporaries enjoyed. Put simply, even a cursory glance at the lifestyles of a mildly successful black preacher displays the cavernous gap between their sermon and their personal decisions. Black preachers failure to use their pulpit to discuss the financial concerns impacting their congregants in any way other than tithing or the infamous “building fund” ensures the continuation of poverty and foolish spending within our community. Black preachers refusal to address the black portions of the body of Christ in regards to finances is quite simply a dereliction of duty that makes them unfit to lead any segment of the community.

Considering the present economic community of the Black Community, there is little room to refute Marcus Garvey’s assertion that regardless of where he traveled that persons of African descent have always been the poorest, owned the least amount of land, and were tenuously situated in regards to finances. Put simply, wealth has rarely visited, let alone resided in Black America. Consider the following facts.

  • The wealth held by the average white family is seven times greater than the average black family.
  • Median white wealth is twelve times that of black families.
  • Economic studies tell us that twenty-five percent of black households have zero, or negative, wealth.

The most important question that needs to be asked at this moment is the following one; “Who is to blame for this enormous disparity of wealth between black and white Americans?” Those seeking to simultaneously disrespect Black America and explain the alluded to inequities will cite matters such as:

  • Undisciplined spending habits instead of investing money.
  • Pre-occupation with clothes, cars, and other depreciating trinkets.
  • Lack of educational attainments.
  • The failure to circulate the dollar to black businesses in the Black community.
  • The desire to find a job instead of becoming entrepreneurs.

Although each of the above issues is at best a partial explanation for the cavernous wealth gap, they fail to factor in issues such as unemployment, poor paying jobs, the school-to-prison pipeline, financial institutions resistance to providing the capital necessary for African-Americans to start businesses, purchase homes, or a host of other long-term goals. if everyone is beginning from the same starting position. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just as many whites have a long legacy of wealth-accumulation that extends back centuries, African-Americans have a similar legacy. Unfortunately for Black America, they have rarely been fortunate enough to begin the accumulation of wealth at the same moment as their white counterparts.

It is a sobering reality to learn that nothing African-Americans have done (educational attainments, professional occupations, entrepreneurship, investment, savings, and investments) has had a sizable impact on closing the wealth gap in regards to whites. Maybe that is why so many of us remain tied to the Black Church. Is it possible that the only balm for our seemingly endless suffering is found in sermons and preaching that revolve around hopes for a death that will allow us to enter “a land where we will study war no more.” I guess that when the black plight is viewed in that light, that it is understandable that many of our people consider death to be a more attractive location than being poor and black in a nation where “Cash Rules Everything Around Me.”

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2018