Have we not learned?: A Message to the violent protesters in Ferguson

After prosecutor Bob McCullough announced that a grand jury decided against indicting Darren Wilson for murdering unarmed black teenager Michael ferguson2Brown Jr., immediately thereafter, widespread violence and looting began in Ferguson Missouri.  Several businesses, police cars, and other commercial buildings in the area were burned. This is sad and disheartening.

I ask the people of Ferguson in particular, and African-Americans in general, have we not learned from the Watts Riots, the L.A. Riots, and the nationwide riots following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Put simply, rioting gets nothing done? We have MLKrepeatedly seen that destroying our own neighborhoods only hurts us. When the fires are put out and the dust settles little change results.

Though the anger and disappointment felt by the Ferguson community is not only justified, but also understood by the majority of Americans, the decision, made by a vocal minority, to burn buildings, loot stores, and destroy local businesses is disturbing as the vandalizing of local homes and businesses, the backbones of our community, irrationally cripples the Black collective. How in God’s name is breaking into a shoe store and stealing 50 pairs of Air Jordan sneakers honoring the life of Michael Brown? Simply put, it does not!

So I beg the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and the surrounding areas, if you must protest the grand jury’s decision, please do so peacefully. There are constructive ways to come about making a change. And to be quite honest ferguson4rioting, looting, disorder and anarchy is a distance from being constructive. Instead of responding in an emotional fashion, we as a black community need to move toward developing mechanism to preclude this issue from occurring again.

Instead of just screaming to the high heavens about problems, lets become solution oriented and work towards eliminating and neutralizing the issues that disproportionately affect the African-American community. Michael Brown ParentsLet’s all join the family of Michael Brown Jr. family and petition tour local lawmakers and legislatures to make it mandatory that all police officers were body cameras. Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a notable tangible difference. Such action is the only way of both honoring Michael Brown and preventing this tragedy, including the decision to not indict a rogue police officer, from ever occurring again.

Alexander Goodwin

#ManhoodRaceCulture

An Open Letter to White America: ‘If you do what you always did, you’ll continue to get what you always got.’

As this nation awakes from what was for the vast majority of its African-American citizens a tenuous slumber, there should be no doubt that America most certainly did not enter into a post-race period as many alleged with the WEBelection of Barack Hussein Obama. Clearly, W.E.B. Du Bois admonishment that “the problem of the twentieth-century is the problem of the color line” is holding sway into the new millennium.

One of the most revealing aspects of this nation is the reality that there are multiple Americas being experienced by a racially diverse and class-stratified citizenry. The noted public intellectual Andrew Hacker’s manuscript, Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal, published in 2003, illuminated this issue. Despite the best efforts of the more privileged segments of this society to deny this reality, the truth remains that neither I, nor my eleven year old son, live in the same America that our average white male peers navigate.

As innumerable scholars have shown in their studies, it is psychologically difficult and morally exasperating to be ‘Black’ in America. It is a struggle that not even those living in close proximity are able to comprehend or kkk2sympathize with. Unfortunately for African-Americans, time does absolutely nothing to lessen the affect of race and racism within this nation; the racial divide is apparently here to stay. A poll conducted by CNN/ORC prior to the Ferguson Grand Jury decision verified this reality with the following findings.

  • 54% of nonwhites say Wilson should be charged with murder
  • 23% of whites say Wilson should be charged with murder
  • 38% of whites say Wilson should not be charged with any crime
  • 85% of nonwhites say Wilson should be charged with a crime
  • 19% of whites said some or most police officers are prejudiced against blacks
  • 67% of nonwhites believe that most police officers are not prejudiced
  • 50% of all whites say that “almost none” or “none” of the police in their areas are prejudiced against blacks
  • 65% of nonwhites disagreed with the above view.

These findings reminded me of an earlier mid-1960s Gallup Poll conducted in the Bay Area, the birthplace of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. The study revealed a racially divided Bay Area over a half-century ago. The alluded to poll revealed a hopelessly separate and unequal Bay Area, one portion occupied by poor African-Americans and the other by wealthy and politically powerful whites.

  • African-Americans were five times more likely to believe allegations of police brutality than white residents.
  • African-American youth were nine times more likely to believe in occurrences of police misconduct, particularly brutality, than the average white citizen.

The National Commission on the Cause and Prevention of Violence, published in 1968, shed light upon nation wide problems occurring between African-Americans and law enforcement personnel.

“For the black citizen, the policeman has long since ceased to be a neutral symbol of law and order…blacks perceive the police as hostile, Charliprejudiced, and corrupt…Many ghetto Blacks see the police as an occupying army…In view of these facts, the adoption of the idea of self-defense is not surprising.”

The head of the Oakland Police Department Welfare Association declared that African-Americans’ unceasing agitation for a citizen review board related a “deep suspicion of our entire system of government since the advocates, by asking for a review board, are saying that they are unable to obtain justice through normal established democratic processes.”

Unbeknownst to our white contemporaries, this issue of police brutality has been as much a hallmark of American history as ‘Apple pie.’ So white America, please forgive us if we have no faith in the ability of a particular Grand Jury system or the entire judicial system to offer a modicum of justice for African-American victims; we have become used to it, not necessarily desensitized to the occurrence of grave miscarriages of justice.

We only ask that you, and your kind, honor the popular saying of ‘if you do what you always did, you’re gonna get what you always got.’ Impoverished African-Americans are simply following your lead and expressing decades of personal frustration and collective anger upon this nation in response to the racial injustice lynch2that you feel so comfortable doling out to them. As they have repeatedly stated, “no justice, no peace.” As usual, the ball is in white America’s court and as long as they continue to serve no justice, the African-American masses will return their service with a volley of no peace.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

#ManhoodRaceCulture

The Black Panther Party’s Huey P. Newton Addresses Rioting

Divided, confused, fighting amongst ourselves, we are still in the elementary stage of throwing rocks, sticks, empty wine bottles and beer cans at racist police who lie in wait Hueyfor a chance to murder unarmed Black people. The racist police have worked out a system for suppressing these spontaneous rebellions that flare up from the anger, frustration, and desperation of the masses of Black people. We can no longer afford the dubious luxury of the terrible casualties wantonly inflicted upon us by the police during these rebellions.

Huey P. Newton (1967)

The Grand Jury Has Spoken: Dr. King and Huey P. Newton Respond

Negroes of America had taken the President, the press and the pulpit at their word when MLKthey 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.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Southern Christian Leadership Conference)

 

The Black leaders have led the community to believe that brutality and force could be ended by subjecting the people to this very force of self-sacrificing demonstrations. The Black people realize brutality and force can Hueyonly be inflicted if there is submission. The community has not responded in the past or in the present to the absurd, erroneous and deceitful tactics of so-called legitimate Black leaders. The community realizes that force and brutality can only be eliminated by counterforce through self-defense.

Huey P. Newton (Black Panther Party)

 

Consumer’s Choice: Is it the Audience Dictating what is Played on the Radio?

For the stars and the stripes prison bars and the pipe

Young n@%&a rolling weed in a cigar he can light

Bang red either blue selling hard and the white

Live by the gun, never run from a fight

Trayvon in a hoodie, walking through the neighborhood he

Didn’t do s#!t to buddy, he didn’t have to die did he?

I guess it’s because his dad was a judge in the city

They didn’t want him in the pen with the thugs that could get him

A jury of his peers said all was forgiven

But touch one of mine, right or wrong, I’ma kill them

Fill them with the lead like they put in Martin Luther King’s head

Like they killed Malcolm X, Edgar Hoover did that

You can catch me in the hood where they shooting n@!!as at

They don’t know if Neighborhood or the Hoovers did that

Whether Piru or VL’s or GDs wit me we

Down to uprise from the OG’s to peewees

-T.I.

New National Anthem

This is an excerpt from rap superstar T.I.’s new single “New National Anthem”. The song is quite the departure from his usual subject matter.  He often narrates about life and the perils of growing upon in the “trap”; a housing project rife with violence, drug dealing, single parent households, unemployment, and TI2devoid of legitimate opportunities of socioeconomic advancement.  The song New National Anthem speaks about the injustice and inequities of America and the treatment of African American men by law enforcement, the justice system, and the nation at large.

One of the biggest issues contemporary rap fans complain about is the lack of lyricism, meaning the absence of thought provoking subject matter from contemporary rap artists. Most agree that lyricism is at an all-time Young Thuglow. When the first single from T.I’s new album, “About the Money”, featuring Young Thug, premiered, it was criticized by those who appreciate lyricism as being little more than consumerism and unadulterated materialism. Many fans called for “the King of the South” to use his platform to uplift and discuss the plight that many of his peers trapped in urban America experience on a daily basis via politicized lyrics. Predictably, “About the Money” peaked at number 10 on the Hot Rap Charts.

TI did attempt to appease his more politically astute listeners when he respond to the shooting of Mike Brown and the subsequent riots in a subsequent recording, “New National Anthem.” Unfortunately, the alluded to fans apparently did not support the recording with the same vigor that others supported prior TI recording such as the aforementioned “About the Money” or his other chart topping single “No Mediocre”.

The aforementioned matter is a significant issue within the hip hop community. When politically conscious songs are released, they are failing for one reason or another; most argue that they are not receiving the same promotion and publicity that party songs receive. The affect upon the entire music scene is that socially conscious artists such as Dead Prez, Black Star, Immortal Technique, and Killer Mike are rarely heard on the radio or promoted as less politicized artists. The aforementioned artists are met with critical acclaim by a small segment of the hip-hop community, yet commercial success remains outside of their grasp.

So why would these artists waste time recording these songs if the fans are not going to get behind them.  Don’t get me wrong, I love “About the Money”, in my own personal opinion it is one of the best rap songs that was released this year, but in all honesty it has no redeeming values whatsoever. Yet, New National Anthem is one of the best socially conscious hip hop songs recorded by a mainstream artist since Kanye West’s classic single “All Falls Down”.  If fans want music that is not full of lyrics promoting misogyny, materialism, and murder they need to support those songs that do not contain that subject matter, otherwise, do not complain about what you hear on the radio.

 

Alexander Goodwin

#ManhoodRaceCulture

Committed to investigating, examining, and representing the African-American male, men, and manhood by offering commentary regarding the status of Black Men and Black Manhood as it relates to African-American Manhood, Race, Class, Politics, and Culture from an educated and authentic African-American perspective aimed at improving the plight of African-American men and African-American Manhood in regards to Politics, Culture, Education, and Social Matters.

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