Tag Archives: Prejudice

YOU ARE NOT THE VICTIMS ANYMORE: HOW WHITE AMERICANS FRUSTRATIONS DESTROY THEIR ABILITY TO SEE THE BEAUTY AND DIVERSITY OF BLACK AMERICA

During the last half-century, honest discussions regarding racial matters have become increasingly rare. In the post-Black Power Era, discussions regarding Race, America’s leading social cancer, have become increasingly rare. One could appropriately attribute this to the rise of ‘political correctness.’ Most find it peculiar that America has avoided every opportunity to have an honest discussion regarding Race throughout its entire existence. In contemporary America, an honest discussion regarding the socially constructed schism known as Race is rare.

Any decent historian can tell you that racial discord on the North American continent predates America’s formation. From the moment that Anglo-Saxons attempted to establish Roanoke, also known as the ‘lost colony,’ Race mattered. Europeans desperate attempts to extract wealth from ‘the New World’ not only put them on a collision course with indigenous populations but also led to their theft and then enslavement of persons of African descent from the Western and Southern regions of what they maliciously characterized as ‘the Dark Continent.’

Considering the prevalent role of stolen Africans in the formation, emergence, and legitimization of America as a world power, it should not be surprising that racial matters have shadowed throughout its entire existence.

Although the vast majority of whites will resist this thought with their entire being, however, it is evident that prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, and racism are to this day vital staples in this increasingly diverse nation. Dare we say that racial matters are as American as Apple Pie.

Fortunately for those seeking an honest discourse regarding American racial matters, the anonymity of the message board is providing the cloak of invisibility that so many Americans need to share their true feelings regarding Race.

I am telling you, if you desire an unencumbered view into the muddled view of the average American regarding Race, look no further than the comment section of any story posted on the internet. Americans racial obsession frequently causes the social evil to appear in places that it does not belong. It is for this reason that I voraciously devour the comment section as the viewpoints provided there are frequently more riveting than the actual story.

Hence, I was not surprised to find the following Facebook post by Ricky Soles, a police officer with the Chadbourn Police Department. I am confident that you will ascertain the same feelings that I gleaned regarding officer Soles. He has apparently reached his limit in regards to dealing with African-Americans. Officer Soles directed the following commentary at African-Americans.

You are NOT victims anymore.

You are the bad guys now.

You have your hand out for more freebies.

You won’t take responsibility for yourself.

You have a 74% illegitimacy rate.

You are 13% of the population, but you commit 65% of the crime.

You produce nothing.

You contribute nothing.

You take and just want more.

You don’t think the laws should apply to you.

You blame others for your own decisions.

You don’t try in school.

You don’t try at work.

You have no concept of personal responsibility.

You don’t see the direct connection between your own decisions and the impact on your quality of life.

You can’t imagine how hard it is to make it in the world, because you never try.

You think you can have quality of life without earning it.

You don’t raise your children with any morality.

You celebrate violence and misogyny.

You defend the inexcusable.

You beat your domestic partners.

You think you are owed something when you’re not.

At this point you are not victims of the bad guys, You ARE the bad guys.

I’m tired of my tax dollars being used as handouts to these THUGS.

Without a doubt, the two most frightening aspects to the above post pinned by a police officer endowed with unconscionable power by the Law and that he does not possess the ability to differentiate between law-abiding citizens and those that he deals with under what must be impossible situations. In officer Soles’ mind, there is a woeful absence of diversity within the black community. Dare we say that such a perspective believes that the highly diverse African-American population emerges from the same bargain bin stained cloth.

The application of such gross generalizations conveys an absence of familiarity with the African-American community. Such ignorance paves an unencumbered path to prejudice and discrimination for the average white citizen as they are oblivious to the reality that the vast majority of African-Americans possess the same hopes and dreams that they hold for themselves and their offspring.

Unfortunately, racial reconciliation will never occur until significant social gaps between the races cease. Individuals such as officer Soles have no comprehension of how diverse African-Americans are, and until they can somehow move past racially-tinged daunting assumptions, this nation has no chance of eradicating racial bias and discrimination.

In actuality, it appears that a sizable portion of white Americans is not even interested in such an occurrence.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2016

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How Silence in the face of Racial Injustice Makes the Entire White Race Guilty of the Crime in Black Minds

I am quite certain that the family of Walter Scott, the African-American man who was shot in the back while fleeing from former North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager, walter-scott-1realized that the struggle to get some level of ‘justice’ through the American criminal justice system would be nearly impossible. They not only engaged this system that has historically proven to be non-responsive to the needs and issues of Black America, especially where it involves white law enforcement officers, but also have emerged with their pride and dignity in the face of what can only be considered an unconscionable defeat.

After nearly a full week of deliberating this matter, the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision. Making the jury’s failure incredulous is that the April 4th, 2015, murder was captured on video; leaving no doubt that Michael Slager needlessly fired several bullets into Walter Scott as he attempted to flee.

Sadly, I do not think that any American, regardless of their racial or ethnic identity is shocked that a jury with eleven whites failed to return with a guilty verdict. I am quite confident that the verdict was less of a shock to whites than their African-American counterparts. I assert this for one simple reason; there is no doubt that whites know their people at a level that African-Americans will never come close to understanding, after all, we are not present to hear the real contents of their hearts when they are speaking behind closed doors.

If African-Americans would only take a moment to reflect upon the frequently closed door conversations that we have regarding American racial matters, it would make sense that whites have similar conversations. Dare I say that these conversations regarding race issues occur far more frequently among that community than they do among an African-American populace that often dismissively sums up their view of their racial opponents with short quips such as “that’s white folk for you.”

To be honest, one of my greatest frustrations regarding ‘good white folk’ michael-slageris that they frequently display an extraordinary patience with the worst elements of their populace for the sake of decorum and respectability. It is this tendency to “stay above board” and not get into the gutter with a vocal minority that provides African-Americans with the evidence needed to characterize white folks as monolithic on Race matters. Anger and disappointment frequently prevent African-Americans from differentiating ‘good white folk’ from those other segments of their community.

Although it may be difficult for you to believe, I do not think that all white folk is involved in either a conspiracy or a hunt to hurt, harm, and malign African-Americans. Life has taught me that there is significant diversity to be found among the white community in regards to racial matters; I know of a white colleague who has displayed the courage to publicly state that the source of racism is the white community.

It is that courage ‘to speak truth to power’ that is often missing from the white community. In those moments when a vocal minority is expressing disagreeable views and concepts into public spaces, they remain silent and thereby open themselves up to being guilty by association.

I hope that you agree that it is time for ‘good white folk’ to be as public and forthright in their denouncement of prejudice and discrimination as their misguided brethren are committed to doing the opposite.

Good white folk needs to heed the advice of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass who advised his fellow countrymen “For it’s not light that is needed, but fire; it’s not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind and the earthquake in our hearts.”

Roll, Thunder, Roll.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2016

Why I Am Not Shocked, but Definitely Saddened by the Recent Occurrences of Racism on THE Ohio State University Campus

If you were to ask any student that I have taught over the past 13 years at Prairie View A & M University, they will tell you ohio-state-universityunequivocally that I am extremely proud to be a four-time graduate of THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY. My experiences at that incredible place are a crucial aspect of who I am at this present moment.

It was on THE Ohio State University campus that I grew from a somewhat reckless young man to a responsible adult male who learned, often via trial-and-error, important life lessons that govern how I view the world and choose to live my life. I am quite simply a ‘Buckeye’.

Considering my close association with THE Ohio State University, I am quite certain that you can understand how disturbing it was to read a communication from a former professor detailing horrific occurrences of prejudiced behavior aimed at “Muslim, Black, Latino, White, LGBT, and Asian students. They have endured threats, physical assault and intimidation, jeers, and a range of indignities. Even in their classrooms.”

The communication went further to relate the following shocking event.

A Black female student was actually called the N word in her class yesterday, and no one–not even the professor–acknowledged it. After expressing a point in class, a White student responded to her by sayingit’s n—ers like you that are the problem in this country.And the professor said nothing.

In light of these horrific incidents, there is a part of me that unconditionally agrees with one frightened student’s statement of “this is not my campus anymore.”

As much as I would like to form a united front with the current students in regards to their collective angst, shock, and bewilderment ohio-state-university-7regarding these terrible things occurring on what many consider the hallowed grounds of THE Ohio State University, to do so would be a partial truth and therefore a lie. I agree with a segment of reasonable people that it is truly tragic that such things have occurred at an institution of higher learning; however, I am neither surprised nor shocked because similar events occurred during my lengthy tenure and association with that beloved campus.

My exposure to racial animus on THE Ohio State University campus began the moment that I moved into Park Hall, my dormitory, when two students were in the throes of a horrific fight behind the white student allegedly calling the African-American student, the ‘N-word’, later that year, someone ripped my best friend’s Black History poster depicting the ‘Final Supper’ of his door and scribbled the ‘N-word’ in the spot that it previously hung, and as a bourgeoning revolutionary majoring in ‘Black Studies’ and American Race relations, I received the ultimate early birthday gift when the L.A. riots occurred April 29, 1992, the day before my birthday.

Although Race was never an ‘unspeakable unspoken’ topic on THE Ohio State University campus, it usually was reserved for private buckeye-football-2moments when you were not before mixed-company at the Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Center. However on the night of April 29th, 1992, the dorm room, and the spaces around it, that I shared with Pete Jirles, my white roommate who is also one of the finest people I met during my collegiate years, became the epicenter for a robust inter-racial no-holds barred discussion over America’s most stubborn social cancer, Race. Many of us fervently attempted to express our feeble understanding of the history and present role of Race on not only the campus, but also the entire nation until we were not only exhausted, but also the sun began peeking over the horizon. Now I am not certain of what we actually solved during that impromptu meeting, however, one thing is for certain, no one involved in that discussion walked on egg shells regarding the issue of Race, the Rodney King verdict, or the L.A. riot for the sparse time that we had left during that ‘quarter’ of study.

That is THE Ohio State University that I remember, a place where students dialogued, discussed, argued, and challenged one another regarding important societal topics, and I seriously hope that it will return once again after the shock and subsequent fury on both sides of the aisle surrounding the recent Presidential election subsides. Make no mistake about it, THE Ohio State University is most certainly not a ‘perfect place’ however, it is ‘a little slice of heaven’ for those flawed individuals who were privileged enough to experience it.

Anyways, ALL OSU alumni know the truth about this magical club that we are most fortunate to belong to, that undeniable truth is that, “there are only two kinds of people in the world, those who are and those who want to be BUCKEYES.”

O-H

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016

O-H — I Don’t Know: The Uncovering of an Unending Rage on one of America’s Leading Collegiate Campuses

A communication that was written by my former professor regarding the happenings upon the campus of my alma mater, The Ohio State University.

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing because I feel very strongly that you need to know about an event that took place on campus. Yesterday evening, nearly 1,000 brutus-buckeyeOSU students gathered at the Hale Center. They were Muslim, Black, Latino, White, LGBT, and Asian students–a beautiful reflection of the diversity and strength of our university.

But they came to the Hale Center because they are afraid. They came because on this campus–a place they once called home–they no longer feel safe. As one student put it, “this is not my campus anymore.” So last night they came together at the Hale Center, where we created a safe place. They shared their testimonies, offered each other encouragement, and made plans to unify and move forward together as a community.

But I moderated last night’s event, and I think you need to know what I heard. Over the past 48 hours, across campus, our students have been subjected to numerous acts of racial, religious, cultural, and homophobic terrorism. They have endured threats, physical assault and intimidation, jeers, and a range of indignities. Even in their classrooms.

As they walk to class, they have been taunted with shouts of “Build the Wall” and “Go back to Mexico.” Muslim women (because their ohio-state-university-4hijabs make them visibly identifiable) have been harassed, threatened, and terrorized on campus buses, in the dorms, and as they walk between their classes. One Muslim woman, en route to class, was surrounded by a group of males and they trapped her in a circle, yelling threats and racial/religious slurs. Another woman said that she hasn’t been going to class at all, because she has been threatened so regularly that she’s afraid to walk around campus. A Black female student was actually called the N word in her class yesterday, and no one–not even the professor–acknowledged it. After expressing a point in class, a White student responded to her by saying “it’s n—ers like you that are the problem in this country.” And the professor said nothing.

These stories are just the tip of the iceberg. I stood in the Hale Center last night and listened to testimonies like these for more than two hours. Student after student bravely stepped up to the microphone and shared their stories.

Yes, there was something beautiful and inspiring about last night. I was overcome with pride and hope, as I watched the students come together to support each other. And equally proud to see how many faculty members came out to stand with them in solidarity. But the truth is, no matter how beautiful that moment was, it never should have happened. Our students should never feel afraid in their “home.” We are at an institution of higher learning where we are supposed to be training the next generation of American citizens, so we can not remain silent in the face of overwhelming bigotry. Most of the students who spoke last night are first-generation college students and students of color. You can not imagine the seemingly insurmountable odds they have overcome to be here in the first place. And now they are terrorized in a place that is supposed to be safe–a place where they have come to seek an education and transform our society.

It is wonderful to issue statements that celebrate diversity and inclusion, but we MUST do more. Right now, in this moment, I can’t claim to have all the answers. But I know we must do more. As buckeye-football-2Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Administrators and faculty MUST come together and take a stand. We have to show the students that we are here for them, that we care, and that OSU has a zero-tolerance policy against bigotry and hatred. We must make clear that we will not allow terrorism and intimidation to rob our students of their safety, security, and well-being. The students need to know that we are with them, and they are not alone. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once reminded us, “The ultimate measure of man (or a woman!) is not where he stands in moments of comfort or convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

I am calling upon you to take ACTION against hatred and bigotry on campus, and not simply rely on words. Know that when you are ready to do so, I will be standing with you.

In hopes for a better future,

Leslie Alexander Austin