Tag Archives: Race

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

AM I STILL MY BROTHER’S KEEPER? HOW SHOULD WE ANSWER THIS QUESTION IN 2017

There is probably no more hopeful phrase found in the lexicon of African-American men than “I am my Brother’s Keeper.” Within that short five words, declarative sentence lies an unyielding hope that has bolstered the hopes and aspirations of droves of African-American men at some low-point in their life.

Unfortunately for black men, in the 21st Century, this declaration of their commitment to being a solidified force against anything that threatens them or the millions of unknown African-American men that they have no tangible connection to has become little more than rhetorical phrase-mongering.

Let’s be honest about this matter, the vast majority of African-American males harbor some form of “beef” with one another for reasons that even they cannot articulate. The rage that so many black men express to their counterparts does not have its genesis in any particular offense, rather, it is the payoff of being raised within a society that maligns “blackness” at every turn. Put simply; black-on-black rage is a predictable by-product of being socialized to view “blackness” as an omnipotent negative and an omnipresent problem by an oppressive white media and non-representative educational school curriculum.

There is no room to debate that this socialization serves as the primary context for both the development of a toxic manhood and daunting view of all things black. It is this reality that makes the answering of the important question of “Am I my brother’s keeper?” a convoluted mess. I have found that those who answer this query with an unequivocal “YES!!!!” are completing what amounts to a socially appropriate ‘nicety’ that reveals their failure to analyze this matter correctly. Truthfully, a much better question is, “Do black men consider each other brothers?”

Despite our fervent desire to answer this question affirmatively, the truth of the matter is that it should only be answered on a case-by-case basis as our kind has been infiltrated by a host of individuals who maintain a single-minded priority to get ahead materially, even at the cost of compromising our collective well-being. Consider for a moment the sentiments of the late Tupac Amaru Shakur who cryptically foretold his demise at the hand of a “brother” in his classic track Only God Can Judge Me. Tupac asserted “And they say that it’s the white man that I should fear. But it’s my own kind doing all the killing here.” As you well know, Tupac is not the only “brother” who has looked down the barrel of a gun that his “brother” was holding for some unspecified reason.

In many ways, those, such as myself, who are holding on to an old collectivist racial construct are operating out of a make-believe black solidarity that has little grounding in either a mythical past or a frightening present. I am not ashamed to relate that my current interactions with African-American males are governed by an all too real caution and well-deserved skepticism; issues that an extremely vocal minority of black males has made necessary.

So although I would like to relate that “I am my brother’s keeper confidently,” I simply can’t. My resistance to fully embracing this rhetorical cliché is a result of my living long enough to realize that Chuck D’s admonishment that “Every brother ain’t a brother” carries significant weight. With the benefit of hindsight, I have begun to view tales of a universal brotherhood that glued black men together in past times as little more than a well-spun fable. In many ways, it does not matter if such times ever existed as the present is all that matters. And it is this present moment that leads me to the realization that I am not every black man’s keeper because very few of them have either behaved as or have the intention of ever being my brother. Unfortunately, the traditions that forged a collectivist racial identity is largely vanquished from Black America and within that ruin lays the reason that “every brother ain’t a brother.”

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

FLOYD: THE BESTOWER OF GIFTS

You know, now that I think about it, one of the more entertaining aspects of my relationship with Floyd is witnessing the lengths to which he will go to prove a point. I am telling you that when it comes to proving a point, Floyd has a serious problem.

Although he has gone through Herculean efforts to prove his point before, none of those efforts rival Floyd’s efforts to disprove my belief that the present state of Black male and female relationships is hopelessly flawed. I both wrote about this matter and explained it to Floyd.

Put simply; my observation goes as follows. Women, in general, are programmed by God to find a mate and live happily ever after. From my estimation, this wiring characterizes the makeup of the vast majority of women. My point to Floyd was that African-American men have historically taken advantage of this wiring and often treated their ‘sisters’ as if they were some prey to be stalked, hunted, subdued and then released back into the wild. My relatively sophisticated theory also posits that repeated disappointment has led to our ‘sisters’ altering the manner in which they engage their ‘brothers.’ They have quite simply tired of being used, abused, and jilted by Black males and have likewise altered their expectations of ‘Black love.’

It was the above observation that Floyd was desperately seeking to disprove via his dating life. Floyd had apparently been seeing someone. I suspected that it was the ‘river-hipped’ woman that he met during our night out at ‘Grooves,’ however, he refused to disclose the mystery lady’s identity; citing some superstitious reason about jinxing his ‘relationship’ by debuting it too soon.

I must tell you that Floyd was apparently going ‘all-in’ on this one. He even related that he purchased, out of his meager fixed income, gifts not only for the woman but also a grandchild that she was raising. I hoped that Floyd’s generosity was born of love and not a desperate attempt to disprove my theory.

Considering that we had much to discuss regarding the after-effects of Floyd’s impaling by cupid’s arrow, we agreed to meet at a local soul food jointed called Josie’s Place located at 7473 N. Shepherd Drive. I laughed inside as Floyd swiftly agreed to the meeting place as he planned to be in that area shopping for his new love. Knowing that Floyd did not have a vehicle, I knew that he must be particularly smitten with this lady as it most certainly had to be difficult to navigate Houston’s sprawling environs with such restrictions.

I must give it up to Floyd; he arrived at the venue promptly at 1:00 PM as promised. Making it even more impressive was the fact that Floyd was towing around several bags. After entering Josie’s Place, Floyd and I quickly ordered and were promptly served plates that included Turkey Wings, Fried Fish, Corn, Greens, Cabbage, and Macaroni & Cheese.

It was after settling into our seats and consuming the better portion of our ‘Soul Food’ meals that I tongue-in-cheek asked Floyd,

What’s in the bags? Is it Floyd’s love potion?”

As expected, Floyd’s response dripped with sarcasm.

“You see that right there. That’s why we as Black people can’t get ahead. Whenever we see someone doing good, we gotta try and knock them down. And if you must know, these bags right here contain gifts for my woman and her grandbaby.”

Although I knew that it was equal parts mean-spirited and spiteful, I could not resist harassing Floyd.

Oh, so now you are claiming this woman? Don’t tell me that Mr. player, player, got his nose opened wide? Never thought I would see such a thing when a player like you retired from the game. Say it ain’t so Floyd.

Floyd just stared at me while consuming another morsel of food.

So what did you get everybody?”

It was then that Floyd reached into a bag and pulled out a very nice bracelet for his newfound love.

“You know it is nothing big, just a Lil’ Sumthin, sumthin for her. So when she looks down, she’ll think about Ol’ Floyd.” 

All I could say was, “That’s nice Floyd. What did you get for the ‘grandbaby’?”

It was then that Floyd reached into the larger bag and completely blew my mind. He retrieved three Barbie dolls from the bag, each doll more whiter than the last one. I just cringed inside as I could not believe that in the 21st Century African-Americans were still purchasing white dolls for black children. Apparently, Floyd detected my soul’s consternation.

“Now what’s wrong with the gift? That little girl loves to play with dolls.”

“It’s not the gift. Well, it isn’t, and it is.”

“Now what in the hell does that even mean? It is, and it isn’t. Man, make up your mind. Just come on with it, why don’t you like my gift.”

“Floyd, do you remember my column titled, Black Doll Matters? The editorial where I commented on the desperate need for our community to take every opportunity to build our children’s self-esteem.”

The article that I am alluding to read as follows.

BLACK DOLL MATTERS

          While recently tooling around the internet, I came across an approximately forty-second video of white parents giving their two white daughters Black dolls that apparently arrived as gifts “from Uncle Seth and Aunt Cynthia.” It was clear from the moment that the two children, no older than five years old, realized the contents of the package that they entirely disapproved of them. This point was driven home by one of the two little white angels throwing her black doll on the floor prior to falling to the floor hysterically crying while her mother burst into laughter.

          Although I would love to attribute this moment as equally inconsequential and meaningless, the truth of the matter is that it reveals much about the importance of dolls in the lives of girls, regardless of their race/ethnicity.

          I am old enough to remember a time when it was so rare to find African-American dolls at local toy stores that it was considered a given that African-American girls would not have dolls that reflected their beauty. However, my sister and cousins were fortunate to have Kathryn V. Jones, my beloved mother, in their lives. My mother, a real race woman in every sense of the word, fanatically sought out Black dolls for not only my sister, but also my cousins as Christmas and Birthday gifts.

          During the 70s and a major part of the 80s, white manufacturers apparently did not think that such items were worth the trouble of making, meaning held the potential for significant profit. That decision by ‘mainstream’ toy companies facilitated what is akin to a self-imagery desert for young African-American girls in regards to dolls. Things were so bad in regards to Black girls and dolls that many within our community celebrated the issuing of a Black Barbie doll that possessed the same features as the standard white Barbie.

          Dolls are one of the gateways to the future for Black girls as it allows them to not only play out the present but also their understanding of what is possible in the immediate and distant future. Without dolls that reflect them, African-American girls predictably turned toward television to find women they wished to emulate; there is no need to even delve into the dangers of such an occurrence.

          I find it perfectly understandable that two young white girls would resist receiving African-American dolls, in their imaginary world where Black girls not only do not rock but also are not desired. That is their prerogative. My concern is the Black girls, our daughters/nieces do not have a similar reaction when it comes to there being a dearth of Black dolls for them to play with and imagine a world where they can be the leader of a nation, college, or business; identities that are far greater than being a ‘baby momma’, one of the many negative things they are currently learning from watching ‘reality television.’

          We so often talk about the idea of Manhood as African-American men. However, those discussions frequently avoid any discussion of creating a space for our young girls to pursue their full potential. I have come to learn that allowing their imaginations to fly through the bluest sky’s one could imagine is probably the manliest thing that we can do for the little angels that God gifted us.

James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2016.

“Let me get this right; you have a problem with the gift because the dolls are white? Man, that is not only stupid but also makes you a racist. You do know that you’re a racist right? I just want to hear you admit it!”

“Floyd, I am not a racist; far from it. What I am is a Black man living in America who recognizes that we need not only to recognize but also counter the thousands of images directed at Black girls and women that tell them that they are less than. That’s what I am, ‘nothing more and nothing less.’”

I knew my use of one of Floyd’s favorite phrases, ‘nothing more and nothing less’ would get under Floyd’s skin.

“Nah, Nigga, you a racist!!!!!!! It is people like you who remind our kids that they are Black from the moment that they come into the world and create all of these societal divisions.”

“Now Floyd, you know good, and well that is not true. Whether I say anything to an African-American child regarding Race, they are most certainly going to at some point realize that they are Black in a white world. It’s just one of the hazards of being Black in America, an inevitability of sorts. That is the reason it is so important that we build our children up, especially our girls, with dolls that look like them. You don’t see white folk lining up to purchase Black dolls for their children. Why don’t they? Just answer that question.”

Floyd quickly responded with the following,

“I neither care nor am I concerned by what white folk is doing with their children. It simply ain’t none of my business. But I do see your point; maybe I should have purchased her a Black doll.”

I have learned that I am no more of a gracious winner than Floyd, so I immediately chimed in with an extra insult to drive home my point.

“In the future, just make it a personal policy not to purchase any images that don’t look like somebody that you are related to.” 

Thinking that my work with Floyd was done for another day, I sat back and relaxed as the full weight of the ‘Soul Food’ I consumed during our discussion began to settle upon me. It was at that moment Floyd chimed in,

“I’ll make a deal with you; I will take these dolls back and exchange them right away, to prevent my damaging a young Black girl’s self-esteem, under one condition.”

“What’s that?”

 “I need a ride back over to the store and then one home.”

I could do nothing but stare at Floyd and that developing ‘Foolish Grin.’

“C’mon man. Being on that bus is hell. There are all kinds of fools…”

Before Floyd could get his complaints out, I rose and motioned for him to follow me. I would rather go through the inconvenience of driving him around town than hearing his moaning and complaining. It was most certainly the lesser of two evils.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017.

Where Do You Believe That We Should Go From Here?: A Question About James Baldwin’s I Am Not Your Negro

This is a communication that I received in response to a posting dealing with the need for African-Americans to go and see James Baldwin’s I Am Not Your Negro.

I believe that it is not only imperative for African-Americans to view “I am not your negro”, but it is imperative for European-Americans as well.   

It is simply impossible to argue with Mr. Baldiwn.  He his powerful, persuasive, rational and cuts to the quick without fear or hesitation.  His words are hard for European-Americans to hear.  They are an unwelcome reminder that we (yes I’m one of them) have been the beneficiaries of 400 years of racial politics in White America’s favor, and of the debt we therefore owe to those who were oppressed, abused and murdered for our benefit, namely principally, but not exclusively those of African and Native-American dissent.  Until we in White America can face this fact, we white Americans cannot reasonably expect the stain of racism to be washed from us, and we cannot expect the anger, justifiable anger, at us and at the hypocrisy of our “liberal” and “humanist” principles.  

And this is just as true for the recent European immigrant as the “sons and daughters” of the so called American Revolution.  My family did not come into this country until 2 and 3 years before the Civil Rights act and Voting rights act passed and became law, respectively.  I was not born until after their passage.  So it would be easy for me to say I have no blame, no guilt and no responsibility for what European-Americans did before my family even landed on these shores.  

However, that is so clearly a cop out and is based on a complete misunderstanding of the legacy and current state of racism in America.  Wittingly or not, I personally benefited from a system that favored me over others because of the color of my skin (and because of my being male).  As a child perhaps I was too young to know or object or reject those benefits, but as a man, I must face the truth of them.  It is not different than the child of a slave owner saying, “it’s not my fault that my daddy owns slaves, and that they make my bed, and cook for me, bathe me, farm for me, and make my family wealthy while they are abused, oppressed and not free”.  It may not be the child’s fault, but it is the man’s fault if he fails to recognize that he benefitted at the expense of others suffering and to seek to find a way to make it right, to the extent such a thing can ever be made right.  

So as a European-American male let me say this:  I KNOW that I have benefitted unfairly from the color of my skin and from my sex.  Any European-American who does not fully and completely accept that truth is lying to themselves and is harming this nation and perpetuating the wrong done by slavery and racism.  Any European-American who does not fully accept this is just as much the cause of the perpetuation of racism and oppression as Trump or the KKK or White Supremacists.  

The question that all awake European-Americans must struggle with is, ok, so I know I got that benefit, unfairly, undeservedly at the expense of others, what now?  What now?  What are my responsibilities and my duties and my obligations now that I am awake to that awful and awesome truth.  That is where the discussion should be for White America.  And I believe that the words of James Baldwin and the movie “I am not your Negro” present an incredible opportunity for self reflection and awareness in White America as well.  That is why I believe that it is imperative that White Americans also go see that extraordinary film.

I don’t and can’t blame an African-American for hating White Americans especially where we White Americans almost universally refuse to see the hypocrisy of our principles and the obvious fact of our personal gain at the expense of our African-American peers.  To not understand that and expect that is willful blindness, a comfortable place no doubt, but nevertheless wrong, utterly wrong.

Where do you believe we should go from here?

Christoph T Nettesheim

Let me first say thank you for reaching out to me with this poignant thought that conveys an excellent view of the quagmire that we call American race relations; I wish white people possessed such acumen and the courage to espouse it publicly. I pray that you are doing so when surrounded by others from your community whose view of American racial dynamics conflict with your insightful thoughts. I believe that Malcolm X was correct in his summation that the most efficient way that sympathetic whites could aid the struggle for racial equality is for them to return to their community and teach those within their community who are deaf to blacks in regards to anything dealing with race. The alluded to deafness becomes insurmountable once it becomes clear that the evils of prejudice, discrimination, and racism not only have its origins within that community but also it is maintained by the members of their community.

Now in regards to your query of, “Where do you believe that we should go from here?” I have two strains of thoughts. My initial thought is aimed at what I see as the only path to racial justice, not equality or fairness, in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” It is also one that I articulate with the full understanding that it will NEVER occur for reasons that will become apparent as you read it.

Answer I: The path to racial justice in America.

Strangely, Americans living under the same conditions have advanced two irreconcilable arguments regarding the way to solving this nation’s racial dilemma. One path projects that if we would simply ignore race, it would disappear. Others advance the idea that if we would communicate about racial matters that they would eventually work themselves out. Although I am a member of the latter camp, I also hold grave reservations regarding this thinking as I believe that it is not only flawed but also a convenient escape from responsibility for those who have reaped a bounty of political power and economic might.  Let me also say that I most certainly do recognize that the stolen African and their descendants were not the only populations exploited for labor on the North American continent. However, at this moment I am specifically addressing the systematic state-sanctioned injury perpetrated against persons of African descent.

When one considers that the multi-faceted injury to persons of African descent occurred over several centuries the repair of such an injury, not to mention the dispensing of a modicum of justice, is nearly unfathomable. Let’s be clear on this matter and forthrightly state the reality that this genocidal injury could never be justly addressed with economic resources as many have foolishly called for. Not even the complete transferal of all of the wealth generated by the forced labor of Africans could repair the injury that has been caused by whites. Put simply; if we are seeking justice, the type and intensity of damage doled out by whites on persons of African descent can and never will be repaid.

Now on to a more realistic discussion of a possible solution to the American racial dilemma.

Answer II: Where do we go from here?

Considering that contemporary Americans have inherited what can only be termed an absolute mess in regards to racial dynamics, the path forward begins with an honest conversation regarding the very pillars of this nation. Towards that end, it is imperative that all Americans receive an education regarding the dubious roots of this nation.  An unsuspecting white populace must be made aware of a historical record that includes figures such as that made by Founding Father Thomas Jefferson to allow their actions to contradict their words.  The construction of a politically expedient and economically beneficial system providing many politico-economic benefits to whites. I have found that unless we have all read the same books and fact sheets that a productive discussion regarding race is impossible. Honest discussion is crucial to this process as it tends to usher persons on both sides of the debate toward unprecedented breakthroughs. However, the American record definitively proves that small discussion is insufficient to close the racial divide.

Make no mistake about it; I place both the generation and perpetuation of American racial discord at the feet of whites; as the great James Baldwin related, African-Americans only want whites to get out of our way. When viewed closely, the antics and utterances of those who could be comfortably termed “black supremacists” are merely unenforceable wishes and desires being hurled at a dominant white community that refuses to get out of their way. It is crucial that whites realize that black anger is solely attributable to a hostile white population that has not only monopolized the politico-economic resources that are pre-requisites to merging onto the path to liberation. Particularly troubling is the reality that whites’ have strategically placed themselves as toll booth operators possessing the power to impede both your access and travel on the path toward “life, liberty, and the pursuit of property.” America’s racial problems will never recede until whites realize that they are the originators and perpetrators of racial bias.

If a progressive white consciousness regarding racial matters were ever achieved, I think that whites would no longer recoil at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., poignant assertion that “A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for the Negro.”

Dr. King’s decades’ old insightful observation is the very pivot that will determine the future of American race relations. There is no hope for any genuine racial reconciliation without a serious attempt at repairing the prolonged damage done to the material subsistence, educational restraints, and psychological state of the descendants of enslaved Africans. Make no mistake about it; this is a long overdue bill. If this nation is serious about quelling racial discord, which I do not believe to be true, there is no other reasonable path forward.

Probably the most challenging aspect of this process is not securing agreement among whites regarding the need for reparations, rather it is found in reaching a consensus regarding what the alluded to compensation will look like. Having viewed quite a few reparation plans that called for land, monies, education, and loans, I must relate that each has left me with an unsettled feeling. I attribute my queasiness to the reality that regardless of the compensation being pursued, it neither approaches an unreasonable threshold of justice nor offers the potential to close the historical racial inequities that have held steady for since emancipation.

After having articulated all of this, I am forced to admit that I do not know what the path forward looks like for a nation whose daily operation reminds persons of African descent of the historical injustices that their ancestors experienced on this soil. Particularly saddening to me is the reality that I have so much company in this club of not knowing what an appropriate path forward looks like. When I think about it, not knowing what to do about the racial dilemma may be the only commonality to be found among a politically diverse and economically stratified American populace.

And that is most certainly not a good thing.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017