Tag Archives: Racism

How The Process of Finding a Prom Date Reveals so much about American Racial Matters

Although we rarely think of it this way, the successful navigation of life is either bolstered or hindered by one’s understanding of history. It is the understanding of what has come before that prepares us for what is to come. Without the benefit of a reasonable understanding of history, we are doomed to not only repeat the mistakes of the past but also sure to suffer mightily from our ignorance.

There is no doubt that all hopes of navigating the present for young African-Americans hinges upon their understanding of Race. Despite whites desperate desire to avoid racial matters, the truth of the matter is that the socially constructed variable has harmed persons of African descent from the moment they arrived in the Jamestown colony. Although there are few things that I find shocking, I must admit that the revelation of there being a sizable population of young African-Americans who de-emphasize, if not totally ignore the historic roots and contemporary manifestation of the divisive ‘color line’ that DuBois lamented in his classic tome The Souls of Black Folk has thrown my mind into a chaotic phase. Put simply; many African-American youths are devoid of any understanding of American racial dynamics; in fact, they are so oblivious to racial matters that they are no longer offended by its presence.

As you well know, we are approaching the end of another school year. It is at this moment that American high school students will make what amounts to one of the most important decisions of their young lives; whom will they accompany to the prom. We should not find it surprising that the ugly specter of Race has repeatedly reared its ugly head during this annual event.

The unusual manner in which Race has impacted this rites-of-passage for American high school students is not found in the traditional segregating of black and white students, rather the degrading way that white male students are requesting the company of black female students. Consider the following overtures made by white male students to black female students. One white male made his intentions known by spelling it out with Kool-Aid packets, a drink that has historically been associated with poor blacks. Another white male made his desires for a date with an African-American female student known via the offering of Kentucky Fried Chicken and watermelon.

Now I will tell you that I am most certainly not surprised by the crass and socially inappropriate overtures made by white males toward black females, after all, such events have historically been a staple of American social relations. However, I was shocked to learn that the African-American females approached with such inappropriate overtures agreed to accompany their bigoted suitors to the prom. Such an occurrence raises a host of queries regarding these young ladies, the community that raised them, as well as the parental guidance that they received regarding both the history of American racial matters and their self-worth.

If the decision-making of the alluded to black female students is an accurate barometer of the next generation of African-Americans porous understanding of racial matters, we are most certainly in dire straits. I am literally at a loss for words regarding the pervasive illiteracy regarding racial bias that has somehow enveloped many young African-Americans.

Unfortunately, it appears that a developing narrative that calls for African-Americans to ignore prejudice, discrimination, bigotry, and racism has mesmerized many of our youth and robbed them of their innate ability to recognize and resist racial bias whenever it appears. If the alluded to young ladies decision is any indicator, many of our youth will neither understand nor resist racial bias even when it is personally delivered to them in a bucket of fried chicken and a sign that says “I prefer dark meat” with watermelon as the dessert, and Kool-Aid as the beverage to wash it all down.

We are living in a scary moment my friend, very scary.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

 

A LITTLE WHITE APOLOGY: ARE WE TOO QUICK TO FORGIVE WHITES FOR THE EVIL THEY DO?

There is a logical reason that little reasonable debate can challenge the following assertion, ‘When it comes to forgiving whites for their unbridled and unprovoked attacks against them, African-Americans are the most forgiving population in the world.’

In fact, it seems that there is a segment of Black America that is overly eager to forgive whites regardless of their offense. This eagerness to forgive white folk for the evil that they do has led our people to offer forgiveness before the evil-doer asks for forgiveness. One only needs to look at the case of Charleston, South Carolina, shooter Dylan Roof; an individual who has never expressed regret or a modicum of remorse regarding his actions, yet many African-Americans have seemingly fallen over themselves offering forgiveness that he has absolutely no interest in receiving.

This well-worn pattern of African-Americans ranging from the victims of racist attacks to our so-called community leaders resurfaced with the case of Rachel Steigerwald, one of the six white female students at Desert Vista High School. Mrs. Steigerwald emerged to ask the nation for forgiveness regarding her role in a widely circulated photo that showed her and five of her classmates spelling out the racial epithet “NI**ER” during their senior picture day.

Although many within our community have applauded Mrs. Steigerwald’s request for forgiveness and participation in a local civil rights rally that was ironically occurring as a result of her deplorable actions. During the rally, Steigerwald stepped forward to reiterate that she was not a racist and had “…come here to say that I am incredibly, incredibly sorry. I have love for everyone in my heart. I am not a racist and I’m asking everyone for forgiveness.”

Predictably, Mrs. Steigerwald is not alone in her apologies as a Maryland teenager ridiculed for the production of a video disparaging the Black Lives Matter movement has received similar treatment.

During the aforementioned 30-second video the young man, who is a student at Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City voiced his feelings on many racial matters such as “who the ^$@$ cares about some black man who dies?…they are an inferior race, OK?” The video ends with the white male holding up a five-dollar bill displaying Abraham Lincoln, ‘the great emancipator,’ whom he characterized as a traitor to white folk.

Predictably, once his actions were made public, this young man, in a blatant attempt to save himself from pending punishment from school administrators stated via social media, “I am learning from this mistake and hope to gain forgiveness from those who I hurt with my words.”

If I could advise each of these offenders, I would tell them that they are wasting their time asking African-Americans for forgiveness because Black America’s eagerness to forgive those who do harm is so great that they forgive the moment that the offense occurred. This segment of our community operates from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired position that ‘the best thing that you can make out of an enemy is a friend.’ However, it is imperative that whites understand that African-Americans are not a monolithic population and there is, therefore, another segment of our population that will never excuse such behavior and are extremely interested in doling out an appropriate punishment for such occurrences.

It is that community that has taken the prominent Abolitionists Frederick Douglass’ words that “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will” to heart. Rest assured that there is a large segment of Black America who is incapable of forgiving those who have done their people harm. These individuals follow Malcolm X’s admonishment that the only prayer they should issue in regards to their enemy is one asking the Lord to give them the strength to kill you for the evil that you do.

Dan Freeman

#ManhoodRaceCulture

A PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN: WHY DYLANN ROOF’S APPEARANCE REVEALS SO MUCH ABOUT THE WHITE (& BLACK) SUPREMACIST MOVEMENT

I am certain that you have heard that Dylann Roof, the cowardly white male who entered Charleston, South Carolina’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and fired 77 bullets in a violent rampage intended to spark a race war between black and white Americans, has been found guilty on all 33 counts brought against him.

Although many will celebrate the guilty verdict, truthfully Roof’s conviction brings neither closure to family members nor justice to an aggrieved nation that is presently straining under the weight of daily occurrences of racial violence. Justice would be

  • Clementa Pinckney (41)
  • Myra Thompson (59)
  • Cynthia Hurd (54)
  • Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49)
  • Daniel “Dapper Dan” Simmons (74)
  • Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45)
  • Ethel Lance (70)
  • Susie Jackson (87)
  • Tywanza Sanders (26)

to be replaced in their grave by their cowardly killer.

Although I understand that the knee-jerk conclusion that Dylann Roof was crazy is one that many will grab for as it allows them to efficiently move beyond this horrific event without spending a single moment searching for a larger meaning.

I have found that the slanderous characterization of individual historical figures as being crazy is not only dismissive but also provides an opportunistic opening for a society to avoid the chilling reality that the perpetrators of unconscionable evil are merely a reflection of their community.

I continually fight against the application of the c-word — crazy — being applied to historical figures as it prevents others from investigating the catalyst behind their actions. Consider the total damage done by the following individuals and how easy it is to consider them aberrations within a civilized society.

  • Mao Zedong (78 million deaths)
  • Jozef Stalin (23 million deaths)
  • Adolf Hitler (17 million deaths)
  • Leopold II of Belgium (15 million deaths)
  • Hideki Tojo (5 million deaths)
  • Ismail Enver Pasha (2.5 million deaths)
  • Pol Pot (1.7 million deaths)
  • Kim Il Sung (1.6 million deaths)
  • Mengistu Haile Mariam (400,000 – 1.5 million deaths)
  • Yakubu Gowon (1.1 million deaths)

One of my greatest concerns regarding Dylann Roof is that in our rush to get past his reprehensible actions that we fail to realize that he is an appropriate representation of American race relations.

Roof himself refutes assertions regarding his sanity by logically explaining why he entered Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and murdered 9 praying African-American parishioners.  

Apparently, Roof’s motivation flowed from internet research that painted an utterly fallacious portrait of American history that depicted persons of African descent as the continual aggressor in racial conflicts with whites. According to Roof, he is merely a foot soldier willing to sacrifice his life in a larger “…fight to the death between white people and black people.” In Roof’s mind, his horrific actions in Emmanuel AME Church were “but a drop in the bucket” when compared to the centuries of unprovoked attacks that African-Americans have executed against whites.

The most frightening aspect of Dylann Roof’s mindset and flawed understanding of American race relations is that he has much company in his viewpoints, company that is by all indications growing by ‘leaps-and-bounds’ on both sides of the racial divide.

One of the most unfortunate aspects of the internet is that anyone can present themselves as an expert on racial matters and spew stupid conspiracy theories backed by nothing more than an impressive library of historical inaccuracies and fictitious untruths. It is in this hate-filled fantasy realm that black and white Dylann Roof’s develop their irrational thought patterns that when activated seek to destroy others by any means necessary. As Roof has proven, not even their survival is sufficient to deter such individuals.

It is this realization that makes me reiterate the reality that Dylann Roof was neither ‘crazy’ nor an aberration within American society; he is in many ways America’s Native Son. Roof embodies all of the xenophobia, hatred, ignorance, and illiteracies (political, cultural, and historical) that serve as the shelter for such individuals. Rest assured that the spawn of what can only be termed a dysfunctional and highly racist American culture and political climate are at this point a legion and I am confident that we will hear from them more and more frequently.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, & Culture, 2016

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

ASK DR. JONES

Dr. Jones,

With today’s social issues and the hatred that Trump’s election is revealing, do you think that America is shifting back to a time when racism was a common occurrence?

Eliud Munoz

What a fantastic question that I am more than happy to address.

I am confident that this issue has its genesis with the recent rash of public racial incidents in this nation that many have attributed to Trump’s Presidential election. I somewhat consider attributing the rise in public racial animosity to the President-elect. However, I do agree that people often take their cues regarding what is and what is not permissible in any given society based on the language, temperament, and appearance of their leadership.

I do not believe that Trump is either the source or the primary catalyst behind the increasing racial animosity that has caught your attention. Racial hatred on the North American continent predates the creation of this nation and from all indicators will forever serve as the tie that binds various racial/ethnic groups together as they battle each other for resources.

Put simply; I do not believe that Trump’s Presidential victory is the cause for the noticeable increase in racial incidents. However, I do believe that if many of those who have “come out of the closet” and articulated long-hidden desires to resist any efforts to guarantee racial equality get their way, we will revert to a fabled American past where white-skin privilege provided unconscionable protections and opportunity. Such an occurrence would not only prove devastating to the struggle for racial equality but also would further embolden a wicked portion of the American populace who continue to resist the presence and prosperity of non-whites in this nation.

I hope that this answer addressed your issues and concerns regarding the rise of racism and a potential return to “the good old days.”

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2016