Tag Archives: Racism

“DAMNED IF YOU DO AND DAMNED IF YOU DON’T”: WHY WHITES DISAPPROVAL OF HARVARD’S BLACK COMMENCEMENT IS THE HEIGHT OF INSANITY

I learned long ago that it is of little utility to debate or attempt to reason with people whom a path of unrestrained ignorance paves the way for illogical conclusions regarding racial matters. Such individuals are assuredly the inspiration behind a Mark Twain quote that my colleague Marco Robinson frequently reiterates to me, “Never argue with a fool, they will lower you to their level, and then beat you with experience.”

As a writer whose career revolves around racial matters, I must relate that a reoccurring argument by a segment of historically illiterate whites continues to befuddle me. The alluded to argument is a stern opposition to the creation of independent African-American institutions and traditions; events and entities whose genesis is birthed from whites resistance to providing any access to their groups and traditions. Put simply, if whites who criticize the creation of black institutions and traditions have their way, African-Americans are “damned if they do and damned if they don’t.”

The extended tradition of whites seeking to maintain absolute control of their organizations and traditions serves as one of the primary catalysts behind African-Americans creation of alternative organizations and traditions such as: Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Negro Baseball Leagues, Black beauty pageants, and Fine Arts expressions such as the Wiz.

The above matters not only contextualize, but also reveal many whites feigned interest in racial cooperation and multi-culturalism to be fraudulent. Such issues must be considered when evaluating white cries regarding Harvard University holding a “black commencement” to allow its African-American graduates and their loved one’s a safe space to celebrate this momentous occassion.

Considering Harvard University’s association with American chattel slavery and extended history of institutional racism, it is ironic that whites associated with this vaunted Ivory Tower would have any issue with African-Americans separating themselves from whites at any moment. It is obvious that there is a segment of white America that will never be satisfied with any relationship with blacks. Consider for a moment how ridiculous it is for whites associated with Harvard University to possess the audacity to charge African-Americans, a group that has historically been their favored target for harassment and discrimination, with stoking the fires of racial animosity. The accusation is shameful when contextualized by the reality that Harvard University has rarely welcomed black genius; incredibly, the institution initially denied W.E.B. Du Bois admission.

The juvenile tantrum that whites execute the moment that they hear African-Americans plan on gathering to celebrate academic accomplishments or execute politico-economic programs in their absence, reveals their identity as historically illiterate petulant children afflicted with a Napoleonic complex that fails to lessen their understanding of this nation’s greatest tradition, racial bias.

In many ways, it is ironic that many of those white collegians protesting “black commencement’s” throughout the nation are following in their ancestors greatest tradition, stringently resisting the integration of white institutions and organizations with every fiber of their being. A crucial aspect of this extended tradition is an eagerness to oppose what should be considered a logical response of African-Americans to form their own organizations, ceremonies, and traditions. Apparently, the alluded to whites critical thinking skills are overridden by a blinding rage commonly articulated through comprehensive racial bias.

Although difficult for whites to understand, the decision of African-Americans to congregate and hold their own celebrations such as a “black commencement” has little to do with them. We consider such events a once in a lifetime moment for our community to gather, consider the rocky path that has been traveled, and realize that although the path has been trying at times, we traversed across it. The fact that we wish to do so outside of the presence of those who have taken glee in opposing our progress by constructing obstacles whose only utility was to prevent our achievement is something that angered whites will have to come to terms with on their own. On second thought, the decision to have a “black commencement” has everything to do with white folk and how they have treated our kind.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

Why America Should not be Surprised by Boston Red Sox Fans Treatment of Adam Jones

Although it feels like a lifetime ago, I was nine years old when the Los Angeles Lakers selected Magic Johnson with the first pick of the 1979 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft. Upon reflection, it is possible for me to convince myself that my developing interest in the NBA and embrace of the Los Angeles Lakers as my favorite team was ordained by God. However, such conjecture would make me a liar because although Magic Johnson and “Showtime” was a significant factor in my deciding to support a team located nearly 2,400 miles away, I was merely following the lead of a black community in throwing my support behind the Lakers.
Although I did not understand all of the history and inner-workings of the L.A. Lakers feud with the Boston Celtics, one thing was certain; if you were African-American, you were expected to support “Showtime” and despise the Celtics. Within a black community that was far from monolithic, we all seemingly agreed that the city of Boston and each of their sports franchises were to be despised with an extreme hatred; not even the presence of black Celtics like Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson, or Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell lessened our piercing disdain.
In actuality, the virulent racial animosity that characterizes Boston contradicts its storied history as the epicenter of colonial resistance to British tyranny. During the moments immediately before the Revolutionary War, a group of Bostonians was attacked by British troops in an attack that resulted in Crispus Attucks, a black man, being the first casualty of a prolonged conflict that resulted in the birth of America. Considering the history of racial bias and animosity that has come to characterize Boston, it is ironic that it was Attucks death that framed colonial rebellion against British rule. Put simply, the killing of Attucks serves as “the straw that broke the camel’s back” in regards to colonists determination to not be “the slaves of Britain.” Such a backdrop makes Boston’s current well-deserved reputation as a bastion of racial hostility all the more unfortunate.
When African-Americans are queried regarding their perspective of Boston, it becomes apparent that they long ago decided that it was a comfortable rest haven for racial prejudice, bias, and virulent racism. Considering that perception is the reality, it is safe to say that the vast majority of African-Americans view the city in as negative a light as the British troops dispatched to the North American continent to quell the colonial rebellion. Hence, the recent incident of Red Sox fans hurling racial expletives toward Baltimore Orioles player Adam Jones was not surprising.
For most African-Americans, this rather mundane racial incident is yet another verification of what we have always known; that being, those who attacked Jones have much company in regards to their views of racial matters. Although African-American optimists believe that whites stirring up racial conflict are merely a vocal minority that reminds them of racial antagonists within their community, however, even they must concede that racial prejudice and bias among whites is rather prevalent. There is not much room to debate the belief held by the vast majority of African-Americans that racial bias and animosity is endemic to not only the city of Boston and the fans that support their storied franchises, but also a significant omnipresent factor in every American city, institution, and segment of society.
Although not laudable, major cities throughout this nation have been incredibly consistent in regards to the prevalence of racial bias.
Even a cursory examination of American History proves that the thanks provided by white fans and owners to African-American athletes for their athletic contributions and service to the team is eerily reminiscent of that given to black servicemen returning from World War I. Unfortunately such thanks included a weighty post scriptum (P.S.) that reminded these black men that although their valor, commitment, and courage was recognized, it was not significant enough to alter their second-class citizenship status. Consider the following treatment afforded to two of Boston’s most notable sports stars.
K.C. Jones, a Hall of Fame player who later became the head coach who would lead the Boston Celtics in their titanic racially-tinged battles against Pat Riley’s “Showtime” related the following incident while purchasing a home in Boston. “We were living in Framingham when I was a player. I went to buy a house about five blocks away … The neighbors said they didn’t want any blacks to move into the house.”
In another incident that exposes the significant underbelly of racial animosity in Boston, Dee Brown, a recent first-round draft pick of the Celtics, along with his fiancée were accosted by nine law enforcement officers while seeking to purchase a home in the affluent suburb of Wellesley. For some unknown reason, local law enforcement personnel arrived on the scene and accosted Brown. Officers would later allege that Brown matched the description of a bank robbery suspect. This matter was not resolved before Brown, and his fiancée was forced to lie facedown in the street by officers who had pulled their weapons out.
The plentiful racial prejudice and bias found in Boston were characterized by the legendary Bill Russell as a “flea market” of racial animus in his book Second Wind: The Memoirs of an Opinionated Man. According to Russell, Boston racial bias and prejudice appeared in “all varieties…The city had corrupt, city hall-crony racists, brick-throwing, send-em-back-to-Africa racists, and in the university areas phony radical-chic racists.”
Considering that black athletes far-and-wide were aware of Boston’s racial climate, it is not surprising that a chosen few established stars such as Dave Winfield (Yankees) David Justice (Braves), and Gary Sheffield (Padres) included clauses in their contracts that forbid their present employer from trading them to the Red Sox.
As if things could not get any worse for the city of Boston, former Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling has unveiled himself yet again as the village idiot assigned the task of publicly refuting the city’s infamous history of racial bias. Via a perch provided by Breitbart, Schilling stated the following, “If somebody did say it, we’re going to see it and hear about it, and I would apologize to Adam Jones for doubting him, but until then, I think this is bulls—t. I think this is somebody creating a situation.” According to Schilling, Adam Jones is not a victim of racial hatred, rather an opportunist seeking to cash in on the fame, glory, and notoriety that attaches itself to politicized athletes such as Colin Kaepernick.
It is the general ignorance of figures such as Schilling that has historically proven counter-productive during discussions of racial matters. Schilling’s “demand for definitive proof,” as if an elongated history of racial bias in this nation is insufficient for such purposes, not only derails any movement toward the decline of racial animosity but also emboldens white racists in sneaky ways. The only way to counteract such individuals is for “good white folk” to denounce their antics via tangible actions such as ostracizing them socially and economically. Failure to make such individuals pariah makes “good white folk” accessories to America’s most gruesome crime. The alluded to actions should be willingly adopted by whites as a litmus test to evaluate their integrity. “Good white folks” failure to denounce racial bias and animosity leaves African-Americans no other choice than to group them with their boorish brethren.

A close reading of African-American history or even entrance into a middle-class black neighborhood will reveal to whites that the vast majority of African-Americans resist an urge to haphazardly classify them as racists with every fiber of their being. However, such efforts to find “good white folk” are not only exhausting but also have historically placed African-Americans in significant peril. So if nothing else, it is time for “good white folk” to stand up and make a move against those within their midst that continue to damage the brand of whiteness not only in this nation but also around the globe. Failure to make a significant move against those who stoke the fires of racial animosity leaves us with no choice to conclude that all whites are racists and every place is the same as Boston.
The ball to change these realities is most certainly in “good white folks” court.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

 

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