Tag Archives: Racism

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

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