Under Which Circumstances Can Nonwhites Talk About Race?

Question: How many of the people who are upset with Black people’s responses to the Martin-Zimmerman case were raised by parents [or grandparents] who were upset with Black people’s responses to the murder of Emmett Till?

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Despite some obvious contextual differences, the public sentiment, anguish, and disappointment is the same.

The question then becomes, were Black people “race-baiting” or “playing the race card” when they protested Till’s murderers being found not guilty?

What about after JFK, Malcolm X, and Dr. King were assassinated?

How about when factories, plants, and businesses began to close down en masse in innercity neighborhoods (e.g., Detroit, South Los Angeles, D.C., Chicago) during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, thus changing the economic prospects of the people who’d depended on those jobs for generations, and pushing them toward despair, crime, and dysfunction? When this is mentioned by Black talking heads, whether they be President Obama or Al Sharpton for that matter, is this playing the race card?

Is it race-baiting when Blacks mention longstanding inequalities in wealth, income, employment opportunities, educational opportunities, housing opportunities, and health outcomes, to name a few?

When Blacks lament the numerous killings of Blacks by Whites, from the times of slavery, to the Jim Crow lynchings, to police brutality, to unequal death penalty sentencing, to rogue Americans like George Zimmerman, is this playing the race card?

And, if none of this is racism, or at least deserving of a serious discussion of race, then, please tell me, what is?

It seems to me that the people who are upset with the fact that Black people are upset, feel as if they are in some sort of “war” against Blacks. To them, there is only one correct way to feel and think about this case, and that is to believe that George Zimmerman was at best a hero and at worst an unfortunate fellow that had to use deadly force to protect himself from “one of those” raging Black criminals. To them, no other perspective is legitimate, and any mention of race, or history is just “playing the race card.”  (Unless, of course, it is the history that presents Blacks as criminals who are “always” robbing, stealing, and killing–that’s legitimate, not just a stereotype, and certainly not something to be placed within the context of slavery, Jim Crow, lack of opportunity, inequality, etc.)

Again, when is it OK for nonwhites to talk about race?

Why Do You Keep Asking Whether We “Need” Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa

Former White House Fellow, Harvard grad, and Black dude, Theodore Johnson, wrote an article at HuffPo recently that questioned whether we still need Kwanzaa.  I don’t understand the endless need to minimize or delegitimize Kwanzaa. Rarely, if ever, do we read similar articles about holidays for Jews, the Irish, Germans, the Chinese, etc. Their holidays are legitimate. Ours, on the other hand, are questioned and protested, often by other Blacks. Holidays primarily serve the function of reuniting families and reconnecting us to principles, traditions, and values. That’s good for everyone, regardless of race, culture, or ethnicity.

If you aren’t interested in the Kwanzaa tradition and its values or message, fine, don’t celebrate it. God knows I could care less about a lot of holidays. But I don’t defecate on them and attempt to run them out of existence using the technology of the day.

And I’m saying this as a guy who doesn’t particularly love Kwanzaa (the whole seven day thing kinda wears me out and drags on). I acknowledge, however, that of all people, African Americans–who still by and large are called by the surnames of the Whites who once owned our enslaved forefathers, think about that for a moment–are better off with a holiday that affirms, values, and reconnects us to something greater. Nothing’s wrong with that.

The Scarcity of Marriageable Black Men: An Honest Analysis

In a recent ABC News story five successful, attractive, and well-educated Black women lamented the fact that they were not yet married and had no upcoming prospects for marriage (see video below).  The reporter went on to review a few well-documented Black marriage statistics, in what always seems like an attempt to paint a bleak, desolate picture for Black families as hopeless, archaic relics that can only be seen in a metropolitan museum somewhere. The numbers break down something like this:

  • 42% of Black women have never been married (more than twice the rate of White women)
  • There are almost 2 million more Black women in the U.S. than there are Black men
  • Only 54% of Black men are “marriageable,” meaning they are neither imprisoned, gay, uneducated, unemployed, or dead (being alive is probably first on most people’s “ideal mate” lists) Continue reading

WTF…Is Up With the BET Awards 2009?

SW 3 (small)

WTF Wednesdays

I watched the original airing of the program, but I didn’t believe my eyes, so I watched the encore presentation last night.  Please excuse me if this post is not well organized, if it’s a bit ignorant, and it’s embarrassing, but I am merely reflectin what I was subjected to.   I lost 41 brain cells while watching that show. Continue reading

A Son’s Rage

Father and son

Father and son

I am thirty-two now.  A quick look at my family reveals that there are no fathers to be found.  In fact, I am the only father in my family who is actively involved in his child’s life.  It is interesting to me that when I was seven, I spoke to my father for the first time.  My brother was being born that year.  He made a few false promises, and I didn’t hear from him again until I was twenty-two–when my son was being born.

My mother never spoke of my father, and I grew up not knowing what his name was.  She never bad-mouthed him, and she never suggested that I get to know him.  It wasn’t until I began raising my young warrior–he’s nine now–as a single father that I discovered how much hatred I had toward my father and how much pain I’d been hiding from myself.

I’m hard on my son.  He will attest to that (lol).  I earned a college degree–the first in my family.  I want to start anew, and while my son is ahead of many students his age, I push him so hard with so much focus on him doing better than I have that I am often not available for him emotionally.  It is not that I am unaware of this deficiency in my parenting.  I am just so single-minded with him becoming a stand-out man that I ignore the emotional aspects of manhood and childhood.  It has occurred to me that while I am trying so hard to correct the mistakes of my father, I fall short emotionally the same my father did.  And, to be honest, I hate this about myself.  I’m going to have to do better.

When I turned thirty, I tried to find my father.  I had some idea of where he might be, and I consulted my mother.  Apparently, he had known where I was in all my travels (I’m an Army brat), yet he never saw fit to contact me.  I have siblings whose names I do not know, but what hurts is that I discovered that my father passed a few years back.  An important part of me–idiosyncrasies that make me, me–has died off without my knowledge.

This bothers me in ways I cannot express fully.  There is an emptiness that angers and pains me.  I don’t know where relief would come from.  There is no one to answer my questions.

Anyhow, I have nothing particularly insightful to offer here.  I’m just sharing what’s on my heart for now.  I’m not even sure what sparked this.

…there’s gotta be some rules,

(Rule 37: Fathers must be fathers!)

Failed Psychology and the Legacy of Slavery

The strangest psychology is applied to the condition of Black Americans today.

The spirit of Nat Turner

The spirit of Nat Turner

If this psychology were mathematics, one plus one would equal two, three, or fifty-seven depending upon the context in which one performs the addition.  To be honest, I do not fully understand this psychology.  In this post we will explore this strange psychology.

Assume, I had a child that I was abusing.  Assume the abuse included regular beatings, severe mental abuse, extreme isolation, and rape.  Assume this treatment (socialization) went on until this child reached eighteen years of age.  What would such an individual look like?  What type of behavior would such a tragedy of parenting imbue in that innocent child?  Can there be any doubt that such socialization would create an individual with psychological issues that would be studied and pondered over?  Would we not expect that young adult to be violent to him/herself and others?  Would we not expect that individual to be incapable of understanding the full range of his/her behavior?  If that individual were to have children with a similarly abused individual, would we be shocked if their offspring were just as physically and psychological distressed as the parents who made them?   Continue reading