Tag Archives: African American

It’s Time for America to Overcome

I have seen many people today including African Americans, denouncing the protests/riots in Minneapolis especially the looting of the Target and while I am a proponent of non-violence it is rather difficult to expect that after centuries of oppression and the senseless killing of our people African Americans are expected to continue to peacefully march and sing we shall overcome.

We will overcome?

We already have overcome:
Our culture being stripped from us
The lost of our ancestral history
Slavery
Lynchings
Jim Crow

We are still battling
Economic injustice
Socialinjustice but we have not let it destroy us as a people

Now is the time for America to overcome its
Racism and Bigotry

Only then will America truly be the country it gave lip service to when it was founded. One where all people are created equal.

Even the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood there was a time when a peaceful non-violent protest was not always going to bring about the necessary change.

https://timeline.com/by-the-end-of-his-life-martin-luther-king-realized-the-validity-of-violence-4de177a8c87b

 

 

We are African American and we are Extraordinary

Yet another unarmed young man of color hunted and shot down, yet another attempt to cover it up, yet another attempt to silence our voice Ahmaud Arbury was only 24 years old when his life was ended for what appears to be the unspeakable crime of jogging while black.

For four hundred and one years you have been trying to silence our voice. You stripped us of our culture and religion, shackled us in the chains of bondage, rode masked in the night, as the cowards you truly are, burning crosses to intimidate us, chased us down like animals and lynched us before proudly displaying our lifeless bodies as a sort of trophy, denied us access to the right to vote, created laws that allowed you to legally discriminate against us and when we demanded we be treated as equals you turned the dogs loose and the hoses on us, you disproportionately incarcerate us and through a system of inherent racism put in place a series of social and economic barriers designed specifically to hold us down. Today when we dare to call you out on your obvious disregard for the concept this country was supposedly founded on that all men are created equal you call us unpatriotic. Unpatriotic? How could we be unpatriotic when this country’s wealth and very freedom was achieved on the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors just as much if not more than any other group, for we have fought and gave our lives in every war this country has been a part of only to return home to a country that told us to get in the back of the bus nigger. You have fostered the myth that the color of your skin makes you superior and the color of our skin makes us someone to be feared.

Yet four hundred and one years later you have failed and failed spectacularly because our voice has not been silenced, it has endured and it is getting stronger each day, gaining allies of all races, nationalities and gender. Growing a coalition of the righteous who reject your bigotry and racism Even you cannot deny our enduring contributions to the arts and sciences, our advancements in the business world and the political arena, maybe that is what you really fear. So listen and hear each day our voice as we say louder and louder you did not, you could not, and you never will silence us for we are African American and we are extraordinary.

They Questioned

The people in the store questioned if I should to be there.

My classmates questioned if I should be there.

My colleagues questioned if I should be there.

The authorities in my neighborhood questioned if I should be there.

They question without knowing who I am.

They question without really seeing me.

They question because of the color of my skin.

But know this

I make no apologies for the color of my skin.

I have no desire to prove my worth to them.

I will not fake who I am just to make them feel comfortable.

Let them keep questioning.

Let them keep wondering.

Let them do so as I keep soaring because as James Brown said I’m black and I’m proud.

Living while Black

Police officers in New York City were doused with water by punks, not black punks, not spanish punks, not white punks.  No, just punks their color does not matter.  They were wrong and showed a level of disrespect to the men and women who put on a uniform everyday and risk their lives to protect us that should never be accepted. They should be arrested and charged to the fullest extent possible. Leaders in the community need to speak out in the loudest possible voice to condemn them.  To let it be known that their type behavior does not represent us and our communities will not stand for it.

With that said let us not lose sight of another issue, those who would use this disrespectful incident to justify police misconduct with memes like ever wonder why the police mistreat you. Stop breaking the law.  Seizing upon the disrespectful action of a few as justification for police misconduct no better than we an entire police force is held accountable for the actions of a few bad officers.  Rather than looking to exploit the issue to create a false narrative it is time we ’s have a real discussion about the disconnect between the communities they patrol and the police.  Lets talk honestly about the issue of police misconduct. Like every single company, government agency, not for profit and church has a few bad apples and those bad apples need to be rooted out.

Sadly if you believe the concept that people of color can simply avoid police misconduct by obeying the law.

I guess:

You never have been pulled over numerous times but never receive a ticket and left to wonder if you were stopped because you were driving while black.

You never been stopped and frisked in a low crime neighborhood while sporting an argyle sweater and matching socks. You didn’t appear to fit the profile of who they were  supposedly looking for unless that profile was simply black.

You never had a gun pointed in your face while tossing a football in a white friend’s suburban backyard because you didn’t appear to belong in that neighborhood because you were black.

You never been a 53 year old African American male whose never been in trouble with the law.  Whose palms get a little sweaty when a police car is following you while black.

All of which have happened to me.

But you’ve never been black.

So lets stop protecting the rotten apples on the police force and applauding punks who disrespect the good police officers and have a real discussion

Black is Beautiful

Drug dealers, gang bangers, fatherless, welfare dependent, prisoners are some of the images that the media bombard us with. When faced with these images on a daily basis many of us begin to accept them and have lower life expectations of ourselves. In essence we are letting the stereotypes of others define who we are rather than defining ourselves. The positive images of African Americans is often that of athletes and hip hop stars implying that their are limited roads to success within the African-American community. Protest against social injustice by African Americans stars is spun as unpatriotic  and done by individuals who are fortunate that society has given them so much. Notice I said given not earned because for many the thought of the African American working hard and earning their position in society is a foreign concept. As Cater G. Woodson said to handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worst sort of lynching.”

1984 brought us the Cosby Show centered on the lives of the fictional Huxtables obstetrician Cliff his lawyer wife Claire, and their children Sondra, Denise, Vanessa and Rudy, and son Theo. The show was unique in that not only did it depict an upper middle class African American family, we had seen that before on shows such as the Jeffersons, but one that was led by not one but two professionals. They were portrayed as simply a family residing in Brooklyn, not a African American family simply a family. They were not the exception to the rule rather they were just another successful family.  The Huxtables showed us that African Americans can achieve, can be successful, can be a mother and a father who have children who attend college because isn’t that what all kids do when they graduate high school. They were the embodiment of what all American families white and black strive to be.

2008 brought us Barack Obama who against all odds became America’s first African American President. Something many of believed we would never live to see. He was a highly educated man of color and a dedicated husband and father.  While in office some media outlets looked to marginalize his accomplishments, question his citizenship and disintegrate his character but thanks to his magnetic personality and superior oratory skills President Obama was able to overcome media attempts to downplay or mischaracterize him. He represented himself with a class and dignity rarely seen by a politician and won respect and admiration not only from Americans but world wide. His wife Michelle  a strong, educated, beautiful woman of color, so much so that the thought of her running for President today does not seem out of the realm of possibility, was also at times a victim of certain media outlets attempt to paint the Obama’s in a poor light. But like her husband she too possessed a magnetic personality and superior oratory skills which easily allowed her to deflect any negativity aimed at her. The Obamas represented what is possible for all African Americans. No longer was it a fantasy to tell your child they could grow up to be President because it has been accomplished and with accomplished with dignity and class.

2018 brought us the hugely success Marvel movie Black Panther. Movie theaters were packed with people of color young and old, men and women, some who hadn’t been to a movies in years. They left the theater not only entertained by the movie itself but with a pride of their culture. Wakanda after all was undeniably African. Its citizens highly educated, its women depicted as strong and beautiful, its men strong and dedicated to family. Wakanda forever became a calling card of many because the imaged world of Wakanda represented a look at what African Americans could be. That we could fly above the clouds and achieve greatness.

One cannot quantify the impact the positive images of these fictional and non fictional African Americans have had on the African American community as a whole but it has no doubt allowed some of us to dream of possibilities to consider what we can accomplish regardless of the color of our skin.  This begs the question as to what is the responsibility of successful African Americans in giving back to their community. For many successful African Americans success is often measured by moving out of their community into a predominantly white community.  Leaving behind many of those they used to associate with in exchange for new friends who are predominantly white. Rejecting much of the culture they were raised in to better fit their new surroundings. They reject African American businesses citing their supposed inferiority to that of businesses run by others. It as Cater G Woodson said “Negro banks, as a rule, have failed because the people, taught that their own pioneers in business cannot function in this sphere, 

It is ironic that Harlem one of the bastions of African America culture has in recent years seen a renaissance not as the result of successful African Americans returning but to an influx of white people. Unfortunately as this great community strengthens African Americans are pushed out

So is it truly the responsibility of the successful African American to as Lebron James said in his 2017 ESPY awards speech “go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them.” In this writers opinion the answer is an unequivocal yes. As each successful generation serves as positive role models and mentors, invests in the building of a strong and prosperous infrastructure that employs those in the community and affords the children of those adults the opportunity to attain a quality education the foundation is put in place where success is not seen as the exception but the norm. The perception of the African American image within ourselves changes from one that is not worthy and of limited possibilities to one who is exceptional and has unlimited opportunities before them. As Fredrick Douglas said The soul that is within me no man can degrade”

The building of this thought process will not come easy as Carole Mosley-Braun so pointedly put it  “Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face” and as Malcolm X once said “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”  Simply put the African American can not wait for others to “save” us, to build up our communities, to employ our men and women, to educate our children and most importantly to pass down the history of our many accomplishments. The African American must act from within to achieve these goals. We must set the groundwork so that. each succeeding generation grows up with the belief as the 1970’s slogan said Black is Beautiful. That they shout from the mountain tops what James Brown once sang I’m black and I’m proud. That they define themselves and not let others define them.

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I love my country – The African American voice

I defended my country, the country I love, in WWII but when I came home I was denied service at the lunch counter.

I defended my country, the country I love, in the Vietnam war but when I came home they turned the fire hoses on me when I dared to vote.

I defended my country, the country I love, in the Iraq war but when I came home the police still stopped and frisked me for no reason.

I am a person of color and I joined the military and I am veteran today because I love my country.

Yes I love America but America has not treated me fairly. America has enslaved me, segregated me, denied me the right to vote, denied me equality in housing, wealth opportunities and education. It has jailed me at in-proportioned numbers. Slowly I have seen things change, gotten better. But these changes did not happen by themselves I had to stand up to the country I love and demand that it lives up to the promise that it was founded on – All men are created equal. I did not stand up to America because I hate it. I did not kneel in solidarity because I disrespect it. I did it because I love my country and make no mistake it is as my country as much as anyone’s because despite the obstacles I had to and continue to endure I continue to create breath taking masterpieces, inspire others in literature, art and music. Produce life saving breakthroughs in science and medicine. I continue to achieve great things each and every day and with each step I take forward I leave an indelible fingerprint on the very fabric of a country.

So no matter how hard some may try I will not be silenced I will continue to shine a light on social injustice. Continue to demand that America live up to her promise. After all dissent is the highest form of patriotism and I love my country.

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