THE MORE THINGS CHANGE…

I would be a total idiot to suggest that general life hasn’t improved for the black man and woman in America since slavery ended in 1865, right? However, it seems like ‘attitudes’ and ‘conditioning’ remain for the larger part, unchanged! As a nation, we collectively WILL NOT DISCUSS THE ELEPHANT IN EVERY ROOM: RACISM/WHITE SUPREMACY and it’s poisoning of our society in every way imaginable. For those of you reading this blog for the first time, I agree with Dr’s Neely Fuller and the late Dr Frances Cress-Welsing, who both describe Racism/White Supremacy as one in the same! Certain attitudes are a as much a part of the American fabric as baseball and apple pie! Let me cite some examples right now.

A young woman recently tweeted about her feelings when visiting a southwestern/white eating establishment while on vacation with her children. “At Cracker Barrel 4 the 1st time. Looking at the sea of white folks in cowboy hats wondering if they’ll let my black ass walk out of here.” Most people, especially black folk, totally got her humor, but many white people lost their minds! And it’s odd; Because instead of using this as “a teachable moment” they proceeded to revert back to the very kind of behavior the sister  was half-joking about in the first place. I won’t repeat all of it here, but the standard, “You worthless cunt!: your polluted blood line: were you gonna rob the place?: you are pathetic: get out of my country, you racist bitch:” kind of comments came from all over the white world: many of those comments came from younger white folks! Why and how? When I was a youngster, I was told that all the racists would be dead by now, and we’d live in a world of empathy and tolerance! Not so much! In fact, while Twitter suspended the accounts of many who forwarded hatred directed at this young lady, Face book suspended her account! Not the accounts of those who spewed hatred right in her face! Shame on Face Book! You got it wrong! So why does much of white America seem ready to pounce on anyone black who writes, says or does something they don’t like?

Racism isn’t just about terrorizing and subjugating Africans and their descendants here in America! So when many white people hear that word, they associate it with that horror, so they think they are being called “A bad person!” Racists, to many whites, are the guys that wear the sheets and kill people! We all know that’s bad. (I hope.) No! Racism is a global system! It’s a system designed to keep those who are white in an advantageous position in almost every walk of life. Some consciously participate, others comply unknowingly, but it is there! It’s also about justifying those actions with a dose of what Dr Joy DeGruy and others call, “COGNITIVE DISSONANCE.” Most human beings, white or otherwise, know when they are participating in behavior that is outside the boundaries of how we should treat our fellow man. So in order to make themselves feel better about how they were treating us (and their own humanity) during enslavement, Jim Crow, and now, (police brutality, drug sentences, etc.) they had to make up reasons to “justify” this inhumane behavior and treatment. It’s why many of the responses to this young lady were so laden with hate. For hundreds of years, we have seen and heard the subtle and not-so-subtle messages regarding African’s worthiness of such horrible treatment: “They don’t feel like we do about their children.” (So breaking up families by selling siblings, etc. was okay!) “They don’t need as much sleep.”(Work ‘em in the fields till they die!)  “They are suspicious, so watch them at all times.”(Slave patrols. Shoot first, ask questions later. Still applies in many present situations.) “They are unclean.” (Look up ‘white’ in most dictionaries) “They always want sex, so they are ready at any time.” “They aren’t as smart.” “They have no God concepts, or spiritual awareness.” “They don’t really love this country.” (Despite the historical facts regarding our experience here, most of us love our ‘home.’) The list goes on and on. Not only do many white people believe this, and some, not so deep down, but another Elephant in the room concerns how many of us black folk believe it too! How else could it be so easy for whites to respond to the young lady’s post with such palpable hatred? Many of them still believe we are inferior! They’ve gotten the false narrative all their lives! 

Example number 2: There is a new ad campaign by Proctor and Gamble, celebrating how far blacks have come from dealing with the overt racist behavior of times past. Again, white folks lost their minds. One black man even did a now famous Face Book post claiming he never had “The Talk” with his parents about what situations a black man could be up against at any time in America! Apparently, he never thought about the possibility that he was in the minority among blacks in America! Perhaps he had a very privileged life! Whatever the reason, if he lined up a thousand black people, 990 of them have heard from an elder about the obstacles presented to most black folks here in America! But, white folks are calling it “reverse racism”, “liberal garbage,” “A distortion of facts and history”, etc. Let’s see. Millions of Africans were enslaved here for 256 years under all kinds of inhumane conditions, then, when enslavement was legally ended, the response was 100 more years of “Jim Crow” and other laws, effectively keeping blacks out of the mainstream and outside of the peaceful pursuit of happiness! That legally ended with Civil Rights legislation only 50 years ago! 356 plus years of terror! 50 years of legal rights to pursue happiness. (Many of those rights ignored or being threatened with dissolution as I write.)  All the other stuff that’s been heaped on us for generations just goes away in 50 short years? I don’t think so! But we (and whites) don’t really want to address it!

Finally, example 3: Colin Kaepernick: This former San Francisco 49ers NFL quarterback has been locked out of employment with an NFL team because he peacefully protested police killings of unarmed black people and took a knee during the playing of the national anthem. You guessed it. White people lost their minds when the news about his protest was made public. So did NFL owners. He has received visceral hate mail via social media, etc. So much so that many white people would shoot him dead if they could get away with it. (Like they could back in the good old days.) Some don’t understand the very fabric of what makes America, AMERICA! You may not agree with what a person’s position is, but in America he/she has a right to take a position based on her/his beliefs. Kaepernick didn’t burn the flag, spit on the flag or pour dirt on it! He silently knelt during the playing of the anthem to bring attention to something important to him. For expressing this opinion on the NFL’s high-profile platform, he hasn’t been actively sought by teams as even a back-up so far this off season, and training camps are well underway. But after an injury-plagued 2015 season, several teams inquired with the 49ers about his availability, as I understand it. Please people! A message is being sent. “You have no opinion unless the NFL owners give it to you!” Should all the players that refused to visit Obama and Trump at the white house lose their jobs too? (They disrespected the highest office representative of America! Right?) I am shocked that more stars and other players haven’t come to Kaepernick’s defense, and the players’ union allows this kind of treatment of one of their own. Why? Because some attitudes apparently haven’t adjusted much since the time when America was ‘great’ for some…not so great for others!

So to the sister who was unafraid to joke about feeling threatened around a white southwestern crowd in a red state at a restaurant that has recently settled lawsuits for racially discriminatory practices, save some travel money and go to the gun range! Carry some extra protection so you might feel less afraid when encountering that situation again. Because you will! To Proctor and Gamble, thanks for acknowledging the blacks that have spent billions on your products over the years. Thanks for recognizing that through it all, we are still here and still seek to thrive. For Collin Kaepernick, yours is a path laid out by others before you brother! Muhammad Ali, Curt Flood, and others risked their careers to stand up for what they believed was right! It appears you have been forced down the same path. Players, black and white should unify around you, whether they agree with you should not be the question. As fans, we can support you, as well. I can not in good conscience, stand bye and allow this league to punish a black man for voicing his opinion, when the NFL has given second, third and fourth chances to domestic abusers, drug and alcohol abusers, accused sexual predators, PED users, racists caught on video and the like! And don’t talk to me about his reported refusal of a 900k offer from a team. If Jay Cutler can sign for 1 year at 10 million, Kaepernick is worth at least half that amount based on what they’ve accomplished in their careers! I love football! But I love my people more! I will not watch the NFL until this situation is resolved in a just manner. (Photos copyright/Facebook, Proctor and Gamble, The National Football League.) 

Bro Eric Clemons

Share This: