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Black|in America|Part I: A Positive Review

From what I saw on the program, they did go over some  positive aspects of Black America. I wouldn’t say the entire show was aimed towards this, but all the same there were very positive aspects. Can we ignore the bad in search of something good? Were we expecting an entire show dedicated to the positive aspects of black America when half of black America is, indeed struggling?

Since most have already pointed out the negatives of the program, I’ll point out the positives that I saw:

The black family with both parents and 5 children, all of which they successfully sent to college, except one because she/he was not of age yet and the parents have their own family business.

They covered a child who successfully made it out the “hood” and went to Julliard for dance and we all know Eric Dyson’s success story.

I remember them talking about the rapid increase of black business (up 45%, I believe) in the last decade which often the media ignores.

I remember them covering a large family who annually held family reunions, strongly stuck together and helped each other, and knew their family history tenfold.

They talked about the large number of black sisters who hold a degree. They talked about the many intelligent, financially well off sisters who are doing  very well for themselves.

They covered the 2 year experimental program in NY for less fortunate children which actually pays children to go to school and is designed to help motivate young black children in learning and give them a more promising future that would probably otherwise be bleak. So far , it has proven to be a successful motivation tool for learning.

I’d give the program a chance to play itself out before I denounce it. I’ll be tuning in tonight @ 8pm central time for the Black Men segment.

Besides this, I was watching it with some family members (cousins, aunts)—some of whom fall into the category of single parent mothers and they were very pleased to have an open dialogue about these issues and it opened their minds to many other things mentioned on the program. I think overall, it was more helpful than harmful.

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The “N”-Word|In 2008

To the bewildered:
To begin, let me first say that I disagree with the word myself. However,  you probably don’t  realize that the word’s meaning, for black people who do use it, is completely different from the meaning someone white may think. Most whites look at it as a disrespectful term because of the historical aspect of it, and for that reason I and other blacks think so too. The historical aspect is to degrade and belittle black people.To black people who use the word, it means, almost as if to say, “You’re one of us” but without the negative connotations that are tied to it historically. 

When Whoopie Goldberg, from The View, made the comment about “owning” the word, this is how black people feel who use the word. They feel because they have been degraded with the word down through the years, they would take it for themselves, in turn, and use it to their own advantage, as oppose to their disadvantage. I believe this came from the hurt, shame, and pain of it all.

With that being said, what reason would a white person have to say it and what would their meaning be for those who think a double standard exist? Most certainly, it would not be for the same reason I just stated above—and that is what makes it offensive coming from them. To make this simpler…think of it as reverse psychology because it is very similar. I just wanted to say that for clarification as to the differences in how some blacks view the word and how whites view it.

To my fellow black readers, and still the confused- As for my personal take on this:

My rejection of this word has absolutely nothing to do with me wanting not to sound “black” and has everything to do with respect for my ancestors, people, and myself. Unfortunately, there are so many African Americans (old and young) who use this word for each other, and either way one looks at it, it’s still negative even when said by us—truth be told, a lot of us don’t see it this way. I am not sure if this is out of habit or upbringing but it’s disgraceful all together.

When my great grandmother and granddaddy were addressed as, subjected to, whipped and killed in the names of “coon” “colored” “nigger” day in and day out— there’s absolutely nothing to take from that word, and just because one takes off the “er” and gives it an “a” at then end, makes no difference. It’s like calling a stone a rock—it’s more or less the same thing…..coming from an insider.

Check out: http://www.abolishthenword.com/

I am compelled to say, however, that most people were shocked at hearing Whoopi’s comments concerning black and whites living in different worlds. I’m sorry to break this to anyone living in “Dream Land“, but she is right.

 We have yet to reach equality for all; discrimination is still at large.

The double standard that Elizabeth talked about on The View is more in the “democracy” of America than anywhere else. There are double standards in education, there are double standards in housing opportunities for blacks, double standards exist in the media, there are double standards even with buying cars in America—- compare that to the black and white world. Want proof?

http://www.cdc.gov/omhd/Highlights/2007/HFeb07.htm

http://faculty.winthrop.edu/stonebrakerr/book/automobiles.htm

If a Tree Falls|in a Forest|& No One is Around to Hear it| Does it make a Sound?

     Self preservation is said to be the individual human’s strongest instinct. Self preservation, no doubt supersedes, humanity or the preservation of mankind. Perhaps this circuitously is the reason for ethnicities and nationalities. More importantly, and more recently, perhaps this is the establishment of race. In as much as it is individual human instinct, creating a collective group only betters individual chances of survival via the strength of a collective group instead of individual strength.

White America’s “white” privilege system, with all its obvious biases and fallacies, when dealing with people who are non-white, is present as a means of self preservation of the “white race”. Why would I change a system that is beneficial to me in every aspect? Why face the challenge of having an “equal playing ground”, so to speak—where no one is suppressed at any level that you are not suppressed and no one, on either side, can yell excuse, inequality or discrimination? This would surely threaten the place white America has “preserved” for itself and its future generations.  

This would basically mean that one is, on no level, any better than the next, at the same level being that these levels are not biased in anyway. It is a fight to keep the truth a lie, and consequently a lie the truth, from those who are truly, on every aspect an equal (which is everyone non white), at bay from knowing that equality or tasting the savory reality that one may or may not know exist but never experienced. Hence the phrase, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

The subjective answer is “No, because no one heard or saw it.” The more obvious answer is Yes. Do things exist and happen that we do not see, hear, or experience? Everday. Does that make it non existent because one has yet to experience it and/or maybe never will? Only in one’s “little world” who would probably argue control of the universe and those things seen , heard, and experienced within it are the only things that exist,  and yet even that universe exists only in one’s mind. Back in  reality, the tree fell with or without anyone’s permission or awareness through hearing, seeing or otherwise and it, of course, made a sound like any other tree would if someone was standing by watching. By my never seeing or hearing of anyone dying of AIDs, it does not invalidate the existence thereof.

Perhaps, all in all, they are the weaker group, yet because of obvious advantages merely based on being “white”, their dominance prevails but it prevails only in the light of the obvious advantages. Furthermore, the lack of adversity faced, given more time and weight to a better establishment. Ex—slavery, discrimination, genocides is really not a part of their history because they were often on the giving end, instead of the receiving end.

Instead, the opposite of adversity by acquisition via at the expense of others has been the foundation on which they stand: exploitation of others, universalism, “whiteprivilege system, and the European catholic standard of beauty.

Ultimately, it makes a clear way to victory. In almost every circumstance of exploration and invasion, the history of the people they (whites) “conquered” was destroyed or claimed as their own and left future generations of the “conquered” people subjected to whatever imaginative fairytale they thought to tell them. In the process,  claiming themselves (whites)  as the victors in every major historic finding and scientific light.  What other proof do they (the people conquered) have that anything else existed? Again, we encounter the tree that fell while no one was around.

It’s not at all rash to think that “their” story, the “conquered” people, became literally “his” story, white people, and “his” story is a fabrication of what “their” story actually surrounds.

This, in turn, has made many, who have white skin, or close enough to it, embrace universal whiteness—perhaps another attempt at self preservation as well. One may argue that there are as many blacks, and people of color who enter the US/Europe as there are people who are passed off as white regardless of origin, and strictly based on skin color. Of course, this is a fact. However, I would ask one how many of these people of color or these black people (African, Latino, Indian, Arabs) would actually take the same route as say, the Irish, to be “white” for preservation, but for the before mentioned to be “black” in the same light? Almost no one and this is because of the advantages I have already mentioned. Most would rather assimilate by the standards of “white” for preservation as well, in spite of their own cultural beliefs and ethnicities. So, indeed, race appears to have the superseding power over ethnicity and nationality.

Perhaps, even, this is the same “logic” as to why somewhite” Americans refuse to vote for Barack Obama. Although he is mixed, many adhere to the one drop rule, espeically considering the fact that he is married and has children by a black woman.

Thomas|Jefferson’s|”Secret”|Legacy

I first heard about this/saw it on a PBS special concerning Thomas Jefferson and his black offsprings some years ago.

Apparently, 3-4 generations of mostly blue-eyed African Americans were out to prove this as the truth, with no questions asked. As the story goes, and was so passed down, Thomas Jefferson had an affair with one of his slaves named Sally Hemings, and this resulted in a blue-eyed baby boy named Tom as well as other offspring. This was, of course, kept secret….like many other slaves who were in similar situations. The black family was certain that the story was true, especially considering that some of the family had inherited, supposedly, Jefferson’s baby blue eyes.

As the program proceeded, they were able to locate and get access to Thomas Jefferson’s tomb so that they could once and for all put an end to the uncertainty via DNA analysis. However, upon arrival to the grave site, the black family found that the tomb was there, but Jefferson’s body had been removed.

And so, the story ended this way. Apparently, the “white” Jefferson family, his wife’s decedents and others, went through the great pains of moving Jefferson’s body so that their “dirty little secret” would not be exposed, and these black people, would not have any part in their inheritance or Jefferson’s “white” family.

Anyway, what’s done in the dark, always comes to the light. As it turns out, the story gets a little more complicated…..

Additonal Information:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_25_95/ai_54757743/pg_1

Tensions|Between|2 Brethren

Polemically,  when the issue of (A)frican/(A)frican (A)merican relations is broached, most will argue that due to cultural differences between As and AAs, there is little  to nothing they have in common and therefore, any interaction between the two is limited and too much interaction will only led to failure of some kind.

As I look around into all the various and diverse African faces while watching NGC (National Geographic), they’re in traditional clothing and surrounded by all the cultural things unique to them, and I notice that many of these people look just like or very similar to the black faces I see around me here in the US everyday, who are not natives of Africa as for 4-5 generations, they have been native to American soil. Namely, African Americans.

Why are some Africans extremely critical of and largely marginalize African Americans?

  1. As noted in the first paragraph, many think/claim that due to cultural differences, it is inevitable they would only clash with African Americans and due to propensity, they stay with “their own”.  However, I suspect that is mendacity and it has much less to do with culture and much more to do with them being black Americans. If I am incorrect, why is there an ever increasing number of Africans marrying and having strong ties with white Americans? There has to defiantly be a culture clash/barrier in this case as well, does it not? Many can marry white but can not even form an authentic friendship with an African American. So I find this invalid.  To be unfeigned, marrying white, in many African minds, means success, a boast of ego and/or status in a white privilege world.
  2. With that being said, Africans don’t identify with blacks because, black in America, is a negative connotation by convention, so they tend to try and identify more,  almost in an idolatrous, hubris way, with their tribes/country; the problem with this is…in America, no one cares about tribes. If your skin is black, you are seen as black. You may or may not be treated better or worse for being a foreigner from Africa, but you are still seen as a black person nonetheless.
  3. I think I may have heard all the stereotypes by now: “The ancestors of African Americans struggled for what?  For their women to be loose and have children out of wedlock and the males have children with four or five different women they are not married to, for them to be loud and destructive, call their women “bitches” and “whores”, wear the equivalent of a college education on their ears, to sell drugs on the street, kill each other, yell and curse, get locked up and blame “whitey” for everything?” Africans tend to disparage African Americans, attempting to claim superiority over them—despite the numerous, obvious, dire conditions in which many of their families and/or countries are in, with little to no understanding of African American history and the many struggles they still face, by-passing the fact that the only reason they are able to come to America is by means of the African American struggle. Some As take to calling AAs “Akatas”, which is a term originated in Nigeria. This term is very derogatory and it more or less means a “lost, confused, wild cat/fox away from home”.

Why some African Americans have officially cut all ties with anything dealing with Africa:

  1. Slave trade– Although it is an obvious evil primarily at the hands of white Americans throughout history, it is a well known fact that African slaves were SOLD into slavery by other Africans.  It is tacit that just the “undesirable” Africans and “prisoners of war” were sold into slavery. However, it is also a well known fact that the white slave traders wanted and paid for the strongest, and consequently most healthy, slaves who could offer the greatest capacity for work once in the America, so that would cancel out the notion of only “undesirables” and “prisoners of war” being sold into slavery. In either case, as one of my closest friends tells me, “You just don’t betray/sell your own ”; he (my friend) wonders if this is an unforgivable act and if this is the reason Africa is in a seemingly perpetual  cycle of misery (from a karma stand point)—by the way, my friend is African. Some African Americans are obdurate and rancorous; they argue that because they were sold into slavery by their own people, they want nothing to do with them.  One the other hand, many Africans respond to African Americans in diatribe and do not fully embrace them as brethren—- even when they are interested in their African heritage.
  2. Obligation– They feel, and rightfully so, as if they should be able to benefit from the prosperity of this land. Since the ancestors of African Americans have built this country literally on their backs— through blood, sweat, and tears, they feel obligated to this country if for no other reason other than their ancestor’s struggle. To many of them, rejecting it would be rejecting the many lives given in the struggle and tenacity for freedom, civil rights, and justice.
  3. Others feel, since they were born here and have never been to Africa, nor their parents, do not know where their ancestry is in Africa or respective culture, they would prefer to be called black Americans or just Americans. Simply put, America is the only place they indentify with.
  4. Since they know Africans tend to look down on them and make generalizations, they, consequentially, look down on them (Africans) too ….pointing to things like the current condition of Africa with poverty, AIDs, government corruption, senseless/petty killing of eachother, and basic quality of life concerning health. Some who are ignorant even make fun of them based on their cultural traditions as derision.

Our commonalities:

  • Biased media- The media in America generally paints a pretty crappy picture of Africa, as a whole. Generally, you see dirty, starving children, HIV and other disease stricken villages, and little development by means of modern-day technologies with people literally begging just for clean water. Concerning AAs, many As are already  fed the similar stereotypes mentioned above of AAs via the movie media and I’m sure word of mouth, also. However, there is also much beauty in Africa and its people that often goes untold, unnoticed, maybe both—their rich culture-language and food and in the beauty of their land. On the other side, there are many successful, well-educated, well-read African American women and men who are not “baby daddies and mommas”. Contrary to popular belief, not all African American men disrespect or mistreat their women. Not all of them are loud and ghetto. Not all of them are killing people or in jail for breaking the law. Not everyone drinks, smokes, or does/sells drugs etc as one may credulously believe. Both African Americans and Africans are individuals; it would be simply unwise not to look at them as such.
  • Despite the fact that African Americans are, by large, mixed to some degree with Native American or European blood, every African American can directly trace the vast majority of their ancestry back to some country in Africa, does this make them any less African than the next African when they have similar blood running deeply in their veins? One may argue, African Americans  have no sense of African culture, but does this make a child–whose parents are natives of Africa and submerged in the culture— raised in America and, for whatever reason, does not know anything or is seriously confused about his/her culture—language, tradition, etc…say due to “Americanization”…. a non African? This is still up for grabs.
  • The universal black struggle at the hands of mainly Europeans has affected African Americans and Africans alike; there has been no impunity given to either, and we both are, until this day, still struggling due to the exploitation of our people and our land.  We’ve both had leaders who were sedulous and courageous. African Americans have been exploited through slavery and all the injustices that have followed at the expense of their people, and Africans have been exploited by means of their land and resources at the expense of their people. Being black anywhere– outside of Africa or some other nonblack countries/cities— in this world, we are all likely to be discriminated against or encounter prejudice of some sort, simply because we all are black and have dark skin. You could be from Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Cameroon; you name it…same result. From a personal stand point, I believe there is a scramble, especially in America, to be on “top” concerning As and AAs. Undeniably, from a universal standpoint, black people (As and AAs alike) are at the bottom of the pyramid, and I feel that it is a mere scramble/battle for one to be on top of the other…as long as they are not at the very bottom, they don’t mind being one step away from it and far away from the top, which is ignorant because we are all ultimately, the same people and it does not, by any means, solve anything —as you’re still at the bottom. Keeping in mind that one of the cardinal reasons we are far from apogee is because we lack unity within the masses of our black brothers and sisters.

Obama’s|Overt|Truth

So,  some African Americans are offended ( most notably Jesse Jackson) because Obama is not a descendent of slaves while others think he’s an African immigrant and yet “talks down” to the descendents of slaves. First of all, the man is NOT an African immigrant. Since when did the constitution allow immigrants to run for presidency?

To an African, because Barack’s father is African, they will consider him African as well, but the fact remains he’s only been to Africa a few times in his adult life, probably knows little to nothing about the culture….defiantly hasn’t been submerged in it. Perhaps the fact that Obama is faring so well now, is the only reason why some Africans even claim him as their own. Moreover, sounds like he’s more/less an African American since he doesn’t know his culture etc….not to mention the fact Obama considers himself African American.

 The point is that his father was an African immigrant, not Barack, so calling him an African immigrant is a bit rash and arbitrary. He is not the descendent of slaves, but if that’s all that makes an African American an African American then there are many things seriously missing.

Obama is affected by the same issues black America is affected by. He spent most of HIS LIFE fighting for black people. Even though he went to an Ivy league school, white America still saw him as black and most likely as a black descent of slaves, not knowing his background. Let’s face it, if you didn’t know his background, you would too.

His children and wife are African American; why shouldn’t he be concerned or have a voice in such issues? Even if someone white said it, as long as they understood the implications, historical aspect of it, and presented some solutions, why would someone be offended?

I’m African American and I am not offended at the things Barack or Cosby says; they both speak truth. That’s all I’m interested in, and that’s all anyone should be interested in who maintains a progressive mindset: truth and solutions.

People who are offended, this is what you are telling me:

It’s OK to wallow in your own mess and be aware of your own spiraling demise but when someone who is not in that mess, even though indirectly affected, points it out, then the problem is the person who pointed it out instead of the mess that you are obviously in

—that’s not forward thinking, not unless, of course, you enjoy the mess you’re in.

It’s one thing if what he said was wrong on a contextual basis or if what he said stemmed from his not understanding something and misinterpreting it, but then again….there is no misinterpretation.

Those who were offended were just upset that he said anything at all not because of  who he was, or how he said it (Bill Cosby). All the before mentioned seems just an excuse. Frankly, I feel those who are offended by people who tell the truth are pusillanimous, especially when they are taking no progressive moves to make a change —because the truth often hurts.

It doesn’t matter who said what, when they said, or even where. What matters is if what they said is true, and indeed, it is. It’s the problem, itself, one should be concerned about; it shouldn’t take anyone else to point it out, let alone be criticized for it.

One has to want better for themselves in order to take action and be better; this silly bickering about who said it is useless; what will we, as a people, do about the problem? I’m not saying it will be easy or that we couldn’t use some help, but I am saying that we stop thinking someone will come save us from ourselves; think pro-actively.

Discussing something very irreverent to the problem is obviously discussing issues outside of the problem. While everyone is pointing fingers, no one is concerned about solving issues–childish thinking. Get out of the cyclic mindset, it makes me dizzy.

Like Amel Larrieux sings in “Get Up”, ” I know you’re down. When you gone get up? I see you’re down. When you gone get up?”

You know, meanwhile, while we are discussing people’s mere offences to Obama’s overt truth, where is their “offence”, action, and outrage to the fact that black America is suffering from poverty, HIV, broken homes, rapid abortion rates, high crime rates, drug abuse, etc.? No where in sight.

These are issues, that simply need to be addressed and if it takes someone like Barack (an outsider) or Cosby (an insider saying the same thing) for people to actually start caring, become pro active and cease the passiveness, then I hope they as well as others continue to.

Lastly, Jesse Jackson is not a black leader——he’s just a damn fool and obvious joke.