On FOX News Pontificating About “Black Culture”
Oh the irony.
I haven’t written an op-ed social commentary piece in a while due to about 150 pages worth of theses, final reports and proposals due at two universities in the past six weeks, but this is one of the more irksome phenomenae in recent history: castigating an entire diaspora of people (particularly those in the United States) on the part of the very ones who are the descendants (and often still the perpetrators, although not knowingly, in many cases) of those who created the intricate labyrinth of a system that is designed to marginalize — and keep them there — Black people.
Experience is the best teacher.
Some things can be learned only through experience.
So why then, are people who are not Black, will never be Black, and (often) don’t even try to listen to those who ARE Black regarding what it is like to live in this nation as a Black person, always the ones opening their mouths first, and most vociferously about Black people? The proverbial “they” say that racism is taught and learned, and is not innate. “They” are correct. The thing is, the overt racism of yesteryear has been replaced by a covert, more insidious and dangerous latent, covert form of racism: a racism that is veiled in coded language, euphemistic inferences and, most criminal of all, blame-shifting many of the nations ills onto a people who not only had a major hand in building this country into what it became, but are still marginalized to this day by the very system that is designed to ensure that should they ever succeed in life, it is only in certain arenas, and not without possessing the perseverance of five men just to stay afloat until they reach the apogee of their life’s plans.
It will never cease to amaze me how Milton Milquetoast, encaged in their intentionally-secluded, extra-suburban environs for their entire lives can even begin to properly assess the ills (and causes of those ills) in an area where poverty, crime and survival mentality reign due to being choked off from most opportunities to achieve. No, this does not excuse Black people who take the coward way out of life by looking for shortcuts (as this is obviously not a trait endemic to Black people — people by NATURE look for the path of least resistance, until they realize that the road less traveled is that which provides long-term fulfillment and success). They choose to be criminals, sell poison to their neighborhoods, have no ambition in life but to have multitudes of children that they don’t train properly, only to gain a welfare check. Nor is this a put-down of those who even decide to live that way. Life is full of chances for redemption and a change in path, should it be taken. That’s not what any of this is about.
This is about the pent up angst, the misguided arrogance and unfounded contempt on the part of people whose ancestors are robber barons who lied, cheated, deceived, stole, gained due to governmental policies that were put in place specifically for them to gain, while also ensuring that others (read: Blacks, and recent immigrants) remain on the front — in many cases — are the very people who are most vocal against Black people. And do not mention “White Privilege” to these people. They may as well be doing 90 down the highway and shifting lanes without checking their blind spots. Except the scepter of White Privilege is in that blind spot without them bothering to look. Discussions about race make those who benefit from the structural racism that continues to exist in this country feel guilt, a conflict in conscience, anger, and even the urge (or unmitigated gall?) to rebut the facts regarding the multi-layered issue that is racism in the United States. Any valid mention of racial bias in action is met with “you’re playing the race card” (which one of the stupidest lines in the history of Western Civilization, and probably of all time, but another article for another day). Such people don’t want anything to stand in the way of them enjoying the privilege that they have inherited over decades and centuries of hoodwinking and bamboozling many nations and ethnic groups in this world for their current gain.
“Don’t bother me with facts, I need to hear both sides of the story before I comment!”
An officer of the law, who used to be called to “protect and serve” is now about “controlling the unsavory, protecting the interests of those who crow about paying high taxes, while finding every loophole (created for them, by them) to avoid HAVING TO PAY TAXES” and “maintaining order” (that is, the new Jim Crow establishment), can shoot two unarmed, non-threatening people (Black is only relevant here, because outside of an FBI’s Top 10 Wanted Cartel member from the Caribbean or South America would face anything similar) are shot 50 times apiece, and fired upon at least 137 times, and not be held accountable? This has become a seemingly weekly occurrence. Of course those who don’t want their “peaceful enjoyment of willful blindness to very serious issues that don’t direct affect them” disturbed will want to “hear all sides” despite having more evidence than the prosecution given the murder weapon by the perpetrator himself, to begin with. They don’t want to hear both sides. They want to find any minor thing they can in order to dispel the notion that the officer committed the acts with contempt and not acting within the purview of his position. Then, when they can find the slightest thing to possibly do so, they take it and run with it. Hence the pithy response on the part of the officer’s union who claims the car of those two people killed in Cleveland, Ohio “backfired.” The officer, the police department and the union know they can’t use the old standby “well, I thought they were reaching for a gun” excuse, since there was no weapon and it was an alleged car chase.
I will not go any further on this, because it can spin off in another 50,000-word article in and of itself.
Every time one of these situations occur, the same rhetoric comes from FOX News (and the brainless idiots who parrot what is spoken on those airwaves) about Black people — paraphrasing:
1. “They’re responsible for the ills of this nation.”
2. “They’re all lazy and don’t want to work.”
3. “All they want is entitlements.”
4. “This is where our tax money (many of these same people are tax dodgers, the nerve) goes?”
5. “Lock them all up, they’re nothing but animals.”
6. “That damn rap music is what causes these people to act this way” (while depictions of violence on TV shows and movies that Black people often have no hand in from acting, producing, directing and writing are just as influential, if not more so, than rap — or deathcore metal, if we want to play that game).
7. “Why can’t they just go back to Africa?”
8. “Where are Rev. Al and Jesse?”
9. “Why is there never any airtime for Black on Black violence?”
10. “Have they ever heard of contraceptives and abortion???”
You name it, it has been said, one of the aforementioned forms. Then you have those with this Shangri-La, ostrich mentality who love to try and spin the whole matter on its head by taking a Universalist approach to racism.
Such people need a refresher in racism and understanding how to differentiate between racism and prejudice/preconceived notions/engaging in the use of stereotypes. A group that has been systematically oppressed by design for centuries, comprising 12% of the nation’s population and possessing an even lower percentage of the nation’s economic wealth, resources, political clout, power to assemble and affect change (without COINTELPRO and, its successor, local police actively seeking to destroy whatever Black people create when they DO assemble and organize movements to help pull people out of everlasting poverty and ruin in the ghettos designed by redlining and intended to keep them there), CANNOT oppress anyone outside of his or her home and immediate family. That is simple math, and not up for discussion. Racism (in the United States) was systematically woven over a period of generations, intricately layered over time to buttress obstacles in any way that can be constructed in order to ensure that Blacks do not succeed without yeoman’s effort. This is not opinion, it is fact. The experiences of tens of millions prove this daily.
There is no need to go recount the number of Black people with A1 credit, collateral, liquid assets and supreme creditworthiness get denied for home loans or small business loans, while Whites with subpar credit and unsubstantiated means are getting mortgages that they would have to earn three times what they actually earn to secure the loans had the lenders abided by the same policies enacted against Blacks (and now, more recent immigrants from Central and South America). Do we even need to address redlining policies when it comes to housing? Levittown, New York (on Long Island) was created with that entire mentality in mind. Then you have this story — JUST PUBLISHED TODAY, MAY 23, 2015: http://7online.com/news/you-dont-belong-here-said-racist-letter-sent-to-long-island-family/736945/
People often bitch and moan about how Black people “didn’t take advantage of the opportunity” to buy buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn that they had inhabited for generations, in some instances. It may be so black and white (pun intended) in your world, but when meetings to make these sales are done in secret, without the involvement of those who are having the land under their feet sold right from underneath them without warning or notice before they can take action, that is what you get. Some took advantage, others knew and ignored, but the great majority had no idea that you could buy a brownstone (now valued at upwards of $2 Million in some instances) for $1, provided that you had the credit and ability to secure a loan from banks to renovate what had become shells of buildings during the crack epidemic (that is another subject for another day as well, but I have written on this in previous articles years ago). Never mind discrimination in hiring practices on jobs, those who attempt to start businesses find far more hurdles in securing small business loans than any other group of people. This is also fact, not fiction. Until people who find obstacles such as these at every turn are able to maneuver through life without these obstacles being placed in their path by those who have the power, clout and numbers advantage to do so (and continue to propagate this activity), then nothing will change. The worst part of this is those who benefit the most from this structure nowadays are the most blind and abhorrent offenders when it comes to speaking with condescension towards Black people. They have exercised and benefited from the unspoken privilege that the structured system of racism has afforded them that they have become willfully myopic to anything that exists outside of the bubble in which they live. And any mention of those things that occur outside of said bubble are grounds for fighting, bickering, arguing, reckless bandying about of “you’re playing the race card” and other idiocy.
I’d rather have the enemy that I know and see, than the enemy that I can’t see and don’t hear.
Political correctness is another lie that just further shrouds racism (along with all other social ills, for that matter) in this country. As racism went from being proudly overt — without any entity in place to challenge, and thereby refute or defeat it — to covert and latent, it became more dangerous than ever. You have people who will smile in your face, boast about the one Black person they are friends with (who just happen to share the debaucherous vices with them, or else they have no other connection, in many cases), want to hold hands and sing Kumbaya — until shit pops off and then the stereotypes, myths, angry slurs fly. If they are really savvy, they will encase those sentiments in newfangled euphemisms such as “thug” (instead of risking being ostracized by liberal society for being heard calling people “niggers”), and “these people” and other sentiments that shed light on the truest feelings about Black people.
I am no apologist for the scourge of society, regardless of what color or shade they happen to come in. But let’s not sit here and act as if Black people are the reason the United States is fucked up and gone to shit. We do not have any power, authority, clout or control to do so. In fact, many of the social ills that exist in layers now (going well beyond racism) are spinoffs of racist practices originally intended to maintain the “class structure” that involves Blacks at the bottom, with only a few making it through the proverbial door — and so few that they cannot affect any change to the establishment, and ultimately acquiesce and do nothing but become another member of the group who does the oppressing: just with more melanin.
Example: Charles Barkley.
He is not worth the keystrokes, however. That is another topic altogether. I could write all summer, but I shan’t. The issue at hand is most disturbing, because it is just as hilarious as it is sad. People who understand the least (but benefit most) how the social dynamic in this nation has become perverted and warped as a result of racism are the most vociferous in delivering their misinformed (at best) opinions. And worst yet, those who strike back by emoting, “Well, I’m not rich, I live in a trailer park, and all of my family is broke” still don’t understand how pervasive White Privilege is. Material wealth isn’t a measure of privilege, the extent to which one receives the benefit of the doubt in a number of scenarios while lined up against a Black person with the exact same background, experiences and outward appearance, however, IS a more accurate measure. And even then, it does not stop there.
Bottom line, if you are not Black, you don’t get to talk first about this matter. And until Black people have finished talking and sharing their experiences, you still do not get to talk. You have experiences to share, to be sure, and obviously those experiences are paramount to reconciling this issue for everyone. But the core problem is that it is a heart issue. This piece isn’t addressed to any one person, and no one person should go and individualize this article and think that because they are not guilty of the aforementioned actions, that somehow it is invalid — because again, these are facts, not opinion, and therefore not open to discourse; civil as it may be.
We do not live in Utopia. Stop with your “I was raised colorblind” diatribe. You can afford to be colorblind when you are on the “other side” of the Affects of Racism Spectrum. When you’re on the other side, the antithesis is true. No, racism isn’t gone because Barack Obama is President of the United States. No, racism won’t go away by simply avoiding the discussion (to mollify and assuage your guilt and desire to avoid having your milquetoast life from being disrupted). No, racism won’t go away by just talking about it. Racism won’t even begin to subside until people put aside xenophobia, arrogance, misplaced ideas about superiority, and unfounded egos.
And knowing human nature, that would suggest that this will never occur. But these police officers getting away with blatant murder with impunity BETTER stop soon. Black people are not bootlickers as they were early in the Civil Rights era (not all, but some went along to get along). Cats are ready to kill (and die) if it means putting a stop to it.
Conspiracy theorists are having a field day thinking that all of these things are done to incite racial war and have an excuse for further militarization of police and the ushering in of a police state, but whether that is true or not, cops have to be held accountable for killing Black people in cold blood for absolutely no justified reason — except the fact that the fear and hatred in their hearts push them to do so.
Then again, I would be fearful of the always-potential for retaliation from a group of people that I know deep down have been done more foul than any group of people hieroglyphic times; knowing those people have every right to be angry, and knowing those people could explode at any time, as a result, knowing deep down that if roles were reversed, you would have revolted in a fashion that made the departure from Great Britain and the Declaration of Independence/Revolutionary War appear like a friendly game of horseshoes, by comparison. I’d be fearful, too.
But to shoot a man in a dark stairwell (Akai Gurley) because you were petrified of the neighborhood to begin with, and an unarmed man who you couldn’t see — much less to determine whether he was of any real or perceived threat to you (granted that officer was Asian — and that is yet ANOTHER discussion for another article), or to shoot a couple 137 times with no real imminent danger to your person at stake… and countless others… enough is enough. Deal with your heart issues. All this rhetoric and dialog is good for TV ratings, but the bottom line issue is people have misplaced arrogance, bloated perception of self, and ill-placed contempt for people based upon the very nonsense that FOX News and other entities love to spew for the sake of aforementioned ratings.
Don’t be a sucker to the scheme. And last, but not least, no one is better than anyone. Do not get me started on people who have come here from certain areas in Europe where they KNOW they were treated like utter garbage when they first arrived here, until they assimilated and then could halfway get the benefit of the doubt because their hue was somewhat similar to the propagators of the racist structure of this nation. Some of the worst racists are those who have come here from southern Europe and areas along the Equator (those with less melanin, that is) when they were castigated and pushed to the fringe when they initially arrived because of the differences in their tongue, culture, religion, etc.
I could go in on a multitude of matters at this time, but I do not need my blood pressure elevated. However, I would have been remiss had I not finally expressed my thoughts about this most recent tragedy, as well as addressing this irksome mentality that has pervaded society for decades and has pissed me off for most of my life, once I became aware of how insidious it has become.
I don’t care who is offended, you will get over it. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. I will sleep well tonight, whether you cut me off or go and attempt (keyword) to trash me behind my back for saying what needs to be said. Now govern yourselves accordingly.