For history of the American Negro is
unique also in this: that the question of his humanity, and of his
rights therefore as a human being, became a burning one for several
generations of Americans, so burning a question that it ultimately
became one of those used to divide the nation.
-James Baldwin, “Stranger in
the Village” James Baldwin : Collected Essays
always been Black people.
carefully to a conversation conducted by two “intellectuals”
on the subject of Western Civilization. Be patient and if you’re
honest with yourself and in possession of enough Euro-American
history, then you’ll inevitably be privy to hearing the cries
of African mothers whose children are snatched from them. In the
Empire, where the sun will never set, you’ll hear workers
hammer together the first auction blocks. In a distance, you’ll
see the unpacking of the first slave ship. The first captured
Africans will appear and begin walking ashore. Even if the two white
intellectuals never reference the significance of the enslavement of
Africans as the foundation of their “civilization,”
you’ll know, nevertheless, how deep-seated and pervasive is the
anti-Blackness sentiment in all things Western.
always been Black people whites most fear and, as a consequence,
in the US, Black Americans always cause trouble for the good
citizens of the nation.
Those arriving Africans landing on US shores didn’t volunteer
to work their lives away to benefit generations of white Americans
present and generations of white immigrants to come. But, then,
that’s the problem. That’s what generates so much
animosity, still, in the 21st Century.
I read an article in The
New Yorker that seemed to
suggests that Black militancy, the rise of the Black Panthers,
Stokley Carmichael (Kwame Ture), and the Black Power slogan brought
about the downfall of the New Left. White young Americans couldn’t
sustain their empathy for the plight of Black people, once they took
up their generation’s fight for freedom, shouting loudly for
all to hear, white supremacy is our enemy!
dare these people after generation upon generation of confronting the
terror and torture campaigns of enslavement followed by Jim Crow, how
dare these people raise their fists in the air and angrily cry out
“Black Power” or assert any expression other than
gratitude for white participation in the Civil Rights Movement!
for a Democratic Society (SDS), Thomas Hayden, Jack Weinberg, Mario
Savio… university campus protests for change had been the good
ole’ days - erased when Black youth donned leather jackets,
berets, and guns. Never mind the breakfast program for hungry Black
children. For openers.
all ended. White American returned home. And what did these
once-activists do, if not turn their back, most of them, on the idea
of democratizing America? To hell with it! To hell with Black people!
No wonder our parents and grandparents despised these people.
are violent! The battle cry of J. Edgar Hoover who seemed to have
spent the bulk of his career at the FBI, particularly as its leader,
convincing white Americans (and conservative Blacks) that Marcus
Garvey, W. E. B DuBois, Malcolm X, Rev. Martin L. King, Jr., and the
Black Panthers were enemies of democracy. Violent, as individuals,
these rebel-rousing Blacks could stir up Blacks to overturn the US
any of the Oath Keepers or Proud Boys or other right-wing militia
groups that staged an anti-democratic insurrection to overturn the
2020 presidential election on January 6, 2021, were on the FBI’s
radar prior to their storming of the US Capitol in Washington D. C.
while young white Americans march back home, the war in Vietnam was
consuming Black lives who didn’t have the familial/political
clout to burn their draft card and who died on foreign soil fighting
against another race of people engaged in their battle to be free of
the tyranny of Western fascism (rather than democracy, since the
latter has yet to come to fruition in the US). And as Muhammad Ali
pointed out in 1967, when he refused to fight in an imperialist war,
he didn’t have any “quarrel” with the Vietnamese
fighters or their people. After all, what had they done to him or
it’s these days in which Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin (a
predominantly white state with a large population of those white
liberals who couldn’t return home fast enough, just ahead of
the FBI COINTELPRO kill-or-incarcerate pogroms for Black activists
and an equal number of whites who think Black anything is a threat to
their security) isn’t afraid to point to the 2020 protests of
the Black Lives Matter movement and proclaim how their cry for social
justice was tantamount to terrorism. The insurrectionists of January
6, 2021, on the other hand, were no threat to anyone! Sen. Johnson
recognized them as good citizens, concerned citizens, and above all,
unarmed and therefore not violent like the Black Lives protesters.
Had it been those Blacks
at the Capitol…
Sen. Johnson isn’t the first American politician to voice such
ignorance, deliberately. Joseph Goebbels, the Reich Minister of
Public Enlightenment and Propaganda had no problem selling to the
German people images of Jews with horns on their heads. There’s
a certain population of people who will believe what they are told
all evidence to the contrary. They will not seek truth either. Repeat
the image of horns atop Jewish heads or Black people protesting in
the streets, shouting, angry, fed up with the lies… Watch the
continuing rise again in American history of white supremacy as a way
for white Americans to exist in the US without the burdensome issue
of truth about themselves and their relationship to violence.
young Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin begets Robert Aaron Long
and the shooting of predominately Asian women in Georgia. And
unfortunately, given the history of the US and an entrenched love
affair with weapons of destruction and violence against humanity and
earth, it will happen again. And again.
of the plantations, many serving as “police” and bounty
hunters, early keepers of the law and of order, were acting to one
day join the ranks of their counterparts, the slaveholders! A dream,
people have always been wrongdoers in the eyes of white America. For
Blacks to be thought of as people who somehow en mass conducted voter
fraud, not just in Georgia but in over 43 states, voting, mind you,
to rid the country of a white supremacist and replace him with a
Democrat and a Black-Asian woman as VP - criminal!
isn’t anything wrong with the racism of Sen. Josh Hawley, with
a fist-in-the-air photo at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. There
isn’t anything wrong with Rep. Chip Roy invoking a return to
the days of lynching, with ropes and good tall trees. Remember,
remember, those good ole’ days not long ago…
less than President Woodrow Wilson linked Black migration to voter
fraud and he orders “the US Justice Department,” writes
historian Walter Johnson, to open a criminal investigation on “the
Negro ‘colonization’ and voter fraud in East St. Louis,
Chicago, and several smaller Illinois cities.” And of course,
violence ensued: whites burned and drove Black residents out of their
homes, out of their communities.
now, in 2021, the Republican Party doesn’t want Blacks to vote.
Cut the number of polling places and shorten the days allowed to
vote. Make sure the lines will be even longer than they have been in
2020 - but make it a crime to hand out water - to hand out water -
and definitely don’t hand out food! That would be too rational.
Humane. “Christian” in a country that claims to be
“Christian.” It’s the Black people who are the
outliers, the one’s who spoiled the dream of a dictatorship for
Trump and an obliteration of that experiment with the ideology of
was the Black people who must have corrupted the votes allowing for
the presidential tally to declare Joseph R. Biden the winner.
the victims of this outrageous crime are none other than…
wonder how the new and first Indigenous Secretary of the Interior
felt as she looked out at predominately white men and fielded
questions from those who were to determine her suitability to be the
top caretaker of the land?
do we contend with a tyranny of crazies?
I watched the Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, surrounded by six white
men, signing a bill into law, a law that would make it more difficult
for Blacks to vote in that state, I, like so many Americans and
people around the world, witnessed State Representative Park Cannon
knock on the door of that room where it’s just the white guys,
signing away the right of Black Americans to be heard at the polls.
Rep. Cannon just knocked on the door, and law enforcement responds
immediately, grabbing her on both sides. Handcuffing her. Arresting
her. Jailing her for hours. Rep. Cannon, a Black woman, is charged
with two felonies!
not Governor Kemp, not Senators Mitch McConnell or Josh Hawley. Not
Ron Johnson, laughing at what they are able to get away with by
calling on the traditions of the Old South…
1978 film Sounder
came to mind. It’s that one scene, I don’t remember the
whole film, but that one scene where Cicely Tyson is out in front of
a huge cart, as she pulls it forward with arms behind her on the
handles. She struggles but looks forward. In the background, slightly
uphill, are the white plantation community, men and women, dressed up
in all their finery, looking down at Tyson’s Rebecca Morgan.
They are laughing, hysterically.
the laughter of this plantation community is audible to the enslaved
Blacks looking on and to the viewer. And it’s a community that
won’t admit its laughter sits atop its fear of Black people. It
won’t admit the cruelty that others witness as anything other
than an exercise of “freedom.”
are no victims on that hill. Rebecca knows it. And if the viewer is
imbued with a sense of decency then what is a painful scene to
witness will educate to expose an anomaly to democracy.
plantation concept of “freedom” will come to a crashing
halt, for we see humanity in the woman
the fearful attempt to
demoralize. And when we look down at out own feet and legs we find we
are standing. We see a frail woman pulling the heavy cart in the mud,
moving forward, feeling and looking stronger at every step. And so do
rise up! And once again, no matter the adversity, we remember that
the struggle goes on.
the only way tyranny of the crazies ends!