Some Men

Some men have the luxury of speaking freely.

Even when they are in error, they are not.

There sins forever trail behind them.

 

Other men however are not so fortunate.

Right or wrong it matters not concerning these kind.

For their sins are forever before them.

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“Black” People can be Racist

rac·ist
ˈrāsəst/
noun
  1. a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
    synonyms: racial bigot, racialist, xenophobe, chauvinist, supremacist

adjective
1.having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another.
“we are investigating complaints about racist abuse at the club”
Let me start out by saying that I am a descendant of Alkebu-Lan.  I am proud of my Yoruba-American heritage, and feel secure enough to share these thoughts with you.  Despite what i’ve just said, there may be some folks who still believe my message is biased.
I want to refute the adage that “Black” People (I don’t use this term too often, but for the sake of argument I will) cannot be racist.  I’ve heard this for years and never really paid much attention to it.  But while watching Black-ish yesterday evening, lead character Dre and his mom (played by the delightful Jenifer Lewis) argued with Rainbow that they were allowed some freedoms when it came to making judgments based upon race & ethnicity because as they put it, “Black People can’t be Racist”.
This is simply untrue.  But not only is it untrue, it it dismissive, devise, and irresponsible in nature.
To be considered a Racist, one only has to believe that one race, or races, is superior or inferior to another.  This means that a White person can be racist towards other White people, the same way a Mexican person can be racist towards Koreans, and vice versa. Anyone can be racist against any race or ethnic group, including their own.
The fact that people of color have been systematically marginalized and disenfranchised in the Americas, and all over the world, doesn’t give us the right to mistreat others.  “Two wrongs, doesn’t make a right”.  Frustration, and a feeling of powerlessness may be the root cause of such behavior.  Because most people of color most often do not find themselves in an advantageous position in relation to the dominant race of that society (in America it is Caucasians at the moment; in other countries and parts of the world it is obviously a different race) they give themselves a pass to misbehave.
-When a Latino dude come to the park or gym to play basketball, but is constantly passed over for other “better” players, is this not racism?
-In a school project, students flock to the Chinese students because they “want to get a good grade” is this not racism?
-An airplane is delayed, and a few passengers begin to express there displeasure.  One of them happens to be a woman who is a descendant of Alkebu-Lan.  She is looked at as an “Angry Black Woman”, while the others are just “voicing their concern”, is that not racism?
-In the entertainment industry, a white artist is given more kudos for performing in a genre that was pioneered by people of color because they “stepped out of the box and did something different” when countless other artists who are minorities receive little or no praise, is this not racism?
I have experienced racism from other descendants of Alkebu-Lan (although removed by their ancestors being brought to the Western Hemisphere by force) just like I have experienced racism at the hands of people from the Domincan Republic, Korea, Pakistan, as well as from Caucasian Americans.  I have been racist towards other descendants of Alkebu-Lan, as well as every other race and ethnicity.  It’s is no different because the outcome is the same: fracture, division, and anger.
For there to be a legitimate discourse on the topic of racism and race inequality, we all need to be honest about what the issue is and how we have contributed in both good, and bad ways.

Black-ish played it safe

If you haven’t heard, ABC has a new comedy series out called ‘black-ish.  It’s about a upper middle class family who have ancestral roots from Alkebu-lan.  I like the show.  It’s a bit on the nose, but a change from the standard family sit-com is always welcome with me.  But Black-ish missed a golden opportunity to change the game for real last night.

Airing yesterday evening, the 5th episode of the young series focused on the younger son Jack’s proclivity for hiding, which lead to a great deal of anxiety for his parents.  Warned first by his mother Rainbow (cleva name for Tracee Ellis-Ross’ character) and again by his father Andre (Anthony Anderson) not to do such a thing anymore, Jack decides the fun of sending his family into a frenzy is too good to pass up.  After hiding once more, and not coming out when he hears the panicked cries of his family who is searching for him, Andre drops the hammer: for his misdeeds, Jack has earned a spank.

The rest of the show is a build up of tension and emotions as Andre and Rainbow belabor whether to follow through or not on the threat to dish out some corporal punishment.  This is a particularly hot issue in the wake of NFL Super Star Adrian Peterson’s pending child abuse charges.  Publicly most people claim to be against any form of spanking or physical punishment for their children, but those same people often share different views behind closed doors.  Most folks were given a spanking every now and the while growing up, and we all turned out fine right?  (except for those of you whose parent’s took things too far).  These days, spanking is taboo, almost as bad as bringing an undeclared guest to a wedding reception.

Although I had hopes for the best, in the end Andre chickened out and elected to tell his son Jack how “Disappointed” in him he was.  Apparently this is the new form of spanking, because Jack left his father’s room repentant and crying.  It was a cop out, but an understandable one.  The show is brand new, and they can’t afford to have the kid worshiping segment of society coming for their heads just yet.  Even a show as revolutionary and cutting edge as “black-ish” apparently isn’t about that life.

Still a funny episode; I will continue to watch.

Revisionist History

I want to introduce you to someone: his name is Clay Jenkinson.  He’s the guy in the revolutionary attire participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Mr. Jenkinson is also, among many other things, historian who host a weekly syndicated public radio program called the Thomas Jefferson Hour.

What Mr. Jenkinson looks like normally.
What Mr. Jenkinson looks like normally.

Each week, Thomas Jefferson (Jenkinson) and his co-host talks about events and happenings from Jefferson’s life and time as one of The United States’ founding fathers.  Later in the program, Jenkinson jumps out of character to discuss what he spoke about earlier, while in character.  I have caught the program on a number of occasions, and I can’t help but laugh to myself whilst shaking my head.

I didn’t have high expectations for the show.  I have listened to discourse on the weather in Paris while Jefferson visited, to the quality of that season’s tomatoes from the garden at Monticello.  I will assume that the subject matter has been more substantial on other occasions, but I’ve not had the privilege of experiencing it.  What I would like to point out is the manner in which the show sets itself up.  The premise is a leisurely conversation with one of the greatest human beings ever- Thomas Jefferson.  The 3rd President of the United States, Jefferson is portrayed as a warm, kind, fatherly, almost angelic being of the highest moral standard.  The listeners are made to feel a sense of gratitude, awe, and wonder as you listen to the sage words of this infallible man.  The Jenkinson gathers a great deal of pleasure portraying the Jefferson character.  It comes across in the way he roars his oratory and monologues across the airways.  This man is proud of his President, so much so that we went to great lengths to become Jefferson.

It makes me realize how powerful (and dangerous) it is to re-write history.  Even the most staunch Jefferson supporters should blush at the way his legacy has been delicately preserved.  But preservation has turned to cleansing, as not so endearing facts about his life are vehemently criticized.

Master of the Mountain

Mr. Wiencek states that none of the information presented in his text is in fact new, but one wouldn’t know this based upon to reaction to his, and other less than flattering works about Jefferson.  The problem is that over time, some have decided to dismiss the baser aspects of the man, whilst maintaining the Legend and Prestige.  This is disingenuous at best, and at it’s worst nearly criminal.  The goal of history is for present and future generations to look at events from the past, and learn from them what we can, in an attempt to repeat the good while being vigilant to prevent the bad.  But if we are unwilling to acknowledge that which we are not proud of, can we say an honest attempt at self-reflection and learning has been made?  I would like to see more movement in this direction.