Thursday, July 14, 2016

Race Oddity

Race Oddity

Here in North America, there is a movement afoot that questions the role of the police in their relationship with black folks. As I understand it, black communities believe that the police have been quick to shoot and kill blacks in even the most seemingly insignificant situations, such as when a black person is stopped for a traffic violation.

So the cry has gone out that "Black Lives Matter," the insinuation being that white culture believes the opposite. The usual refrain to this little jingle is that "All Lives Matter."

I can't say how much of that is true. I am not one who believes that all lives, black or white or cocoa, matter. Our prisons are filled with folks who have demonstrated that their lives have amounted to only pain and suffering for their victims. To be honest, I suspect that we could do without murderers, rapists, pedophiles, drug dealers, and a whole host of criminals that remain locked up in stone-walled prisons all across the world. I can't see how their lives matter at all.

Regardless, this new wave of protest seems to be gathering momentum across North America. It seems that many young black people are especially concerned about their safety and have nothing but distrust for their interaction with the police. We're seeing massive marches, almost on a daily basis, and protest is back in vogue.

Now, I would be the first to support people's right to protest, no matter what the cause. Still, I have to tell you that I was involved in a number of protests in the 1960s, when the hue and cry was for the United States to pull out of the war in Viet Nam. So, I do know about protests. The truth of the matter is that you have the organisers of the protest and maybe a couple of dozen folks who actually understand what it is you're protesting. Then you have what I fondly used to call the "trash."

The "trash" are the hundreds of people who show up for the protest, not because they understand or care about what they're protesting, but simply because they like the vibe, an afternoon of anarchy, and the camaraderie of standing up against the "Man." The "trash" come for the fun of it all, and maybe for a chance to get their mugs on television.

It's important that the public, the onlookers to any protest, know that what they're seeing is a bit of a fraud. Every protest organiser knows that he or she needs the "trash." After all, a protest of a few dozen people would barely make the Late Night News Hour. The "trash" emboldens the cause simply by providing numbers. What a protest organiser wants is prime time media coverage, and the "trash" makes that possible.

The bigger question here has to do with the feelings of our black culture in America. If they feel that they are being singled out as somehow victims of a stereotype that being black makes you criminally dangerous, then something needs to be done about that. If police officers are predisposed to be overly cautious when approaching a black felon — as opposed to a white felon — then we need to examine why that is.

While the blame for this stereotype falls on the supposed racism of white culture, this accusation is far from being completely true. There is racism in our world. That much can't be denied. Some white people hate black people solely on the basis that they are black. Some black people hate white people solely on the basis that they are white. Racism is systemic to American culture, and I doubt that it will ever be completely eradicated.

However, white culture did not create the black stereotype. For as long as I can remember, black folks went out of their way to present themselves in a hostile manner throughout black history.

First we had the Black Panther Party, a collection of young black men and women who formed a revolutionary black nationalist and socialist organization active in the United States from 1966 until 1982. At its inception in 1966, the Black Panther Party's core practice was its armed citizens' patrols to monitor the behavior of police officers and challenge police brutality in Oakland, California. Sound familiar?

The whole notion of "Black Power" evolved from those roots, and quite frankly, white America looked on as if the country was ripe for some kind of civil war. Admittedly, for a time, the Black Panthers actually became involved in respectable social pursuits, such as he Free Breakfast for Children Programs, and community health clinics, and the fear of some kind of black revolution dissipated. Or did it?

Today, we continue to be beleaguered by echoes of Black Power. Just last February, Beyonce rekindled intimations of black power during her halftime show at the Super Bowl. This was opportunism at its worse. With millions of Americans watching, she flagrantly set about to perpetuate the stereotype of a black threat against America. Not only did she have her all-black dance troupe form an X on the field in what seems to have been intended as a homage to Malcolm X, but she and her dancers all saluted the crowd and a national television audience with the Black Panther salute.

I won't judge whether or not Beyonce's actions were appropriate, but I think this timely message was clear to white Americans — a whole new wave of black militancy has begun again.

My point is that American black culture bemoans the fact that they have been stereotyped as somehow a criminal element without suspecting for a moment that they themselves may be the cause of this kind of profiling.

Here's what they have given us:

The Gangsta Culture

The Teachings Of Malcom X

Black Media Personalities

The Rap Music Scene with lyrics like these:
The white man is a devil, a beast, beserk, snake, Satan, serpent, evil, wicked, dragon, demonic, Hell-Born, Iblis, brutal, wild, fierce, untamed, the archenemy, father of lies, prince of darkness, nigga let me (?)
The Crips and Bloods are soldiers I'm recruitin'
Wit no dispute,
Drive by shootin' on this white genetic mutant,
Wanna know where I'm from?
I'm from "Fuck Yo Hood",
Dont even hit me up, fuck yo set
Let's go, and kill some rednecks (muthafucka)
The Menace Clan aint afraid, to check a hood
The Menace Clan aint afraid of a peckerwood
Fuck George Bush, fuck Bill Clinton, fuck Ross Perot, fuck Dan Quayle, what the hell?
Fuck Daryl Gates, fuck Stacey Koon, fuck Ted Briseno, fuck Lawrence Powell, fuck Timothy Wind, and judge George Carter,
Im down wit my nigga Shady,
I got the .380,
My homies think Im crazy cuz I shot a white baby, I said, I said, I said

Kill! (Kill!)
Whitey! (Whitey!)
All! (All!)
Mighty! (Mighty!)
God (God!)
Niggas in the church say (LAA)

Kill! (Kill!)
Whitey! (Whitey!)
All! (All!)
Mighty! (Mighty!)
God (God!)
Uncle tom house nigga (RAH!)

"Kill Whitey";
by Menace Clan, Da Hood
1995, Rap-A-Lot Records, Noo Trybe Records, subsidiaries of what was
called Thorn EMI and now is called The EMI Group, United Kingdom.

Media Coverage Like This

The "New" Black Panthers

Do white Americans feel threatened by all this? Of course, they do. White Americans seem to get a daily dose of how Black Power is washing over the land like some horrendous tidal wave ready to drown with blame how white culture and its police forces have destroyed the civil liberties of black America.

Did white Americans create Black Power by subverting the ambitions and successes of black people? Well, ask President Obama that question. Prejudice never kept him out of the White House.

No, black folks are their own worst enemies. Not only have they created this unfair stereotype of black culture as violent and militant, but they seem to live by it, and quite frankly, many seem to enjoy it for its notoriety.

Is there a solution to all this? Yes and no. Until the majority of black Americans say, "Enough hatred, enough reverse racism," then the problem will continue. By the same token, white America has to be open to new ways of looking at black culture. Black culture, with all its eccentricities and its hip-hop lifestyle, is not something to be feared. In so, so many ways, "black is beautiful," and blacks have enhanced the fabric of America in every walk of life.

Unfortunately, some black Americans are making a fortune solely on the back of this chaos and rebellion. These wealthy black musicians, artists, political wannabes, and even some so-called "church ministers" have nothing to gain from a peaceful coexistence of the two races. Instead, they continue to bolster their bank accounts as long as they can incite young people to adopt the "cause."

There is no cause. There is only more and more sorrow and more and more loss of life.




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