THE DEATH OF TRUTH

I started my writing career in the 70s and 80s. Those were the decades after the racial turmoil of the 50s and 60s.

Those preceding decades saw the fight for racial justice and civil rights reach a crescendo of protests with marches, sit-ins, sit-downs, boycotts, and other actions designed to reach the ear of an America long used to ignoring the cries of desperate and oppressed people.

As I’ve noted before, my writing career was inspired by the brilliant and brave protest writers of the 60s and 70s whose angry, but truthful voices, were finally demanding, not pleading, for America to live up to the promise of its much vaunted constitution.

They were ready for some freedom, justice, and equality as promised by Jefferson and the rest of the powdered wig crew who had formed a new nation nearly two centuries earlier.

For once, it seemed America was finally listening to the agonizing voices of Black Americans who had been begging and pleading for justice and equal opportunities for decades since manumission.

During the 60s and 70s, even the white media, long a thorn in the side of black progress, seemed to have boarded the righteous train to black deliverance. White newspapers, magazines, book publishers, and even broadcast news came riding in like the cavalry to chronicle the jarring story of the Civil Rights Movement.

The white media throughout American history had played an integral role in both the propagation and support of slavery through its active participation in promoting the slave trade. This was done through their publishing of slave advertisements as well as their overall support for black bondage.

The white media later continued their support for slavery by running ads for runaway slaves who had escaped the South to try for freedom in the North. This same support continued through the Jim Crow era when many white newspapers supported lynching, police brutality, black disenfranchisement, and other segregationist policies.

For decades after the end of slavery many white newspapers, especially those in the South, refused to afford Blacks any sense of dignity and humanity… refusing to refer to them as Mr. or Mrs., refusing to capitalize their names, using racist tropes and stereotypes, hyping up lynchings like they were just another sporting event.

For a brief period in time it seemed white media had finally gained a soul as it courageously reported on the Civil Rights Movement and the violent backlash to it by white mobs backed up by corrupt law enforcement officials. The unleashing of vicious police dogs and high-powered water cannons on peaceful protesters that included women and children was an atrocity not even white media could ignore.

Seeing the heads of peaceful protesters bloodied or innocent little Black girls blown up while attending Sunday school was a bridge too far for many Whites.

There was a new day of racial awareness dawning in America.

And, when young white Americans came from eastern cities to join Freedom Riders in the South and were brutalized and murdered with no distinction from the black souls they’d come to support, white media felt it had no choice but to intervene.

Sadly, this come-to-Jesus-moment wasn’t to last.

Though white media made a brief foray into truth telling and fairness by giving a voice to the many Black protest writers and activists that offered compassionate and powerful rebuttals to white violence and supremacy, soon they were back to their old ways.

The old ways included stereotyping Black people, ignoring the legitimate needs of black communities, playing up black lawlessness while downplaying white violence, soft pedaling police brutality, and censoring or ignoring the thoughts, opinions and ideas of Black writers who refused to accept the status quo.

By the 80s, even the era of blaxploitation films and literature had waned. Sweet Sweet Back, Shaft, Foxy Brown, Super Fly and the Mack had all faded into obscurity and Blacks were still seeking some real and lasting gains.

Most of the brilliant black writers of the 60s and 70s had also faded into obscurity by then. It was now easier to shave a grizzly bear that to prick the conscious of a nation now obsessed with the American Dream of materialism, individualism, and personal aggrandizement.

Blacks, too, were all in on this new goal. Many were sick and tired of being sick and tired. Others wanted that white picket fence and two-car garage far more than they wanted self-determination.

The sacrifices of those who had suffered for their salvation were largely forgotten.

Making a buck became the rallying cry. Bling-bling replaced self esteem. “Got to get mine” replaced “Black is Beautiful” and “Power to the People”. “Just do it” encouraged us to throw caution to the wind and jump sight unseen into a cesspool of greed and individualism. “Have it your way” served as a slap in the face of “united we stand” and encouraged selfishness.

This new mindset was the unfortunate bastard child of segregation and our new quest to prove we could be as white as White people.

By the 90s, aside from allowing a Black writer or two a year to be heard, the white media had essentially returned to the old days of media segregation.

Hundreds of articles have been written since the dawn of the 21st. century detailing the paucity of black writers, reporters, editors, and behind-the-scenes people in meaningful positions in white media. This exclusion includes all areas of white media. From newspapers to magazines. From television to the film industry.

In much of white media today Black voices are either being white- washed or censored.

It’s as if they feel we’ve reached some color blind society and they can now go back to their old ways.

But, of course, we know this isn’t the case. White supremacy and systemic racism still exist in all its virulent and destructive forms. Police brutality and voter repression continues unabated. Black Americans are still searching for that freedom, justice, and equality long promised , but never delivered.

When I began writing for a living in the 80s I found a place for my writings in both black and white media outlets. But over the ensuing years the market for truth dried up.

As Lorraine Hansberry wrote… like a raisin in the sun.

The attributes of a culture that had brought us through slavery, segregation, and unrelenting oppression and violence were mainly cast aside in pursuit of the holy grail of the American Dream.

While we can’t blame the white media solely for our perilous slide into consumerism and its accompanying pitfalls, we can certainly blame them for their relentless push of the material over the spiritual. Greed over altruism. Individualism over community.

Lies over truth.

1/6: A TRAGIC REMINDER

Sit down America. We need to talk.

It’s time for some inconvenient truths about our nation and how the propagation of systemic racism and white supremacy encourages what we recently witnessed at our national Capitol.

As more disturbing footage of the 1/6 Capitol Insurrection comes to light, many of us are having to face up to the fact our vaunted democracy is a lot frailer than we’d dared to imagine.

Seeing the chaos and the utter madness of the right-wing assault on one of our most cherished traditions reminds us that our destination toward “a more perfect union” is still a bumpy road. Not a smooth transition as Jefferson and others had waxed so eloquently about , but a road filled with potholes, speed bumps, and blind corners.

A WARNING UNHEARD

As an African American writer who have been writing about the complex and polarizing issue of race for many years, I have been warning of the type of white mob violence that we witnessed at the Capitol.

Born and raised in the deep south, I know first hand the ugly spawn of racial hate. During my lifetime, despite the recent election of the nation’s first non-white President, I have seen little evidence that the abyss between Whites and Blacks in our nation has been narrowed.

In the ensuing weeks we have been forced to contemplate how such an appalling breach of our both our Capitol and our sensibilities could happen in America.

LAND OF THE FREE?

I mean, isn’t this America? The land of the free and the home of the brave? A place where freedom, justice, and equality reign?

Are we now ready to face up to the fact we are not what we claim to be? That there are powerful forces out there that aren’t ready to accept a system of government that supposedly guarantees the rights and privileges of all its citizens, regardless of race, color, or creed?

Let me explain something to you. Those groups that invaded the Capitol, whether you call them white nationalists, fascists, Skin Heads, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Boogaloo Bois, Three Percenters, or KKK, can all be framed under the name Neo-Confederates.

Neo-Confederates are those Whites who will never accept the legitimacy of a government that is constituted to protect the rights of Blacks and other minorities. Neither will they accept the fact the South lost the Civil War.

They’re united by a principal theme of racial and ethnic grievances and an undying belief that white identity should be the organizing principle of the countries that make up Western Civilization.

They harbor a belief that Whites are being dispossessed. They obsess over the belief Black males are lusting after their women and will one day take over. They fear changing demographics will soon relegate them to minority status.

They worship at the altar of the Second Amendment. Their ultimate goal is to bring about Civil War II. They feel they have unfinished business to attend to.

A CHECKERED PAST

Most Americans, white or black, can’t envision our nation ever returning to such a dark time in our history. That’s because they aren’t students of real American history.

How long will we continue to pretend we do not have a long and clear history of white violence, collectively and individually? Have we forgotten that not too long ago lynching was a part of our DNA? Or that violent rampages by white mobs angered by black progress, black protests, or just plain pleas for equal justice are a part of the American story?

Have we forgotten a long history of American courts protecting the perpetration of white violence against Blacks?

I suppose we’ve forgotten, or maybe never accepted, that often law enforcement entities, from the local Sheriff to the FBI, have been protectors of the white mob.

Have we forgotten the FBI’s role in trying to discredit and destabilize both Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement? Or the local Sheriffs that allowed their jails to be overrun by Klansmen who dragged untried, and in many cases innocent, black men and women to the nearest tree to be lynched?

For many in law enforcement during America’s darkest days, Black lives didn’t matter anymore then than they do now.

Never underestimate the power of hate… and misinformation.

A TRAGIC TOLL ON AMERICA’S SOUL

For those refusing to believe another civil war could occur in America let me offer you a tragic reminder of just what hate wrought little more than 150 years ago.

For many decades it was thought the Civil War was responsible for the deaths of around 620,000 soldiers out of the 2.75 million who fought. About 2 million fought on the side of the North and about 750,000 for the South.

But by combing through newly digitized data from the 19th century, J. David Hacker, a demographic historian from Binghhampton University in New York, has recalculated the death toll. He increased the gruesome body count by more than 20 percent to around 750,000. This figure would translate to about 7.5 million people in proportion to our population today.

Just as alarming is the fact that not all those soldiers died from combat. Many died from accidents, disease, or starvation.

According to estimates another 50,000 civilians lost their lives from such things as bombardments, sieges, disease, and starvation. An additional 80,000 slaves lost their lives during the conflict.

The barbarism didn’t stop there. Nearly 56,000 of those soldiers died in squalid and poorly equipped prison camps from starvation and disease.

An estimated 40 percent of the dead were never identified. Because of advances in weaponry and the sheer number of people killed, many bodies were damaged beyond recognition, or left to rot in piles on the battlefield.

There was no anesthesia on the battlefield. Surgery was far from sterile. Amputation was the common treatment for broken bones or damaged limbs.

An estimated 880,000 Americans lost their lives during the four years of war. More soldiers died in that war than in all other American conflicts combined.

A NATION DIVIDED

The horrendous loss of life shows the severity of a conflict where brother fought against brother and father against son.

And all for a lost cause. An unjust cause.

Because the South was fighting for a way of life disavowed in most of the civilized world, the war was especially brutal and savage.

Atrocities and cruelties were committed in the prison camps of both sides. Country-sides were ravaged. Property was confiscated. Crops were burned. Businesses were looted. Women were raped and terrorized.

And when Black soldiers were finally allowed to join the battle the fighting became even more brutal. Animosities between black and white combatants resulted in unimaginable atrocities both on the battlefield and in prison camps. Many times black soldiers trying to surrender were shot down like dogs.

About 20 percent of the soldiers who died were under eighteen. There were even reports of some women disguised as men being killed on the battlefield.

The estimated cost of the war was $6.19 billion. That’s about $146 billion in today’s dollars.

A NATION AT ODDS WITH HISTORY

We must also remember the war was fought during a time of world instability. The U.S. was one of the last nations to outlaw slavery and many of its economic competitors were envious of the economic advantage that free labor gave the nation.

The South constantly sought to draw other nations into the conflict, and it took all the economic and political muscle Lincoln could muster to keep other nations from joining in the fight.

The war affected economic activity all around the world. The South’s economy was devastated. Many slave owners lost everything.

Thousands of women were widowed. Tens of thousands of children were left without fathers.

The American Civil War was the war that hate spawned.

The same kind of hate we saw on the faces and heard in the voices of the mob that stormed the Capitol.

A wise man once said that those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it.

Wise words. Cautionary words.

1 A.G.F. (after George Floyd)

A DARK MOMENT IN HISTORY

May 25, 2020… a day that will live in infamy.

Of course, we all remember where we were when we first saw the excruciatingly painful video of the white Minneapolis police officer’s knee on the neck of a handcuffed George Floyd.

We all watched in horror and disbelief as the seemingly unconcerned Derek Chauvin nonchalantly kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for about nine and a half minutes, repeatedly ignoring the helpless man plea that he couldn’t breathe, as well as cries to his dead mother to somehow come to his rescue. All this while the sordid affair was being captured on video by horrified onlookers on their cell phones.

Anger and disbelief spread through the crowd as they pleaded for Chauvin to take his knee off Floyd’s neck. Were they witnessing a murder in real time? Or were they in some unscripted episode of the Twilight Zone?

Eventually Chauvin did remove his knee from Floyd’s neck. But only after arriving medics told him to. And, only after the poor man had apparently stopped begging for his life… and breathing.

Equally appalling was the fact that three other boys in blue were on the scene, all three either helping to restrain Floyd or helping to keep the rapidly growing crowd at bay.

As a black man, I, too, felt a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew full well, as millions of other black males knew, that the lifeless man on the pavement could just as easily been me.

Even after having witnessed numerous incidents of police brutality over my lifetime, I was still shocked by the open disregard for black life.

After 400 years in America this was our worth?

A CRY HEARD AROUND THE WORLD

Always looking for a silver lining in a sea of black despair, I was heartened by two developments from the public murder. 1. Not only were Black people outraged by such a wanton disregard for black life, but so were so many others, including many Whites. 2. All four police officers were not only fired for their egregious actions but later charged with serious crimes.

The incident became a worldwide sensation, echoing around the world as unassailable proof that black folks had not been crying wolf when they complained about systemic police brutality. Brutality not only in modern day America but official murder going all the way back to Jim Crow days and beyond.

Floyd’s death triggered worldwide protests and gave Blacks and Whites a new found hope that maybe finally the issue of police brutality and racism would finally be taken seriously.

Within a couple of weeks, the Minneapolis City Council voted an intent to restructure the police department as a “new community-based system of public safety”.

Was the Black Lives Matter movement finally gaining traction?

Would something finally be done about the corrosive effect on black lives by racist police departments and their all-powerful unions that shielded and protected them from the consequences of their actions?

A CHANGE IS GONNA COME… MAYBE

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to non-racist policing in America. It hasn’t happened.

Why?

Mainly, because America is still one of the most racist countries in the world, and the the divide between its black and white citizens is still a chasm too wide to breach. Law enforcement… legal or illegal… from paddy rollers to the KKK… from chain gangs to the po- pos… have always been about keeping Black people under control. Especially black males.

This is something that’s not going to change anytime soon. Not as long as we are considered a social, political, and and economic threat to Whites.

Still, I believe a new awareness of the righteousness of the Black Lives Matter movement began after video of Floyd’s killing circled the world. This palpable outrage, simmering and hot, may have led to some major changes in policing in America if not for the bigot in the White House at that time. If not for his demonization of the BLM movement and his clarion call to his racist followers to do the same, America may have changed for the better.

But alas, that didn’t happen. We missed a true moment in history to not only hold America accountable for its malignant treatment of her long suffering black citizens, but the opportunity to bring about a reckoning for the world wide racism practiced against Africa-descended peoples the world over.

MORE INCONVENIENT TRUTHS ABOUT RACE IN AMERICA

Before we completely lose hope for racial progress in America, let me say a few things you may or may not want to hear.

One is that I’ve always said the prevalent of racism in America is both systemic and enduring. The ethnological term for it is Internal Colonization (see my post “Blacks Still Colonized in America”)

Racism in America will never end for a myriad of reasons outlined in my book “The Clan of Southern Man” and in many of my posts (see my post “Some Inconvenient Truths About Race in America”).

As I’ve said, Blacks and Whites, are from two different, contrasting, and diametrically opposed cultures. There is no record of any place on earth where these two cultures have existed in peace and equality. Just by the nature of things one must dominate the other.

Sorry. You can’t go up and down at the same time.

I’ve also said that one of the biggest reasons for our continued subjugation is our ignorance of our own history, and our own divisions within ourselves.

I have also warned of our fervent desire, almost a death wish, to fore sake our own culture for the culture of others. This is not a winning strategy. A race or group that runs away from its own history and past will never muster the strength to stand on its own and chart its own fate and destiny.

I’ve also said we have no coherent strategy for our liberation beside protest and complaint.

Another complaint of mine is our short memory of America’s racist history and how far we’ve come from the days of slavery and Jim Crow. We must learn to embrace change, acknowledge progress, and keep moving forward, all the while understanding we will never live in utopia in a foreign land.

And while the George Floyd murder and the other controversial police killings before and after haven’t created a sea change in America, there has been some real progress from the BLM movement. It’s incumbent on us to note this progress and be appreciative of it.

Nor should we downplay the good intentions of many non-black people who want to see real progress in race relations. Just as we don’t fully appreciate the efforts of the many Whites who helped eliminate slavery and Jim Crow segregation, we are also failing to give credit where credit is due to those trying to aid our cause today.

As I’ve said, good and bad exist in all races and cultures. No group has a monopoly on righteousness. Or evilness. No group is without blame for the problems that plague our warring, disease ridden, and drug addicted world.

Since no one else seems to be doing it I have gathered just a fraction of the encouraging actions that have occurred since the death of George Floyd, the most visceral manifestation of white brutality since, arguably, the Emmet Till murder in 1955.

A BODY BLOW TO RACISTS

  • On November 3rd, Donald Trump, one of the most racist white men to ever be elected to the nation’s highest office, was voted out of office. His dismissal was due mainly to the votes and activism of Black Americans. How’s that for payback for Trump’s four years of racial pandering and his demonization of the BLM movement?
  • On June 5, 2020, right in the mug of Donald Trump, the section of 16th Street directly in front of the White House was officially renamed BLACK LIVES MATTER PLAZA by Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. The beleaguered organization had its name painted in 35 foot bright yellow capital letters on the street along with a flag of Washington, D.C. as a part of the George Floyd protests roiling the nation. Mayor Bowser also ordered city workers to paint a 50-foot-wide mural reading “BLACK LIVES MATTER” down the street. According to unconfirmed reports orange steam could be see emanating from the West Wing for days on end.
  • Numerous racists and Confederate statues and symbols bit the dust in 2020, including many that had stood for decades. Those symbols advertised white supremacy and glorified the “lost cause” of keeping Black Americans as slaves and second class citizens. While some downplay the importance of the removal of such symbols, we must understand that symbolism is the most ancient and effective means of communicating broad messages to broad audiences. During 2020 more than 100 Confederate statues were removed, renamed, or relocated from public places. Only 142 had been removed in the previous five years. 2020 was also the year that saw statues, names and images of known racists removed from schools, universities, courthouses, streets, and public places. While many more racist symbols remain in America, and around the world, we can’t deny that the trend toward erecting and honoring racist symbols has been stifled.

THE CORPORATE WORLD STEPS UP

  • JP Morgan Chase pledged $30 billion over the next 5 years to help close the racial wealth gap. JP Morgan Chase & Co., the nation’s biggest bank by assets, pledged the money to help close the gap between people of color and Whites in the U.S. It’s one of the largest corporate pledges related to the improvement of race relations in the history of the U.S.
  • A coalition of 37 CEOs promised to hire 1 million Black Americans over 10 years. The group of CEOs formed an organization aimed at training, hiring and promoting 1 million Black Americans to jobs over the next ten years. Called the OneTen, the group features big companies such as Allstate, Bank of America, Comcast, Target, Walmart, and others. Some of the CEOs made it plain their pledge was made in response to the George Floyd killing and a new found interest in righting racial wrongs in the country.
  • Johnson and Johnson, the world’s biggest health company, announced a $100 million initiative to invest in and promote health equity solutions for Black people and other communities of color in the U.S. over the next five years. The company’s commitment prioritizes three key areas: Healthier communities-investing in programs that help provide equitable healthcare for underserved communities: Enduring Alliances- forging partnerships and alliances that combat racial and social health determinants: and Diverse and Inclusive Corporate Culture- ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce. While J & J should be commended for such an all-encompassing effort to right some of the inequities in our health care system, I think it’s the least they can do to try and right some of the wrongs for their perpetuation of the jheri curl and other indignities to the health and welfare of black hair.
  • Billionaire Charles Koch, who spent decades and billions of dollars bankrolling causes and politicians that fueled hate and division announced he now wants to work across party lines to find solutions to poverty, addiction, gang violence, and homelessness. We all remember the infamous Koch brothers, founders of the hugely influential conservative organization Americans for Prosperity. The organization has funded numerous conservative causes, including the Tea Party Movement. If this desire is more than lip service then we have to believe that a racist can indeed change his stripes.

BLACKS CAN LEAD TOO

  • A Black man was selected to lead the famous Virginia Military Institute for the first time in its 181-year history. Amid a racism investigation, Major General Cedric T. Wins, who graduated from the southern military institution in 1985, will serve as interim superintendent until the Board of Visitors appoint a permanent chief to oversee the nation’s oldest state funded military college. He took over from the school’s longtime superintendent , who resigned after Black cadets described alarming instances of bigotry in a Washington Post report. Major General Win’s selection was just one of a number of appointments of Black military men and women to head up long exclusionary military institutions in 2020. Some of those changes included the Naval Academy naming its first African American female brigade commander, as well as the first Black person selected to serve as secretary of defense. If confirmed by the Senate, Retired General Lloyd Austin will become the first Black to lead the Pentagon. As President-Elect Joe Biden once famously said to Barack Obama upon passage of the Affordable Care Act… “this is a big f…..ing deal”! Indeed. As we know Black men and women who’ve serve in the U.S. military from Civil War soldiers to the Tuskegee Airmen to Viet Nam veterans have never gotten their just due. Throughout America’s history countless black soldiers have never gotten their due for being willing to risk their lives and health to defend a country that didn’t respected or appreciate them.

DOWN GOES ROBERT E. LEE!

  • A statue of good old boy Robert E. Lee, leader of the Confederate Army during the Civil War, was removed from the Capital to be replaced by Barbara Johns, a Black teenager who led a student walkout to protest the inferior conditions of her all-black school compared to a nearby all-white school. This occurred in 1951. Ms. Johns went on to become a pioneering leader in the Civil Rights movement. It’s also significant to note that Ms. Johns heroic action came three years before the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that declared “separate but equal” public schools unconstitutional.

BLACK ATHLETES REFUSED TO JUST SHUT UP AND DRIBBLE

  • Sports, as we know, are an American institution valued above most other institutions. 2020 was the year we saw unprecedented racial activism by Black and White athletes on both the college and pro level. Who can forget the memorable Black Live Matter protests by NBA, NFL, WNBA, International, and college athletes in many sports. Stars such as Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James, Maya Moore, and many others, became powerful symbols advocating against systemic racism and police brutality. So powerful were these symbolic protests in 2020 that we even saw the banning of the confederate flag at NASCAR events, a happening as likely as KKK leader David Dukes joining the NAACP.

WE’RE MOVING ON UP

  • Pope Francis appointed the first African-American Cardinal. In November of 2020, Pope Francis held a ceremony to appoint 72-year-old Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Wilton Gregory, as the Vatican’s first Black Cardinal. The red-robed cardinals are the most senior clergymen in the Roman Catholic Church after the Pope himself. Their role includes electing the Pope- who is chosen from among them at a secret gathering known as a conclave. No word yet whether the Christian church is ready to admit Jesus was a black man or that Santa is a brotha. I guess you can’t have everything.

PHILANTHROPHY ON THE RISE

  • Writer and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced she has donated over $4.2 billion in the last four months to 384 organizations across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. to help under-resourced and marginalized groups. The news comes after Scott donated more than $1.7 billion to diverse groups, including historically Black colleges and universities in July of last year. Scott, the former wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos posted a list of the hundreds of organizations that received the funds in her Medium blog post. The services provided by these groups include food banks, emergency relief funds, debt relief, employment training, credit and financial services for under-resourced communities, education for historically marginalized underserved people, civil rights advocacy, and legal defense funds that take on institutional discrimination.

MAYBE SLAVERY WAS WRONG AFTER ALL

  • In September of 2020 the White House Historical Association announced a new Fellowship to explore the White House’s history of slavery in Washington, D.C. The fellowship is a partnership between the WHHA and American University’s Antiracist Research & Policy Center. “The creation of the fellowship is an important opportunity to deepen our understanding of slavery’s enduring legacy in our nation’s capital.” said Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association. “The protests that erupted over the summer over issues of racial injustice are a stark reminder of how important this work is.” Well said.

WHO RUN THIS GAME?

  • Despite the paucity of Black head coaches in both professional and college sports there were definitely some gains made on the sports front. Among some of the firsts was the first all-black officiating crew to work a Monday Night Football game and the first all-black refereeing crew to work a big 5 conference football game. The all-black MNF crew worked a game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Ram during the NFL’s 101st season. “This historic Week 11 crew is a testament to the countless and immeasurable contributions of Black officials to the game, their exemplary performance, and the power of inclusion” said NFL executive V.P. Troy Vincent. The first all-black officiating crew to work a Power 5 football game was between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Michigan Wolverines. The crew, composed of 11 men and one woman, called the game, a first in any major conference football game.

WE’RE BRINGING SEXY BACK… YEAH!

  • Three Black men in a row have been named People’s Magazine “Sexiest Man Alive”. Yes, you heard me right. The most recent winner, Michael B. Jordan, joined 2019 winner John Legend, and 2018 winner Idris Elba, to take home the coveted prize. How I was not selected remains a mystery to me, but as Curtis Blow said that’s the breaks. If you add light-skinned brother Dewayne “The Rock” Johnson, who won the award in 2016, to the list that would be 4 out of the last 5 five winners. No wonder the Proud Boys and other racist groups are up in arms these days. I mean, white women read that magazine.

WHITES FINALLY SEE THE LIGHT

  • In 2020 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints added new language to the faith’s handbook imploring their members to root out prejudice and racism. Racism has long been one of the most sensitive topics in the church’s history. The faith’s past ban on Black men in the lay priesthood stood until as late as 1978, and was only disavowed by the Mormon Church in a 2013 essay. Also, everyone familiar with the church’s past history know of their decades long ban against race mixing. According to new language in the handbook the church “calls on all people to abandon attitudes and actions of prejudice toward any group or individuals.” Its top leaders, in a string of speeches last year reminded its 16 million members around the globe that a person’s standing with God depends on devotion to the commandments, not the color of their skin. If only Reverend Marin Luther King was still alive to hear this much needed confession.
  • Many newspapers around the country have apologized for their decades long coverage of the African American community, including the Los Angeles Times, the Kansas City Star, the Montgomery, Alabama, Advertiser, and National Geographic Magazine. These publications, and others, are beginning to acknowledge how they provided hostile and stereotypical coverage of Black people and ignored the concerns and achievements of Black residents. Some have even admitted their complicity in helping to foster segregation. Now, if they’d only include my reparations check I’d be truly happy.

ORDER IN THE COURT

  • And believe it or not, a Virginia judge said he wouldn’t try a Brother in his courtroom with portraits of only stern-faced white jurists lining the walls. Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge David Bernhard agreed not to try Terrance Shipp, on trial for on charges of eluding police, in his brotha-less court room in response to a motion filed by public Defenders who believed a Black man couldn’t get a fair trial in such a setting. “While to some the issue of portraits might be a trivial matter, to those subject to the justice system it is far from the case,” Bernhard wrote in his ruling.

These are only a few of the changes, big and small, that have come about since the death of George Floyd. In the year 1 A.G.F. we must learn to appreciate our progress and the people striving to improve race relations.

INVISIBLE MAN… TOO

“I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions”. Gloria Neale Hurston.

I, too, am an invisible man. And it doesn’t feel good.

In 1952, African American writer Ralph Ellison wrote the critically acclaimed book “Invisible Man”. The seminal book addressed many of the social and intellectual issues faced by African Americans in the early twentieth century, as well as issues of individuality and personal identity.

Mr. Ellison described himself as an invisible man because he believed the world to be filled with blind men who could not see him for who he was. He spoke about the pain and feeling of helplessness he got from being socially or racially invisible.

Today, in 2020, more than 70 years after “Invisible Man”, I feel I am suffering a similar fate.

I have made it known throughout my writings that I was highly influenced by the so-called “Black Protest Writers” of the 60s and 70s.

Unknown to today’s generation of mostly non-readers, those intellectually brilliant and brave men and women of that era gave hope and courage to a generation of Blacks, who, heretofore, had been afraid to boldly challenge the system of white oppression and injustice.

Many of those writers and activists of the era, especially some belonging to the Black Panther Party, were hunted down like dogs and murdered in their homes, or hounded through sham legal proceedings or political persecutions that was aimed at eliminating them from the movement for black equality.

Few of those writers and activists, with the notable exception of Angela Davis and Elaine Brown (former Minister of Information for the Black Panther Party and 2008 Green Party candidate), remain alive and viable today.

The writings and activism of many of those people, such as Haki R. Madhubuti (formerly Don Lee), Huey P. Newton, Amiri Baraka, Dick Gregory, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Eldridge Cleaver, Richard Wright, Bobby Seale, Ntozake Shange, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansberry, Maya Angelou, and a host of others too innumerable to name, ushered in a new era of protest and activism not seen during the early years of the Civil Rights Movement.

Now, they’re all but forgotten, as are many of the courageous and intellectual black writers and activists of that era. Those writers and activists gave their all, sacrificed wealth and economic security, and risked their personal safety to speak out against a system that debased and humiliated them, and people like them.

Whether they were advocating for going back to Africa, building our own communities, fighting the “Pig” (police), or feeding and educating our own, this special group was offering different and diverse plans and strategies for black liberation. But, most of all they were showing that when given the opportunity Blacks could do more than pick cotton, clean houses, serve as porters , or wait on white folks.

This period of black intellectualism has never been surpassed, and most likely will never occur again.

Now, we have a host of black intellectuals with degrees from fancy white schools who are obliged to honor their benefactors by avoiding being “too black”, “too radical”, or “too outspoken”. Without one of these valued degrees, smart black folks with courage, commitment, or just plain “mother wit” are denied seats of power, not only within white institutions, but the black bourgeois set as well.

Of course, historian Carter G. Woodson warned us of this in his clairvoyant and provocative tome, “The Mis-Education of the Negro”, first published in 1933.

Dr. Woodson called African American leaders of the period “misleaders”. He described the chains around our minds and provided strategies for their removal. He believed white supremacy could be conquered with Africentricity. Self-hatred could be replaced with self-love. He believed that African people had to immerse themselves in their own history and culture in order to succeed as a race.

The Black Protest era was all about change of the black mindset.

According to writer Chris May, “In the struggle for racial equality in the U.S., the mid 1960s were a turning point. The Civil Rights era, 1955-65 had produced legislation against segregation, but everyday institutional racism continued to blight African American life, as did economic deprivation. The Black Nationalist era, 1965-75, was less pacifistic than the one which it succeeded.”

Anthems like “Fight the Power”, “Black Pride”, “Black Love”, “Black and Proud”, and “Power to the People” were in vogue during this era. They were more than mere slogans. They were a way of life.

What happened?

Growing up in the racist south during the 70s I needed all the hope and change I could muster. Without those strong and brave voices I would never have dreamed I could become a writer and influence people with my words.

Today, I can unequivocally say it was the Black Protest Era, along with learning of the horrific murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955, that set the course of my life, and made me determined to speak my piece… whatever the cost.

And it has cost me dearly…. The loss of fame and stature. The loss of economic opportunities. The loss of family and friends. The loss of loves.

But still I soldier on.

Why?

That’s a question I often struggle with myself.

Why sacrifice life and career to try and educate Black people to their true past and potential? Why give all to a “race” of people who seem to have lost their way, and seem unwilling to put in the work to rediscover themselves, and live up to the greatness of their ancestors?

Ancestors, who from slavery in America and far before, showed their mettle by outlasting invasions, colonialism, slavery and racism.

My disappointment isn’t as much with Whites, who have been programmed for centuries, if not millenniums, to oppress and discriminate against people of color, but my own people.

I’m talking about the Black people who’ve refused to support me in this effort.

I’m talking about the black people who’ve refused to buy my book, “The Clan of Southern Man”, a book which traces the history of our people all the way back to the beginning of the human line. A book which highlight the contributions of our valuable black women to the survival and progress of the human species. A book that uses the very latest scientific evidence (that’s science folks) to prove our ancestors gave modern people many of the systems, processes, and tools that helped to advance the human line.

A book that took me twenty years to research and write.

That’s not important?

Have we fallen off that much?

Is reading no longer fundamental?

Is knowledge of self no longer important?

I’m talking about the black press that has mainly censored me by refusing to publish much of my work. And in some instances, refusing to pay me when they did.

I’m talking about the black leaders, celebrities, politicians, intellectuals and academicians who have ignored my many entreaties for their aid in getting out my message.

Why?

I could belabor you with dozens, if not hundreds, of failed attempts to engage some of these people in this fight.

What has been my reward? Form letters and refusals. Turndowns and disappointments. Disrespect and disillusionment.

Why?

Has the cult of materialism overwhelmed the conviction of spiritualism that guided our ancestors through trials and travails that would have broken other peoples?

Have we lost our sense of community?

Or have we simply been mis-served by our leaders?

Have we become wholesale buyers of the me-generation? The every-man-for-himself posse? The self-over-community mantra that seems to permeate our society today?

Have we given up on ourselves?

Throughout my life I’ve always supported black people. Supported black businesses. Supported black organizations. Supported black charities. Bought black books and magazines. Bought black records and attended black concerts. Supported black newspapers. Hired black people in my profession of restaurant and retail management. Mentored black children. Tried to serve as a role model for my younger siblings and my many nieces and nephews.

Why am I not feeling the love?

BLACK WOMEN: CAN WE TALK?

A recent article I posted called on black women to continue the tradition of our great grandmothers.

The tradition of advocating for the family and putting the welfare of the community over self is central to the success of our struggles. The personal and cultural values those Fore Mothers instilled in their daughters imbued them with the courage to stand up to the slave master and later march in the face of snarling dogs and hateful policemen.

This is a modest request I think, considering all our Fore Mothers have done for us. Considering all the sacrifices they made to help steer us through centuries of turmoil and strife here in America, how can we abandon the path they paved for our liberation?

With all the back and forth we hear and see these days about twitter wars and instagram battles between some of our Sisters, especially from some of the younger generation, I was worried some of them were starting to become too immersed in the trappings of personal aggrandizement, notoriety, and materialistic pursuits. As a community, we need our beautiful Sisters to send out messages that tend to uplift rather than degrade.

THE MEDIA MONSTER

Hardly a minute goes by when mass media isn’t bombarding us with messages that tell us it’s not our fault, to have it our way, to be an Army of one, or to just do it. Little regard is given to the welfare of others, or the consequences of shirking responsibility. By discouraging personal responsibility and encouraging individualism, mass media has turned us into unthinking automatons, making us afraid to unfollow the herd.

I understand that we live in a youth-oriented society. I also understand that when we live in a society where we are constantly fed the false notion of the natural superiority of youthfulness, fealty to the old ways can be considered quaint.

The cacophony of voices urging us to walk to the beat of our own drum has become so loud that the voices of our Elders can scarcely be heard. When that happens, we lose the moral authority that has undergirded our struggle for centuries.

But, let me remind you it was the wisdom of our Elders, or the “old ways” as some call it, that got us out of slavery and to where we are today. It was the old ways that made us who we are. That kept us strong and resolute through unimaginable horrors and atrocities.

Sometimes old school is the best school.

Egoism, selfishness, and personal vanity are not the building blocks of a successful life, much less a united community.

Let’s remember, that in our mad rush to be young and to stay young, we can’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with changing with the times. As long as we don’t lose ourselves in the process.

Tearing each other down, dissing each other, calling each other names, or allowing personal vendettas to get in the way of facing up to our own failures won’t do any of us any good. If anything, it only reinforces the belief among our detractors that we’re not ready to govern ourselves.

A STOLEN LEGACY

In other articles, I explained how both Aryan and Arab invaders used this same excuse to rape and pillage the entire continent of Africa, and take the land, resources, and bodies of our ancestors for their own personal advancement.

This “not ready for prime time” argument has been used over and over again by racists and colonizers the world over. Not only was wealth and resources taken, but cultures. Names… Languages… Customs… Entire ways of life were destroyed. All in the name of “civilizing” indigenous peoples.

Sadly, the irony of bringing “civilization” to savages, while lying, cheating, stealing, and brutalizing indigenous people was lost on those men.

In my article I explained that some of the divisiveness between us go all the way back to slavery. Back to a time when it was in the best interest of slave owners, and other racists, to keep us divided and at each other’s throats. The ploy was to play up the differences between slaves, be they differences in skin color, hair texture, height, strength, gender, plantation size, etc. No difference was too small for them to exploit.

Over time, this type of pathology can become ingrained in a people, and last for generations.

A CALL FROM AN EX-WIFE

After the article was posted I got a call from an ex-wife who wanted to discuss the subject. Knowing my ex, I knew this would be a subject I had to approach with caution.

Apparently, my views had touched a nerve with her, and I certainly understood why. Truth be told, some of the same pathologies plaguing black male-female relationships today had played a part in our divorce after twenty years together.

It should be noted that this ex and I have been divorced for twenty years, and for the first fifteen years after our divorce we didn’t communicate with each other. This, though we still lived in the same city, and she maintained a casual relationship with one of my brothers and his wife.

About five years ago we we got back in contact with each other through another of my sisters, and have maintained a cautious relationship since then.

No, this is not a feel-good story about two ships passing in the night, suddenly recognizing each other, dropping anchors, docking together again, and sailing away… happily ever after. The biggest reason there would be no happy reconciliation, aside from the long separation, was my ex had remarried. And though I have never remarried, I was in a relationship myself.

My sole purpose for reconnecting with her was this quaint notion that two people who’d loved and argued so hard for twenty years could still be friends. I should have known this was an impossibility, given the way we had parted, and the toxic brew our marriage had become at the end.

Of course, she blamed me, and I her, and it took us many contentious conversations before we were able to admit we had both played a role in our breakup.

This was especially hard for me to accept considering I had always tried to bring honesty to all my relationships, be they family, friends, or romantic.

WHEN KEEPING IT REAL GOES WRONG

Remember the old Dave Chapelle bit about when keeping it real can sometime go wrong? Well, I’ve learned a similar lesson over the years. Sometimes it’s just not in the best interest of all concerned to be perfectly honest.

When I think back over some of my past relationships, including an earlier wife before my recent ex, I have finally learned my lesson about putting honesty above the feelings of others. Over the years, when I left exes crying at the door, I always took solace in the fact I’d been honest about my abhorrence of being tied down.

I mean, I had places to go and people to see. It was my sole responsibility to save the world, educate my people, stamp out racism, cure sickle cell, save all the starving children in Africa, and learn ebonics… all before I was twenty.

If those women weren’t willing to be with a struggling writer who hated working for “da Man”, then they couldn’t say I didn’t warn them.

Today, I thank God for finally giving me clarity.

I’ve learned that just because you’re willing to die for your art is no reason to demand a pint of blood from others.

And though I can think of a thousand things some of my exes did to offend or “disrespect” me, I can finally take personal responsibility for my own failings. My own hardheadedness. My rigidity. My unwavering quest to change the world. To change people. To be true to myself.

After all, I’m a Taurus, and isn’t stubbornness (though I prefer strong-willed) one of our defining characteristics? At least that’s what they tell me.

I had no idea that leaving could cause such lasting scars. I mean, doesn’t life go on?

MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS

Another thing I’ve learned about the female sex is that they love harder than us males. Females seem to express a more heartfelt love, unlike the more possessive type of love we males tend to express.

This may be because we live in a male-dominated society where anything less than full blown machismo is considered weak . Or maybe it has something to do with chromosomes, or hormones, or some other physical or chemical thing. I don’t know.

I’m not a psychologist, but I do like to play one when I’m pointing out the faults of others.

When my ex called me to discuss my article I told her she had some valid points about the general sorryness of black men, but again, just as we’d done for twenty years, we were talking past each other. I wasn’t listening to her and she wasn’t listening me.

Could it be because so many of us are so intent on getting our point across, while tuning out others, that we never hear them?

This, I feel is the gist of the problem between many Black males and females today. We can’t feel each other’s pain. We can’t walk in the other’s shoes.

We’re afraid of losing ourselves by recognizing others. We feel that sympathizing with the pain of others somehow lessens the legitimacy of our own pain and suffering.

We fail to realize that feeling the pain of others can sometimes ease our own pain. Put it into perspective.

Realizing we’re all flawed makes us more human.

Imperfection isn’t a character flaw. It’s a normal condition of the human makeup.

I am merely asking my black Sisters to try and understand some of the unique burdens black men carry from living in a male-dominated society where the Master of the house do not consider you an equal. A modern day overseer whose main goal is to keep you emasculated and thought of as not fit to be a father, a husband, or a leader.

Its sort of like living in your Father’s house and he hates your guts. Your manhood is not a consideration to him. You have no rights and privileges he is bound to respect.

And, as my father used to say, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out”.

I have to be honest with you. I don’t know if my ex and I came to a new understanding. Or even a better one. But I do know we ended our conversation without bitterness or rancor. For once.

Hopefully, we ended with a new found respect for each other.

SISTERS DOING WORK

Anyone who have followed my writing career or read my book “The Clan of Southern Man”, knows I have a deep and abiding respect for black women.

My book is the only one to trace our history all the way back to the time of the African “Eve”, the ancient Black women that genetics have shown to be the progenitor of all humans living today.

This may not be a big deal to some, but it’s a big deal to me. To me, it’s a game changer. How can our detractors continue to say we’ve given the world nothing when they, themselves, carry the genes of a Black women.

I’ve tried to give this same respect to all the females in my life, whether family, friends, or personal relationships. No one who knows me can say I’m disrespectful to women, particularly my elders. I know what black women go through. I know what they’ve been through.

I can feel their pain.

I just want black women to understand we have pain too. Though we may be too proud or stubborn to admit it, the pain we feel is real.

Showing weakness or vulnerability just isn’t manly. Right?

In my book I take black men to task for our sexism against our own women. I also take them to task for their lack of appreciation for the long time struggles and sacrifices of our precious Mothers and Sisters.

Not all black men, mind you, but too many. Especially among the younger generation.

SOME THINGS BETTER LEFT UNSPOKEN?

I also take them to task for the obvious elephant in the room… our love of White women. Our attraction to a long time nemesis of the black woman is a sore spot for many black women, whether they’ll admit or not.

I am not condemning anyone for who they choose to be with. I truly believe love can be color blind. For me, it’s the qualities that a person possess, rather than the color of their skin that attracts me.

And, if those qualities are in a black woman then I’m all in. But if they aren’t, why deny yourself love and happiness? Right?

So, we need to talk.

That’s why I’m calling on my black Brothers to step up and recognize the hurt and pain we cause when we choose a woman of another race over our own. Especially when it comes after we’ve attained some measure of wealth and success. If you choose a woman and she sticks with you through thick and thin, through highs and lows, from the projects to the mansion, then you’ve got a good women, regardless of race or color.

My only intent is to make both sides understand the long and tortuous history of race relations, not only in America, but around the globe. Racism and discrimination against us go back millenniums, not centuries. Disrespect for our “race” did not start in America.

ALL WE NEED IS LOVE

The effort to sow division between us has a long and sorry history. Indignities and injustices have been heaped on us for a very long time. When you’re treated like an animal, over time you may react like an animal.

When you’re denied something while anything you have can be taken at will, you develop a deep sense of hatred. Of resentment. Of distrust.

You learn disrespect from being disrespected. You learn to lie from liars. You learn to deceive from being deceived.

As a race we are far from perfect. As individuals we have many faults and shortcomings. This makes us human. Not monsters. Not unworthy of love.

This is what I’m asking of us, males and females. A little more understanding. A little more love.

I don’t know of a deeper love than between two people who have suffered hardship and oppression and stayed together. Two people who knows how it feels to be disrespected, misused, and abused.

There is no better soulmate than someone who has your back even when you can’t stand on your own two feet. Someone who understands your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Who can empathize with you even in your darkest hours.

This is the potential of black love.

IS MATRIARCHY THE KEY TO OUR SURVIVAL?

If we are to ever return to the prominence of our ancient ancestors and regain our status in the world, our love of our own culture must play a vital role.

This culture is the culture of matriarchy. A culture where women are an equal and complementary part. A culture where our mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, and wives are an integral part of all we do. All we accomplish.

This culture helped our ancestors survive the harsh and demanding African environment for thousands of years. The love of family and community, along with a gift for tool making and a belief in a higher power, gave them a strength and courage they never knew they possessed.

It was this same cultural outlook inherited from our ancestors that imbued us with the grit and fortitude to survive the horrors of colonization and slavery during the ensuing years.

A NEAR EXTINCTION

In my book “The Clan of Southern Man” I show how the matriarchal culture of our ancient ancestors led to the steady progress of humanity, and quite frankly, saved the human species.

According to Geneticists, the human species throughout the entire world, under the threat of climate change and other destructive forces, once dwindled to between 3,000-10,000 individuals. At its nadir, scientists believe there may have been as few as around 1,000 reproductive adults. One study says we may have hit as low as 40 breeding pairs.

This supposedly occurred around 70,000 years ago and almost led to the extinction of the human species. Now, nearly 8 billion people later, black people are still persevering, still fighting, still surviving.

I believe it was the matriarchal culture of our ancestors that saved us. Grouped in clans, groups of related individuals, it took all the skills and know-how of those ancient humans to survive and get us to our time.

Central to the survival of our ancient ancestors was the role of women and the part they played in the survival of our species. Without their complementary role of food gatherers, the bacon we men were able to bring home would not have been enough to keep us going.

Add to this, the role of mother and caretaker, and the contributions of ancient women were paramount to early human survival. The nurturing our women provided for the group made us strong and kept us together. I guess we can say it was matriarchy that saved us.

THE END OF AFRICAN MATRIARCHY

I also explain in my book how successive and unrelenting excursions and invasions into Africa from outsiders eventually brought about the destruction of matriarchy. This was a great loss not only for Africa, but the entire world. It was the undermining of matriarchy and the subsequent rise of patriarchy that led to the down fall of our Homeland, and caused us to devolve into the divided factions we are today.

This displacement happened gradually, and over many centuries, mainly because ancient African civilizations were too strong in their early iterations for foreigners to challenge, much less conquer. While the matriarchal culture of our ancestors was never about war, oppression, or territorial expansion, our ancestors fought fiercely to protect their families and their homelands.

The outsiders first came in as settlers, herders, and merchants, using trade as the bait for peaceful acceptance into African societies. Later, those peaceful interactions turned into invasions and wars, and matriarchy began to wane.

Over time, matriarchy was supplanted by a patriarchal culture of war and greed.

If today, we cannot imagine a society where women have an equal and complementary role in the affairs of the society they live in, then we have been derelict in our study of the real history of black people, and humanity in general.

THE AFRICAN “EVE”

In my book I also took black women to task for seeming to reject the culture of our great-great-great grandmothers, going all the way back to the ancient black woman that genetic tracing has shown to be the ancestor of all humans living today.

This ancient ancestor has been termed the African “Eve” by those who really believe the first people on earth were white and lived in a Garden where, of course, no black people existed. I guess we were too busy working in the kitchen or raising Cain and Abel to rate a mention in the white folk’s story. I don’t know.

What I do know, is knowing that an ancient black woman is the progenitor of the surviving clans that gave birth to all humans living today is pretty amazing. And inspiring.

I call her the “Great Mother”. We all carry her precious genes today. If we fail to honor and appreciate her then it shows a lacking in our own character… in our own knowledge and understanding of who we are and where we came from.

Some of the blame for this lack of knowledge, of course, has to go to Whites who have deliberately rewritten or distorted our history. But, we can only blame ourselves for allowing it.

If we believe all the bad things that have been said and written about us, then we deserve exactly what we’re getting.. systemic racism and oppression.

No one can make me believe my “race” never accomplished anything in the past when I see so many talented Black people today. Where did they come from? Who gave birth to the MLKs, the Nelson Mandelas, the Harriet Tubmans, the Rosa Parks, the Ida B. Wells, the Frederick Douglases, the Jomo Kenyattas, the Shirley Chisholms, the Denzel Washingtons, the Kareem Abdul Jabbars, the Thurgood Marshalls, the Barack and Michelle Obamas, etc., etc., etc?

Just asking.

THE NEW VERSUS THE OLD

In my chapter called “Black Women: Keep up the Good Work” I gave black women a lot of credit for helping to bring our “race” to our present position, but I also wondered if the priority of family and community was slipping a bit from the minds of some modern black women, especially the younger ones.

Seems to me, many of our Black women today are more concerned with the superficiality of looks, weight, plumage, material possessions, beefs, tweets, and twitter followers than exploring and embracing the real reasons women were once considered the very salt of the earth, and not merely appendages of men.

By calling out some of our modern black women, in no way am I excusing the boorish behavior of some black men, whom I have taken to task for being too willing to adopt the sexism of our patriarchal culture, both now and in the distant past. While the adoption of the oppressor’s culture offer some perks to my brothers in regards to feeling superior to our women, it’s a total sell-out of all of all the Black women who sacrificed so much to keep us alive and well over the centuries and millenniums.

Again, I ask the question. How can you be better than the woman who birthed you?

I won’t put the entire blame for our predicament on either sex. It takes two to tangle, as they say. Considering the width and breadth of the innumerable Black men who have fought and died, sweated and bled, preached and taught to bring about our liberation, I cannot possibly dismiss their sacrifices because of the actions of some.

Sadly, all is not well today between Black men and women. Something has been lost. Much has been forgotten.

THE RACIST PLAYBOOK

Here in the U.S., we must acknowledge a damaging rift between black males and females. This rift goes all the way back to slavery. It is continually exacerbated by the present Internal Colonization system we live under as outlined in my book.

Pitting oppressed people against each other is a time honed device used by racists and oppressors the world over.

Only by recognizing this ploy can we hope to erect new and improved relationships among ourselves that will best serve not only ourselves, but our communities as well. We have to recognize how these divisions came to be if we hope to come together to win some of the gains we’re still fighting and dying for.

Sowing dissension between black men and women was one of the cardinal rules for slave owners and the segregationists they spawned.

The sexual exploitation of black females during slavery, and the parallel denial of masculinity to black males, was made clear by plantation owner Willie Lynch’s 1712 screed instructing slave owners in the genteel “art” of making good slaves. The key ingredient in Old Willie’s recipe for black subservience was division… in all matter of things, no matter how small or inconsequential.

According to Mr. Willie, no difference between the slaves were to be ignored. Instead they should be played up. The differences in color, gender, size, strength, skills, texture of hair, even plantation size, were used to turn the slaves against each other.

The object, of course, was to create constant division, squabbling, and disagreement among the slaves, and thus keep them from organizing and uniting against their their slave masters.

The slave playbook was especially intent on driving and keeping a wedge between black women and their black partners. This they did by having their way with the black female slaves while making their precious “flowers” unavailable to black men.

Denying black males the right and ability to protect their wives, sisters, and mothers caused a gaping rift in the black family dynamics. It damaged the familial relationship between a struggling people who needed all the unity they could muster just to survive.

This, of course, had severe repercussions for the black male-black female relationship. It produced a distrust that still exist today.

When we consider the black man’s dalliance with white women today, much to the chagrin of both black women and white men, we should at least consider the origin of this dynamic.

Call it the “forbidden fruit” theory if you will.

Regardless, this is a conundrum we must honestly address if we want to improve the present condition between our men and women. Only then can we begin to build vibrant and thriving communities that give priority to community over self… altruism over greed… faith over hope… spiritualism over materialism.

THE WISDOM OF OUR MOTHERS

What good is it to gain material possessions if we lose our souls? What good are sparkling jewels if we have no self worth? What do we profit if we gain notoriety but lose our way? What good is a big house with no one to share it with? Who do we help when we’re rich in body but poor in spirit?

Can we take our riches to the grave with us?

If you read my book you will see how black women have always been in the forefront of forming and maintaining the black family. From ancient times to modern times. Even during slavery, black women were always there, keeping it real, and keeping us together.

In these perilous times we need the strength and wisdom of our mothers, sisters, and aunts even more.

Even during slavery black women found ways to protect and maintain their families. Some took whippings themselves rather that allow slave owners access to their daughters. Some begged, borrowed, and stole to get the extra food their families needed to survive the long and arduous days in the fields. Others risked their lives and limbs to prevent the lashing of an elderly slave or thwart the sexual advances of a slave owner.

And, when emancipation finally came, many of them crisscrossed the country looking for their children, or other family members, sold away during slavery.

Black women have always been among the strongest and most resilient people on earth.

Black women, you need not be subservient to anyone. You need not bow down to man nor beast. The strength and perseverance of your foremothers are within you.

How else could they have survived the rape of their homeland? The cruelties and horrors of slavery? The discrimination and injustice heaped on them throughout history? And through it all still be on the front lines for justice and equality for their communities?

Now is not the time to quit or be less vigilant in uplifting and protecting our families and communities. Today, we need our precious black women more than ever.

As an ancient Egyptian scribe once wrote: “Your work will be its own reward. Help others and you will help yourself. Work to know Heaven and Heaven will surely know you.”


A BEDTIME STORY FOR BLACKS

Once upon a time many many years ago, in a land far far away, our ancient ancestors built great civilizations.

These ancient people lived in a far away place they called Amami, meaning the Mother Land.

These magnificent civilizations stretched many miles, starting in Ethiopia, stretching through the region known as the Sudan, and flowing through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea, some 2,250 miles away.

Truth be told, recent archeological digs and excavations in the region offer credible proof that the extent of ancient Anuian civilizations may have stretched even further, extending all the way to modern Somalia.

Somalia, once known as Punt, “Land of the Gods”, held a very special significance in ancient Egypt and throughout the ancient Black world. Known as a “land of plenty”, ancient Punt was famous in Egyptian lore for its abundance of natural resources, among them gold, wild animals, elephants, ivory, spices, precious woods, cosmetics, incense, aromatic gum, frankincense, incense trees, and much more.

Stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to Somalia, and possibly even including modern day Chad, ancient Amami was a thriving civilization linked through heritage and trade, and bonded through their spiritual beliefs and their matrilineal culture.

When Aryans (Western and Eastern Asians, and Europeans) first discovered the ancient civilizations of Blacks, they were already thousands of years old, and had already set the human species on the path of progress and enlightenment.

LIFE ALONG THE NILE RIVER

These ancient people called themselves Anu, meaning Man, a term at that time encompassing all living humans, males and females. Because of their matrilineal societies (female centered), females were valuable contributors to ancient black civilizations, and complementary members of Anuian societies.

The Anuians built their civilizations around the various waterways plentiful throughout ancient Amami. Accessible water was a crucial component to human survival and progress. It was near water where plentiful animals and plants could be found, both critical to the wellbeing of ancient civilizations. Where water was plentiful all live thrived. Where it was not, life withered and died.

Probably the most famous of these waterways was the famous Nile River, which they called Hapi, the “River of Life”.

The Nile River is the longest river in the world, stretching more than 4,000 miles. Flowing northward through northeastern Africa, it runs through or along the border of 11 other African countries, finally emptying into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Nile was a critical link in the development of ancient humans and provided them with a steady source of food and sustenance. The people of Amami came to depend on the life sustaining waters and built their lives around its ebb and flow. It nurtured not only their physical well being, but nourished their souls, giving rise to their spiritual and religious beliefs.

The Blacks who lived along the Nile were probably the first to practice agriculture, to irrigate the valley of the Nile, build dams, invent sciences, art, writing, the calendar. They knew how to use metals. Mine minerals. Make tools and weapons.

They developed the cosmogony and the philosophy that led to all early human religions.

Whether we call those people Anuians, Ethiopians, Sudanese, or Egyptians, they all had one thing in common… their dark skins.

Only much later in their development did the complexion of the Anuians gradually change, owing to the integration of ancient Egypt with foreigners from Asia, and later Europe.

THE MODERN DISTORTION OF HISTORY

There is no longer any reason for debate on this subject. Every scientific discipline, anthropology, archeology, paleontology, biology, anatomy, and most recently, genetics, prove conclusively that the first anatomically modern humans arose in Amami, and had dark skins.

This dark skin protected them from the penetrating rays of the sun and was a natural consequence of their birth in the tropics. Those Anuians who migrated from the continent into the colder climes of the north during earlier periods, gradually lost their dark pigmentation to adjust to the climate at higher latitudes.

Archeological evidence indicate early humans left the continent and migrated into Eurasia as long as 100,000 years ago. In fact, recent scientific exploration in the north-western desert of Saudi Arabia found evidence of human habitation dating back 120,000 years ago.

The research indicated there were once many water sources which allowed humans and animals to survive in what in now a very arid and desolate region. Some ancient tools were found that have been categorized as Acheulean, a stone tool industry which was similar to finds in Amami, especially in the famous Olduvai Gorge in modern day Tanzania.

Over the millenniums, the hospitable areas of Eurasia, just as in the Sahara, and other present deserts, became less welcoming to humans and animals, and the people may have fell on hard times. And while there is evidence that climate change played a major role in the drying up of many ancient paradises, there is also evidence that the spoiling hand of humans also played a part in their demise.

Sound familiar?

Those migrant Anuians, separated from their kinfolks for tens of thousands of years by the foreboding ice sheets that came to blanket much of Eurasia, developed cultural characteristic and affinities diametrically opposed to the Anuians who remained in Amami.

The beliefs, morals, and lifestyles they developed were so different from those they left behind that when they did return to the continent many millenniums later they returned as strangers.

No amount of retelling of history or denial of facts can disprove what scientists know about our origins. The truth is that although we may have developed into many “races” we are one specie, Homo Sapiens (‘wise human’).

Still, it’s hard for many, including some of our own, to believe that a “race” so oppressed and despised today could possibly have been the initiators of human civilization. Never in the history of humanity have there been such a massive and prolonged coverup.

Talk about paradise lost, this tale is more like Alice in Wonderland on steroids. Not only have we lost our innocence, but our history, our culture, and our way. Whether we can awaken from our slumber and get back to truth and reality still remains to be seen.

During the millenniums when our ancestors were the only people on earth they did not think of themselves as black. Color prejudice wasn’t to arrive in Amami for tens of thousands of years after humans first walked the earth.

Skin color was never an issue until foreigners, drawn to the continent like badgers to honey, descended on Amami, and eventually subjugated the very people who’d civilized them.

Owing to the ethnocentricity of Aryan writers, there is some dispute among scholars as to when those great civilizations began. Starting in Ethiopia and the Sudan, and culminating in Egypt, this cycle of civilization, the longest in human history, presumably lasted more than 10,000 years.

This is a reasonable compromise between the long chronology based on data provided by the Egyptian priests, Herodotus and Manetho, and the short chronology of modern scholars.

Herodotus, a Greek historian, called the Father of History, lived around the fifth century B.C.E. He has been credited as the first historian to collect materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent, and arrange them in a well constructed narrative.

Manetho, believed to have been an Egyptian priest who lived during the Hellenistic period in the early third century B.C.E., authored the “Aegyptiaca” (History of Egypt). It was a major chronological source for the reigns of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt.

Herodotus and Manetho placed the beginning of ancient Anuian civilization around 17,000 years before the Christian Era.

There is ample evidence to show this long chronology may still be too conservative if you understand that advanced civilizations necessarily need thousands of years of tradition and processes to come to fruition. Anuian civilizations were very old long before the civilization we call Egyptian sprang into life and awed the world.

Even modern scholars, who put the origin of Afro-centric civilizations around 5,000 years before the Christian Era, are obliged to admit the calendar had been invented in Egypt by 4245 BCE. Since the creation of an accurate calendar was based on thousands of years of direct observation of the Cosmos, Anuian civilizations had to be many millenniums old when the calendar was invented.

THE LOSS OF BLACK INDEPENDENCE

Ancient Egypt, which at first allowed foreigners to assimilate peacefully into its society, eventually saw their borders overrun by foreigners. Much inter-breeding took place and the power and culture of the Anuians gradually waned. Though sustaining migrations and invasions from Aryan tribes around the Mediterranean, Egypt did not lose its independence until much later in its history.

Invaded by the Persians in 525 B.C.E., a Semitic tribe from the region we now know as the Middle East, Egypt, and black Amami, would finally lose its independence.

After the Persians came the Macedonians under Alexander in 333 BCE. Then came the Romans under Julius Caesar (50 BCE), the Arabs in the seventh century, the Turks in the sixteenth century, the French under Napoleon, and finally the British in the nineteenth century.

The English invasion was the final nail in the coffin of black independence, a situation to last until well into the twentieth century. Ruined by successive invasions, Amami, the cradle of civilization, would no longer play a leading role in world affairs.

Nevertheless, ancient Egypt would long continue to serve as a beacon of light for the budding Asian and European civilizations, particularly Greece and Rome. Throughout antiquity it would remain the classic land where people from all over the world went on pilgrimages to drink from the fount of scientific, religious, and philosophical knowledge.

THE MAKING OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION

Rather than being the heathens and savages portrayed by Aryan writers, our ancestors were the very initiators of human civilization. They were the creators of many of the elements of the Western civilization that Europe and America now flaunt as the best in the world.

Pythagorean mathematics, the theory of the four elements, Epicurean materialism (the practice of self-control, moderation, and honorable behavior), Platonic idealism, Judaism, Islam, and modern science are all rooted in Egyptian cosmogony.

The Egyptian redeemer-god, Osiris, who taught the Anuians love, civility, and cooperation, who sacrifices himself, dies, and is resurrected to save human-kind was the model for the later Christ.

Some of the people we now know as the Jews lived in Egypt for many years. Many of the patriarchal fathers mentioned in the Bible lived there and took many of their religious ideas from Anuian cosmogony.

Certain biblical passages are practically exact copies of ancient Egyptian religious texts.

The first book of moral and religious principles, called the Book of the Dead, was compiled thousands of years before the advent of Christianity.

A visitor to the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes (now Luxor), in the famous Valley of the Kings, can view the Moslem inferno in detail in the tomb of Seti I of the Nineteenth Dynasty, 1700 years before the Koran.

When Whites were leaving the northern hemisphere at the end of the last Ice Age (around 11,000 years ago), Blacks were already spread out over most of western Asia. The people we now call Semites (Jews and Arabs), were born from an admixture of Blacks and Aryans peoples in those areas.

All of North Africa was once occupied by dark skinned Africans before Arab invasions transformed the area. Using trade as an entry, the Arabs soon turned to raids and slavery to take over that part of the continent. Once their religion of Islam had been foisted on the people, often at the end of a sword, Blacks not only lost their lands, but their ancient religions.

During the successive invasions of Egypt many Anuians left the Nilotic area for other parts of the continent. Many went to areas where Aryans had not yet penetrated.

Some migrated to Western Africa, where many of our ancestors were stolen and shipped into slavery in Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Others trekked south to settle in the southern part of the continent, long before the Dutch and other Europeans invaded and took southern Africa as their own.

Because the ancient Anuians were born in Amami and were black, we have every right to claim them as our ancestors.

By failing to reconnect to our ancestral past we deny ourselves our true birthright… and limit our future potential.

T H E E N D

THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SLAVERY

THE LASTING EFFECTS OF SLAVERY

Why a story about slavery in 2020, 155 years after the “peculiar” institution was outlawed? Why dredge up a shameful and hurtful past most of us would like to forget?

Good question.

Well, here’s the answer. Because we’re not over it. Not even close.

Considering the spotlight that’s now being shone on systemic racism, I think this is a good time to remember the most traumatic part of our history in this country. With protests roiling our cities over racial injustice and police brutality, I believe it’s instructive for Black people, if no one else, to understand the real impact of slavery on our past and future.

If we cannot free ourselves from the trauma of this hurtful part of our past, we’re destined to continue to suffer from its wounds. Call it lingering-traumatic stress disorder (LTSD), if you will.

I believe it would do us good to learn the true nature of American slavery and how it continues to affect us today.

Despite the host of books written on the subject, I still don’t think the true story’s been told. So traumatic was this 200 year long torture of our physical and mental wellbeing, that as a community, we still find ourselves feeling the ghosts of patrollers and night riders haunting our collective psyche.

The end result of this nightmarish episode is continued divisiveness and mistrust among us. Our inability to unfetter the shackles of this shameful past hinders us in our quest to devise a coherent strategy for our future liberation.

THE MAKING OF SLAVERY IN AMERICA

We all understand that the main tragedy of American slavery was the harm done to those frightened and helpless individuals who were uprooted from their homes in Africa. Then, like cattle herded to slaughter, they were transported here in the cargo holds of dirty, stinking, and diseased infused ships.

Their destination? A strange and alien land.

Once in this strange and alien land, all connections to the homeland were severed, including family, customs, names, religion and beliefs.

During this era of slavery, rife in most areas of the world, the social and economic subjugation of indigenous peoples was a science. It was believed that in order to make a good slave (called buck breaking), not only did the will have to be broken, but so did all ties to the captive’s former life.

Because I truly believe one doesn’t become a slave unless he accepts being a slave, I will never refer to my ancestors in America as slaves. To me, they were captives, taken illegally from their homelands, and forced to endure a racist and morally illegitimate subjugation.

As familiar as we are with the economic benefits slavery brought to America, far less attention has been given to the devastation wreaked on the African continent.

Quite simply, the story of American slavery, and European slavery in general, is the wholesale rape and pillage of a continent, its people, its resources, and its future. American and European slavery was about the depopulation of a cultural and resource-rich area to bolster the economic fortunes of Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas.

Even Asia was to profit from the labor and resources of Africa (which I explain in greater detail in my book “The Clan of Southern Man”.

THE TRUE NATURE OF AMERICAN SLAVERY

The first misconception I want to clear up about American slavery is the untrue narrative that Blacks accepted slavery.

Some apologists, over the years, have even claimed the captives enjoyed their lot in life. Enjoyed being civilized by their enslavers. Enjoyed two meager meals and a pallet on the floor of a dilapidated shack. Enjoyed being raped, beaten, dehumanized, and worked to death. Enjoyed having their families split up, separated and sold, and in many instances, never to see them again.

I mean, what’s not to like, right?

According to my research, not only did the captives not enjoy slavery, they never accepted it. I was happy and proud to discover that rather than docilely serving as happy, watermelon-eating, gospel singing, servile victims of slavery, most of the captives constantly fought, agitated, and died to gain their freedom.

I was even more shocked to learn that many of the captives refused to even think of themselves as slaves. To them they were prisoners of war. Political and economic prisoners. An oppressed group, much like we think of ourselves today.

Most felt they’d been unjustly ripped from their home lands and enslaved. They felt strongly that God knew their enslavement was wrong, and would one day free them. This is why they never stopped fighting, rebelling, and pushing back against the system that oppressed them.

This belief in God, and their cause, was what gave them faith and strength in the face of unimaginable horrors. It was what kept them going.

SOME MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SLAVERY

Here are some other common misconceptions about American slavery:

One misconception was that slavery, in some ways, was humane. It was not! It was brutal, degrading, and dehumanizing. The only dispute about this is just how brutal it was.

It was brutal beyond belief. No way our modern minds can comprehend it. Just imagine being owned by your worst enemy in a place where it was legal to profit from your blood, sweat, and tears. Then, years later, after you’re broken and beaten, you’re discarded like a dirty dish rag. That was slavery in America.

Another common misconception was that slavery was a successful economic system. It was not. It mainly enriched a small group of rich, plantation owners, mostly in the south. It did not spread wealth and prosperity throughout the entire economy, leaving out many Whites as well.

In addition to creating a chasm between the haves and the have nots, American slavery was considered an unfair system because of its use of free labor. Many nations in Northwestern Europe, particularly Great Britain and the Netherlands, were practicing capitalism during the early years of American slavery.

Europe wasn’t happy to be competing with a budding power utilizing free labor as the engine of its economy. It wasn’t out of sympathy for the black captives, or their abhorrence to slavery, but because they felt the American system put them at a disadvantage.

Over the ensuing years some economic models have shown the slave system to be wildly inefficient and wasteful, both in blood and treasure. Slave labor was no substitute for roads, bridges, canals, railroads, steel mills and shipyards. Slavery and the parochial rent-seeking culture it promoted inhibited the growth of capitalism in the south.

No nation used the system of slavery to create wealth like the United States. A decline of profits eventually weakened the hunger for slave labor. Some economists believe the Industrial Revolution, particularly in Britain, hastened the end of slavery

Slavery apologists will have you believe that the captives did not resist slavery. Poppycock! They certainly did. In many and varied ways.

They staged work slow downs, faked illnesses, broke tools, killed livestock and work animals, stole, destroyed property, feigned ignorance, ran away, and even revolted.

The fear of the captives sneaking up to the Big House in the dead of night and killing them kept many slave owners up at night.

According to another false narrative, the north was against slavery. Not true. Many Northerners owned slaves. And while it was true they didn’t have as many big farms or plantations in the north, slavery was an accepted and well respected part of northern life and culture.

Many northern slaves were treated just as cruelly as their southern brothers and sisters, and even free Blacks received scant better treatment. Any attempts by free northern Blacks to compete equally with Whites were met with much resistance, and some had their homes and businesses burned and razed if they did too well.

THE UNHOLY ROLE OF WHITE WOMEN

One of the most overlooked and under reported elements of slavery was the role of White women in the horrid practice. For the most part, they’ve been thought of as benign participants, forced to go along with an evil system perpetuated by their fathers, husbands, and brothers. This is far from the actual role of White women in the perpetuation of slavery.

White women not only prospered from the institution, some of them lived in the lap of luxury because of it. According to many slave narratives, many of them relished their roles as slave mistresses. Especially when it came to disciplining and controlling captive women.

Just as it’s only recently coming to light how some White women sought to sideline Black women in the fight for female suffrage, it’s now coming out about how cruel many White women were to their black captives. In many instances, they were considered more cruel than the slave masters themselves. Many, personally, and in some cases gleefully, flogged any captive who displeased them.

White women often inherited captives from their husbands or fathers, and rarely freed them… even after they’d worked to pay for their freedom.

They also played favorites with the captives, rewarding those loyal to them and cruelly punishing those who were not. Some of them were known for their cruelties, overworking house captives, physically abusing them, denying them time to properly care for their own children, and wreaking vengeance on any female captive she thought her husband had an interest in.

Many times it was the white mistress who decided who would be separated and sold from their families. Suffice it to say, any “fair” skinned captive child was the first to go, along with the mother, if she could swing it.

For far too long White women have gotten a pass in America. Their past atrocities toward Blacks were unacknowledged or misrepresented by white men, who wanted to continue to perpetuate the stereotype of them as kindly, delicate flowers, as pure as the driven snow.

THE FIRST BLACKS IN AMERICA

Yet another misconception about American slavery was that Blacks were always slaves. Not true.

The first Africans who came to the colonies were not slaves, but indentured servants.

Indentured servitude, a system whereby a poor or captive individual served as a servant for a number of predetermined years before being freed, was a common practice throughout Europe. It was exported to the colonies of North America during the 17th century, and not only were incoming Africans indentured servants, but so were white Europeans.

This form of bondage, though little different from chattel slavery, at least offered the possibility of freedom. Over a period of time, as more Blacks were brought to the colonies, the terms of servitude became longer and harsher, finally culminating in the legalization of slavery for Blacks around the middle of the 17th century.

So, how could the first Blacks brought to the colonies have been slaves when slavery wasn’t even legal?

Nor was it needed during the formation of the early colonies since there were few settlers and even fewer large farms or plantations where slave labor might be needed. As time wore on and more settlers arrived and more commerce was established, particularly in the agricultural area, the need for mass labor became more acute.

White land owners, after having seen the failure of white indentured servitude, and indigenous labor (Native Americans), turned to black labor to fuel the largely agricultural economy.

I know it makes a better story to say Blacks arrived in America as slaves, but it’s just not true.

Truth be told, some of the first Blacks to arrive in the colonies, after serving out their terms as indentured servants, became free men and went on to become prosperous land owners. This, naturally, sparked a backlash that led to the legalization of slavery for Blacks in the colonies.

Sound familiar?

WHO WERE SLAVES IN AMERICA?

Another misconception about American slavery is that only Blacks were slaves. Again, not true.

What we need to understand about slavery, American or otherwise, is that it was a cold, cruel, and callous system. It ensnared many and spared few. This was especially true during the early years of slavery, which goes back thousands of years.

The first slaves were those mainly captured in war. Color of skin wasn’t a determinant of whether you could be enslaved. Over the millenniums, anyone could be enslaved, and were, Whites included.

Slavery knew no race, creed, or color. It was circumstance more than anything else that increased the chances of being made a slave before the time of European exploration and the discovery of the so-called “New World” (though I’m still at a loss to understand how you can discover something that’s already there).

During American slavery, anyone could be enslaved… Black, White, Native American, men, women, children. The colonies, and later America, operated on the one-drop rule. This meant that a single drop of “black” blood in your veins made you black, and therefore you were subject to being enslaved.

The “one-drop” rule meant that a white man, or woman, with a single black relative in his or her family tree could be classified as black and be enslaved in America. Some were.

Many slave owners enslaved their own children produced by Black women. The offspring of a White woman and a Black man, if it was spared, could be enslaved. The offspring of Black and Native Americans could be enslaved, sometimes by Native Americans themselves.

American slavery was a mish mash of informal, and sometimes incomprehensible, rules, beliefs, and prejudices. Some Native Americans owned black slaves. Even some free Blacks owned black slaves.

Slavery in America was confusing and contradictory. It touched on the lives of all Americans in some form or fashion. All of America was soiled and tainted by it.

SLAVERY AND THE CIVIL WAR

The last misconception about slavery I want to clear up is the belief by many Blacks that the Civil War was fought over slavery. This, too, is untrue.

In the beginning the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery, though it eventually became about slavery when president Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the captives.

Nor was the war fought over the dubious claim of states’ rights as proclaimed by many southerners. Though the ongoing Abolitionist Movement may have been on the minds of the seceding states, outlawing the vile practice wasn’t even on Lincoln’s mind when he declared war.

The Civil War started over the expansion of slavery, particularly in the unsettled western territories, which the South wanted and the North did not. Halting the expansion of slavery in the country was a slippery slope the South feared would eventually lead to the abolition of slavery.

The tug of war between the north and south for political and economic power had been ongoing for decades before the advent of the war. More slave states would help the south, and this was a proposition the north certainly didn’t want to see come to fruition.

During this time slavery was being outlawed all over the world, especially in Europe, and while Lincoln didn’t see slavery ending in America anytime soon, he, nonetheless, didn’t want to see the practice expanded. His main concern was to save the Union, not end slavery.

Truth be told, Lincoln was alright with black slavery. He thought Blacks were inferior to Whites, and had even proposed sending Blacks back to Africa to solve the racial problem.

Only after the North was getting its butt kicked by the well motivated South did Lincoln decide to add fuel to the fire by freeing the captives.

And, as we know, the rest is history. When Blacks were finally allowed to fight for their own freedom, the tables began to turn, and the south was soundly defeated.

THE LESSONS OF SLAVERY

Why is it so important for us to have an accurate depiction of slavery after so many years? As the old saying goes, the truth will set you free.

We need to be set free. Free from lies and misrepresentations about our history… and ourselves.

We need an accurate picture not only of who and what we are, but where we’ve been.

In order to finally throw off the shackles of a past that’s imprisoning and hindering us in our modern pursuit of happiness, we have to understand what we’ve gone through. Straight and unadulterated.

Most importantly, we need to understand we’re not the only ones to have been enslaved. We’re not the only ones who’ve suffered.

Many races, cultures, and groups have been enslaved over the millenniums. Many peoples have been oppressed and brutalized. Genocide against many groups have occurred in many parts of the world, from time immemorial. We are not alone in having cruelties and atrocities practiced against us.

Many groups have experienced dark days and lived to tell about it. Many have survived and recovered from it.

We must not continue to allow ourselves to be defined by past atrocities and indignities heaped on us.

We, ourselves, are not innocent of sin. We have committed atrocities against others. Some of us have committed atrocities against each other.

We have to free ourselves from a culture of grievance.

While we must never forget the past, we must not allow ourselves to remain prisoners of it.

FEAR OF PRAISING OBAMA

FOPO SYNDROME (FEAR OF PRAISING OBAMA)

It’s really sad that nearly four years after the end of America’s most historic presidency, we still seem to be afflicted with the chronic disease of FOPO (Fear of Praising Obama).

How sad.

Sad, because after the election of the nation’s first non-white president, and his historic two-term run, we still refuse to give the man his due.

What’s up with that?

I think you know, but play along anyway.

I can’t begin to tell you how much it rankles me (and that’s being kind) when I hear white news announcers, politicians, and even historians refuse to acknowledge what many Americans, black and white, know: Former President Barack Hussein Obama (no relation to Osama) was one of the best, if not the best, president to ever grace the White House.

Could it be that our current president compares so unfavorably with Mr. Obama that Whites are afraid to praise the former president? Do they fear raising the ire of someone known to have a fixation on his predecessor? Are they afraid of losing their “white” card?

You know how the old saying goes. If you’re black you have to be twice as good to get half the chance.

Can we just give Obama his due as one of the best?

What more proof do you need when poll after poll consistently rate Mr. Obama, not only as one of the best presidents in American history, but also one of the most admired men in the world. This second distinction is one he has enjoyed every year since his first year in office, and continues to enjoy today.

Throw in the fact his main squeeze, Michelle, is consistently rated as the most admired woman in the world, I’m at a loss why it’s so hard to admit the Brother indeed has it going on.

Though not considered an angry Black man, I still find it hard to control myself when I hear people in the media routinely offer only faint praise for the former Executive in Chief. At the same time they speak so glowingly about certain former white Presidents. Some of these same white men over the ensuing years have proven to be racist.

If I hear another word about the affable Gipper (Reagan) or the fire side chat of Roosevelt or the courage of Kennedy in facing down Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis, I just might throw up. No disrespect to any of these men (except maybe Reagan), but none of these men had the expectations of an entire race on their shoulders.

But, what really gets me is the failure of even some Blacks to understand how impactful and historic Mr. Obama’s ascendency was.

UNPRECEDENTED OPPOSITION

Why we’re so afraid to acknowledge what our first African-American president was able to accomplish is beyond me. Especially, in light of opposition from, hands down, no doubt about it, it’s a wrap, book it Dano, the most powerful group in the world… conservative white men.

The power of this cabal dominates not only American politics, but most of Europe as well. What Mr. Obama accomplished in his eight years in office in the face of this opposition isn’t only unprecedented, it’s a miracle. A miracle not of celestial making, but of intelligence, strength, faith, and yes, hope.

THE MEASURE OF A MAN

For those still afraid to call a spade a spade, and especially those who have the nerve to say Mr. Obama wasn’t a good president, let me remind you of a few things.

First of all, let’s start with the personal.

For a position many consider the most prestigious in the world, who can downplay the importance of good character in carrying out the duties of the office. Especially when it comes to trying to serve all the people of the nation, and not just those who voted for you.

On character Mr. Obama definitely gets an A plus. Even his critics can’t deny this.

Mr. Obama is well educated, a Harvard Law School graduate. He went on to become the first black president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review, the first in its 104-year history.

The man’s a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a best-selling book author, and an inspirational orator. He’s intelligent, thoughtful, considerate, humble, soft-spoken, and eloquent.

His first move after graduating law school wasn’t to get some high-paying, fancy-pants, lawyer job, but to become a community activist, working to help poor people attain better lives and livelihoods.

Mr. Obama is also a great husband and father. No sexual scandals of record. No drinking, carousing, or philandering (not that Michelle was going anyway). No sexist attitudes. In fact, Mr. Obama was a champion of Women’s Rights, including equal pay for equal work for women.

There were no political scandals during his eight years in office. This, despite his opposition publicly declaring opposing him as their main goal, and spending years, and many millions of dollars, trying to prove Mr. Obama was just as corrupt as any white president.

But, all to no avail. When Mr. Obama left office, not a single scandal had besmirched his pristine reputation as a man of honesty, integrity, and principles.

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

Now, let us get into his historic accomplishments.

When Mr. Obama came into office he faced one of the biggest crises in American history; not only a great recession, but the eminent collapse of capitalism.

Capitalism, as we know, is the White man’s own vaunted economic system, instituted by himself on day one to make sure he stayed in economic control of the country.

Quite frankly, the brother inherited an economy in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

And if you’re too young to remember the Great Depression, just remember it was a time so perilous that even rich White people were shopping at Family Dollar. True story.

Some people admit the U.S. was in such dire straits that only President Lincoln faced a greater challenge upon entering office. Lincoln’s challenge, of course, was saving the Union.

While I won’t dispute this analysis, you’d have to be pretty dumb if you don’t realize what chaos the entire world would have been thrown into if capitalism went down the tubes.

Think about it. Where else except under capitalism can you be charged a dollar for a bag of hot Cheetos that half full of air?

But, just as Western civilization was about to come to an end here comes Mr. Obama to the rescue. A Black man. A Black man with little political experience. A Black man with no foreign policy experience. A Black man with a Muslim sounding name.

Talk about being set up for failure. Mr. Obama surely felt like Charlie Brown getting ready to kick the ball with the Republicans as Lucy. Good grief man!

And the rest is history.

THE NUMBERS GAME

When President Obama came into office the economy was losing jobs at an unprecedented rate: 818,000 in his first month alone, and 4.2 million more over the course of the year. Add to that 3.6 million jobs lost during the previous year (2008). The American economy was poised to tank and continue to lose jobs well into the future.

What actually happened?

After Mr. Obama got into office, his stewardship slowly, but steadily improved the economy. After avoiding a depression, and losing 4.2 million jobs during his first year, the economy showed consistent job gains over the next seven years, totaling a net gain of 11.6 million jobs. The unemployment rate subsequently dropped to below the historical norms throughout his tenure. By the time he left office the jobless rate was down to 4.7 percent… well below the historic norm of 5.6 percent.

Under Obama the inflation-adjusted incomes of Americans households reached the highest level ever recorded. Average weekly earnings for all workers were up 4.2 percent after adjustment for inflation. After-tax corporate profits also set records, as did stock prices. The S&P 500 index rose 166 percent.

REMEMBER THE TITAN

Saving the economy wasn’t the only way the Dark Knight saved our bacon.

How? Let us count the ways.

  • Every American president since Harry Truman (1945) had tried to reform the expensive, corrupt, and totally inadequate American health care system. With only juju beans, a uoija board, and both Houses of Congress, Mr. Obama conjured up the Affordable Care Act. This was accomplished in the face of unprecedented opposition from the Republicans and the Health Care lobby. Because of the ACA, the number of people lacking health insurance dropped by 15 million. The percentage of all U.S. residents who lacked health coverage dropped sharply, from 14.7 percent the year before he took office to 9.0 percent in his final year… the lowest on record. We can say what we want about the Affordable Care Act not going far enough, but considering the virulent opposition and their cacophony of lies and smears, criticism of the accomplishment is like saying Custer didn’t fight hard enough at the Alamo.
  • Remember the infamous auto crisis? The one where all those rich rappers and ballers were having their Bentleys and Lamborghinis repossessed? No, not that one. The one where the vaunted American Auto Industry was about to go belly up. That one. President Obama kept the vital industry from going bankrupt by issuing a bail-out loan. The bail-out not only saved the auto industry and thousands of middle-class jobs, but kept the economy from tanking. And, much to the chagrin of Republicans, the loan not only was paid back, but with interest.
  • President Obama was an outspoken supporter of Women’s Rights, and not just because Mrs. Obama kept a fold-a-way bed at the ready in the living room. President Obama had a tremendous respect for women and their historic struggles. During his term he enacted the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that reduced sex discrimination. He also hired many qualified women, many of them of color, famously making his rival, Hillary Clinton, his Secretary of State.
  • President Obama was an ardent supporter of clean energy and pushed many policies to decrease greenhouse gases and protect the environment. He pushed auto makers to produce more fuel efficient cars as well as increase gas mileage. Under Obama wind and solar power increased 269 percent. Coal production (dirty power) decreased 38 percent. Carbon emissions from burning fossil fuel dropped 11 percent. The increase in solar power was astonishing. The U.S. generated nearly 43 times more electricity from solar power in 2016 than in 2008. The President was also one of the leaders in getting the historic Paris Agreement on climate control passed.
  • President Obama and First Lady Michelle showed their care and concern for military veterans and their families by advocating for better treatment and appreciation for those who served their country. He initiated the Veterans Choice Act, legislation that gave former service members more options to seek care and gave the VA secretary more authority to fire underperforming staffers. He signed the legislation into law on August 7, 2014.
  • President Obama constantly showed he cared about young people, whether it was about their well-being, their education, or their future as wage earners or parents. Mr. Obama revamped and expanded student loans and increased support for community colleges, making it easier for working-class Americans to get a higher education. He also pushed for tighter tobacco regulations aimed at the 1,000 Americans under the age of 18 who become smokers every day.
  • After greed and mismanagement by some large banks, credit card companies, mortgage lenders, and large corporations led to the Great Recession of 2008, President Obama again rode to the rescue. After working with President Bush to push through an economic stimulus package (some called it a bail-out), he pushed through strict measures holding those big financial institutions to account, tightening lax regulations, and imposing policies and standards that made them more accountable to their customers and American citizens.
  • President Obama was also a champion of education. He instituted school reform legislation. During his first years he used stimulus money to keep teachers from being laid off and pushed states to reform education in ways that benefitted children for years to come. His “Race to the Top” program changed the narrative around education, and even challenged his own party to come out of their union-protection coma to hold teachers and principals more accountable for providing quality education to our nation’s children. Mr. Obama was especially interested in improving inner-city education for minority and low-income students.
  • Everyone knows what President Obama did for the young dreamers. He created DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to protect the children of adults who arrived in the country without documentation from being deported. Disproving his opposition’s charge of being soft on illegal immigration, under Mr. Obama’s presidency the flow of people caught crossing the U.S.- Mexico border illegally slowed markedly. While Obama did implement extremely tough border policies, he continued to push for a grand bargain with the Republicans that would include a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented Americans.
  • Though the President’s opposition constantly sought to cast him as weak and inexperienced when it came to foreign policy, this was far from the truth. In addition to working with our allies to strengthen long-standing and critical ties, President Obama restored the trust and admiration for America dampened by years of American invasions, wrong-headed trade policies, and political scandals. One of his first moves was to strengthen our relationship with NATO. He entered into the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership and the Iran Nuclear Arms deal, both of which bolstered international alliances to curb global dangers. His administration’s drone attacks and counterintelligence operations did major damage to the infrastructure of al Qaeda and ISIS. His administration also ended the use of torture and implemented other reforms that brought the nation under more honorable and acceptable rules of engagement. And who can forget the daring raid that killed the world’s number one terrorist, Osama Bin Laden? Bin Laden pulled off the most horrific act of terrorism ever launched against the U.S. An attack that not only knocked over our towering symbol of economic superiority, the Twin Towers, but launched us into a seemingly never-ending war in yet another foreign country.
  • Despite all this, some still question just how much the first Black president did for his own people. According to the record he did a lot. Forgetting for a moment how his racist opposition was determined to undermine any and everything he tried to to do to help African Americans, President Obama did speak out consistently against racism and injustice. Often those who were the first to criticize him for not speaking out more, became the last to defend him when he received blowback for his actions. Along with his Attorney General, Eric Holder, the President implemented ground breaking reforms that lessened some of the worse racial disparities in the criminal justice system. In addition, his Justice Department ended mandatory sentences on low-level offenders. Under Obama the murder rate dropped to the lowest level on record in 2014, then rose to finish at the same level as when he took office… dispelling the myth that crime ran rampant during his tenure. The percentage of Americans living with income below the official poverty level went down to 12.7 percent of the population during Obama’s last year in office (2016), a half-point drop compared to his first year in office (2008). According to Princeton University sociologist Paul Starr, the cumulative effects of his domestic programs diminished economic equality in the U.S.

A FEW MORE TIDBITS BEFORE I GO

  • Home values rebounded under President Obama, reaching a new high in his last year in office. Sales figures from the National Association of Realtors show the national median price of an existing, single-family home was $235,000 in 2016. This was $38,900 higher than in 2008, an increase of 19.8%.
  • According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2018, when asked which president has done the best job in their lifetimes, more Americans named Barack Obama than any other president. More than four-in-ten (44%) said Obama was the best or second best president of their lifetimes, compared to about a third who mentioned Bill Clinton (33%) or Ronald Reagan (32%) Note: this poll included White people. Another note: Barack Obama is a Black man.
  • During Obama’s presidency favorable perceptions of the United States more than doubled in Germany and confidence in the U.S. president in the United Kingdom rose from 16% for Bush in 2008 to 86% for Obama in 2009.
  • During his two campaigns Mr. Obama ran an operation that appealed to the most optimistic and hopeful among us, and showed that “hope and change” was possible even in a nation as racist as the United States. No president before or since has spread such a message. A message designed to unite rather than divide.
  • President Obama was one of the few presidents to bring people of opposing views into his cabinet and sphere of influence. He brought together a broad range of people… from African Americans to suburban educated white women to independents to young people to push for the American Dream for all.

The man simply did the damn thang!!