Thursday, February 7, 2019

Black History Month: Indeed We Stand on the Shoulders of Our Freedom-Fighting Ancestors – Ashe!

by Kenray Sunyaru

In the Memory of All of Our Freedom-Fighting Ancestors both known and unknown; who dared all, sacrificed all, shouldered all, and died for our struggle for freedom and self-determination we venerate and salute all of you! 
Our Freedom-Fighting Ancestors Shouldered:

*Our Freedom-Fighting Ancestors ‘shouldered’ carried the burden of our oppression ‘white supremacy’.

*Our Freedom-Fighting Ancestors ‘shouldered’ the weight during slavery and afterwards of making a way out of no way; their shoulders were the bridge that helped us cross over the daily turbulent white waters of persecution.

*Our Freedom-Fighting Ancestors ‘shouldered’ took on the massive challenge to struggle against racial oppression.

*Our Freedom-Fighting Ancestors ‘shouldered’ pushed forward ‘striving toward freedom’ against all odds of racial oppression.

*Our Freedom-Fighting Ancestors ‘shouldered’ applied themselves vigorously for self-determination; made consistent concentrated resistance efforts for freedom.

*Our Freedom-Fighting Ancestors ‘shouldered’ cooperated with each other shoulder to shoulder in mutual aid.

*Our Freedom-Fighting Ancestors ‘shouldered' speaking truth to power; frankly exposing the oppressors and talking to us candidly - telling it like it is ‘straight from the shoulder’.

Let us take time this Black History Month to honor our Freedom Fighting Ancestors ‘Shoulders’, let them inspire us to strengthen our own shoulders to continue their legacy of shouldering. 

Let us daily remember our Freedom Fighting Ancestors and our responsibility to them by touching our shoulders throughout the day to be mindful of our purpose.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

MLK Holiday Reflection: Majority of Whites Don’t Want to Discuss – Deal With Racism

by Kenny Anderson

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was racially murdered - politically assassinated over 50 years ago (4/4/68), King’s birthday became a U.S. national holiday in 1983 thirty-six years ago and racial equality for most Blacks in America today still remains just a romantic dream.

I believe racial equality is elusive in one aspect because the definition of racism remains unclear and narrow as a major ongoing topic of discussion. The problem is most whites define racism as prejudiced attitudes toward Blacks or having a hateful attitude like a Klansman; this definition is simplistic and limited in scope.

The scope of racism has several attitudinal expressions beyond discrimination and hate: condescending, paternalistic, indifference, pseudo-benignness, victim blaming, and paranoia (Negrophobia). Most importantly racism is ‘power privilege’, not only do whites receive exalted ego gratification or ‘psychic income’, they received the benefits of ‘material income’ as well. Thus racism becomes the reactionary ideas and attitudes that justify white-skin privilege.

Based on the expanded definition that I have presented, it would be very naive on the part of Blacks to think most whites want to honestly discuss racial equality. How can there be racially equality when white power privilege causes racial inequality? In my estimation racism boils down to the covert and overt disrespectful attitude that most whites have toward Blacks due to their dominant advantage.

From my perspective, as long as Blacks continue to appeal for racial equality by attempting to change the racist attitudes of whites through dialogue then the focus of our struggle will continue to only produce the creation of human relations workshops, classes on racism, commissions to study racism or maybe some temporary social programs. 

“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn. The reality of substantial investment to assist Negroes into the twentieth century, adjusting to Negro neighbors and genuine school integration, is still a nightmare for all too many white Americans. These are the deepest causes for contemporary abrasions between the races. Loose and easy language about equality, resonant resolutions about brotherhood fall pleasantly on the ear, but for the Negro there is a credibility gap he cannot overlook. He remembers that with each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that the Negro has come far enough. Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash." Martin Luther King, Jr.
There's always room for sincere dialogue between Blacks and whites concerning racial equality. However, according to white sociologist Robin Di’Angelo it’s hard for whites to have honest conversations with Blacks regarding racism due to whites’ thin-skinned defensive reactions.

In her new book ‘White Fragility’ Di’Angelo argues that most white people consider having a frank conversation about racism would be a challenge to their racial worldview - as a challenge to their identities as good moral people. 

Yes, truthfully discussing racism makes most whites uncomfortable, so they avoid genuine conversations about racism; they view it as making them feel guilty, they take it personal - they feel attacked. 

For most whites if you don’t talk about racism then it doesn’t exist and many more of them are tired of talking about racism - it’s annoying! Furthermore there is a racial divide when in it comes to defining racism, as Dr. King stated: 

“There's not even a common language when the term equality is used. Negro and white have a fundamental different definition. Negroes have proceeded from the premise that equality means what it says and have taken white Americans at their word when they talked of it as an objective. But most whites in America, including many person of goodwill proceed from a premise that equality is a loose expression for improvement. White Americans are not even psychologically organized to close the gap; essentially it seeks only to make it less painful and less obvious but in most respects to retain it. Jobs are harder and costlier to create than voting rolls. Eradication of slum housing million is complex far beyond integrating buses and lunch counters.”  

From my perspective, trying to convince whites about racism and waiting to get them to agree on a common definition of racism is a road to nowhere. As Blacks our primary focus should be on self-determination developing our own equality.

Even if a miracle occurred and all whites stop being racist today most Blacks will still be faced with the same political, economic, and sociocultural crisis that racial oppression caused yesterday.

Blacks Can’t Wait on Whites for Racial Equality

In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. declared, “Why We Can't Wait.” King’s declaration reflected his deep disappointment and impatience with this country's slow pace of progress toward eradicating racial inequality and segregation.

King realize that Blacks in 1963 had made little progress declaring “Why We Can't Wait.” King affirmed the politics of Black self-reliance and the tactical use of nonviolent direct action to end segregation in southern cities.

King wanted to emphasize to Blacks that political inactivity and neglecting our self-responsibility will only postpone our progress in the struggle against racial oppression.

Moreover, King understood that the Civil Rights Movement was relative, that Civil Rights legislation was no panacea, and that the Civil Rights struggle was not a total victory, as King stated: 

“In assessing the results of the Negro Revolution so far, it can be concluded that Negroes have established a foothold, no more. Negroes have fought and won, but our engagements were skirmishes, not climactic battles. Negroes have not yet paid the full price for freedom.” 

I believe King’s declarative statement why we can't wait, is more relative today than when it was stated over 55 years ago. The crisis of most Blacks in the post-Civil Rights era is a result of the assumption ‘false expectation’ that after the Civil Rights struggle Black progress would be on a continual basis.

As Blacks continually waited on white liberalism and the democratic party for dependent progress to occur we left unattended the growing unprecedented socioeconomic problems that were emerging internally in our communities due to our unfounded belief that external aid would be coming. 

In the process of depending on government agencies and private employers for intervention progress, federal affirmative action policies were being eliminated and social services funds were being slashed; while corporations were downsizing massive jobs disproportionately affecting Blacks.

Indeed, the socioeconomic problems have been in full bloom in most Black communities engulfing our people in an unending cycle of joblessness, poverty, welfare, broken homes, homelessness, drugs, sickness, violence, and mass imprisonment.

Due to our self-determination neglect especially under the Black president ‘Obama’ who manipulated, pacified, and neglected Black folks; unrealisitcally depending on him for a ‘change we could believe in’; we responded negatively ‘hope only’ resultantly our challenges grew seemingly to be insurmountable. 

Our challenge now under ‘Trumpism’ white nationalism backlash and beyond is to transform our negative inactions into positive actions. Yes, there is an extreme emergency in so many Black communities; with urgency we must develop intervention strategies and some Black Panther Party like survival programs to assist millions of Black folks who are at-risk.

A sudden change is needed to improve our perilous situation; if we don't act now too many of our communities will continue on a downgrading cycle of deterioration, despair, and deaths. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Black Police Are Just as Likely as White Officers to Kill Black Men

by Kenray Sunyaru 

New research shows that Black police are just as likely as white police to kill Black suspects concludes research led by Charles Menifield, dean of the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University–Newark titled "The killing of Black suspects is a police problem, not a white police problem."
Black Police Contribute to Black-on-Black Male Deaths
The research reports that while some officers may by driven by personal prejudice, the bias that can serve as a catalyst for killings is more institutional than individual. Menifield and his colleagues constructed a database of all confirmed incidents in which deadly force was used by police in the United States during 2014 and 2015. 
The research includes detailed information on both the officer and victim. They found a huge racial disparity when it comes to who gets killed by officers. While only about 13 percent of the American population is Black, 28 percent of people killed by police are Black.
The victims were overwhelmingly male (95.5 percent), the majority of officers in these situations were white. They report this reflects the fact that America's police forces are disproportionately made up of whites, who account for approximately three-quarters of all officers.
Crunching the numbers, the researchers report white police officers actually kill Black and other minority suspects at lower rates than we would expect if killings were randomly distributed among officers of all races. 

They found that nonwhite officers kill both Black and Latino suspects at significantly higher rates than white officers. This is likely due to the fact that minority police officers tend to be assigned to minority neighborhoods, and therefore have more contact with minority suspects."
Researchers believes that the disproportionate killing of Black suspects is a downstream effect of institutionalized racism within many police departments. Disproportionate killing is a function of disproportionate police contact among members of the Black community.
According to them if a certain percentage of such encounters between the police and public end in tragedy, and police are more likely to come into contact with Black citizens (for instance, ordering Black drivers to pull over at higher rates than whites), it stands to reason that Black civilians are at greater risk of ending up dead.
From this writer’s angel - perspective it’s not surprising that Black police officers kill Black men more often than white officers; No, it’s not shocking that many Black police officers kill Black men no different than Black overseers killed Black male slaves on the plantation; no different than Black gang-bangers killing each other. Black male victims of racism internalize racial oppression and become Black victimizers. 
Many Black police officers harbor both conscious and unconscious disdain for Black men; Black officers shooting Black men shows white officers they are loyal to ‘Blue over Black’

Many Black police officers knows it’s acceptable to kill Black men - it’s an intregal aspect of policing culture in America. Black police officers know Black men’s lives are less valuable because they too face racism on the job; some of them have been killed by their fellow white police officers. 
Black men are a soft target for Black police officers power-tripping superiority (badge and gun), frustration, and stress. These Black officers rarely kill white men because know that’s not acceptable and if they did kill a white man in the line of duty they will be scrutinize more. 

Many Black police officers like many Blacks in general under white supremacy have been programmed as H. Rap Brown said to have an anti-Black attitude of 'Die Nigger Die' toward Black men. 


“When you are filled with self-hate your mind is reversed. Meaning you will love the things that destroy you, and you will hate the things that advance your growth."  Dr. Amos Wilson

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Miseducation of a Black American Boy

by Justin Patton

Question Everything!!
I never questioned the information because I didn’t know that I had to. The fact that I could be taught something that was wrong was not even a thought in my mind. 

I figured if it was in a history book it must be true. As a kid, never was I given the impression that everything needed to be questioned.

As a black boy, I knew my history started with slavery. Then after Abraham Lincoln set us free, it was civil rights. I took pride in my history because I always felt that my people were fighters. We were always the underdogs and had to fight for everything we wanted and deserved.
On the other hand, was my school force feeding me slavery like that was all black people are known for? Whether slavery or civil rights, do we always have to be looked down upon?
Let’s talk slavery in the context of how discrimination based on race laid the foundation for many under-served black and brown communities today. The Civil Rights Act was just signed 54 years ago. Our Society is not so far removed from that type of prejudice.
From my history, Africa was a big, poor country. It’s where most other black people resided and where I came from, but it’s full of poverty and corruption. That’s why it’s so important for you to call the 1–800 number and sponsor an impoverished African child for 10¢/day.
The story was never that Africa was the largest continent with the most natural resources of any land. The story was never about how exploitation of ‘the Motherland’ for those same resources has led to even more corruption and war. The same thing continues to this day.
“Taught no self-worth just the blood of slave.”
American history in school always left me feeling 3/5 human. Thankfully, my family instilled a history in me that made me proud of the lineage in which I came. 

Having parents who lived through the height of the civil rights era in the south gave me a firsthand account of how life was, and an appreciation for the people before me who fought for my freedom.
It was not until I was older that I realized Columbus didn’t discover America, and that the Pilgrims didn’t necessarily make friends with the Natives. 

It was not until I was older that I realized how history from a European point of view had shaped not only how I viewed my ancestors, but how I viewed myself.
Growing up Catholic, religion was given to me at an early age. Before I could comprehend what I was talking about, I could recite a ‘Hail Mary’ at any time. In school, we would attend mass every Friday, and we went as a family on Sundays.
While I understood the values that my religion was teaching, I didn’t understand why no one in the depictions looked like me? Not Jesus, not Mary and Joseph, nor the disciples or even the modern day popes had skin like mine. 

In religion class, the workbooks contained people with mostly fair skin. Depictions of Jesus in the church was a man with European features including white skin.
Not seeing myself in my place of worship made me feel like I wasn’t good enough at times, because it seemed like we weren’t good enough to be represented. 
Seeing images of white people (and white people only) as the most righteous people in my church and Catholic school played a part in me not appreciating my own features. 

I wanted hair like white boys because their hair moved when we played soccer. I thought having blue or green eyes was so much cooler than just plain old brown.
While the faith gave me a moral compass as a child, the miseducation came through the images which seem to reinforce the old saying that “white is right”, and since I wasn’t white, was I wrong?
Survival Tactics
If it was not for the love and belief that my family instilled in me, I’m not sure that I would be able to say today that I love the skin that I’m in. 

As a black boy in America, it is made clear that you’re at a disadvantage due to the color of your skin by the survival tactics that you’re taught early.
I was taught an early age that if I was going to succeed in life, then I had to be twice as good as other people simply because I was black. This may be the reality of our country, but it reinforced a notion that this outlook was okay. 

Like I should just accept this because that’s just the way it is. As if because of my color, I’m not good enough, therefore I must work harder.
I was taught at an early age that if I was going to survive an encounter with the police, then I need to act in the most respectable manner possible, regardless of how the cop is acting. 

Even if the cop is the aggressor, I am to obey by any mean necessary. While this is probably the best course of action, what message does that send to a young black boy when he is told to respect the cops because there’s a good chance that you could get killed for NOTHING!
“What one does realize is that when you try to stand up and look the world in the face like you had a right to be here, without knowing that this is the result of it, you have attacked the entire power structure of the Western world.” -James Baldwin
The most important survival tactic that America taught me was to know my place. My American heroes were the ones who had the audacity to speak out against injustices regarding black people, a crime obviously punishable by death as it related to Martin and Malcolm. 

I learned from Ali that no matter how hard my right hook was, standing up for a cause being black could get me thrown in jail. How could America treat these people so bad while alive, but idolize them upon their death?
The Miseducation Continues
If it was not for having a family who took pride in their skin color, and the struggles of being black in America, I’m sure that my sense of self would lack what it is today. 

Juggling a dual life of being myself around family, but tucking in my culture to fit white America’s mold created an internal conflict within me. However, it was through seeking true knowledge and self-awareness that I was able to counter (and still countering) this conflict within.
Having gone through America’s educational system up to the point of receiving advanced degrees, I have spent much of my adult life unlearning much of the information, and seeking different perspectives rather than just American perspectives on events throughout history. 
I’ve tried my best to erase images in mind that make black Americans feel less than, and replace them with knowing the impact black people have had on American culture. I combat the negative notions of black people by creating content that uplifts not only the black race, but the human race.
What’s most disappointing about my miseducation, is that I can still see how the cycle continue. Politicians make slavery references, and speak in code as if we do not hear them. The media shows images of black men being gunned down by police over and over again, and cops getting away with it. 

We are still taught Columbus discovered America, like he didn’t kill off many natives. We celebrate Thanksgiving like it’s a time of joy, when it was a actually a time of suffering for black and brown people.
Imagine how these images and stories shape the psyche of a black American boy?
While there are a lot more positive images of black people in America in the media, as executives, and as leaders in public policy, we still have a ways to go. 

Until we can address deep rooted race issues in America that keep black and brown people at a disadvantage economically, financially, educationally, and even mentally, race relations will continue being an issue. 

Until black American boys like myself can understand their power and get a sense of self-worth through American institutions, the miseducation of who they truly are will continue.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Black Men Continue to be Murdered by Racist Police Simply for Living While Black

by Kenny Anderson

"No Black person in America should be shocked at the ongoing racist police murders of Black men. From slavery to the present Black men have been routine victims of racist murders simply for Living While Black" - Kwado Akoma Akofena

Jemel Roberson 

The trend of racist police killings of Black men has shown no signs of letting up, with the latest being a Black male security guard ‘Jemel Roberson’ killed by police (Nov 11th ) at a bar in suburban Chicago (Robbins, Illinois) as he detained a suspected gunman according to officials and witnesses.

Jemel Roberson, 26, who was armed with a legally owned firearm chased down and caught one of the gunman pinning him down waiting on the police to arrive.

Moments after police came on the scene, a white officer immediately believing Roberson was a suspect opened fire killing him. Indeed Roberson was murdered for ‘doing his job while Black’.

According to some of Roberson’s friends he was a spiritual man, besides his security guard job they say he worked as a gospel musician at several nearby churches and had dreams of joining the police force. The pastor of Purposed Hill Church in Chicago Patricia Hill stated: "The very people that he wanted to be family with took his life.”

Botham Shem Jean

Two months before Roberson’s murder an off-duty Dallas, Texas white female police officer Amber Guyger shot and killed another 26 year-old Black male ‘Botham Shem Jean’ on Sept. 6 after she wrongfully entered his apartment; Botham was murdered for being in his own apartment while Black!

Antwon Rose

An over two months before Botham’s murder (June 19) a 17-year-old Black male ‘Antwon Rose’ was shot and killed in Pittsburgh, PA by a white police officer Michael H. Rosfeld during a traffic stop. Rose was murdered for riding in a car while Black!

As Black Men We Need a Serious Shift From The Dominant White Male Viewpoint

by Kenray Sunyaru

Growing up in a society from its inception based on White supremacy from presidents George Washington to Donald Trumpism, I have realized that the overwhelming majority of Whites in this country become extremely uncomfortable when Blacks, especially Black men frankly discuss and expose racial oppression.

Nowadays, too often many Blacks also feel uncomfortable when racism is addressed in an up-front 'tell it like it is' manner because it exposes Black apathy and irresponsibility. What Whites are comfortable with is a cosmetic - 'perfuming the scorpion' Black superficial view of racism, such as acceptable non-power slogans of ‘We Shall Overcome One Day’, ‘Can We All Just Get Along’, and let us just ‘Forgive and Forget’.

I realized very early in my life as a child that I could not and would not accept the dominant White male viewpoint of the world. As a child, I would ask Black adults why Blacks were treated so badly and why Whites lived so much better; I was told "this was the White man's world." In other words white supremacy and Black subordination was ordained by God.

When I went to church as a child I had a problem accepting a picture of a white Jesus hanging on the wall in an all-Black church as the Son of God. Even in my young mind as a child, logically, if Jesus the son was white, then God the father had to be white. This religious imagery was based on whiteness being Godliness.

Though I support liberation theology, I am not a Christian today because of racist theological imagery, along with how the Bible was used as justification to enslave 'so-called' heathen Africans. One of the first slave ships to bring my Ancestors to these shores was the Spanish slave vessel, ‘Jesus Christos’, the good ship ‘Jesus Christ’.

I am reminded of Tupac's song, “Still I Rise”, Pac states: "Got me asking a White Jesus will a brother live or die”. From the Pope to Billy Graham, to the King James version of the Bible, the White male's viewpoint of Christianity dominates.

The White male viewpoint of the world totally dominates every facet of American life! White male news anchors like Chris Matthews, Brian Williams, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and others interpret national and world news from their perspectives. Moreover the White male viewpoint dominates daily newspapers across this country - seldom is the White male viewpoint of the world seriously challenged.

Malcolm X stated: “The white media's is the most powerful entity on earth; they have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power because they control the minds of the masses.” Indeed the white male viewpoint dominates because they control through their monopoly of institutional and corporate power. According to sociology professor Joe Feagin:

“Today, white men make up about 39 percent of the adult population. Yet, after several decades of affirmative action, the overwhelming majority of those who run most major political, economic, educational, and legal - justice organizations are still white men. Recent research shows that there is a concrete ceiling that blocks Black Americans, other Americans of color, and white women from the higher level positions in the society. White men control almost every major U.S. institution – from most Fortune 1000 companies and elite universities, to the presidency, the military, and federal and state legislatures. In most of these sectors, they make up 95 to 100 percent of those in the top positions. One 1980’s analysis of the 7,314 most powerful positions in major economic, political, and educational organizations found only 20 Black men and women, and 318 (mostly white women); altogether less than five percent of the total."

"Most recent studies have shown a similar dominance of major institutions by the white male minority. According to one mid-1990’s Newsweek report, white men were then dominant in the political sphere, holding 77 percent of House and Senate seats and 92 percent of the state governorships. In the corporate world even positions below the very top were held mostly by white men. White men were dominant in the mass media, holding 90 percent of newspaper editor positions and 77 percent of TV news director positions. Most high level executives in other business sectors are also white men. According to a recent report of the federal Glass Ceiling Commission, about 95 percent of the holders of corporate positions at the level of vice president and above are white men. Perhaps the clearest evidence of the corporate world’s failure to promote meritorious Black employees is the fact that in 1998 not a single one of the Fortune 1000 companies had a Black executive as its head. As we move into the twenty-first century, these patterns of white male dominance persist.”

With only one national Black television network, BET, which is dominated by music videos and comedy, and underwritten by White corporate sponsors; this format and dependency dilutes a progressive Black news viewpoint. The Black viewpoint is not based on serious analysis that represents our true issues and interests.

The Black viewpoint has been shaped by sports, laughter, entertainment, and religion. Shaped by athletes Lebron James, Steph Curry, and Tiger Woods; shaped by comedians Dave Chappell, Steve Harvey, Cederick the Entertainer, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Fox, Chris Tucker, Chris Rock, and the Wayan Brothers. Shaped by singer John Legend and rapper Jay Z; shaped by Black ministers like Al Sharpton, T.D. Jakes, and Creflo Dollar preaching pseudo-progressivism, moneyism, and emotionalism.

What must be clear is that a Black male viewpoint shaped by sports, jokes, singers/rappers, and religious hustlers will never lead to real progress or power; nor can it ever challenge a serious White male viewpoint. Black people like all human beings experience our own view points. Our experience has been shaped and dominated by White male supremacy, which has resulted in a repeating pattern of Black behavior that accepts racial oppression - a culture of resignation.

To break this pattern, the dominant White male viewpoint must be challenged through exposure and self-determination. We must be the advocates and selectors of our own viewpoints that represent our own interests.