BY ERIC SMITH
Some people have asked me, as an African American, what has there been to be hopeful about in the seven years since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States? Well, the simple answer is that far more white people voted for President Obama than did black people and while percentage wise of course white support for the president was somewhat less than the percentage of African American votes the president received, the number of white people who voted for him was by no means insignificant. In fact, if white people had not supported President Obama in the numbers that they did, he would never have become president; period.
BY M. K.
I've tried to avoid it however, I have been asked to speak my piece on the white woman who identifies as African American. I'll say my piece and leave it at that. This is my opinion and my opinion only. If you're offended by my opinion well then know that from the bottom of my heart, I live to be the harbinger of your displeasure. Personally.
Anyway, this generates so many mixed feelings on the subject of race relations. For years, we've always argued that "everybody wants to be black, but when it's time to be black, Nobody wants to be black." However on a grand level we have a white woman who identifies as black serving as the president of the NAACP. She's also accomplished much while working there. First thing that comes to mind for me is, "does she stand to undermine the climate of systemic racism and take responsibility for her white guilt by showing what we can accomplish despite the road blocks left by the legacy of our former slave masters? " or "is she trying to make the plight of African Americans out to be self imposed, in particular African American women. That anybody can be successful and there are no cultural limitations." Is it more that she simply felt that uncomfortable as a white woman truly felt she was herself as a black woman? That there is truth to this newly coined phrase "transracial".
BY REBECCA HEYWARD
Let me tell you a story from my childhood.
When I was in high school, 9th or 10th grade, I don’t really remember, a girl named Elsa was murdered in a fight with another girl over a boy. She was sixteen. I never knew her, but I remember hearing the announcement of her death over the loudspeaker in Spanish class, and sitting in silence and remembrance over a life that was so bright and yet so quickly put out. I remember wondering how girls could kill one another, and over something so trivial. I didn’t understand. I still don’t.
When I was a freshman in college, a person very close to me was murdered. His name was Justin, he was 18. Stabbed in the back by an ex-girlfriend when he went to tell her he was moving and would most likely never see him again. I remember his smile, his laugh, the way he always managed to cheer me up or know when I was struggling with something. We had been friends since middle school and he would go to drama club meetings with his girlfriend, a girl who I knew from elementary school although she was a year younger. I don’t know what drove her to murder someone, and I never will.
BY ERIC SMITH
There has been some trepidation and in some cases vocal reservations on the part of those who are opposed to the Republican Party & its racist reactionary agenda to take our struggle against the GOP (or as I prefer to call it the POG-Party of Genocide) to the next level by getting our message out to a much larger audience via Google Plus, Unite Blue, and OFA. These reservations are understandable to a point and on a personal level they remind me of that time in January of 1987 when in the second & final semester of my senior year at Morehouse College I was driving around with some friends through downtown Atlanta when we stopped to observe a parade in what was the second observance of the King Holiday.
Now I had been a youth leader as a teenager in New York and had never missed voting in a major election (I still haven't) and I thought I was politically engaged. However, as I leaned out the window and observed the passing parade one of my classmates saw me and rather than wave back at me as I waved at him, looked at the driver of the car in which I was a passenger and while pointing in my direction "He!" meaning me. "Should be out here marching with us!" Needless to say I jumped out of that car mighty quick and joined the procession. That evening on the news I saw horrifying images of the late Hosea Williams, a lieutenant of Dr. King being literally stoned by angry residents of Cummings GA as they attempted to march through a part of Georgia that had not had an African American resident since 1912 and who had driven out every person of color who had entered into that county since with the rope and the gun.
BY ROBERT BARKER
I have a picture of myself standing in front of a National Guard tank in DC in 1967 at an anti war protest. I was in Berkley when the Peoples Park thing happened. I wrote articles for a left wing paper called the Minority Report in my university years. We stood up for Civil rights, peoples rights, environmental rights, and our right to make peace. We protested and screamed about the Vietnam war and brought world attention to the wrongs and injustice of the war and the world.
Then and now I stand for the American workers, poor, middle class and the generally held down.
Many of my old friends sold out, became corporate whores and allowed their success to become a badge of honor. Instead of showing appreciation for the social structure that made them rich they started to look down on all but those like themselves. Once they allowed their conscientious right and wrongs rule, but self interest ruled them when they made some cash. They grew bitter, learned to play Golf (as I did too) and hang out with people that looked down their noses at the working class. They grew more conservative and abandoned the left and what's right for what was selfish and isolated. Bigotry grew in their minds and hearts as they saw themselves better than the crowd. Now I did as economically well as most of them. I have made and lost millions in my life, but never abandoned the cause of the people..
BY M. A. STEVENS
I believed in a dream of the people, where Justice would be more than a two way street. Because we shouldn’t be opposing each other. We shouldn’t be traveling in opposite directions. I believed in a vision of Justice as the best local train. Moving forward. Moving fast. Moving towards the same destination. Making all stops, for all passengers.
I don’t always listen to NWA, but when I do, it’s because America treats its niggers like dogs that get run over in the street. In the way. Disposable. Almost kind of funny. I hope my use of that word [nigger] made a lot of you uncomfortable. It should. Call me a sore loser, but I think Florida called the whole lot of us young black men ‘niggers’ when they said it was okay to kill a young man like he was Old Yeller. I say ‘us’ because some of you just get to be ‘people’ or at least pass.
Yes, I feel defeated. I am angry. I am the ugliest kind of angry. Thanks to this harsh reminder about what it STILL means to be a young black man in America. It’s a scarlet letter and the mark of Caine if you are not quiet and compliant. If you are not quiet and compliant, you are potential:
BY ERIC SMITH
It is way past time for all of us, regardless of our race, to ask ourselves a very simple question and that question is whether or not we prefer our young black males to become martyrs or men. Do we prefer them to be safely dead as a cause to be exploited or do we prefer to have them among us as they grow into manhood with all the problems and potential that the development of any human being entails?
If we prefer our young black males to become martyrs rather than men then let us continue to do what we are doing now. Let us continue to see them as a problem rather than as a person. Let us continue to think that while it is okay for a young white male to walk around armed and to be proactive in his self defense, that it is wrong for a black male of a similar age to do the same thing. If we prefer our black males to be martyrs rather than men, then let us continue to cast a critical eye on the violence they might do in response to the violence visited upon them rather than on those who have violently attacked them in the first place.
If we prefer our black males to be martyrs rather than men, let us continue to only invoke the name of Dr. King; let us continue to dismiss the injustices & indignities heaped upon our black males as being God's will or God's master plan. If we want our black males to be martyrs rather than men, continue to feel fear whenever we pass by a young black male on the street; continue to equate criminal intent with a hoodie, and continue to regard self defense as practiced by a black male as a crime unto itself.
In other words if we prefer our black males to be martyrs rather than men, then continue to speak of passivity as being a virtue and assertiveness as a sin; continue to tell them as we tell them every time we tell them to turn the other cheek in the face of aggressive conduct, that their lives count less than those who would kill them; that to appear saintly & non threatening like the whitewashed memory of Dr. King is far more important than their staying alive long enough to become a man; that their purpose on this Earth is solely to fulfill our needs, our desires, our hopes and our dreams; that unlike their white male counterparts that their purpose is to serve others rather than be be served by others as equal members of the family seated around the table of life.
BY RUTH ANN SATCHFIELD
In some areas of the country, too many people resent those who have come here from Mexico. Often, we do not hear much about the people who have come from other countries, but we have many communities of different nationalities throughout our country. In Texas, we have groups from not only Mexico but also Vietnam, Germany, China, Middle Eastern countries, and others. Many of the doctors in Texas come from the Middle East. I do not hear people complaining about them. Companies have been importing research scientist to South East Texas areas and hiring them at a lower rate than Americans. Our children get their education so that they can merit those jobs, but companies hire from overseas. Why don’t we hear about this? It is because the companies do not want us to know. My only problem with this is the fact that there are Americans who should be hired first, but they are not. It is not the immigrant’s fault; it is the fault of the corporations. That is all legal, some say; probably, but some sponsored employees have limited visas and just do not go home.
Why is there so much talk about the Hispanic communities and no others? I think it is because they are considered poor and uneducated. How many educated people do you think are going to pick the crops in the fields, clean houses, or do yard work? There are not many Americans who want those jobs. There are Americans who want the jobs of research scientist and the like.
Often, people do not take into consideration the emotions of the immigrant families in this country, or the rules that affect them so negatively. I have a friend who married a United States citizen and had a son. When that marriage did not work out, she married another man who was not a United States citizen. He ended up being caught and sent back to Mexico. Because of her divorce, her status changed. Since I am not a lawyer, I do not understand it all, but it was a hassle. By that time, she had three American children. She was doing house cleaning and getting help from friends until she got her paperwork straightened out. It was impossible to get a regular job, and law enforcement were even raiding churches looking for “illegals.” This was not in Texas, and that state’s crops rotted in the field that year. What do you think it feels like for children to know that their mom could be picked up at any time and deported, not for anything she had done, but just because of prejudice to Hispanics in that area? Two of her children had already lost their father. Some jobs she had to work for cash; employers would cheat her out of her pay, if it had not been for her American friends that called the boss on the carpet and threatened to have him arrested. This is very common in this country. We have laws to stop it, but most victims are afraid and do not have friends who can help them. I think this is a part of the reason Republicans do not want immigration “fixed.” As long as there is this subculture, they can keep wages low for everyone, and cheat those who appear unable to fight back. She was one of the lucky ones. Her paperwork was in the works, so she was safe. She was not accustomed to standing up for herself against a man. These particular men know this, and use it.
BY ERIC SMITH
The African American community does not owe the white community in America a damn thing. That said I ask who the hell are you to call us militant? Who the hell are you to demand that we black people ask for your approval to fight for those rights that were given to you by the creators of this nation for no other reason than the whiteness of your skin? It is not our job to make you feel good about yourselves. If you as a whole had done right and did right by the African American community in this country and by that I mean apply the same standards of justice & equality to African Americans that you apply to yourselves then there would not be the racial polarization there is today.
Stop blaming the victims of your cruelty for calling out the injustice of your actions. The only white person who considers a black person militant for standing up for their rights and speaking out against injustice is a racist white person, period. In doing so you are assuming the racially superior posture that it is your right to tell us how we should react to you. You do not have that right for you did not earn it.
We do not care if you do not like us. We do not care if you disapprove of us. We don't care to seek any middle ground or accommodation with you if you insist on holding on to your primitive racist attitudes be these racist attitudes paternalistic, overt, or subtle. Your racism is ultimately your problem, not ours, and as such it is your problem alone to deal with. Thus if you feel any guilt about your attitudes regarding people of color then it is for you to look into your own hearts and reexamine your own policies & positions in order to seek redress for that is neither we African Americans job nor concern. The oppressor is in no position to demand comfort from those they oppress; to seek reassurance from those they victimize. To take such a position is racism in its purest form.
The white people who are not racist are the ones who do not go around saying they are not racist when no one has directly accused them of being such. The racist white people are the ones who feel that they must say they have black friends in order to prove that they are not racist and this is so because in these people color is the first thing that always pops into their minds. The color blind person never, ever, has to deny that they are a racist. They don't have to.
BY ERIC SMITH
In my opinion to be Pro Choice is not to be pro abortion. Rather to be Pro Choice is to recognize that only a woman knows what it is to bring a child to term and therefore whether or not to abort that child should ultimately be the sole choice of that woman because she knows the physical and physiological workings of of her own body far better than any man possibly could. Abortion is far more than just a moral issue for in deciding whether or not a fetus should be brought to full term a woman must determine whether or not that future human being will be better served by being allowed to enter this world or being denied that entry.
In a perfect world which is free of poverty and neglect; where all children who enter this world are at least guaranteed adequate health care, food to eat, and equal opportunities in acquiring decent education & job training so they could be properly cared for when sick, and ultimately decent enough living so as to enjoy a decent quality of life, I could see a case for abortion being banned.
Yet society has yet to make this commitment and those very same lawmakers who are now beating the drumbeat loudest for the overturning of Roe versus Wade are at the same time voting to cut over two billion dollars from food stamps; money which will be the difference between those poor children they would force into this world through a ban on abortion, from eating or starving. These same Pro Life individuals are trying to overturn Obamacare which is ensuring that more and more of our children will not perish from deprivation & disease.
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