I'm Remaining Hopeful
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.
Now is the Time
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.
Martyrs or Men
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.
An Open Letter to Racist People
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.
It's Not My Decision
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.
The Reality of War
BY ERIC SMITH
There is an old saying and that is those who make the wars are not the ones who fight the wars. To those of us who have not served in our military and fought battles on our nation's behalf, war is a very abstract thing. We instinctively marvel at the spectacle of ships being blown up, tanks being incinerated, planes being shot down, and buildings reduced to rubble by artillery fire. We love the sight of men in arms and seeing images of all types of powerful weapons being fired. The sound of the rat tat tat and the booms of ordnance going off gives us a rush. It is pure spectacle for those of us who see these things from the comfort & safety of our homes and movie theaters.
Yet for the actual participants of wars and their families the reality of war is far different for with every ship we being blown up, with every tank we see being incinerated, with every plane shot down, and with every building reduced to rubble by artillery fire, we see men and women (and in many cases children) no different from ourselves in their agonizing, terrifying,final moments on this Earth. When we witness these things what we are really seeing is human beings having their limbs blown off. We really them being burned alive, and we see them crying out in sheer terror, and agony.
BY ERIC SMITH
Of all the things we should not be debating in the year 2013, the question of gender equality is at or near the top of the list. Yet the Republican Party, fueled by its male dominated Conservative base, is now engaged in an all out war on women's rights. It is attempting inch by inch, step by step, to return America to those days when women were second class citizens at best, and "property" of their male counterparts at worst. The Republican Party is seeking to strip women of their fundamental humanity by denying them full human rights, chief among which is the right to be treated as we males wish to be treated, with dignity, respect, and the right to decide and to act in our personal best interests.
At the Federal, state, municipal level and in our courts the rights of women to maintain control of their own bodies, to decide their own healthcare, and be equally compensated as their male counterparts for doing the same work for the same amount of time, is under attack and in danger of being rolled back. It begs the question of what is wrong with the men who are leading these attacks and what is even more wrong with the women who actually support them in making these attacks for at the heart of the issue we men are not qualified to determine what is best for a woman because by being men we do not know what it is to be a woman.
Oh we can guess, and imagine what it is like but do we have the right to impose the solutions drawn from our guesses on the problems of women themselves; problems that are unique to one being a woman? I don't think that we men have that right. On questions pertaining to prenatal care and whether or not a woman should choose an abortion, we men should not be deciding what is best for our female counterparts because we men do not have any idea what it is like to be pregnant.
BY ERIC SMITH
As an African American man, I take a lot of pride in recognizing the role the African American Church played in offering refuge, safety, and inspiration to my African American forebears during the worst days of slavery and segregation. The calls for justice and full equality have rung out from the pulpits of African American churches from the dawning days of the Republic; the overall theme being that since God loved all equally that all must be made equally free. This was the spirit that moved legions of our forebears to willfully bear the rope of Judge Lynch, the bombing of their homes, the policeman's billy clubs, water hoses, and attack dogs.
The African American church was at the forefront of this struggle and helping to lead the fight for full equality not just for black people but for all people. Yet tragically today, you homophobic African American ministers who are the direct beneficiaries of the sacrifices made in behalf of this struggle are now desecrating your church and dishonoring your Faith & your people, by invoking that very same God your forebears invoked to free you, to keep your gay brothers and sisters from becoming fully free. You are calling upon your God of Liberation to become the God of Segregation when it comes to your fellow citizens who happen to be gay.
BY ERIC SMITH
There is a great lie being told to the America these days. In fact, this lie is one of the whoppers of all time. It is a lie being told by Ron Paul and his son Rand. The lie they're telling us is that the Libertarian Party is for Liberty. It is not for the "Liberty" that the Libertarian Party is speaking of is the "Liberty" of White Supremacy; it is the "freedom" of a Master Race to do with all other races & peoples as it see's fit; their individual freedoms be damned.
The Libertarians say they want to return America to the days immediately following the American Revolution; to have our national Constitution interpreted as our Founding Fathers interpreted it. I've got news for you, when it comes to Liberty, our Founding Fathers were frauds. They didn't believe in freedom so much as wanting to be free of being oppressed by the British government. They objected to being treated by King George III the same way they treated everyone else who was not white, Protestant, or male.
Our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, came about because the white males in the American colonies wanted freedom for themselves and only for themselves. If it were otherwise then the words "All men are created equal" would have read "All people are created equal" instead. If creating a Land of Liberty had been our Founding Fathers true intent, then the slaves would have been immediately emancipated and all the former slaves and women of voting age would have been given the right to vote.
BY ERIC SMITH
On the evening of October 23rd, 1972, my father came to me and simply said "Son, Jackie Robinson died today." Now I was only seven years old at the time and still several years away from getting into sports of any kind. I knew the name Jackie Robinson well enough in that I'd seen him on Sesame Street and other TV programs of the day and I knew that he'd played baseball. I did know that he'd hit something like 142 home runs but was not impressed because by that time of course both Willie Mays and Hank Aaron who were still playing at the time had already hit well over five hundred homers apiece.
Dad looked at me and said "Son, Jackie Robinson was so much more than the number of home runs he hit." In the coming years I came to understand exactly what my Dad meant; that that gray haired seemingly old man I remembered seeing on TV programs as a child was in fact a giant among men. He was not only a hero for his time, for my time, but for all time.
Jackie Roosevelt Robinson exemplified what it meant to be a man and he defined what it was to be an American. "There's not an American in this country free until every one of us is free." said Mr. Robinson in his call for equal rights. Some will argue that Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers took the greatest risk when he chose Jackie Robinson to be the one to integrate Major League Baseball in 1947 but that is not true for it was not Mr. Rickey who was charged with the task of once and for all proving the lie that is White Supremacy by playing on the white man's field, playing by his rules, and not only beating him at his own game but beating him decisively.
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