Editor’s Note: Columnist Howard Eagle has written the following analysis in response to the Nov. 30 Democrat and Chronicle editorial titled “We’re Not Ferguson,” by Hank Rubin. A link to the article has been included at the top of the page.
I don’t know about y’all, but I’m sick-and-tired-of-being-sick-and-tired of being inundated by bleeding-heart, old-news, liberal accounts of conflated and distorted versions of reality.
The article at the link above represents a classic example.
This is especially wicked (by design), since one of the most powerful, and one of the most racist, mainstream, mass-media conglomerates/tools in the city, state, nation, and world (Gannet News), continues to routinely perpetuate such conflated, and distorted versions of reality – WITHOUT ALLOWING THEIR PAGES TO BE UTILIZED TO REFUTE AND/OR CORRECT THEIR BLEEDING-HEART, NONSENSE.
Let us examine some of the straight-up, foolishness contained in this article.
First, the author claims he has “been struggling to understand race and racism since [he] was 11 years old.”
Well, I’m telling you, based on my first-hand knowledge, and experience, with him over the past year or so, had he not told us, I never would have guessed that this is true.
And, as far as I can determine, his “struggling” has not produced much “understanding.”
This, of course, necessarily leads to, among other questions, who (specifically) have been his “mentors and teachers?”
I would really like to know.
It seems what many white, super-liberals don’t get is that, until, and unless, they are able to make the same or similar claims as folks like Tim Wise (who readily admits that most of what he knows about racism, he learned from black people, or other people of color) – they will not, cannot possibly become authentic, white, anti-racist allies – period.
Otherwise, they will always be stumbling, bumbling, fumbling , trying to find their way, and will never, ever be comfortable, nor fully honest, relative to addressing this old, old, historic, entrenched, and potentially volatile, socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and sociocultural, dual headed issue.
The problem is a case of both individual and institutionalized racism, which are thoroughly bound up together, and totally inseparable from one another – period.
It’s most interesting that the author chose to mention a statement made by Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois at the dawn of the 20th century.
Dr. Du Bois’ full, 1903 quote was: “The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line – the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia, and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea.”
I recently asked students in my college course (African American Issues In The 20th Century) whether or not they believed Dr. Du Bois’ statement would have also been true, if it had been uttered at the dawn of the 21st century?
I’m sure their unanimous answer is obvious.
It is regarding this particular point that the author’s essay really starts to fall off the deep end of abstraction and nonsense, i.e., with regard to the “color line,” or “the relation of the darker to the lighter races,” or more specifically, the old, old, dual-headed issue and problem of individual and institutionalized racism.
He claims: “We may never outgrow it.”
What an utterly ludicrous statement.
Of course we will never “outgrow it.”
Racism (as we know and experience it within the thoroughly racist, white supremacist, U.S. nation-state) was created by, has been, and is being perpetuated, upheld, and maintained by men (specifically, wealthy white men) who have perfected their creation to the extent that they now have the majority within their race supporting them — either actively or inactively.
This is evident by what they do or don’t do to reduce, or destroy, the dual-headed monster and disease.
His design and scheme has been so effective that, even many of us (people of color) support it.
And, it is often, subconsciously or unconsciously, but in many cases, knowingly.
In fact, sometimes people of color become the most vociferous and effective apologists for racists and racism.
When you think about it — I mean really think about it — the scheme is wickedly-ingenious.
This has nothing to do with “outgrowing.”
It was created by wicked men, and can only be reduced or destroyed by mankind – period.
The rest is merely rhetoric and noise, and the last thing we need, relative to solutions, is more distracting rhetoric and noise.
With regard to white people in the main, I have not seen one iota of evidence that “Ferguson has illustrated our racial conditions in a way that can help many of [them] better understand it.”
In fact, the exact opposite seems to be true.
That is, as a result of Ferguson, we are experiencing widespread, deep-seated, vitriolic, denial, hateful declarations and pronunciations, and backlash on the part of many millions of white, so-called “Americans.”
So, if there are those who, as a result of Ferguson, are “better understanding our racial conditions” – they need to speak up now (otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, they will remain as figments of the author’s imagination).
Where are they?
The author also claims that “since Michael Brown was shot [there is] a burgeoning awakening within white communities to what it means-what it feels like and looks like-to live in two Americas.”
This is nothing more, or less, than unsubstantiated, abstract, pontification.
Just to be clear, one of the best definitions I have ever seen of the term “pontification” is one from (of all places) Urban Dictionary, i.e., “The act of speaking out for the purpose of hearing one’s self speak. Posturing…speaking to people that don’t really care what you say one way or another since you’re speaking solely to front yourself as “someone in charge.” Speech, or written communication, that is generally pointless, except to cast favorable light upon the speaker, or author, as if the message were a pronouncement from on high. Usually full of it.”
What a perfect definition.
Another issue with the essay, like so many others in the pages of the Demagogue & Comical, is that it is filled with “ancient” history, but little to no realistic suggestions relative to solutions.
Some facts that are as old as the nation itself include:
“conversation black parents have with every young black male about showing empty hands, what to say and what not to do when approached by a police officer”
“statistics showing thousands and thousands of days [they’ve] suspended students of color, rather than trying harder to keep them in school and keep them learning”
“friends and successful colleagues being stopped, questioned and asked for ID for driving, walking or gathering while black.”
This is all very old news.
Simply listing, and re-listing, for decades, does nothing to solve the problems.
What we need to see listed are SOLUTIONS, and NAMES of individuals who are ready, willing, and able to WORK on IMPLEMENTING THE SOLUTIONS (not in the bye-and-bye), but RIGHT HERE, AND RIGHT NOW.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
NO MORE GRADUALISM.
Additionally, there are parts of the essay, which are just plain revisionist, insulting (to people of color) fabrications.
One of the most outstanding examples is the thoroughly ludicrous idea that: “From [white folks’] earliest days on this continent, [their] collective march towards Democracy has entailed broadening the application of [their] Constitutional rights to those who don’t look like [their] founding fathers.”
This is not a matter of objective, historical reality.
Objective reality is that: “From [their] earliest days on this continent,” powerful white folks, especially, but not exclusively white men, pillaged, raped, murdered, maimed, robbed, kidnapped, and generally oppressed people of color in every way imaginable, which largely explains why current overall conditions are as they are.
Obviously, the so-called “march towards Democracy” has been more like a fox-trot (if even that).
And, yes, we understand that not all white people participated in the overt oppression, but the overwhelming majority also did nothing to object or resist, and definitely benefited, and so do their grands and great grands.
The author also claims that, since the time of Michael Brown’s murder, all of a sudden, “many [white people] find [themselves] viewing events through the eyes of black Americans.”
Interesting, but not likely – definitely not likely, and, in most cases, not even possible – but regardless of their perspectives or views, if they really “acknowledge [their] shared responsibility to remedy structural racism,” which many, if not most, definitely do not – as the say – the proof will be in the ‘pudding.’
Today, it’s no longer about what we say.
Instead, it’s about what we are, and/or are not, willing to DO – period.
Furthermore, he claims that, “In many ways, Rochester’s leaders have begun to acknowledge our own community’s legacy of racism and privilege.”
Any serious, honest, sincere person (so-called “leader” or not) who has been around for any length of time, surely would have “acknowledged” this basic fact long ago.
So, if it’s true that we are at a point at which some so-called “leaders have [just now] begun to acknowledge our own community’s legacy of racism and privilege” – then who ever they’re “leading” should probably be seeking new leadership (fast).
Again, this is nothing more, or less, than distracting gibberish, rhetoric, and noise.
It’s almost 2015.
The age of so-called “acknowledgement” has been over for many decades.
Clearly, we are now in the age of action, which is way past due.
It is also interesting to observe numerous incomplete thoughts, and ideas advanced by the author.
The following represents one of the most outstanding examples: “And programs like Unite Rochester, Mosaic Partnerships, Person to Person, Facing Race/Embracing Equity and more were created to build relationships across the color line so we can think, plan and work together” to ….???
The final paragraph of the article is most reflective of the author’s abstract, wish-washy, rhetoric, and unclear thought.
For example, what in the world does it mean that “White, black, Hispanic and immigrant leaders can remove all doubt simply by leading! By sharing responsibility for identifying and remedying the artifacts of structural racism in our communities, one-by-one.”
This is straight-up gibberish.
“Structural racism in our communities” is NOT embodied within abstract “artifacts.”
Instead, it is embodied within past and present rules, regulations polices, practices, procedures, laws, and traditions that guide and govern the structures or institutions “in our communities” – period.
Rather than allowing pontificators (as defined via Urban Dictionary) to confuse and boggle our minds – we must remain absolutely cognizant, and crystal-clear, about the points/targets of attack — again, they are past and present rules, regulations polices, practices, procedures, laws, and traditions that guide and govern the structures or institutions “in our communities” – as opposed to some weird, abstract notion of so-called “artifacts.”
I’ll give the author credit for one thing.
Perhaps he is finally starting to listen.
If he is honest, he will admit, the idea that: “We can do this by targeting just one goal at a time, bringing our best talents and resources to the task – committing to work on the problem until the problem is solved” – is NOT his idea.
I sent a note to representatives of most of the organizations that he listed above, including the author, and numerous others on Nov. 14, in which I articulated the following: “With regard to impacting racial equity (in the near future — as opposed to the bye-and-bye), a question that I have been curious about for a long time is, why haven’t the leaderships of FREE, unite, the YWCA, and possibly others who claim to be working toward racial equity and justice, gotten together in one room — to engage in open, honest, serious dialogue regarding the need for us to identify at least ONE, SPECIFIC, CONCRETE, MEASURABLE GOAL that we can commit to working (COLLECTIVELY) to achieve? Perhaps this is something that FREE’s Strategic Direction and Operations Committee could take the lead on. What do you think about this idea?”
Please don’t misunderstand.
I’m not seeking credit, but I do believe in keeping the historical record straight, and the truth of the matter is that NO ONE in the various groups listed above had publicly articulated this idea prior to my Nov. 14 correspondence.
Yet, what’s most important is the question: When do we begin? When will the big-shots call for an inclusive, mass-leadership-gathering – so that we can “target just one goal, bring our best talents and resources to the task – commit to work on the problem until the problem is solved?”
ALL ELSE IS JUST RHETORIC AND NOISE – PERIOD.
I DON’T KNOW ABOUT Y’ALL, BUT, WITH REGARD TO THE RAMPANT, DAILY RHETORIC, NOISE, AND TALK ABOUT “UNITING ROCHESTER; STANDING AGAINST RACISM; FACING RACE; EMBRACING EQUITY, ETC., ETC. – I AM SICKER-AND-TIREDER-OF-BEING-SICKER-AND-TIREDER THAN MOTHER FANNIE LOU HAMER WAS.
This is why I have decided to start calling the hypocrites out.
Enough is enough.
Black lives matter (now) – not in the bye-and-bye, but now!