The Talk

This morning’s news featured an interview of a very attractive and articulate young (30s) professional Black woman and her male complement. They talked about this week’s tensions. They talked about having “the talk” with their children. They noted that the conversation needs to happen as early as possible and in age appropriate vocabulary and concepts.

The talk in these times is not the one about dating and sex. Today the talk in Black families and families that are comprised of individuals who can be considered part of the African Diaspora, is about how to handle yourself when in the presence of peace officers or in public places outside of a Black ghetto. I’ve not been involved in these types of conversations but it doesn’t take a lot to intuit what it covers. As the years have passed since the Civil Rights Era, experiences have grown and awareness was spat in my face. There are some people who will hate you simply because they have been conditioned to do so over the years. It has nothing to do with you, personally, as much as it has to do with the color of your skin and the stereotypes associated with having that form of identity.

But Life is full. There are many things that pull at your attention that are of a higher priority than a genetic adaptation that has absolutely nothing to do with the character of the person within the shell that carries them. Nevertheless, there are far too many times when that adaptation along with the stereotypes that were created because of historic exclusion and denial make attention to one’s physical presence the priority. It should not be that way.

How do you tell a child that it isn’t okay to go to the playground without a parent or adult present? It takes a lot of explaining about why one child may play with a red clear plastic water gun while romping in their yard or in a park while another child will be mistaken as a potential shooter. It takes even more explanation about why a police officer is justified in shooting a ten-year-old child in the back several times merely because of a plastic toy. Oh, now I understand. Certain children are not allowed to play and have toys. Certain children are not allowed to enjoy Life. We are told, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Declaration of Independence does not function for them.

Colored Entrance

Have we returned to the pre-Civil Rights America?

How do you tell a child that because of the color of their skin, someone will decide that they are dangerous and anything they do will be construed as a threat to the general public? It should not be part of a child’s education about them or their history that they are inherently not intelligent and therefore unqualified for anything except the most menial. They should not learn that it is acceptable for their creations, their ideas, their work to be claimed by others and their input given no acknowledgement whatsoever. To teach them that is the same as teaching them that they were destroyed at the instant they took their first breath. It’s the same as telling them they are value-less. I have to wonder where society would be were it not for those “value-less” contributions to so many industries by those unqualified dangerous ones.

Why should it be necessary to have that type of conversation with any child? The simple response is it should not be necessary. In fact, there should be no reason to have these types of conversations. It should not be necessary to teach a child that what they wear will determine whether or not they are dangerous. If the owner and found of Facebook can wear a hoodie with impunity, anyone should have the same choice.

To be certain, it is very important to have a conversation about grooming and appropriate dress for certain venues.

However, the talk needs to veer toward the important things in Life and leading a productive one. The talk needs to be about staying focused on what is most important for accomplishing the task, reaching the goal, making a point in conversation so that one’s positive abilities are accentuated. Those abilities include being responsible, having solid emotional intelligence, knowing how to make good choices based on good research and asking the right questions of the right people.

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Oscar and Minorities

Hollywood

Hollywood California USA. World Famous Hollywood Sign Concept.

Not the first time in their history, the Oscar Awards ceremony has a boycott in store this year. Started by Jada Pinkett Smith, it didn’t take long for the boycott of the Oscars ceremony (announced the day after the nominations were revealed) would take place. And the announcement was close on the heels of another protest in Hollywood – women’s salaries compared with those of men.

The complaint is there are far too few roles for Blacks on the big screen that result in far too few who are eligible for nomination for having done exceptional work. Some of Hollywood argues back that there aren’t enough stories to be told. In the alternative, the viewing public only identifies with White faces and characters, thus the casting of the parts. But the Oscars acknowledge the work of more than just those on the screen. There are also writers, directors, composers, designers, and more who comprise the entertainment experience. This year none of color were among those nominated. Protests regarding the good ole boys club atmosphere among those who can nominate and vote for Oscar recipients grew with such intensity that protocols were immediately changed and implemented – but too late for this year’s nominees. As long ago as 1970, George C. Scott was noted as having expressed his disdain for the Oscars. “George C. Scott held nothing but contempt for the Oscar organization. He called it a ‘2 hour meat parade’. He said the whole thing was offensive, barbarous, and innately corrupt.”

It was complained that only movies about slaves and slavery or racism are put forward as examples of Blacks who have done superlative work as actors. What about the other portrayals that could have been available? There are far too few. Why is that? It seems one of the complaints expressed during this year’s protest are accurate. It isn’t so much that the parts aren’t available so much as a matter of the parts for Black characters are converted to being played by White actors. This fact was memorialized in a book I happened to discover circa 2007 while at a Los Angeles branch library that dealt with the subject of Black Hollywood. A random opening of the book brought me to a section about the Western, “The Searchers” in which the scout is portrayed as a White man. According to the book, the scout was actually Negro but Hollywood didn’t find it appropriate to portray that fact.

The refusal of Hollywood to cast Black actors in positive roles has been cited as one of the reasons there is still a struggle for Blacks to rise into being viewed as a population other than suspect and available for exploitation. The outcries of 2016 are merely echoes of what was openly expressed in a 1999 paper on ethics wherein the three authors state:

Forcibly brought here as slaves to the white man, blacks have never been treated as completely equal to whites. Stereotypes of blacks as lazy, stupid, foolish, cowardly, submissive, irresponsible, childish, violent, sub-human, and animal-like, are rampant in today’s society. These degrading stereotypes are reinforced and enhanced by the negative portrayal of blacks in the media. Black characters have appeared in American films since the beginning of the industry in 1 888. But blacks weren’t even hired to portray blacks in early works. Instead, white actors and actresses were hired to portray the characters while in “blackface.” (http:/www.moderntimes.com/palace/black/open.htm). By refusing to hire black actors to portray black characters, demeaning stereotypes were being created as blacks were presented in an unfavorable light. In addition, blacks were purposely portrayed in films with negative stereotypes that reinforced white supremacy over blacks. This has had a tremendous effect on our society’s view of blacks since motion pictures have had more of an impact on the public mind than any other entertainment medium in the last ninety years.

Add to that representation the unstated but very prevalent attitude that Blacks are an exotic race that is more for the appeasement of sexual gratification and stimulation, not for critical thinking and stubborn business aptitude.

The reference librarian who attempted to help me relocate that book from 2007 found a list of titles that may be helpful to your further inquiry on the subject of Hollywood and accurate portrayal of race. He never found the book. He explained that it may have been removed from the shelves. However, the list of titles he did find is provocative and can be found at the bottom of this post. To get more information about any of the titles, you may visit the page of your favorite book seller or put the title into your favorite search engine.

This boycott and protest is not new to Oscar. The civil rights of a pantheon of actors of all colors and genders, of every sexual preference, has endured throughout the ages. The question, then, is whether this latest wave will be effective in bringing about positive, enduring change.

References:

Other References:

  • Cinema Civil Rights: Regulation, Repression, and Race in the Classical Hollywood Era by Ellen C. Scott
  • Reel Racism: Confronting Hollywood’s Construction of Afro-American Culture by Vincent F. Rocchio
  • Race Results: Hollywood vs. Supreme Court ; ten decades of racial decisions and film by Eileen C. Moore
  • Framing the South: Hollywood, Television, and Race during the Civil Rights Struggle by Allison Schoen
  • The subject of film and race : retheorizing politics, ideology, and cinema by Gerald Sim

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Execution of One’s Duties

A new furor in the civil rights landscape has hit Kentucky with the County Clerk’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to anyone but especially to gays and lesbians. After repeated attempts to reason with Clerk Kim Davis, the matter was taken to lawyers with American Civil Liberties Union in order to seek redress. Ms. Davis was stalwart and entrenched in her position, even willing to go to jail rather than violate her religious convictions. The situation calls to mind several similar standoffs from the early days of the Civil Rights Movement.

Resistance to acceptance

An old concept put in a new age

Davis isn’t trying to fend off offensive overtures. Some would say she’s just being obnoxious and it appears she’s trying to gain some traction from the events she’s set in motion. I don’t think she should be rewarded for that. Given that she still has her paycheck of $80,000 while she sits in jail and the storm passes over the country, and given that she’s soliciting funds for her cause from supporters and co-workers (through county office messages), she is definitely being rewarded financially. She has essentially buffered her determination to stand her ground.

Actually (and I can’t remember which class addressed this, Ethics or Civil Procedure or maybe it was Criminal Procedure), if a lawyer has personal issues with representing a person because the lawyer’s beliefs or the crime is in apposition to the lawyer’s to the point that the lawyer cannot provide a zealous defense of the client, the lawyer is allowed to recuse theirself from taking the case. Indeed, one editorialist suggests that the best move for Davis, in light of the fact that she finds herself unable to carry out the duties of her job, is to step down from the position. That doesn’t necessarily mean quit working for the county. It simply means take a change in position so that someone who can fulfill the needs and requirements of the position can do so without undue distress and financial hardship to the constituency.

Similarly, in employment and contract law, a person is not required to do business with someone when there is a misalignment. Now when it comes to the denial becoming viral to the point of discrimination, we have another situation on our hands.

But if we have a Charles Manson or a Jim Jones (mass murders) or a known rapist who has no remorse for his crimes, how much fault could be leveled at having difficulty with bringing full and zealous defense to their case? It would take a judge’s order directing the last-straw lawyer or assistant DA to take the case and put forth their best efforts on behalf of the person.

As phrased in that quote, we see the schizophrenic nature (forgive the editorialization) of Davis’s posture. She has wed church and state by imposing her personal beliefs onto her discharging the duties of her job. And one of the founding principles of this country was based on the strong need for a separation of church and state, that is to say the church cannot rule what is done to the king’s property nor the people in it. It would be the same as having two masters and then attempting to determine which one is the more deserving of obedience. According to recent reportage, she intends to stay in jail until a compromise can be reached in the judge’s ruling compared with her stance. Embodied in that compromise is that she will not resign her position but issue licenses if her name and title were not on them. That stipulation can easily be resolved. Remove her name and change her title to something that does not encompass being a person who has authority to issue a license – of any type. Needless to say, the job description would have to match the duties that she is allowed to fulfill. Ryan Anderson, a research fellow for Heritage Foundation, suggests yet another work accommodation for a religion conscientious objector that is of a similar nature.

There was an article in Thursday’s Yahoo news about Davis’s options and it put forth something that other jurisdictions are using – have the objector step away from that part of their duties and have another take over that desk. A judge asked Davis’s six deputies whether they could put aside their personal beliefs in order to fulfill the duties of their job due to a conflict of interest or a matter of lack of competence in the ability to do the job [without prejudice]. According to one newspaper account, “After ordering her to jail, the judge told her six deputy clerks that they too faced potential fines or jail time if they similarly refuse. All but one – the clerk’s son, Nathan Davis – agreed to end her church-state standoff.”

As for Kentucky and the necessity of a clerk’s signature in order to make a marriage license valid, changes in the state’s civil code will need to be made in order to comply with the recent Supreme Court ruling, as will need to happen in all other states. (See Jailed Clerk’s Attorney wherein it is noted, “Kentucky lawmakers won’t meet until January, unless the governor calls a costly special session, and when they do, they say they will have many changes to make to adapt the state’s civil code to the Supreme Court’s ruling.”)

Another interesting perspective on this situation is whether Davis’s refusal is based on religious convictions or identity objections. If based on religion, again, discrimination based on one’s religion is a First Amendment freedom that cannot be usurped. If the objection is based on identity, we have only to look at the trend toward acceptance and inclusion to see that it will soon be part of our civil rights umbrella.

This situation calls into question the matter of interviewing and screening candidates for a sensitive position. Perhaps one of the questions should be related to whether the person can put aside their personal convictions in order to fulfill the requirements of the job. Another would be whether they fully understand what the duties entail, and then require a discussion of the interpretation of those duties. This should be done in the conversations with the hiring manager. But this type of screening should also take place with the recruiter who is chosen to do the search for qualified candidates.

This makes me wonder how candidates for the position of carrying out death penalties are chosen. It also makes me wonder about the types of values executioners have and whether gang members would actually be ideal candidates for the position of executioner, one who unquestioningly carries out orders without qualms for the consequences. Mind you, that last statement carries a lot of presumption and little to no research; it was editorial in nature.

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Just Say “No”

There are times when it becomes so easy to swallow the social acid of society’s platitudes and sophisms. The logic sounds so valid that it’s only natural to follow the line of reasoning. Just like a ball of string, it just keeps winding onto itself. But if put to the test, it would fall apart like a watermelon dropped from four feet in the air onto concrete.

Church

Some people go to church. They are certain that the fact of their following that ritual has saved them from going to Hell. They are much more righteous than others. Besides that, they are ever so anxious to do Christian acts toward those who are so pitiful and needy – people in need and not at all like the pious ones. When the pitifuls come to the sacred doors in order to become one with the congregation, they are treated with various forms of politeness only to be sent on their way. There is no invitation to return and become part of the congregation. Why? Because they are merely the ones whose existence and bedraggled state provides a reason for bestowing gifts of food, used clothing, temporary shelter because without the generous donations, these pathetics could not do anything for their own selves. The visitors are a reason for feeling superior to someone else. And besides that, they simply don’t belong in the same company as the congregants. Unfortunately, the congregation is oblivious to their hypocrisy.

Protection from Violence

When one who has been beaten (like the traveler on the road to Damascus) and calls for assistance to escape the dangerous environs, it would be expected that there’s comprehension that wounds make the victim less able to care for their own self. But if the one who is called for help doesn’t comprehend the dynamic, they will rise to superficial gestures of accommodation such as taking the victim to a food pantry. But they simply do not comprehend that the victim’s life is at risk. The sacrifice of time that could have been devoted to going to the gym has far more value and they are not hesitant to express their dissatisfaction with the waste of their time and preferred activities.

Likewise, police will sometimes show up for a domestic violence call. But if it is not a matter of “intimate partners” and the perpetrator files a false cross report, the victim will no longer get protection nor assistance in escaping the environment. The false report(s) will follow them.

Brainwashing

One of the tools of the abuser is creating fear in the mind of their target. It can be fear of failure, fear of loss, or whatever is meaningful and will spell a setback if it comes to fruition.

This is also a tool of de facto racism. Keep the minority marginalized through lack of access, poor or no education, persuading them that they are not qualified or that their input is lacking (if not useless) and not worth being explored. Another aspect of racism is finding reasons to reject input from the minority with objections of one type or another. Meanwhile, alternatives to the already offered information or ideas are developed in the background, then published as the new agenda. There have been no objections to the agenda put forth because few to none were aware of them.

Yet counter statements to observations about the backwater actions deny the repression of the original contributions and denial of participation of the entire group. Everything is fine; everyone is making valid (and validated) contributions.

Evidence of Negative Intent

Sometimes those who bar the door of opportunity in order to create a class of disenfranchised unwittingly expose their folly. They will express their desire to exclude to another. Many times the speaker has some instrument of power – a title, money, status or position, influence over others with absolute power – that causes them to wield their scepter with integrity.

Historic Ways to Overcome the Bar

There are many instances in history when these various forms of repression have been handled through alternative avenues. Some have been breakaway organizations. The difficulty is that those fledgling organizations start off on skimpy budgets of finance and available talent. Sophistication about various types of markets and networking are also challenges. These can result in diminished expectation and poor brand identity. It takes a lot to move forward with low credibility. Still, it’s necessary to realize that Life is about growth, not remaining stagnant. So one important step is to face the challenges, learn as much as possible, develop good alliances, and see each obstacle as an opportunity to either succeed or learn a new way to address opening the locked door.

The Manifesto

All of these situations converge onto our lives and build to an explosive averment that begins to sound like a manifesto. However, the manifesto may be the answer to rejecting the unacceptable.

I no longer . . .

I no longer . . .

by Jose Micard Teixeira

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Learned and Hard to Prove

Bias is an interesting facet of life. It leads to prejudice and, in some cases, discrimination. Some people think of discrimination as a horrible social ill. But it’s good to be discriminating about things, depending on what they are. You can use judgement to not choose a style that does not flatter your figure. You can choose not to live in a place that incorporates materials to which you know you have an allergy. You can (sort of) choose not to eat peanuts if you have an allergy to them or some food that causes you to be ill.

I’ve highlighted certain segments of the definitions of these terms below for the reader’s convenience and to facilitate this conversation.

We tend to think of prejudice in the negative when we hear the word as it stands on it’s own. In that state, it’s considered to indicate bigotry. And we all know that being a bigot is a horrible state of existence.

It’s Taught

How many of us are aware that it’s taught? It can be taught by practices in one’s culture. It can be used for the sake of preserving safety or even heredity. The first lessons come as we are small children taking instruction from parents or care providers. At these tender ages, there is no questioning of the trusted “adult” in our lives. The concepts and practices become deep rooted with practice. As they are put into daily practice, there is little need to consider what is done or said; there’s little to no questioning of the psychology. After a time, choices that are made almost on an instinctive basis.

But some children are a little more precocious than others. They will eventually consider why they are taught to be courteous and considerate of some people but others who are treated with less respect than the neighbor’s pet. One poignant example is the story of the multiracial child. The mother was White, the father a mixture of Black and French. Both parents carried several Native American heredities. One day the mother told the child, “I don’t like people with blonde hair. I think it’s ugly. People with blonde hair aren’t nice.” The child determined from those words that they should feel the same about people with blonde hair.

Of course, the mother had green/hazel eyes and some of the family members had grey and even blue eyes. The lesson avoided disdain for people with certain eye colors. But of necessity, there was some inclusion because it is more likely to find a blonde with blue eyes. But this was a thinking child who learned from others as well as from reasoning out situations and problems. The child realized that they actually liked the look of blonde hair. They admired the fact that pictures of blonde models showed them wearing black ribbons in their hair. The child wanted to emulate the models but was told they could not wear black ribbons. The reason was because no one would be able to see the hair decoration. And the child resented the restriction based solely on the fact that their hair was black.

The child was also taught to dislike people who speak with a Southern accent. The lesson with that was that people from the South did not like Negroes and treated them in an unkind manner. That lesson was reinforced at every turn, in movies, in most of life, in books.

Eventually both lessons were cast aside when the matured person who was then responsible for developing their own value system began to work and associate with many types of people – even blondes with Southern accents. It was discovered that many of those people were not unlikeable. The lesson that replaced the childhood training was that you need to take each person on their own merit and their own proclivities. But no matter what, it is imperative to treat each person with courtesy and respect.

Instintive

Prejudice and bigotry are taught. They can become so ingrained that the reason for the bias becomes obscured. It takes inclusion and association with others to dismantle the myths that strain to maintain their hold on social values and opportunities. Because the manner of dealing with others in a biased manner becomes so fundamental in our dealings, when the one suffering the unfair treatment objects, they suffer further punishment. Their position is further compromised and made even worse than before speaking. In fact, they can face the very real consequence of being barred from the opportunity – or worse. These days, the phenomenon is occasionally referred to as retaliation.

The Rise of Civil Rights

Is it any wonder that our nation heaved a heavy shoulder at the practices that excluded the talents and recognition of those who were not White? The age of the Civil Rights Movement arrived. Movements and demonstrations to advocate for equality in all things. By the 1960s, the Civil Rights Act was born. It’s most commanding aspect are Title VI (having to do with businesses that receive federal funds for the services they provide and under the purview of the Department of Justice) and Title VII (having to do with matters relating to employment with oversight from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Although the Act has changed much of how we behave toward one another in our daily lives and business dealings, although its initial impact was significant in opening doors that were barred, many have either forgotten the basis for its enactment or have never learned about the opportunity it provided for us to flourish because of our many attributes, both instinctive (derived through specialized, repetitive training) and innate (occurring in one’s makeup naturally by birth).

Definitions:

  • Bias: A particular tendency or inclination, especially one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question; prejudice. Also defined as: mental tendency or inclination, esp. an irrational preference or prejudice.
  • Bigotry: stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.
  • Discrimination: 1. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit:
    2. racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
    3. the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment.
    Archaic. something that serves to differentiate.
  • Discrimination: 1. unfair treatment of a person, racial group, minority, etc; action based on prejudice
    2. subtle appreciation in matters of taste
    3. the ability to see fine distinctions and differences
  • Prejudice: A hostile opinion about some person or class of persons. Prejudice is socially learned and is usually grounded in misconception, misunderstanding, and inflexible generalizations.

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Disabled Sheltered Workshops in Peril

not impossible

Breaking down the barriers

Some of the news from Disability Scoop talks about “sheltered workshops.” Congress Passes Bill Limiting Sheltered Workshop Eligibility, by July 10, 2014).

You may be asking yourself, “What is a ‘sheltered workshop?'” It relates to workforce training and internship for the disabled that is segregated from others who do not have some form of disability. Here’s an explanation from Wikipedia.

Why is this news important? Because those who comprise the disabled population struggle against various types of employment and access discrimination and even voting rights, under certain conditions. They are also paid sub-minimum wage (the minimum wage being, in and of itself, is not even close to a livable wage). If the projections of the IEP are correct, there may be justification for paying minimum, or even sub-minimum, wages to students who graduate with lowered educational attainments.

So we begin to see a picture of certain forces determined to create a population of those who are needy and dependent on government subsidies in order to survive. Even though we see general monthly improvements in our unemployment figures and numbers of jobs created, such is not the case for those in the disabled population. Job Market Rough For People With Disabilities, by July 8, 2014)

In actuality, many in the disabled population, even those with intellectual challenges, are capable of being part of the cog works of industry at all levels and deserve to be compensated  accordingly. We would be wise to not think of becoming disabled or categorized as a senior in terms of a person who is no longer an individual capable of adding value to our society. We err when we classify them as relics who spend their days engaged in hobbies and few to any activities that don’t involve mental, or even physical, challenges that keep one in tune.

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A Time of Recognition

march-on-washington January 15 came and went. There were parades and tributes to Martin Luther King, Jr. We talked about having the dream – again. We moved on. I was buried in dealing with the biases of others that were stymieing my ability to realize my dream. So I did not publish a tribute to King. But I made many references to him and his causes in the various Comments posted to the different social media where I’m a member.

Then February and with it Black History Month became the current reality. Again, people talk about movies that deal with recognition of the Black contributions to the foundations and progress of our nation’s maturing into a place of freedom with real and equal civil rights. Throughout the month, there have been conversations in various social media about progress for Blacks, recognition of their struggle, the injustices suffered, the rising from the chains of slavery and injustice. I’ve had thoughts, some of which have been expressed through social media Comments. But as yet, there’s been no dedicated publication of mine that deals with Black History nor the progress of Blacks in the United States of America.

Today, after being saturated with so many perspectives and retrospectives and visions of the future, there are some things I need to say about Black History Month. These thoughts are expressed by necessity.

School Closed

Many dramatic movies were considered for Academy Awards (the Oscar) that tell the story of Black contributions to our country. The Butler tells us of how a pivotal, unsung Black servant brought sanity and distinction to the White House. Fruitvale Station shows us how one young man was wronged and then executed because of the color of his skin. The Long Walk to Freedom tells us of how patience and intelligence, if held for the long run, will eventually lead to redemption and freedom. And 12 Years a Slave shows us not only what travesties befall a person’s dignity through being treated as a non-human but how devastating the status of “slave” can be when it is wrongly saddled on an educated person who is law abiding and landed. It also shows us how the generic “slave” deals with their circumstances in order to survive.

Which of these dramas is deserving of the Oscar for any of the categories for which they’ve been nominated. Taken in totality, they show us that Life as a Black person is not comfortable. Even when there are distinguishable accomplishments, there were herculean endeavors to make those a reality. They might have been even greater had it not been for the many obstacles and setbacks that came along the way. They might have been even greater if the observing public knew of the instances when the Soldier of Black had to deal with being put in their place and forced in various ways to stay in their place.

Many of the Civil Rights Era images have been displayed on social media by those who want to acknowledge those times and, like me, those who lived in those times. Some watched TV news footage in numbed shock and young children and wondered how such things could be perpetrated on other human beings. Some were actually among those who suffered the hostilities in order to pry the Doors of Freedom open for humanity. And the Movement grew. Sit-In1_small

It’s significant that those who are part of this nation either by choice (immigration) or naturally (birth) seem to be denied the blanket of rights for which they strove to win its sovereignty and preserve it. It’s troubling to page through history and see the injustices rained upon the Japanese, the Native Americans, the Chinese, and all other races who deliberately served in the armed services and battle lines of many wars so that they could prove their loyalty because of their citizenship. Yet those pieces of discrimination are part of what made this land. It was only a matter of time before an organization such as the NAACP would spring up in order to address the wrongs. It’s also significant that the founders of the organization were not just Coloreds. So it’s inappropriate to pin the wrongdoings on one race just as it is inappropriate to make any type of generalization. But it still happens.

naacp-founders

There are rare stories of the Oklahoma town referred to as the Black Wall Street. The town’s name was Greenwood. It’s remembered for its affluence and grace as well as what is known in small circles as the Black Holocaust. Andrew Williams tells us that few know about Greenwood (no doubt because of the embarrassment of the matter) by explaining that “The events of the riot were long omitted from local and state histories. ‘The Tulsa race riot of 1921 was rarely mentioned in history books, classrooms or even in private. Blacks and whites alike grew into middle age unaware of what had taken place.'”

It’s refreshing to see that we have achieved a type of self consciousness about recognizing the plight of our downtrodden. In the last five years, increasing numbers of colored faces, particularly those of men, are appearing on news analysis, economic, political, and social programs as spokes persons. They are interviewed on such programs because they are the manager or the Ph.D. on the subject being discussed. They are tacitly held up and held out as knowledgeable in their subject area. And they prove themselves worthy of the distinction through their controlled, clear discussion of the topic with well enunciated words using proper grammar.

Television programs are less inclined these days to gratuitously show the bare chested Black man in order to allure viewers. And roles that depict an integrated couple but feature the Black husband in a cartoonish caricature aren’t enduring the ratings. But that’s also a signal of progress. Where misogyny was at one time against the law, the law is no longer valid and the interracial anything is making its way into being the norm. It’s simply a matter of depicting two people interacting with one another.

Have we made progress? There’s so much to consider; there’s so much more to be said. Perhaps all of us should evaluate and think before we answer that question.

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