Category Archives: African American History

The “N” Word is Back in the News

Recently in the news, the “N” word has gained the spotlight again. Someone painted the “N” word on the fence of LeBron James home and Bill Maher chose to use the word during his weekly show on HBO. I know I am writing this some time after all the hype around these situations but I wanted to wait to see if the impact of these two high profile celebrities being involved with the use of this word would change anything.

The word being painted on LeBron James’ home is horrible but the thing that I found more reprehensive was the comments from black people about the situation. In particular Jason Whitlock, Mr. Whitlock stated because LeBron is rich and famous LeBron does not experience racism like other people of color. For me the fact that anyone experiences it is the problem, and for LeBron James to experience it sends a strong message. The message is no matter how rich, famous or how many fans you have there are people who will view you as less than them. How do you tell a child that no matter what he or she accomplish in life they will be looked down on by a group of people. I have read somewhere that Yvette Carnell has agreed with Jason Whitlock in part, I admit I have not seen her video yet regarding this topic. The reason I have not watch the video is because I have respect for Yvette but from what I heard I disagree with her on this issue. I heard Yvette believes LeBron should have addressed other issue regarding the plight of black people earlier. I offer this instead of condemning a man for not being awoke before congratulate him for waking up now. No one has the right to measure the pain that LeBron has felt from having this word written on his property.

The Bill Maher situation was difficult for me because I am a faithful viewer of his show, I am not agree with his position on all topics but I generally like his show. Bill Maher tried to make a joke and as a comedian he should be allowed a certain amount of latitude, that’s what I hear from some people but on the use of the “N” word I disagree. Someone mentioned there are terms associated with other groups that people will dare not say in a public forum, so why so comfortable saying the “N” word? I watch the show after he said the word on HBO, there are two things I took away from the show regarding his use of the word. One, I agreed with Ice Cube so what if black people use the word other races cannot under any circumstances use the word. Two, the atmosphere seemed like we are supposed to be grateful that Bill Maher apologized. He apologized because people were upset that he used the word, he did not apologize because he used the word. If just a few people complained about his use of the word would he have apologized?

I stated previously I wanted to see if these situations would improve race relation or have a positive impact, just as I thought nothing positive came from these situations. In a way, the person who painted the word on LeBron James fence has won because the conversion about the issue has created a further divide between us. People are discussing that the fact he is rich racism does not impact him the same way instead of rallying on his side.

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Has the Black Community contributed to racism? I ask this question because this question came up during a radio show I was watching the Zo What Morning Show. At first, I thought this was a strange concept but after really thinking about it and hearing some of the points that illustrate that Black community may be active participants.

Throughout America’s history, we have witnessed structural racism such as slavery, Jim Crow, and redlining just name a few. These were put in place by the government or by large institutions that have influence. These systems were put in place to subjugate the black community and keep us from evolving or surpassing our white counter parts, this ensures the other race would have an unfair advantage over black people. Throughout history, people fought and won to get rid of these laws and practices that hindered black people. These laws are now gone so why are black people still at a disadvantage? People will point to the miseducation, the influence of drugs in our communities, and the prison pipeline, but all of these things we as a community can control. We can decide to educate our children by creating our own school curriculum, we can force drugs out of our communities and police our citizens. White people cannot stop us from doing these things, so who is stopping us from elevating us and help to put an end to racism. The answer maybe we are in our own way.

Black people contribute to racism and help keep black people subjugated by thinking or acting as what the other races provide are better than what a black person provides. Antonio Moore of Tone Talks constantly talks about how the black dollar does not stay in the black community. The black dollars stays in the black community for six hours compared to the Asian community where the dollar stays in the Asian community for 28 days.  Is the reason the black dollar leaves the community so fast because black people think other race’s products are better. You always hear black business over charge, the service is not as good or the product is as not as good. Most of the times you will have to pay more at a black owned store because we do not have access to the products at a lower price. If we pay a little more this will give the owner more negotiating power to have his cost reduced because the supplier will see that the owner can purchase more product for resale. This will affect the quality of service and product.

Another area where I have personally experienced racism by one of my own is the work place. There are black people that will hold other black people back from advancing in the work place. These people believe that black people should not make more money or should not become managers, they believe they are the exception. I had a black manager who once she was being fired said she was told to get rid of all the black employees and she did so was is she being fired. I was not fired because I saw what was going on and never gave them a reason to fire me. I also watch a black manager promote people with less knowledge and a poor work ethic over black employees who deserved the promotion.

So after thinking about it, I realized racism is on auto-pilot, white people do not have to put laws in place there are black people who will practice racism on their behalf. This leads to my next question how do we get black people to stop discriminating against their own? And if cannot stop them what do we do with them?

The Unlearned History of the Black/ African-American Community

Does the unlearned history of the Black/ Africa-American community affect our position in society? If this unlearned history of the Black/African-American community was common knowledge would the world be different today?

I stumbled on this concept during one of my, for the lack of a better term, verbal jousting on twitter. Another individual and I were engaged in a conversation through twitter where I stated that Black people have contributed heavily to the development of America. His reply was am I talking about slavery, I replied we have contributed and invented things that have impacted the agriculture, science, and industrial sections of the country. The individual then reply name two instances, I provided him with five names of black inventors. Needless to say the conversation was basically over at this point. The individual had claimed in an earlier exchange that he was Native American, based on this exchange the question arose does the unlearned history of the Black/ African American community affect us. This question may be important because the individual I was in the exchange with was unaware of our contributions and learning of these contributions may affect his opinion about us. If so, will learning this history change the members of the Black/ African American Community?

During my sons and my school years I have noticed that there is very little taught about our history, during Black History Month the schools may dedicate more time to Black Historians but usually it is the more common black individuals. When our history is taught the majority of the time we are taught about individuals who impacted society after slavery, but our contributions began way before slavery. My little knowledge that I have gained about our history was acquired in my adult years. To gain this knowledge I read books or watch speeches by individuals such as Dr. Phil Valentine, Professor James Smalls, and John Henrik Clark. I also watch the Hidden Colors series and watched Black News 102. These individuals, media platforms, research helped grow my knowledge of our history. I still only possess a little bit of knowledge concerning our history.

In my opinion, learning about the Black/ African-American starting from slavery puts us at a disadvantage. Our children start learning about themselves from the lowest point in our history, therefore the view of your ancestors starts from a point when we were treated less human instead of a point where we ruled the world. When discussing slavery, it is made clear that we did not win our freedom, our freedom was given to us. This sends a message that the oppressor is the only one who can answer our prayers. If our children were taught about Ancient Kemet, Nubia, The Moors or individuals such as Mansa Musa would this give them a certain pride and motivate them to return to these levels of success. Movies like Tariq Nasheed‘s 1804: The Hidden History of Haiti is so important because it shows our children that during slavery there were some of us who took back our freedom and you do not have to wait for someone to give you your future.

Many of us have brought into the images that have been given to us, such as we are savages, Africa is an under developed country, that the European civilized us, and come from nothing. None of this true, in fact, it is the exact opposite. Learning this history may change our position in society and it may change the way the rest of society views us.

There is a reason our history is kept from us, some of the history is distorted, or stolen. I remember when I was much younger someone said to me that “with no history you have no future.” So is the unlearned history of the Black/ African-American Community affecting our future?