Black Memory

This is a fantastic essay by a colleague writing for the African American Intellectual History Society. I have worked very hard seeking to avoid my use of terms such as Uncle Tom or Sellout, when discussing black republicans or wealthy black folks who have abandon us. But, it is a constant struggle. This essay points to a post-racial myth often promulgated by white and black liberals, and consumed under conservative ideology. As noted here, “What has driven these Black folk out of their minds? Two words: racist ideas. They have consumed the racist idea of post-racialism that claims dysfunctional Black people are to blame for persisting racial disparities since racial discrimination no longer exists. They have consumed the racist idea that angry Black people are more violently reckless with colorblind police officers and that’s why they are being disproportionately killed.”

Dear White People,You Must Listen to Black People

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I have been asked via a number of emails what can I do as a white person? My advice is to engage in different communities. Most of the white people I know do not have much interaction with others outside the workspace. White people have privileges due to being white. If you teach at an independent school, college, university, or in a profession dominated by whites from top to bottom — your chances are few, thus you will have to try harder. It is cool to invite folks to your white church — but how about attending a black church. Better yet — invite them into your home. Have you done that? Make your home their home. Breaking bread in your home says a great deal. Often, black people struggle to afford college, have a job that does not allow them to pay their bills on time, and thus have to work a second job. We carry a historical past that plagues us in ways not so pronounced to white people. If you want to be a true ally, you must surround yourself with black people. And, you must understand our narratives. Do not tell us we are wrong. Do not tell us we misunderstood a situation. Just listen to us and support us.

In Ferguson, Baltimore, and L.A., riots occurred after a cop killed a black man. Folks are quick to tell me it is not about race. Yes it is about race. I think about my white boss (es) everyday; I think about my white colleagues as white everyday. Why? [Because they remind me that I am black] Are you doing that? White people with guilt say they do not see color. If you believe in God, please know he/she sees color; if you believe in God, you know she/he sought the beauty of diversity, though white people created race as a construct for systematic and categorical purposes. In each of the aforementioned communities (Ferguson, Baltimore, LA), segregation and black inequality played a major role. We are not an equal society. Years of Jim Crow cannot vanish because King gave a speech. White people hold power. For example: the white upper-class part of North Baton Rouge tried to succeed from the poorer black community of South Baton Rouge just two years ago. They viewed the black community as dangerous and having an economic impact on their way of life. Instead of reaching out with the power white people have — they sought to separate. Do your kids travel to the other part of town to play? Do you make it an effort to find ways to have your kids interact with blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, etc.? Are you will to break bread with folks in the hood? So, if you want to know what you can do, my advice is to do what you are not doing. Telling me you do not see race is your first mistake. That is just your privilege talking. Do something.

It is Getting Old

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I know we do not have all of the facts regarding the police killing of Alton Sterling, but from what I can see, the narrative looks familiar. Then, just a day later, Philando Castile was gunned down in his own car by a cop. Black, blue, or green — it is a life. As an academic who looks at race and engages in meaningful conversations about our past, present, and future predicament, I have elected to fly (post) the NAACP flag from 1920 to1938 on my social media page. The NAACP displayed this every time a black person was lynched. I will do this for the murder/lynching of innocent black folks.

Black Middle Class

This is a very good conversation, in part, because it aims at a central argument in circulation among a number of us who constitute the black left. The black middle class abandoned the general black population after the 1960s civil rights movement. Though West points to a number of other narratives here, he does a great job encapsulating the aforementioned point.

Was Ronald Reagan a product of American Racism via the Christian Right?

I say yes. As I study and write some this AM, I keep going back to the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education court ruling that “ended” Jim Crow in schools, but gave further rise to white supremacy and the Christian right. This was the same Christian right that coalesced with the Republican Party under the guise of Christian morality. After speaking to a friend and colleague for a bit about the historiography of the Christian right yesterday, and after a great deal of reading this AM, I am more convinced that the Christian right, which today is housed within the Republican Party, emerged to justify white supremacy and to combat their growing fears of the interracial solidarity of black and white Communist, particularly after the Scottsboro Trial in 1931. In part, the USA government needed this court case to combat the Soviet Union’s argument that American democracy and capitalism were oppressive. The Christian right unified behind the election of Ronald Reagan in an attempt to elevate the racist conservative norm of states rights, and to dismantle a Soviet system that showcased the systematic realities of black and brown people. Thus, making Reagan the golden child of American racism and classism, as desired by the Christian right.

The Passing of a Remarkable Black Intellectual

 I have three books in need of a scholarly review for submission, thus I will not be able to honor the passing of Cedric Robinson with another read of his classic work. I was once told in my academic studies that if you are going to study W.E.B. Du Bois and grasp the challenges presented by white supremacy, Imperialism, and capitalism, you must read “Black Marxism.” I dedicate a full day of reading and writing to Professor Robinson.
The African-American Intellectual History Society published an excellent piece in memory of Mr. Robinson by Robin D.G. Kelley.