Last night was the first time I walked out on a movie. I struggled watching “Detroit” in the theater. In part, not that it is a bad movie, but that it is too good. At one point in the movie, I became aware that my fist caused my hand to hurt; I felt my blood pressure elevating due to anger. A strange emotion had taken hold of my soul. Few movies have caused me any sense of real emotion; but this one did. “Detroit” is an indictment on the complicit nature of white people’s comfort, as many all but too often turn a blind eye to police brutality and the constant killing of unarmed Black men. Many talk about All Lives Matter as they sit and watch video recordings of cops murdering Us. Too many Americans make excuses for their privileges, while dismissing Our daily exertion. We did not make it through the movie. After a while I was just too mad. I checked out and drifted to a mental place of pure frustration and anger. After a while the only thing I saw was white Americans’ silence. I saw a white supremacist in the White House who speaks about Black and Brown folk in a condescending way. A man and his majority white supporters who support white nationalism over shared values and mutual means. “Detroit” was nothing but a trigger warning for me. I saw Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Ezell Ford, Emmet Till, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Andeson, and more.
I am going to work this into my African American Studies syllabus. I am just seeing and hearing Jay-Z’ s The Story of O.J. Still processing. I am hearing Black sellouts. Black and white capitalist. Black folk still enslaved by debt. Black folk without real material power and wealth. Black bourgeoisie. Black working class. Poor Black folk. I am hearing you still Black at the end of the day– Black rich sellouts. White supremacy. Black caricature –watermelon and fried chicken. Gentrification. Panthers keeping it real. Some Oceans here. Nina Simone. Colorism. O.J. aint Black — he is O.J. Black supporters of Trump — sellouts. Drugs. Materialism. Religion.
I wrote this essay on the past and current struggles of the Black and white working class in the United States. I noted that:
Racism has long divided the working class, and today is no different. Many white working class people voted for Donald Trump. And much like 2008, race was a reason. While some will salute a strong economy, in truth, wages have flattened for the working class. Because of this, and because white workers have grown suspicious of the burgeoning black power call by Black Lives Matter, the search for solidarity continues to escape a racially divided country, as noted by the current political climate.
This essay was published by the Hampton Institute here.
The Communist Party USA published my reading/presentation of an essay I wrote on the Black Church for African American History Month. This is an early part of my research addressing the shift of Black folk from religion to atheism, and the Black class struggle. “What was once called the Negro church in the course of the struggle for equality has emerged as a major force advocating, equality, democracy and social change. How did the transition from the Negro church to the black church take place; what were the class and social forces that helped shape it; how did these issues relate to the broader society issues in the U.S. during the 19th and 20th century?
This NY Times article is worth a read. It notes,”Communists believed that organizing the working class would work only if white workers realized that their liberation, too, was bound up with the fate of black workers. Facing this threat, anti-Communists and segregationists worked hard to sustain the fractures. They blamed Communists for fomenting “race mixing,” evoking sexualized fears that social equality would mean black men having sex with white women….The party inspired loyalty for reasons beyond simply an affinity for Marxist ideas. It was the campaigns Communists ran against police brutality, the practice of lynching and the Jim Crow laws that made their politics relevant to the lives of ordinary people.”
You can read it in its entirety here.
As part of a community narrative through portraits — conducted by an amazing graduating student, she reflects a number of narratives in the pictures she took. She lined Main Street with over 100 of them, where folks shared an unknown thing about themselves. I stated that I survived a brain aneurysm due to a benign brain tumor. My image reflects what W.E.B. Du Bois once stated — the problem of the [21st] century is mass incarceration of Black and Brown people. Hence, our color line matter is due, in part, to the New Jim Crow.
New Orleans started the process of removing Confederate monuments. Over the years I have discovered that folks know little about historical actors like Jefferson Davis, who was not a great leader. I wrote an essay below for The Christian Century Magazine with a colleague as we noted, “[W.E.B.] Du Bois observed how little had changed in America from his mid-20th-century perspective. Perhaps the conjunction of the #blacklivesmatter movement with challenges against Confederate monuments can help bring about some change in our own day.
See essay here: Confederate Monuments and American Citizenship