By Gregory Moore
“I don’t blame Bush for not speaking there, I wouldn’t have spoken there at all. Not until there is a National Association for the Advancement of White People, a Miss White America, like there is a Miss Black America, Cloud Magazine instead of Jet Magazine, White Entertainment Television, Congressional White Caucus, a Million White Man March, and so on and so on. Oh, and also I would like two white guys who can go around speaking up for White Rights while condemning any black or brown people who’s views don’t agree with mine, all on taxpayer expense! And I want black people to speak at our conventions, praising the work that we white people do! And if they don’t I will label them all as racists!” – from a CNN Political Ticker post
At least sometime during the day, somebody is going to ask me why African Americans are so proud to have a man like Barack Obama in the White House. And usually when I get the question, it is usually from a Caucasian person but every now and then I’ll get it from a Hispanic person too.
And usually when I get such an answer, I calmly tell them that until this country truly faces the injustices that was put forth from a majority to a minority, they will never understand; meaning that until “White” America truly understand what the wrongs were and why it is still an embarrassment as far as Black/White relations as a whole, they will never understand what many African Americans are facing even to this day.
The beginning paragraph is the epitome of why our race relations between two “majorities” is still very much divided and unsettled.
And so with that said, the hatred that is thrust upon the historical significance for this country is not only alive and thriving, but it is showing why it is ignorant to boot. This CNN poster doesn’t like the idea of a minority group having something that helps them battle injustices that still happen. Ironically the NAACP stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Granted at one time it was for African Americans but now the group needs to represent all people of color. In essence it needs to be an organization about helping all minorities; not just one group. But that is an argument for another time. The argument before us today is why is there still a huge problem with many people accepting the fact that racial discrimination is not only prevalent in 2009 but that it may actually be getting worse in some circle.
There is a reason why groups like LULAC and the NAACP are in existence but our schools continue to fail our children into teaching them the importance of such groups and why sometimes what is heard at Big Mama’s house isn’t always the truth.
For far too many years I have written op/eds about the importance of the education system to really teach American history in a fashion that isn’t just pertinent but also meaningful. School boards and educators should be willing to teach about the importance of all inventors; not just the ones we all hear about. Our children should know the importance of black inventors. For example we have all heard about Benjamin Banneker but do you know about the inventions of Lonnie Johnson? As a kid did you have the famous (or as your parents may say, infamous) Super Soaker? That’s one of Johnson’s inventions. But that isn’t talked about in school. Nor do many know about the works of Fred Johnson, Willis Johnson, Richard Spikes, Stewart Thomas, Valarie Thomas and so many other black inventors.
The ironic thing about all of this is that we use something every day that was either invented or improved upon by a Black inventor.
That’s a part of the American fabric and why Blacks are proud of what Obama has accomplished.
It is why so many are proud of the works of a Robert Johnson, the successes of a Russell Simmons, Jay Z or Sean Combs.
It is why the accomplishments of a man like Obama, a woman like Oprah Winfrey or the tenacity and financial brilliance of guys like Gerald Smith and Ladell Graham, partners of the Smith-Graham asset management firm.
Yet for many in ‘White’ America, this is an abomination, a farce, a joke and as it is said in that first paragraph, racist.
Because a minority group that was oppressed for much of this country’s existence now is on the brink of being equal with the high-powered ‘majority’ and it is now a threat to that mere existence?
That’s the reasoning that is bringing out all of the whackos and cooks who think that White power is the only power in this country.
The problem with that concept of thought is that this country is a melting pot of not only ethnicities and cultures but thoughts as well.
We are a country that for the most part actually celebrates the achievements of the ethnic groups that have made this nation their home because of the mere phrase “one nation under God”. While the media plays to the strings of shows like Black in America and Latino Connexion, on the street level being proud of one’s culture and background is also the stepping stone to success. Yet for many in what is being referred to as “Black America”, getting just due on the accomplishments by others is still a ferocious battle for acceptance.
For President Obama to speak at the centennial convention of the NAACP should be a historic milestone no matter what his skin color is. The organization has been around for 100 years. RNC chairman Michael Steel will be speaking. So will Colin Powell. So will NY mayor Michael Bloomberg.
But opponents of the accomplishments of the Black community (and any minority community for that matter) sees this as a defiance as to what their ‘fore fathers’ believed in. These opponents still believe in Jim Crow laws, the banishment of Mexican Americans, the annihilation of Jews, the destruction of the Asian culture, are all perfectly legitimate causes to continue the war of racial divide.
Even to this day, that is the war that many African Americans are facing and fighting to this very day in 2009.
It is also why depths of this country’s understanding on race relations is still mind boggling.
Someone posted in a forum that now that there is a Black president, affirmative action isn’t necessary.
Just because there is a president of this country with African ancestry, that doesn’t mean that racial equality exists because it really doesn’t. That is the wishful thinking of those who want to sweep this issue under the rug.
But you can’t sweep it under the rug.
Not when you still have racial profiling of minorities from law enforcement.
Not when you have supreme court cases on advancement tests that is racially biased one way or the other.
Not when you have predatory lending from major financial firms like Wells Fargo preying on hard working families.
While this country has done a lot to alleviate itself of the racial problems of the past, new ones crop up every day and make us all say, “dammit I thought we got rid of that one last year.”
One of those issues is the fact that there is still a segment of the population who do not want to recognize the accomplishments and the importance of sub groups for minorities like African Americans.
If you don’t think there is a race problem today, let that first paragraph of this commentary bring you back to reality.
There are people out there in this country who would rather see a man fail because of his color rather than to help him rebuild this nation back into a nation that is not only admired but is once again thought of as the greatest nation on this Earth.
If there is still that type of hatred towards a man of color, how can any of us say that we have finally come to a point where ‘race’ doesn’t matter in our every day lives?
Until we stamp out that type of ignorance, we can’t move past these conversations.
And in some cases, we may never will.