Today, Friday, October 23, 2015, I was in my study working on this piece (and listening to Thom Hartmann, as usual) when Thom read a piece by Dominique Matti entitled, “Why I am Absolutely an Angry Black Woman". When Thom read the piece I was struck by its title, for I wrote an op-ed entitled “Baltimore and The Angry Black Man” back in May after the Baltimore “riots”. http://www.thomhartmann.com/users/melanicman/blog/2015/05/baltimore-and-....
As Thom continued to read Dominique’s piece, I became infuriated and contacted Thom. As I was waiting in the queue to speak with Thom, I was conversing with one of the show producers who said: “Kenyatta, you won’t believe the racist call I just got, it was unbelievable”. I had not, even remotely, finished this piece but I had a rough idea where I was going with it and articulated that to Thom; here is that conversation: http://kbcs.fm/programs/thom-hartmann/
(Begins, in Hour 1 at 40.25 and ends at 45.49); and here is the op-ed that birthed it.
I know that white Americans are uneasy, or “dis-eased” when it comes to the black diaspora in the United States of Arrogance. I know that you are in a perpetual state of denial; for to accept reality, necessarily, requires you to exhibit a level of responsibility that you, heretofore, lack the character and courage to exhibit. To do so would mean that the entire house of cards on which you base your false sense of superiority would be blown away, and you would have to start anew on a level playing field and that frightens you. These things/denials are the prerequisites that you use, like a drug addict, to tell yourself you don’t have a problem…you are not “dis-eased”. If the blacks would just be quiet, it was so long ago, I did not own slaves; why don’t they just get over it and stop living in the past!
To that I say: it is what it is, because it was what it was.
You see, White man, I would love to “just get over it”. But, alas, I cannot. For I am constantly reminded of your kidnapping, enslavement, rape, exploitation and murder of my people. Every day, all day.
I am reminded when I see black people that come in more hues, hair types and eye colors than any other group of “Americans”. There are black people with stringy hair (like white folks) and curly hair. There are black people that span hues from “light, bright and damned near white” to those of us so dark we could put fingerprints on charcoal. There is Mulatto, Quadroon, Quintroon and Octaroon. This manifestation is a direct result of the Slave Breeding Industry and, more specifically, rape.
I am reminded when I hear the surname of most black “Americans” (get it "Suh"-Name). For most don’t even know their ancestral names (and never will); like the previous anomaly, it is unique to only us and we are the only people in this country that have names that remind us that we are a white man’s property. Go into any phone directory in any major U.S. city (you call it the “Inner-City”) and you will find page after page of black people with the name “Johnson” as in “John’s-son”…as in “boy”. You see, John was/is a quite common Anglo-Christian first name, and if you, as a black person, as property, as a “boy” were “owned” by John your name was John-son. Ironically, Johnson is not a common last name for white Americans. Same with Robert, Thom, William, etc. Just add son, son. The fellow that lives a few doors down from me is a black man named “Hartmann”. I am willing to bet that he is not related to Thom, and his African ancestors were not named “Hartmann”. He will never know what their names were, or even where in Africa he came from. For Africa is not a country, it is a continent.
A culture, a way of life was systematically erased. You can wipe out a generation of people, you can burn their homes to the ground and somehow they will still come back. But if you destroy their names, their religions, their languages, the foods they ate, their customs, their achievements, their history, it’s just like they never existed. Just ash floating. Lost, with no real home. A sociological disaster that neither they, nor both the witting and unwitting perpetrators of said disaster know how to reconcile.
I am reminded on this, the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, of how the U.S. government places no value on the lives of my people. Where they, literally, rotted on the streets of New Orleans for weeks. And when the United States government finally did show up to “help” those that had already been victimized by mother-nature, they stuck automatic rifles in their faces. Those that tried to get out of the doomed city were met with white, blackist slave patrollers (aka Police) that killed them for trying to leave.
I am reminded by a recent report that showed that the average familial wealth of a white family is 12 times that of a black family. Ergo, white families leave their descendants greater and greater wealth; while black families leave their descendants greater and greater debt. The irony of which is that without the kidnapped African, there would be no wealth for the white man to leave his descendants.
I am reminded by the fact that the demographic with the shortest life expectancy in the United States is the black man. The lifetime of constant stress (physical, environmental and psychological), despondency, poor diet and inferior health care brings about his untimely demise. My father, a man that was the proverbial “salt of the earth”, a man that got on his knees and prayed every night, a man that served in the United States Marine Corp with distinction, a man who spent his entire adult life building airplanes at McDonnell-Douglas (now Boeing) was dead at age 56. His heart, literally, could take no more even though he had excellent health insurance and was one of few black men to receive a heart transplant. You see, there is even blackism in medicine in that black folks are typically way down on donor/recipient lists; especially for hearts.
I am reminded by Public Housing which serves as concrete prisons for black people across this country. These “reservations” or internal colonies are almost exclusively inhabited by my people and were designed for my people.
I am reminded by inferior schools that exist in every predominately black venue in this country; which helps remind me that it was illegal to teach my people to read and write. The only way out of bondage is education; for you are far more enslaved when your limbs are free but there are shackles and chains on your mind, than when you are physically chained.
I am reminded by a racially skewed justice system that sentenced a black man to 20 years in prison for having cocaine in a vehicle that was the property of the white boy driving it. The white boy was sentenced to three years probation and a “diversion” program. A “just-us” system that has absolutely nothing to do with justice and everything to do with how much money you have, and the color of your skin. The statistics bear out that if you are black you are more likely to not have the $50,000 to retain a decent attorney and will, thusly, get some arrogant, apathetic, overworked Public Defender who will never ask you “are you innocent?’ But will, instead, tell you how lucky you are that he/she “cut a deal” that will take years off of your already abbreviated life. The fact that you attended an inferior school eliminates any option you have of defending yourself, for there is a reason that the law is essentially taught in a language that has been dead for 2000 years,
I am reminded by the fact that we, as a people, are still pursued and summarily executed by slave patrols (aka “Police”). Sandra reminds me. Tamir reminds me. Freddie reminds me. Oscar reminds me. Michael reminds me. Walter reminds me. Tony reminds me…all within the last year and in not one case was the murderer brought to “justice”. They all got rewarded with a paid vacation.
I am reminded by the Oklahoma State chant that “there willl never be a Nigger SAE, you can hang him from a tree, but he’ll never sign with me”. I am reminded by Paula Dean, Donald Sterling and Hulk Hogan.
I am reminded by the three unsolved lynchings that have occurred in the United States this year of black men. Yep, white boy, I would love to "just get over it"...why don't you help me out.
With regard to the comments of many of you on this site, it is hard to really be mad at any of you. You are train-wreck fascinating. I am a "terrorist", "a monster", a "race baiter", etc. Thom’s wrong, I’m wrong, ALL of the black people (albeit, quite few) in the forum are wrong. Two Presidents are wrong (one Republican/Bush and one Democrat/Obama-twice) and their wives that (on White House stationary) have praised me as a parent, school administrators, judges, educators too numerous to mention…but you are right. Think about how frightening an alternative reality you live in when juxtaposed with easily verifiable facts. And, most frightening for me as a black man is that millions of you, most of you in fact, are like that as far as I can tell. You would rather believe a fable than upset your Blackist stereotypes. Now, if any of you dare challenge anything I have ever stated (in terms of facts) contact Thom’s staff, let them do their due diligence and they will put us together and I will, and can, substantiate anything I have ever stated as fact; and you will do the same. Why do you think I eternally memorialize things in ink? Given the status quo, I would have to be retarded to not realize that the things I say and write (here and everywhere else) are permanent records; that’s the whole godamned point. I will not leave this earth an “Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison)”. My daughters will be able to show their children (should they ever see fit to have any, and given the current state of affairs I would be lobbying against that) who their father/grandfather was. They will have irrefutable proof of who he was, and is. For my youngest, precious little creature that I have raised alone her entire life, I will leave her a legacy of education, truth, thought, literacy, self-respect, cultural and historic respect and, most importantly, the litany of examples that you have provided me as evidentiary verification of why I am absolutely correct that you are cognitively dissonant, and have raised her as I have. You see, when you have and love a child, you will never be a “success” until they are.
You folks have missed the boat. I am already a success; that ship sailed eons ago. It is success that can never be taken away, for it is not predicated upon a flimsy foundation and falsehoods.
I will continue, until my demise, to infect as many people, both young and old, with the virus of truth, independent thought, logic and intelligence to, thusly, bring about rebellion. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The Revolution is when you start to change your mind; especially when something is not working for you. There will be no cameras there. No “YouTube”, no Facebook, social media, nothing. Just an intellectual “selfie”.
Better get that makeover while you’ve still got time...however little.