The last week has seen the racist underpinnings of the United States bubble up from the necrotic abyss like lava that explodes during a volcanic eruption. It is sickening to continually witness the African-American community be reactionary to what former slave masters, overseers and slave catchers feel about them.
While everyone is looking at and paying attention to “Donald Sterling-gate,” the Supreme Court has basically ruled against affirmative action in the college admissions process. In a 6-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 22 ruled that Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in the admissions process was constitutional.
The other hot-button distraction is the comments by Nevada rancher and conservative folk hero Cliven Bundy about Blacks being “better off as slaves.”
While the focus is on these hot-button distractions, many key swing states have or are on the verge of enacting laws that bar African-Americans from fully participating in voting. The Republican Party is rolling out its latest group of candidates to run in the midterm elections that will be voted for by a Sterling-esque constituency that will take away Social Security and further strip the food stamp program and other federally funded programs that African-Americans have relied on to pull themselves out of poverty.
While all of these plans are in full swing, Americans are seriously debating for hours on end about whether Game 5 should happen. The reality is that Sterling and Bundy’s mentality is a cancer that many of America’s WASP executives and politicos share. Just because they don’t get caught on tape by their exotic, mixed-raced mistresses does not mean that they do not share the same sentiments about Southern white coaches commanding over poor Black players.
Many African-Americans work for companies and agencies that are headed by bigots and racists. Many of these same corporations exploit people of color in their factories in foreign lands and invest in the modern slave system in the private prison industry domestically. Companies such as Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invest millions in private prison stalwarts the GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America. How many African-Americans work for them? When will African-Americans gain the fire in their bellies that was extinguished by cushy jobs, a few professorships and tokenism?
It is not important what people call you, but rather what you answer to.
African-Americans are to focus on issues that do not just hurt us emotionally, but harm them economically, socially and politically. There was a conference this past march in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that was hosted by the heads of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) in regards to reparations for African enslavement by European nations. It was recently followed up by a smaller conference in Chicago at Chicago State University on April 19. The National Action Network, headed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, just recently hosted their Keepers of the Dream conference that dealt with many of the aforementioned issues.
These issues and events are the ones that need African-American support, not debates focused on your amazement that the country and the people who enslaved you are racist and still don’t like you. These events answer the many ills that are rampant in the African-American community.
The various media outlets fuel these senseless debates for hours on end. “Reporting live from Sterling’s racist Staples Center!” Worrying about whether the players won’t or will play, about what this retired player thinks or this reporter believes. These outlets rake in millions as their Nielsen ratings spike up and up because of the untrained ears and eyes of the hapless brainwashed watchers of the hyperbolic reporting. Not one time have I heard TNT, ESPN or ABC say they would boycott the games by not airing them. All this while they ignore the issues and events that are important and can effect real change in the African-American community and America.
We need the continued support of media outlets such as The Final Call, Burning Spear, Africa Watch, New Africa, Amsterdam News,“Black Agenda Report” and of radio hosts such as Gary Byrd and Tavis Smiley. These outlets need greater support from African-Americans because they do the real job of informing the African-American community what is going on globally and domestically.
I believe Malcolm X said, “[If a] people won’t teach you right, they won’t teach you right.” That translates in the media: If a people won’t treat you right, they will never report or focus on the right issues for you. Wake up!