Black People Must Be Perfect
Black People Must be Perfect.
Recently, I was talking to my mother about Black people in Amerika. My mother always stressed that Black people need to work hard and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them to make it in this country (USofA).
My mom can speak on that because she grew up poor and in a single-mother household. Nevertheless, she still managed to attend and graduate Douglas College (Rutgers University) with a science degree when there was a handful of Black women graduating from Rutgers University. After graduating college, my mother was able to have a successful career at well-known hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. She became the financially stable woman she is today because she was determined to do so.
However, as I got older, my beliefs that Black people constantly need to work harder and take advantage of every opportunity slowly changed. At what point is it OK for Black people NOT to have to work twice as hard to get the same thing that many people are born with? At what point shouldn’t Black people have to constantly fight and die to be treated like a human? To be provided the basic necessities in life? Or have a little more than the previous generation? Personally, I’m tired of hearing about how Black people in Amerika always need to do better. Tired of hearing how Black people in Amerika don’t take advantage of the opportunities they have. How Black people in Amerika need to do this or that…. But guess who I’m tired of hearing it from…OTHER BLACK PEOPLE!! That’s right! I’m coming for us.
Do we give each other credit for how far we came? Now don’t get it twisted… I’m not one of those Black people who feel like we made it to the Promise Land. Collectively, I don’t believe we made it that far in Amerika because we are still on the top of everything terrible and on the bottom of everything good.
To give quick examples of our lack of progress, Black people in Amerika collectively do not own any natural resources. The amount of land Black Amerikans own collectively has decreased significantly within the past seventy-five years. I can go on…. the small amount of wealth Black households have, and the number of Black people caught up in the prison industrial complex…but I think you get my point about our lack of progress. But as I study my people, as I learn about my people, I must acknowledge how much we have accomplished with what little we had since we arrived in Amerika. I’m talking about the Black inventors (even the inventors who didn’t credit for their inventions), the significant amount of land Black people once owned during the reconstruction and Jim Crow era, the number of wars Black people fought in for this country, educational institutions Black Amerikans built and established, and former slaves who became educated, elected politicians or business owners. Let’s not forget the most essential accomplishment Black Amerikans achieved over time….fighting for human rights. There is no other group of people in Amerika who has fought more for equality, freedom, justice, and fundamental human rights more than Black Amerikans. Let’s argue?!?!? I mean, the list of accomplishments by Black Amerikans who pulled themselves self-up by their bootstrap …hell sometimes with no boot, is extensive. I can go on and on about how much Black people in Amerika accomplished with very little.
However, I believe we are hard on each other because collectively, Black Amerikans do not have anything to show for how much we accomplished. So, to many people, including Black people, it does appear like we don’t have anything of value. It does look like we didn’t accomplish anything. It does look like we didn’t contribute to building the country’s economic foundation, but history shows all of that is a complete lie. Black Amerikans contributed and achieved more to this country than any other group of people without full human rights and compensation. Again, Black people have accomplished and contributed more to this country than any other group of people without full human rights. Just so you can get an idea how long Black Amerikans had to do a lot with a little, I was the first person born in my immediate (nuclear) family with full human rights. My family has been in this country for at least 200 years…and I’m 40 btw. My mother and father were born and/or lived in the Jim Crow South and grew up in segregated northern cities (NJ) in the 1950s and ’60s. Both of my grandfathers fought in wars (Korean War and WWII) for this country. When they returned to Amerika, they still couldn’t live or drive through any neighborhood they wanted. Many people who migrated to Amerika before the 1970s had more human rights and freedom than my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on, who were all born here.
Additionally, being Black or indigenous and struggling in your native country is not something that’s just isolated to Black Amerikans. Before you continue reading…. Close your eyes and think about all the native Black and Brown countries across the world…. OK…So you realized Black Amerikans aren’t the only people who struggle in their native country.
People of color “struggling” in their native country is not an issue only native Black Amerikans face. Native Black Amerikans and Native Americans were the only people in Amerikan history that were refugees in their own country.
They didn’t immigrate to Amerika, but they were forced from their land and homes through violence and death threats.
Do you not realize the trauma and setback that causes millions of Black and Native Amerikans? The lack of assets, resources, and money in the Black and Native American community are not due to the lack of motivation by Black and Native Amerikans.
Europeans have colonized many countries that were and still are predominantly populated by people with some type of melanin skin throughout the world. The consequences of colonizing these countries are detrimental in so many ways. The Native people are robbed of their resources. They become victims of civil wars on their land, genocide, and their cultures are dismantled. They are forced to learn European languages and are miseducated. Their economy is controlled by the colonizers, which usually keeps them in abject poverty. People in their own native country/land tend to suffer more than other people of lighter complexion who migrated there.
I would like to point out that wherever there is a large concentration of melanin people throughout the world, there are all types of suffering. The suffrage is not from their own doing either….. it’s from White Supremacy. Say it with me…WHITE SUPREMACY. That is the common denominator for why native people with some melanin from all over the world suffer.
And lastly…I didn’t want to touch this subject…but as a Black man… I’m going to do it. Deep breath….Voting….The pressure Black people were under to vote during the last Presidential election (2020) was ridiculous! There was no other group of people in Amerika under so much pressure to vote more than Black people.
On top of that, Black people were under enormous pressure to vote Democrat. Some clown even said Black people aren’t Black if we don’t vote for him. Many Black people blamed other Black people for Trump being elected President after the 2016 election because of the low voter turnout in Black communities.
Black men and women voted for Hilary Clinton more than any other (race) group of people in the United States, but it wasn’t good enough. Over 90%!!!!!
Black people and mass media stated for four years straight if more Black people came out to vote, then Trump wouldn’t have won. This may be true, but the pressure for Black people to be perfect divided us once again.
White women got a pass for voting for Trump, Latinos got a pass for voting for Trump, Asians got a pass for voting for Trump…but Black people… didn’t come out in the numbers they should’ve.
Perfection… To make matters worse in the Black community, Black men were facing a lot of heat because they didn’t vote for Hilary Clinton in the same exact numbers Black women did…but get this…No other race of men voted for Hillary Clinton more than Black men (percentage-wise).
This happens almost every national election in the US…All eyes are on Black people when the topic of “voter turnout” is mentioned. We are only 13% of the US population but under constant pressure to have some phony Democratic candidate put in office who will give us no tangibles.
Many Black people are starting to feel hopeless about eventually being treated fairly in this country, but to some Black people…that doesn’t matter. Just vote!!
Our ancestors died for us to (have the right to) vote!! I guess it’s easier to chastise a handful of Black people who have lost faith in the Amerikan government than it is for Black people to hold elected politicians accountable…..
To summarize everything I wrote….imagine this….Millions of people from one continent are violently brought to a different continent. They are separated from their families, their names are changed, they are forced to change their religion and language, and their ability to learn is restricted. After about two hundred years they are somewhat free with just the clothes on their back….Then for another one hundred years, they can’t live where they want. They are told what they can have and/or people destroy at will what they have rightfully earned….And one last thing….Rape the women for hundreds of years and kill the men at random for hundreds of years…Now tell these same people or people who are descendants of said people….To get their shit together… Black people, I’m talking to you…Tell other Black Amerikans that even though millions of people before them did everything “right” and worked hard, you can promise them they will end up with different results than the ones before them if they just work hard and take advantage of their opportunities.
Enough is enough, Black people!! We can only do so much to change the situation we are in. Yes, there is more we can do to improve our conditions…absolutely. But how much longer are we going to keep adding to our to-do list?? We have done almost everything asked of us to get our piece of the pie, but we still aren’t even allowed a seat at the table.
Everyone else is allowed to do as they please, take advantages of policies our people died for…but Black people tell other Black people all the time you need to keep doing better if you want to live a happy and healthy life…… Don’t just do better Black people…be damn near perfect.
**Black Amerikans are referred to as Native people to Amerika for the purposes of this blog piece.
**Native Amerikans are referred to as Native Amerikans (indigenous).
Jonathan T. (May 2021)
Stop Fighting Racism
Yes, you read the title right! Stop fighting racism. Black people in Amerika focus way too much on wanting to be accepted by the majority. They are under the illusion that non-Black people, more specifically White people, will understand our plight and will eventually help us. It is not going to happen. That plan of action needs to be modified immediately.
To begin with, many Black people in Amerika are attending college and choosing majors that will result in having a career that will produce very little wealth for themselves and their families. I know for a fact, one of the primary reasons many Black people major in the social sciences and education in college is because they want to help underprivileged people, who happen to be disproportionately Black and Latino. I was a Social Science major who had the goal of reforming a broken system. One of the biggest mistakes I ever made in life was thinking a career in the public sector would uplift underserved and marginalized communities when I graduated college. Some people may say I was one of those people who thought they were going to “save the world.”
The truth is many Black and Latino people who have careers related to the social science, and education field are not actually helping marginalized people in underserved communities. On the contrary, we are helping maintain marginalized people within a broken system that is supposedly designed to uplift them. I highly recommend that Latino and Black people who have careers in either law enforcement, the prison industrial complex, education, or Child Protective Services become familiar with how policies that are supposed to result in positive outcomes for marginalized people, negatively impact them. Once we start familiarizing ourselves with how the system is failing Black and Latino people, we will understand Black and Latino people working within the same system are not helping, saving, or rehabilitating a collective group of marginalized people.
After years of reading and studying about the plight of Black Amerikans, I learned Black Amerikans can overcome racism by simultaneously becoming financially independent and participating in cooperative economics. How does this begin? I’m glad you asked. It starts with Black Amerikans understanding the value of education and the importance of either majoring in STEM, attending law school, medical school, or pursuing a vocational trade. These choices will more than likely result in more wealth and political power for Black Amerikans. Economics is the only thing that matters when it comes to…everything. Economics! Economics! Economics!
Instead of dedicating your entire career to “helping people” in the public sector, choosing a major that will pay you well once you graduate college is probably a better option. From there, you can mentor and invest in impoverished communities. Over the years, I read several articles about successful young adults who majored in STEM, business finance, or economics and decided to take their savings to invest in underserved communities. Additionally, many lawyers dedicate their career to fighting for justice in the court room after years of practicing in a private law firm. Some of these young adults quit their job to pursue social justice issues full time, while others used their personal savings to start non-profits and/or occasionally mentor youth in underserved communities. In addition, since many of these young adults worked at Fortune 500 companies, their employer sponsored social justice events they were involved with, and/or the employer would make large monetary donations to their cause. At the end of the day, these young adults utilized their economic power to address social injustices and racism as they saw fit and used their connections to wealth to assist them. I believe this is more or less the key to overcoming racism in Amerika. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that racism will be eliminated if we become more economically sufficient and stable. I am also not saying Black people shouldn’t pursue careers in the public sector. I am saying we need more Black Amerikans to choose majors that will result in more lucrative careers. With more wealth in the Black community and collective economics being utilized as it should, Black people will gain more respect and power. Show me any community in Amerika that practices cooperative economics, has wealthy individuals, is disrespected, and does not get what they want when they want.
I know many of you will disagree with this blog piece because it is easier to believe the little bit of help you provide people working in the “broken system” will eventually result in a miracle at some point. Or you don’t think money is really the key to eliminating the different forms of institutionalized racism that exist (medical racism, environmental racism, food deserts, racial profiling, etc.). However, history shows thriving Black neighborhoods had one common factor…cooperative economics.
Sidenote: Yes, many of these neighborhoods were destroyed by the U.S. government and White supremacists, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t focus on the results of the bigger picture. Preserving wealth in Black communities is a conversation for another day. Let us focus on building first.
I would also like to see evidence that Black people working in Child Protective Services, law enforcement, education, and the prison industrial complex have contributed to the building of a strong Black nation in Amerika. If these careers in the public sector employ us at a high number and the system is designed to help us, how come Black people are either overrepresented or underrepresented within all areas of the system? That’s the million-dollar question.
Anybody who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of Malcolm X and Booker T. Washington. I genuinely believe they were on to something when they focused more on building within the Black community and focused less on fighting racism and integration. Booker T. Washington was an advocate of Black people making, building, and growing their own. He believed that if you became exceptional at building, making, or growing your own, your services will be in demand regardless of your race. I do think there is some truth to that. If we are honest with ourselves, living in Amerika, we all have different groups of people that come to mind because of their reputation for delivering services or outcomes. Even if we don’t speak the same language or like their race, we will hire them to do a particular job because we believe they will do it the best or must hire them because they dominate a specific industry.
Earlier in the blog piece, I mentioned a vocational trade as an alternative route to building Black wealth because college isn’t for everyone, realistically speaking. Additionally, a vocational career, similar to STEM, is universal. You can get a job almost anywhere in the world with a certain trade skill, and more importantly, skilled labor is in demand.
I am not saying transitioning in this direction will be easy. I know building a wealthy Black nation in Amerika will not happen overnight, but we’ve been lied to for so long about why we should choose specific careers and how we can be the catalyst to change if we pursue specific careers. It’s about time somebody tells us choosing a career that is “helping people” and working within the system to change the system is a myth and a distraction. The system has convinced Black people, the most oppressed group of people in Amerika, that helping a few Black people here and there is progress. Enough with the band-aids for deep cuts….
There can be no social justice without economic justice. There can be no economic justice without reparations.
Jonathan T. (June 2021)
Black Men vs Black Women
The Oppression Olympics
Dear Black (Wo)Man,
In my opinion, the divide between the Black man and Black women in America is the worse it’s ever been. Please stop…Shit is stupid! If our goal is to be one, our problems can’t be separated.
Overall, our life experiences and trauma are like no other. We need each other more than we may want to admit. It’s time for us to talk to each other and not at each other. We will not move forward together until we decide to sit down and come up with solutions together. Our division and belief that we don’t need each other are causing many downfalls within our community. It’s time to unite as one, so we can build a strong nation of people.
The Field Negro vs. Everybody
In November of 2019, I decided for my birthday to take a trip to Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. I heard many great things about both of those places, and I knew that I had to get there one day. When I arrived to those two cities, I was so happy I finally made it there. Let me just say, Cape Town is a beautiful city, and it’s a place that I will recommend for people to visit.
Anyhow, I went there with a good friend of mine. We’re both still relatively young, so of course, we went to several nightclubs and lounges to experience the nightlife in Cape Town. While we were out there, we engaged in several conversations with many people out there, but of course, two single men were the most interested in talking to women who lived in South Africa.
Oddly enough, to my amazement, many of the conversations both of us had with young ladies related to racism. I know…I know…many of you who know me personally aren’t surprised. I promise you it wasn’t planned. It just so happens that when young ladies found out we were from America, they automatically had this utopia form in their head. It seems that many South Africans have this image or idea that Black people in America have it really good. Now to a certain extent, they are correct. Overall, I think America is a better place to live for a Black person than South Africa. If we’re looking at the quality of life, education, job opportunities, and many other factors that come into play when comparing places to live, America would probably come out on top. However, what they didn’t know was that many Black people in America deal with the same type of racism they’ve experienced in South Africa. Apartheid was similar to Jim Crow and sharecropping. Learning about Indigenous Black South Africans being forced off their land in certain cities to rural areas or shantytowns reminded me of gentrification. White South Africans (Afrikaners) going to the best schools in South Africa during apartheid was similar to segregated schools all over America (not just the south). Black South Africans being required to have passports when they are in certain parts of South Africa reminded of Sundown Towns. Many Black South Africans who fought against apartheid ended up in prison or were killed by the police, similar to what happened in America in the 1960s and 1970s. I actually read somewhere that many of the racist laws passed in South Africa last century were modeled after laws in America.
So back to my story. One night, I met a young lady with who I had a deep conversation about race and racism. She began telling me how she grew up poor, and she still isn’t doing that great financially as an adult. She explained that she was raised by her aunt, who told her to find a rich German White man to marry when she was younger.
***Note: For those of you who are not familiar with Cape Town, South Africa, because of apartheid, most Black South Africans are poor, and almost all the White people in South Africa are doing well or exceptionally well.
Nevertheless, I asked her, is this a goal you’re actually pursuing in life? She told me it’s something she wants because, unfortunately, she doesn’t believe there are too many Black men in South Africa who are financially stable. She continued to tell me she didn’t want to continue struggling for the rest of her life.
As the conversation went on, I eventually told her that she wasn’t giving Black men in South Africa a fair opportunity. I understood her perspective because who wants to be poor their entire life because of the lack of opportunities in their country? But I just couldn’t completely agree with it. I asked her who’s to blame for the conditions the Black men and Black women all over Africa live in? Hell, all over the world? I told her you have been trained to believe the only way to escape your misery is by hoping a man affiliated with the same group of people who caused and is still causing you to live in these miserable conditions chooses to marry you. This young lady went on to tell me she is mindful of that, but she doesn’t want to keep struggling. Can’t knock her hustle!
Now her conversation led me to think about something interesting. Many Black people in America have the same ideologies as this young lady in South Africa, but most Black Americans are not as blatant or aware of their subconscious thoughts. It led me to think that one theory many Black people worldwide believe is the only way they can do better is by affiliating with White people and being in White spaces as much as possible. There is a saying if you can’t beat them, join them. But is that what’s really best for us?
This ideology of Black people believing their primary way to a better life is White proximity always bothered me. Since Black Americans have been in America, they have struggled with one thing or another. Even though many Black American families may have been poor, they stayed together for the most part. Black Americans in the early and mid-1900s may have had very little education, but they owned land, they knew how to take care of the land, they owned homes, they owned businesses, they educated each other, they knew during those times they had no choice but to support each other. The previous generations of Black Americans did what they had to do to make sure their offspring had more opportunities than them.
It seems that over time, integration (I was taught in college to call it assimilation) became the favorable way to go for many Black Americans. Black people worldwide seem to believe that they will do better in life if you to affiliate yourself with White people, live in White neighborhoods, have White friends, White spouses, all-white everything. At what point do Black people stop intentionally running to the same group of people who colonized us and caused so much destruction to our communities and/or countries? At what point do we stop looking at each other like we are inferior? The truth is when all we had was each other to rely on, we didn’t do too bad. Can you name any other group of people who solely rely on White people as their saviors?
Listen, I know trying to find the correct answer to this complicated solution is complicated. It took me a while to write this blog because I couldn’t even get the thoughts straight in my head on how complicated this is. But what is really the answer?
People always ask me what the answer is to solve all our issues. I always say the blueprint was created way before us. The blueprint for solving most of our problems was created by Black people who had less than us, had more challenges than us, but did more than us. Forced integration never worked for us, and it will never work for us.
“I’m afraid that America may be losing what moral vision she may have had. And I’m afraid that even as we integrate, we are walking into a place that does not understand that this nation needs to be deeply concerned with the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. Until we commit ourselves to ensuring that the underclass is given justice and opportunity, we will continue to perpetuate the anger and violence that tears at the soul of this nation.”
“I fear, I am integrating my people into a burning house.”-Martin Luther King Jr.
“But then you had another Negro out in the field. The house Negro was in the minority. The masses–the field Negroes were the masses. They were in the majority. When the master got sick, they prayed that he’d die. [Laughter] If his house caught on fire, they’d pray for a wind to come along and fan the breeze.
If someone came to the house Negro and said, “Let’s go, let’s separate,” naturally that Uncle Tom would say, “Go where? What could I do without boss? Where would I live? How would I dress? Who would look out for me?” That’s the house Negro. But if you went to the field Negro and said, “Let’s go, let’s separate,” he wouldn’t even ask you where or how. He’d say, “Yes, let’s go.” And that one ended right there.”-Malcolm X
Jonathan T. (September 2021)
You Sleep Well at Night
Lynching-Jim Crow-Chattel Slavery-Free Labor-Death-Small pox-Tuskegee Experiment-Prison Industrial Complex-Sharecropping-Red Lining-White Flight-Block Busting-Segregation-Stolen Africans-Raped Black and Indigenous Women-Name Change-Middle Passage-Trail of Tears-Hiroshima-English-Spanish-Dutch-French-Amerika-KKK-Domestic Terrorism-Gentrification-CONTRA-War-Stolen Wealth-Religion Misunderstood-White Jesus-Missionaries-Mis-Education-Schools-Confederate Statues-Race Riots-Propaganda-Mass media-Exploitation-AIDS-HIV-Crack-Great Migration-Church bombings-Separation of Black Children and Parents for Four Hundred Years-Legacy-Medical Racism-Slave Patrol-Police Brutality-Nazi-Martin Luther King Jr.-Medgar Evers-Malcom X-Nelson Mandela-Angela Davis-Che Guevara-Wall Street-Unapproved Loans for Qualified Black customers-Higher Interest Rates-Job Discrimination-School to prison pipeline-CIA-FBI-First Illegal Immigrants (Christopher Columbus and his crew)-Original Baby Daddy-Original Deadbeat Daddy-Nigger-Race-Racism-Sexism-Democrat-Republican-Independent-Guns-Politics-Whitewashed Stories and History-HBCUs-Brown vs The Board of Education-Roe vs Wade-NFL-Hip hop-No Universal Healthcare in America-Pollution-Environmental Racism-Foster Care-Over fishing-Hunting and Killing endangered species-3/5 human-Coups-Puppet Presidents-US Presidents-Unfair Sentencing-Voter Suppression-Christopher Columbus-Tainos-Mayans-Ghettos-Hoods-Rust Belt-Tax Reform-Deregulating of Banks-Union Busting-Ronald Regan-Welfare Queen-Bull Connor-Whistle While You Work-Minstrel Shows and Movies-GI Bill-New Deal-Tulsa Oklahoma-Rosewood FL-Central Park-Chicago Public Housing-I Can’t Breathe-Tamir Rice-Obama-Banana Republic-Sandinistas-Tupac Amaru (Peru)-Cuba-Central America-South America-Australia-Hawaii-Alaska-Contiguous United States-One Drop Rule-Eugenics-Colorism-Good vs Bad Hair (Pelo malo)-Mejorar la raza (Advanced the race)-Patriarchy-Panama Canal-Palenque, Colombia-Haitian Revolution-French Colonial taxes (West Africa)-Xenophobia-Haiti Reparations to France-Rafael Trujilo-Interstate Highways in the US-Woodrow Woodson-The Birth of Nation-General Hernandez Martinez (El Salvador)-Nagaski-Gold-Blood Diamonds-Privatized Prisons-Rutgers University-Georgetown University-Princeton-Maternity Leave With No Pay-Apartheid-Classism-Tuskegee Airman-Media-White Centered-Poll Taxes-Literacy Test-Juneteenth-Critical Race Theory
I can go on, but I think my point is clear. Through this all, you still sleep well at night, but I sure don’t.
-No social justice without economic justice.
Jonathan T. (October 20, 2021)
Stop Arguing About Critical Race Theory Black People:
Nobody is Stopping You from Teaching It
For the past year, one of the most controversial topics trending in America has been Critical Race Theory. What is this CRT that everyone is constantly having intense exchanges about whether it should be taught in schools? In my opinion, CRT is nothing more than teaching everyone the true history of Amerika. However, I did hear someone say that CRT was a term thought of by conservatives to push the narrative that teaching students the truth about Amerikan history in Amerika could cause trauma to the white students in the classroom. I mean, why wouldn’t CRT be called anything but Amerikan history? A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet that said (I wish I took note of who wrote it so I could give credit) when did school administrators and politicians ever ask Black parents how they felt about the history Black children learned? I know that is a rhetorical question, but I think it’s an excellent question. For those who don’t understand the controversy behind Critical Race Theory….I’ll say what is straight up with no chaser….It’s simply a fight to keep White Supremacy alive!
Now my opinion about this is the same as it is for most issues and subjects that affect Black people. Why are we spending our time and energy to beg a racist education system to teach children the truth about Amerikan history? Why can’t we teach “Critical Race Theory” outside of school? It can be very complicated, but it is possible. With that being said, we must be careful what we ask for because we just might get it. Let me explain. For example, in 2002 the New Jersey Department of Education implemented the Amistad Commission. The purpose of the Amistad Commission is to ensure that the (NJ) Department of Education and public schools of New Jersey implement materials and texts which integrate the history and contributions of African-Americans and the descendants of the African Diaspora. There are three goals: (1) To infuse the history of Africans and African-Americans into the social studies curriculum in order to provide an accurate, complete, and inclusive history. (2) To ensure that New Jersey teachers are equipped to effectively teach the revised social studies core curriculum content standards. (3) To create and coordinate workshops, seminars, institutes, memorials, and events that raise public awareness about the importance of the history of African-Americans to the growth and development of American society in a global context.
About two years ago, I was involved with a local community organization pushing for this curriculum to be taught in an urban school district even though the Amistad Bill (A1301) became law in 2002. Now here is the twist, implementing the Amistad Bill was a great idea, but the million-dollar question is who is prepared and trained to incorporate Black history into social studies lesson plans? Teachers must probably be trained when they teach Black history because it’s not a subject most people feel comfortable teaching, especially since most Black Amerikan history is linked to the oppression and discrimination by the White race. Black history is not just reading or teaching students that there were slaves in New Jersey, and then one day, slavery ended, and boom bang, Black people are free now. Part of teaching Black history is getting everyone to understand the racial trauma Black people have experienced in Amerika, how chattel slavery was the economic foundation of the Western Hemisphere and most of Europe at one point. There is so much depth in learning about racism in Amerika that you just can’t teach it like other subjects. It can’t be taught like any subject, and if it could be, then it would be.
So what’s the issue with us constantly pushing and asking for something? The problem is that when we get it, we may not know what to do with it. We may not have the blueprint to effectively ensure it’s being taught. So I ask this question to all Black people pushing “Critical Race Theory.” Are you really ready to back up what you’re asking for? Are we willing to consistently hold the department of education accountable? Let’s say certain school districts approach you and say, “you know what, we want to implement Critical Race Theory in our schools. What do we need to do for CRT to be executed successfully?” Are these same Black people yelling we need CRT in our schools going to be ready to support these school districts that want to implement CRT whether they are predominantly Black or not? I think that’s the $1,000,000 question we must ask ourselves.
Moving right along… personally, my biggest issue is why we are begging and asking for people to teach about us. Out of all the educated Black people in the United States of Amerika, why aren’t we more vocal about teaching our own history? Why aren’t we more vocal about organizing students and children in our communities and teaching them? Why are we constantly begging people who don’t give a damn about us, minimizes everything we’ve been through since we’ve been in Amerika, to actually teach everyone the truth about Amerikan history? Malcolm X said, “only a fool would let his enemy teach his children”. So maybe it is time for Black people who are knowledgeable about Black history, Black people with master’s degrees and Ph.D.’s in education, and years of teaching to come together to design a blueprint to teach Black Amerikan history in and out of school. It’s time for Black people to form educational organizations where our primary purpose is to teach everyone about Black history, but primarily Black people.
It’s 2021. Can we please stop waiting for people to save us?!?!?! Nobody is going to come save us! We must take action to get what we need so we can help our people who are coming up and the others who want to come up.
–No social justice without economic justice
January 11, 2022
Nobody is Going to Save You: Save Yourself
So, it’s that time of the year when everyone wants to acknowledge Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. Unfortunately, that comes with the whitewashing of who this man truly was. I recently saw some conservative group of people put up a flyer promoting an event that will acknowledge Dr. Martin Luther King and his work. The primary issue with the flyer was that some of their keynote speakers were conservative Black people (anti-Black). Personally, I’m tired of our history, our culture, our heroes, and our grassroots organizations consistently being hijacked by the mainstream or by conservative groups who make a mockery of it. At what point do we stop including everyone in everything when it comes to us? We have seen the consequences of that for the past fifty-plus years.
Last year to my surprise, Juneteenth became a state holiday in many states. Even the federal government passed Juneteenth as a national holiday. The mixed emotions many Black people had about this decision were justified IMO. It was a little exciting to see how many Black people weren’t too excited about the federal and state government making Juneteenth a state and national holiday. Why? Because Black people realized that more non-Black people would have a paid day off for Juneteenth than Black Americans. The holiday is supposed to be primarily for American Descendants of Slavery. How disrespectful is that??? Additionally, Black Americans are aware that anytime something “Black” becomes mainstream or is accepted by the masses, there is a great chance something will be rewritten (whitewashed). That poses the question…As Black people in America, how do we find a balance to acknowledging our history, culture, people, celebrations, and music without it being hijacked and turned into economic opportunities for everyone but us?
This leads me to a significant issue I have with us. We allow the mainstream media and the masses to continuously hijack our narrative because we often beg and wait for them to tell our story and bring solutions to our problems. In 2020, a young White woman from Long Island went missing shortly after a domestic dispute with her boyfriend in Utah. This incident received a lot of media attention across the country. At the same time, since she was last seen in an area of the country with a large indigenous population, many indigenous women began to demand the mass media speak about the high number of missing indigenous women since they never get any media attention. Around the same time, I started to see Black women on social media also say the high number of Black women that go missing in America is rarely reported by the mass media, which is also correct and disturbing. However, in this day and age, with the amount of access Black people have to social media outlets, there’s no reason why we should solely rely on the mass media to tell our story or spotlight certain issues in our community we would like resolved.
When will Black people realize that the mass media does not care about missing Black women? The same media outlets that demonize Black people are the same media outlets you are asking for them to present more stories about missing Black women??? They’re not going to help us, and they have no obligation to do so. It is not their responsibility to care about our community. History has shown us they never have, so more than likely, they never will.
It is time for us to start taking control of the numerous social media outlets available and utilize them to tell our stories. I’m sure many of us can name countless Black people who have started their careers from social media outlets within the past ten years. They used YouTube, Tik Tok, Instagram, and other social media platforms to introduce their story or talents to the world. Some of these people eventually signed bigger deals with more prominent media outlets. Still, they didn’t continuously wait around for someone from a large media outlet to sign them and get mad about it in the meantime. These people dedicated their time and energy for years to build. All these Black people utilized whatever social media platform was best to get their message out to the world. It’s time for more of us to do the same for issues that plague our community. I love to see the creativity Black people put into making Tik Tok videos, stories for Instagram, and movies for YouTube, but when we will use that same energy to build and promote love and unity within our community?
For those of you who don’t know me well, I would like to share that one of my favorite hobbies is acting. A few years ago, a few of my friends and I discussed how we were tired of plays, shows, and movies about Black people that weren’t written by us and that didn’t accurately portray the lives we live. Even films based on the real-life of Black Americans are not entirely accurate (i.e., Hidden Figures). We would learn later that many movies and shows/documentaries that were about Black historical events or figures had to be carefully written because the focus was more on making sure non-Black people weren’t going to be uncomfortable watching the film, and White people weren’t looked at too negatively regardless of what really happened. Our pain had to be silenced so others wouldn’t be uncomfortable.
So, my friends and I decided to get together, start our own theatrical production company, invest, produce, direct and write our own material. We decided we would control our own narrative regardless of who may feel uncomfortable watching our play. We could have quickly gone to Twitter and be like, “@so and so…hey this movie you wrote… .that’s not how it really happened!” We could’ve led a protest against the writers and producers in Hollywood. We could’ve boycotted certain movies. We can protest, boycott, and complain all we want, or we could take control of our narrative. We must realize that we have more power than we think, and we need to take advantage of what’s out there to advance ourselves by any means necessary.
My friends and I were sick and tired of how the entertainment world portrayed Black people. Do you know why I did it? Because I’m not a person that’s going to keep sitting here and waiting for people that love to demonize us and love making money off us, to write something that I want to see. I’M TAKING CONTROL OF OUR NARRATIVE! I KNOW TOO MUCH TO DO OTHERWISE!! Black people, you got to take control of your narrative by any means necessary!! STOP asking, STOP begging, STOP waiting, and STOP paying to see other people tell your story and ignore your pain. You take control!!
I’m going to close out by saying enough is enough. It’s 2021. There are numerous social media outlets in this world we can utilize to promote our narratives and/or solutions to our ongoing issues. My biggest issue with most Black people is we don’t want to do the work. Unfortunately, many of us are waiting on somebody with a cape to come save the day. We keep praying, hoping, and believing that somebody will pass some type of “freedom” bill for us one day. Or that if we keep educating enough white people about racism, it will disappear, and we will be treated like human beings. That day is not coming and if it is coming, it ain’t coming in our lifetime. We have to stop living our lives in fear because many of us still get the short end of the stick regardless of how hard we work. We continue to think if we keep our head down, remain quiet and go about things the “right way,” everything will eventually work itself out. How has that been working out for us?
The crazy part about all of this is that we are naturally creative (see Twitter, IG, Only Fans, and Tik Tok stories). Take some of that same energy you’re using to entertain to get useless clout and attention, to control our narrative instead so we can build. Nobody, and when I say nobody…..I mean nobody, will come save us but us!!
No social justice without economic justice
January 19, 2022
Love Tesla but Hate Future
So, I find it funny that when we want something, even if we don’t need it, we can come up with excuses for days about why we should get it anyway. Even if what you want goes against your morals and/or your monetary contributions indirectly fund political parties, politicians, or wars that go against your beliefs.
I recently discovered that Elon Musk, the co-founder, and CEO of Tesla, is the father to ten children by three different women. I also was informed a while back that Elon Musk is from South Africa, and his family benefited from the apartheid system. Elon Musk has even trolled Bernie Sanders on Twitter, writing, “I keep forgetting your alive,” because of their disagreement regarding taxing billionaires. Then there is the mess with Twitter. I don’t even know where to start with that. Does Elon own Twitter or not?
Many of you do not care about anyone’s political views or personal lives. Still, I think it’s important to know the political opinions, character, and personal viewpoints of billionaires and millionaires. Knowing how much money they contribute to politicians and political parties can influence what laws and policies are passed. What Elon Musk says and does could be minor to most and will not interfere with their decision to buy a car that will make Elon richer and more powerful. However, in my opinion, Elon’s political views, how his family benefited from the apartheid, and the number of children he has with different women should cause most people, but more specifically Black people, to think twice about buying a Tesla or Tesla stocks. I find it ironic that you could know all this about a person and will still make excuses about why it’s no big deal to buy a Tesla or own Tesla stocks. Tesla cars are selling like hotcakes, and the company is doing great financially. So much so that some media outlets have reported that Elon Musk is the richest man on earth.
I do understand why so many people want to buy a Tesla. With its sleek design, no gas required, and advanced technology…the car can drive itself!! I can honestly see why so many people would want one. And before I go any further, let’s be clear… I’m not hating on anyone who can afford one because if I wanted a Tesla, I could buy one too. Now back to the matter at hand, the issue I have with people buying Teslas, specifically Black people, is how we could overlook everything about Elon Musk because we want the hottest car or stock right now. Knowing that your money is going into this man’s pocket (I’m not sure what percentage), I find it quite interesting that we could overlook everything about him because we want the latest and shiniest toy.
Now, I know I can be materialistic at times. I know I am guilty of contributing to people or companies that give their money to politicians or people who support White Supremacy and other ideologies that are detrimental to me and others worldwide. But at the same, I can’t keep track of knowing the roots or backstory of everything I buy, and I wouldn’t expect you to either. However, I know at the end of the day, many things we spend our hard-earned money on could be traced to companies and people who made their startup money either illegally, from chattel slavery, child labor, stealing, war, exploitation, poor people, etc. So, could I be guilty of indirectly supporting racism or other isms? Absolutely. The difference is when I know for sure I’m financially contributing to a company or person who uses the money to promote beliefs that will harm me and others on a large scale, I usually withdraw my support immediately.
Is it easy? Absolutely not? Do I slip up occasionally? Yes. Nobody is perfect, but the difference is I don’t make excuses for someone or a business that clearly has no issue with their opposing viewpoints and is not showing any signs of changing.
If you know anything about rich people, you know they have several options to avoid paying taxes or reduce the amount of taxes they pay.
One well-known thing wealthy people and companies often do for tax write-offs is giving a large sum of their money to non-profit organizations. They also like to influence our politicians or political parties with cash under the table. Now let that sink in. You’re indirectly giving a small portion of your money to people who may not like you or have different beliefs than you because you want something materialistic. Something that slowly loses value over time. Some people say that’s like selling your soul to the devil. A little extreme? Maybe. If you knew where some of your money was going, maybe not.
Now you may ask yourself, Jonathan, what the hell does this have to do with Hip-Hop artist Future? Glad you asked. A few months ago, I wrote a blog about how Black people tend to be hardest on other Black people. A conversation that comes up every now and then is how Future has all these baby mothers and is a dead-beat father. Many people believe Future should be canceled because he is an irresponsible Black father. Before I go on, let’s be clear, I’m not defending Future if the allegations are true, but hear me out. Why is it, on the one hand, OK to cancel Future because he’s an irresponsible father, but on the other hand, it’s OK for us to overlook everything about Elon Musk because Tesla is a great car? I haven’t ever heard Future openly support controversial political figures or genuinely benefit from a system of racism.
Furthermore, Future is not even one of the top five richest people in this country….shit, he might not even be on the top 100 list. However, Elon Musk is one of the richest people in the world. I’ve never heard any Black person start a “Cancel Elon Musk” movement.
It seems like Black people seem to have this mentality of constantly harshly criticizing each other and lowering our standards for non-Black people while expecting every Black person to be damn near perfect. Sometimes, I think the standards Black people set for other Black people are so high. If we are not careful, we’ll eventually cancel all of us out. But when it comes to people like Elon Musk, we have a million excuses about why we can’t do anything to change who he is and what he does. Anything to justify why we really need a Tesla. In all fairness, you may have a point. Maybe nothing we do or say will make him change who he is or what he believes. However, is it too much to ask us to become more strategic about how we spend our money outside our community? Instead of us easily setting the trend to cancel Future, is it possible that we could just be more encouraging to Future so he can do the right thing? Or hold Elon Musk and others like him just as accountable as many of you hold Future?
Now I know what else some of you are thinking: Tesla will continue to sell many cars even if Black people don’t buy them. Right? Do you really believe that as much money as Black people spend collectively, Tesla, Elon Musk, or other large companies similar to Tesla won’t notice? Or, if we are going to continue spending our money outside of our community, shouldn’t Black people collectively demand certain people or companies invest their money into HBCUs, failing school systems, STEM courses in urban school districts, scholarships for underprivileged students, prison abolishment, or on research to reduce the maternal mortality rate among Black women, etc. Did you ever imagine that? We are more powerful than we think!! If we all thought more about where we spent our money, things would slowly change for us.
Think about the Montgomery Bus boycott. Think about how they all worked together and how much they sacrificed because they collectively knew how much power they had. And they really needed public transportation!! I’m asking you to sacrifice things you can get at other places or on items that are not a necessity. I’m asking for us to sacrifice things we can live without or explore what other options are out there when it comes to something you want.
At the end of the day, we need to work towards having more influence on where our money indirectly goes when it is spent outside of our community. It won’t be the end all and be all of our problems, but it’ll be a great start. We cannot continue to hold our own down by having unrealistic expectations for them while providing passes to others who exceed us in every category. We’re supporting people and companies who are way more well connected than those in our community you want to cancel (not support).
No social justice without economic justice
August 3, 2022
Follow My Blog
Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.