Thanks to frequent reader SI for bringing this story to my attention. Please read the linked story and share your thoughts.
Tag Archives: cbs
Occasionally I feature guest writers, and this is one of those days. Please read it and feel free to share your thoughts.
As taught in mainstream culture, American history propagates this nation as the womb of freedom, justice, and liberty. There are American creation myths as exemplified by the “Founding Fathers.” There are founding documents as revered as biblical texts for their promise of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” That is why the argument that ‘black history is American history’ is naïve to the point of insipidity. For most of this nation’s history, blacks were not ‘Americans.’ First, we were owned, and then we were barred from exercising the rights of citizenship. That’s why our history puts the lie to American history’s mainstream myths. Almost half of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, some of whom wrote so eloquently of freedom, owned other men as slaves. For most of its history, this country profited immensely from forcibly denying us freedom and liberty, by keeping us in chains, and from our labor as sub-citizens. Our history puts the lie to America’s history as popularly told. Do we want to continue to teach our children black history through a white racial frame? That is the practical effect of stating, “black history is American history.” It states that the majority veil should be placed on the history that we teach our children. It states that we should forego the right that every other culture assumes—the right to teach our history from our own point-of-view, and to be the heroes of our own stories—and instead, subsume our history within the majority’s. It states that we do not have the right to express our rage at the barbarities we endured, for those are histories that the majority has little willingness to accept and examine, and for good reason: they put the lie to treasured American myths. To pronounce that “black history is American history” says that every black child should learn that after Vernon Dahmer’s home was firebombed in Mississippi and Dahmer died from his wounds, the outraged white community worked to rebuild the Dahmer home. It says that black children needn’t learn that in Brookhaven, Mississippi in 1955, Lamar Smith was shot dead on the courthouse lawn in broad daylight by a white man for the crime of organizing blacks to vote, and that the known killer was never indicted because, per the Southern Poverty Law Center, “no one would admit they saw a white man shoot a black man.” To say “black history is American history” approves the endless repetition of a Martin Luther King quote like: I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” It says black children needn’t bother with another strand of King’s thinking: “It is an unhappy truth that racism is a way of life for the vast majority of white Americans, spoken and unspoken, acknowledged and denied, subtle and sometimes not so subtle—the disease of racism permeates and poisons a whole body politic. To insist that black history is American history says that the majority should be allowed to use our history to paint themselves in the warmest light, but that we should not be allowed to do the same. The two are often mutually exclusive. To understand the challenges and triumphs of the American descendants of African slaves, it is imperative to understand that almost every aspect of the might of this nation was used to cripple us. To understand how far we’ve come, the battles we fought, the blood we shed and the triumphs and defeats we suffered, you must understand the weight of the spiked boot that was placed on our necks. To do that, you must indict America for crimes she would rather forget. American history is not black history, and our history is not America’s to dictate. Until we understand that, and begin teaching our history to ourselves in ways that serve our own cultural needs instead of the majority’s, we will continue to internalize this nation’s prejudices against us, instead of arming ourselves to appropriately demonize and deflect them.
Leonce Gaiter is a prolific African American writer and proud Harvard Alum. His writing has appeared in the NYTimes, NYT Magazine, LA Times, Washington Times, and Washington Post, and he has written two novels. His newly released novel, In the Company of Educated Men, (http://bit.ly/ZyqSuN) is a literary thriller with socio-economic, class, and racial themes.
In the company of Educated Men
We all loved the Jackie Robinson little leaguers. They were the first African-American team to win the title. They visited the White House and we collectively celebrated them, but along the way they made some enemies. One of their enemies was a coach of a team from Evergreen Park a suburb of Chicago. The Jackie Robinson team had kicked their butts. So let’s just call him a little motivated. He dropped the dime on them and upon investigation it was determined they had broken some rules and they were stripped of their title. This is sad for the children, but the adults created this situation. This is not racism this is what happens when you break the rules and the rulemakers find out.
Read the linked story
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Over the last few days we have witnessed the dethroning of Brian Williams. His unraveling is due to the recklessness of his own tongue, but social media pulled and carried the thread. He told his tall tale on his news show and he was challenged first on his Facebook page by a real soldier who was there. Facing an eyewitness Williams pled guilty to misremembering, but he did it with a wink and a smile. The Twitter brigade took that as their marching orders and their criticism was swift and brutal. The mockery was withering and Williams simply “lost face”. In all likelihood we will not see Williams back in the anchor chair. “Pride goeth before destruction and a fall.” Bye Brian we know he will be back but he will be sitting in a new seat.
NBC has suspended anchor Brian Williams for 6 months with no pay. Does the punishment fit the crime, and do you think he will be back? Share your thoughts.
I am starting to believe that Kanye West is Beyoncé’s publicist. He believes he must defend her whenever she does not receive an award that he believes she should receive. He interrupted Taylor Swift when he felt Beyoncé had been robbed, and last night he stepped up to the mike as Beck received his award. He did not interrupt him but he nevertheless stole his moment. Why does Kanye feel he has a right to do this? Well, he’s a genius. At least people have called him one, and he obviously believes it. As a genius he believes he can do and say anything he wants. So as a genius his opinion is superior to the mere mortals who award the Grammys. Come on Man…Kanye is a bully. His music is hot and he shares a bed with a reality star, but he is no genius. He is just plain rude.
Watch the clip and share your thoughts.
People are attracted to a train wreck. Sure its tragic but people can not seem to stop staring at it. Today Brian Williams is that train wreck. A week ago he was a perch at the top of the professional mountain looking down on us mere mortals. When I say looking down I don’t mean that he thought he was better than the people who watch him on a nightly basis. No he looked down because he felt he had earned that perch and this time last week everyone looked up at him with admiration and envy, but what a difference a week makes. This week the people who wanted his seat and the professional commenters, newspaper writers, and others are toasting their glasses at the prospect of the ultimate fall. Was the lie worthy of being de-perched? Is the lie greater because it was associated with the military? If they forgive him will the rest of the country do likewise? Share your thoughts.