Tag Archives: racism

Guest Post by Leonce Gaiter, American History is Not Black History: Black History is Not America’s

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

AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1v411Kj

B&N: http://bit.ly/1Eq5da0

APPLE: http://bit.ly/1CyF3jo

Jackie Robinson little leaguers stripped of their title…racist or simply the right thing to do?

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.


Charles Barkley’s says “Analytics don’t Work”

Share your thoughts.

Are black women bossy?

I was watching an episode of the Larry Gilmore show on Comedy Central and he was apologizing for a joke he told on Wednesday night. He asked his panel if black women were bossy and then he went on to ask them to rate bossiness on a percent basis. The panelists did not take the bait, but it prompted me to ask the question, are black women bossy?

Does selling Olivia Pope bother you?

Who watched Scandal tonight? Does the idea of selling Olivia Pope to the highest bidder bother anyone? Share your thoughts.

Is David Axelrod lying about Mitt Romney’s concession call?

In his new book Believer, David Axelrod claims Mitt Romney made a statement that could be interpreted as racial coding when he conceded to the president in 2012. Romney’s body man says Axelrod is lying. Read the linked story and share your thoughts.


James Robertson walks 21 miles a day to go to work…why the media fascination?

James Robertson is a Detroit, Michigan native and he is committed to his job. So committed that he walks 21 miles a day. He has not missed a day of work in 12 years. His story was profiled in the Detroit Free Press. One of the readers set up a go fund me page to solicit money so Robertson can buy a car. As of today over $100,000 has been donated. This is great for Robertson, but he represents a bigger problem. There are thousands of Robertsons working every day for minimum wage or a little more than minimum wage. They are not waiting for government handouts they are trying to make it. They are playing a rigged game in which the House has all the good cards. It is so interesting to see the media cover this story. Every so often the media reluctantly acknowledges the existence of the working poor. Detroit is a dying city and one of the reasons Robertson has to walk so far is the lack of a viable transit system. Former Mayor Bing contemplated consolidating the city in such a way that they would only have to provide electricity to 1/2 the city. Robertson’s plight is bigger than his 21 mile walk. He is the poster child for the working poor. They exist. They have pride and they work hard. They won’t all be profiled by the press and receive media spotlight, but they will survive.


QVC Hosts Mocks Model’s Hair

QVC hosts mock the model sporting her natural hair. They have since apologized but what this exposes is a lack of cultural awareness and that is the elephant in the room. The apology stems from the outcry but what does this actually solve? Share your thoughts.

Jean Touitou does not know the n-word is never in vogue

Read the linked story and share your thoughts.


Benedict Cumberbatch apologizes for using the word “colored” when describing black actors

Read the linked story and share your thoughts.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 457 other followers