The Rights of the American Negro: Reminders from Dred Scott

dredscotIt astonishes me how many Black people truly think they have rights in this country and they can conduct themselves in an analogous fashion as White folks. Blacks have no power, no wealth and no influence but they have the audacity to think they have rights. Let me remind them what was said during the Dred Scott case of 1857 by the United States Supreme Court.

“In the opinion of the Court the legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the Declaration of Independence, show that neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument . . . . They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic whenever a profit could be made by it. This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race”.

So according to the above words the Declaration of Independence does not apply to Black people. Therefore the part in the preamble that says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This aspect did not apply to Black people according to the Supreme Court’s decision. We are not men created equal by the Creator with rights by their very nature cannot be taken away or granted by no one but the Creator of all humanity. Thus we were not meant to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Now at this point some Negros will jump up and say that is not the case in 2015 and recall some trials that ended well in this Black person or that Black person’s favor so therefore they can do what they like and stand a fair chance of attaining a favorable decision by the courts. And it is this type of thinking that creates many evils for Black people. We need to understand that those favorable decisions was strategic.

For every favorable result on the side of Black people there is hundreds if not thousands of blind-justice-statue-the-real-oneothers in favor of the system and Whites. Yet a White person can easily point to some publicized court trial where a Black person won the case to mask all the unfavorable verdicts and to silence Black people.  The reason for this is that the dominant society has power, wealth and influence and can manipulate the court system in their favor. This is not hard for the reason as mentioned previously the entire system was not created for Blacks.

So what are Black people supposed to do when they are facing a system such as this?

They are to make every move count, calculate every step, be cautious and by all means start building to attain power, wealth and influence.

The Rights of the American Negro: Reminders from Dred Scott

A New Relationship Standard: Dating and Marriage in the Black Collective

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In the Black collective we have a plethora of complications related to relationships. The key area is standards, we either have them set too low or too unrealistically high when it comes to potential mates. Regardless of where you land what I am introducing is a new criterion to add to the list. It’s not actually new in the sense that it was generated uniquely with myself but it is new in the sense that it needs to resurface in the Black consciousness commencing within this generation. That new standard is the person has to be a “builder”.picky-e1410384699415

I am not talking about the person needs to work in the field of construction or has the vocation of contractor however it can relate to that area. Allow me to delineate what is meant by a builder at this instance. A “builder” is that the person needs to have the desire to erect something that will establish the financial independence from the general system and attain and maintain financial stability. I am talking about the person needs to have an entrepreneurial spirit but also a doer and not just a dreamer. They do not have a desire to be will paid employee but be a well-paying employer.

Vision

With being a builder the person must have vision, they must be able to envision their efforts stretching far into the future. Leaving a legacy to those that come after. This legacy can be found in the progeny that comes from your union inheriting the “family business” and taking it to the subsequent stratum. Alternatively this legacy can be also seen in the many businesses that was birthed from the fruits of your own. As some of the proceeds went towards assisting other brothers and sisters in the struggle attain financial autonomy from the White Supremacist system.

VisionThis is the “new” standard that Black men and women need to supplement their list of potential mates. Instead of prioritizing aesthetic qualities, or how much money the dominant society pays them you need to prioritize their desire to build and whether there are no ceiling concerning their vision and whether they have the resolve to carry it out.

A New Relationship Standard: Dating and Marriage in the Black Collective

The Fallacy of the Black “Greek” Part II: Black Elitism and the Lip-service to Brotherhood and Sisterhood

d9In the first part of this two part series I addressed the structure and origins of Black “Greek” letter organizations that is based on reality and not some fictitious story of how they are on a mystical quest to recover what was stolen from our ancestors. Now I am transitioning from the past to the present and addressing other aspects of the myth surrounding Black “Greek” letter sororities and fraternities.

Now to be frank the most I initially knew about those organizations was attained through movies and television shows. And they would high light, the pledging, the drama and the (step) shows they would put on. Growing up I honestly thought these organizations was just clubs that Black folks joined to drink, dance, have sex and get into the drama that generally occurs when groups of Blacks get together (sadly).

It wasn’t until I got older in middle and high school and I was introduced to junior fraternities and sororities such as the GENTS Organization and the Mademoiselles. The thing about these organizations was when they came to my middle school and high school they was very selective and other than watching folks do these idiotic things to pledge and later the step-show performances they would put on there wasn’t too much of anything to it. I did not see any remarkable change in the members academically or their worldview being modified it was the same old thing as usual. After high school I heard of these organizations presence and its members that I would occasionally run into would boast about their groups and I would hear talk of brotherhood, sisterhood and solidarity also how they are working for the communities advancement besides how there were the next generation of leaders and developing others to follow them.

Nevertheless I would never see all this stuff because of their absence in my neighborhood or in any of the other neighborhoods I frequented doing anything unless it was within a certain block radius of the college or university they were situated in.  Now I will admit that those are my limited involvements with these type of societies but I can point to two real instances of these groups being more propaganda and talk than anything else.

The first being the lack of camaraderie with the Ferguson protests. The story was that screen_shot_20141209_at_1.54.18_pm.png.CROP.rtstory-large.54.18_pmmembers of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., found out that “they’ve been forbidden by their respective organizations from wearing their Greek-letter paraphernalia while participating in protests that have been sparked around the country to voice anger and frustration at nonindictment decisions for former Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson and New York City police Officer Daniel Pantaleo.”

Now the members of the so-called “Divine Nine” has been styled as the “standing as vanguards of social justice, community service, black excellence and achievement.” Yet when an effort is made towards social justice these groups take a stand that implies that the actions of the protesters would somehow reflect badly on them. Now the query is how would Black people demanding justice towards their own make institutions that was supposed to sponsor social change look bad if their priority is being Black first and their audience is Black? The only way the activities in Ferguson would be an embarrassment or stain on them is if their focus and concern was towards White people instead of Black. Alpha Kappa Alpha did later revise their position via pressure internally and externally.

(Personally I do not care for the “Annoyance” method of empowerment but members of those sororities seemed to prefer it and their organizations should have been supportive)

Sorority_SistersThe next instance revolves around the television series titled “Sorority Sisters”. It was a show that followed the lives of nine women who was members of various Black “Greek” letter organizations. It was a reality show that essentially followed the same modus operandi as any other reality TV program with a majority Black female cast. In any other instance a show of this nature would do well particularly in the eyes of Black female viewers. Yet after its premiere there was an onslaught of negative reactions to the show primarily by the casts’ fellow sorority members. After an intense battle between the television network and the fuming sorority members it ended with the show being cancelled and five of the members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority being expelled from their organizations.

Now on the internet and in reality I witnessed that the majority of the ones that had a complaint concerning the show including the sorority members would watch and celebrate other reality shows that would display Black females in the same light and present similar distasteful behavior as Sorority Sisters. Supposedly the difference being between the shows was that the women on Sorority Sisters represented Black “Greek” organizations and not themselves. So from this reasoning then the Black female is only important if they are attached to one of these Black “Greek” letter institutions.  This sounds pretentious and elitist.

These societies are supposed to be comprised of intelligent Black women but intelligent Black women would be concerned with the image of ALL Black women not just a small number who think they are unique. Vanguards of social change do not behave in this fashion. They do not speak of sisterhood but then instead of helping someone and educating them they expel them from their presence. Expulsion without warning is not the actions of a sister.

Their male counterparts in the Black fraternities are no better and in some occurrences worse. As of late they have been barraged with lawsuits within the millions of dollars for hazing. It has become apparent that they have problems related to the exertion of power towards others that that is very reminiscent of the physical abuse once inflicted on Black frathazmales in general by White Supremacists. These actions have ended in a number of arrests plus the aforementioned lawsuits. One would think that the idea would be to teach Black men to repel abuse and to protect others from it not inflict it towards their own in these prestigious institutions.

In the end the Black Greek letter societies emphasize many of the things currently problematic in the Black collective. Foremost being the practice of erecting these gradations of Blackness among ourselves in order to believe that this particular group are somehow above others. Instead of finding means to distinguish ourselves we should be striving to build and create places of education and empowerment not dens of the Black bourgeoisie.

 

~A.O.

The Fallacy of the Black “Greek” Part II: Black Elitism and the Lip-service to Brotherhood and Sisterhood

The Fallacy of the Black “Greek” Part I: Origins

northwestern divine nine

If anyone has seen films such as School Daze (1988), Stomp the Yard (2007) and the television show A Different World (1987–1993) they would be familiar with what is known as “Black Greek” letter organizations (BGLOs) or “Black Greek” letter fraternities and sororities that are generally associated with historically black colleges and universities or HBCUs. These organizations comprise the National Pan-Hellenic Council. This council is also known as the “The Divine Nine.” The following names are the “Black Greek” letter fraternities and sororities that makeup the so-called Divine Nine.

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Founded 1906, Cornell University
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Founded 1908, Howard University
  • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Founded 1911, Indiana University
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Founded 1911, Howard University
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Founded 1913, Howard University
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Founded 1914, Howard University
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Founded 1920, Howard University
  • Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Founded 1922, Butler University
  • Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Founded 1963, Morgan State University

Now any intelligent Black person would wonder why a group of Black people would want to call themselves “Greeks” and create something that gives the impression of being an intentional parallel of something the dominant society has been doing far longer than the recorded date of 1906 which was the birthdate of the first “Black Greek” letter organization.

Contrary to what Black “Greeks” tell you the fraternity and sorority system as it relates to colleges and universities has nothing to do with ancient Kemet (Reads: Egypt) or Greek culture for that matter. Now they will say that the ancient Greeks stole the concept from the residents of ancient Kemet. But in actuality the whole concept originated far latter in history and on the North American continent. A student named John Heath in the year 1776 who attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia formed a student organization founded on the Greek moto Φιλοσοφία Βίου Κυβερνήτης which when translated means “love of learning is the guide of life”. Today this organization is known as Phi Beta Kappa ΦBK or the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Before people get upset let me make it clear that I am not saying the Greeks (and latter the Romans) did not “steal” any concepts from Kemet because everyone knows that Greece (and Rome) “stole” from all of the groups they conquered in some form or fashion. However it must be noted that the idea behind the name fraternity and sorority is a universal concept. First the name fraternity is derived from the Latin fraternitatem which means greek-orgs“brotherhood”. The same for sorority it is taken from sororitas that denotes “sisterhood”. The notion of likeminded individuals grouping together for some purpose is a globe encompassing idea and can be found throughout the annals of history. There is nothing inherently unique about Black Greek organizations and they are not on some extraordinary mission to reclaim some stolen practice of their African ancestors. It’s more like “White people won’t let us play with them so we will copy them and start our own Greek letter organizations.”

The Fallacy of the Black “Greek” Part I: Origins

White Criminal “Sweethearts”: White Folks and the Media’s Double Standard

kenbonclydeWhites and the media that caters to them are so racially biased it is truly sickening. At this time people should be aware of the young White crime duo the media has taken a liking to. The introductory paragraph of one article states “Two teenage Kentucky sweethearts suspected in a crime spree of stolen vehicles and pilfered checks across the U.S. South have been taken into custody in Florida, authorities said Sunday.”

These two White folks went about committing a series of crimes and White people are acting like they are just two “sweethearts” that made a mistake. But when Black people and especially our kids are involved in something or “suspected” of being involved in something they are “thugs”, “savages” and “violent animals”.

The White male here named Dalton Hayes  who is 18 years of age but they refer to him as a “teenager” but when Black people was saying Mike Brown was a kid  or teenager at 18 in reply Whites screamed that he was a “grown man”. We know in the case of Mike Brown it was to make his murder appear less tragic.

When 12 year old Tamir Rice was gunned down by Cleveland police officers White folks frantically looked at the background of the child so they could once again lay the blame on the victim and his family. We heard how the parents were the blame and they didn’t raise their child properly. They went and searched out the criminal record of the parents so they could say that the child’s death was inevitable because of his background. Yet no one is saying anything regarding these two parents. What type of parents will allow their 13 year old daughter to date an 18 year old pedophile? How come no one is looking at the parents’ potential criminal records and devising a story regarding how their children was on an inevitable course towards unlawful activity?

Going back to the fact that the female was 13 years old I mentioned that Dalton Hayes was a pedophile and he is in fact one in the context of the law. White folks always talking about pedophiles and how they want to do this and that to them but I do not see anyone saying anything about doing something to Hayes. Where is all the talk of how he is deserving of death. Dalton Hayes also violated The Mann Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 2421 et seq.), also known as the White Slave Traffic Act. This act is a:

“federal statute making it a crime to transport a woman across state lines for “immoral” purposes. The Mann Act was intended to prevent the movement of prostitutes from one state to another or in and out of the country in the so-called “white slave” trade. However, it also applies to a male taking his under-age girlfriend to a love-nest in a neighboring state, or a female transporting an underage boy across the state line for such purposes. Maximum term is five years in a federal prison.”

Another thing that needs addressing is White folks love to romanticize criminality when it 031-bonnie-and-clyde-theredlistinvolves them. The Kentucky duo has been affectionately dubbed the Kentucky ‘Bonnie and Clyde‘ teens. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow another White criminal duo from the 1930s that’s been claimed to be possibly “the most famous and most romanticized criminals in American history”. They are viewed by Whites as being “two young Texans whose . . . crime spree forever imprinted them upon the national consciousness. Their names have become synonymous with an image of Depression-era chic, a world where women chomped cigars and brandished automatic rifles, men robbed banks and drove away in squealing automobiles, and life was lived fast”.

There is no way in hell Blacks would ever be viewed in this fashion and nor should they be. Genuine illegal activity should be perceived negatively regardless of who it is yet this goes to show the racially based double standards of the dominant society.

-A.O.

 

White Criminal “Sweethearts”: White Folks and the Media’s Double Standard

Is Gentrification A Myth?: Answering the Question through First Hand Experience

Someone brought to my attention an article titled The Myth of Gentrification: It’s extremely rare and not as bad for the poor as you think by John Buntin on Slate. I would like to begin by saying that Mr. Buntin and Slate are the progenitors of one of the biggest piles of bull excrement I have laid my eyes on in a while. Mr. Buntin do not know what the hell he is talking about and he is apparently speaking from a place where he never experienced gentrification but I have firsthand and in the not too distant past. But prior to me relating the aforementioned experience I will define the term that John Buntin thinks represents a mythical concept and or practice.

MarsBarthenandnowAccording to the 2012 Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged gentrification is “a process by which middle-class people take up residence in a traditionally working-class area of a city, changing the character of the area”. This definition seems simple enough yet it horribly lacking in what actually occurs in a neighborhood that is going through gentrification. Many just look at gentrification as if all is going on is urban renewal. Some generous benefactors or humanitarians out of the kindness of their hearts decided to spend millions of dollars to renovate a rundown neighborhood with some White people moving in afterwards. This is fantasy and the description found in the Urban Dictionary provides a definition that parallels the reality of what actually occurs during gentrification. Gentrification is:

“When “urban renewal” of lower class neighbourhoods with condos attracts yuppie tenants, driving up rents and driving out long time, lower income residents. It often begins with influxes of local artists looking for a cheap place to live, giving the neighbourhood a bohemian flair. This hip reputation attracts yuppies who want to live in such an atmosphere, driving out the lower income artists and lower income residents, often ethnic/racial minorities, changing the social character of the neighbourhood.

It also involves the “yuppification” of local businesses; shops catering to yuppie tastes like sushi restaurants, Starbucks, etc. . . . come to replace local businesses displaced by higher rents.”

The above is not theoretical I have lived through it. Back when I formerly resided in Houston Texas and the areas I lived began gentrifying way back in 1998. What many fail to relate is that gentrification is not something that occurs within a short period of time. It is slow moving and if you blink you will find that it has covered much ground. It is reminiscent of lava in that respects, slow moving at times but just as deadly. It begins when you see young(ish) White people that is not considered “White trash” start frequenting the neighborhood when normally they would try to avoid it at all cost. Next thing you know they are moving into an old abandoned house that they will eventually renovate.  When they learn that contrary to what “mom and dad” told them Black people are not thinking about harming them their friends start arriving and doing the same thing.Condo_construction

By this time the White developers (Sometimes they are Asian, Arab or Indian but the developers are generally White) and real-estate agents notice that White people are interested in that neighborhood. Then this is when all hell breaks loose. Property is being bought and sold throughout the neighborhood. Buildings that was once the dens of crack heads and prostitutes that the neighborhood residents tried to get the city to do something about all of a sudden is demolished. Merchants soon learn of the White invasion so they in turn start to raise their prices to sell to the new residents with incomes that exceed $100,000 (Also there will be new businesses popping up all over). Their concern is no longer for the people that lived there for decades and kept them in business. Then the city wants to get in on it and declare the neighborhood commercial in place of residential to raise taxes almost overnight.

All of the things mentioned is systematic, when there is White interest in an area people know money follows so they are going to try and get as many in there as possible but to do that all the undesirable leftovers have to be removed. They are “leftovers” because all the others was bought out or they bought out the owners of the rental properties and made all the tenants move. For many low income Black families they cannot afford to pay higher grocery prices, rent and if they own some form of property higher taxes.

My mother was one of the leftovers and things got so bad she couldn’t afford to literally live in the neighborhood anymore towards the mid to latter aspect of 2014. I had moved shortly before that and when I learned of the situation I had to return to Houston and locate a new place to live for my mother. I had to spend a lot of time searching the city and sad thing was that the entirety of the inner aspect of Houston proper was being gentrified. All the White people that ran to the adjacent suburbs, towns and hidden subdivisions wanted to move into the inner city and the wards at that time.

Blog8_1_ElderWhile combing the city I ran into others that was looking as well as a consequence of gentrification in their neighborhoods. As the weeks went on people started to resemble refugees. Gentrification hits the elderly the hardest. In many instances all they knew was that house, apartment and neighborhood and to relocate against their will or because of circumstances is devastating.

Also you have those house or property flippers that look at the entire situation as a business venture that will eventually pay them 2-3 times what they put in. They will go into Black neighborhoods and specifically find apartment complexes and rental homes and purchase them. They will allow the tenants to remain there until some developers eventually arrive wanting the property in order to build condos and lofts worth $2-400,000. In the meanwhile when the flipper procures the property they will have the renters to sign a documentation declaring that they are “leasing” the house or apartment on a monthly basis and they could be asked to move at a moment’s notice. This is so the flippers can start profiting from their venture in advance of the developers arrival. When they finally do arrive the flipper then tells the leaseholders they have a month to three months to vacate the property depending on how long it takes to close the deal with the developers.

The whole thing is heartless in nature and the people (Read: White people) that cause it could not have a care in the world because they are acquiring what they desire since they have the power and wealth to do so. The whole experience of gentrification etched into my mind even more so the need for me to build and to grasp wealth, power and influence for myself so that me, my loved ones or my people would never have to experience such things again.

~A.O.

Is Gentrification A Myth?: Answering the Question through First Hand Experience

Oscar Snub: A Lesson in Power

oscar-2015-prediccionesAs usual Black folks are in an uproar about something that White people done. They jump on social media and start their hashtag activism. This time they are brandishing the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite over the obvious ‘Selma’ the Movie being snubbed at The Academy Awards or The Oscars. CNN reports that “there was brush-fire-level rage on and off the Internet” regarding:

“Thursday morning’s announcement of this year’s Academy Award nominations over the fact that “Selma,” the critically acclaimed drama about Martin Luther King Jr.’s epochal campaign for voting rights in the South, received only two Oscar nods, one of them for best picture. (The other was for best song: “Glory,” the Golden Globe-winning anthem co-written by Common and John Legend, which one can safely label the prohibitive early favorite its category.)”

09.jpg.CROP.hd-largeThe report also goes on to provide a number of potential reasons why the film did not received the recognition that many Blacks felt it deserved but the overarching motive being “race”. Now it does go on to explain exactly how race was a factor within the parameters of a number of theories.

The first being that the Academy only favors films where “African Americans” or Blacks is “in shameful, soul-depleting captivity” which is in contrast to the movie supposedly depicting “African Americans organized in open rebellion against their oppressors”. Another being that the film supposedly provided an inaccurate historical depiction of “Lyndon B. Johnson”.

My answer is all of the above. If you look at the history of The Academy Awards Blacks usually won an Oscar for portraying stereotypical or subservient characters. Second White people do not like to be portrayed in a negative light in films especially during watershed moments in this country’s history. You see White people have to believe that they are not that bad. Even though overt White Supremacism ran rampant throughout this country at one time White people have to feel that they are also responsible for the “positive” changes that occurred as well. If the universe does not center on them they feel hurt and their White privilege will kick in and they will not allow that to be the case.

Another major mistake not mentioned was the film’s lack of highlighting and including the so-called Jews. According to The Jewish Daily Forward a Jewish-American national newspaper Selma’ Distorts History by Airbrushing Out Jewish Contributions to Civil Rights. In light of the large “Jewish” presence in the entertainment industry and their owning a substantial portion of it not including them was not a good idea. They too are White people that feel that things revolve around them and they should be recognized as our “saviors”.

Yet at the end of the day what do we learn from all of this? We learn a valuable lesson concerning power. White people can feel privileged and behave the way they do because they have power. They have the wealth, power and influence to make things happen. If you do not show them the respect in the manner that they feel you should they can tear down all that you set out to accomplish when you are dependent on them (Personally I think the film was pro-White Supremacy but apparently White folks thought differently).

While many Blacks think that Ava DuVernay, Paul Webb, and Oprah Winfrey was running things and they had power this was not the case.  You have to look at who paid for the movie and distributed the movie that is where you will find the real power behind it. According to my knowledge Pathé financed the film, alongside Plan B Entertainment, Cloud Eight Films and Harpo Productions as co-producers. Therefore the majority of the people with control or power was White. These entities got a return on their investment with all these happy Negros running out to see the movie and the dominant society still managed to show their disdain for the unflattering depictions or the outright “distorting” of historical facts when it relates to White people. So no matter how you look at it White people won and Black folks lost in more ways than one.

All of the above things would not be of any consequence or bother if Blacks would stop trying to make people accept them when it is clear they do not. We need to stop allowing White people as a whole to set the standard of what is “good” or “great”. White is not the measuring rod. We need to learn to love and celebrate Blackness. But most important of all we need to acquire our own wealth, power and influence through a strong Black economic infrastructure. Then we could create and distribute our own movies and television award shows without concern for the Oscars or any other award shows that feature White Supremacy.

~A.O.

Oscar Snub: A Lesson in Power