When one compares the 1968 Kerner Commission Report, which chronicled the problems that Black folks were experiencing in just about every walk of life at the time, and the misery index for Black folks today, one finds that the lot of Black folks haven’t changed that much. In a word, we are still an oppressed nationality living in the United States. So it would appear that the struggle for justice and equality continues.
Well, at least common sense would dictate that the struggle continues. If Black folks are still experiencing job discrimination and police brutality and an unjust justice system as evidenced by the disparity in sentencing, particularly in drug cases, then the struggle clearly continues. If Blacks suffered a higher rate of foreclosures than others and have higher percentage of homelessness, clearly the struggle continues.
I understand that not a whole lot of folks agree with my assessment that ultimately our problems lie with the system, the political/economic/social system we live under called capitalism. The system finds it beneficial to continue the legacy of racism and discrimination. It is good for business!
Martin Luther King, Jr. is not alive because he figured this out. He said, “An edifice that continues to produce beggars needs restructuring.”
Malcolm X said that this system would never produce justice for us, just as a chicken could never produce a duck egg. Malcolm said that if a chicken produced a duck egg, it would be called a revolutionary chicken.
The system does not work, which is why 45 years after the Kerner Commission Report conditions for the majority of Black folks are still grim, but that’s doesn’t excuse us from working on and fighting for immediate reforms that would help make our lives a bit easier. Unfortunately too many have given up on the idea of struggle and have just ducked their heads in the sand.
Let me say I understand the silence of those who have so-called made it. In fact it’s better that they stay out of the way, though many of them don’t. In fact, some folks have made it their duty to call Black folks out rather than the system when fellow Blacks do organize to protest a wrong.
Then there are those who refuse to study what our elders and freedom fighters of the past have said and written. They think they can just get involved without studying what they are up against or learning from those who have mastered the science of progressive politics and how to wage progressive political struggle against the formidable foe of capitalism.
And of course there is the beating up on those who would dare to ask the president for help in our struggle, for just some crumbs from the one percent’s table. Since when can’t the president be criticized by folks who are catching hell partly because of the government itself?
I understand that Obama represents for many Black folks a vicarious thrill of a colored man being in the most powerful seat in the world. But be warned, there are some ugly things being done with that power. And as during any other presidency the prophetic and courageous among us must say that’s not right.
No it’s not right for our dear angelic brother to use drones to kill folks and not make sure that innocent women and children are not killed. At last count drone warfare conducted in Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen have claimed the lives of over 300 innocent women and children.
And the man from God should know that it’s not quite right to give the rich trillions of dollars and leave the least of these — his brothers and sisters — begging for loan modifications. Nor should the saintly man continue to allow Guantanamo Bay to hold human beings indefinitely in confinement or continue occupations of countries so we can continue to exploit them for their stuff (real oil).
And since when have we been okay with the U.S. government messing around in Africa? Black folks used to defend Qadaffi’s right to exist in Libya. Why were we so quiet when this government bombed and invaded it and allowed Qadaffi to be murdered like a dog in the street? The government has set up drone bases in West Africa and have been aiding the French in their invasion of Mali. Since when don’t we stand up for Africa?
Furthermore, the Obama presidency has ushered in with his complicity the idea of a color-blind post-racial society. Whites are becoming more and more comfortable in saying “Racism doesn’t exist, Blacks are just whining,” or that Blacks are playing a so-called “race card.” And more and more Blacks tend to agree.
Let’s stop agreeing with our enemies about how we or others should be able to overcome the obstacle of racism. Elimination of racism is dependent on the people that profit from racism, not the victims. All the victims can do is resist this White-supremacist phenomenon.
Racism does exist. And I don’t know who sounded the retreat, but if we keep backing up and failing to stand up to these attacks, it will become even more difficult than it already is for us to go forward.
Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to [email protected]