A lot of talk about change in America, but given its history, is it possible?
By: Tamra Cronin on: Fri 12 of March, 2010 11:34 EST (76451+ Reads)
when I saw a site a few years ago called “wewontpay.com” (which I’m not even linking to), which was created by a European immigrant whose family immigrated to the United States during Jim Crow, I started thinking about why this person felt this way. then I started thinking: what if African-Americans, Irish, British, Asians, or any non-Germans, had migrated in mass groves to Auschwitz while Hitler was treating Jews pretty much the same way African-Americans were treated in the United States…
First of all, I’m pretty sure Jews would have classified each of those immigrants as war criminals, branded for life, accused of being supporters of Hitler, and hunted down to pay including like this man, Paul Henss who was a kid in Germany, and now is in his late 80s.
Henss is now facing deportation after being branded a war criminal. Yet, in the United States politicians, mayors, governors, and other public officials who participated in segregation, lynching and all-around denial of rights to African-Americans lived out the remaining years of their lives comfortably including with honors and pension.
State monuments and facilities are even named after slavemasters, strong segregationists and Ku Klux Klansmen, with maintenance paid for by the state (taxpayer dollars), such as a state park named to honor proud segregationist and Klansman Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett Sr., who fueled the hatred that led to the deaths of Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner, Emmett Till, Vernon Dahmer, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins and hundreds of other blacks and whites civil rights workers in Mississippi and surrounding states. Protesting Jim Crow and demanding equal taxpaying rights for African-Americans were NOT tolerable to Ross Barnett Sr. So Mississippi has honored him thoroughly with parks and monuments named after him.
Would we erect monuments to honor Hitler so that jews can be reminded daily of the Holocaust like blacks are reminded daily of Jim Crow and slavery with landmarks and legacy leaders all around them? Yet, blacks are consistently being told slavery and Jim Crow are “in the past” or “get over it”, while bold reminders are present daily, and paid for with tax dollars. Even our currency has the faces and names of many slavemasters and separatists – elected officials in a position to make a difference but chose not to and are praised for doing so.
In the hypothetical scenario (African-Americans, Irish, British, Asians immigrating to Nazi Germany), the witch hunt would have proceeded and continued until satisfied and the witch hunt would have been done with the financial support of the U.S. even though the immigrants only moved to Nazi Germany to take advantage of better opportunities being created by Hitler (housing, jobs, better way of life for their family), regardless of how the African-Americans, oops, I means, Jews were treated.
A “better way of life” IS the reason folks like “wewontpay.com” migrated in mass droves to the United States. Even folks like Al Capone and Trigger Mike Coppola were welcomed to Ellis Island for a better way of life and were treated with more respect than Dr. Martin L. King Jr. (assassinated for protesting segregation), Rosa Parks and many like her (arrested for being “uppity” and protesting segregation while being TAXED), Malcolm X’s father (murdered by the Klan for helping African-Americans register to vote), Medgar Evers (murdered for registering African-Americans to vote), Vernon Dahmer (murdered for registering African-Americans to vote), Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Addie Mae Collins (little girls killed in Birmingham, Alabama church bombing in 1963 with the support of local law enforcement who strongly supported segregation), Emmett Till (a child killed in Mississippi for speaking to a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, who has requested AND is being allowed to live out her final days in peace and tranquility in Mississippi), James Chaney along with Mickey Schwerner and Andrew Goodman (murdered with help from law enforcement for registering African-Americans to vote).
The most irritating thing in the world for me to hear is: “My family migrated to this country (United States) with nothing, and made something for themselves. Why can’t black people do the same? Why should we be concerned about them? And I don’t want my tax dollars to pay for them“. Yet our tax dollars paid for their ancestors’ comforts and civil privileges (law enforcement, government buildings, schools and more). Now replace “black people” with “Jews” in Hitler’s time and see how it sounds, and maybe, just maybe, there’d be some understanding as to how it feels to hear that nonsense, especially for persons who were taxed just 43 years ago while NOT having the same government rights afforded to whites in this country and those who migrated here during Jim Crow. Rights denied included lack of law enforcement protection because law enforcement members were killing African-Americans (and any whites who supported them) like Hitler was killing jews.
Well, here is where a multi-page article will be updated with new information to document something that I see daily, and saw daily while working in Corporate America. Additional references will also be posted in our Change or Chaos blog: https://gotdemocracy.net/category/politics/coc/. The information relates directly to all this talk about “change”. I can no longer sit by and remain silent about a growing problem on BOTH sides.
Now, a large number of whites including high profile persons (Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra) protested segregation. But the mass majority including those IN LEADERSHIP and in a position to make a difference supported, taxed and profitted from segregation.
This article, which began a couple of years ago, is the result of a conversation about African-American university presidents at Ivy League schools and who is really running this country. I wasn’t sure about African-American presidents at our most prestigious schools, but I quickly discovered there was only one – Ruth Simmons at Brown University (appointed in 2000). In the hundreds of years of existence of Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Princeton, Rutgers, West Point, Citadel, Stanford, and other top coveted universities – none, not a one. However, Condoleeza Rice was the 2nd highest staff member at Stanford University as its Provost. And it’s unfortunate that her intelligence and skills, not to mention her accomplishments while overcoming a Jim Crow environment, are continually overlooked as well as diminished because of the Iraq war and information leading up to the war.
I know these coveted universities are not going to replace a white president with someone black just to demonstrate the diversity that’s “promoted conveniently”. But the fact that there has only been ONE African-American Ivy League university president clearly demonstrates a problem, especially given African-Americans have been in this country long before some of these schools have existed, if not as long as, and one of the first coveted universities was a black-owned college in Five Points area of NYC during slavery. Either today’s “coveted” universities are not reaching out to reflect the makeup of this country at the top of their school, or there hasn’t been an African-American “good enough” to lead their school, leaving the question of what is “good enough”, given African-Americans with the same mindset and skills of persons such as Colin Powell, Dr. Martin L. King, Condoleeza Rice, Earl Graves Sr., Lt. Col. Gregory Gadson, and even Oprah Winfrey do actually exist.
Having worked in Silicon Valley for over 16 years and having met a large number of investors and corporate leaders who were Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, Princeton and other Ivy League graduates, I was not wholly impressed, therefore, “good enough” becomes a mystery. In software engineering, a degree really didn’t matter, it was the analytical and logical thought process and ability to code that mattered, and you can’t fake this. Faking things or lack of common sense leads me to a perfect example of why I was not wholly impressed: look at the jacked up economy right now from making stupid investment decisions like funding a convicted securities fraud, which is what Venrock.com did.
Instead of investing widely across the board to help create a robust amount of exports as well as sustaining jobs and economy, stupid quick cash-only ideas were primarily invested in. Or it was the most common problem: the investors only reached out to their friends and those who looked like them, who then only hired their friends and those who looked like them, leaving an exclusive world to benefit only. We’ve had over 30 years and trillions of dollars available to invest in ethanol (sugar or corn-based) development. Instead, our leaders (Ivy League grads) are spending trillions on a no-win war in an oil-rich country, leaving no one in the United States left with funds to friggin’ pay for gas. Real smart, well, for them, but not for the country as a whole, and this certainly doesn’t demonstrate brilliance or an Ivy League education because small-time drug dealers without Ivy League degrees behave the same way. However, in the end the addict dies off, or the dealer is busted. Then what? What is or was Plan B?
There are a lot of brilliant untapped minds in this country, and surprise, surprise, the person may not be an Ivy League grad or white. What makes a country valuable is its assets. The last time I checked people were valuable assets at a corporation. So if you continually ignore your “worker bees”, then you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.
And Venrock boasts of having Harvard, Yale and other Ivy League grads. To me, those credentials demonstrate they are paying way too much for their investment team given its results and lack of ethics. Perhaps their primary staffing requirement should have been “must have common sense when dealing with millions“. The other irony of Venrock.com is it is a Laurance Rockefeller spinoff. Laurance Rockefeller helped fund and start Spelman University. Venrock.com doesn’t even want to see African-Americans in their office unless it’s to help clean up one of their never-ending messes. Check out the educational credentials of their investment team.
What I found out is that education doesn’t equal common sense or morals. Education from certain schools guarantees membership into a high paying salary club, whether you have skills, moral or ethics or not. And I also discovered that not all degrees are equal. African-Americans with degrees, including medical degrees, were systematically denied employment or visible positions. Then again, during Jim Crow African-Americans with degrees were even too black to work underground in NYC’s subway tunnels with whites who immigrated to America – you know, one of those jobs that Jim Crow benefactors are referring to when saying “my dad took any job he could, why can’t blacks do the same”. African-Americans with Ph.D.’s, engineering and business degrees were forced to work as porters and maids, including for the ancestors of folks like “wewontpay.com”.
Maybe we need an Ivy League system for morals, ethics and common sense. Then the following would never have been accepted: Ken Lay (Enron). Jeffrey Skilling (Enron) – Harvard. Andrew Fastow (Enron) – Tufts. Rebecca Mark-Jusbasche (Enron) – Harvard. Eric Copeland (Venrock.com) – Stanford. Ray Rothrock (Venrock.com) – MIT & Harvard. Tony Sun (Venrock.com) – MIT & Harvard. Tony Evnin (Venrock.com) – Princeton & MIT. Eliot Spitzer (Governor of NY) – Harvard.
Now everyone makes mistakes, it’s what the person does after the mistake that defines their true moral and ethical character. But some feel privileged when it comes to moral and ethical behavior, as if not someone to be held accountable because of their self-perceived throne or lemming social status, much of which is associated with their Ivy League education. As in they judge others, not others judge them, because they are the “ones to be”, like Eliot Spitzer and his wife, Silda, thought. Yeah, okay, maybe in television or money-hungry viper world, because…umm…have you met me yet?? I worked under so much scrutiny and judgment with not one break, while others just skated through because of a “title”, “organization” or “association”, or “looks like the others”and didn’t contribute positively. In fact, at Cadence Design Systems, I had to do both my job and the job of an actual Jim Crow Benefactor, who took off regularly to get 2-day perms and was later promoted to executive secretary to the president of Cadence. Yeah, that’s fair, in crack world I guess.
I was also one of few African-Americans in software engineering, and rarely or never saw an African-American executive, depending upon the company. The source of almost all technology being used today originated from the area I was in, such that Microsoft planted some roots there.
When I suggested a African-American and disabled person, who was a great quality assurance engineer, to my boss, who was a transplant from Montana and very rarely encountered African-Americans, the request was denied with the reason “we don’t have space for a handicapped person”, yet the building had wheelchair access areas and signs and an elevator. When I suggested the company advertise their widely popular electronic PDA device in magazines like Black Enterprise, Jet and Ebony Magazine for more sales, the response from that same manager was “that’s not a good market”. Yet, wherever I went, African-Americans were always inquiring about buying the product or had one. And then I noticed that most mainstream corporate products weren’t advertised in African-American media.
That answer my boss gave also would not have been given by the original startup management, which hired diversely. Once the company was bought out by a big corporation based in the midwest, diversity went out the door, yet our division was California-based.
Instead of focusing on my work skills and broadening them or allowing them to broaden, that same boss focused on getting to know me personally. Our one-on-one meetings consisted of “what’d I do over the weekend?” Me, I’m thinking, “will this help the company financially, the reason I’m here daily?”. If we’re just going to be personal, we can meet at a mall and let the company pay for the shopping.
That same manager didn’t hire diversely, she hired her friends and the persons she did hire were allowed sky’s the limit salaries as well as limitless opportunities while not being concerned about the company’s products – I found the “show stopping-halt production” bugs on their products that were declared ready for release to the public. And I wasn’t even looking, I simply began using the product to begin my own testing for another product.
Companies that diversely hired, disappeared or merged into non-diverse companies, such as the case with SteelEye and NCR. NCR diversely hired, SteelEye did not. At other companies around me, not much was being done to recruit minority candidates, especially management and executives, other than Asians (which includes East Indians/H1-B visa employees.
To make matters worse, these companies with their Ivy League managers are now expanding their hiring for 65,000 more H1-b visa employees, as in recruiting and sponsoring with money persons from other countries (while people here are struggling and there are still untapped resources who would be consistently overlooked). At Microsoft’s corporate Seattle headquarters, their corporate “About” page speaks for itself. Hmmm… Walid Abu-Hadba (as of this article date, March 12, 2010). Interesting. And his face stands out IMMEDIATELY. Pretty sad, considering the company belongs to one world’s wealthiest persons who preaches diversity and reaching out to those not like him. I sure it’s just for a big tax break, because the makeup of Bill Gates’ management team, and where they live, where their kids attend school and where they socialize do not reflect any diversity.
Anywhoooo… Jim Crow benefactors – those whose family immigrated to the United States during Jim Crow and sat and lived comfortably in the “whites only areas” – have been presidents of the coveted Ivy League schools and continue to be. Their primarily white students move on to Corporate America and define “standards” like media, education, religion and government.
The primary reason I mention these coveted Ivy League schools is because these school breed our leaders: Presidents of the United States (Yale, Harvard, Princeton, West Point), governors, and banking and corporate leaders (those who create companies which are then responsible for the hiring or hiring responsible people to hire properly which should benefit all levels of society). So, if these coveted schools for leaders don’t think an African-American is responsible or capable enough to lead their education, then I’m wondering how it will be possible for someone like Obama or any African-American to become President of the United States, or allow corporate America and mainstream areas to truly become diverse???
Not to mention, regarding the real powers that exist:
• not one African-American FBI or CIA director,
• not one African-American media leader – and I know what you’re thinking: Oprah. Oprah owns an entertainment business. I’m talking the likes of NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CNN, MSNBC – as in where “mainstream” America gets its entertainment and news from. And look at the faces of those on mainstream media networks,
• and for the most important position, federal reserve chairman who manages the wealth and assets of the “United States”, not one African-American. Or even female, but I’m sure a white woman will be appointed before another race (African-American, Hispanic, Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Indian)) is appointed. And check out the new move to give the federal reserve more power.
And the list above also includes not one Hispanic, Asian or Native Indian in the areas above. Alberto Gonzalez was the first Hispanic Attorney General, and he was ironically ousted for doing the same thing done in corporate America daily – new management comes in, then brings in their own people, firing whomever in the process with nothing they can do about it.
And in the entire history of the United States Senate, only 5 African-American Senators, including Barack Obama. Pretty sad, especially given folks like Trent Lott roam the senate.
And only 4 African-American governors ever:
• P.B.S. Pinchback, governor of Louisiana for a “hot minute” (35 days) and quickly replaced, even though his predecessor Governor Henry Clay Warmoth was impeached and convicted which removed him from office. aaaah, good ‘ol Louisiana, we like our politics like we like our rice: DIRTY!
• L. Douglas Wilder, Virginia’s first African-American governor, and first governor elected by popular vote
• Deval Patrick becoming Massachusetts’ first African-American governor
• and David Paterson, New York’s first African-American governor, and the nation’s first blind governor, “promoted” after the fall from “grace” of Ivy League/Harvard grad, Eliot Spitzer.
• not one non-white world banking leader
• not one non-white religion leader
• not one non-white British prime minister
I also mention British prime minister because the U.S. and U.K. have consistently and together controlled other territories with force and with a sense of fear, degradation and superiority. That history is personal to me because my white family members (Burgess – father’s side) became established in the United States in the mid-1600s, under Dutch rule (when blacks had equal rights to whites), and my mother’s side (Washington – African slaves) since the 1700s under British-ruled slavery (“slave for life”, 0 rights), which was extremely inhumane and long with effects still seen today.
That U.S. and U.K. history also concerns me when it comes to Iraq, where the oil wealth is. Similarities are strikingly familiar to cotton, sugar, and whiskey and slavery. I’d say being in Iraq is a “good will” thing, but places like Darfur are ignored as a whole for conflict resolution, demonstrating our leaders feel there is no profit in people – the same continual big mistake and downfall because of the loss of inventors, scientists and other innovators that we’ll never discover.
All this lack of “power” confirms how ass-backwards and ignorant the Klan and die-hard broke confederates and separatists are when it comes to “the black man is taking over” and “the black man has too much power”. Maybe when it comes to white women, which was the primary reason for forming the Klan. So, in that realm, I guess the black man has taken over.
But funny, the Klan was so busy keeping African-Americans out of power, European immigrant Jim Crow benefactors were welcomed in masses and took over. Now, it’s all about money and who has it, then income-class, and then race. Because if someone of any race can bring in large bucks, they’ll be accepted as long as the money keeps coming in. Confederate money-making opportunities went away with the end of slavery. Only slavery entities continually profiting are Wells Fargo, American Express, J.P. Morgan, Aetna, Wachovia, and Wall Street firms, including NYSE. And I don’t see a lot of klansmen working at these organizations, mostly European immigrant Jim Crow benefactors are.
And sadly, not one effort by the U.S. government to strip these banks and organizations of their money like Jews have stripped banks associated with Nazi Germany with the help of the U.S. And as a whole, it is still perceived better to be white (including poor), than to even be a African-American man or woman, including a rich African-American man or woman. Even Oprah Winfrey still experiences racism and denial of opportunities. Some hatred just never dies.
Even though segregation ended lawfully, the moment schools were integrated, whites opted out IMMEDIATELY to different schools. The moment working/middle class African-Americans moved into middle class white neighborhoods, whites opted out asaFp to the next all white neighborhood. There is also more pressure for African-Americans to “fit in” so as not to be intimidating or “threatening”, but never the other way around, as in everyone has to be the same (which contradicts “diversity” and “change”). As for hiring African-Americans at all white companies or organizations, including the federal government, placement of African-Americans initially became possible only through Affirmative Action, which wasn’t a good welcoming for the newly hired African-American, especially for African-Americans hired into law enforcement or fire departments. Ironically, many members of law enforcement and fire departments have a military background.
But… even the military was the most segregated and practicing ground for hatred. West Point grossly mistreated Lt. Henry O. Flipper and Lt. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis – and note West Point’s version of Lt. Gen. Davis’ history, but this is really how Lt. Gen. Davis was treated. Only recently were the gross wrongs done to Lt. Henry O. Flipper corrected by West Point. And while African-Americans were fighting for the freedom of others, they themselves had very little freedoms, WHILE being taxed as a government employees and defenders of this country. Many like Medgar Evers, did not receive a heroes welcome upon returning home from war, but instead received lots of “Not Welcome” and treatment like this: Samuel Snow.
Or treatment like this:
Note Jim Crow Benefactors are in the process of removing lynching image of Lige Daniels (below) in order to whitewash their own history:
And whenever African-Americans had their own thriving communities, those communities were destroyed out of hatred (Rosewood, FL, Tulsa, Oklahoma, etc.). Many examples of this are documented in the following article: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_racial_violence_in_the_United_States, which external links to documented sites for many of the incidents.
If not destroyed, the communities are rezoned for gentrification. Now, “gentrification”, there’s an interesting word. How come whites can gentrify into urban areas zoning African-Americans out in the process, but the moment an African-American moves into an all white neighborhood, up crops all the racial questions and issues like cross burnings, plans to move far away asaFp, doors now locked, security systems installed or tripled, weapons stockpiled, silent treatment and more? Harlem, New York is being gentrified. It’s a sad site to see because here was an area that whites primarily avoided, unless it was to attend a segregated Cotton Club. But Harlem was a thriving community with its own culture, banks, schools and even high society, which included Madame C.J. Walker, a self-made millionaire. There was never pressure to fit in and there was always love and respect for oneself, and the biggest pressure was not disappointing your family, regardless of the “Jim Crow” mentality which was intended to instill “inferiority” or “worthless” into black communities.
The same applies to the Five Points area of New York City from the late 1700s through 1800s. A large number of middle to upper class blacks owned businesses, property, as well their own media and schools. Their schools were even the coveted schools to attend because of the superior education. The influx of poor European immigrants combined with two Congressional Fugitive Slave Acts uprooted African-Americans (free or enslaved) as a whole. Even free blacks were subject to being captured and sold into slavery. Ironically, the influx of poor European immigrants, which included diseased and criminally insane persons, was glamorized in the movie “Gangs of New York” with Leonardo DiCaprio. Perhaps a movie about the plight of African-Americans before their influx should have been its prequel. And its sequel would be Jim Crow.
One thing that should be noted, Gen. Sherman would be proud of Atlanta, Georgia. It is one of the wealthiest African-American communities, but with surrounding areas as a reminder of the past wrongs.
Knowing thriving African-American communities existed is why I don’t support folks like Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, or Charles Barron. They’re not establishing “dreams” just finger-pointing at “the white man” who has shown through slavery, Congressional Fugitive Slave Laws, segregation and Jim Crow and now through Jim Crow benefactors that he doesn’t care. Meanwhile, nightmares fester in African-American communities in Harlem, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, and other areas: drug dealing, robberies, murders, lack of education, thug worship, lack of self respect, lack of education and all with a “don’t snitch” policy. Ignorance and complacency.
These problems stem from lack of hope, paths not available (some deliberately denied by mainstream America) and lack of positive leaders by example. Al Sharpton leaves his cushy suburban home, then comes to Harlem and walks right past all these nightmares to get to his “Action Network” to scrutinize the NYPD for after-the-fact problems, problems we didn’t have 40 years ago with MUCH LESS resources. 40 years ago and earlier, African-American communities had to do their own thing, because they were excluded, while taxed, from being a part of “society”. They didn’t resort to the widespread hustling, robbing, murdering and lack of respect for their own community. Anyone with value for self or others “had to go, you ain’t gotta go home, but you got to get the hell outta here!”.
Right now, the urban motto is “get that money anyway you can and through anyone you have to mow down or destroy”. That was not what Malcolm X meant when he said “by any means necessary”. Malcolm X meant African-Americans should have continued to pool their resources and build their own economy, much like Native Indians instead of seeking acceptance from folks in leadership in the United States who could never accept us. Segregation, and now different neighborhoods and corporate makeup continues to confirm this.
For youths and impressionable persons in urban areas, the new face of money is people like 50 Cent and Irv Gotti, who are not helping to improve African-American communities and awareness of problems. But the irony is their wealth primarily comes from whites in suburban areas. For the primary buyers, thug entertainment is just that, “entertainment”, because their buyers will move on to Ivy League schools and then corporate and media environments, and in many cases prosecute the 50 Cent-die-trying-wannabe’s.
So, I can never give folks like Sharpton a pass or credit, because people as a whole don’t know what to do. They’re too afraid to think on their own and be different, and are so worried about fitting in or what others will think, so they follow others (dress, style, language) to fit in, even into the wrong element. But I digress and that’s another article. However, fitting in and being welcomed also relates to this article.
I don’t want to fit in to be a lemming or subservient to hateful persons who only want to exclude those not like them. The only ONE type of person I want to be around is someone with integrity and strong moral character, and I don’t care if they’re pink, blue or purple. I also just want the same options and I want to see the same options for all legal residents of this country.
I’m tired of hearing “oh you’re not like other African-Americans”. Why? Because I use a subject and a verb. And does that mean that person automatically excludes other African-Americans because their speech is different. That also means you have never taken a tolerance lesson to find out WHY that African-American speaks differently or what type of character he/she has – the most important thing about a person. When education is denied or unequally provided systematically for hundreds of years, what the hell do you expect? And the fact that this is not understood by a college graduate is disturbing. Who or what taught them?
I didn’t learn what I did in school. I learned how to read from my brother (age-5) who taught me at aged 3 1/2. First, reading became an escape from abuse, and by the time I entered kindergarten, I was waiting for new stuff to learn. Then later in schooling, I sought additional information on my own, including in college, which is why I don’t just follow the crowd when something is said or done. I took initiative, I motivated myself, and that motivation was motivated by positive African-Americans I saw all around me. My mother, who experienced Jim Crow, never told me there was a difference between people/races, or taught me how to hate. I just thought my multi-racial family was normal, even in the south. As a result, my childhood friends in the south were of all nationalities, even though many different nationalities didn’t exist. I made friends by simply talking to people as I’d want to be talked to. And I looked past physical characteristics to discover actual character.
Had someone taken the time to read and educate themselves beyond the “social standard” which included getting to know others not like them, Hitler would not have rose to power because his followers would have had enough intelligence to pick up a bible or books regarding the origin of the bible including an Aramaic version, since Hitler was so into classifying persons based upon origin.
I’m tired of going to certain places and talked to in a certain way, as if I don’t belong or as if I just migrated from a poor island and am in the “big city” for the first time, or having my change slammed down on the counter without so much as a “thank you”, but the white person before or behind me is smiled at and greeted, only to find out it’s their first time in the store. This is typical in New York City with non-American deli owners. Because of the ignorance passed on, being kind to whites is all that matters. Being kind to me, a customer, helps me to decide where to take my money again.
Traveling to other countries, your money AND YOU are appreciated GREATLY. In Japan, when you walk into a store, you’re greeted immediately with a welcoming “hello” regardless of race and then given a cheerful “goodbye” even if you don’t purchase anything. In Paris, Parisians were not rude, which is commonly stated ironically from the same persons in “privileged” positions here. I think it’s how you approach people. If you’re in need, try being humble! Humility is recognizable in any language. I didn’t have not one problem in Paris and thoroughly enjoyed myself, including while shopping.
I’m tired of being stared at – while wearing normal clothes (plain/simple dress, jeans, sweater and shoes, and I don’t flaunt designer labels or colorful trendy outfits for a reason – they’re not paying me to advertise for them). Then, after noticing other whites around dressed in the same manner are not being stared at, I then look directly back at the person staring, but I get that “polite zoo-stare smile”. Well, it’s not polite to stare and teach your kids the same. If you’re admiring something, say so, don’t just stare at African-Americans who are sitting quietly minding their own business because you live in a whites only area and you are seeing an African-American on a rare occasion and think they’re a science or “As Seen On TV” project, and you just wish you could ask all your little “racial profiling” questions to. “Why do black people do this? Why do black people do that?”
Then, when I’m spoken to, I’m tired of the slang (“hey, girlfriend” – but you don’t know me, and you’re not a gay male), but when I speak back using English which has been a part of family since the 1600s, it’s “oh sh*t, I think I made a mistake” but nothing done to rectify it, yet, I’ve only spoken to you with respect initially.
I’m beyond tired of being told by Jim Crow Benefactors that I’m “African-American” not black. (I even had to correct the word in this article because I know the issue will come up!) Look, I don’t know nothing about Africa, except that it’s far, hot, and has some of the world’s deadliest snakes. So I won’t be going there pretty soon. And given the origin of my family, I think by now I can call myself black, brown, purple or blue if I want to.
I’m tired of housing discrimination – the assumption that I’m going to move in 15 kids and my crack dealing boyfriend, and we’re just going to trash your property – even after providing excellent rental references with security deposits fully or 99% refunded minus standard minimal cleaning fees of less than $30.00, and having lived primarily luxury communities, and owning a home in an upper-class community.
I’m tired of being asked questions as if the white person asking is “entitled to know“, without catching a clue that I’m not asking anything back, because I’m not concerned about their personal business. Some would call that “getting to know you”. Getting to know me would involve, “hi, my name is So-and-So, what’s your name?”. Not a barrage of personal and race related questions, to someone you don’t know, and that were typically asked of slaves and African-Americans segregated.
I’m tired of being followed around in a store including on a camera where I’m about to spend money and where I’ve spent money regularly. If there’s a high shoplifting rate, but you don’t see a lot of African-Americans in your store, do you think one African-American can do that much theft damage??? Figure it out! It’s the persons you least expect, like in Edgewater, New Jersey, where there’s a shockingly high shoplifting rate among Asians at TJ Maxx, Target and other nearby stores.
I’m tired of being in a store and being ignored for help, including after asking, just before I’m about to buy something major (computer, appliance, PDA mobile phone), while a white person who has no intention of buying but lots of “just asking” questions is catered to until their second foot exits the store.
I’m tired of having to divulge personal questions while working because it’s assumed automatically that “I have to fit in” and that is one way to be “a part of the team”. Yet, each person goes home to their own segregated neighborhood and lifestyle, unless they’re returning to a gentrified Harlem area which will soon be segregated. As a manager, a working team involves a group that can share WORK information together. If I worked along side Klansmen during summer jobs in college, I know for a fact all that personal nonsense is not necessary in a business environment. Just that the work got done was important. Save the personal stuff for after work.
I’m just tired of the unequal nonsense and treatment in MY own country across the board and tired of seeing the same faces in power and the same faces as servants.
As a whole, the Senate won’t even apologize for the treatment of African-Americans. But apologies and reparations were given to Japanese Americans, Jewish Americans (explain this one given war crimes occurred in Germany), and even Chinese American coal mine workers killed in the late 1800’s by whites for working during a strike. Even allowances and special conditions have been created for Native Indians along with a recent apology to Native Indians driven by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback.
But to African-Americans, not even what was promised in the constitution (which ironically is the same document thrown in African-Americans’ face to enforce something against them). Let’s start with the constitutionally promised 40 acres and a mule or even freedom and liberty for all given slavery, and then the Ku Klux Klan ruling this country after slavery with its last public lynching in 1980s.
Even the history of why the Civil War started and why Abraham Lincoln was assassinated is repeatedly and deliberately distorted for convenience.
When it comes to African-Americans, the census is “that’s their struggle” and not my problem (even though others contributed to it – complacency and ignorance. And only the convenient “entertainment” aspects want to be remembered in history. Not the significant contributions to medicine and science (Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, Dr. Charles Drew), technology (Lewis Latimer, Benjamin Banneker, Garrett Morgan), architecture (Wall Street, Phillip Reid & Pierre L’Enfant) and society (Jan Matzeliger, Dr. Martin L. King, and Frederick Douglas, Thomas Fuller).