When Phil Gramm slammed Americans for being a nation of whiners and having a mental recession mindset, he was body slammed hard and heavy by many pundits as well as the man he was campaigning for, John McCain. Barack Obama ridiculed Mr. Gramm saying America already has one doctor Phil. When people are losing their homes, their jobs, their ability to earn a comfortable living, and provide for the future of their families it is not a crisis of psychology. When people are having difficulty just buying the basics such as food and gas for transportation, it is a crisis of real consequences that can have repercussions for us all. For Mr. Gramm, no doubt a handsomely paid and wealthy individual compared to the average American, to dismiss the problems with people’s finances as nothing more than a mindset is to demonstrate a serious lack of compassion for others who are not as fortunate.
In essence, Mr. Gramm was trying to tell people to quit having a victim mentality and a lot of people took exception to his indifference to most people’s plight. No one said that Mr. Gramm might have a point. No one said that things would get better when everybody took more personal responsibility for their conditions although it goes without saying that we the people could have better prepared for these rainy days. More of us could have purchased more efficient living accommodations. More of us could have purchased more efficient forms of transportation. More of us could have used our credit resources more sparingly. Most of us could have done things more wisely. But should haves and would haves and could haves do little to help alleviate the fact that people are concerned about what they need right now. We can point the finger later but right now people need help.
The parallel between the current economic conditions of America compared to the economic conditions of many people in the black community since forever are similar. Black people have always been given rhetoric to quit being a whiner and pick ourselves up by our boot strap. Many people have the attitude that black people are just a bunch of whiners and need nothing more than to change. Despite the overwhelming evidence that says there is a fundamental economic dysfunction within the black community, regardless of the reason it’s there, most people are content to turn a blind eye and say this problem would not exist if people in the black community didn’t suffer from their weakness of character that prohibits us from rising to the challenge and meeting our problems head on.
It is a matter of public record that on average people in the black community earn only seventy eight percent what people in the white community earn. And that is if black people can find a job. The rate of unemployment in the black community runs approximately twice the rate of unemployment in the white community. Black people are much more likely to be incarcerated and to have less access to adequate legal representation. The lack of compassion for people in the black community is tremendous.
But now that the other economic shoe is free falling and more people in the nation are being impacted with the specter of unemployment, unaffordable housing, poor public education prospects thanks to the ill conceived program called no child left behind and the other maladies that are plaguing us as a nation, more people want reassurance and some understanding that their problems are not psychological but are real and our frightening.
Why doesn’t the dominant community take this rare opportunity to show the black community how easy it is to just quit being victims and whiners when there are no jobs available or when there is no money available? I believe there is a lot to learn here! Everybody in the black community can learn first hand how to get a job when the job market is shedding jobs at a rate of fifty thousand a month. We can learn how to balance budgets between income and expenses when there is no income. We can learn how the responsible people are paying for housing even though foreclosures rates are rising almost exponentially. And mostly of all, people in the dominant community can take this golden opportunity to show exactly how we should respond to uncompassionate rhetoric from someone who just doesn’t give a damn.
So far, the reactions from the dominant community have not been very educational or enlightening. In fact, if anything, the responses from the dominant community have been quite similar to the type of responses that would originate from the black community. I would dare say that no matter the skin color, when people feel like they could use some help, it would be appreciated if others would show some kind of empathy or concern for their plight. If anything, the dominant community demonstrates that when you are a victim, there is nothing wrong with having a victim mentality. Picking up a boot strap to lift your self out of a predicament really is pointless if there’s nothing to hook that boot strap to.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ Then he will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’ And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:41-46
Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s sermon where he damns America for its intolerance against the black community has been the source of a lot of conversation about race relations. Mr. Wright claims that Hillary Clinton has never been called a nigger. Ms. Clinton did not deny this charge so chances are extremely high that this is true. Mr. Wright said that Ms. Clinton didn’t know what it was like to be a struggling black person here in America. Ms. Clinton is as much a Caucasoid as they come so this is probably true as well. In fact, a lot of what Mr. Wright said was accurate and factual.
America has been built on the backs and with the blood of the children of Africa. Generally speaking, while black people toiled in fields of agriculture with no pay, no benefits, no rights, no education, no citizenship, and no acknowledgement of the fact that they were human, white people enjoyed the fruits of black people’s enslavement. While not all white people owned slaves, they benefited from the low price of many goods and services because the investment in labor cost was so minimal. While not all white people owned slaves, white people benefited from the fact that blacks remained uneducated and were less likely to compete in the job market for many positions that required an education, talents, or learned skills.
In this environment, some black people were able to overcome these conditions so overwhelmingly stacked against their success. The dominant community allowed some black people to go free if their owners gave them permission. Some black people were able to accumulate wealth as long as they were careful to stay within the strict confines that constituted acceptable black behavior. But black people could never forget that their success and their status were subject to tolerance from the dominant community. This may help to explain why many well to do blacks, who used to be aware of the inequity between the black community and the white community but now have accumulated their own materialism and wealth, do well to say nothing against the status quo of white privilege and black subjugation.
Any white person could jeopardize a black person’s position in the dominant community controlled so greatly by the members of the white community. For example, a white woman can accuse a black man of rape and unleash a mob of white retaliation on the entire black community regardless of the merits of the claim. And after the violence against the black community is done, white people are free to go back to their lives without any fear of justice for their transgressions against black people. This type of behavior was rampant in the days of slavery and continues today with such intolerance for black people who think they have the right to defend themselves from white people. John White made this error when he tried to defend his family and property from the drunken mob of white youths led by Daniel Cicciaro. The Jena Six made this mistake when they had the audacity to fight back against white students who instigated racial conflicts when they hanged nooses from trees and initiated fights with their pranks of racial intolerance.
Black people are constantly overlooked by the dominant community. The dominant community will pull out a series of excuses and reasons why it was impossible to help black people caught in the catastrophic flood of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. People in the black community are constantly told to exercise personal responsibility and to show some initiative to lift themselves out of the perpetual condition of black subjugation. It is okay to let black people lose their houses to predatory lending practices that force black people with good credit into sub prime loans that make borrowing more expensive. But, when the ripple effect of so many black people losing their homes suddenly affects the banks and investment firms on Wall Street the government is quick to do what it can to save them.
A nationally syndicated radio talk show host calls black women nappy headed ho’s and the dominant community says its black people’s fault because black rappers who get paid by the corporate music industry controlled primarily by white people makes the subject so confusing. The main character from a nationally syndicated show about bounty hunters call his son’s black girlfriend a nigger and the dominant community says this is okay because it happened behind closed doors. A white comedian gets on stage and espouses the lynching of black hecklers repeatedly calling black people niggers and asking somebody to get him a rope and the dominant community gives him a break because he’s under so much stress. A former Secretary of Education makes the suggestion that crime can be reduced by aborting all black babies and people defend his words by saying that people are trying to take his words out of context. And through all this, people who bring attention to the disparity that has become the standard operating procedure in America are the problem.
With all this racial disparity under America’s collective belt, the dominant community expects black people to simply go along with the status quo of white privilege and black subjugation without complaint. For the most part, the broader community doesn’t care about what happens to the black community. We would prefer to sweep all of this racial discord under the proverbial rug and pretend that everything is okay when racial relations are anything but okay. The black community is constantly under distress from this racial status quo. And when black people have the audacity to say that there is something wrong here these black people are ridiculed and minimized as wanting a pity party or having a victim mentality or wanting a handout or whatever standard knee jerk reaction that minimizes this disparity.
Is Mr. Wright out of line? Did he say anything that wasn’t true? No. He says that while others may sing god bless America there are plenty of people who can say god damn America. That should be no surprise. I’m sure when the people were standing outside the Superdome in those days after Katrina a lot of them were saying god damn America. When black people were being hanged from trees and being dragged behind cars with nooses around their neck I’m pretty sure that were saying god damn America. When black men are trying to defend their home from drunken white mobs I’m sure they were thinking god damn America. When black people were losing their homes in the sub prime mortgage meltdown while the government handed various American corporations billions of dollars on a silver platter I’m sure these people were saying god damn America. When qualified black people are rejected as a candidate for a job or for a learning opportunity or as President because someone says they don’t know why they don’t trust them, then god damn America.
America celebrates the fact that black children are murdered in boot camps for taking their grandmother’s car without permission. Police punch teenaged black girls in the face for breaking curfew and America is horrified that black people complain. America defends the fact that black teenaged boys are getting ten year prison sentences for having sex with teenaged girls. Black teenagers are being tried for second degree attempted murder for getting in fights with white teenagers and the dominant American community feigns confusion when black people rally to come to their aid. A black celebrity stands in front of white people and rips the black community a new one while he absolves the dominant community of its culpability in the condition of the black community. Black celebrities distance themselves from the black community and elevate themselves above their racial identity into the racially generic ether that is overwhelmingly dominated by members of the white community or who are very sensitive to white standards of thoughts are hailed as an example of black opinion that is acceptable, and manageable, by the dominant community.
Regardless of what a lot of people think the established political and corporate leadership does not have the welfare of the black community at heart. People may go into the black community and give some noble sounding speeches full of racial equality rhetoric with suggestions of finally giving some desperately needed fairness to the black community. But when these people get elected the black community will suffer even larger pattern of disparity while the status quo remains safe and even more reinforced.
A politician will promise to rid drugs from the black community. More police will patrol drug infested areas. More arrests are made of individuals who indulge in illegal drugs. People found with fifty grams of crack cocaine, an illegal drug found mostly in the black community, will receive the same sentence as people who carry five kilos of powdered cocaine, an illegal drug more associated with the white community. But the arrest of more people in the black neighborhood who use and sell drugs is nothing more than a simple placebo designed to placate the fears of people. Why are there so many black people using drugs? Where are the drugs in the black community coming from? How are the drugs getting into the black community? Some black people may applaud this heavy handed approach to the drug problem, but the strategy of locking up the drug seller or the drug user does not get to the roots of the problem which is the despair in the black community and the lack of opportunity for improvement in our lives. The long term solution is not in the incarceration of more sellers and users. God damn America!
America likes to tell black people to lift ourselves out of our predicament. Essentially the American government says that the conditions in the black community are not a concern for the dominant culture. This country would rather spend a trillion dollars and four thousand American lives in Iraq on a war to liberate that country from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein who never threatened a single American life. This country would rather go halfway around the world and stick our national nose in another country’s affairs and create a Pandora’s box like the world has never seen than do anything to help alleviate the despair of the black community. God damn America!
There is a great deal of despondency and depression in the black community. There is an overwhelming sense of disconnect from the major community. Instead of trying to build bridges and trying to build communities we are content to let the despair fester like an open wound. A country that is so willing to let such a large part of its population suffer such disparity is nothing that calls for god’s blessing. Such a country should be cursed. It should be damned to the deepest pit of hell. In a nation of such wealth and prosperity we tolerate so much disparity along racial lines. In Matthew 25:41-56, Jesus said that we will be judged by how well we take care of the least of us and not by how well we tell others to get their own bootstrap. As Mr. Wright said, it is in the bible. The bible indicates this happened just two days before the Passover.
America is willing to spend as much time as it takes to understand what drives a white man to strap a fake bomb to their person and hold an entire office of presidential campaign workers hostage. The city will waste no resource in order to find a peaceful solution that will allow the troubled man to get some help for his mental condition that drives his lack of judgment. But let it be a black man who has a history of mental problems and threatening the community with a hairbrush. After five minutes of trying nothing the police will have no choice but to open fire in order to keep the black man from brushing somebody’s hair. God damn America!
But in all honesty we have damned ourselves. The drug problem that is festering in America got its foothold in the black community because people were willing to ignore the plight of the black people who indulged in drugs. The people who are willing to let the education of the black community lapse will pay with higher cost of a social welfare burden that will be a drain on local, state, and federal treasures. The lack of adequate medical care that permeates the black community will drive up medical cost for everyone without being an effective help to anyone. And as a country, we are more than willing to sit back and allow corporate America to rape black people with higher costs for credit, insurance, and housing until we get to a point where those chickens have come home to roost and we find ourselves facing a global financial crisis of epidemic proportions that has the dollar falling against currencies around the world. Our inability to provide a share in the prosperity of America to everyone will come back to damn us all.
The trial for a murder that began as a dumb joke has reached a verdict. Fifty three year old John White, an asphalt foreman on trial for killing an acquaintance of his twenty year old son Aaron, was found guilty of second degree manslaughter late Saturday night by a jury of his peers. Mr. White was convicted of shooting an inebriated seventeen year old Daniel Cicciaro in the face on August 9, 2006, outside the White’s Long Island home after a heated, racially charged exchange with Mr. Cicciaro and his friends.
It is my understanding that on August 9th of 2006, Aaron White was at a beer bash at a friend’s house when he was confronted by Daniel Cicciaro. Jennifer Martin, a sixteen year old at the party, complained about a MySpace posting that claimed Aaron wanted to rape her. Aaron was told to leave. Although he denied making the threat Aaron complied and left the party. Cicciaro and his friends then called Aaron on his cell phone to continue the dispute and made threats against the entire White family. Racial references such as monkey assed niggers were used. Dan Cicciaro got four of his friends together and the posse arrived in the front of the White home shortly after 11 p.m. These men had the bright idea to avenge the girl’s honor by threatening violence upon the Whites.
Over the phone, Aaron White responded with race laced profanity of his own. John White took his pistol, a thirty two caliber Beretta, to the end of his driveway followed by his son Aaron with a shotgun. Legally drunk, the seventeen year old Cicciaro reached for the gun. There was a struggle. The gun went off just three inches from Daniel Cicciaro’s face. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. John White was arrested for first degree manslaughter and for the illegal possession of an unregistered handgun.
Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn granted a request that allowed the jury to consider convicting Mr. White of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor that carries a prison term of up to one year. But the jury found him guilty of second degree manslaughter which carries a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of fifteen.
The prosecutor says that Mr. White should have locked his door and called the police. The time from the first call from Daniel Cicciaro to the moment the posse arrived was about twenty minutes. It is the prosecutor’s contention that the Whites had plenty of time to call New York’s finest for help. This would be the same New York police department that was acquitted for helping other black people like Sean Bell, Abadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, and others. With public service like this for the black community, if I was a black person in New York I wouldn’t call the dogcatcher on a bionic, rabid pit bull on steroids out of the very reasonable fear that somehow New York public servants would make me regret it.
Why didn’t Daniel Cicciaro call the police when he discovered that the girl’s honor was in question? NYPD doesn’t have a reputation for the contagious shooting of white people so obviously they had no reason to fear getting the police involved. Why didn’t he call the police in the twenty minutes it took for him to arrive in front of the White’s house? Why didn’t he call the police when he saw the armed man standing at the end of his driveway? Why didn’t someone else in the posse call the police? Why didn’t someone from the party call the police? Why didn’t Daniel’s parents keep their drunkard son at home to get his buzz on? We could ask why questions and if questions all day long.
But this is just another instance of the American public refusing to take a serious look at the circumstances of this dreadful situation from the black man’s perspective. Daniel’s mother, Joanne Cicciaro, described her son saying, “He was loyal to his friends, and everyone. He was a wonderful, wonderful person. He had a wonderful bright future.” Yes he did. But the young man chose to throw his future to the wind when he made the choice to confront the Whites. He may have been wonderful, but the young man was also very vulgar and very drunk and obviously provocative that Wednesday night. Said Daniel’s father, “It’s unfortunate that they chose to try to portray my son as a racist, but the truth is out now.” That truth is that Cicciaro junior had liquored himself up, arranged to be driven across town, made a series of racial slurs, made a number of threats, and confronted a black man who he mistakenly thought had the impudence to threaten a white girl.
The only thing that matters is that a black man killed a white man. It wouldn’t have mattered if these men had raped his wife and beat his son within an inch of his life like they said they wanted to do. A black man would have the audacity to do something to protect himself from a young white mob. Such a black man does not know his place in America. The black community obviously needs another reminder of its place in the American social structure. Pull a gun on a white boy? And accidentally kill him for threatening you, your family, and your property? Black man don’t you know you were in New York? Don’t you know your place here in America? You are obviously too crazy to be allowed to be free.