It's about our community and our spirituality!

A Letter To Bill Kesters

“Some of the situations you described – I don’t have the stats and doubt that you do too. I’m not denying that there’s injustice and racism committed against blacks by whites. Instead of stats I’ll just give you my general impressions based on my 50+ years of observation of this world. If blacks are denied education, that’s news to me.”Bill Kesters

I asked you for the statistics on the number of well qualified black people being rejected for jobs. What are the statistics for black people being denied education? What are the statistics for black people being incarcerated when they are innocent? What are the statistics for black people being killed by police officers? What are the statistics for black people being portrayed on television and other forms of entertainment as thugs, murderers, and thieves compared to the number of black people portrayed as respectable and responsible members of the general community? What are the numbers for black fathers who are involved in their children’s lives compared to the number who choose not to and are not prevented from being in their children’s lives because of incarceration or death? You say blacks have more rights, opportunities and freedoms than any time in our history. I would argue that our ancestors were much freer back when they lived on the plains of Africa. What statistics do you have to support your conclusion?

You are correct in your assertion that I don’t have the statistics for all of these situations I listed which is probably why I don’t make blatantly ignorant assumptions about African Americans having more opportunities now than we did before or that we are somehow freer now than we’ve ever been before. I do recognize the fact that some black people have achieved wealth and status that many people could never achieve. However, to take such a simplistic and narrow minded view that such achievements apply to the entire African American experience is to ignore the plight of many in the black community who are still dealing with the affects of racism and racial discrimination.

I have no doubt that blacks being denied opportunities for education, or employment, comes as news to you. You’ve supplied more statistics on black males not graduating from high school and therefore the high unemployment rate for black males is understandable. But why are black males not graduating from school? How does this affect black females not being able to find opportunities? Does this have anything to do with the constant image of black people being portrayed on television and other mediums as angry thugs and dropouts? Does this have anything to do with the fact that black parents are too busy trying to just make ends meet and never being able to take the time to learn to be good parents? How come white people who do not graduate from high school have fewer problems finding jobs and other opportunities?

Yes I am disappointed with the situation of black people. Yes there are large numbers of black people who are contributing to their own problem by submitting themselves and their children to the image that corporate America paints of black people. But I also know that to constantly point the finger at black people and say “you are wrong” and “you are less than” without looking at the entire picture is not the solution. High profile black people and black people who are able to achieve despite the perpetual messages from corporate America that depicts black people as everything problematic in America do not have the right to sit back and say that they found a way so other black people who don’t are lazy or are some other problem that social programming constantly labels squarely on the shoulders of black people.

The slavery that black people suffered here in the United States is unlike any form of slavery ever experienced on this planet. You talked about the slavery of Greece and Egypt. Please! It is a fact that when people were enslaved in Egypt and these other places, families stayed together. The slaves were still considered fully human and not just someone’s property or only three fifths human. The slaves in these other geographies and times often had mechanisms in place where they could earn the right to be considered full citizens. These slaves were not denied the right to an education or a living.

When slavery ended in America and white people held all the property and wealth, black people had to make due with nothing in order to survive. For generations white people did not provide the enslaved descendants with an education or much of anything else other than the minimum. And when slavery ended little effort was made to prepare the black community for competing with people in the white community for employment and educational opportunities. Black people simply had to struggle through and do their best to qualify in an environment designed to assure their failure. Our black ancestors had to somehow pay for housing and food and all of their other needs with their only possession being the rags on their back. And from this they were supposed to compete with white people for opportunities.

America has never provided the black community with the fair footing needed to compete fairly. People passed a law and said okay you’re free now go get your own jobs and your own schooling and quit looking for a handout because slavery is over. In the meantime, we tolerate police beating and killing black people for the crime of being black. We constantly see black people being depicted as criminals and depicted as less than moral on television and we don’t think these subtle messages have no influence on our children’s understanding of who they are or where they are or what they are in this social construct.

You are very correct that I don’t have the statistics to support any argument that black people are still feeling the affects of racism because that is not the concern of a society hell bent on depicting black people as everything corrupt. It is very true that people in the black community need to take more responsibility for who and where and what we are in the 21st century version of America. But black people don’t realize we are all in this together. We don’t have the luxury to say only poor black people are the problem or only ignorant or uneducated black people are the problem. We don’t even have the luxury of saying that rich black people who turn their back on the black community are the problem. As long as one of us is being left behind the entire black community is being left behind. Need proof? With only 0.0025% of us committing homicides against white people, the entire black race is depicted as killers of white people. We all need to wake up to this problem.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts

1 Comment »

  1. Great post,
    I just tagged you brotha, check my blog for details. Peace!

    Comment by truth | Thursday, August 14, 2008 | Reply

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