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America Is Nothing Black People Can Be Proud Of

Where is the America that a black person who is strong in his or her affiliation with people in the black community can love and be proud of? So goes the question scribbled across the back of a black woman outside one of the venues hosting the Democratic National Committee and its associated visitors. At least I hope it was scribbled across her back and not tattooed in. Be that as it may, the question is a valid one.

Where is the America that will standup strong and tall for my civil rights? It is not to be seen. When I saw so many people cheering when seven boot camp guards snuffed out the life of fourteen year old Martin Lee Anderson, who was sentenced to boot camp after taking his grandmother’s car for a joyride, I know this is nothing to be proud of. When I see so many people support a Fort Lauderdale, Florida police officer who has the audacity to punch fourteen year old Shelwanda Riley in the face for resisting arrest for the crime of breaking curfew, I know this country is nothing for me to be proud of. Black teenagers like seventeen year old Genarlow Wilson will get a ten year prison sentence for engaging in consensual sex with a fifteen year old girl while fifty year old men on a polygamist ranch are having babies with their sixteen year old wives.

When I see a country that will fight to defend police officers who kill an unarmed black man for carrying home groceries like Amadou Diallo or an unarmed black man for trying to go home to prepare for his wedding day like Sean Bell, I know this is not a country any black person with any pride in being black can be proud of. When I see four police officers in New Orleans attack a black man for asking for information and commenting on the lack of professionalism during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, to see these officers try to frame this man by accusing him of being drunk and disorderly, this represents nothing that I can be proud of.

I live in a country where a black presidential candidate is so removed from the black community that he is quick to join the chorus of politicians and other community leaders and tell other black people that they should exercise more responsibility for not being able to secure jobs. Yet, a recent study reported on the CNN documentary Black In America by Soledad O’Brien conducted by Devah Pager, states that when a white men with a four year degree applies for a job they have a thirty four percent chance of being called back. When a black man with a four year degree applies for a job they have a fifteen percent chance of being called back. But what makes these percentages even sadder is the fact that when a white man with a record and no degree applies for a job, they have a seventeen percent chance of getting a return phone call. When it comes to getting called back for a job, a non-educated white man with a police record has a two percentage point advantage over a black man with a degree and no record. But the presidential candidate wants to tell a black man to show some responsibility. How can black men take responsibility when groups like the American Medical Association actually admits to working to keep blacks from successfully becoming doctors? How can black men take responsibility when American institutions work to keep black men from being able to take responsibility? And this is something for me, a black man, to be proud of?

The same black presidential candidate that says the American government can’t do anything for me until I do for myself is quick to tell Israel, a country on the other side of the globe that has its own self interest, that America has Israel’s back unequivocally. At attack on Israel is an attack on America. And yet, when people in the black community are attacked with poverty, poor education, poor self esteem, and etcetera, we are told that we must do for ourselves because no one can do it for us. This same black presidential candidate would pledge a billion dollars to the former Soviet Union member Georgia, who instigated a military confrontation with Russia when Georgia attacked South Ossetia. Why didn’t the candidate tell the Georgians to exercise some personal responsibility for the mess they created? What’s good for the black community should be good for the Georgian nation. Why would I be proud of such disparate thinking?

This must have been the same type of thought processes that had manifested as thousands of people, most of them black, stood outside the Superdome in New Orleans right after hurricane Katrina. This would help to explain why our government responded so inadequately and made those people wait for four days while our government ignored the plight of so many black people. This must be the same type of thinking that would have our former First Lady, Barbara Bush, comment that the hurricane worked out so well for so many black people because all those fortunate black people didn’t have much to lose in the first place. And I’m supposed to be proud of this?

When I see so many white people act like they are about to lose their minds because a singer chooses to sing Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, the Black National Anthem, instead of the National Anthem which is deeply rooted in the white community’s history, back from a time when black people weren’t even considered humans. The National Anthem was not originally applicable to black people. The black community had to work hard and continues to work hard and, if history is any indication, will always work hard to have our nation’s values applied to the black community. A black woman who is proud of her black heritage sings a song that implores everyone to sing and many white people feel insulted. Imagine how black people have felt with Oh Say Can You See. Traditions from the white culture can be applied to black people and many will never think anything of it. But when a black woman applies a black tradition to white people, those good white folks respond as if they’re passengers on a plane that’s been hijacked and headed full throttle towards the World Trade Center. The manifestation of hatred for black traditions is thick and intense in this country. And this is the all inclusive environment that I’m supposed to be proud of?

The white community in this country has fought long and hard to keep black people from gaining equality. White people in this country have stood in the doorway of universities before they would allow black children to obtain an education. White people in this country have a history of hanging black people by the noose and now the current generation of white people laugh and dismiss such manifestations of hatred as little more than pranks in the twenty first century. White people in this country have denied black people the right to vote, the right to an education, the right to be human, the right to their history, the right to dignity, and the right to just about everything under the sun. Too many white people have done too little to help black people and too many white people have done too much to subjugate black people. And I’m supposed to be proud of America?

And now, without doing so much as offering an apology or any restitution to correct the institutionalized prejudice and discrimination that has become this America.  This America that so many people are so proud of has ingrained hatred and suspicion of black people into the fabric of our culture that it is no longer just white people, but a rainbow coalition of racially generic dominants who have donned the values of the whites only oppressors. Why in the world would I be proud of such a country? Where is the America I can be proud of? Honestly, as a black man who closely identifies with the black community, I find little for me to love.

Thursday, September 4, 2008 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts


  1. A sad commentary, and I understand your discouragement. On the other hand, it seems to me that you are equating America with the worst aspects of the white community, which is also a kind of complex and organic sort of community if it is a community at all. But it’s not really the same thing as America. In my eyes, you also are part of what makes up America. I don’t define the USA the way you do, even as you draw my attention to all the injustices that happen here, because my concept of America includes you, and it includes things like the Brother Peacemaker blog. So at least be proud of the part of America you are in the process of creating. Over the weeks of reading your blog, you’ve mad me think of at least 5 other things to be proud of, too…maybe more: Things like the stability you mother has brought even through her conservative approach; like a man who actively cares about the values he is instilling in his little son so much that he worries about what he buys.

    Comment by Betsy | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback Betsy,

    As an American, I accept the fact that my country has been brutally unfair with its treatment of the black community. This commentary isn’t made in a vacuum where I feel I can separate myself from what’s going on between the black community and the general community. As long as the black community is in the condition it is in, we are all responsible.

    Sad commentary for sure. But, when it comes to the black neighborhoods and to black people, the behavior of this country has been abysmal. And the only retribution the vast majority of the people in this country think the black community deserves is to forget about it.

    When it comes to any and every social measure in this country, black people suffer the worst. When it comes to health, black people suffer more from an inability to obtain quality healthcare. Please note that we are talking about healthcare and not emergency room care. When it comes to unemployment, black people suffer from higher rates of unemployment. When it comes to the quality of schools, black neighborhoods suffer with crumbling school buildings. After years of being artificially held back from being able to compete against the white community, many people think that it is fair to just let everybody compete as equals. The true retardation of the situation is obscene.

    There are many great things about America. But this is not a commentary of America and its general condition. This is a commentary about America’s relationship with its own black community. I’m sorry, but in this respect America is nothing the black community should be proud of. There are moments where individuals have step to the plate to work hard for the future of the black community. But just think how much better it would be if America took its social responsibility to the black community seriously.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  3. 1 billion fuck’n dollars!! For starting some shit with Russia!! I guess we’re in the business of paying mo-fo’s except the American people.
    But, lest we speak of any reparations!

    these people are truly sick!!!!

    Comment by Damien | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the feedback Damien,

    Believe it! A billion dollars of your tax dollars to Georgia for helping it rebuild its infrastructure after it started the war with Russia. Yet, let a black person say that America needs to do something to help build the black community. I’ve deleted so many comments from people who say things like, I never did anything to black people so why should I pay. Yet you never hear these same people say they never did shit to Georgia or Israel. Why does America give them billions of dollars for provoking their neighbors. Things don’t make sense.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  5. I thought really hard,& i searched my heart for pride in this country.i have non.A country built on the backs of slaves will never be great,nuff said.

    Comment by trudat | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  6. Thanks for the feedback trudat,

    I have to admit that I’m not so cynical. For example, what little I saw of the Olympics I have to admit that for the most part I was rooting for the people who represented my country. And I can’t stress the for the most part condition. I really wanted to see the basketball team bring that gold medal home. I wanted to see Michal Phelps break that record. I even wanted to see Dara Torres do her thing. I do have pride in America. But I have a lot of shame in America as well.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  7. I know first hand, it makes me sick to my stomach when I think about it. Anyone remember the crown heights riots in 1991? I was there. As a matter of fact, I was there when little Gavin Cato his cousin were struck by a car driven by a jew, resulting in his death. I knew those kids. They lived around the corner from me. The teen that stabbed the jewish driver, we went to the same school. A jewish ambulance arrived on the scene and refused to help these children. When I was about twelve, I fractured both my hands, and went to the hospital (this was years before this incident), and I was in pain, so I went to the jewish hospital that particular ambulance company served, and they refused to treat me. I had to leave and walk to kings county hospital with 2 broken hands. I can’t stress this enough: THEY DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT US!

    Comment by shabazz | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  8. And btw, I got suspended in the 2nd grade for refusing to say the pledge of alliegence, I refuse to say it to this day. Well, I guess I won’t be going to any baseball games:)

    Comment by shabazz | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  9. Thanks for the feedback shabazz,

    Sounds like you had a great deal of insight from a very early age. Like a little fool back in school I said the pledge of allegiance any and every time I was told to. I was neck deep in patriotic assimilation. I’m happy to say that those days are over. I hope and pray that my son never learns those words.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  10. In fact it doesn’t matter what the case is. If it involves the black race, whether that means Arican, African American, Haitian or whatever, they will never receive a billion dollars for anything. Well, unless it is to do other blacks in. Then we can support you with weaponry to ensure that the job gets done with some expediency.

    This country will never do anything that might help blacks. The things that have been done up to now have been to help the dominant community and whatever boosts that gave the blacks is just incidental. I know people will cry about freeing slaves and civil rights. But in both cases laws were passed that would spare the dominant community from problems which were occurring at the time.

    With slavery they needed to free up jobs for poor whites who were a step away from revolt. He needed to change the war from economic to moral. Yet they would have us believe that this was done for our benefit. Nothing is done for OUR benefit. And with civil rights, that was an expedient way to end the uprising that blacks were beginning to start. It also ended the headache and the threat of more lost money when blacks boycott. They saw how unified the community had gotten. And what better way to end that then by giving in. Then divide and conquer.

    Same thing with affirmative action. They wish for everyone to believe that this is some sort of black dominated set of laws. When in fact it is a white woman dominated set of laws. We can watch them give billions upon billions of dollars to any and every white dominant country, community or organization year after year. And this will never change. We need to make it imperative for them to acknowledge our need.

    But that will never happen with all the division and squabbling in the black community. We are too focused on within to focus on the fact that they are funneling money to everywhere BUT our needs.

    Thanks Brotherp for trying to shed the light on this.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  11. I don’t know. I was not that into the Olympics. And just felt disconnected to the sense of country loyalty. I almost feel like a vagabond with no real intense feelings of pride in this country I live. I don’t even feel bad when we are bad mouthed around the world. It pains me that I wish blacks had a place to flee to. But honestly the grass is just as brown, burnt and diseased on all sides of the fence.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  12. Thanks for the feedback theblacksentinel,

    You speak truth! Nothing in this country was ever done for black people’s benefit. This country will pass laws to keep black people from owning a crumb, but allow black people to be owned like crumbs. And this country will do nothing, not a goddamn thing, to make any kind of restitution for the black community being do damaged by American institutions of racism.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  13. theblacksentinel,

    I have to admire you. You obviously can keep these things in their proper perspective. I still find myself suffering from an assimilated mindset every now and then. I said I was proud of my country. I didn’t say I was proud of being proud of my country. I know that the general America’s values do not coincide with the values of the black community. Some black people who’ve done well, or who think they will do well, will take pride in the good ol’ boy US of A. Others will simply go along for the ride and never put any thought as to why they celebrate things like the 4th of July or Thanksgiving. Notice that the liberation of the black community isn’t a national holiday. In general, the black community has nothing to be proud of.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Reply

  14. “And this country will do nothing, not a goddamn thing, to make any kind of restitution for the black community being do damaged by American institutions of racism.”

    SO, my question here is….what is needed to be, or can be, done to take our country in the direction it needs to go?

    Being somewhat of a hopeless idealist, I try to look for the solutions, instead of why there is no solution. Granted, being white, it is much harder for me to understand what blacks have gone through, much less experience things as you have. I think that blacks must stick together, as you spoke of black unity, in order to progress themselves within American society, but I also believe whites will have to become a part of the solution, or we will always have the two Americas. So where do we go from here?

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Friday, September 5, 2008 | Reply

  15. Thanks for the feedback Mike Lovell,

    One of the biggest things that we can do as a national community is just care about the welfare of the black community. All too often you hear people say that they don’t owe black people a thing. As a collective we will sit back and watch a billion dollars go to Georgia or however many billions of dollars go to Israel without one word of protest about how we don’t owe those countries a thing.

    Let someone say that the black community needs a school or let someone say that a minimum percentage of jobs needs to go to the black community and people will start huffing and puffing like an old style steam locomotive and start with the old standby rhetoric of black people wanting a handout. Mention affirmative action and it is inevitable that someone will say it is a government mandate or regulation that black people be given jobs that they don’t deserve. But according to Devah Pager’s research when it comes to finding jobs a black man with a degree and no criminal record will have a slightly less chance of getting a call back from a job than a white man with a criminal record and no degree. Even when we’ve done everything to prepare ourselves for a job we can’t get a break.

    There is so much propaganda to portray black people as everything evil. I remember once when I was living in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho there was a shooting at the Post Falls high school. Idaho has a black population that would make a Republican National Convention look culturally diverse. A school of thousands of students would have only one or two black students. But what graphic did the local news use to accompany the story? A bunch of black kids. This propaganda institutes a mistrust of black people. And we let this happen.

    Cops kill unarmed black people in a hail of bullets and people defend their actions because somebody needs to keep black people in line. Genarlow Wilson got a ten year prison sentence for having sex with a girl two years his junior. Jack Abramoff screwed the national economy with his influence peddling and he only got four years. Doesn’t this seem odd to you? Who’s the greater danger to the nation? We as a nation not only tolerate this disparity but we nurture it. We defend it!

    People spread lies and conjecture that black people commit the majority of the crime in this country. And without a single verifiable statistic to support their claim other people will buy into it hook, line, and sinker. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? It does not apply to black people. Our legal system will hold us guilty until we can prove our innocence because everybody knows black people commit more crime. That’s just hateful propaganda. And even if it was true there are black people who are not criminals. Fewer and fewer people care to give people in the black neighborhood the benefit of a doubt.

    All it really takes is for more people to take more of an interest in what’s going on in the black community. But instead, we just soak up this racially poisonous misinformation like we soak up the marketing that tells us brand X is better than brand Y.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, September 5, 2008 | Reply

  16. As long as white people ignore what happened to the native americans,& act like slavery was the best thing that ever happened to black people.this nation will remain what it always has evil empire controled by Rich crackers.& even in my grade school days i never said the pledge of allegiance.Even then i knew it was white people bullshit.i never root or cheer for sports,even thou blacks dominate & shatter records.Pro sports are just modern day coon shows. my moral compass tells me that pledged of allegiance & rooting for sports stars makes me a another distracted fool.
    by the way,latinoes will be the next dominate culture in america,they hate us more than the white devils do!so it’s only gonna get worse.

    Comment by trudat | Friday, September 5, 2008 | Reply

  17. Trudat,

    Hey, isn’t there a book out called “million dollar slaves.” All about sports stars and how they are nothing more than slaves with a bunch of money or something to that tune.

    Also, I don’t know enough Hispanics to say either way. But if the Hispanics here have the views of Spaniards in Spain about blacks, then we are in serious trouble.

    I have a problem with the pledge of allegiance myself. I went to a Catholic school where we had to pray and say the pledge of allegiance. It was to the point that they would actually hit you if you didn’t do both. They were going to make sure those black kids drank the kool aid no matter what.


    That response was absolutely great. I actually felt like some kind of bobble head while reading it, since I was nodding so much. Keep it up.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Friday, September 5, 2008 | Reply

  18. Very simply put, why don’t you go back to Africa then and see if you like that better?

    Comment by Fred Sanford | Saturday, July 28, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Fred Sanford,

      But the obvious answer is that I’m not from Africa. I’m from St. Louis, Missouri. Why don’t you go back to Yugoslavia if you think moving away is such a good idea?


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Saturday, July 28, 2012 | Reply

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