(ThyBlackMan.com) In a recent moment of reflection regarding her brilliant film When They See Us, Ava Duvernay addressed a reoccurring issue among Black America. The issue? How much trauma and injustice can African-Americans witness before it irreparably damages the Soul? Duvernay’s assertion that historical recollections are crucial to Black America coming to terms with a hellish Black experience holds much weight.
This matter is merely one of a host of unsettled divisive issues among African-Americans. Put simply, the matter boils down to the following axiom of “To engage or not to engage, that is the question.” However, all agree that the Black past that so many avoid is the very stitching of “Old Glory” together.
As an African-American Studies Professor, I can attest to the angst and consternation that appears on the face of Black students when they’re cornered by circumstances beyond their control and forced to address Race in a public forum. Within this highly diverse nation, the avoidance of any discussion of this nation’s foremost social cancer among “mixed company” is common among the vast majority of Americans.
Although, the angst that arises within Black youth regarding Race is exhibited in a host of ways, its most common manifestations are the following.
- Black youth embrace, if not celebrate, their blackness during socially acceptable moments such as Black History Month, Juneteenth, or events held on an HBCU campus.
- When situated in uncomfortable environs, Black youth will relegate the importance of Race to physical traits such as hair color, height, or eye color.
In time, Black youth will learn that their unsophisticated attempts to escape the voluminous shadow that Race casts will miserably fail. They will learn as previous generations of Black America that the Martha and the Vandellas lyric “there is nowhere they can run and nowhere they can hide” perfectly fits the predicament facing Blacks seeking to avoid the stigma of being Black in a nation ruled by White power brokers.
Unbeknownst to those seeking to eradicate Race by paying no attention to it, their foolhardy decision actually exacerbates the problem by providing unexpected avenues for prejudice, discrimination, racial bigotry, and institutional racism to spread throughout the nation and thereby ravage the psyche of Americans of.
In many ways, prejudice, discrimination, bigotry, and institutionalized racism are social diseases bound to cause unending discord, misery, and suffering for all. Any significant study of Race in America should impress on researchers that merely denying what W.E.B. Du Bois termed “the problem of the 20th Century” does nothing to curtail its impact on all.
I have always thought it humorous when my students, the vast majority of them African-American, seek to arguments that amount to little more than an unwise course of action centered on denying Race as a crucial factor in the past, present, and future fortunes of Black America. The alluded infantile understanding of pre-existing politico-economic structures dooms them to a servile status.
This matter of Blacks seeking to remove the historic impact of Race on the fortunes of Black America is a familiar refrain from a Right-wing Conservative populace. Such individuals foolish attempt to ignore Race while overcoming it is in a word, cute. Yet, it reveals a gross misreading of U.S. history. Their explanation for Blacks continuing “have not status” is attributed to character flaws and personal failings among Blacks, not more reasonable explanations such as institutionalized racism.
This understanding of the foolhardiness of noted Conservative figures such as Candace Owens, Clarence Thomas, and a slew of other misguided Black Conservatives propagating ill-conceived strategies aimed at “uplifting Black America” informs my refusal to even consider persons of such ilk significant players in the fight to uplift Black America.
One needs to look no further than the fact that such figures are routinely in bed with avowed bigots whose sole goal is the perpetuation of White control over this nation’s politico-economic resources. Instead of addressing white world supremacy during their less than clandestine meetings with powerful whites, they parrot talking points that make them indiscernible from the White bigots that they have developed a shocking comfort with. It appears that Black Conservatives have decided to betray socially responsible individualism in favor of a selfish power grab aimed at enriching their individual coffers.
There is a mountain of evidence to support the assertion that Black Conservatives who have gotten in bed with White bigots have gone astray on a host of issues. The error of their ways has ultimately led them to a place where they have shunned their own in favor of those who have historically oppressed, exploited, and denigrated them. What a foolish people they have become.
Staff Writer; Dr. James Thomas Jones III
Official website; http://www.ManhoodRaceCulture.com
One may also connect with this brother via Twitter; DrJamestJones.