American-Made Black Race Pogroms
This year’s anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre comes amid nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd…CNN
Photo: Ruins after the race riots, Tulsa, Okla. June, 1921, Library of Congress
Lest America forgets its history of violence against #ADOS —Native-born Black descendants of enslaved Africans, this article is a reminder about the legacy of violence that America has bestowed upon those of us who are descended from enslaved people of the United States
My ancestors’ labor and rice and other agricultural technologies (as well as our development of “American art, cuisine and music) built this capitalistic empire that white America now claims is theirs alone.
Our Black (and mixed-raced — due to rape) bodies were the commodities sold to increase white wealth and build and sustain white academic institutions with profits earned from the human trafficking of Black bodies in America.
Nowhere else in the “civilized” world did any other colonial power make the reproduction of human life a commodity. This is America’s greatest sin and tragedy. It is also the greatest barrier to change and forward progress.
Native-born Black Americans are considered the lowest of the low. We are passed over for virtually everything. There is a trending preference in America today for Blacks with roots in other countries. The stories of Black American sheroes, heroes & artists are being performed by non-Native Blacks. And while they are stellar, and admit they cultivated their Black American accents by watching Black actors, it is difficult to believe that there was not one Native-born Black American actor to be found for these roles.
With all due respect, it feels as if everyone is pimping and profiting from the Black American experience except us. My goal is not to debate authenticity, but to point out that America has a predilection for choosing anyone but their Native Black daughters and sons.
So what is to be done?
1. America as a nation must acknowledge its crime against Black Americans.
2. America as a nation must officially apologize to the descendants of enslaves Africans in the United States. This country issued an apology for Japanese internment, but has never apologized to Native-born Black Americana for enslavement.
3. American must pay Reparations and enact and enforce legal remedies to the persistent and sustained injustices endured by Black Americans.
And these Reparations benefits can go ONLY to those who are the Black American descendants of African people who were enslaved in the United States and who identify over time as ”Black.” Not “mixed” or “biracial,” but BLACK!
This quest for Reparations is our unique struggle for rights as true American citizens.
Our demand for Reparations is NOT a time for inclusion and lumping the Black immigrant and other immigrant “People of Color” experiences together with those of Black Americans. Our demand is based upon generational experiences of oppression, which are historic and span centuries and whose claim of injury and generational trauma is made to the United States of America government.
The immigrant experience and the Native-born Black American experiences are different (though sometimes you may be treated like one of us), with histories that originate elsewhere, and they must be respected as such.
Black Economist, Dr. William (Sandy) Darity of Duke University eloquently reminded us, in a 2020 CNN interview of earlier this year, of the multitudes of justification for why amends must be made and the historical debt paid, and with a check that is not marked “insufficent funds,” as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once described it.
“The case for Reparations is not predicated exclusively on slavery. It is critical that we take into account in our calibrations the long-term effects of the Jim Crow period [which lasted almost 100 years after slavery] and I also indicated there are ongoing damages to be considered. And I would highlight among these again the mass incarceration, police killings of unarmed Blacks and the immense magnitude of the racial wealth gap” (Sandy Darity)
3. Reconciliation, along the lines of what took place in South Africa post-Apartheid, is a starting point for healing this nation.
Why? Because people are stuck in either “it wasn’t me or I am an immigrant” mindset, even as they enjoy and walk with historic white privilege and entitlements.
Another perspective held by many (whites and even some immigrants kf color) is “just get over it; slavery is in the past and Black people need to move on, and do some kumbaya.”
What these “good-intentioned” folk failed to recognize is that racial trauma is difficult to heal from or breathe through with a constant foot on your neck.
The image of a huge, Black man, laying on the ground, with a white policeman’s foot on his neck, begging and pleading for air, as his oppressor presses his foot casually, but with deliberate sustained pressure, and with his hands in his pocket as if he were on a casual coffee break, and a look of utter disregard for the pleas of suffering in his ears. should be burned into EVERY American’s minds eye.
And rest assured that as you close your eyes and visualize that image, what you may feel for a brief moment is the pressure of fear and utter disbelief that Black people experience (emotionally. symbolically, and structurally) every day and in every aspect of our lives: while working, while shopping, while driving, while eating out, while bird watching in a park, while making a purchase in a store, while jogging, and while trying to breathe with a foot on our collective necks.
The fact thar some of us have acquired some level of status, prestige, amd privilege cannot be used to dismiss our claim for Reparations.
Because what happened to George Floyd and both Breonna Taylor and Atatiana Jefferson, shot in their homes by police for #livingwhileblack, can happen to any of us — anytime, any place, any day.
Protestor in Washington, D.C. holding poster of George Floyd. Thanks to Obi Onyeador for making this photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/uijVyqj-oc8.
As Black Americans we live with the very real knowledge that regardless of our wealth or education status, we can leave our homes and be killed with such reckless and inhumane disregard by white policemen or white vigilantes…because there have been no reparations, no acknowledgement of the harm done, no apology, and no reconciliation.
Learn more about why Reparations is the only reasonable path forward. Read the book.
If there are to be no more Tulsa Racial Pogroms, which were nothing more than a display of white supremacist power, and no more #MinneapolisBurning and the outpouring of black rage (and white empathy) over the #deathbypolice of George Floyd and others, which spread around the world, then America must take bold steps to apologize, correct its past and present, and use a clear, unambiguous, moral compass when engaging with Black America,to chart a path forward. Right Now!
The conversation about progress is ours alone and cannot be hijacked by “what about…x?” diversions and Agatha Christy-like “red herrings.”
We will not be diverted, diluted, or dismissed. We appreciate all the support and solidarity, but we can and must speak for ourselves.
So a gauntlet to the media: you want to know what Native-born Black Americans think? Ask us!
Not the white anti-racist, not the immigrant Blacks, not the “People of Color” authorities on the “Black issues in America.”
Ask us, who are the daughters and sons whose ancestors plowed the fields, nursed the Masters’ babies, developed the cuisine of the south, brought America the banjo, invented the spirituals, blues, jazz, rock & roll, soul music, gospel, doo-wop, built plantation homes, forged iron nails and iron gates, risked punishment to learn to read and write, were raped and produced America’s rainbow of people.
“My mother called Pearl was born in red clay country of Alabama.” (Pearl’s Song)
We are the people whose blood flowed from being whipped, who rebelled and fought for our freedom, who sometimes stayed in slavery, so others could be free, and proved ourselves innovators and business people like in Tulsa until your white envy and jealousy that a people you treated so badly could rise from our brutal and inhumane shackles to climb above some of those who once enslaved us.
There is still jealousy that we continue to rise and climb, even with your foot on our necks, if not individually, then legally and structurally.
We are living proof that the Native-born Black American’s desire for unfettered freedom and liberation continues to burn bright — ”this little light of mine” — it shines.
I am certain our ancestors with no last name of their own, just those of the people who owned them, or the names taken after they reached freedom, like Tubman, Douglass, Jacobs, Truth, are smiling down on us.
They know we will achieve true freedom — we are the descendants of the enslaved African pleople who could fly.
Watch us SOAR!
Image: Kesho Scott. George Floyd Memorial at Unitarian Church, Grinnell, IA. Jun 6, 2020