“In ’65 tension was running high at my high school. There was a lot of fights between the black and white, there was nothing you could do” Bruce Springsteen
“Across the lines, Who would dare to go, Under the bridge, Over the tracks, That separates whites from blacks” Tracy L Chapman
The topic of racism or racial injustice or lack of it is a very controversial topic. Still, in today’s society, there is a distinction and difference due to race, or is there? Clearly, human beings demonstrate different traits. Some are obvious, such as skin color, hair type, different facial features and so on. Such things cannot be disputed. But what about inferiority or superiority, can that be assigned to ‘racial’ attributes?
I must answer with the strongest unequivocal no. I merely have to cite history as a demonstration. Throughout recorded history, there have been times where the powers that be, the movers and shakers, were from all the continents. The Mongols, Aztecs, Incas, Zulus, Romans, Grecians, Chinese, and so forth. So if one wants to point to a certain superiority, history is full of various races dominating others. Just because today Europeans dominate certain aspects of the world does not mean that they have done so forever and neither does it mean that their reign will not end.
Racism is a tool of the rich to keep poor people divided. Poor ‘whites’ would be taught that they were better than those of ‘darker’ skin colors. As such they would exercise their ‘superiority’ and thus create a division of those who should be united in economic misery. Racism is a most illogical thing and I feel that any extended contact between those who hate and despise one another would end the ill feelings. It is that simple.
Of course, we must define racism, and racism implies power. Therefore in the United States, it is impossible for ‘African Americans’ to be racist as they lack the power structure to enforce their prejudices. Not so with people of ‘white’ skin. The face of the power structure in the United States is very pale. I recall sitting in the Union County Court House in New Jersey. There on the wall were painted portraits of all the judges in the county’s history. Without exception, they were all ‘old, white, males’. That tells a great deal.
Some ‘white’ people feel the things like affirmative action is reverse racism. They point to signs of the end of racism by citing O.J. Simpson, Oprah Winfrey, and President Obama. They feel that allowing people of color lower standards for acceptance is unfair. Historically the slavery in the United States has never come to an end. It began as chattel slavery and transformed into Jim Crow separation. For the toil and payment of blood, sweat, and tears, there was no reward or payment for the slaves, not even forty acres, and a mule. Things have improved since then but even today millions of young African American youth are in the prison system where they work for pennies an hour. It is, in fact, legalized slavery.
So then let us ask the hard question, “Why haven’t African Americans achieved as much as their European counterparts?”
First of all forgive me for neglecting all the nuances of racism, especially the fierce hostilities to the Native Americans, as it is well beyond the scope of this writing. I just want to note the racism is far more complex than a ‘black’ and ‘white’ issue.
Now to answer the question, it is very hard to climb a ladder when somebody is constantly pushing you down. Ill will on the part of the establishment has never stopped, nor has the desire for cheap labor. Drugs are pumped into the inner city, which is primarily ‘African American’. This is done with the American government in the form of the CIA pumping it in, while another form of the government, the FBI, simply turns a blind eye allowing it to happen.
In a world where every phone call and email can be monitored and where we have satellites and drones that can spy on everything, it is utterly absurd to believe that any organized, extensive, crime-fighting unit cannot figure out who is importing heroin and cocaine into the United States. Surely the people in the inner city do not possess the boats and planes necessary to carry out such a massive operation, therefore it must be conducted by others. Why hasn’t the FBI busted a major drug operation? I mean something really big? The war on drugs is a war to monopolize the market.
Whenever African Americans have been allowed to compete on an equal basis they have proved every bit the equal. This is glaringly demonstrated in sports.
Finally, in the United States history is taught from a certain angle, and that is to prop up the capitalistic system. In the process, any figures who demonstrated resistance to the system is either ignored or co-opted. This is an attempt to keep African Americans from truly knowing their real heroic identity. I was down in Irvington when I asked a man about Fred Hampton, and the man was clueless. It is a sad thing when a ‘white’ person needs to educate a ‘black’ person about the basics of their history.
But keep on living and time will show the reality of the common humanity of all races. But let me warn you about the hideous evil magician who serves as a puppet master. Keep your eye on the real enemy and not those whom the powers that be say are your enemy. If ‘black’ fights ‘white’ green walks away with everything.
Please check out my book “Poet To The Poor, Poems Of Hope For The Bottom One Percent.” This book celebrates historical figures and people from my everyday life. It is informative. But it is also laced with beautiful and meaningful poetry. It contains some of my best poems. It’s definitely worth a look. https://amzn.to/2KJ508F
Photos by Oraysion,