“I have never encountered any children in any group who are not geniuses. There is no mystery on how to teach them. The first thing you do is treat them like human beings and the second thing you do is love them.” Dr. Asa Hilliard
Op-ed submission by Project 21
For me and a special group of youth in North Tyler, Texas, Black History Month began in September. That’s when the coordinator in charge of the “Black History Bowl” at my school began confirming who would participate in this annual competition among neighboring churches the following February.
I would conspicuously hover around Sister Dorothy Wheat to get noticed. After doing this for some time, she finally relented, telling me: “You can be on the Black History Bowl team. I’ll tell you now, ‘fore you worry me to death the next two weeks.”
For the next three months after that, six other teens and I met weekly at St. Mary’s Baptist Church – fueled by sugar cookies and crimson punch – to take in the rich and complex history of our ancestors. By the time the competition rolled around, it was not just the knowledge that Dr. Charles Drew was the first to figure out how to store blood for later use or that Harriet Tubman led the Underground Railroad that got one the coveted round one position, but the speed. The round one contestant, like the first runner in a relay, could set the team up for victory.
In the end, however, the Black History Bowl was less about competition than celebration. After all, our only prize was bragging rights. The competition was really for everyone to recognize our race’s reward of succeeding out of struggle and its triumph over adversity. We learned everything about our brave and gifted ancestors in the context of joy and victory.
As we celebrate Black History Month today, we seem to lack that same luster of victory. Remembrances these days focus on suffering and struggle. When we look back today, we too often focus on a past full of anguish and tears and a yesterday of victimization and degradation.
As in my youth, the best way to honor those who suffered before us is to celebrate their joys and their victories as well as count our own. The best way to indulge in learning from our past during Black History Month is to lift up their songs of hope and courage in our lives today. The best way to repay the great debt we owe them is to reap the benefits of the American dream and opportunity for which they forged a path.
Let us not spend another Black History Month steeped in guilt and oppression, counting all the wrong ways of the past or present. Rather, let us dance in ebullience for the land under our feet and the gait of freedom in which we now walk. Let us join together as one to blend black history into American history. Let us count the ways in which so many dreams have come to pass and – for those who have yet to achieve them – let us march on toward victory in the strapping spirit of our ancestors.
This is the least we owe to our history.
The genius of those old black folk in my small town – to arrange these simple but profound events – is itself legendary. That they turned historical learning into a simple, competitive exercise that made us proud to know and eager to recite the legacy of our people instilled a desire in people like me to “be somebody.”
At low points in my own life, the impact of their self-discipline and perseverance that has become a part of my being has helped me carry on. This is in itself a mark of history. Knowingly or not, a legacy was created that deserves a meaningful place in black history along with those we so eagerly longed to remember.
Lisa Fritsch is a member of the national advisory council for the Project 21 black leadership network and a writer and radio talk show host in Austin, Texas.
In an interview with French broadcaster RFI recently, AU commission chairman Jean Ping was quoted as thus: “We have a feeling that we are sitting on a powder keg.”
It is true. But who’s to blame in the first place? AU has always sits on many powder kegs such as, Madagascar, Western Sahara Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe just to mention but a few. Unfortunately, it hasn’t learned from the past experience in which it always maintained its double standard and flip-flop. Will this prevent a baby from taking a Hoober-Bloober Highway? Noway. The baby must be born despite all pangs the mummy is to go through.
“Will the independence of Southern Sudan not lead other players in Darfur and in other places, which are currently not asking for independence, to seek independence as Southern Sudan will have done?”
This is but pure water and on whatever foundation this shallow thought is under-girded, won’t move things forward. What emollient claptrap! By the way, where was AU and what constructive role did it play when things were taking this turn? Why didn’t this happen when Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia? If it is a solution, so be it. AU was told to intervene fully in Darfur and it didn’t apart from sending a weak contingent. Instead, many of heads of states making AU are openly supporting Sudanese butcher Omar Bashir. They’ve ganged behind him to see to it that he is not being submitted to ICC for fear of others to follow thereafter.
Ping and all the likes, agog and gaga, tell it to the birds. The people of South Sudan have to decide their destiny and so be it. I know many opportunists would like to team up with the top dogs (Bashir) to underrate underdogs (Mayardit). But again, who knows? Today’s top dog can become an underdog and the underdog of today becomes the top dog of tomorrow. We’ll soon see this in Sudan, pronto.
While AU is playing schnook role, Bashir despite all is upbeat. He’s quoted as thus: “We will work to make unity attractive to all Sudanese, but we will respect the wish of southerners whatever the outcome and we will be the first to recognize such a southern state.”
Bashir said the same at a rally marking the 5th anniversary of the peace pact that ended more than 20 years of civil war between the north and south on 21st January 2010. This was the first time for Bashir to offer the olive branch to his brethren in the south. Was this an accident or claptrap? Is Musumar (nail) -as Darfuris would put it- eating him up? Is his Northerners-are-better-to-rule milieu turning against itself?
He too well knows. He can not stand in the way of the people of South Sudan to decide their future. He knows. Shall he repeat the same mistake, they’ll go back to the bush. He knows how determinedly ready they are. Nobody wants this to repeat. And those saying all this nonsense need to be told to their face that the south Sudanese will nary compromise their freedom and resources with anything.
African rulers and their conspirators can nary weigh anything up, so as to wish well people suffering under Khartoum bloodthirsty regime they fully support and nourish. If Darfur or Nuba Mountains goes, freedom that will bring peace to their people as opposed to current carnage, so be it. It is better to have a peaceful fragmented country than a tyrannically united one.
Those wrongly thinking that South Sudan and North Sudan will not make good neighbours should ask themselves. Why did the duo consent to end a two-decade war? New North Sudan won’t attempt any aggression thanks to having no muscles. Methinks, North Sudan will be weaker than South Sudan politically and economically. Even if it attempts to assault south, it won’t thanks for what it evidenced during the twenty-one wars with South. This is when the necessity of peace comes in.
There is a season for everything under the sun. There are times for wars and times for peace. There are times for life and times for death, times for fears and times for strengths. Time for strength for South Sudan is approaching and those worrying about this will soon be proved dead wrong.
You can see this in the words of Kenyan PM Raila Odinga by what he said at the just ended AU conference in Addis Ababa. He was quoted as thus: “Given the unprecedented advances the CPA entrenched in promoting democracy, it has been distressing to learn that senior-most officials in the two organisations (UN and AU) oppose the referendum’s option of creating a sovereign nation in the South.”
Despite AU openly supporting the Khartoum regime, the PM did not mince his words. He added: “Having done so much to advance this historic process of self-determination, it is preposterous that anyone would now seek a predetermined outcome.”
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… and let’s face it guys, this is primarily a day for us men to show the Queens who have blessed our lives, just how much we love and appreciate them. However, I wanted to list some of the subtle… and not so subtle ways… in which she demonstrates her mad love for us. Now I will neither confirm nor deny that I have personally experienced any or all of these situations, but the word on the street is that you know she loves you when:
1. She changes the channel from The Bachelor to Sportscenter when you enter the room.
2. She announces to her family that the last piece of chicken in the bucket is yours.
3. She finds that photo of you and that White girl you used to kick it with, smiles with a “ummm, umm, um”… and then puts it back in the box.
4. She will give you a long, deep “good morning” kiss every so often, before you even brush your teeth.
5. She still fixes you a plate although she is so pissed at you, she won’t even look at you. (Still get one of the kids or the dog to taste the food before you chow down!)
6. She enters the bathroom, right after you had to run out of there because you’d dropped a major toxic gut dump… and put on her makeup. (She may affectionately refer to you as “stank ass” throughout the day.
7. She holds you tightly and cries with you when the Raiders… uh… ahem… I mean your team loses the championship game.
8. She calls you at work every other day to tell you that she’s gonna kill that beetch at her job who’s working her last nerve.
9. She wears your favorite black and red negligé on your birthday, slams down a bottle of Hennessey on the table, grabs you by the throat with one hand, pulls you into her breasts and purrs in your ear that tonight she’s gonna treat you to some “prison love”. (Remember to agree on a “safe” word).
10. She suggest that you, her and her ghetto fabulous but real sexy aunt… the one who is also a couple years younger than she is … engage in a ménage a trois.
11. She sends you a dozen roses with balloons at work for no special reason… just because she adores you.
Something for the fellows!
Something for the ladies!
Now hear THIS: Black people, in a precedent setting move, have been ruled “legal recipients of lead with white- faced impunity” by the beige, badge-wearing Portland (Oregon) Police Bureau and a Grand Jury of their epidermis. The decision came after black Aaron Campbell, grief stricken by the death of his younger brother of heart failure earlier in the day – was fed a rifle diet by one Officer-Decidedly-Un-Friendly.
Information in the hands of the Po-Po at the time of the incident indicated that the PD was aware of the suicidal mental state of the Negro who, panicked and “allegedly” took two family members hostage.
Now check this: the pig’s were fully briefed on the circumstances of the “incident” at the young brother’s apartment. Yes, he took hostages for a minute; but through phone calls and texts, he indicated with great passion that he would NOT do harm to his family members. And then he released his kinfolk
The brother had a criminal record – so I’m told – making what happened next all the more justifiable in the blue eyes reading and commenting about it on the ‘Net….and looking through the rifle scope.
Black existential angst does not play in Peoria or Portland.
The P0-Po gets to the apartment complex, they get the brother to back out into the street with his hands up; evidently, he had his hands on his neck rather than above his head. This discrepancy – hands on the neck rather than in the air – was grounds to label Campbell “non-compliant” and the pigs indicated this by shooting him with” six (6) non-lethal/prelude to the lethal” bean bags full of hard pellets.
And what does Mr. Campbell do???? He drops his hands – in pain – to the area where he has been struck. And lo and behold, one officer dreams that Mr. Campbell is reaching for a concealed weapon and is preparing a nigga jihad on his white azz.
It was an ahistorical moment…One Round-One Small Step for the white man-One Giant Leap-into the Back of the frightened, depressed, unjustifiably stoopid negro, stoopid because he should have known this, known that his short life was a foregone conclusion, understood that his violent death was written – in the stars and in the by-laws of a vicious racist, beige world, should have guessed that Black-I-Cide is legal tender in Portland…and that the mint is working overtime…
…To make sure he was good and dead, the police would not allow medical personnel to approach the fatally wounded nigger – for thirty minutes…but a Grand Jury, while critical (CYA), indicted NO ONE!!
The diseased weasels of this port town are pouring out of the woodwork, saluting the police for a job well done, another mousetrap snapped shut, another pest snuffed, tossed in a bag and trash compacted and buried in the nigga dump.
And Negro Portland – because the ’60’s never made it to this pious Mayberry – is so used to the dance. Oh, there was the guilt dripping, solemn protest march in the aftermath of the legalized homicide. And there was the usual, ineffectual hambone on the steps of City Hall, this masquerade, with measured, archaic dance steps, pretty, musty bouquets dredged from the mothball for just these occasions. And finally, the pantomimed finger pointing, pompous speechifying signifying absolutely nothin’!!! Presumably, a celebratory chicken dinner followed the brave undertaking
But where were the preachers and preachettes in their Sunday best before, before-before, before the shots rang out, before the children were lost, unparented, unguided missiles picked off one by one by the best military money can buy????
Where was the rallying of the community way back then, where was the community> I say: what community????
Is there a black community, or are there just black people who reside here, there and everywhere, huddling in their little cliques that pimp each other and themselves out, parasites who feed off of the white tit, pretending to be relevant, pretending to seek honor or justice or a piece of the pie for us, when it is their party, their cotillion, their sham-of-a-loaf that they seek to butter?
Naw, there is no black community here, just GDI’s, God Dammed Individuals who have no time for you, not even to speak to your strange black azz…until its full of lead and then its too late for community to do shit for you except throw a little dirt and kick up some dust…to make them think they’ve done something…
RIP Aaron Campbell. You deserved better that what we’ve given you.
20 years ago on this date, Nelson Mandela emerged from Victor Verster prison a free man, after spending 27 years behind bars on Robben Island for his struggle against apartheid.
I remember sitting in my living room at the time watching with awe, as he walked hand in hand with his then wife Winnie Mandela. I felt a surge of defiance and victory against “the powers that be”, when they raised their hands in a fist, high above their heads with the Black Power salute. I felt a sense of pride that here was a Black man… an African… (along with his then wife), who had struggled and sacrificed his life for what he believed in, the freedom of his people. He was 72 years old when he was freed!
His struggle at the time symbolized not only the fight against a national policy of racism and fascism, but it also encompassed the personal struggles and sacrifices, as well as the blatant and subtle indignities Black people worldwide… and other people of colour… experienced at the hands of imperial powers, national elites, or individuals of the dominant culture (aka “dem White people”).
As I was a child of a colonial past and a neo-colonial present, Nelson Mandela represented me. His victory was my inspiration. His long walk to freedom was along a path of the road we all travelled… and in some ways still journey today.
“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
We honour you Madiba!!
Just for shits & giggles, I decided to see what a few random Google auto searches would yield by simply typing in “black people….” I guess a lot of people are Googling such topics like illustrated below. Is it BS, racism, coincidental or just crazy?
And for the record, I don’t act like an animal, smell like cocoa butter or sour milk, nor do I love watermelon. In fact, I hate watermelon but I LOVE some good fried chicken. I’m just saying