Tag Archives: disenfranchised

The Aftermath Of Integration

1I recently had a conversation with a group of young people, none of which lived during the age of government segregation. Each had strongly convoluted opinions about the era that were not based in fact. This made me think about how much the current world view has changed the reality of black life, as it relates to a historical perspective.

First, white folk never wanted it and chatted go back to Africa at the time. It was never intended to be fair or equal! I am not suggesting that integration should not have happened, but it did have a negative impact on black life and the future of African Americans in many ways. Two prominent ways were in the areas of family and black business.

One thing that happened, for sure was that the black community stopped supporting the businesses in their own communities. After segregation, African Americans flocked to support businesses owned by whites and other groups, causing black restaurants, theaters, insurance companies, banks, etc. to almost disappear. Today, black people spend 95 percent of their income at white-owned businesses. Even though the number of black firms has grown 60.5 percent between 2002 and 2007, they only make up 7 percent of all U.S firms and less than .005 percent of all U.S business receipts.

I took the opportunity to educate these young people that in 1865, just after Emancipation, 476,748 free blacks – 1.5 percent of U.S. population– owned .005 percent of the total wealth of the United States. Today, a full 135 years after the abolition of slavery, 44.5 million African Americans – 14.2 percent of the population — possess a meager 1 percent of the national wealth.

If we look at relationships from 1890 to 1950, black women married at higher rates than white women, despite a consistent shortage of black males due to their higher mortality rate. According to a report released by the Washington DC-based think tank the Urban Institute, the state of the African American family is worse today than it was in the 1960s, four years before President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act.

In 1965, only 8 percent of childbirths in the black community occurred out of wedlock. In 2010, out-of-wedlock childbirths in the black community are at an astonishing 72 percent. Researchers Heather Ross and Isabel Sawhill argue that the marital stability is directly related to the husband’s relative socio-economic standing and the size of the earnings difference between men and women.

Instead of focusing on maintaining black male employment to allow them to provide for their families, Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act with full affirmative action for women. The act benefited mostly white women and created a welfare system that encouraged the removal of the black male from the home. Many black men were also dislodged from their families and pushed into the rapidly expanding prison industrial complex that developed in the wake of rising unemployment.

Since integration, the unemployment rate of black men has been spiraling out of control. In 1954, white men had a zero percent unemployment rate, while African-American men experienced a 4 percent rate. By 2010, it was at 16.7 percent for Black men compared to 7.7 percent for white men. The workforce in 1954 was 79 percent African American. By 2011, that number had decreased to 57 percent. The number of employed black women, however, has increased. In 1954, 43 percent of African American women had jobs. By 2011, 54 percent of black women are job holders.

The Civil Rights Movement pushed for laws that would create a colorblind society, where people would not be restricted from access to education, jobs, voting, travel, public accommodations, or housing because of race. However, the legislation did nothing to eradicate white privilege. Michael K. Brown, professor of politics at University of California Santa Cruz, and co-author of“Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society” says in the U.S., “The color of one’s skin still determines success or failure, poverty or affluence, illness or health, prison or college.”

Two percent of all working African Americans work for another African American’s within their own neighborhood. Because of this, professionally trained Black people provide very little economic benefit to the black community. Whereas, prior to integration that number was significantly higher because of segregation people in the black community supported each other to sustain their lives and families.

The Black median household income is about 64 percent that of whites, while the Black median wealth is about 16 percent that of whites. Millions of Black children are being miseducated by people who don’t care about them, and they are unable to compete academically with their peers. At the same time, the criminal justice system has declared war on young Black men with policies such as “stop and frisk” and “three strikes.”

Marcus Garvey warned about this saying:

“Lagging behind in the van of civilization will not prove our higher abilities. Being subservient to the will and caprice of progressive races will not prove anything superior in us. Being satisfied to drink of the dregs from the cup of human progress will not demonstrate our fitness as a people to exist alongside of others, but when of our own initiative we strike out to build industries, governments, and ultimately empires, then and only then will we as a race prove to our Creator and to man in general that we are fit to survive and capable of shaping our own destiny.”

Maybe this proves that once past truths are forgotten, and the myths that are lies are born with an unfounded reality detrimental to all, but those who seek to benefit. As I have often said, “I firmly believe education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. We can change the world but first, we must change ourselves.” And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Twitter @JohnTWills

Source: Black Atlanta Star


Voting: The Illusion Of Inclusion

11Most honest people know that the biggest con America has pulled on its people was to “give a man the vote and make him think he’s free.” It should say a lot when a black man, former slaves, was given the right to vote, although rarely did they let them, before a woman! This was the so-called patriot’s wife, mother, sister, and daughter! But they claimed freedom for all.

For those who think that their vote counts, I will only remind you of the election of 2000 – Bush and Gore where Gore got the most popular votes. The reality is the president is selected by the rich and powerful not elected. As far as the person elected will do anything for black people, it is a myth. Black people know from history, regardless who the person that is elected they “we will get what they always got” – nothing! I love Obama and glad that I lived to see a black man as president, but the truth is it was merely optics. To be honest, he has done nothing for black people.

But as quickly as we celebrated this proud moment in history now it’s over, and we go back to a white face to lead the nation and we have seen what that is like – remember Bush? Now the choices are evil verses less evil. However, what election did was to show us what is in the hearts of most of white America, the Republicans, and the so-called Christian Conservatives. We saw they are merely the KKK in a suit.

“Let’s be clear, it is the Electoral College that elects a president, not your vote and for those who don’t know what the Electoral College is; it’s a body of people representing, elites, in each the states, who formally cast votes for the election of the president and vice president.”

Yes, granting blacks and women the right to vote was a good thing. Especially, without presented with some near insurmountable hurdles, literacy test, and voter intimidation, est. But all the while they continuing to try many attempts to snatch away the vote for many of its citizens, which we must resist the illusion, fight the power and make this place the slaves called “merica” fair and just but voting is just an illusion of inclusion a rich man’s con!!! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Slavery By Another Name

jailThe mass incarceration of black people is not a new phenomenon. It is as old as the nation itself. One could say that slavery was the precursor to taking away the rights of black people. What we see today is just and evolution of that through later added amendments to the constitution that codify it into law, and remember slavery was a law. The prison system is in many ways like slavery because it is a profit making endeavor on the backs of black people and has very little to do with justice. The fact is that there are more black people in prison than there were in slavery.

Everyone has an opinion on the prison system and incarceration. Some view it as the New Jim Crow and others see nothing wrong with the system at all. Regardless of your position, it makes one wonder about the fairness received by some, namely minorities and the poor, and whether it works for those unable to afford justice. America incarcerates, puts more people in jail than any other country on the planet. This alone tells you that it is a huge cash cow. Just as slavery was created and used to oppress Africans in the prison system is “Slavery”, just by another name.

It is reported in news accounts daily that people are released after spending years incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. Then, there is the sad irony of people being put to death that are innocent who fall into this shameful category. In addition to executing the mentally disabled and life sentences for minors are all a fact of American justice. Also, there is the fact that once released the convicts voting rights are taken away in most cases forever. It is just slavery by another name.

There is a long history of lynchings, chain gangs, and the free labor derived from this unholy system of injustice. It is worth noting the original concept of the police derived from slave catchers. It was not until recently that we witnessed the disproportionate sentencing for crimes such as cocaine vs. crack was clearly unfair! There is also the Stand Your Ground Laws and Stop, and such laws as Frisk that I would compare to the Fugitive Slave Laws championed by the government.

To be clear, it is not my position that law and order or punishment is not necessary. What is disparaging is that the justice system disproportionately affects the minority population of the citizenry. Did you know the clothing worn by our soldiers are made by the cheap labor of the incarcerated? What is more horrendous is that the police are out of control and have become an occupying force that is rewarded for feeding the beast that is the prison industrial complex!

Let me suggest that you read Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow.” Finally, when you work for free, and someone else receives the profit; it is slavery regardless of the new name given to it. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


A Fearless Freedom Fighter

3I have been blessed to have met and known many people over the years; from the infamous to the famous; the great and not so great, and many honorable souls. I have been in the presence of a few presidents, shaken the hand of Nelson Mandela, met Muhammad Ali, famous Motown stars and many entertainers… on and on! However, none have impressed me more than this amazing woman I was allowed to call “Winnie” when I had the pleasure of meeting her.

The former wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela–Mandela, is a South African activist and politician; in addition to holding several other government positions. She’s been the head the African National Congress Women’s League and a member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee. I can’t count all the women I’ve known in my life, but I can honestly say that none rise to the level of this amazing woman, who has endured suffering far beyond that of any woman.

I am not trying to rewrite her story, rather give my impression of her from my encounters with the former Mrs. Mandela. Think about this for a moment; her husband was imprisoned for twenty-seven years, she was imprisoned, exiled, financial hardships, her home was bombed, endured attempts upon her life, and years of unthinkable horrors. What I find amazing is that she did this unselfishly for millions of South African’s she has never met. Most of the women I know would leave you for anyone of the above mentioned or as little as the common cold.

She was a controversial activist, yet popular among her supporters, and referred to as the ‘Mother of the Nation’. However, she was reviled by some South African’s while trying to help them achieve freedom. The ANC called her politically and morally accountable for the gross violations of human rights. We know from what our government did to Dr. King and Malcolm X, so personally; I am suspect of any of the public charges brought by the Apartheid government of South Africa.

She met the lawyer and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in 1957. They married in 1958 and had two daughters, Zenani (born 1959) and Zindzi (born 1960). Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1963 and released in 1990. The couple separated in 1992, and their divorce was finalized in 1996 with an unspecified out-of-court settlement.

I want to be clear when I say some will, I’m sure, take issue with my opinion concerning my view of her late husband, who as I understand it divorced her for political reasons. He could forgive his oppressors and jailers, yet could not forgive the woman who sacrificed so much and stood by him for all those years.

It is true that her reputation was damaged by such rhetoric as that displayed in a speech she gave in Munsieville on 13 April 1986. Where she endorsed the practice of necklacing (burning people alive using tires and petrol) by saying: “With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country.” Further tarnishing her reputation were accusations by her bodyguard that she ordered a kidnapping and murder.

On 29 December 1988, a bodyguard, who was the coach of the Mandela United Football Club (MUFC), which acted as Mrs. Mandela’s personal security detail, abducted 14-year-old James Seipei (also known as Stompie Moeketsi) and three other youths; the four were beaten to get them to admit being informers. The body of one of them was found in a field with stab wounds to the throat. In 1991, she was convicted of kidnapping and being an accessory to assault in connection with the death of Seipei. Her six-year jail sentence was reduced to a fine on appeal.

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During South Africa’s transition to democracy, she adopted a far less conciliatory and compromising attitude than her husband toward the white community. Despite being on her husband’s arm when he was released in 1990, the first time the two had been seen in public for nearly thirty years and their thirty-eight year marriage ended two years later.

Ms. Mandela’s legal issues are in the public domain, and it’s your choice to Google if you like. What I will say from my perspective: “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” Lastly, I will say having the opportunity to be in her present was a life changing experience and will say proudly that I have yet to meet another woman who impressed me to such a profound degree. I know of no other woman who sacrificed so much for so many unselfishly. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Reflections Of America’s Racial History

2The world in which we live is full of danger, which means there is much evil and many amoral people intent on the demise of black people. Let’s call it Genocide. We see this in the multitudes of unarmed black people killed at the hands of the law. When I journey back in time to recall history, I am reminded of a time when slave catchers roamed the nation, under cover of law, to hold people of color in bondage. Today, the same thing is happening undercover law by the police. Not to mention the 21st Century version of slavery – prisons and jails. I am sure you know that the Constitution gives license to do this in the latest amendment added after slavery.

Back in the day people of African descent were required to carry “freedom papers” to prove they did not belong to another so-called human being and slaves were required to have a pass to leave the plantation. When they did not have papers or could not produce them, the encounter often ended with an outcome that resulted in a brutal act or death by the “Good Christian folk” who owned that slave. This was vital to upholding a system of racial slavery through a body of laws that restricted and criminalized black mobility and autonomy. The fact of the matter – slavery never ended!

These laws resulting in blackness being synonymous with enslavement and the movement and activities of black people were severely curtailed. There was no right to bear arms that were banned for the purpose of control. This applies to felon today! This legal system relied upon all white colonists to police and survey black bodies. They were the eyes and ears of the law, and the courts gave them great latitude in assessing where black people could and could not be at any given time.

Over time, the criminal justice slave system became more sophisticated with the courts requiring blacks to carry documents that validated their rights to be in certain spaces and their ability to navigate their freedom to move. Enslaved people carried pieces of paper called slave passes, documents written by their owners, which indicated their destination, time of departure, arrival and return, and sometimes the purpose of their journey.

Even free people of African descent were required to carry “freedom papers” at all times to validate their free status and hence delineate the places where they could be. Any white person, regardless of their legal authority, could demand to see these documents and interrogate a black person at any time, without any justifiable cause. If the black person in question could not produce such documents, they could be arrested, beaten, maimed or murdered with impunity. Today, they call this “Stop and Frisk”!

Towns and communities hired groups of white men, everyday citizens, to “patrol” Southern space, which was a more formal arm of this system of surveillance. These vigilantes had the power to control and police black movement in any way they saw fit, with the sanction of law behind their actions, no matter how brutal they might be. Black people lived in constant fear of these men that evolved into the KKK. Today, they call it “Stand your Ground”!

People of this ilk during and after Reconstruction created “Black Codes” as they sought to maintain cheap, servile labor force throughout the South, they also criminalized black movement and were arrested for violating Black Codes.

After the arrest, they were fined, jailed, and often-times their labor was sold to white landowners who forced them to work as though they were slaves again. Over time, this kind of law and order morphed into its most extreme and horrific manifestation; the lynching of African Americans throughout the twentieth century.

The legacy of America’s racial past is similar today in many ways. This mindset is part of the reason black males are suspicious and criminal to many whites who assume they are “up to something”! Simply because they were moving through what they perceive as their space believing it is their right to do so. It’s called liberty today!

Case in point a wealthy white dentist shot and killed a lion and the world is in an uproar. There is a black person – man, women, child – killed just about one per week by the police and white America do not exhibit the same uproar. Like the lion, black people are becoming endangered species, which in reality is the goal – genocide!

History is known to repeat itself, or it just remains the same. Some say; we are witnessing a return to America’s wretched past – I say it never changed – we just have accepted it! The system is designed to protect the system, and this whole idea speaks to privilege. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


America’s Shocking and Ugly Truth

 A picture is worth a thousand words.

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Enough said, and that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The New Negro Woman Movement

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In the late 1890s until the early 1920s there was a powerful force in world consciousness called the New Negro Woman Movement. This was not just an American movement, but an International campaign that pushed for Black Women to be seen as dignified ladies with the utmost respect.

This operation was in existence during a time when many Black Women were looked upon as rag-tag mistresses or servants reflective of the chattel slavery era. These women were the predecessor to both the Black Nationalist and Pan-African Movements.

Furthermore, they were real black women who endured struggles that black women today cannot imagine. These were “strong black women” compared to many women of today’s generation, where most should be ashamed for not carrying on their proud legacy. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

This video is dedicated to the long forgotten New Negro Woman Movement.


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