If every Black Athlete in America went on a minimum 60 day fast and boycott of all professional and collegiate sports prior to the election - demanding the passage of national racial justice legislation, we will know for a fact who is “with us” and who is “against us”.
Nobody knows me. No one knows my name. I am an average citizen only known in a small circle of friends, colleagues, and family. I will fast for racial justice and there will be a collective shoulder shrug or quizzical look. However, athletes in general and professional athletes in particular have a higher profile and more influence.
Athletes: Time To Make a Stand
Over the past week I have come to the conclusion that it is time for the Black Athletes to make a stand. The constant talk about using “my platform” or “my voice” has not been effective in moving us significantly closer to national legislation on racial justice reform, police reform, or reparations. Now is the time to press the case by taking action.
No more words – actions must be taken to match the rhetoric – time to make a significant, life altering sacrifice for all Black people in America. I challenge all Black Athletes – NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, PGA, USTA, Collegiate athletes, etc. – to stop playing sports. Further, to engage in a nationwide social media based food fast (or hunger strike) to force both political parties to pass legislation on racial justice reform. Starting September 4, 2020 - Fast For Racial Justice.
You say Black Lives Matter. Do black lives matter more than the money and the attention you get from your chosen profession? It's time to act. At the very least it will draw stark differences, in political terms, between the parties and all candidates on what racial justice reform legislation they support. If every Black Athlete in America went on a minimum 60 day fast and boycott of all professional and collegiate sports prior to the election requesting the passing of national legislation, we will know for a fact who is “with us” and who is “against us”. We must do this while the politicians have something to loose.
We must put forth straight forward legislative requests which would include three elements:
Stephen Curry, Clay Thompson and Draymond Green
Imagine what would happen if there is no football, basketball, or collegiate sports this fall. Imagine if all we have is a daily feed of high profile athletes updating their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook profiles with the progress of their Food Fast for Racial Justice. In addition, all the other citizens joining in posting YouTube videos and updating their social media accounts in support of the cause. America will never be the same. The status of the American Black Athlete will never be the same. America will be better for the effort of true non-violent protestors – professional and collegiate athletes. Consider this National Non-Violent Protests 2.0, post MLK.
The truth of the tree is its roots,
It is the ground truth.
Is the truth of the American tree one of liberty and justice for all?
Or is it as it was when America was born, one of racial divide and dual justice?
Black America has staked its life, literally, on the ideal of liberty and justice for All.
Will we be welcomed in deeds, not words, as ground truth American citizens?
My hope is that we will.
Charles Michael Able a.k.a. Einstein Pluto
Charles Michael Able 2020
Now is the time for Black data scientists to lead the way in developing a methodology that can be used as an offensive tool to guide acts of civil disobedience in support of reparations. Many of you are underemployed, unable to continue your academic studies, or simply bored and idle due to the impact of Covid-19 on life. Regardless, I want to make the case to you concerning the importance of reparations.
Over the past several months we have seen a nationwide effort and pressure brought to bear by the BLM movement to address racial injustice. What has been the result thus far? Is there a kernel of national legislative interest in addressing the issue? No. Which major American city do we see a document outlining major reform put forth by the policing and political powers? None. Is there an active commission in place to determine which basic concrete steps are necessary to enact social justice and police reforms nationwide that consist of national leaders and BLM representatives from across the country? No. The American playbook on this, even after months of active protests, is to condemn the violence when it occurs and wait out the peaceful protestors.
Periodically, there is some enthusiasm by police and politicians to use of force on the streets. This may happen against peaceful protestors, those inciting violence, property damage, or those taking advantage of the situation to steal valuable property. Basically, the response is consistent with what people are protesting – excessive police force against the people. The irony is recognized and the response then changes. This is an indication to me that fundamentally the demands of the movement are being ignored.
The structural elements in America that have facilitated and supported systemic racism have been spawned by the federal government from its beginning. The list is long and has been documented by many scholars previously. Here are a few highlights:
We must change the dynamics of the American culture with respect to race. While significant strides have been made by Black people in this country, it is impossible to legislate feelings of superiority and immorality. Black men and women perform jobs at the highest levels of government, corporations, academics, and arts & entertainment. This has not changed the view of at least 30 to 40 percent of Americans that most Black people, in general, are a criminal threat. That the average Black man is a threat to the community and women (white or other ethnicities).
We have paid our dues with our lives throughout the history of United States of America. Our blood has been spilled for centuries to build, defend, and redefine this country. The one thing that is an equalizing force, particularly in American society, is money. The elements of point two above all point to economics. It is time for America to pay us what we and our ancestors have earned. The most objective evaluation of the amount of reparations (W Darity, Social Science Quarterly, 2008) when updated for todays dollars puts the overall figure at 10 to 12 trillion dollars. This would mean a one time direct payment to every African-American person of $600,000 to $800,000 dollars. Imagine everyone in your family (aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters and brothers) getting a check for $600,000 from the federal government.
We need a mass movement of African-American scientific doers. I was taught to listen to what people say but watch what people do. What a person does demonstrates what is important to that person. I have found this to be true in every aspect of my life and in business.
The talent exists in the African-American scientific community to develop a strategic methodology that will support specific acts of civil disobedience as a tool to get direct payment reparations. No one person can do this alone. It will take a collective effort. It will require native data from publicly available sources and data from African-Americans who are employed in every aspect of American business. This will require individuals to take risks.
What are you prepared to do?
Reach out to me by providing comments on this post and via the contact page.
Ladies, I am not talking about your physique, sex appeal, hairstyle, the sway of your hips, or the stylish clothes that you wear. What I have seen over the last few months culminating in the speech by Michelle Obama this week has motivated me to reflect on what is singularly unique about the vast majority of Black women.
I have always marveled at the way sisters can drop knowledge on someone with a smile and a twinkle in their eye. She can cut you to the white meat and step off before you know you’ve been sliced. You may even be smiling the entire time you’re being cut. They can teach and preach without you realizing there was a sermon. We all marvel at the ability of men like Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama to orate and present a rousing elocution of grand ideas and principles. The real and utter truth is that most Black women do this day in and day out on a smaller scale. They narrate, agitate, and direct our lives – Black men, girls and boys – each day.
No disrespect to former President Barack Obama, but his true genius was seeing who and what Michelle really is and what he could accomplish with her by his side. Let’s get real, there is no President Obama without Michelle Obama. This truth has played out in millions of households across America. I digress. Let’s get back to the central thought of this blog post.
We have seen the genius of Black women on display writ large during this season of Covid-19. From the original founders of Black Lives Matter – Alicia Garza, Patrice Cullors, and Opal Tometi, to the cadre of Mayors of major American cities: Keisha Lance Bottoms – Atlanta, GA, Lori Lightfoot – Chicago, IL, London Breed – San Francisco, we have seen them all display leadership and communication skills that gives me confidence in Black America. It inspires and fuels me to face each day with optimism.
I cannot forget the one woman that has opened America’s eyes to the power and wisdom of Black women in a way that no one before her was able to do – Oprah Winfred. Oprah Winfred has built a media empire using a mix of intellect, searing interviewing skills, business acumen and down home charm. I remember Oprah Winfred doing the news broadcast in Baltimore years ago. She has been on top as a media mogul for decades now. At her essence she embodies that ability that Black women have to cut deep into the root of the issue and materialize the kernel of truth that if confronted can be a remedy or a balm to neutralize it.
Yes, I love Black women - my wife and my daughters. I love, support, defend, learn from, promote, challenge, educate, listen to, am schooled by, and corrected by them each day. They enrich and complete me. Like Barack Obama, the single smartest thing I have ever done was to recognize and relentlessly pursue the precious gem that I needed to help support and guide me through this life.
Back to Mrs. Obama. My response to watching her speech, particularly how she describes the current resident in the White House and the job he has done, was no less than how I have conducted myself when my favorite athlete scores. I have watched the video clip several times to be sure I see and appreciate the expert skill and technique she used to slice and dice his record and character as president. The hoots and hollers I shared were enough to bring the entire family into the room to see what was going on with me. They all sat down and watched it too. Yes, I love Black women.
In my “Angry Man” blog post Lynching: Living and Dying In America on June 23, 2020 I posed the question – What are you prepared to do? In it I stated that I would give you my answer to this question over the coming weeks and months. Consider this an opening statement in response to the question.
My name is Einstein Pluto. I am a Black man born and reared on the streets of Baltimore City, Maryland. I am also a physicist, mathematician, and computer coding geek. I have worked my entire adult life buying into the American dream. I look out now after following all the rules – study and work hard, keep your head down, you must make white people comfortable with you, you must engage white people in a way that allows them not to feel threatened by you – and I find that the institutional racism, terrorizing tactics of police and the citizenry persist. I am sick of what I am hearing and seeing as it relates to Black people and our life’s journey in America. To be frank, blunt and profane: I am sick of this shit!
All the facts are known. Actually, none are in dispute. The skill, creative expertise, and intellectual power of Nicole Hannah Jones, Ava DuVernay, William Darity and others before them have told the story of the collective Black experience in America as well as what America owes to the descendants of the slaves brought to this country. Yet and still, America has not engaged us to provide reconciliation and redress for its 400 plus years of oppression and subjugation.
Now is the time to take offensive action using the considerable creative technical expertise (engineering, computer science, chemistry, and psychology) that is present in Black America. We must organize, develop, and implement a strategic system to put pressure on those that must ultimately sign-off on the money needed to provide reparations to Black Americans. This includes corporate, monied, and political interests that are behind the power systems we seek to dismantle and “reimagine”. There must be an action arm to the movement whose sole purpose is to take targeted, specific civil disobedient actions that disrupt the economic/business life of America. History has no cultural examples where the oppressor has voluntarily stopped the oppressive system and compensated those being oppressed without being forced to do so.
I challenge all the descendants of slaves in America born between 1960 and 1980 to share the intellectual property that you have to help facilitate the acts of civil disobedience. It’s time to step up and do your part. The young people have taken to the streets via Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other grass roots organizations to shine the light on the brutality that we experience each day at the hands of state and local agents – the police. They have demonstrated an level of energy and intelligence we have not seen in our community in decades. We cannot stand by and allow them risk their very lives marching and protesting during a global pandemic while we cower and watch. Reparations will be the critical step to complete reconciliation for the slavery and oppression we have endured.
Truth is, marching peacefully in hundreds of cities alone will not get it done. We must negatively impact the commerce of the largest corporations through targeted civil disobedient actions to get an agreement on reparations. William Darity, Jr., in his article Forty Acres and a Mule in the 21st Century (Social Science Quarterly, Feb 2008) presents a framework for determining the amount of money that is owed. Bottom line, each Black person descended from slaves would get a direct payment of around $800,000 or 6 to 10 trillion dollars in aggregate. America will not pay this money voluntarily. We must be willing to fight and die to see that reparations are paid. Until we can demonstrate that this is the case, the current cultural and governmental systems of America will never pay reparations.
I am prepared to die to ensure that reparations are paid to every person descended from slaves in America. Before that, I am prepared to help organize, develop, and implement a strategic system whose sole purpose is to take targeted, specific civil disobedient actions that disrupt the economic/business life of America.
What are you prepared to do? Are you willing to help develop an action team in your geographical region of America? Are you willing to use you knowledge corporate structure, resources and locations to facilitate actions of civil disobedience? Are you willing to use your technical knowledge and skill to help organize, develop and/or implement a strategic system?
Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times August 10, 2020
I do not condone rioting and looting. I have seen this up close while living in Baltimore.
When rioting and looting occurs everyone loses – the looters, the store owners, the community, the police, and the politicians.
There has been no national or statewide plan or initiative put forth to address any of the grievances on social justice. The congress cannot put together a plan that supports the people at the bottom of the economic ladder, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Those suffering the longest will have the greatest outcry – violence, looting, and riots. By any measure, it is the Black community that has been suffering the longest. Expect the long hot summer of unrest to extend right into the fall.
The facts underscore the reasons for the explosion of anger and violence seen in Chicago. It is a precursor for unrest in more cities with large, concentrated Black populations in the coming months. How long should the American people expect Black folks to wait for resolution of the social justice grievances to be addressed while there is persistent unemployment and underemployment across the country? Add to that the trauma of the disproportionate number of Covid-19 deaths in the Black community. Quite frankly, I am surprised that we have not seen these events take place before now.
Let’s consider the facts surrounding the Black community in Chicago and the country in general.
Looting and rioting is the outcry from people who have been ignored. What is the response going to be? If it is more robust policing and incarceration, the cycle continues unabated.
There has been no national or statewide plan or initiative put forth to address any of the grievances on social justice. The congress cannot put together a plan that support the people at the bottom on the economic ladder regardless of their race or ethnicity. Those suffering the longest will have the greatest outcry – violence, looting, and riots. By any measure, it is the Black community that has been suffering the longest. Expect the long hot summer of unrest to extend right into the fall.
Optimism and hope is what keeps Black people alive and moving forward in America. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot of defining moments where we see concrete progress happening. I define concrete progress as laws passed and money invested in changing the situation for poor people, particularly poor Black people in the United States. We continue to elect Black men and women to political positions all across the country but we continue to witness terrorism on the streets. I can’t think of another way to describe the treatment of the Gilliam family in Aurora, Colorado except to call it terrorism. When I watch the video of a woman and her younger relatives - four children - being made to line facedown on the asphalt of a parking lot. They are all screaming and crying in fear. The youngest was 6 years old.
How and why does this happen all over the country. Part of it is the training and culture of police departments – large and small. The other part is baseline fear of Black people and the impunity with which police officers are allowed to operate. Lastly, and sadly it is because most of the officers do not have the courage to use common sense. Clearly the family group in the video posed no threat to the officers or the general public. This was established and the number of police present precluded them being over powered by the children. So why on earth did they need to be required to lay face down and handcuffed. The same inquiry or arrest if necessary could have been carried out without terrorizing them all.
I use the phrase, “courage to use common sense” because I understand that increasingly employees of large organizations are not allowed to make judgement calls. They are told to follow the policies and directives without deviation. In the case of the Aurora Police, they simply appear to not see Black people as people. Again, we are seen as criminals first. The age and gender is irrelevant. Because we are criminals we are fair game for any and all tactics including the terrorization of entire families or entire communities.
In Aurora, you see the police milling around and watching as if they have dangerous felons at gunpoint. One officer recognizes what is being done is wrong but refuses to change the situation. Why? This is unacceptable and cannot continue to be tolerated. We must defy this type of behavior wherever we find it. Recording the video is good. We must have a record. The rest of the citizens but demand on the spot that the situation be handled differently. Ultimately, we – the citizens – are in charge and responsible for the actions of our law enforcement officers.
I have visited Colorado Springs and Aurora several times on business over the past twenty years. Overall, I’ve spent about a 6 weeks in the area. My impression, even before the most recent incidents of police brutality, was that this was one of the Whitest places in America culturally speaking. They appear to be educated and pretty neutral when you interact with regular folks on the street and in stores. Increasingly, we find that the entrenched racial hierarchy in America creates this sense of fear and loathing of Black people by most White people even when they may see themselves as racially neutral or even liberal.
Otherwise how can one explain the treatment of Elijah McClain, 23 years old, in Aurora, Colorado on August 24 in 2019. He was stopped on the street because he had a face mask on while he was walking home all alone. Had his ear pods in listening to music. He was stopped by police, put into a chock hold, sedated by an emergency medical technician, had a heart attack as a result, and died days later after he was pronounced brain dead. The officers involved were placed on paid administrative leave. Several months later on November 22 the district attorney announced that no charges would be made against the police officers involved. Again, he was approached and treated as a criminal without ever doing any criminal or suspicious act except for the fact his skin was black.
Optimism and hope is what keeps Black people alive and moving forward in America. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot of defining moments where we see concrete progress happening. I define concrete progress as laws passed and money invested in changing the situation for poor people, particularly poor Black people in the United States. We continue to elect Black men and women to political positions all across the country but we also continue to witness terrorism on the streets.
The Angry Man
We all know an angry man. It seems he always speaks with passion even when the words appear