There’s been a lot of talk about racial reckoning while there’s little evidence of any reckoning taking place. There is a media campaign to tell Black folks that there are large sections of America that are allies and the racial reckoning is underway. The media propaganda is in overdrive as we approach the one year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. Meanwhile, there is palpable hate in America. Hate directed at those that are “not like me”; anyone deemed to be different. The reality of the reckoning falls far short of propaganda campaign.
Fact: The killer of George Floyd was convicted and is awaiting sentencing. This fact is an anomaly in the long list of unarmed Blacks killed at the hands of police. It’s a breath of fresh air in the midst of mostly hot air from liberal politicians and so called Black leaders from across the country.
Last time I checked the use of choke holds and no knock warrants has not been addressed on the national level. Sure, the House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act back on March 3rd but there is no support by Senate Republicans to get it passed into law. There are bills that have languished for decades because both houses of congress could not agree on the final language. Blacks lives do not matter in this environment. No racial reckoning.
Reparations to Black Americans is being discussed in a number of cities and towns. A few of passed various versions specific to local situations. The ugly truth is that no conversations of substance including national corporations and national lawmakers has taken place. Until there is a national movement supported by American multinational corporations for reparations to descendants of slaves, there is no acknowledgement and accountability to support healing. The fundamental stain on America cannot be washed clean without recognition of the wrong done and compensation for the stolen labor and harm inflicted. Decisions institutionalizing slavery and apartheid in America were made, supported and implemented at the national level. Policies and laws were national and therefore the solution must be a national one. No racial reckoning.
Positions on race in America are hardening. People are using other topics as a proxy for their racial hatred – denial of racial inequity in healthcare, housing, employment, and education are just a few examples. There’s a lot of talk, quite a bit of it is ugly talk. There is little positive change over the past year that will impact the lives of Black people. The time for Black Americans to be satisfied with nice attitudes and smiling faces has passed. Folks want real world change. The propaganda campaign may have some victories but the fight will spill into the streets if laws are not passed and changes in national policies are not codified into the institutions that govern life in the United States of America.
Men, women, and children have been betrayed by their own prejudice since the dawn of time. Those with wisdom, patience, spiritual awareness have benefited in most encounters. Judging the package means that your initial impression of the person’s “look” is the foundation from which you determine what your relationship will be.
I have had conversations with Black men, women, and children for years that recount the way in which they have been judged by appearance alone. Here are a few notable examples.
Emmitt is the Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at a midlevel medical school. He recounted a time when he went into an exam room, with his first year resident, where a family was awaiting his consultation on the mother of the family. She was a forty something year old, with her husband, two sons – in their twenties, daughter, sister, and grandchild. They were all from a rural family of farmers. From his review of her medical records and recent testing it was clear that she had what was suspected to be large pelvic tumors that would need to be surgically removed. He had never met any of them previously. He entered the room and introduced himself, his doctor colleague (resident) and the nurse. After getting permission, he began to discuss her situation and lay out the possible options and potential consequences. When he was finished and asked if there were any questions, she and her husband turned to the resident and said, “We just want to make sure that he doesn’t touch me. He’s Black. He’s not going to do anything to me, I mean when we decide what we want to have done?” To the credit of the resident, he explained that Dr. Emmitt was the a nationally recognized expert in the diagnosis and treatment of cases such as theirs. The nurse also, added that he had been with the hospital working with her for over ten years. Dr. Emmitt then added, “We work here as a team. There is no patient or family member that gets to decided who is part of the clinical team. If you are uncomfortable with me as your doctor and team leader you can seek treatment at another facility.” The family was about to risk their future and her life based on their racist assumptions.
Chantel was the lead mechanical engineer at the Chicago Sun Times. She talked about an encounter with the service and sales team for a new press unit, Goliath - that was being considered for purchase. Her and her team were waiting in the office for the meeting. The security person ushered the Goliath team into the office whereby each person introduced themselves – no titles were used as was the normal custom to create a more casual atmosphere. Chantel opened the meeting by asking the Goliath team to proceed with their presentation. David, Chantel’s chief mechanic sat by her side. As the meeting progressed it was clear that all the dialog was directed to David, as they assumed he was in charge. When the Goliath team completed their formal presentation and asked David if he had any questions, he turned to look at Chantel and said “Well boss, what do you think?” While the astonishment and recognition of the fatal mistake they had made registered on the Goliath team, Chantel said she proceeded to present her short list of “Pros” and a decidedly long list of “Cons”. She followed up with, Can you address these short comings?” Needless to say, they didn’t get the contract.
Anyone heard of Stephen Curry? He’s on track to be the greatest three point shooter in NBA history. Yet he was not recruited by any of the major colleges in North Carolina where he lived. Duke and University of North Carolina looked him over and never called him once. His dad explained that he didn’t pass the “eye test”. They all complimented him of course, “His shooting was there, he was intelligent, but he didn't have the stature they wanted. How would he be able to defend against guards bigger than him in the ACC?” Well the rest is well known history, the only person to be unanimously voted the NBA MVP and is credited with changing the game by revolutionizing the 3-point shot which now dominates the game. Everyone missed his greatness early on because they judged the package and not what was inside.
While this is a cautionary message to those that make judgements based on little to no information, it is also a message of perseverance to those that would be judged. While most people overlook the genius of those among us, the wise will take time to open the package and look inside before deciding its usefulness.
For all of us that would be judged, continue to work, get better, and be ready. When the moment comes for you to meet your destiny, you got to be ready. Black men, women, and children continue to be misjudged every day of our lives. Always be ready for the wise people that know that what’s important lies beneath the surface.
Over the course of this year there has been an awakening in America. The country has culturally acknowledged its history of slavery and racial injustice of African-Americans. There have been protests in hundreds of cities across the nation. At the local level symbols of slavery and policies that perpetuate racial injustice have been removed. On the national level, we have seen little or no change. One could argue that there has been a doubling down on the justification for continuing to keep the polices and symbols as simply a part of history. This entrenchment of symbols and policies of white supremacy is a signal that a large portion of the American political and power structure has no intention of changing the current conditions that result racial injustice for the African-American population.
A recent interview with a descendent of the captain of the last slave ship to deposit enslaved people in the United States makes the point. The Clotilda was commanded by Captain William Foster who illegally brought 110 slaves to Mobile, Alabama in 1860. His descendent, Mike Foster, a retired Air Force officer recently discovered that he was related to Captain Foster and the story of the last slave ship. When asked by Anderson Cooper “Do you feel any guilt about what happened?” Mr. Foster quickly responded “No. I didn’t feel any guilt. I didn’t do it.”
Mike Foster - Ancestor of William Foster, Captain of the last slave ship to America.
The attitude, disposition and response of Mr. Foster summarizes what the vast majority of whites in America believe. While white Americans have pride in their history and continue to benefit from the foundational wealth built from slavery, there is no recognition of responsibility for what was done by their predecessors. They embrace the history and wealth but divorce themselves from any ownership of the family accountability.
American, this inability to accept the true history of your past dooms your future. Accepting the truth of your racist past and present will set you free from hatred and conflict. This in turn will set America free to be one of the greatest nations in the history of the planet. The global pandemic has exposed the inherent weakness of our nation in a way that nothing else has. Many of my friends and family members have expressed how the conditions of the global pandemic has caused them to reevaluate relationships and personal decisions. The global pandemic has given our nation an opportunity to reevaluate the policies and practices of our society and make changes for long term success. There can be no “Racial Reckoning” with acceptance of America’s racist past and present.
The African-American community knows the painful history of our past. We accept it and most of us move on beyond it to reach new heights based on our God given talents and gifts. Moving past slavery and the horrors our ancestors experienced does not mean that we are required to forgive or forget. On the contrary, I believe it means that we are required to achieve justice. That justice must, at a minimum, include payment for the lives of free labor taken by force.
Direct payment reparations is required even if there is no recognition of accountability. This requires that we organize and implement an offensive strategy to compel America as a nation and a society to pay the African-American descendants of slaves. Reparations will likely cost Americans (Black and White Americans) more blood and lives before we achieve success.
There is no substantial difference between the Democrat and Republican parties traditionally.
Most Black politicians and community leaders have been comfortable with incremental progress.
The presidency of Barack Obama is the very definition of incremental progress. While the election of Obama was a political earthquake, it’s result was overall a very positive time for Black people in general. The progress of racial justice made by Blacks was still incremental even with a Black President and Black Attorney General.
Donald Trump will be the leader of the radical right after his term in office. Donald Trump has an army of white supremacists, white nationalists, and so called militias that he can call on as needed. When Black people attempt to exercise their 1st amendment rights to assembly and protests we will be faced with counter protests by armed groups on one side and law enforcement using new laws similar to that proposed by Governor DeSantis of Florida on the other side. This will likely define the next phase of public protest in the struggle for racial justice.
There is currently no counter balance to non-violent protest. My premise or hypothesis is that the current tactic of local governments is
Without targeted offensive acts of civil disobedience in which people will be arrested and jailed the protests will be ineffective. My point here is that the carrot does not work if there is no stick. Non-violent protests regardless of the size is no longer an incentive for politicians and law makers to act. The only time there is attention to demands is when there is a disruption to business and normal operations of commerce or daily life. We need thousands of individuals to participate in targeted protest whose objective is to shut down the operations of corporations. Blocking the entrance of logistical centers, data centers, telemarketing sites, and corporate headquarters will bring attention to the demands of Black Americans. These individuals will be arrested.
If the protests result in achieving direct payment reparations for every descendant of slaves (every person – felons, the incarcerated, and all others) in America, the benefits will far outweigh the costs.
We need African Americans in the data science community to come together and develop the tools to facilitate this part of the movement. I am confident that methods of communicating with and directing protestors in the struggle can be developed and deployed by data scientist in a relatively short period of time.
There is concern and uncertainty at the highest level of the federal government. The election results are one thing but what appears to be happening goes far beyond that. It appears that the Trump administration is in the process of staging a scorched earth process on their way out the door. I say this because not only has the president fired the Secretary of Defense, he has also replaced all the senior civilian leadership at the Pentagon and CIA.
Consider the fact that Trump is simultaneously
As commander and chief of the US military apparatus, the president can have a devastating effect on our overall security for decades by taking nefarious actions over the next two months.
No Checks and Balances
The Republican leadership around the country is fearful of the president since he has the support of over 70 million voters. He is clearly the leader of an army of white supremacists, white nationalists, and militia groups across the country. Who will stand up to the president? Not Mitch McConnel, Lindsay Graham, William Barr or Mike Pompeo. They are all on board. Most of the those who oppose him have no power to stop him from ordering unpatriotic acts. Donald Trump is a dangerous man right now - he is cornered, he is humiliated by the election loss, and he is desperate to not loose the power of the presidency. His entire family has a lot at stake – financially. We know they have profited from his position as president and most of this has been facilitated and controlled by his sons and daughter.
It has been obvious for some time that Vladimir Putin has something on Donald Trump. Putin has been able to control Trump. Under normal circumstances, no man is as impotent and neutered around another man like the President is around Putin without him being extremely fearful of that man.
The Take Away
We should all be watchful of what transpires over the next few weeks and be ready. It may very well come to national protests in the streets in opposition to actions taken in Washington DC. I am of the opinion that all the posturing surrounding his election accusations is just a head fake. He and his family is involved in something much more devious and ultimately profitable. There is a power move underway and its details are not apparent to the average person. I am certain there are those that see the scheme but are afraid to confront or reveal it.
The American people need the patriots in the halls of the US government to step up and protect us all from this scourge.
Now that Joe Biden has been declared President-Elect, I am wondering what knowledge can be gained by looking at the demographics of the vote. In short, who voted for Trump and, regardless of the rhetoric, who supports the racial justice agenda of African-Americans. We sit in Zoom meetings, professional conferences, and the breakroom at work with people of all backgrounds and political positions. Until recently, there has been an art to projecting the politically correct persona depending on the group or individual you are talking with. The Trump presidency has stripped the cover off of some deeply held racial and social mobility beliefs that perpetuates systemic racism in corporate, educational, and governmental organizations across America.
One of the most comprehensive election exit polls that I have found is conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool and reported by the New York Times. The preliminary results of interviews with over fifteen thousand voters after casting their ballots indicate some interesting insights.
The most significant insight is the fact that White women voted for Trump at the same rate as White men. Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric of suburban, college educated White women. They continue to vote to perpetuate the systemic power of White men and their White sons. Another significant but not surprising fact is that 54% of White people making “good money” over $100K prioritized the economy and their 401Ks over your civil rights as an American citizen. The fact that you are racially profiled and disproportionately killed by police is less important than their financial health.
All of you mid-career African-American men and women in corporate and educational organizations, please know that more than half of those helpful, nice and supportive White women don’t see a problem with police brutality and unequal justice that your family endures. At the very least, its not a national priority, the economy – money and the power it brings – is the most important priority for them.
Black and Hispanic/Latino voters had to come out and vote in record numbers for Joe Biden to become President. Even with four years of Trump’s lying, corruption, and racist rhetoric more White men and women voted for him in 2020 that did in 2016. Think about that. It is White Americans that need to soul search and check their moral compass. It is this group of Americans above all else that need to have tough conversations among themselves.
In my opinion, Black Americans must now devise a national strategy that negatively impacts the economic well-being of corporate and educational organizations. They cannot be allowed to operate business “as usual” without pressing law makers to directly address each aspect of the Contract With Black America and direct payment reparations.
What will be different on Wednesday, November 4th?
We will still be in a raging pandemic with many states in an exponential upswing of new cases and deaths from the Coronavirus. We have no idea how many evictions and foreclosures are predicted in the coming months. Furthermore, there is no data on how many evictions there were in 2019 according to Slate.com (Sept 28, 2020). Word on the street is that most landlords are under pressure and moving forward with evictions despite the CDC order for a moratorium on evictions in the name of public health. Not counting all those who have stopped looking for a job, the Black unemployment rate is 12.1% compared to the overall rate of 7.9% (Federal Reserve Bank, St. Louis, MO). There were over 750,000 new unemployment claims last week compared to 187,000 claims during the same week in 2019 (US Dept of Labor). Food insecurity has practically doubled this year compared to last year. While there is no current data, we know that 19.1% of Black households were considered food insecure in 2019 according to the US Department of Agriculture. Unarmed Blacks are being killed at a rate of at least 2 per month nationwide. Black people are also 3 times more likely to be killed than whites.
All this to say, "There’s not much that will change for Black America after the election".
It may be a “feel good” moment if Joe Biden wins but it won’t last long. The suffering will continue. It won’t take long for anger to replace the good feelings when the community sees there is no economic relief forthcoming from the US Congress.
I predict we will see riots and looting by Christmas regardless of who wins the election. Why? Because the facts on the ground do not change. Furthermore, there is no end in sight for the Covid deaths, unemployment, evictions, police killings and hunger in many Black communities nationwide. At some point the suffering will overwhelm the general good sense that people have demonstrated thus far. This holiday season will be one of the worse on record for most Black households. The disappointment will be demonstrated by violent outburst, riots and looting.
I believe all the chaos, suffering and vandalism coming could have been avoided if the US Congress would have acted prior to the election. Once again we have seen them not do the work of the American people, even at our darkest hour in the middle of a pandemic. Congress continues to pander and look out for the monied interest and not ordinary citizens. As always, Black families are at the end of the line when it comes to ending the economic suffering in this country.
Hey Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnel, you can’t say you didn’t know. All the warning signs have been flashing for months. You chose not to heed the warnings.
Will your response to Black America be more violence? I don’t think you will be able to do anything but continue using the same tired law and order playbook and escalate the cycle of suffering and violence.
Ice Cube and has presented the Contract With Black America (to both the Democrat and Republican parties. Democrats are interested but won’t discuss or address the document until after the presidential election. Republicans are interested and wanted to have an in-depth discussion prior to the presidential election. Ice Cube has been criticized by those in support of Democrat party for even talking to let alone negotiating specifics with the President of the United States.
I find this situation to be absurd. The Black community is in a catastrophic state right now. Let’s talk facts…
This controversy is a cynical ploy to divide Black people, sow seeds of distrust and diminish the power of the Contract With Black America. To embrace and implement the contract will cost billions of dollars. The more that can be done to damage the initiative the longer America can go on with business as usual. Ice Cube is absolutely correct to talk to those in power and willing to demonstrate interest in the comprehensive Contract With Black America.
I fully support Ice Cube in his position.
Let’s be clear, we’re talking about Black people who are the descendants of slaves in America. Not diversity, not people of color, not black and brown people, simply Black Americans descendants of slaves in America.
The time is now. The situation is urgent. Black people are suffering from all sides – health, wealth, unemployment, hunger, evictions, and police brutality. Let’s stop playing games and get a comprehensive game plan to get all the elements of the Contract with Black American enacted.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing improper about prosperity. The question of immorality comes in when we know people are suffering in almost every corner of the nation and there is no political will on the part of those that have benefited the most from the current system to do something definitive to address the suffering and death. If Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Michael Bloomberg, Steve Ballmer, Jim & Alice & Rob Walton, Charles & Julia Koch, Jonathan Gray, Elon Musk, Tom Rutledge, Joseph Ianniello, James Dimon, James Gorman, Lloyd Blankfein and Michael Corbat all held a “Summit to Save America”, we would not see the suffering in the country that we have witnessed so far this year not to mention what is to come over the next six to twelve months.
This is the immorality – We have the means and the minds to address and alleviate all the suffering in our nation but those who could devise and facilitate the rescue continue to be consumed by their profit and wealth.
With two weeks left prior to the election neither political party has a plan to address racial injustice for Black America. What would seem simple to most Americans appears to be as insignificant to Congress as millions of Americans on the brink of homelessness. The political class deeply entrenched in Washington DC has no master but one – Corporate America.
The past few weeks spent in the nation’s capital has demonstrated that the US Congress has no capacity to function on behalf of the American people. Millions have protested racial injustice on the streets for months – no national legislation has been enacted to address their concerns. Tens of millions of American families are on the brink of foreclosure or eviction from their homes – no economic relief package is forthcoming from Congress. The individual congressional members up for re-election are very focused on their own political survival. The others are maneuvering to better position themselves for the outcome of the election. This is happening against the backdrop of millions of people going to bed hungry and cowering in fear of eviction or foreclosure in every community in America. The immorality of the elected leaders of our government is breathtaking. The billions of dollars being spent on advertising campaigns telling us that “this is the most important election of our generation” ignores the fact that the basic needs of millions of citizens is not being addressed by those already elected to protect and serve the people.
See, I do not buy what they are selling: My future and my very existence is dependent upon their benevolence and charity as elected officials. As a Black American, my future and my very existence has always been dependent on my ability to overcome obstacles and use a mixture of wit, genius, and hard work to take full advantage of any opportunity that appears. Don’t buy the lie that the politicians and news media want you to believe – That things will change once the election is over. The rent that’s due today will still be due after November 3. The job you don’t have still won’t be there after November 3. The Coronavirus waiting to kill you will still be out there after November 3 and there’s not a damn thing that they will have done for you to make your life better or safer.
The issue in American, rural or urban, is that there is no loyalty to anyone or any institution. The only significant element that is honored is money. If you have money, you are protected. If you don’t have money, you are vulnerable to those stronger and with more resources than you. Corporate American wants to keep you working so you can feed their money machine. All of us that cannot seem to get ahead no matter how hard we work, no matter how many degrees you have, no matter how morally righteous you conduct your life, we all need to look right now and see who is benefiting in the current environment. The largest corporations, the wealthiest individuals and the political elite have all seen their fortunes increase.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing improper about prosperity. The question of immorality comes in when we know people are suffering in almost every corner of the nation and there is no political will on the part of those that have benefited the most from the current system to do something definitive to address the suffering and death. If Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Michael Bloomberg, Steve Ballmer, Jim & Alice & Rob Walton, Charles & Julia Koch, Jonathan Gray, Tom Rutledge, Joseph Ianniello, James Dimon, James Gorman, Lloyd Blankfein and Michael Corbat all held a “Summit to Save America”, we would not see the suffering in the country that we have witnessed so far this year not to mention what is to come over the next six to twelve months.
Fires, hurricanes and floods, earthquakes in unusual places, and a Coronavirus pandemic that is threatening to consume the nation. Perhaps there is a link between these events and the full throttle immorality present at the highest levels of the so called leaders and elite of the nation.
As the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic in America becomes entrenched, the attention to reparations for slavery will increase. The House of Representatives bill, HR40 Reparations Remedy bill, is a good start. It has been presented in congress every session since it was first introduced by John Conyers in 1989. It has never been taken up for consideration in the past 30 years.
In my opinion, there will never be serious consideration of HR40 or reparations for slavery and US government complicity in the development of harmful policies and practices that negatively impacted Black people since the post-civil war era. I believe the primary reason for this is the link and control of Congress by the wealthiest corporations in America. These corporations and their precursor companies have benefited for centuries from the free labor of Black men and women. Many of them continue to benefit from the significantly reduced cost of labor of prisoners, most of whom are Black. Every credible historical review has revealed these facts to the American public and the world. This has not resulted in any damage to the fortunes of these corporations. They will not support and will likely lobby against reparations for slavery and its legacy in America.
The only path to obtaining reparations is to change public sentiment on the topic or to make it economically painful for the corporations and the federal government to continue to oppose reparations. If the gridlock and opposition that occurred with the move to take down confederate monuments is any indication, we will be waiting an indeterminant time for public sentiment to change enough for successful passage of legislation. I believe the more expedient path is to create an economic incentive for American corporations and the federal government to support the payment of reparations. This choice will have its own repercussions depending on the tactics used. Pressuring corporate business entities will also effectively pressure the federal government. The use of multiple approaches will be most fruitful depending on the nature of the business and its mode of operation.
Acts of civil disobedience can be carried out by independent action teams organized at the local level. There must be actions teams in every 50 to 100 square mile sections of the contiguous United States.
If one agrees with this approach of targeted offensive acts of civil disobedience meant to disrupt normal operations of the top 700 corporations in the nation, the next step is how to facilitate an active program. This will require a significant effort of all Black Americans and those aligned with our goal for reparations that include direct payments to the descendants of slaves.
The technical activities required to implement a “reparations now” approach must be completely independent from any political or action components of the movement. This will allow for the system development, data acquisition, and publishing of location information to be facilitated without legal entanglements. The use of a geographical information system (GIS) that can publish maps of thousands of locations across the nation can be developed by a small team of mathematicians, computer, social, and economic scientists. This technology is readily available. The key component is the database. Database information developed from publicly available resources, corporate data reports, and human intelligence will form the basis of the GIS system. An artificial intelligence component would be required to determine the politically strategic priorities based on the business, economic and governmental contemporary news gathered from social media and mainstream sources. The goal would be to develop an app that would publish news alerts and frequently updated mapping of locations that are most valuable and available for possible advocacy for reparations. Think “Google Maps” for reparations advocacy and civil disobedience.
This vision of a “bottom up” approach is something that we as Black Americans can do for ourselves to bring attention and pressure to a long overdue measure of justice for slavery and its legacy. The launching of an effort like this will depend on a number of variables: funding, talent recruitment, overall support and engagement of the Black community, legal advice and disposition, as well as support and promotion of the project by notable Black personalities.
America is all about the money. If we can’t get justice and we can’t get paid for the free labor and economic oppression over centuries, then let’s work to stop those at the top from getting paid. Let’s protest and disrupt operations. This pressure will provide leverage for those negotiating for reparations.
The Angry Man
We all know an angry man. It seems he always speaks with passion even when the words appear