Thursday, September 3, 2020
During the summer I had the opportunity to read BREAKING THE CHAINS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SLAVERY by Na’im Akbar, Ph.D. and while the book is copyrighted in 1996 and on its Twelfth printing of September 2019, the content contained on the pages are more relevant now than ever. We are living in a world where one race/ethnic background is valued and highlighted while the others are demeaned and debased whether consciously or subconsciously. Whether through codes, obvious remarks or "dog whistles." This has occurred historically, yet with the plethora of media and social media platforms, the blatant disregard for anyone who is not of European-American descent is smack dab in our faces up close and personal on a minute by minute basis. Make no mistake, this constant barrage of hurt, harm, and danger to people of color is impacting our children both of European-American descent and children of EVERY OTHER family/nationality origin.
Given that we are in a world that is constantly showing by its actions that people of color don’t matter (hence Black Lives Matter - BLM) or are nothing, we must, particularly in the communities comprised of people of color, intentionally give our children a sense of pride. The following excerpt below is from BREAKING THE CHAINS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SLAVERY.
“We must learn to comfortably celebrate ourselves. Self-celebration (we must again emphasize) does not necessitate the degradation of others. It does unapologetically, sing the greatness of our accomplishments and special blessing to the world. It tells each new generation something about the value of the fabric from which they are made. Cultures and institutions put considerable resources into creating images and opportunities to sing the praises of their accomplishments. This process is an essential part of maintaining a free mind, but it becomes even more fundamental in freeing a captive mind. Certainly, one of the major strategies for enslaving the mind was the degradation of the Black/African self. The story of natural Black inferiority and ugliness were constant stories told to destroy the worth of the Black mind. The fantasies of African backwardness as incapable of technological development and characterized by superstitious and humanly regressive acts of cannibalism and savagery were all constructed in Tarzan stories, Little Black Sambo images and thousands of other derogatory ideas and illustrations to destroy the Black person’s self-image and to further the idea of Black incompetence and deficiency.
Celebration then becomes a healing. If Europeans could comfortably identify themselves with every image from Santa Claus to the son of God in order to celebrate who they are, why shouldn’t we find images (both real and imagined) that communicate to Black African people something about our potential greatness. Perhaps, Kwanzaa is not an actual African Holiday, but why shouldn't we have a week-long celebration that brings pride and dignity to our culture. Why shouldn’t the entire nation stop on the second Monday in January to celebrate the battle for human dignity by Martin Luther King, Jr. If black people decide to call an assembly of one million black men in Washington, D. C., on a Monday in October 1995, then why question the celebration since the very structure of the city of D. C. so emphatically celebrates the greatness of European-American accomplishment. The hundreds of statues, museums, galleries, libraries, plaques, and monuments which blanket the city consistently celebrate the greatness of being European-American. One could very easily walk around D. C. for an entire day and conclude that only European-American males built this great country. It is not accidental that European-American males continue to run the country and that the celebration and information they receive continuously reinforces their greatness.
We must unashamedly display our images and great ancestral figures throughout our environments. From pictures on the walls to statues in the park and street names, we should celebrate our heritage and those people who have distinguished themselves as African people of greatness.”
To contribute to our children’s sense of pride, we must direct their attention to strong images like themselves to help them grow in self-respect and love for themselves. This must be intentional and not left to happenstance. The histories of ALL cultures must be studied and taught with their heroes and sheroes put on display. While there is nothing wrong with being an athlete or an entertainer, we are so much more than that. The display of greatness has been lopsided for too long. An African-American male is just as worthy as a Caucasian male and the same holds true for women and people of every other ethnic group and culture. At the end of the day, we are ALL human beings with one race, culture, or ethnic group not being any better than any of the others.
Our children need to know the flaws of research that claim that any group is superior to the other. Our children need to know the contributions that people who look like them have made to build this country and the world for that matter. Our children need to know that there is nothing wrong with skin being dark or light. Our children need to know that they are loved and are somebody regardless of their being Caucasoid, Mongoloids, or Negroid. They need to know that red, or yellow, black, or white, all are precious in God’s sight.
So as this school year begins amidst this pandemic, let’s make it our business to give our children a sense of pride.
Saturday, August 29, 2020
Guest post by Miles Jaye
Negro is a fundamentally simple term. In Spanish, it’s negro, in French, negre. The pronunciations differ but they all mean Black. Colored is equally simple. Even African American is a fairly simple concept to grasp. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I realized the complexities of the term Black.
James Brown declared, “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud.”. It was a clarion call, a boldly liberating call to action, it was 1969. It never occurred to me that it begged the question, who was James Brown speaking to? It didn’t occur to me, but I should have asked, aside from people in fros and dashikis, who responded to that call? It certainly never occurred to me to observe, as indeed I should have, who did not respond-- who remained conspicuously silent.
Being a Brooklyn kid, growing up in the proverbial melting pot of New York, I assumed brown-skinned people, as an unspoken rule, identified with Black. That included my brothers and sisters from the West Indies, the Caribbean, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, Panama, Puerto Rico, the D.R., Haiti, Cuba, Brazil Columbia, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Guyana, throughout Central and South America, and of course, Africa. These were my neighbors and my schoolmates. If you were brown-skinned and riding the train or walking down Flatbush Avenue and I didn’t have the benefit of hearing an accent to indicate otherwise, I assumed you were Black.
|S.I.P. Chadwick Boseman|
A new Black family moved onto my block this week. Actually, they were here before me, but I thought they were Indian. In spite of the fact that the dad is as dark as I am, it never crossed my mind to think of him as Black. In fact, I didn’t think of them as Black until Kamala Harris declared herself so, in her DNC convention acceptance speech. Prior to her announcement, I had never known East Indians to identify themselves as or align themselves with Blacks. Even now, I can’t imagine myself congratulating my new neighbors on the first Black woman to be selected as a major party candidate for V.P. They might be offended, indignant. Indians are very proud people and to them, Kamala Harris is Indian, Southeast Asian-- not Black.
This new Black thing is beautifully orchestrated and equally complicated as it allows us, or forces us, to explore cultures outside of our normal experiential sphere. It pushes us out of our comfort zones, expands our playlists and opens our eyes to languages, music, foods, art, philosophy, religions, and history we may not have otherwise had a reason to explore. For instance, we speak of slavery as though it only existed in the Triangle Trade, when in fact, slavery, though illegal throughout the world, is still practiced in India today. Women are bought and sold into forced labor and sexual servitude in 2020 in towns like Mewat, not far from New Delhi, the capitol. Perhaps Southeast Asian women have their own reasons for celebrating Kamala Harris’ success.
Indian food and music are wonderful, but the caste system is so deeply entrenched that it is virtually impossible to elevate from one level into another-- it’s oppressive, it discriminates and it’s generational. India is a huge continent, thousands of years old, with language, culture and history so intermingled with other cultures from Africa to China that this whole Kamala Harris/Black thing should be our excuse, our license to delve deeply into the world to discover the true scope, scale and extent of the human condition and experience as it relates to color. We’re bound to color in America. We’re so distracted by Black that it can only be a conspiracy.
We’re tethered so tightly to a psychology, sociology, history, religion, education, economy, and political landscape designed to suffocate, that it’s no wonder we can’t breathe. White Supremacy is the knee on our collective necks, and it exists on both sides of the aisle. Systemic racism, which some say doesn’t exist, might better be identified as tactical, or strategic racism. We are prisoners of war, and Blackism is the shackle that binds and confines us. James Brown meant well, but his clarion call could have shaken the earth off its axis had he spoken to the world, not just America, and demanded the Black world reply. So now it’s our turn, it’s on us to call on the Black world to say it loud.
Kamala, like Barack, chose to be Black. That she attended an HBCU, joined a Black sorority, collects Converses, and likes to dance, is all well and good. However, I insist, I demand that she is honest with us about her Southeast Asian culture. Don’t play us! Bring something new to the table. You claim Black, you have to represent Black. That’s the deal! Barack misspoke when he said; “Democracy is not transactional.” Of course, it is Sir, or did you mean not for us? Kamala laughed when she said it is not her intent to make special provisions for Black people. Do! From now on, you have to pay to dance!
And, while I unapologetically take issue with the exclusion from the halls, corridors, and towers of power, deserving Black folks whose lineage date back to the American slave experience, folks like Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan, whose ancestors for centuries, have drenched this soil with blood, sweat and tears, and filled this air with screams and cries of horror, for the appointment of folks with skin color just brown enough to appease us, I welcome the opportunity, the challenge, to choose culture over color for my thesis, my protest. I contend culture, not color is where liberation lies, and where justice will be found. Just as all peoples of the world, Asians, Africans, Europeans, Jews, Gentiles, White, Black, Red, Yellow, were at one time or another slaves, let us not forget that we, Black peoples of the world, were mariners, explorers, inventors, scholars, merchants, gifted artisans, astronomers, brilliant scientists, skillful linguists, warriors and great spiritual leaders. Say it loud…
Black… it’s complicated, but so are we. Genius is always complicated!
That’s what’s on my mind!
Meet Our Guest Blogger Miles Jaye
Singer, songwriter, Miles Jaye, is a native New Yorker; it is there that he studied music theory and classical violin for more than ten years at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Saratoga School for Orchestral Studies and Brooklyn College. An accomplished musician and producer, Jaye is best known for his chart-topping hits, "Let’s Start Love Over", "Heaven" and "Objective" featuring Grover Washington, Jr. His heart wrenching "I’ve Been A Fool For You" has become one of radio’s favorite R&B classics. While Jaye laid the groundwork for excellence with his three highly acclaimed CD’s on Island Records, MILES, STRONG and IRRESISTIBLE; he continued that standard of excellence on his own Black Tree Records with titles such as the ODYSSEY, DIVINE ASCENSION, ROMANTIC STORM and HUMANITY. Under the Miles Jaye Davis Productions label, his extensive training as a classical and jazz violinist is evident on his latest release "ATTENERGY", the voice on the violin which is an exceptional musical “coming out celebration” with sixteen beautifully crafted performances. Now a Floridian, Jaye enjoys a long-standing reputation as an R&B and Contemporary Jazz writer/producer, having partnered with some of the giants of jazz on his recordings such as George Duke, Roy Ayers, Nat Adderley, Jr., Rachelle Ferrell, Grover Washington, Jr., and Branford Marsalis. The list of notables with which Jaye has shared the concert stages of the world is too extensive to include here. Jaye is especially proud of writing and producing six tracks on the certified Gold JOY CD from his mentor, legendary R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass. A prolific composer, Jaye has penned and recorded more than 50 original compositions and has the unique distinction of recording no less than 12 different musical instruments on several of his critically acclaimed CD’s. In addition to side-man duties early in his career for the songstress, Phyllis Hyman, balladeer, Jon Lucien, and jazz guitarist Eric Gale, Jaye served two years as lead-singing Cop for the hit pop group that brought you YMCA, Macho Man and In the Navy - THE VILLAGE PEOPLE. Jaye is also a novelist, playwright, art student, and an award-winning journalist. He is an active supporter of campaigns for AIDS Awareness, Breast Cancer research, and an advocate for victims of domestic violence. He also actively supports arts education in public schools. Miles Jaye Davis, like his namesake, legendary trumpeter, Miles Davis, is one of music’s most gifted, distinctive and dynamic artists.
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I Believe Every Word In This Book
Mary Trump's book is the culmination of all of the books I have read about Donald Trump. While I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, she confirms everything that I always thought was driving Mr. Trump's aberrant behavior. I've always said and believed that what happens in our childhoods greatly impacts our adulthoods. I can't think of a better example than this story. The truth of the matter is Donald Trump needs help and truly does not belong in the seat of the most powerful person in the free world. It truly is a sad story about a very dysfunctional family that has now impacted the world. Ms. Trump's book corroborates with so many authors who have written about their experiences with Donald Trump. Everyone can't be lying with only Donald and his sycophants telling the truth. I applaud Mary Trump for putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together for readers (and hopefully there are many) to make an informed decision when going into that voting booth or mailing in that ballot in November. Mary Trump, job well done and as an AV geek and former jet engine mechanic for the United States Air Force, I salute your father as flying is a calling unto itself and a very noble profession.
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Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Saturday, July 18, 2020
"If We Begin To Direct Our Children's Attention To Strong Images Like Themselves, They Will Grow In Self-Respect"
"Entertainers and athletes are the popular heroes of the African-American community. Physical prowess or comic exploit are the only characteristics Black heroes are permitted to express. Intellectual acuity, prophetic vision, moral integrity, technological know-how, and managerial efficiency are characteristics seldom, if ever, portrayed."
"to handicap a student for life by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless, is the worst kind of lynching. It kills one's aspirations and dooms him to vagabondage and crime."