Filed Under:  OpEd, Opinion

Don’t get mad, get free

16th June 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Edmund W. Lewis
Editor

A lot of time and energy are being spent talking about Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist rants, pop singer Justin Bieber’s ill-conceived racist jokes as a teenager and other “proof” that racism still exists. Did we really need that kind of “proof”? Aren’t the laws being passed by local, state and federal elected officials and the ongoing, methodical efforts to “turn back the clock” in America by undermining the legacy of Brown v. The Board of Education, the weakening of the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act, the many incidents of unconstitutional policing that target people of color, and efforts to suppress the vote proof enough? I think so.

Every day we see evidence that the color line is the problem of the 21st century, just as it has been for quite some time.

The system of racism/white supre­macy is designed to protect, support and empower a global white minority and give Europeans, particularly those from Western Europe, a distinct advantage over Black, Brown, Red and Yellow people.

Every day we should be doing something to move the community as a whole closer to complete freedom from tyranny, domestic terrorism, education and economic apartheid, and taxation without representation. That includes supporting Black businesses, holding Black elected officials accountable for everything they do and don’t do while serving as public servants, feeding our minds and spirits a healthy, steady diet of African-centered literature, music and other forms of self-expression, supporting the efforts of young people to be all they can be, learning from, loving and protecting the elders and passing down the history and culture of the Black experience to our children and grandchildren.

Let’s get free or die trying, y’all.

In an effort to free ourselves by speaking our minds, asking probing questions and passing along critical information, let’s continue to talk about the myriad of issues we face as a people. Here we go:

• Who gets rewarded with a $2 billion check for spewing racial hatred?

• Despite all of the ugly things he said, didn’t former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling hit a nerve when he said that Magic Johnson (and other Black athletes and celebrities) could and should do a lot more for Black people, similar to the way Jewish Americans create opportunities for one another?

• Has anyone out there had enough of pop singer Justin Bieber after viewing his so-called racist jokes about Black people?

• Do you think State Superintendent John White and Recovery School District Supt. Patrick Dobard are losing any sleep over the very real possibility of thousands of students at the planned new BTW-Cohen school that will be built on land that once was used as the Silver City Dump and has been contaminated with nine toxic metals including lead, mercury and zinc, will be affected?

• If conservatives profess to be against Big Business, why are right-wing elected officials using “high-paid assassins” recruited, trained and bankrolled by Big Business to undermine public education and the political, civil rights and economic gains made by people of color and the poor over the past six decades?

• Doesn’t the $25 million gift from the Koch brothers feel an awful lot like a “Trojan Horse” that will ultimately trigger the downfall of the United Negro College Fund?

• Wouldn’t it be nice if “we” would support historically Black colleges and universities so that Black America could benefit from authentic, independent Black institutions of higher learning that didn’t have to depend on support from other groups to survive and carry out their very important mission?

• Does anyone think this city and local elected officials are serious about bringing about racial reconciliation while insisting on hand-picking a small number of Blacks to give opportunities to, refusing to give the majority of contractors of color a fair shot at landing public contracts and turning a blind eye as the NOPD continues to violate the constitutional and human rights of Black and poor New Orleanians?

• Why do wealthy individuals contribute regularly to the political campaigns of local and state school board candidates but give virtually nothing to pay for the renovation of classrooms and libraries or the acquisition of new books?

• Shouldn’t the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana take a bow for the way they have shown the rest of the nation how to implement a draconian set of laws and policies aimed at exploiting the masses economically, undermining public education, systematically locking minority contractor out of the bidding process, preparing students of color for dead-end jobs and the prison-industrial complex, violating transparency rules and ethics guidelines, and controlling the life chances of the masses?

• Why do we allow people who clearly have no understudying, appreciation or respect for Black history and culture to get away with miseducating, under educating, misdiagnosing, abusing and treating our children like prison inmates?

• With House Majority Leader Eric Cantor suffering a major loss to a Tea Party candidate after spending $5 million to —– the challenger’s $100,000, shouldn’t U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu be at least a little nervous about suffering a similar fate?

• How many New Orleanians would have voted for Mitch Landrieu if he had told them of his plans to raise property taxes in this majority-Black city while refusing to even consider making non-profit entities like Tulane University pay their fair share of property taxes?

• Aren’t you proud of the entrepreneurial spirit, courage and gumption of Pluria Marshall Jr., the blossoming Black media mogul who is making moves to purchase three television stations?

• How do you plan to commemorate Juneteenth 2014?

This article originally published in the June 16, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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