Filed Under:  OpEd, Opinion

Fighting hate

3rd July 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Edmund W. Lewis

How do you eliminate racial hatred?

I thought about that question after viewing an episode of the new BET series “Tales,” which took a novel approach to dealing with the color line. In the episode, whites were confined to the ‘hood for the most part and had to move through life being judged, feared, distrusted, disrespected, marginalized, criminalized, oppressed and exterminated by the powers that be, who in this case happened to be Black folks. While the episode was somewhat frustrating and irritating to watch at times, it also shed light on what it means to live every day under the considerable weight of racial oppression with your very existence and the color of your skin making you both dangerous and guilty.

Despite my reservations, I made an effort to watch as much of the episode as I could, but near the end I began to wonder why this material had to be aired on BET and not white-oriented television networks.

After all, Black people know what it feels like to be oppressed and viewed as enemies of the state. We know what it means to be Black and blue, and how it feels to be blamed for everything that is wrong in America.

We also know that despite the assumption by some that we are living in “post-racial America” and that white supremacy is no longer a problem in America, the racial divide continues to expand and we are still haunted by the same racial inequities and injustices that existed when our Beloved Ancestors were first kidnapped and dragged to these shores.

Is it possible that help could be on the way?

One of America’s largest philanthropic foundations announced Wednesday that it will award about $24 million in grants to organizations in 13 cities and one state to help fight racism.

The Associated Press reported last week that the grants are part of a foundation program intended “to improve our ability as communities and as a country to see ourselves in each other, so that we can share a more equitable future for all children to thrive,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation, founded by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg.

“This work is essential because we must bridge the divides in our country. Now more than ever, we must all act in big and small ways to help people heal from the effects of racism,” she said.

The grants are going to groups in Alaska; New Orleans; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Buffalo, New York; Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles; Richmond, Virginia; Selma, Alabama; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Battle Creek, Flint, Kalamazoo and Lansing, Michigan.

The grants will be used for on-the-ground projects, as well as creating local growth funds where Kellogg Foundation investments can combine with money from other sources to create and sustain long-term programs, said Gail C. Christopher, the foundation’s senior adviser and the program’s vice president.

“It’s not a short-term ‘let’s fix one of the consequences of racism.’ It’s really getting rid of the belief of a hierarchy of human value,” she said. “It’s really squarely attacking racism as a belief system and its consequences in communities,” Christopher said.

There will be future grant opportunities beyond the first 10 grants, Christopher said.

In case you missed it, Baton Rouge and New Orleans are among the initial 10 cities selected for the initiative.

But how will the money be used to eradicate racism? That’s obviously easier said than done.

It’s going to be a lot harder to undo the virulent racism that continues to engulf the U.S. and the rest of the world than simply developing a serum and vaccinating the world.

There are still many people who don’t understand the work of Dr. Neely Fuller and the late Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, both of whom talked about how the system of racism/white supremacy is a global phenomenon that grows out of fear of white genetic annihilation. That basic fear fuels the system and impacts every facet of human activity including economics, politics, war, science, education, religion and sex.

How is a measly $24 million gift going to put a dent in something that is global and answers to no one and respects no moral code, rule of law or spiritual guidepost?

You’re talking about an intricate system of beliefs, principles, policies, practices and traditions that have been refined and reinforced for centuries, a system that pre-dates the colonization of distant lands by European explorers who believed they had the God-given right to do whatever they pleased to people of color all over the world.

In her book The Isis Papers, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing talked about the story of Tarzan and its symbolic meaning for Europeans. In this tale, we learn about a white man who was left to fend for himself, grew up among apes and became lord over the entire continent of Africa.

Welsing suggested that the myth may have origins in the rejection of albino Africans by their darker-skinned brothers and sisters.

While it is not known definitively that the exodus of albino Africans out of Africa was the inspiration for the story, we do know that human life originated in Africa and later spread to other parts of the world. We also know that Africa was the cradle of civilization, with dynasties and kingdoms in ancient Kemet dating back at least 6,000 years and other evidence that suggests that there were other great African civilizations that preceded Kemet.

Africa was once called the “Light of the World” and Greek historians, scholars and philosophers gave credit to the Master Teachers, Scientists, Scholars, Architects and Builders of Ancient Kemet.

At some point that changed as ancient Kemet endured a series of invasions, assaults and reformation by Romans, Greeks and various nations that are now located in what is called the Middle East.

The Vatican had its hand in the destruction and plundering of ancient Kemet, with a growing number of African-centered historians and theologians now clamoring to know what the Roman Catholic conquerors stole from ancient Kemet and keep concealed in the catacombs under the Vatican.

Although Greeks like Herodotus revered ancient Kemet, eventually the Greeks took credit for many of the discoveries and inventions of their ancient neighbors, with Pythagoras getting credit for the so-called “Pythagorean Theorem” instead of Imhotep, and Imhotep also being replaced by the Greek physician Hippocrates as the “Father of Medicine.”

These changes and many more were part of a movement that designated Greece as the greatest ancient civilization instead of Kemet. Even the name of Kemet was changed to Egypt, a word of Greek origin.

Western Europeans began to trace their roots back to ancient Greece in an attempt to usurp the historical greatness of Ancient Kemet and pave the way for Europeans to rule the planet.

As a little insurance, European scholars and historians began to deny that Egypt was even located on the African continent, despite evidence to the contrary, and to suggest that ancient Egypt was not built by or ruled by dark-skinned Africans.

The truth is that the racial makeup of Egypt began to change after centuries of invasion and immigration, just as the United States population no longer resembles the indigenous people who lived here before Amerigo Vespucci “discovered” America.

Ancient gentrification forever changed Kemet but could not undo the historical greatness of the unmistakably African civilization.

The rewriting of world history forever changed the way Europeans viewed non-white people and the way they viewed themselves, paving the way for white supremacist beliefs and values to prompt Europeans to run the Moors out of Spain and for the most powerful European nations to use the Berlin Conference to divvy up the African continent.

The cynic in me believes that most likely that money will end up in the hands of two groups: Non-profit execs who already command six-figure salaries for getting others to volunteer their time and energy and Black political lackeys who are rewarded for keeping tabs on anyone or any organization that challenges the status quo.

Normally, I would say that doing something is better than doing absolutely nothing, but money that is being used to give false hope to people or to create the illusion of racial progress could be better spent creating jobs for low-income communities and people of color and making substantial improvements to public education and health care.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

This article originally published in the July 3, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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