Filed Under:  OpEd, Opinion

Un-Civil War rages on

21st October 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Edmund W. Lewis

This just in: The levee that have held back pure, unadulterated racial animus and shameless chicanery and ruthlessness has broken and is threatening to overtake the entire nation. The election and re-election of President Barack Obama and the passage of President Obama’s healthcare legislation are but the latest in a long line of straws that broke the proverbial camel’s back in the eyes of those who understand very well why and how this nation was founded.

This movement has been under way since President Abraham Lincoln, who himself wanted former enslaved Africans shipped off to West Africa or parts of Central America, signed the Emanci­pation Proclamation.

There are people who understand and appreciate the fact that the United States was founded as a white, Christian republic, not as a safe haven or land of opportunity for Black, brown, red or yellow people. Our African forebears were not brought here to be recognized as free and equal human beings by this nation’s “poor and huddled masses” and former convicts from the peninsula of Europe. We were brought here to be beasts of burden, “hewers of wood and drawers of water,” to put a WASP spin on it.

What some people don’t seem to want to even try to understand is that the whole white supremacist doctrine is a numbers game. As the brilliant psychiatrist Dr. Frances Cress Welsing pointed out in her groundbreaking book The Isis Papers, the system of racism/white supremacy is a biological imperative, a reaction to the sobering reality that people who can be loosely described as white are a small minority in the global village.

Because sexual intimacy between Blacks and whites results in the creation of children of color, whites find themselves at a genetic advantage and must contend with ethnic annihilation.

To offset the disadvantages that come with being a “racial minority” in the glo­bal village, the system of rac­ism/white supremacy has crafted a myth of white racial superiority that justifies the mistreatment, exploitation, domination and oppression of people of color on the planet.

In the minds of those who embrace white supremacist doctrines, white genetic survival depends on the subjugation and domination of Black, brown, red and yellow people.

When used as the lens through which to view local, national and international politics, Dr. Welsing’s theory makes a lot of sense. It helps to explain why people of color always find themselves at the bottom of the totem pole and why every imaginable negative trait is attributed to people of color while white is associated with purity, innocence and goodness.

This whole government shutdown certainly makes one think about the lengths to which some members of Congress will go to win. While it’s painfully evident that there are some elected officials who are willing to bring about chaos by causing the federal government to collapse, it’s still a challenge to relate to that kind of desperation, hatred and rage. This war between various factions of the dominant ethnic group should cause us to pause and reflect on where we find ourselves in 2013.

What we’re seeing nationally and locally is the turning back of America’s clock to simpler, yet harsher times when Blacks knew their place and members of the larger society did not hesitate to put people of color back into their place when they get out of line or start thinking that they deserve “the blessings of liberty.”

Some of the unmistakable signs that the clock is being turned back, in addition to the adversarial relationship between Blacks and conservative members of Congress, are the weakening of the Voting Rights Act, ongoing challenges to efforts to give every young person equal access to higher education, the weakening of the nation’s public schools, the reclaiming of America’s major cities by whites whose parents and grandparents fled to the suburbs rather than have their children attend school with Black kids or watch their property values take a hit because of integrated neighborhoods.

Not only are whites coming back to major U.S. cities — they’re coming back with a vengeance. In New Orleans, for example, the city has been flooded in recent years with white transplants from both neighboring suburbs and young, enterprising whites who see a prime opportunity in New Orleans to carve out a future for themselves.

What we’re witnessing in New Orleans and major cities across the U.S. is the early dawn of what I call the Y.O.M. era: Yesterday Once More. It is an Ice Age of sorts, with lots of major seismic shifts and tectonic plates sliding all over the place. Just as NYC became known as the Big Apple, New Orleans is being transformed into the Big Oreo with whites flocking back to the city just in time to witness the rebirth of the Crown Jewel of the South and Blacks being either displaced to other cities and states or marginalized and pushed to the city’s outer limits.

It is this dominant white core and marginalized Black rim that first struck me nearly two decades ago when I compared New Orleans to Johannesburg. Whites who hastily sold their homes and moved to neighboring parishes have grown weary of the long commute into New Orleans for work and decided after Katrina that it was time for the city’s Black residents to feel the pain of traveling long distances to get to work. Just as apartheid-era Black South Africans traveled for hours on overcrowded trains and shoddy buses to get to work in downtown Johannesburg, Blacks here will find themselves struggling to carve out a living for themselves and achieve upward mobility.

Mark my word: Someday soon, Blacks will need a passport to travel through the CBD or find a home in the city. Think Steven Biko, who was arrested by members of South Africa’s Secret Branch of Police. We’ve already seen the hotels in the CBD require Blacks to wear bracelets during major events while whites who come here for festivals or major sporting events are subjected to no such “ridiculosity.”

Both locally and nationally, every avenue that once gave Blacks a shot at the so-called American Dream is being eliminated. There’s a concerted effort to return to the bad old days of states’ rights, where people on the outside looking in find themselves at the mercy of the powers that be. We’ve already had a taste of that in Louisiana where Gov. Piyush Jindal has refused federal funds for public education, gutted public-school funds and refused federal funds to provide health care for the sick and the elderly. There are those in federal government who are not the least bit concerned about the state of public education. They could care less about America’s loss of educational status among industrialized nations. After all, an educated and informed populace is a lot more difficult to hoodwink and control. The powers that be have decided that it’s better to tweak the system so that only the sons and daughters of the wealthiest and most powerful families can afford to get a solid education. Only the best of the best from that group will eventually be allowed to get a college education.

Divesting from public education is a back-door approach to undermining the progress made by Brown v. The Board of Education. Were it not for public education and widespread use of technology, an informed American populace would not have elected one Barack Hussein Obama over his blue-blood GOP presidential opponent, Mitt Romney.

Now, the American people are being punished with attacks on their voting rights, attacks on their privacy, attacks on any and all forms of government assistance and an assault on public education.

The American public that voted for Obama needs to pay for that decision. The powers that be also want to avoid future problems by weakening the power of education, the great equalizer, to level the playing field. After all, undereducated, unenlightened masses are easier to centric, manipulate exploit and oppress than an informed citizenry.

Across America, efforts have been under way for decades to privatize everything from health care to public education with the recent government shutdown and threats of America’s economic woes triggering a global recession underscoring the severity of the challenges that lie ahead.

The Black great-great-great-grandchildren of the Africans who refused to die are being vilified, targeted and punished for having the audacity and resilience to continue to keep on keeping on and striving for justice and equal protection under the law. Over the course of this nation’s bloody history, Black people have endured several centuries of unspeakable barbarism, racial hatred, depravity and domestic terrorism committed by people who have the nerve to call us savages.

The issue for Black people has never been whether or not we can survive in an apocalyptic like new nation built over the ruins of the United States. We’ve proven time and again that we are strong, resourceful and resilient. The question is whether we can survive with our minds, bodies and spirits intact when the institutions that have sustained us for centuries are in such poor shape.

The Black family has been decimated. The Black Church is but a shadow of its former, powerful self. We no longer own and operate a significant number of independent Black educational institutions. Many of our most brilliant and uncompromising leaders have either passed away or continue to languish behind bars as political prisoners. Black banks are on a steep decline. We can no longer depend on Black farmers the way we once did, with many farms being stolen out from under them and the government refusing to deal with Black farmers equitably.

As my brother, the late, great warrior and wordsmith J. Kojo Livingston, was fond of saying, “Black people, what y’all gon’ do?”

This article originally published in the October 21, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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