By Hakim Abdul-Ali
The truth that racism in America is exposed and is as pronounced as it was in Alan Paton’s 1948 novel, “Cry the Beloved Country,” is nothing new to someone who isn’t color blind about recognizing American racism for what it is and has always been. The dastardly “his-storical” truth is that it’s all in plain old Black and White for the world to see, and that’s as near a reality as the distance from Minneapolis to Houston is as this potentially great nation struggles with the mounting police miscarriages, exposing continual systematic racism, escalating bigotries and discriminations toward certain ethnic people of color, particularly, the African-American populace .
In today’s column, I’d like you to contemplate a few meaningful impressions garnered from some learned past and present Afro-American thinkers who spoke about racism, intransigence and resistance. I offer these insights now in the hope that these few sundry expressions of relevant wisdom coming from these elders’ mindsets will enlighten “The American People,” of all ethnicities, in elevating all of our present-day consciousnesses in the cause of progressively uplifting our culture with unity, faithfulness, dignity and mutual respect for all.
We no longer desire loose, frivolous talk and useless political babble as mere words thrown to the oppressed masses in order to bring about promised political hopes and societal changes for wishful folk of color. No way! So, I begin with a short, but ever-so-powerful beginning truism in what my column will attempt to instill in you and others about all folk of color and others with clarity about what racism is. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Nobel Peace Prize winner and the embodiment of ethnic Christian love once said, “Racism is a sickness unto death.”
Think about the underlying message of such a simple phrase from, arguably, one of this nation’s most profound Christian orators, in light of America’s now wider, exposed systematic police violence towards its folk of color. I hate to remind one and all that many Americans didn’t understand Dr. King’s activism back then about racial injustice and why he was addressing this contagiously poisonous moral disease that still exists in many sectarian, social, religious, business, educational and political vicinities of our nation today.
A sister of color named Toni Morrison related that “Race has become metaphorical, a way of referring to and disguising forces, events, classes, and expressions of social decay and economic division far more threatening to the body politic than biological ‘race’ ever was.” You may ask, “Are we to think in broader terms that American apartheid is somehow confused with freedom, justice and equality for only the select political party and ethnic elite?”Before traveling down that thought road today, I’ll ask you to think about what the late heralded novelist and also a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Ms. Morrison, said about the racism issue and ask yourself if she was truly intellectually on point. While you ponder that question, I firmly believe that she was (and still is) very much on point because, in light of Mr. Floyd’s killing, today’s national and worldwide racially clandestine “poly-tricks,” in many instances, are shrouded in political diatribe, apologetic symbolisms, insincere actions and questionable schemes about resolving the race factor in the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, South America, Great Britain, Poland, France, Germany, Australia and in the rest of the world-at-large.
Maybe, that’s why the young and old Black and other folk of color today, who aren’t ashamed of their linkage to the Motherland’s ancestral heritage tree, are marching, protesting and are literally demonstrating that they don’t want to hear (any) more gibberish about equity for all. Their angry cries of the world’s engaged masses of “No Justice, No Peace” are, in reality, embellished cries of protestations and defiances since slavery times because today’s aware folk of color don’t see any equal progress being made in response to their ancestors’ ancient wailing cries for liberation from systematic colonial miseducation and intrusive police brutalities amidst the centuries old shouts and struggles for equality, justice and freedom.
Today’s young and uncompromising ethnic souls of all colors and ethnicities are not hearing moldy promises of yesterday’s unfulfilled extensions of being a second-class citizen anymore. Again, no way! The aware folk of all ages today are saying enough with the good old boy and politically conservative way of maintaining patriotic apartheid here in the USA and beyond, especially, with brutal and shocking killing of Mt. Floyd at the hands of the rogue Minneapolis policemen so fresh in their rear view mirrors of consciousnesses.
And, and if you think I’m biased in that opinion, then I have to ask where have you been for the last two weeks while the entire global political, religious, athletic, social and entertainment planets, in some shape, manner or from, have been turned incalculably upside down, never to be the same way that it used to be. George Floyd’s final words of, “I can’t breathe,” will be a unifying rallying cry for all freedom seeking souls everywhere, forever entrenched on the minds of all liberation minded populations all over the world going forward.
Freedom never came without some sort of sacrifice, and I need no better example of that except to look at America’s own struggling legacies of fighting for and against its own European “his-story.” The brilliant academic, professor and activist Angela Davis once defiantly said that “The struggle (for us) is much more difficult now because racism is more entrenched and complicated.”
Living in and under past and present day political American societal racial apartheid is enough to make all truly intelligently aware souls sick to the very core of their existences with revulsion. You’ve seen the abhorrence and distaste for the last two weeks all over the universe and, just by looking at the bigoted psychological trauma that racism has inflicted upon the descendants of the Motherland, one has enough proof to clearly validate Dr. King’s aforementioned, and rather forthright, assessment of what racism’s disastrous viruses can do if left undiagnosed and unattended.
Imam Jamil El-Amin, Muslim leader and activist when known formerly known as H.Rap Brown, truthfully uttered that “Racism systematically verifies itself anytime the slave can only be free by imitation of his master.” Unfortunately, I believe that mentality still resonates within the hearts, minds and souls of many of America’s comatose Black folk and other folk of color around the colonial globe without conscious.
It’s a hard and bitter pill to digest when the color blinding truth of self-hatred is revealed about some of our own ethnic conundrums, especially when it comes to some of us in the so-called Black communities, when it comes to us dealing with our own self-denials. Leone Bennett Jr., the legendary Afro-American scholar, author and social historian, who died in 2018, said that “We misunderstand racism completely if we do not understand that racism is a mask for a much deeper problem involving not the victims of racism, but the perpetrators.”
Black scholars and thinkers like Mr. Bennett, who exposed the odious malignancies about bigotries and racism, are the venerated educators who aid me and others to intellectually interpret and understand the detestable effects and enduring strains of American apartheid here in the USA and to a larger extent global xenophobia everywhere. Dr. Henry Lewis Gates Jr., noted critic and scholar, said, “The last vestige of racism in the West will be intellectual racism,” a point I’m personally beginning to see take denial roots in today’s resurfaced political society more and more with each passing day.
I trust that, if you’re of color and are not color blind to racism’s deleterious effects, then you are reflecting on what Dr. King previously said in the beginning of this column. We all should know by now that American racism is an inimical sickness to our nation, but we don’t have to become infected by it. Remember that “Black Lives Matter.”
In closing, I’ll leave you with the sentiments of the late renowned Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer who summed up the resistance towards racism by saying, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” In closing, I think that no more needs to be said today because what she said is also the truth. America’s racism is truly exposed. R.I.P. Brother George Floyd. Your life was not in vain, and for today, that’s, “As I See It.”