Oppressors are never under any obligation to give justice and equality to those who are oppressed.
The master has no moral justification to the slave because a slave is chattel.
Sadly, shamefully, and sinfully, we are living in these so-called ‘United States of America’ whereby people – especially African-Americans –are still raising the question to politicians and political parties, “What about the Black Agenda?”
Why do we keep raising this question every election cycle to people who don’t really care about the Black Agenda? To be blunt about it, it’s stupid, insane, and irrational.
In asking the question of political candidates about their solutions to decrease Black unemployment, Black poverty, and anything revolving around Black issues gives a direct as well as indirect signal to them as well as to masses of people that we cannot handle our own business. They are under no obligation to help us as long as they see a needy attitude.
Every four years, it’s sickening and disturbing to see Democratic candidates pandering Black people for a vote. They come to our churches, eat our food, take pictures, and suck up so that many people are brainwashed into believing a lie.
During these interactions, there’s little deep discussion about issues that impact masses of people.
There’s little deep discussion about their absence in neighborhoods and communities they fail to visit until it’s voting time.
Whenever African-Americans (definitely not all) become so comfortable in asking politicians and the government for a handout, progress and prosperity will never be made. Why? Because self-determination and self-expectation will be sidelined.
The success of any race and culture has to begin within. If there isn’t the desire to want better, do better, and expect better, a problem will always exist.
The challenge for African-Americans during this election year and future election years is to stop asking White people to address the Black Agenda. In a real sense, when we, as a people, learn to own, operate, and support our own entities, we will create opportunities for people to succeed. And when we learn to take care of our surroundings, we don’t have to worry about foolishness coming in.
While this is only a small step towards empowerment, the goal should be to do for self. It makes no sense to always keep asking the oppressors to help the oppressed.
It’s important to note here that I’m not categorizing all non-Black people as oppressors. I’m not saying all African-Americans are oppressed. But without a doubt, there are systems and institutions that are racist in nature.
The best way to eliminate this mindset is to fight it through political involvement, social interaction, and financial empowerment. Unless there’s a collective effort to want better, nothing will be done.
So what’s the agenda for Black America? Clean up our communities and neighborhoods. Create and support Black-owned businesses. Establish programs that will eliminate Black-on-Black crime.
Stop blaming White people and other non-Blacks for some of the ills that’s plaguing us as African-Americans. Get involved politically and not become party loyalists. Develop a liberating mindsets
The Black Agenda isn’t about asking others to do for us when in fact we can and should do for ourselves.
By: Dr. Sinclair Grey III
There are options:
“One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors” (OMCBV&C)
PLEASE JOIN http://www.iamoneofthemillion.com/
You Might also like
Breaking Down the Stats: Report Reveals Blacks Make Up More than Half the Prison Population in 12 States
June 17, 2016 | Posted by Shaundra Selvaggi
Black people are incarcerated in the nation’s state prisons five times as often as whites, a new study indicates.
The Sentencing Project’s latest report on racial and ethnic inequalities in the American prison system examined the prevailing issue on a state-by-state basis.
“Since the majority of people in prison are sentenced at the state level rather than the federal level, it is critical to understand the variation in racial and ethnic composition across states,” Ashley Nellis, author and senior research analyst wrote in the report, “and the policies and the day-to-day practices that contribute to this variance.”
The criminal justice advocates used federal data to compare rates of imprisonment for Black, white and Hispanic populations. And the findings show that African-Americans continue to face seemingly insurmountable odds in the fight for blind justice in this country.
- Overall, Blacks are locked up in state prisons at a rate of of 1,408 per 100,000 people; Hispanics, 378 per 100,000; and whites, 275 per 100,000.
- African-Americans in Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Vermont and Wisconsin are imprisoned at a rate more than 10 times that of whites.
- In 12 states, African-Americans make up more than half of the prisoners: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
- 72 percent of Maryland’s prison population is Black — the highest proportion in the U.S.
- 11 states report at least 1 in 20 adult Black males in prison.
Oklahoma, which has the country’s highest population of Black prisoners, holds 1 in 15 Black males aged 18 and older in prison.
The problem of Black mass incarceration is present in every state in the union. In Hawaii, the state with the lowest racial disparity, Blacks still serve time at a rate two times that of whites. It is a systemic matter states can not continue to ignore.
According to the report, at least three factors come up over and over again in the multiple studies done on the subject: “policies and practices that drive disparity; the role of implicit bias and stereotypes in decision making; and, structural disadvantages in communities of color which are associated with high rates of offending and arrest.”
Nellis suggests states look to New Jersey’s reforms, which included the revisions to drug laws that have contributed to the mass incarceration of African-Americans since the 1990s, specifically drug-free school zone laws.
The Sentencing Project study concludes with five recommendations for state policymakers:
Post Views: 199
- Scale back on prison sentences for low-level drug offenders, and put more resources into drug prevention and rehabilitative programs.
- Re-evaluate and amend statutory mandates on minimum sentences that prevent judges from considering cases on an individualized basis.
- Reduce the use of “Three Strikes”-inspired penalties that result in excessively long sentences for repeat offenders.
- Train criminal justice officials at every level on the dangers of implicit bias, or the stereotypes and attitudes that affect our judgments and behavior on a subconscious level.
- Introduce Racial Impact legislation, which encourages lawmakers to consider how proposed laws might disproportionately affect minority communities.
Corporations Boycotted North Carolina over the Bathroom Bill, When Will They Stand Against Racial Injustice?
As the events unfold in Charlotte in the aftermath of the murder of Keith Scott — another Black man by police — questions arise as to what it will take to bring about real change in the realm of racial justice in North Carolina, and the role that corporate America will take.
As part of the so-called “new” South, with a large corporate presence and urban professional transplants from the North, the state wants to have it both ways. President Obama won North Carolina in the 2008 election, and a city such as Charlotte represents growth, progress and diversity, as The Washington Post reported, with “buttoned-up business (a banking center, an airline and retail hub), a multicultural melting pot and a farm-to-table haven.”
And yet, the state has elected a Republican-led, white supremacist state government, with a governor and a legislature that has sought the wholesale deprivation of Black voting rights, leading to the NAACP-led Moral Mondays movement.
Then there is the so-called “bathroom bill” known as HB2, which challenges a Charlotte city ordinance regarding gender-neutral bathrooms. And while the legislation has been known as an anti-LGBT law, it also eviscerated local ordinances, making it illegal for localities to expand the protections of state laws governing minimum wage standards, job discrimination and public accommodations, as the Charlotte Observer noted.
So while North Carolina had positioned itself as more cosmopolitan, progressive and tolerant than its neighbor bordering to its South — South Carolina, which had been embroiled in a Confederate flag debate of late — the state has paid a price with HB2.
According to Facing South, while state officials wish to downplay its impact, a corporate boycott of North Carolina has led to losses in the tens of millions of dollars. Over 200 companies and organizations have expressed their opposition to HB2, and they are taking their business out of the Tar Heel state. For example, PayPal canceled its planned $3.5 million complex, Deutsche Bank placed a corporate expansion on hold, and the NBA will take its All-Star Game elsewhere. The purpose of this and other boycotts, Facing South noted, is “to raise the economic and political costs of doing business as usual, to the point that decision-makers — whether lawmakers or corporate CEOs — are forced to change course.”
But what will it take for corporate America to respond to the calls for racial justice, in the midst of police violence against Black people? If they can take a stand against HB2, certainly these companies can demand that local and state governments do more and enact reforms if they want the dollars to continue flowing.
With a high-profile police killing and a continued effort at Black voter suppression — despite a Supreme Court decision rejecting North Carolina’s voter ID law and other voter restrictions — the time seems perfect for corporations to use their political muscle to benefit Black folks. White reactionary lawmakers believe they can get away with disrespecting African-Americans. For example, U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, who represents parts of Charlotte and its suburbs, said Blacks are protesting in Charlotte because “they hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not,” as NBC News reported.
And in some cases, with blood on their hands through their role in profiting from slavery, these North Carolina-based companies have a debt to pay Black people. For example, Bank of America admitted its ties to slavery, as two of its predecessor banks had dealings with the slave trade, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Further, a third predecessor accepted slaves as collateral on loans, as Your Black World Today reported. Two companies that were incorporated into Wachovia — now owned by Wells Fargo — owned slaves and accepted them as collateral on loans or mortgages. And the founder of R.J. Reynolds, Richard Joshua Reynolds, came from a large slave-owning family of tobacco farmers. These companies can, at a minimum, support a boycott in North Carolina and a movement around racial justice, and provide support to the descendants of enslaved people in the form of employment, scholarships and community programs.
Writing an editorial in NBC News, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II — president of the North Carolina NAACP and founder of the Moral Mondays movement — summed it up best when he called the riots in Charlotte “the predictable response of human beings who are drowning in systemic injustice.” It is not about Black people hating the police, he noted, but rather people of all races “rising up against systems of injustice that shield officers who kill but leave millions defenseless.”
Declaring that “it’s the ballot or the riot,” Rev. Barber wrote that as hopeless as things may seem, we know what needs to be done to change the conditions that led to Keith Scott’s death.
“Right here in North Carolina, we have seen how people impacted by unjust policies can come together in coalitions across color and lift up a moral agenda that embraces the good of the whole,” he said. “This kind of coalition movement building is not easy, and we cannot win the change we need in a single election. But every step forward in this nation’s history has come from movements like this one.”Post Views: 289
It speaks to his ambition that the writer, director, producer and actor Nate Parker chose to title his slavery drama “The Birth of a Nation,” though the film would be a significant achievement by any name. Arriving more than a century after D.W. Griffith’s epic lit up the screen with racist images forever destined to rankle and provoke, this powerfully confrontational account of Nat Turner’s life and the slave rebellion he led in 1831 seeks to purify and reclaim a motion-picture medium that has only just begun to treat America’s “peculiar institution” with anything like the honesty it deserves. If “12 Years a Slave” felt like a breakthrough on that score, then Parker’s more conventionally told but still searingly impressive debut feature pushes the conversation further still: A biographical drama steeped equally in grace and horror, it builds to a brutal finale that will stir deep emotion and inevitable unease. But the film is perhaps even more accomplished as a theological provocation, one that grapples fearlessly with the intense spiritual convictions that drove Turner to do what he had previously considered unthinkable.
Certain to be the most widely discussed and rousingly received film in the U.S. dramatic competition at Sundance this year, “The Birth of a Nation” comes to us at a particularly fortuitous cultural moment; not unlike “12 Years a Slave” and “Selma” before it, the movie occupies that rare space where our ongoing conversation about racial injustice converges with the film industry’s slow-dawning awareness of the lack of diversity in its ranks. As a result, this artfully modulated but fitfully grueling picture presents both an obvious challenge and a potentially rich commercial prospect for a distributor willing to match Parker’s passion with its own. Careful positioning, too, will be needed to target open-minded faith-based audiences, and also to address the inevitable backlash in some quarters, given that the film presents its climactic violence in complicated but unmistakably heroic terms.
No film worthy of this particular historical subject could hope or expect to avoid controversy, and Parker’s well-researched screenplay offers its own bold take on the widely contested narrative of Turner, a Virginia-born slave and Baptist preacher who led the uprising that claimed 60 white lives and led to the killings of 200 blacks in retaliation, and served as a crucial moment of insurrection en route to the Civil War three decades later. But “The Birth of a Nation” commences long before those fateful events, with a series of scenes observing the Nat’s childhood on a cotton plantation in Southampton County, Va., owned by the white Turner family from which the boy took his surname.
In opening and recurring scenes that remind us of the land and traditions from which these black men and women were uprooted, young Nat (Tony Espinosa) experiences eerie dreams of his African ancestors, anointing him as a future leader and prophet as marked by the circular scars on his chest. “It’s not real,” his mother (Aunjanue Ellis) tells him when he awakens from one of these startling visions, though there’s no relief from the nightmare of their everyday reality — and as it is, they have a somewhat easier time than many of the other plantation slaves in Southampton County. Nat is allowed to run and play with the young Turner heir, Samuel (Griffin Freeman), and he’s treated kindly by Samuel’s mother, Elizabeth (Penelope Ann Miller), who, upon discovering that Nat can read, encourages his studies by giving him a Bible.
Years later, despite having grown up picking cotton alongside his family in the fields, Nat (now played by Parker, superbly) is a soulful preacher with enough of a rapport with his master Samuel (Armie Hammer) to persuade him to buy a young slave, Cherry (Aja Naomi King), sparing her from a fate even worse than what she’s already endured. Cherry is brought to the plantation, and before long she and Nat fall in love, marry and have a daughter, in scenes that afford a warm glimpse of their close-knit, God-fearing community. Far from sentimentalizing their experience, however, these moments offer only fleeting respite from a life of continual hardship and menace, whether it’s Nat making the mistake of addressing a white woman, or Cherry falling into the hands of the cruel Raymond Cobb (a terrifying Jackie Earle Haley), with devastating consequences.
It’s no surprise the white slaveowners are getting antsy, with talk of insurrection and rumors of violence in the air. Spying an opportunity, the sleazy, self-interested Rev. Walthall (Mark Boone Jr.) convinces Samuel to rent Nat out to other plantations as a visiting preacher, as many slaveowners will pay good money to have a black man address his fellow brothers and sisters, and hopefully quell any revolutionary impulses with a gospel of peace (aka subservience). What makes this development so bracingly ironic is that it’s Nat’s exposure to the appalling mistreatment of blacks in other parts of Virginia that convinces him a few encouraging sermons will no longer be enough. After a borderline-unwatchable scene in which he sees a slave being brutally tortured and force-fed, Nat experiences a reawakening. “I pray you sing to the Lord a new song,” he instructs his humble congregation, and it’s clear that he means to take his own advice.
Parker demonstrates a fine touch with actors (Dwight Henry, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith and Gabrielle Union round out the excellent cast), and his command of mise-en-scene would be impressive even coming from a more seasoned filmmaker. While the movie was shot entirely on location in Savannah, Ga., the visual reconstruction of antebellum Virginia is outstanding: From the drooping willows and white plantation houses of Geoffrey Kirkland’s production design to the muted, bluish cast of Elliot Davis’ widescreen compositions, the movie offers a vision at once nightmarish and painterly. As edited with measured intelligence by Steven Rosenblum (with the exception of one too-slick montage) and set to the stirring if sometimes overly vigorous accompaniment of Henry Jackman’s score, these images conspire to lure us into a world even when the barbarism pushes us away.
But the film’s most resonant element isn’t its physical realization so much as its spiritual and intellectual acuity, and it skillfully draws us into Nat’s endless internal debate as he presses himself and God about his next course of action. If “12 Years a Slave” astutely mapped out both the ruthless economic machinery of American slavery and the complicity of white Christians who used the Bible to cow their slaves into silence, then “The Birth of a Nation” delves even further into this unholy nexus of capitalism and religion, and Parker’s performance becomes a study in escalating outrage. A figure of warm, earthy saintliness for much of the movie, the actor (“Beyond the Lights,” “Arbitrage”) slowly traces Turner’s moral hardening by incremental degrees, driven by his deepening engagement with Scripture (“Do not become slaves to men,” he quotes at one point, and some believers in the audience might well also turn to “Faith without works is dead”). But he is also driven by his own worsening mistreatment at the hands of Samuel, whom Hammer convincingly embodies as a man whose decency turns out to be strictly conditional.
Turner’s own shift from Christlike grace to Jehovah-style wrath is not without its heavy-handed moments: One crucial scene, in particular, would play infinitely better without the obtrusive positioning of a stained-glass window, and the cutaways to Turner’s ancestral visions begin to verge on kitsch. But at its core, this is as intelligent and probing an inquiry into the uses and abuses of organized religion as we’ve seen in recent American movies, and also the rare slavery drama in which it’s the ideas, far more than the whipping and lynching scenes, that provide the deepest impact. Historians will have a field day debating the accuracy of the man’s dramatic trajectory (as they have since even before the publication of William Styron’s much-disputed 1967 novel, “The Confessions of Nat Turner”), and the urge to contradict a black filmmaker’s interpretation of history will of course be a hard one for many commentators to resist.
The most vigorous discussion will center on the film’s ferocious, frustrating and inescapably cathartic climax, in which the tremendous strengths of its classical storytelling, as well as its dramatic lapses, stand in perhaps the sharpest relief. Parker’s filmmaking suddenly shifts into the brutal, blood-soaked idiom of the war movie, in which various shades of moral gray are resolved in a queasy eruption of red (at the first Sundance screening, the applause that greeted certain killings proved as telling as the anxious hush that followed others). The Christ-figure overtones hover ever more stirringly, and disturbingly, over the movie’s final moments, and you may be forgiven if your mind drifts for a moment toward “Braveheart.” The movie can be forgiven as well. “The Birth of a Nation” exists to provoke a serious debate about the necessity and limitations of empathy, the morality of retaliatory violence, and the ongoing black struggle for justice and equality in this country. It earns that debate and then some.
Chief Film CriticPost Views: 300