Ebola: The “Common Cold” of White America

 

Cold

 

I was watching some show or another on television recently – can’t remember what it was – in which the subject of the long since forgotten-by-now Ebola scare that briefly captured the collective worry of U.S. citizens was recounted. As health experts in our nation quickly moved to contain what they hoped would not become an epidemic here in America – cases that appeared state-side were thoroughly documented. There were only a few, but I distinctly remember something that struck me as odd. And that was the fact that White Americans who were diagnosed (some were people who had gone to Africa to help with Ebola-stricken patients there) – to a man – survived the disease post-treatment. They were placed above swiftly chartered flights – brought back to the U.S. where they received around-the-clock treatment under quarantine – and despite daunting odds – were back on their feet in due time.

On the other hand the Black Americans (that I recall anyway) who were stricken with the very same disease died in their quarantined state in American hospitals. The alternate fates between black and white Ebola patients summarily became the subject of half-hearted jokes in the black community. We were wondering and commenting among ourselves about how: “those white folks were back at work in a week but those “negroes” aint make it out the hospital”!! And just to be clear we did wonder if this was not by design. The sad truth is that that kind of dark comedy or commentary  if you will – is a means of laughing to keep from crying. It is a way – on the part of black people – to sooth the pain of always receiving the short end of the stick. That months-long Ebola episode was just a trailer for what has been season after season of a really bad reality TV show that many African-Americans hope will come to an end soon and finally be cancelled.

Another show I recently watched and that I do remember well – aired a couple weekends ago. It was a CNN special chronicling the lives of individuals that the network deemed “Heroes” for what was essentially philanthropic work in under-served communities. I guess for some it may have been heart-warming, but for me it was actually heart-BREAKING. My heart broke because it seemed all of the under-served communities were filled with individuals who looked like me and all the “heroes” didn’t. This dynamic – mind you – is not due to random happenstance nor is it simply the product of a “free-market”. The chief perpetrator of this crime against humanity – this drastic disparity in the fortunes of American lives – is in fact racism and its many ugly faces that have dogged U.S. history. The tenants of white supremacy – and the execution thereof – have ultimately led directly to the scenarios depicted on the CNN Heroes special and that is what CNN ought to be documenting in my opinion.

A discussion based in truth about how we got here to begin with will do far more good than an art program in the hood such as the one described (among other good deeds) during that aforementioned special. While art programs are great – if those who are in a position of power and who produce programs on major network platforms will help to create reality-based content surrounding issues of race – a major shift away from the counterfeit reality that has been perpetuated for centuries will finally begin to transpire in America. We would witness a revolution of the collective conscious of America on both a micro and macro level – and THAT is how we can truly bring about change. And then like a line of dominoes – all the other chips will fall from there…including new art programs in “the hood” incidentally.

It’s true – the whole Ebola victims vs. survivors scenario may have just coincidentally been in the favor of the white people who contracted the virus. Perhaps the black people who got hemmed up just had a string of bad luck? But the problem is that string of bad luck is unfortunately not isolated to that one event. And it is actually more like a rope than a string – one that has strangled communities of color throughout this country’s history. So if Black America was paranoid about the Ebola predicament you’ll just have to forgive us. Because the truth is: far too many negative circumstances have befallen people of color for any reasonable mind to believe that the social ills we face is all on our shoulders or a figment of our imaginations. That is IF one truly wants to see the light.

I look forward to the day when I don’t have to question whether or not people of color are getting a raw deal in ANY circumstance. Where no more bad jokes have to be told at the barbershop to keep from crying. Not sure when we’ll get there… but we WILL get there.

 

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 Oreos to go:  Article detailing the first American death that was the result of Ebola:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/08/health/thomas-eric-duncan-ebola/index.html

 


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Poor & Working Whites (The Forgotten Race)

Working

One of the very odd occurrences of this past presidential election was actually not unique to the presidential campaign between Clinton and Trump. This peculiar dynamic has transpired for decades if not centuries. Namely, we have had for some time now a scenario in which much of the poor white and/or the “white working class” (a.k.a. “Middle-America”) votes for candidates whose policies are in direct opposition with their own self-interests. It would appear that they are so focused on xenophobic idealism – on religious or pious zeal – and to be quite frank…on prejudiced biases – that they enter the election booth and pull a lever (or trigger if you will) that shoots their own foot. While it is a popular subject in American politics (and in general) to talk about how black people supposedly vote for individuals who don’t care about them – this subject surrounding the predisposition of “Middle America” is rarely if ever discussed in the mainstream.

For reasons we do not have time to unpack many white Americans are so attached to narratives that are drawn for them by the powers that be (Fox News for example) that they can’t see the forest for the trees. I call them the “forgotten race”. And this forgotten race either does not care or does not realize that when people they deem to be their champions… speak out against say… publicly funded programs for “that single mom of three”…they are actually speaking out against the types of programs that assist their own family! When someone like Donald Trump says, “Let’s Make America Great Again”, it is not just about “kicking out those Mexicans” – which “Joe from Idaho” might happen to agree with – it’s also about Joe being dropped from his healthcare coverage because he had pre-existing condition. It’s about the hourly wage he makes at the local factory remaining eternally at a meager rate. And, yet, Joe will step right up and vote for detrimental politicians and policies at his own expense.

There is a profound and fundamental piece to this whole equation that is at the core of race in America. It is the driving force that divides us along lines of color. At its core it is built upon a principle that to-date values a “white-washed America” above all else. And by that I mean that ideals that are tied to what has become “European-American” culture (right to bear arms – immigration reform – small government  – “Christian” morals), have become a manifesto of sorts that motivates people to make decisions that are self-destructive and then stand up and cheer believing they are “Making America Great Again”. I call these people the “forgotten race”, not only because of the fact that the political and economic forces of our nation have forgotten them (taken them for granted), but the truth is they have forgotten themselves.

The issues we face today in America know no color. Morals and values…know no color. At the same time, unfortunately, the social ills of America are more pervasive in communities of color for the very reasons I outlined above. But, one of the many avoided truths in America is that in the process of creating that scenario at the voting polls, many have damned themselves as well. Instead of presenting our political leaders with a united front, “we the people” have allowed issues of race to divide us. This is not a white issue or a black issue. It is not a latino – middle-eastern – or asian issue. This is a moral and American issue. 

The question is: Moving forward how do we confront these problems from a standpoint of truth? And, one way is to tackle our race problem in this country so that people are no longer blinded or motivated to vote for policies for the wrong reasons. Too many lies have been forged that demonize particular races and those lies are disguised in this country as “good-old-fashioned American principles”. As principles that will make America “Great Again”. When the reality is America needs to address some here-to-for old dogmas and stereotypes that have driven a wedge not only between races but the haves and the have notsthat is if we truly want to be great. And less we forget – the have nots includes those of the “forgotten race”.

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 Oreos to go: Bad policies know no color…


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Lebron

bron

“It’s a delicate situation. Racism, we know, exists. You try not to put yourself in a position, for me as a father, I try to give my kids the blueprint on how life is going to be. But at the end of the day, I can only tell them so much and then they have to go out and live it themselves”.
– Lebron James

 

Click below to watch video and then I have some thoughts on the matter below that.

 

 

Posting this on the heels of my submission earlier this week entitled: “Race vs. Class”. The video above vividly illustrates in many ways the point I wanted to make in that blog post, which is that the issues surrounding our racial divide in America supersede class. If class were truly the nexus of this aged issue – LBJ would surely qualify as someone who would escape the type of scenario that transpired at his home in Los Angeles over the course of the last 24 to 48 hours.

Here is a young man who has by all accounts been as stellar off the floor as he has been on it (which is a mouthful). Here is an individual who was simply minding his own business and taking care of his responsibilities as not only a world-class basketball player headed to the NBA finals – but more importantly as a husband and a father. And, yet, here we go again with another malicious act performed against a black person in America (“the home of the free and the land of the brave”) for no good reason, whatsoever.

Now, despite this blatantly disrespectful and wildly uncalled for derogatory act in which someone spray painted the word “N@&$er” on the front entrance of his home – we all know the inevitable reaction that will come from the apologists among us. “This was just a bad apple”. “Probably some idiot on drugs”. “This was just someone who wanted to get attention or who wants to stir up racial tensions”. And that load of crap right there is exactly how America has managed to avoid the truth about race since its inception. It’s how America avoids engaging in legitimate discourse regarding the truth that racism is in fact alive and well in this country. One has to ask their-self how many so called “isolated incidents” have to occur before someone finally stands the hell up and says “we got ourselves a problem”??

While this incident was disturbing – and it to put it plainly: it just really sucks – Lebron James will be ok at the end of the day. He is wealthier than most and undoubtedly wields untold power by way of his influence and prestigious position upon the national and international stage. But, there are countless other black folks whose names and stories are not going to trend on social media when they encounter far worse scenarios than the unfortunate event Lebron experienced. And when they face their nightmarish dilemma – and at this rate they certainly will – it will be for one reason and one reason only. They are an African-American.

Money or no money – educated or uneducated – black people in this country cannot curtail the depravity of the racist heart that beats in the chests of far too many Americans in every state and in every city across this nation. However, if America will finally, as a whole, come to terms with its  long-standing issue of racism. If we will – each of us – be willing to participate in an open and honest discussion (as LBJ admirably did in the video above – was not concerned about his “brand”)  – we CAN change the narrative together. We can deconstruct the stereotypes…we can recognize the vicious legacy of white supremacy and meet it head on…we can decide to set the record straight regarding the predicament we face and how it came into existence.

I look forward to celebrating that day despite the odds stacked against us and will not give up the fight. But, make no mistake, in order to get there we must first diagnose the problem for what it is. Without an accurate diagnosis it will be impossible to recommend an effective treatment plan. Which means that a complete and thorough examination of our corporate body will be necessary. America needs to allow for an MRI to be performed and in doing so I think she will find  what many of us suspected all along. Unfortunately a cancerous mass of racism has formed in her soul over time. Not only that but it has gone undetected for so long that it has spread throughout her body and treatment must begin immediately. Then and only then can we go into remission and the healing truly begin. And if and when we are able to come to grips with the truth about the gravity of our current circumstances – THAT is when equality in America can finally become a reality.

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Oreos to go: Incidents surrounding race in America are not the exception – they are the rule.

*Adding full video of Lebron’s comments to Double Stuff Oreos in main menu*


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos.