April 10, 2007

National Debate on Race Relations

Kia and Epiphanny and Matee and Essence. Katie and Dee Dee and Rashidat and Myia and Brittany and Heather. A bunch of teenagers from Newark, Cincinnati, Brooklyn and, yes, Ogden, Utah, defying expectations. These are the ten young women that joined Coach C. Vivian Stringer in the NCAA championship game earlier this month. An improbable story of persistence, hard work and hope. The joy of their moment in the sun was robbed by the vicious words of Don Imus.

Yesterday, Imus enjoyed his white privilege to say and do anything that he wanted with impunity. Today, Imus feels the pain of his words.

Imus now understands that there are consequences for actions.

Many are calling for a national debate on race relations. Perhaps the debate can begin with the recognition that there are always consequences for actions (or non-action). Women Walking in Wisdom blog shared a poem on her blog from a young Black girl expressing her views about Imus’ commentary in the form of a powerful poem. You can see the pain and anger in her message. I invite villagers to slow down for a moment to read this poem.

Violent
By Yvonne Espinoza

We’re violent because this is all we know
You taught us this along time ago
We’re violent because you made us this way
You beat us naked, you hung our people,
Raped our kids and stripped us of our pride
And you now wanna ask why?
Give us a reason not to be
You can’t, it’s impossible

Because to give us a reason, you’d have to right all the wrong you’ve done
But you can’t and if you could then
You’ve only just begun
You’d have to beg for mercy, plead and cry
You’d have to feel the pain we felt
The pain that took lives

You go through the hardships,
The trials and tribulations,
The suffering, the heartache, the dying babies
You sit on a boat full of hundreds of sick,
Old people living to die
How about you dance to make money
Look ignorant on t.v.
Go to jail for nothing
Harassed because others don’t like what they see

Have your people get beat to death
By those who get paid to protect
You eat trash to survive
How about you watch your people and babies die
Get sold for a dime
Kill themselves because they don’t want to live this life

We went through it then and we go through it now
And you know it’s true, and you still ask why?
How dare you have the audacity
Who made you king?

Despite common belief and despite what you think
There is only one king, one God
And he walks with me, with us
The ones who were forced to live in grief
Who were cut, killed, raped and beat
Like animals, brainwashed to think like you

You hacked away, pulled and dragged us down
Until we didn’t want to be Black or Brown
We didn’t want to be Colored or Negroes
We wanted to be High, Suddity, White Folk
We thought if we looked, smelled, and act like you
We could live a regular life, and though we tried
You still continued to beat and lay us out
To hang us from our necks, to laugh at our bodies

You could never blame us for being this way
Because you taught us violence
So how dare you think of forming any kind of alliance
Now we know that two wrongs don’t make a right
But since we have none,
Why should we spare your life?

It’s your fault for all of this
And if you didn’t teach us violence
Then who did?
It couldn’t have been us
Because, remember, we’re ignorant!

You should be careful what you say
Because your words have power
Say it enough and it’ll come true…
I know you’ve heard of karma
God have mercy on you.

Let the national debate on race relations begin. What are your comments on the poem? On a larger scale ... how do you think we can engage one another here in the blogosphere on this discussion about race relations?

36 comments:

poetrygirl100 said...

Wow What a thought provoking poem,
enjoyed reading it. the message came over very loud and clear. Please keep writing.

Tisha! said...

THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES! And that is what has to come through to the Imus' of the world. Crying wolf won't do us or anybody any good, it is action that move mountains and it is our duty to take things into our own hands when others are slow to react, BRAVO Villager!

Wendell said...

Mostly, I read this poem and feel sad.

Just don't stop.

Exodus Mentality said...

OUTSTANDING! I don't even hear anger, just a matter of fact, straight to the point recitation of the truth. It feels so liberating to get that out in the open, over and over again.

I must share this with the world.

bubbly soda said...

Wow! That is what I call pure. Just words straight fromt he heart. God Bless the people who had suffered. Amen.

Villager said...

poetrygirl100, wendell, exodus mentality & bubbly soda - Thank you for taking the time to visit our village today. I'm not a poet, however, I know when the written word is powerful ... and this young woman has some powerful images in her words. Anyhow, I look forward to seeing you again in this part of the world. I promise to visit your blogging villages as well!

peace, Villager

Villager said...

tisha! - The Afrosphere is on something of a roll right now ... contributing to the grassroots movement that resulted in reforms in Paris, TX; freedom of Shaqunada Cotton and now the defense of Sis. Springer and her basketball players. I look to see if we can continue staying focused on upcoming issues & challenges as they present themselves. Unfortunately, we seem to always have challenges placed in front of us. What is the next race relations issue that we should turn our attention to on the national scene?

peace, Villager

Edrea said...

What a powerful poem and a great blog!

I'm so very proud of all of the Rutgers students and the coach for accomplishing so much this season and dealing with this controversy with so much class.

A discussion about race is certainly long overdue. I just hope people focus on the big picture rather than the little fish.

Bronzetrinity said...

Thats an amazing poem because it says everything I want to say when someone asks why Black people act the way they do. There are so many reasons that just get forgotten and pushed to the side.

As for my first question...How much of your time at school was spent learning about African Diaspora history, and do you think that you know enough about African Diaspora history to understand the situation of African peoples today?

I am guessing that the answer will be that they didn't learn much at all other than Martin Luther King was assassinated,Africans were slaves in America, and racism is bad. They may say that history has nothing to do with the situation of African American and African people today and that we should stop talking about it.

I would then explain to them that we need to understand history in order to understand the present because past events caused current events. Aslo, one reason why the African Diapora is in the current situation is because African Diaspora history is not taught enough in schools or by African parents. So instead of looking to prior events people blame things on personal strengths or flaws of individual African people and downplay large economic, pollitical, social, educational, medical, philosophical, and historical factors.

Thanks for asking me this question.

Latimer Williams said...

All I can Say is WOW!!! Powerful poem!

Bronzetrinity said...

I think that the next issue we should turn to is music and we should exert pressure on musicians, producers, and distributors to change what they are doing.

mark said...

" What is the next race relations issue that we should turn our attention to on the national scene?

peace, Villager "

mark bey: Villager I love your Village and I feel that you are a warm and loving spirit but I dont think race is the biggest concern of black people at this time.

I think the biggest threats (and these are literal threats to our lives)are

Black on Black Crime
Aids in the black community
Lack of respect for education
The lack of respect for black, women and children in the community.


I think a conversation about race when we (black folk) are killing ourselves is an absolute joke, I apologize for this sentiment but I just cant get into these superficial movements against a known asshol#s and racist who are only acting out what activist such as Sharpton, Jackson and Naacp already say exist. So thier is absolutely no reason to be supprised when Jerks like Imus do their racsim Jig. Its who they are.

But I am getting sick and tired of us getting up and arms about racism that many of us are obsessed with and have known about for years, but right in my own lower middle class neigborhood black adults will roll, light and smoke weed right in front of kids playing Jump rope and basketball, right in front of parents and grandparents watching thier children and no one says or does anything about it.

Or how about the black church (16 years after magic came out about getting aids from heterosexual activity)still going around pushing fairtales about aids bieng a curse against gays by god in spite of what the bible actually says while aids is ravaging black america.

Oh and what about the campaign in black america to make whoever was the darkest feel like absolute shit.

Or how about those morons that video taped themselves giving weed to a 5 year child.

Sorry Villager I cannot get into any conversations about race as long as we have those things going in our community that are killing black people and harming black children. Black people trying to initiate a conversaton about race relations when we are destroying ourselves, in fact as far as Im concerned it is " Comedy".

Sorry if Im bieng a buthead Villager but Im tired of black people killing each other.

mark said...

Villager sorry for the bitter comment I just left earlier.

If I were going to start a conversation on race, I would ask white folks if they understood
the america they cherish and have benifitted from looks completely different to black folks than white folks.

Villager said...

Edrea - You're right on point about Sis. Stringer and her b-ball team at Rutgers. I imagine that they will be 'America's Team' when they suit up next year.

re: Race relations in America. You noted that the time for a discussion was long overdue. Do you think we can fashion a way to have that discussion here in the blogosphere? For example, I see these "memes" all over the place. Can we create a "meme" that asks bloggers to discuss various aspects of the [big picture] race relations issues & alternative solutions?

Is that doable for us?

peace, Villager

Villager said...

Bronze Trinity - Thank you for visiting the Village today! Your first question, "How much of your time at school was spent learning about African Diaspora history, and do you think that you know enough about African Diaspora history to understand the situation of African peoples today?"

That is a good question in that it can be answered by both white people and nubians. I'm hopeful that someone with more organizational skills than me can figure out a way for us to create a "meme" in which we ask a question each week ... and see if the flow of the answers/comments [dialogue in 'cyber'-terms] on race relations can evolve over time.

Changing the hearts of people requires interaction. Can we figure out a way to turn the strength, dignity and grace of the Scarlet Knights basketball team into a positive experience here in the blogosphere (generally) and the Afrosphere (in particular)?

Any ideas on how to keep the dialogue going in a meaningful and long-term manner?

peace, Villager

Villager said...

Latimer - Sista is deep with that poem. Feel free to share it on your blog! I found it from KWiz. She found it while listening to Michael Blaisdon (syndicated radio show).

Bronze Trinity - Cleaning up the lyrics in our music is a valid discussion for this national debate on race relations. Do you have an artist or song in mind?

James said...

Villager, nice job and well written. Thanks for making Rev. Sharpton a hero, he deserves it. I don't think we give rev. Jackson and Sharpton their just due.Al appeared as if he would kick Imus in the a- word

Villager said...

Mark - I feel your pain my brother. I live and work in Cincinnati OH. Our town struggles with the homicide rate ... and more times than not the victim and the perp are both Black.

A discussion on race relations doesn't have to be white/black. As you note, we have issues within the family that need to be dealt with between ourselves.

Murder. Aids. Education.

The issues exist. My challenge to you and other villagers (without blogs) and other villagers (who have blogs) is to find a process that will allow for a dialogue ... a conversation .. that can lead to action ... that can solve some of our known issues.

We saw the issue with Shaquanda get fixed. It appears that the issue with Imus is being fixed.

Why can't we keep the flow going? What say u (and others reading these comments)??

peace, Villager

Villager said...

James - Asante sana! The 'Village Hero' is courtesy of something that I saw on The Field Negro blog. field names a field negro of the day and a house negro of the day. I named field as one of my five thinking blogs recently because he has great commentary and other ideas. Anyhow, I felt that Sharpton deserved props for his activism in the Imus situation.

What do you (or others reading this comment) think about our efforts to engage one another in this so-called 'national debate on race relations'?

credo said...

Face it. We must do more. Our anger directed at those who oppose, does little to improve or build our community.

Many know our history, but we are not practicing a positive walk in empowering our future.

Where was our mobilizing army for protecting our children at the onslaught of Imus attack? Where were the cries of I'll go?

Bronzetrinity has created a petition on her spot that could be used floated to every school for a child to read and be taken home to their parents.

We need to protect our children.

Villager said...

credo - your point is well taken. i'll head over to check out the petition on Bronze Trinity. I think that she has a pledge that seems like something solid for consideration as well.

peace, Villager

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Thanks for starting and hosting this converstion, Villager.

I'm VERY happy to see young people using the Afrosphere as a medium to communicate their feelings to other Blacks and begin to decide what to do about these feelings and this radical assessment of our current position in America.

I think self-expression and new decisional conversations are a big part what we need right now.

But, we also need to vigourously defend ourselves from outside attacks in the meantime (as we have with Imus), lest our enemies become emboldened. As Tisha said, and as is implied in the powerful poem above, offenses to Blacks must have consequences.

I agree with Exodus Mentality and Field Negro that before we hold a conversation with whites (who are mostly uninterested), we must develop our own internal conversation in the Afrosphere, to come to a consensus about what we want to do and how we're going to do it.

As you know, there are very few Blacks in the whitosphere. The only part of the blogosphere I'm interested in today, are the Blackosphere and the rapidly-growing Afrosphere.

Before, we worked in isolation. Now, through the Afrosphere, our conversations are becoming a national and international whole, flowing freely from one Afrosphere blog to the next and back again.

We are right where we need to be in this stage of the Afrosphere Movement, and now we need to keep doing what we're doing, with increasing urgency, determination and historic levels unity.

mark said...

" The issues exist. My challenge to you and other villagers (without blogs) and other villagers (who have blogs) is to find a process that will allow for a dialogue ... a conversation .. that can lead to action ... that can solve some of our known issues."

mark bey: Yo Villager thank you for responding to my comment. I mean no harm but I despise hypocrisy more than anything else. So I have always found it hypocrital when we as black people.

Complain about racsim but then by the "system most expensive clothes, and treat our women and children with less respect than we ought to.

When the church demonizes gays for for the supposed sin of homosexuality but says nothing about fornication and adultery.

Or when protest over a black man bieng killed by the police but then wont even turn in known criminals and habitual losers living amongst our own children.

When we complain about school sizes and resource when everyone knows that black kids study less than all other kids and the parents dont even make then study.

These things along with other issues are pure hypocrisy and some of them are directly undermining the well of black america.

Anyway sorry to rant but I believe that anyone or group who focuses on things the exotic and sexy issues such as racsim and unfair judicial process but dosent focus on creating measuser (whatever they may be) to keep this growing generation out of jail is full of it.

Direct question to you villager what's with the black church still pretending that aids is a gay thing 15 years after magic johnson annuonced were got it from and in light of our current issues with Hiv.

I propose some sort of consel (within the Afrospear of course) to examim the the progress of all black leadershiop including
the. Use the dialogue you encouraged to create the intellectual language to reform all of our institutions and entities of leadership

Church
Naacp
Politicians
Athletes/entertainers
Etc

Please dont evade my question about the black and the failure to lead on the aids issues.

Oh by the way some of the things Im harping on and will continue to harp on are issues that were first raised by Ida B Wells over 100 years ago.

mark said...

"Please dont evade my question about the black and the failure to lead on the aids issues. "

mark bey: I meant to say " please dont evade my question about the black church and thier failure to lead on the aids issue. "

mark said...

Imus got his a$s whooped. I bet him and that little weasel Bernard McGurk didnt expect thier slimy rug to pulled from under them so fast.

I heard on the news that once the sponsors started to pull away Imus that was it.

A GROWN AZZED WOMAN said...

Love the poem. Love The Blog.

Ahhh . . . No more Imus in the Morning! I was so tired of his ignorant azz. Good riddance to him. So let it be known, so let it be written!

Honky McCracka said...

What are your comments on the poem?

Ok, I'll be honest here. My initial reaction was "Wow, I made you violent? Did I also make you metabolize oxygen and walk on two legs?"

There's nothing really unique or special about black violence. The murder rate in merry old England in 1200 was higher than in any American inner city today. And it was higher in pre-colonial Africa, the Americas prior to Columbus and in Asia as well.

Black men aren't violent because they were taught to be, they're violent because they're members of the most dangerous predatory species to ever walk the earth.

No one has to teach you how to be a human being and violence is a natural part of the human condition.

You can, of course be taught to take your violent instincts and direct them in an organized fashion against people who don't look like you or speak your language (which is what happened in Western Europe about 400 years ago). And you can teach people to consider their highly organized violence (being civilized) to be morally superior to disorganized in-group violence (savage and barbaric) while crushing any organized resistance (taking up the white man's burden).

But you can't seriously claim that Black violence is the fault of White people. Sorry.

On a larger scale ... how do you think we can engage one another here in the blogosphere on this discussion about race relations?

I think there should be a law that any time a White person claims that they're not a racist, they should have to give a dollar to the nearest available Black person. Better than reparations, plus when the money starts to run out we'll have a much more honest discussion of race in this country.

--H McC

Villager said...

Mark - Gadda ge. Your points are well taken. I defer to the existing leadership in the AfroSphere (or Spear) on how best to pull together the agenda for focused discussion and action. However, I accept that there are a number of issues within our community that we should address. Did you see that there is a gathering in Atlanta called, Bring Black Back where a number of the issues that you raise will be on the agenda?

Grown Azzed Woman & Mark - I agree with comments from each of you on Imus. I thought he should be fired and I'm glad it happened.

H McC - I was worried when I saw your moniker [smile], however, I appreciate your comments and your willingness to share them fully with us. I hope that you will visit our Electronic Village often.

peace, Villager

mark said...

" Mark - Gadda ge. Your points are well taken. I defer to the existing leadership in the AfroSphere (or Spear) on how best to pull together the agenda for focused discussion and action."

mark bey: Yo Village you evaded my question about the black church spreading fairytales about aids and gays, anyway its ok that is what happens most times when I try to engage black people about these fundemental issues.

Villager if we want to " strecth the field with passing", our coaches must teach us to protect the quaterback. Period if they dont thier can be no deep balls

If as a race we really want to accomplish great and progressive things we cant have leadership making a mockery out of a principle (religion/spirituality) most of us (black folk) hold very dear. Hope your day is going well. Peace villager

Villager said...

Mark wrote, "Yo Village you evaded my question about the black church spreading fairytales about aids and gays, anyway its ok that is what happens most times when I try to engage black people about these fundemental issues."

Blackfolks in church, at the pulpit and in our homes and in our businesses and in our pubs and every other place should tell the truth about HIV/AIDS epidemic. The disease is decimating our brothers and sisters in many parts of Africa. Frankly, I don't associate the issue with the gay lifestyle any longer. It isn't gay sex that is killing babies and toddlers in Africa. It isn't gay sex that causes the large number of Black men and women in America to be impacted by the disease.

I hope that I have been more specific in my response to your query this time around.

peace, Villager

mark said...

" Blackfolks in church, at the pulpit and in our homes and in our businesses and in our pubs and every other place should tell the truth about HIV/AIDS epidemic."

mark bey: Yo Villager thank you for bieng honest. Although I personally am not a believer anymore, I respect folks who make an earnest effort to be thoughtful and progressive in thier spirituality.

I think in order for black america to heal itself our leadership has got to be practicle, thoughtful and, honest and non hypocritical.

The black churches obvious projected hatred and prejudice against gay folk is one of the reasons that black people have not addressed this issue responsibly.

Also the churches attitude towards gay folks over the last 20 years goes against everything that jesus and the bible teaches and has resulted in the real culprit in the spread of aids. In fact Jesus never mention anything about homosexuality

Having sex with people infected with aids is the real culprit for the spread of hiv in the black communty. Which also happens to be fornication, which is responsible for the 70% out of wedlock birthrate amongst black folks and we all know what the consequences from that 70% out of wedlock birthrate thing has been.

Lastly what if the American goverment had gone around for the last 15 years insisting and arguing with great passion (just as the black church did), that aids wasnt about having unprotected sex with someone infected but was a curse by god against gays.

What do you think the response of black america would be now if that had happened, thier would be lawsuits up the yang against goverment especially when you consider the fact that black children make up over 60% of all hiv cases amongst children, but are only 13% of the population of children.

What Im trying to ask is why does the black church get a pass for the lies and selective morality they choose emphasize that totally violates the spirt and essense of christianity.

Point black the black churches foolishness on the aids issue has caused thousands upon thousands of black amricans their lives and health. I have never been able to understand why brillant and true christians dont call the black church structure to task for its negligence on the aids issue.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

I posted this poem at my blog too, because it's very powerful and I want to encourage young people to express their feelings in the Afrosphere. Then we can decide together what we need to do about our reality.

Jim.Legington said...

Hey Villager,

National Debate on Race Relation can only be successful when accomplished in context with Our Bible. Therefore since we have Freedom of Religion in the United States of America, this is Our belief At Our Blog "A Lad's Lunch with Favor" -

This Blog Presenting *Path of Life Newsletter-FaithWorks* this is the very reason that we have endeavored by God grace to "Let God's Word Be True and everyman not born again in Jesus Christ needs understanding". Let the redeemed of God say Amen!

Truly we all need the Mercy of God's Holy Word because if there was in Heaven and Earth anything
more Powerful than God Is Love,
Our God would have used that in
the redemption of mankind.
His word still is love.

Yea, as before in sharing God Is Good, we have by the grace of God labored to be faithful to Jesus Christ, it is God's Will that we are one In Jesus Christ Our Lord. John 17:17-21

Only God's Love can accomplish that. Any House divided cannot stand. Really there is good, acceptable, and the perfect will of God Almighty.

We've been as His Church, the only light in a dark world, stuck on acceptable so long until unity of the faith is just delayed but it not denied ever In God.

We can Ask Our Lord to do His will in prayers of faith purpose.

Understanding is to realize grace and truth in Jesus Christ. His word is alive in His Church, Listen! to the word of faith we preach, Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Because note: one Lord, One faith, one baptism one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

First, understand that every spirit communicates with a clay vessel {mankind} by words. We are in the midst of spiritual warfare, therefore we must put on the whole armor of God.

Truth and kindness is wisdom from God Our Father found in the very
Mystery of God, Christ Jesus Our Lord.

Notice that it is written Colossians 3:1-17 This can be referenced at our Publication of
"Path of Life Newsletter FaithWorks" Sundays
http://upperroommktsolutions.com/blog/

It's not about what You see external of You, Devine unity happens in the heart of mankind.
What's in the heart comes out our mouth. Think about it, How are we divided, because of what is external of anyones heart.

Teaching our children to love one another is a commandment of God and not a suggestion, our children can only know this when God's Holy Word is King of Glory in Everyone, a subject born into the body of Jesus Christ Our Lord. God is Good, God is Love, Keep Hope Alive!

Using a Vision Motivation in Ultimate Love
http://upperroommktsolutions.com/blog/
Rev. Jim Legington, a man of God

Our God Is Good-Keep Hope Alive!
March 30, 2007 is now 22 Years In the Gospel Ministry of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Retired-Captain Houston Fire Department
After 28 Years of Faithful, Loyal,Purposeful
Service as to God In His City of Houston, Texas


-Songs Beautiful For Situation -
Our God Is Good-Keep Hope Alive!
Psalm 23:1-6, Psalm 133:1-3, Psalm 138:1-8
Psalm 145:1-21, Psalm 146:1-10 {Updated-NASB} Peace be unto You - Read it and Be Blessed always!

Are You humble enough to open Your Bible and Read it? Psalm 145:7-11 It is written in our Bible {Updated NASB} God is Love,
Keep Hope Alive!

Villager said...

Francis - It is great to see the flowing of thought between the various blogs in the Afrosphere. Thank you for including our village in the mix!

Jim - A M E N !!!!

Savvyology said...

Powerful & poignant poem. Villager, thank you for inviting me to come and have a read.

Poetry can be a powerful tool & spark meaningful discussion and change. It's not all about flowers & sunshine. Those who are brave & have the ability to speak through their writing, like the young woman who wrote this poem, can help to change the world. Thank you for sharing this here on your blog.

Villager said...

Savvyology - Thank you for visiting us. I don't have opportunity to read poetry very much. I'm simply amazed at people who have the talent to paint a picture with their words in such a manner. And I agree that this young woman's poem is extremely powerful!

peace Villager