APOLOGY REJECTED! (NOT BLACK ENOUGH IN AMERICA), PART II
By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor – in – Chief
BASN / BASN NEWSROOM
(Editor’s Note: This is part two of a Black Paper Series by BASN, first done in 2010…)
PHILADELPHIA (BASN) The idea of reparations for Black folks was shot down early – somewhere between “I’m” and “sorry.” So until compensation for our people is addressed, our “Three – Fifths’” remain compromised!
The word compromise can mean, “A settlement of differences where each side makes concessions”; or it can also mean “A concession to something detrimental or pejorative; to expose or make liable to danger, suspicion, or disrepute.”
These facets of this definition punctuate the essence of this column, for a settlement of differences via reparations will one day call for concessions; because this issue will never die, especially now that the apology for slavery and Jim Crow segregation on the part of the United States government is a black and white (albeit muted) reality.
Straddling the pommel horse of this sport / politics dichotomy was the dehumanization of the United States’ Men’s Basketball Olympic Team.
A story published last year from an Atlanta – based writer contends an article by the South China Morning Post indicated government and police officials in Beijing were ordering bar and nightclub owners to bar Black people from their establishments during the Olympic Games.
In some reports, owners were reportedly signing secret statements vowing they would comply with the edict.
After word got out, China’s Foreign Ministry denied the report that any directive by Public Security officials was sent out against Africans or Mongolians, who seem to represent some of the criminal element in Beijing.
Once this word got out, our government should have said something.
“We ain’t going,” the government should have been compelled to say. “If my people aren’t afforded the proper hospitality and respect due them, we don’t get on the plane.”
So China replies (paraphrasing), “Even if we did tell our people to not serve and watch out for Blacks in Beijing – and we’re not saying we did – we’re only treating them the same way you treat them back in America!
“So kick back and lounge, Bitch – while we do our thing — if you want our billions of people to drink your Pepsi and eat your fast food – or stay the fuck home.”
Well, when you look at it that way, it’s kinda hard to argue with. Let’s remember: we booed the previous men’s basketball team – booed them – because they didn’t win; and cheered the other team.
Not because they played better as much as to spite the American team. They were called “unpatriotic” and “thugs” over a stupid game – and their citizenship was also questioned; these aren’t our American players; they’re a bunch of disorganized, lazy; well, you know…NIGGERS!
And every radio talking head and columnist looking to put another notch on his or her crotch was saying and doing the same thing. So can we really blame China? When all they’re doing is an Olympic version of “game recognizes game?”
Never mind the track and field members or the swimmers (too bad Al Campanis couldn’t see Cullen Jones swim) or the others; are they more patriotic because they won medals?
Of course not – but then again, the spin cycle has been ongoing ever since this dirty laundry was thrown in. First, the “slant eye” incident by the Spanish men’s basketball team during a photo session; China and Chinese – Americans are outraged.
But nobody here (save Sista Gyal from Atlanta – we mean no disrespect) said a thing about the Beijing government’s barring of Black people. I betcha this was talked about in the Caribbean, or in the African countries. What’s wrong, NBC and USA Network? Was this little tidbit not enough filler material for you during those 30 – second pauses?
If China had said no lo fong (white men) would be served in bars, you would’ve taken their butts to the United Nations and called for sanctions!
Oh, but you say Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are worshiped here…
That’s bull; they ignore their Blackness because in this era of a global Cult of Personality, celebrity trumps color…
And, because, as a colleague of mine once said, “We are China’s bitch.”
Speaking of elitist, the most disappointing aspect of this revelation is the so – called Black Press.
We have to go “Old Heads” on this one.
Back in the Day, Black radio was the true heartbeat of the community. It wasn’t because of the music; the music was merely reflecting our concerns on issues across the country.
Whether it was WWRL, WLIB or WBLS in NYC; WADO and WNJR in Newark; WDAS and WHAT in Philly; WWIN, WSID or WXYV in Baltimore (fill in the blank for the city – y’all feel me!);
People like Hal Jackson, Eddie O’Jay, Enoch Hawthorne Gregory (the Dixie Drifter), Jocko, Pat the Cat, Duke Baldwin, Symphony Sid, Georgie Woods (the man with the goods), Mary Mason, Curtis Anderson, Chop – Chop Fisher, Vy Higgensen, Frankie Crocker, Vaughan Harper, Gary Imhotep Byrd and hundreds of others were proud carriers of the message.
We would gladly pay for the Pittsburgh Courier or the Chicago Defender in Harlem because it mattered that much to know what our brothers and sisters were doing in other cities – even if the papers were stale – dated a few days.
The Black Press pushed for change, kept the issues of Black exclusion from baseball on simmer until MLB capitulated; reminded white America of its schizophrenic, hypocritical nature with the Emmitt Till incident, voting rights and the evil that lurked within the minds of those conducting The Tuskegee Experiment.
And even though the “society pages” in the Black newspapers were a poor attempt to imitate white concerns, there was far more substance than self – aggrandizement. Ultimately, the status quo was very aware the Black media was to be dealt with because of its reach in its efforts to disseminate information.
Now, that is no longer the case, because we are the ones being dictated to.
This begs for an interesting premise. Can you imagine if we got this ‘apology’ in 1968 instead of 2008? We would have two generations of strong Black men and women with totally different mind sets and skill sets…
As the silence continues, it incenses me even more that we are being hung out to dry by the Black press. We do know 40 years ago, the response would have been different; and therein, lies the problem.
The Black press advocated speaking up for causes and accountability. Now, they seem more concerned with titles, cliques and shilling as advertising rags.
None of the major papers see the need to hit the streets; the times dictate the editorial pulse of a publication as being in tune with its community and beyond; not with the cloistering, sequestered, insular world where they literally keep themselves warm with their own perceived self – importance.
Editorially, this mindset seems to be locked in because in an atmosphere where there’s more desperate poverty, and where the culture is more divisive, more covert, corrupt and surreptitious, very few people have come forth…
With rare exceptions like the Central Florida Advocate and news gathering entities such as the Black Athlete Sports Network (BASN – now BASN NEWSROOM), there are very few Black media outlets with a proactive approach.
As writer/lecturer Tavis Smiley brilliantly revealed in the book, “The Covenant,” the information superhighway and those who could navigate it best would prove to be the great equalizer in speaking truth to power.
We saw clear evidence of this in the Jena 6 story. The first line of defense was the Internet bloggers and young Black, computer – savvy students who helped give that story legs; they were the single most important variable in that instance.
And our mainstream Black press? They were playing catch – up from Jump Street. Out of these five major communication components: television, radio, printed matter, internet and bloggers, the first three mentioned as traditional modes have been severely compromised.
Where is the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), that gaggle of pompous, parsimonious peacocks, who strut and preen when the camera is on, but fail to realize they are noticed even more by their lack of response?
Probably out looking for the next “nappy headed cause” with their spineless sycophants, the Pennsylvania Association of Black Journalists (PABJ); they’ll party at the drop of a hat, but Osama bin Laden would be easier to find than these clowns when it comes to speaking up for a cause.
No press conferences, statements, action or reaction as we are over six months hence this historic announcement – and not a fucking peep out of anyone. ..
Where are Black Entertainment Television (BET) and TV One? Forty years ago, we couldn’t dream of our own television station or channel; forty years to the present, and we still can’t dream of our own station or channel.
It’s almost as if every one of these media functionaries are waiting for permission to engage in a carefully – worded approach that would skirt the subject of reparations and replace it with something disingenuous because they have something besides their self – importance to lose.
This is the same Black press that will say Michael Phelps is God, but Michael Vick is godless.
There has been no front page headline of the apology in any Black paper or magazine; two hundred days – and counting – later.
Is it not Black enough for Ebony? Did it fly by Jet? Did the Essence of the subject fail to Emerge as relevant? So it simply faded into space where a Black Enterprise could ponder its future frontier? Please prove us wrong…
Back in the day, the Black Press would have blasted this apology all over its front pages and pushed for a class action suit for reparations. Nobody in the mainstream wants this and the current Black Press acts as an agent for the dissemination of disinformation.
Unlike it did in the halcyon days of the civil rights struggle, the Black Press is more concerned these days with its Jack and Jill fraternity/sorority affiliations than reflecting what is really happening socio-culturally, politically and economically in the Black community.
It has, sadly, become anachronistic and irrelevant, and its editorial leadership petty, bland and obsessed with its inflated sense of self-importance. So-called Black media’s disconnect with the rest of the African-American community is reflected in the diminishing circulation numbers. In short, they ain’t talkin’ about anything anybody gives a damn about.
Right now as I finish this, I’m flashing back to movies. Images of things in films like “Nothing but a Man,” “Putney Swope,” “Watermelon Man,” and “The Learning Tree” – until this popped into my mind stream.
I’ll leave you with this riff, and you all can ponder at your leisure: (paraphrasing)
Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us. But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it.
We stand here, before you now, truthfully unafraid. Why? Because we believe something you do not? No, we stand here without fear because we remember.
We remember that thanks to our ancestors, we are here not because of the path that lies before us but because of the path that lies behind us. We do remember that for 400 years we have fought this…machine.
We remember that for 400 years – they have sent their armies to destroy us, and after centuries of war and dehumanization, we remember that which matters most…
WE ARE STILL HERE!
Always outnumbered; never…outgunned.
Copyright (c) 2012, 2019 Michael – Louis Ingram all rights reserved.