Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Whipping Black Professionals in America...





Like other Black professional males, I am asked to serve as a “role model” and speak to Black children and professionals about a host of issues.

I have seriously thought about incorporating a business dubbed “Rent a Male Black for Your Organization” (RAMBO for short), because of the high demand for “professional” African-American males to talk before various groups about their “endangerment” and to serve as “role models” for Black children. I rarely decline these invitations, and when I do it has been primarily because of the stupidity of persons -both Black and white - who believe that they should “screen” what I say before it is presented to the designated group. Fear of my presentation “offending” someone about race is uppermost in their minds. I always refuse to do this...

I have heard other brothers give similar stories of how persons have persuaded them to avoid mentioning “controversial” topics such as Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, the Million Man March or even the continent of Africa! I am very forthright with these organizations and tell that perhaps Clarence Thomas would make a better keynote speaker than me. These organizations---public and private---while outwardly professing to want their children and employees to “see and hear a positive Black male role model” in reality wish to keep the jelly beans stuck at the bottom of the bag to quote the infamous “Rodney King” tape of corporate America.

Being a RAMBO is akin to being an advisor to guerrilla fighters in the midst of the enemy's camp with limited weaponry.

In the case of employees, their frustrations over the racism present in their particular company is expressed by furtive glances at their white colleagues when I say something that sends a message they dare not utter for fear of retaliation. There is a vicarious satisfaction derived through me in “telling it like it is” as a Black man to “the man” in their company. On one occasion a brother came to me after I had made my presentation, shook my hand vigorously and told me that I had “got them”--- “got” meaning that I had said some things that he wished he could say, and “them” being his white co-workers. I asked him what prevented him from telling his co-workers about daily job related ills involving racism in a company known for its hostile working environment toward African Americans. Without hesitation he said “fear”. He said that mortgages, children's tuition and other financial considerations forced him to keep his mouth shut and his opinions to himself.

I thought about the captured African men on plantations over the centuries who performed the drudgery of slavery on a daily basis, but were unable to express their frustrations and/or suggestions to a "master" who could punish quickly and with extreme severity. These captured men harbored anger, fear and rage as they saw relatives and friends sold, beaten, raped and mutilated.

I have been told that it is a bad analogy between them and Cinque's children who have “made it” in Fortune 500 corporations and are getting paid for the work they do. After all, aren't Cinque's children “getting paid”, commute to homes that hardly resemble slave quarters and eat the finest food that money can buy? Aren't Cinque's children, joining country clubs that historically excluded them? Aren't Cinque's children sending their children to the Ivy League for training to cope with white America? Hell, aren't Cinque's children making progress, if you please?

If the analogy stays at the level of material comparisons, perhaps the comparison is extreme. If it corresponds to the psychology of Cinque's children and his ancestors, then I would argue that it is entirely accurate. The slave on the plantation, intimidated by the "master's" whip is psychologically identical to the Black male executive who bites his tongue for fear of the whip of firing, demotion or isolation on the rungs of the corporate ladder. I have been asked repeatedly by white colleagues if Blacks are as “angry” as Elise Cose says they are in his book Rage of a Privileged Class. My reply is “angrier”. No African American professional doubts the genuine fear of retaliation at the end of Du Bois's century of the color line, and find themselves remarkably similar to their ancestors who feared rope and whip as they worked to harvest massa's crop.

This fear of the economic “whip” of slavery is not limited to the expanded Black professional class, but pervades all Black working males in America. I have heard Black men and Black women debate strategies concerning how they might wear their hair---facial and braided--- not only in corporate settings, but in gas stations, fast food restaurants and at hotels.

The whip extends to any African American who comes “too Black and too strong” in an educational, government, or corporate setting. White America prefers a timid approach to African Americans' “blackness” especially the Blackness of Cinque's children. Toni Morrison's brilliant essay on the smile of Clarence Thomas tells how Black smiles provide a degree of comfort for whites in dealing with Black males. The rapper Ice Cube in one of his rhymes asks the rhetorical question, “Why do Black folk always have to show their teeth?” It is because shiny white teeth assure white America that Black males are still happy with the treatment received by them at the hands of a society that daily disaffirms both their manhood and Blackness. The teeth of an Eddie Murphy assuages consciences wondering about their own complicity in the continued whipping that Cinque's children receive at the post of an America desperately looking for an internal enemy to blame for its ills.

4 comments:

  1. Dr. Winbush, what do you think about African Americans for reparations disrupting Senator Barack Obama's speech recently? How much is realistic for Barack to change the status of reparations and to have a chance at winning the election? Do they want him to fight for reparations and fight for white votes too? Why not let Sharpton, Waters, and Jackson do that and leave Barack to continue what we never thought we would see in our lifetimes? It is time for "us to think, and be productive in our battles, use our power in the right places at the right time or we will just continue to make a lot of noise affecting no thing and no one. This is not the time to push Barack to be our protesting leader. Think people. think.

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  2. Marilyn,

    My attitude toward *any* politician, including Barack is that they are *totally* in the moment as to what they will say and do. Remember George Bush swearing that he would never be "nation builder"? Or his father saying, "Read my lips, no new taxes"? It's the nature of politicians to say and do what is most expedient for the time.

    The fact is that the struggle for reparations is *independent* of whoever is in office and must be pressed regardless of who the President is. Who would have thought that the House of Representatives would have apologized for enslavement *under Bush*, or that reparations for Japanese incarcerated during WW II would occur under Reagan. Justice has nothing to do with who is in office, and reparations for the TransAtlantic Slave Trade are inevitable. I believe that the struggle has nothing to do with Obama, Jackson or Sharpton but with *us*...

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  3. Just stopping through to show support for your blog, Dr. Winbush!

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  4. DOUGLAS FIELD10:48 PM

    SENATOR OBAMA,THIS JUDICIAL INJUSTICE HAS BECOME AN AMERICAN ART FORM,AND NO LONGER CAN BE KEPT HIDDEN OR SECRET FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE !!!

    WHEN AMERICANS WERE TOLD THE TRUTH BY THIS HONEST BLACK LEADER,WHO WENT ON TO BECOME A US PRESIDENT ???

    LETS ALL HOPE OUR MEDIA FRIENDS CONTINUE TO SHOW AN INTEREST IN REPORTING ON THIS AMERICAN HORROR FACING THESE (TENS OF THOUSANDS) FORGOTTEN AND TRAPPED POORER AMERICANS, AND HOW THIS PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDER HANDLES THIS VERY SERIOUS ISSUE FACING AMERICA?S LATINO AND BLACK AMERICAN COMMUNITIES ????

    WITH 80% OF THE BLACK AMERICAN VOTERS SAYING THEY SUPPORT SENATOR OBAMA IN THIS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, IT IS ONLY FAIR FOR EVERYONE TO KNOW PRIOR BEING ELECTED OUR NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HOW THIS DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TRULY FEELS ABOUT THIS AMERICAN JUDICIAL INJUSTICE CONTINUING TO INFLICT GRAVE HARM ON THE BLACK & LATINO AMERICAN FAMILIES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES NATIONWIDE ??????

    *** WHEN GOD?S FACE BECAME VERY RED ***
    THE US SUPREME COURT GAVE ENEMY COMBATANTS FEDERAL APPEAL HC RIGHTS LAWYERS AND PROPER ACCESS TO US FEDERAL COURTS,AND POORER AMERICANS (MANY EVEN ON DEATH ROW) ARE DENIED PROPER FEDERAL APPEAL LEGAL REPRESENTATION TO OUR US FEDERAL COURTS OF APPEAL, AND ROTTING IN AMERICAN PRISONS NATIONWIDE ?????????

    **** INNOCENT AMERICANS ARE DENIED REAL HC RIGHTS WITH THEIR FEDERAL APPEALS !
    THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE $LOWLY FINDING OUT HOW EA$Y IT I$ FOR MIDDLE CLA$$ AND WORKING POOR AMERICAN$ TO FALL VICTIM TO OUR U$ MONETARY JUDICIAL $Y$TEM.

    ****WHEN THE US INNOCENT WERE ABANDONED BY THE GUILTY ****
    The prison experts have reported that there are 100,000 innocent Americans currently being falsely imprisoned along with the 2,300,000 total US prison population nationwide.
    Since our US Congress has never afforded poor prison inmates federal appeal legal counsel for their federal retrials,they have effectively closed the doors on these tens of thousands of innocent citizens ever being capable of possibly exonerating themselves to regain their freedom through being granted new retrials.

    This same exact unjust situation was happening in our Southern States when poor and mostly uneducated Black Americans were being falsely imprisoned for endless decades without the needed educational skills to properly submit their own written federal trial appeals.

    This devious and deceptive judicial process of making our poor and innocent prison inmates formulate and write their own federal appeal legal cases for possible retrials on their state criminal cases,is still in effect today even though everyone in our US judicial system knows that without proper legal representation, these tens of thousands of innocent prison inmates will be denied their rightful opportunities of ever being granted new trials from our federal appeal judges!!

    Sadly, the true US *legal* Federal Appeal situation that occurs when any of our uneducated American prison inmates are forced to attempt to submit their own written Federal Appeals (from our prisons nationwide) without the assistance of proper legal counsel, is that they all are in reality being denied their legitimate rights for Habeas Corpus and will win any future Supreme Court Case concerning this injustice!

    For our judicial system and our US Congressional Leaders Of The Free World to continue to pretend that this is a real and fair opportunity for our American Middle Class and Working Poor Citizens, only delays the very needed future change of Federal Financing of all these Federal appeals becoming a normal formula of Our American judicial system.

    It was not so very long ago that Public Defenders became a Reality in this country.Prior that legal reality taking place, their were also some who thought giving anyone charged with a crime a free lawyer was a waste of taxpayers $$.

    This FACADE and HORROR of our Federal Appeal proce$$ is not worthy of the Greatest Country In The World!

    ***GREAT SOCIETIES THAT DO NOT PROTECT EVEN THEIR INNOCENT, BECOME THE GUILTY!

    A MUST READ ABOUT AMERICAN INJUSTICE:
    1) YAHOO AND 2) GOOGLE
    MANNY GONZALES THE KID THAT EVERYONE FORGOT IN THE CA PRISON SYSTEM. ** A JUDICIAL RIDE OF ONES LIFE !

    lawyersforpooramericans@yahoo.com
    (424-247-2013)

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