Expert Voices

A Discussion On Race And Racism In Schools

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Tracey A. Benson and Sarah E. Fiarman have written a timely and important book tackling race and racism in our schools. The book, Unconscious Bias in Schools, A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism, dives deep into the real issues many young people and educators face in their learning and teaching journey.

It’s an uncomfortable truth and recognition this nation is facing from a different angle and platform. This time. A platform that buoys her children, woke to the harsh realities of the illusions presented by a seemingly secure and protective bosom: the ideals of America. But America has a lot to atone for and this atonement is not just being demanded by those directly affected by the stark inequalities and racism they’ve marinated in since the birth of our nation, but by those who have unwillingly benefitted from the principles that unapologetically and with the blessings of God–manifest destiny–gave more to one by way of brutality and stealing from the other. Are the chickens coming home to roost? Perhaps. Nevertheless, there are those who choose to fight these blatant inequalities in our schools like Dr. King did. Not with violence, but with intelligence adequately designed and explained with a roadmap starting from recognition to management and eventually change we can all finally believe in.

The discussion with Benson, an experienced educator, highlights the focus and intentions of this valuable book presented as a tool to challenge bias, race and racism in schools.

To learn more about Benson’s anti-racism work or to purchase his book click: here.

“The concept of unconscious racial bias helps decouple intentions from actions … Good intentions aren’t being questioned. It’s impact that comes under the microscope.” – Tracey A. Benson

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month With Pride

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Hispanic Heritage Month is a national celebration of our diverse American culture. From the Arts to the culinary and agriculture industry, including social movements inspired by the African American civil rights struggles, Hispanics have and continue to shape American society.

Here are 10 things you need to know about Hispanic Heritage Month:

  • The annual month-long celebration and recognition of Hispanic culture runs September 15 to October 15.
  • President George H. W. Bush issued a Presidential Proclamation on September 14, 1989 to recognize the month-long celebration of Hispanic culture. It was a weeklong celebration before the change.
  • The significance of the date is to include the recognition of independence days for Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Chile.
  • Celebrations of Hispanic culture typically includes events focused on food, music, costume, dance, film, art and more.
  • Justice Sotomayor is the first Hispanic American appointed to the Supreme Court and the third woman.
  • This year’s theme for the celebration is, “Hispanics: Be Proud of Your Past, Embrace the Future.”
  • As of July 1, 2019, the Hispanic population of the United States was 60.6 million people, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority (18.5% of the total U.S. population).
  • The United States has the 2nd largest population of Hispanic people in the world, second only to Mexico.
  • The U.S. Government carried out many propaganda activities during World War II. One was an effort to appeal to Hispanic Americans and the people of Latin America to foster a united front against the Axis powers. Featured in this endeavor were the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs and the Office of War Information. These offices hired artists with ties to Mexico to illustrate posters.
  • Hispanics are the fastest growing population in U.S. Military, making up 15.8 percent of active Military personnel.

There are numerous ways to take part in celebrating Hispanic or Latino culture. Unfortunately, the on-going pandemic has limited the opportunities for normal festivities to take place but many organizations and communities all across the country are finding ways to highlight this part of our diverse American culture. Here are just a few ideas to consider taking part in: The Smithsonian Institution, The 6th Annual Official Latino Film and Arts Festival, The National Portrait Gallery, and Immigrant Food restaurant is offering a special in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Let’s embrace the future together!

WWII Spanish Poster

The Art Of Keeping Business Flowing During A Pandemic

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

The R&B Group may sound like your typical music alley or fun venue to explore but don’t let the name fool you. This exclusive high-level executive business networking group is turning the pursuit of rubbing elbows and making deals into an art form. And, since the start of the COVID pandemic, the group, in its 10th year hosting networking events in the New York region, has found another footing online connecting financial experts, HR officials, media executives, diverse portfolio entrepreneurs and the who’s who of the financial business world with each other. And it’s all thanks to the passionate advocacy undertaken by the group’s Founder and Director, Jay Rovert.

From New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland, including DC and crossing to the West coast in parts of California, The R&B Group is making great strides in the business networking world in spite of the global health crisis still at our feet. In fact, the group is able to expand its reach thanks to the move to online platforms like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. Now more than ever, people all over the world are conducting more of their work and business online, including their social activities, learning and even teaching. The R&B Group is a great example of riding the unsuspecting waves of life and staying afloat, especially with the uncertainty of financial markets and conducting business during COVID. The R&B Group may just be a perfect fit for someone looking to connect with like-minded folks open to sharing their professional expertise and building a quality community centered on business development and of course, good music, food, drinks and wholesome fun. So, how does one get a ticket to enter? You must be invited by a standing member. To learn more about the process contact Rovert via LinkedIn, he’s excellent in responding and clear with his communication.

The age of technology is here to stay. Our lives are increasingly moving toward a more comfortable, sustainable and user friendly space we love and hate equally: the World Wide Web, making another aspect—production—of this new online world worthy of mention. Most of us don’t put too much thought into preparing for an online meeting. As long as you look presentable from the waste up and have pretty good lighting, you’re in business. But there’s so much more that goes into these events. Barrett Lester, Head of Video Production and a Creative Teams Leader, facilitated the Zoom interview between myself and Rovert. His passion for video production, his keen eye for background, lighting and his overall attention to detail are commendable. Lester does the work behind the scene many of us tend to take for granted. He loves producing and it shows. His work reminds me of a bumper sticker I read once: Hug a musician, they never get to dance. In that spirit, it’s important to recognize the work being done behind the scenes to create quality content and bring you information that just may change your life. Check him out on LinkedIn too, he’ll improve your online presentation and make you look good doing it. Don’t get left behind during these stressful times. Check out The R&B Group and find out of it’s a good fit for you and your business endeavors.  Tell Jay, Jeanette sent you.

The King Of Wakanda Has Taken His Rightful Place In Nirvana

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

Grace. That’s the only noun best suited to describe Chadwick Boseman, King of Wakanda. Boseman left this side of the universe for nirvana, and the world will forever be marked with the glory that only he can wear as a tailor-made robe for a respected King. When rapper and entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle died tragically by the hands of another Black man, the Black community was stunned, paralyzed with shock even. Many compared his legacy and impact to that of Jesus Christ. And they took comfort in the shade of an uncomfortable and reluctant understanding that, although he preached peace and humility, he was the Robin Hood of gangsters. He too rose to his rightful throne as a deity for African Americans still saddled with the struggles of simply being Black in America.

Boseman, however, was different. He reminded us of who we truly are as a people: powerful, dignified, worthy of love and goodness and full of grace. He uplifted us without taking a detour on a well-traveled road some Black people know very well in America. Just ask Jay-Z and many like him who sold drugs to their community as a detour to, “Cash, Money, Hoes” as he puts it in melody.

But unlike the Jay-Z’s of Black culture, Boseman avoided the criminal detour and chose to take the long, lonely road to reach his throne as a man for all people, especially Black people in need of a hero. He was the epitome of what it means to be selfless and he didn’t choose to sell drugs to his community to live high on the hog while spitting in his people’s eyes with Jay-Z’s lyrics, “Money cash hoes money cash chicks what, Sex murder and mayhem romance for the street, Only wife of mines is a life of crime...” No. Boseman truly cared about people and the world. That’s why he left it in better standing than he found it. I’m so happy and grateful he came.

Majority of entertainers who make it big love to brag about all the money they have all while negatively impacted those who look up to them. They sell pipe dreams and we buy it like hotcakes. Not Boseman. He is the exemplary of what it means to be a good human being with a platform. One who saw beyond his own needs, desires and power. One that wasn’t distracted or influenced by all the gold thrown at his feet. One that stuck to the true spirit of humanity. One that loved us more than we loved ourselves. One that saw our worth as Black people. He saw us. He valued us. He gave to us. He sacrificed for us through his horrible illness with the dignity and grace only the most enlightened beings can understand. And despite the wide open detours to enrich himself with “cash, money and hoes,” he chose to enrich us with humanity instead. Jay-Z will never understand this grace as he enjoys that fat NFL check he took to throw Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and racism under the bus. But hey, at least he’s married to Beyonce, the self-appointed Black queen who, despite what many want to admit, only sees dollar signs in this new era of Black empowerment. She’s no different than Melania if Jay-Z was Trump.

And speaking of queens that aren’t self-appointed flip-floppers, money hungry and addicted to fame, it’s no surprise Boseman chose an equally graceful partner, Taylor Simone Ledward, to be by his side to the end of this part of his life’s journey. Tears will continue to fall like raindrops for such a tremendous earthly loss, but we must remember that Boseman has taken his transcendent place where there is no suffering, desires or even sense of self. Boseman has taken his seat next to the Buddha. And like the Buddha, he gave us so much to hold on to—grace, humanity, kindness, strength, selflessness, humility—that he will forever be remembered as our Black King. Wakanda Forever.

 

American Voices On Donald J. Trump

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

Anti-Trump protesters gathered at the White House in Washington, DC to drown out the president during his Republican National Convention acceptance speech.

A lonely Trump supporter at the White House speaking of his support of the president.

Protesters from Dallas, TX spoke up against Trump in front of the White House. The group traveled to Washington, DC to protest the president’s RNC acceptance speech and to attend the 2020 March on Washington. 

 

The Watts Riot Reminds That History Is Cyclical

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

The “long hot, summer” of 1965 was a year of violent uprisings across the United States due to strained race relations at the height of the civil rights movement. America was on fire. Black people were tired and took their frustrations to the streets during and following the arrest of a Black motorist in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The history of police brutality tells harsh truths of how hate and racism disproportionately impacts the lives of Black people and other people of color. The Watts riot is just one example of a people exhausted from the unrelenting oppression at the hands of their government and the police force they empower to carry out their dominance. The Watts riot started August 11 and ended August 16, 1965. The arrest of Marquette Frye, his mother Rena and stepbrother Ronald sparked the violence that brought Los Angeles to its knees.

The Watts riot was not an isolated incident. 1964 and 1965 recorded similar events breaking out across the country prior to the Watts explosion. The History channel reports, “In 1964, there was a three-day riot in Rochester, NY, leaving four dead; in the New York City neighborhoods of Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant, a six-day riot involving as many as 4,000 people following the shooting of a young Black man; in Philadelphia, a three-day riot following the arrest of a Black couple who had gotten into a scuffle with police; and a three-day riot in Chicago when a Black woman attempting to shoplift alcohol was attacked by the store owner and crowds later gathered to protest.” 

Other events leading to the Watts riot include, the 1961 arrest of a Black man in Griffith Park for riding a merry-go-round without a ticket. That incident resulted in crowds throwing rocks and bottles at police. And in 1962 there was unrest following the police raid on a Nation of Islam mosque that killed an unarmed man.

Two years leading up to the Watts riot, 65 Black people were shot by police, 27 of them were shot in the back and 25 of them were unarmed. During this period in Los Angeles there were 250 demonstrations against living conditions and police brutality. It’s clear why 1965 was named the “long, hot summer.”

The Watts riot was among the worst uprisings in the U.S. due to already strained race relations. 35 people lost their lives during the 6-day rebellion, and more than 1,000 people were injured. Property damage topped $200 million. Although tempting, we cannot forget that the violence ignited by the brutal murder of George Floyd has been par for the course of Black lives in America. History is cyclical. As long as those in power refuse to recognize and adequately address the contributions of Black people in the making of America, their continued brutalization and mistreatment despite their rightful credit for the glory, status and wealth of our nation, or budge to the will of the people and humanity, these violent events will continue. Author, iconic orator and civil rights activist James Baldwin once asked, “How much time does America need for its progress?” Today, the question remains unanswered. My question is: How much more time does America need to progress towards a new world order that honors humanity, paves the way for equality, and finally usher in true liberty for all her people?

What Will Americans Give Up For World Peace?

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

It’s no secret America is the world’s superpower. What shouldn’t be a secret is how we got here and where we aim to go: world domination rooted in capitalism.

We are steadily heading toward a new world order of capitalistic slavery and America is leading the charge through dominance. America, under the guise of “spreading democracy” plunders the mineral wealth of poor countries all over the world, making them dependent on us, all while destroying humanity, culture, and less fortunate people’s ability to be self-sustaining. We must recognize what’s at stake and work to push back America’s efforts to dominate the world through capitalistic means. If not, we will face a new form of slavery, rooted in capitalism and greed the world has never known.

It’s time to change the world and actively work for world peace. That’s going to require each and every one of us to be cognizant of our disproportionate abundance of wealth and other luxuries we take for granted. From the shoes we wear to the foods we eat, we must be mindful that someone in a poor country is being forced to produce these items we take for granted.  They make pennies on the dollar for their hard labor, we overpay for these items and those at the very top walk away with a disproportionate amount of the wealth accumulated from this form of capitalistic slavery, creating a world that is not sustainable in the long run.

It’s time we open our eyes and see our world for what it truly is: unbalanced and unsustainable. We must work to create a world where every country has the right to their own mineral wealth, the power to participate freely and fairly in the free market without the pressures and overreach of superpowers like America, China, Russia and Europe. It’s time to change the world and it’s going to take each and every one of us to bring that about. Perhaps it will mean giving something up for the sake of humanity and world peace. I asked average Americans if they would be willing to give something up for world peace. Here’s what they said:

What would you give up for the sake of world peace?

I Am Not Your Cisgender

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Let’s talk about sexuality. Recently I stumbled upon the term “cis” or “cisgender” while scrolling through social media. It was a new phrase to me, so I decided to investigate. And according to Wikipedia, “Cisgender (sometimes cissexual, often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth.” Okay. So, cisgender is the new label introduced like another jolly ranger flavor that identifies the opposite of transgender. In more unnecessary words, straight or heterosexual people are now referred to as “cis” or “cisgender.” The phrase is more commonly used among the gay community, celebrities, social media culture warriors and hipsters. Another thing I learned is the motive behind the new label. As complicated as the subject of sexual identity is, the aim, according to the gay community and their allies is to eliminate notions of what society views as normal or abnormal.

The term has taken a life of its own in this new gender-bender world we find ourselves in. Oh, and “gender-bender” is another sociological term similar to “cis” that identifies a gender bender as a person who disrupts or bends gender roles. That’s not all. The synonym for “gender-bender” is “genderfuck.” And if you think that’s overcomplicating human sexuality, you haven’t delved into the world of sexuality and identity. For example, the Bugis people of Indonesia view sexual identity on a spectrum and recognize 5 different genders in their culture, including androgyny. And, members of their androgynous community are also revered shamans. In Samoa, Thailand, Oman and other parts of Asia there are those who identify as having a third gender or are nonbinary. In Hawaii, including Tahitian and Polynesian islands in the North and South Pacific Ocean, third-gender or nonbinary people are respected as cultural teachers and even goddesses. Third-gender people are those who identify with a gender that is different from their own, or not. So, are they gender benders? Not according to the concept of the label.

The term cisgender has its origin in a two-part peer review, (1991 and 1998) publication by Volkmar Sigusch, a German sexologist, physician and sociologist. The term, which is frequently being used these days, has caused me to wonder about my own identity as a straight woman. Are women still free to sexually identify as women without enraging the gay community? J.K. Rowling recently took some heat for criticizing an op-ed that labeled women, not as women, but as “people who menstruate.” The opinion piece, aimed at boosting investments in menstruation management for millions of “those who menstruate,” purposely shifts the term “women” to “those who menstruate” as a way to include those who identify as women. It didn’t take long for celebrities, including several Harry Potter actors, members and allies of the gay community to accuse Rowling of being homophobic. They insist transwomen are women. If that’s so, what does that make me? Well, according to the gay community that makes me a cis or a cisgender person. Basically, in order to appease the gay community, women must be stripped of their sexual identity for them to experience human rights, dignity and inclusion. Damn our collective experience being women.

The Kybalion, a book discussing the 7 Hermetic principles describes gender as follows: The principle of gender is manifested on all planes of life, material, mental and spiritual. Gender does not mean sex. Sex is merely a material manifestation of gender. Gender means relating to generation or creation. And wherever anything is generated or created on any plane, the principle of gender must be manifested, and this is true even in the creation of universes.

Let’s put this argument in a larger perspective. Society uses science-backed findings as arguments to support environmental and climate causes, the dangers of tobacco, the opioid crisis, including the current pandemic, but demand that we disregard the same science that distinguish gender. When it comes to sexual identity, we are being programmed to pick and choose science for politically correct arguments to placate the gay community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the agenda is to eliminate what it truly means to be a woman. And those who don’t fall in line are labelled homophobic. Even when it comes to sports, transgender people are taking part in competition with the sex they identify with. Although it’s scientifically proven that in general, men are physically stronger than women, we are being programmed to think otherwise in order to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. This persecution of women is reminiscent of times past when we were denied basic human rights and subjected to second class status. And, the relabeling of society reaches beyond the gay community, as it’s even turned Latinos into Latinx. And when it comes to race, Rachel Dolezal who tried passing as a Black woman was mercilessly persecuted for it. Apparently, science only bends for gender.

The gay community is demanding acceptance by way of sociologically bullying others to conform to their view of the world. This is incredibly threatening and a major overreach. Why are women being forced to make room for men who want to be women and others on the spectrum of sexual identity, by denying their own biological makeup and life experiences. Everyone has a right to live in a world that is accepting and tolerant. And that includes women. The gay community deserves acceptance and human rights just like everyone else. But acceptance doesn’t equate to delusion or blatant disregard for science and what it means to be an actual woman. I can accept anyone as they are or want to be, but it shouldn’t require me to deny scientific facts of human sexuality. Transwomen are transwomen. For this not to be so means there’s no distinction between me, (a straight woman) and a transwoman. And that’s clearly not true. People want to be socially woke but asleep when it comes to the science of sexuality.

When we start removing the taboos in basic truths, perhaps we’ll find harmony in sharing the world as diverse people, regardless of where you find comfort on the sexual identity spectrum. There’s no argument gay rights are human rights, unfortunately it’s becoming apparent that it means taking from Patricia to comfort Patrick who wants to be Patricia. Similar to the agenda comparing the civil rights movement to the gay rights movement faced pushback, so must this bullying tactic and audacious overreach to relabel the majority of the human population. To take away our identity as women, or to pass it around like a hat anyone can wear, is to trivialize the experiences of women and our history. Although I’m an ally, I refuse to be a sycophant for the gay community. I am not cisgender. I am not transgender. I am a woman.

Troubled Waters: Misdirected Energy In Our 21st Century Awakening

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Are Americans truly free? The simple answer is no because freedom is not free, and oppressors will never be free until all men are free.

The world is changing. George Floyd’s heinous murder was the latest violent incident that forced people from the comforts of their homes to the streets to protest police brutality and an unequal world that is steadily tilting toward normalcy of all kinds of injustices committed against Black people, including harsh economic inequalities that continue to divide us as a nation. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that our president gave a hefty goodie bag to the wealthiest Americans with the Republican crafted Tax Cuts And Jobs Act of 2017, despite the cost—now and in the future—to already struggling Americans. Thanks to him and the elites he serves, poor people and their children for generations to come are saddled with paying the cost of their wealthy lifestyles. They get to keep raking in the dough by paying fewer taxes, while we sink deeper into debt and poverty. The inhumanity staining these political maneuvers helped pave the road to what’s happening all across America today. 

Make no mistake. This is a nation’s awakening. And, it’s about time that Americans agree that despite our cultural differences, the emperor and his rich crew of servants and benefactors of our miseries are behaving like descendants of colonial enslavers. “To be a slave is not to be able to determine your own destiny,” said Historian and Pan-Africanist Dr. John Henrik Clarke in his speech, Freedom’s Not Free. He explains that until we control our communities and our destiny, we don’t have sovereignty and no true freedom. That’s the blaring truth this nation is facing in this awakening.

Health care, low paying jobs, housing, the cost of education, including the steady pollution of our environment, especially our waters, have yet to compel those in positions to make a difference to do so and reverse the trend of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Why is this? Are the numbers not clear enough? Are Americans not poor enough, sick enough? Is the brutality inflicted on Black people since the birth of our nation not been heinous enough? Evidently not, just look at what’s happening in Kentucky today. People are banging on polling station doors to be let in to vote. It’s reminiscent of the days Black people were beaten and terrorized with dogs and fire hoses when they tried to vote.

These are ever changing times Aretha Franklin sang, and man is that evident these days.  Those with disproportionate power, Mitch McConnell and the GOP, are muzzling voters left and right by closing polling stations, rejecting the option for mail-in ballots, and fear mongering to continue their blatant oppression and power grab, despite the need and loud demand for change. McConnell, determined to honor his lineage of oppressors like those with a death grip on the confederate flag, is no different than the terrorists Fannie Lou Hamer faced during the Mississippi voting rights movement. When Hamer testified before a credentials committee about the brutality she faced in August 1962, President Lyndon B. Johnson, determined to silence her, held an impromptu press conference to note the 9 month anniversary of JFK’s assassination and the wounding of Texas Governor John Connally at the same time she was testifying, knowing he would command the country’s attention at that pivotal moment. He silenced her then but her powerful words and testimony remain, just like her fighting spirit that lives in so many that have taken to the street in protest. Hamer left us with a powerful legacy and a story that matters today. Stories that will help lead us to the mountain top Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned for all Black, Brown and poor people, unless we lose this powerful momentum with misdirected energy fighting each other. The oppressive tactic President Johnson used to silence Hamer is part of the GOP’s playbook. And it’s still being used today to maintain their choke-hold on true freedom and democracy. 

Let’s talk about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. How is one man able to hold so much power over a nation that prides itself as a beacon of freedom and hope for mankind? How can one man, part of a nation of millions, single-handedly gag debate and votes on crucial legislation aimed at enacting the change the people are demanding? Police brutality is rampant but Congress can’t vote on matters like Qualified Immunity, or The Bipartisan Background Checks Act, The American Dream and Promise Act, The Equality Act and Securing America’s Federal Elections Act because one man, leading the Senate GOP, refuses to allow it. Our living document, the Constitution, meant to guide us into a civilizing nation is being used to preserve a dying breed of white men who never expected their power would be threatened by the people they govern, including their own children. They didn’t foresee this moment of mass unrest, so McConnell and the GOP are choosing to weaponize democracy and use it like the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper against us: We the People. McConnell already showed us how capable he is in blocking crucial legislation during the Obama administration. So, do not be deceived, he will continue to put party over country if Kentuckians don’t show him the door this November. And, how spiritual and healing it would be if he’s replaced by Charles Booker, Kentucky’s youngest Black state lawmaker who’s predicted to face him in November.

These are trying times. Many of those protesting in our streets, taking down monuments and forcing changes we never thought we’d see, didn’t live through the Jim Crow era. And they weren’t alive during the civil rights movement either. But it’s beautifully evident they grew up holding dear to the ideals of American democracy instilled in them. As we acknowledge this new dawning, they’re right to be angry and demand change from the top of our forefathers heads to the bottom of the feet of those who continue to blindly carry out their exclusive will and vision for America.

“I know what the world has done to my brother and how narrowly he has survived it. And I know, which is much worse, and this is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it,” James Baldwin wrote in his book, The Fire Next Time. These words, like howling ghosts, are echoing across the land as these protests continue and statues tumble down. Two years ago cities across the country were tiptoeing on the issue of these confederate statues. Today, they’re working overtime to take them down or face the protesters who will tear them down, burn them and throw them in rivers. In many ways, the elders have taught their children well. Who knew they were listening and willing to battle for our nation’s true freedom.

Unfortunately, and like all Black leaders have warned since the abolitionists movement, we are facing a serious threat in these changing times. And that’s the misdirected energy taking place beneath the surface of this just fight. Black writers, civil rights leaders and other influencers are bickering and openly attacking each other on social media. Civil rights lawyers S. Lee Merritt and Ben Crump have been mercilessly attacked for their White House visit for the signing of an executive order calling for more police training to reduce violent incidents, by the likes of Roland S. Martin and even the NAACP in Georgia who went so far to try to untie our fragile Black bond by saying Merritt, who represents the family of Ahmaud Arbery was an, “out-of-state lawyer who does not have deep relationships with our civil rights community.” How petty. This infighting and airing of dirty laundry is the misdirected energy that will undoubtedly derail this opportunity to enact concrete changes and end long standing injustices and structural racism.

Shaun King, a well-known biracial activist, is also being mocked and attacked by other prominent Black writers and influencers. And, according to his recent article, he’s being targeted for assassination by a group of retired law enforcement officials. Just take a trip on Twitter to see how some Black people are treating each other. Michael Harriot and Yvette Nicole Brown and many others are retweeting, sharing and posting about the measure of King’s blackness. The criticism is not new. King has come under scrutiny before and rightfully so. He should be held accountable for his civil rights work, but there’s a difference here and it’s no longer about accountability. It’s about being deserving of his post and the color of his skin, which makes no sense when other light skin figures like Rock Newman and Tom Joyner are easily accepted as Black people in society. It’s a sensitive issue that has always divided Black people. There’s the paper bag test, the good hair measure, and many more divisors that only serves to misdirect us away from what should be a common goal: economic sovereignty and social freedom.

So, it’s not just apathy we must worry about, but the lack of unity among Black people. And, the gap among poor people and other people of color who suffer trauma from racism and white supremacy should also be closed in an all out effort to finally create a world where we all feel good in, not just white people. It’s time to deliberately work toward our collective humanity and fight to end global white supremacy.

Historians have proven time and time again that history is cyclical. And yet, we still don’t learn. If we want to finally come out of this spinning cylinder of repeated events, we have to change our ways. We have to stop fighting each other because it only serves to detract us. It is misdirected energy that is crucially needed in this fight. These protests are real demands for tangible changes in our nation. Change in how the police operate, how American wealth is distributed, how education is achieved, change in housing, access to health care, equality in the workforce, equal pay for equal work, equality for the LGBTQ community, humane immigration policies, and environmental changes. We cannot afford to be distracted by the nonsense of how black King is or whether or not Merritt and Crump belong in certain parts of our country or deserving of the tragic cases they take on. We can’t afford these distractions!

We are at a critical time in our history and the concept of state vs. nation must be considered. Black people have been living in the concept of a state for far too long, and not as part of a nation. If we were part of this nation we wouldn’t need civil rights to be part of American society. This is also about culture continuity and building our economic base. And for that to happen we have to start trusting each other, as Dr. Clarke advised. He said struggle is the highest form of education. Black, brown and poor people must learn through their common struggle. And in that spirit, it’s time to ask the right question. And that is: where do we go from here?

Protests And Policy Is Key Toward Justice In America

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

George Floyd’s little girl is right, he did change the world.

It’s been nearly a week since America started putting out riot fires ignited by an emotional tsunami when Floyd’s callous murder sent shock waves, still rippling, across the globe. The wails of agony and blind rage at the officers responsible, the racism that fueled his death, the oppressive law enforcement system and discriminatory government structure behind it all, is well known by all marginalized people. Especially Black people. And that’s evident in the different responses and reactions to these protests. Some are expressing themselves with violence, while others are taking a more peaceful and measured approach to address the long festering wounds of racism, police brutality, social and economic inequality. The devastating reality of bigotry and discrimination in America has finally come to a head like a boil ready for lancing.

And Floyd’s tragic death is bringing a broad coalition of protesters together to change the state of American society. Unfortunately, there’s no blueprint or manual for a people fed up to adequately respond to a Military obsessed government, putting protesters at risk of losing focus with infighting and disagreements on how to effectively carry out these demonstrations calling for change. Historians, in discussing the leadership styles of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. frequently talk about the lather not having a cohesive strategy to follow through, a collective plan B, if the civil rights marches and protests didn’t prove effective. Gandhi, on the other hand, was effective in uniting Indians on a common course for autonomy from British Rule and were ready to raise the stakes with a plan B, changing their clothes, in other words, using their collective economic powers to fight their oppressor. If Americans want the outcome of these protests to be fruitful beyond the capital B in the new Black, we will need a similar strategy to address institutionalized racism and reform policing.

The momentum created by these protests must energize grassroots campaigns targeting the specific issues highlighted during former President Obama’s town hall meeting on Wednesday. From stopping the practice of choke-holds, deescalation tactics, to implicit bias training. These policies are already in place for law enforcement communities to implement. A recent article in The Atlantic highlights the groups and independent commissions that have provided specific solutions to address police misconduct in America. “Prior tragedies have resulted in a string of independent, blue-ribbon commissions—Wickersham (1929), Kerner (1967), Knapp (1970), Overtown (1980), Christopher (1991), Kolts (1991), Mollen (1992), and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (2014)—to make recommendations for meaningful change that could address police misconduct. These groups have developed well-reasoned conclusions and pointed suggestions that are widely discussed and enthusiastically implemented—but only for a time. As public attention shifts, politics moves on and police-reform efforts wane. The cycle continues unbroken.” The solution, like the Ten Commandments has been written, but the resolve of politicians to act is still MIA because they can count on protesters losing their way and their will to keep fighting. It’s become the standard of American uprisings. Or, maybe, the fire next time, as laid out by James Baldwin, is here.

Despite the uniqueness of the global protests sparked by Floyd’s death, the risk of apathy and lack of persistence remains a real threat to real change that’s desperately needed. In addition to police accountability, community action at every level addressing systemic racism, through fostering diverse relationships that lead to creating policies based on real-world experiences is sorely needed. Therefore, change must include a more diverse Congress, as well as state and local leaderships. Marginalized folks, especially Black people, have to run for local offices and community boards, just like Black leaders during the early part of the civil rights movement have urged us to do. Moreover, it’s incumbent on all of us to hold those in power accountable to meet a changing nation’s demand for a better country, because it’s going to take a society-wide approach to address our structural challenges rooted in racism.

“It was absolutely clear that the police would whip you and take you in as long as they could get away with it, and that everyone else—housewives, taxi-drivers, elevator boys, dishwashers, bartenders, lawyers, judges, doctors, and grocers—would never, by the operation of any generous human feeling, cease to use you as an outlet for his frustrations and hostilities. Neither civilized reason nor Christian love would cause any of those people to treat you as they presumably wanted to be treated; only the fear of your power to retaliate would cause them to do that, or seem to do it, which was (and is) good enough,” wrote James Baldwin in, The Fire Next Time.

(AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Black people are the CEO’s of enough is enough dot com. We’ve been in this sunken place for far too long. The difference of this moment in time, is that finally, the housewives, taxi-drivers, elevator boys, dishwashers, bartenders, lawyers, judges, doctors, and grocers have had enough, too. And not just here in the U.S., but across the world. It is our collective belief in American culture and humanity, at least the promise of it, that is forcing this broad coalition of protesters together this time, some with the need to speak with violence. And that is to be expected when our common understanding of right and wrong, our written and unwritten rules of how we treat one another, our human contract, is continuously violated by those with the most power. The 400 year old violation of our humanity has been vicious and egregious, so much so, that our president saw fit to pepper spray his way through peaceful protesters chanting, “Black Lives Matter” to hold up a bible he doesn’t respect for a photo-op he doesn’t need in front of a boarded up church closed to parishioners. Tragic can’t sufficiently capture this posturing.

The only thing that can passably contextualize his strange movements is this passage in The Insane World Of Adolf Hitler by Chandler Brossard, “It is not in the least surprising that Hitler, who, incidentally, had been born a Roman Catholic, had a highly confusing and contradictory relationship with churches and Christian concepts in general. His actions and words denied the existence of a God, yet the fact that he constantly referred to himself as being “guided by Providence,” and “chosen from on high,” indicates that at least in some ritualistic—or opportunistic part of his mind he really did believe in the divinity. Clearly, this motivated his famous assertion, in the late thirties, before a screaming, chanting wild-eyed Munich audience of thousands, “I go the way that Providence dictates with the assurance of a sleepwalker.” Donald Trump surrounds himself with sleepwalkers, steadily building casual racist pressure under the guise of religion, similar to how Hitler used and abused religion to turn his fellow countrymen against each other, leading to the Jewish Holocaust and WWII. We can’t let that happen again.

Malcolm X said Americans must speak the same language in order for us to understand each other. Thus, it’s time to speak with our protests, money, and our votes, similar to what Gandhi did for Indians and what Rosa Parks did for African Americans with the Montgomery bus boycott. Major companies taking bold actions to fight racism by firing bad employees, ending police contracts with private businesses, firing and charging offending officers, creating opportunities for more minority upward mobility, making strong public statements, and following through with measured transformation, are the changes we need to see. The strong anti-racism reaction from Ben & Jerry’s is the modern leadership this moment needs. Calling for the dismantling of the culture of white supremacy is powerful and refreshingly honest. It recognizes long standing Black pain and suffering. And Citigroup, Netflix and Microsoft making strong statements against racism and discrimination, including the global protests in solidarity against Black oppression in America has been deeply inspiring. A hopeful sign that the winds of change are finally blowing again.

This transformational change will build if marginalized people and their allies continue this fight against a common enemy: racism, police brutality, and growing inequality. Senseless violence doesn’t always discriminate or give rise to passionate protests. Even so, little Black girls like Gianna Floyd are the chief victims left behind when Black fathers are murdered by the police, and Black mothers like Wanda Cooper continue to dominate the fields of grief with the disproportionate loss of their Black boys, like Ahmaud Arbery, to racial violence. Black women like Breonna Taylor still fit perfectly into a certain dimension, an unholy space poignantly expressed by Malcolm X when he said, “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman, the most neglected person in America is the Black women.” This has to be reversed, too. These sacrifices are changing the world, but it falls on all of us, rooted in a common belief in humanity, to ensure their deaths, and all those who have met similar fates, are not in vain.

And because the media plays a significant role in narrating our human story, a call for sincere adaptable action on their part, must be part of the restructuring of a more balanced and just America. We can start with condemning the Philadelphia Inquirer recent offensive headline, “Buildings Matter, Too.” George Floyd changed the world, his little girl said. Although he didn’t intent to, through these protests and call for racial equality and policy changes, may the goodness and mercy that comes from his tragic death finally make way for all people to dwell in a better world forever.