Posts tagged with "sundown town"

Serenading The Consciousness And Condition of Black People In America

Jason Aldeen’s song is missing the chorus his ancestors played

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

“The prejudice against us is not because of our color, it is because of our condition. If we must have justice, we must be strong. If we must be strong, we must come together. If we must come together we can only do so in the system of organization.” – Marcus Garvey

Country singer, Jason Aldeen took his anti-Black Klansmen spirit to the airwaves, and just like Trump’s call to “Make America Great Again,” majority of the nation is standing up to salute his dog whistle. Sadly, he lacks even the most basic knowledge of American history responsible for the sociological patterns, symptoms, Black condition and “inappropriate behavior patterns” or “the Rodney King syndrome” as described by Dr. Claud Anderson in full manifestation. Instead, he has chosen to express the privilege it is to be White in America, as those who were forced to build this nation under the brutality of chattel slavery are now “free” to enjoy some of its bounty … or flip the table like a scene from reality television. Let’s break down his small town views and ignorance feigning expression reminiscent of the Key & Peele skit titled, Country Music.

Try That In A Small Town

Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk
Carjack an old lady at a red light
Pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store
Ya think it’s cool, well, act a fool if ya like

It’s true, we’ve seen numerous incidents of criminals wreaking havoc across the country. Our society is on full HD display thanks to our powerful media industry. Many of these images we see and read about show mostly Black people committing these types of crimes. And this strategic maneuver has been done deliberately by the media since the birth of this nation. What they won’t show or talk about? The sucker punches thrown at Black people trying to get an education, cast their vote, look for work, or the hounds they released to tare the flesh off of women and children, the poisoning of livestock, the swindling of their hard-earned pay, and the bombing of their little girls in a church.

Mourners outside funeral services for Carol Robertson, one of four girls killed in the 1963 bombing.

“By the time I was 10 or 12, I just wished to God I was white, you know, because they had food to eat, they didn’t work, they had money, they had nice homes. And we would nearly freeze, we never did have any food, we worked all the time and didn’t have nothing.”Fannie Lou Hamer

Mainstream media also fails to highlight the numerous incidents of carjacking of innocent Black people, even old ladies, who had managed to scrunch up enough money to pay-off a car they desperately needed to rebuild their families’ lives after emancipation and during the great depression. And there are numerous historic accounts of guns being pulled on Black store owners who’s perceived “success” was so deeply offensive to their White countrymen, academics have coined this phenomenon as “white rage” to describe their outright refusal to tolerate any Black person doing better than their former enslaved status.

Cuss out a cop, spit in his face
Stomp on the flag and light it up
Yeah, ya think you’re tough

Well, try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
Around here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won’t take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don’t
Try that in a small town

This part of the song should remind of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, today a National Historic Landmark that was the site of the brutal Bloody Sunday beatings of civil rights marchers, including the late Congressman John Lewis. They were cussed out by cops who spat in their faces; symbolically stomping and burning the flag America says stands for freedom and democracy, and a beacon of hope for the rest of the world. John Lewis was marching for voting rights for Black people, a fundamental right denied to them, not just by Congressional action and inaction, but by state sponsored terrorism from unformed officers, White mobs and Klansmen. This took place in a small town, Selma, Alabama, and Aldeen is absolutely right, they didn’t make it down the road. They didn’t even make it across the bridge to meet the other side of the road. The cops took care of their own White people that day by beating down Black folks who dared to cross their racial line. And it didn’t take long for Black Americans to find out what truly goes down in small towns across America.

Even the Green Book became necessary to allow safe passage for Black folks in small towns. It became “the bible of black travel” during the era of Jim Crow laws, when open and legal discrimination against Black people was the American way, duly noted in Aldeen’s country howl. The south may have lost the Civil War but history and Aldeen’s crass tune makes clear that the country is still controlled by White racialists who voted for our last president who ran to, “Make America Great Again” for them.

Got a gun that my granddad gave me
They say one day they’re gonna round up
Well, that shit might fly in the city, good luck

Try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
Around here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won’t take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don’t
Try that in a small town

The Second Amendment continues to be a contentious national debate. We’ve seen numerous incidents where race was a factor—Philando Castille, Alton Sterling, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott—of the law being applied, and the loud inaction or response to these cases from the powerful NRA makes this also clear. This isn’t a new line drawn in the sand, as race has always been a factor in the application of the gun law. Case in point; Cliven D. Bundy and his militiamen took up arms against the federal government and were backed by the NRA who called the confrontation, “a proper, legitimate, lawful response to illegitimate, unlawful exercise of government power.”

And here’s another reminder of our divided America: The Branch Davidians and the siege at Ruby Ridge, had Wayne LaPierre, longtime NRA head honcho whaling in defense of those he sees as true Americans, “If you have a badge, you have the government’s go-ahead to harass and intimidate, even murder, law-abiding citizens.” Miraculously LaPierre lost his voice when Philando Castille was gunned down by a cop despite being a licensed gun owner. The only difference is that he was Black and the law was never considered with him in mind. “The National Rifle Association is America’s longest-standing civil rights organization. Together with our more than five million members, we’re proud defenders of history’s patriots and diligent protectors of the Second Amendment,” reads the official NRA statement. Imagine the audacity of that assertion.

Since the inception of the right to bear arms, the law was never intended to include Black people; it was intended to keep guns out of their hands. And White mobs have a long documented history of using guns “granddad gave” them to stop Black people from crossing racial lines in their fight for justice, freedom, access and equality.

In her book, The Second; Race and Guns In A Fatally Unequal America, Carol Anderson writes, “Even for the NRA, Black people did not have Second Amendment rights. A broken treacherous rights landscape, of course, has always been the reality for African Americans. We know that the 15th Amendment, the right to vote, was undercut by poll taxes, literacy tests, violence and understanding clauses for nearly 100 years and unfortunately, since 2013 has come under assault again. Similarly, the amendments covering the justice system, the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th, have offered little to no protection for African Americans because of numerous Supreme Court decisions that have imbedded racism and racial profiling into policing, trial procedures and sentencing. But the Second Amendment charge for a well regulated militia and the right of the people to keep and bear arms offers a particularly maddening set of standards where race is concerned.”

She continues, “There’s almost an eerie silence on this particular amendment, which its advocates call central to citizenship. That silence is not accidental. The 18th century origins of the right to bear arms explicitly excluded Black people. South Carolina encoded into law that the enslaved could not carry or make use of firearms or any offensive weapons whatsoever, unless in the presence of some White person. Moreover, the states various militias had the power to search and examine all Negro houses for offensive weapons and ammunition. In Delaware there could be no valid earthly reason that any bought servant or Negro or mulatto slave be allowed to bear arms. Georgia was even more direct, not only were Blacks forbidden from owning or carrying firearms but White men were required to own a good gun or pistol to give them the means to search and examine all Negro houses for offensive weapons and ammunition. The distinction was clear; citizens had the right to keep arms, the slave did not.”

“Revolution is never based on begging somebody for an integrated cup of coffee. Revolutions are never fought by turning the other cheek. Revolutions are never fought on love your enemies and pray for those who spitefully or despitefully use you. And revolutions are never a wave playing we shall overcome. Revolutions are based on bloodshed. Revolutions are never a compromise. Revolutions are never based upon negotiations. Revolutions are never based upon any kind of tokenism whatsoever. Revolutions are never even based upon that which is begging a corrupt society or a corrupt system to accept us into it. Revolutions overturn systems.”– Malcolm X

Full of good ol’ boys, raised up right
If you’re looking for a fight
Try that in a small town
Try that in a small town

Try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
Around here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won’t take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don’t
Try that in a small town

Try that in a small town
Ooh-ooh
Try that in a small town

Don’t kid yourself; Aldeen is right, small towns are “Full of good ol’ boys” who are always looking for an unfair fight with those they’ve been too comfortable terrorizing with each new generation learning the tricks to tie their lynching ropes. This is how they take care of their own. Ahmaud Arbery lost his life to these same “good ol’ boys” in a small town in Georgia where the likes of, Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, William Bryan Jr. and even Jason Aldeen howl to burning crosses at night to feel supreme human.

“The white man prefers to keep the black man at a certain human remove because it is easier for him thus to preserve his simplicity and avoid being called to account for crimes committed by his forefathers, or his neighbors.” – James Bladwin

Nonetheless, Black people must also take account of their part in the global enslavement of Africans, the racial struggle and dominance by Whites. From Africa, throughout the middle passage and into the New World, Black people have consistently taken part in their peoples own misfortunes and subjugation. Africans were instrumental in the slave trade, even trading manila currency with Europeans and Arabs in exchange for sending captured Africans to their enslavement across the globe. There’s even an account of a 19-year-old African male stopping a slave ship revolt on a slave vessel called The Eagle, and taking a machete blow to protect his White captures. Upon arrival, “he was rewarded and recognized for it and he personally benefitted at the expense of his own people,” said Dr. Claud Anderson in his lecture, A Road Block to Empowerment. And believe it or not, the first person to own a slave named John Casor for life in America was a free Black man from Angola named Anthony Johnson who came to the colonies in 1621 aboard the slave ship James after his capture by Portuguese slave traders. He even acquired land under the Headrights system.

After the assassination of Malcolm X ordered by the man he once worshipped, Elijah Muhammad, who led the Nation of Islam (NOI) from 1934 until his death in 1975 said, “The way I see it, Malcolm is the victim of his own preaching. He preached violence and so he become the victim of it. So Malcolm met with just what he preached. This death of Malcolm, god himself had something to do with that. And I think the people will learn that this was some work of god himself.”

Evidently, the god Muhammad prayed to didn’t see fit to plague Whites for their crimes against humanity, but somehow this so-called god is responsible for the killing of one of the greatest Black leaders America has ever known. Malcolm X sought to lead his people to freedom like Moses led his people from the Pharaoh, and true to Black conditioning, the NOI made sure he didn’t succeed.

And these stories and historical accounts aren’t unique to America. Africa has its own sins to atone for, including the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was killed by his own people by order of the Belgium’s, and even America and Great Britain played a role in his assassination. His crime? He spoke out about the suffering of African people at the hands of their European oppressors. In other words, the truth he spoke to power made him a threat, even to his own fellow Africans desperate for personal power and a seat next to their oppressors, or a place in the master’s home. In 2022, Belgium returned Lumumba’s tooth after holding it as a trophy for 61 years, similar to a serial killer keeping items from their victims to mark and reminisce of their evil.

“Dead, living, free, or in prison on the order of the colonialists, it is not I who counts. It is the Congo, it is our people for whom independence has been transformed into a cage where we are regarded from the outside… History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington, or the United Nations will teach, but that which they will teach in the countries emancipated from colonialism and its puppets…a history of glory and dignity,” – Patrice Lumumba

The dignity Lumumba talks about has yet to arrive. Just look around you and take in the state of our American culture. Last week, two White males, 38-year-old Daniel Walls and a 17-year-old, were arrested and charged with Civil Rights intimidation for posting Ku Klux Klan recruitment flyers outside of three Black churches in Columbia, Tennessee. A Black “influencer” who goes by the name Sassy Trucker is being held in Dubai for the ratchet behavior she’s known for on social media. And the other latest embarrassment is called Carlee Russell, a Black woman who created a kidnapping hoax for attention. Not only did she lie, she made sure to ask for thoughts and prayers from real victims of this particular crime. And to further stick her finger in the nation’s eye and worsening the stigma for Black folks, she made sure to crack a smile in her mug shot. Making matters even worse, a dozen Black teens have just been arrested for a unprovoked brutal and horrific attack on a Black man at a gas station, followed by indiscriminate shooting with automatic weapons. This is our America today, despite the blueprint left by Black giants like the Black Panther Party who started the school lunch program and fought against police brutality.

Jason Aldeen’s melodic words certainly sting, but he’s serenading the consciousness and condition of Black people in America. The only missing chorus is the role his White ancestors played in the shaping of our divided nation. Similar to Florida under Ron DeSantis who is feverishly working to rewrite history to make slavery look like a benefit to Black people, Aldeen’s country tune separates itself from truth too, like oil refuses water.

“You can’t do anything by legislation, it takes education. The White men in this country need to be reeducated so that his behavior patterns towards non-whites will change. And the Black men in this country also need to be reeducated so our behavior pattern and attitude toward ourselves will change.” – Malcolm X

 

The naked truth about the state of America.