Friday, 8 July 2016

Living In Fear

One of the benefits of the evolution of society was that human beings no longer had to live a brutish and short existence. They could form relationships, acquire property and provide for themselves without having to endure an unending cycle of attacks and killings. In other words, they were free to live without fear. It appears that modern day America is recreating the conditions that prevailed in prehistoric societies in Black communities. People are preyed upon by bullies and criminals, and oppressed and brutalised by the so called agents of law and order. We now have a situation where the police's failure to protect and serve the Black people in America has now placed the lives of all people in America in peril. 

The perpetrators of the shootings in Dallas are wrong and have done more harm than they can imagine. Killing police officers under the cover of a 'Black Lives Matter' march was inexcusable. However, the police in America have created an environment where any Black person must reasonably fear for their lives if stopped by the police. The escalation of police shootings of unarmed Black men combined with increased instances of Black people dying in custody hasn't yet led to any systemic change in law enforcement in America. If the establishment continues to disregard unjust killings and abuse of authority by the police then they are setting the scene for Black people to stand their ground and start fighting back. 

I deplore the shooting of police officers in Dallas but my sympathies lie with the families of Alton Sterling, Philando Castille and the five hundred other Black people who have died at the hands of the police this year. 

Monday, 4 July 2016

Black on the 4th of July

Source: NewsOne
A section of African Americans are acutely aware of the close connection between America's independence and the history of slavery. They are thus very indignant about any attempts to celebrate the 4th of July by Black people. And they have every reason to be embittered. Not only were Black people enslaved and brutalised but three centuries later they are still being oppressed and marginalised.

America's history is a tale of conflicts and hypocrisies. America claims to be the land of the free yet at various times it has enslaved or oppressed Native Americans, Africans, Latin Americans, Polynesians and various minorities. Americans are fiercely nationalistic but suffer from a strangely enduring desire to be British. The American love of sport is legendary yet it suffers from the worst incidence of obesity in the developed world. Americans swear by the second amendment but America is plagued by the highest levels of gun crime and violent deaths anywhere in the world. America is the foremost developed country in the world but it has shown year on year increases in poverty, deprivation, ill health and social marginalisation. 

It is important that African Americans not forget their history. That history is integral to the history of America. While past wounds may not be healed there are future battles to be fought. It is reasonably acceptable not to celebrate the 4th of July but Black Americans have earned their place in modern America and they have a role to play in its continuing evolution and transformation. It is important that African Americans don't become infested with the hypocrisy that inhabits American history and pervades the American psyche. It was ironic that Bill Clinton; a man responsible for drugs and penal policies that have ravaged Black American communities gave the eulogy at Muhammad Ali's funeral. 

There is still a huge amount of work to be done on building up Black enlightenment and self esteem. African America can't keep pointing the finger in one direction and yet turn its back on the poverty, crime, deprivation, under education, ill health, and lack of aspiration that has infested its neighbourhoods. It needs to learn about history while educating itself about the demands of advancing its interests locally and globally in harsh and oppressive modern times. Complacency and settling will only serve to dishonour the sacrifices of the Black people who fought for survival in an independent America.