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Hollywood films should always come with a consumer health warning to people of African descent: “Beware of ‘The Ideology of the Aesthetic,’ as Terry Eagleton would put it.” With all the hype, “Black Panther: Long Live the King” falls under this manipulative ideological warfare genre and should have been subtitled, “Down With the King,” for subscribing to what Wole Soyinka would dismiss as the pseudo tradition of neo-Tarzanism.
Historically, Black children have been exposed to a racist system, which not only exposes them to unspeakable violence, but also criminalization. In 2018, Black children still need protection. Through the life of Trayvon Martin and others, community members and organizers are standing up for the basic rights of Black children to ensure they make it through each phase of their childhood – and exercise their right to be children.
On Friday, June 16, as soon as she heard that the cop who murdered Philando Castile was acquitted, 16-year-old Lucy Siale posted on Facebook a call for a Black Lives Matter protest the next day, less than 24 hours after the verdict, at Oscar Grant Plaza outside Oakland City Hall. About 400 people came out. We have to continue because saying “Black Lives Matter” isn’t enough. We have to act like it.
I am a 19-year-old Black male from Pittsburg, Penn. This is my first time being in a state prison. I was shot by a white male police officer in the leg and hip. I was falsely accused of a crime when I was minding my own business. I’ve been in prison a few months now for a two-year term. I was sent to the only jail in the state that specifically holds juveniles, called SCI Pine Grove. SCI Pine Grove is where they brainwash and dehumanize mainly Black children.
Have you heard of the IEP? Well, it’s shorthand for special education. It is a program that is eating Black children, boys and girls at an alarming rate. Though it sounds benign and helpful, if too many of the children are Black, then there is a problem. It is a form of tracking; and any program that targets our children, puts them in a classroom where they are stigmatized by the larger student population (when they find out), is wrong.
Do they think that we are stupid? We were there. We have the pictures. We have the video. We heard what they said. We saw what they did. Yet, publications blatantly misrepresent the truth, posing serious harm to Black lives. These misrepresentations actively push forth a narrative that absolves law enforcement of the brutality and racism they inflict and, ultimately, blame victims for their own repression. We are not here for it.
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, the nation saw tens of thousands of people left behind in New Orleans. Ten years later, it looks like the same people in New Orleans have been left behind again. The population of New Orleans is noticeably smaller and noticeably whiter. While tens of billions poured into Louisiana, the impact on poor and working people in New Orleans has been minimal.
Poverty hurts children and our nation’s future. This stark statement is backed by years of scientific research, and the more we learn about the brain and its development the more devastatingly true we know this to be. Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty, it’s time for all Americans to work together to finish the job, beginning with ending child poverty in our nation with the largest economy on earth.
After winning their freedom in the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history, Blacks were in many cases and places denied basic human, civil and political rights, literally forcing New Afrikans back into slavery by denying them a right to life. Over the years the government declared and waged war on the New Afrikan communities - war on unemployed "vagrants,' war on crime, war on drugs, war on gangs - culminating in mass incarceration.
Bay Area author Tiffany Golden recently published her first book, “Midnight and the Man Who Had No Tears,” a fictitious tale written so that Black children can see themselves and be validated in children’s literature. Children’s literature was a fundamental part of my upbringing that helped to cultivate my love for reading into adulthood, and I think that we as Black people need to show a higher appreciation for this form of literature and the authors who create it.
How can a group have over 3 million people with college degrees yet be so underdeveloped economically? How can a people have over 10,000 elected officials yet have so little economic power? Why do African Americans spend only 3 percent of their income with each other? Could that explain why only 9 out of every one thousand African Americans start a business, while other groups are above 100?
For many in the African American community, especially those who are between poverty and middle class, autism is unfamiliar. We aren’t quite sure what kind of delay that means in our children. Does it mean they are dumb? Does it mean they won’t talk ever in life? Will they be sitting in the corner for decades, fascinated by the shiny object on the ceiling? Will they have friends of their own? Will they be independent?
There are a lot of people out there who are concerned about how you spend your money. Embrace this glorious month of February and our incomparably rich history that extends back God knows where and support the future Gabby Douglases and Colin Kaepernicks and George Washington Carvers of the world by buying Black.
“The 16th Strike,” a documentary in progress, is directed and produced by T Alika Hickman with videographer Danny Russo. Hickman, the young survivor of a stroke and two brain aneurysms, is a Hip Hop artist with Krip Hop Nation – artists with disabilities – as well as a mother, activist, author and poet. She is raising funds to complete the film.
I have no doubt that Dr. King would be mounting a nonviolent poor people campaign to end rampant hunger, homelessness and poverty today. Let’s honor and follow Dr. King by building a beloved community in America where all have enough to eat, a place to sleep, enough work at decent wages. Dr. King is not coming back. It’s up to us to redeem the soul of America. He told us what to do. Let’s do it.
This week, PBS will air “The Abolitionists,” a movie about people who during the 19th century spoke out against the evils of chattel slavery. The Abolitionist Movement has been subject to historical revisionism and an attempt by white America to pick our heroes. African Americans must become experts in the field of their own history, as no other racial group would dare trust the interpretation of their culture to others.
Author and African-centered business woman Akua Agusi is doing the work that a lot of us are too busy to concentrate on when we talk about educating our people as to what is really going in the world, educating our babies first. By creating African-centered books for young people about our Black heroes and sheroes, she is allowing us the opportunity to see ourselves early on in life as coming from a legacy.