Author Topic: Black History and Painful Truths  (Read 5459 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Black History and Painful Truths
« on: February 06, 2013, 11:51:17 AM »
Black History and Painful Truths



This year, we swore in more than just a president, we swore in a new zeitgeist for our nation.  We may cynically yawn at the president's call for a more inclusive society but we forget that exactly half a century ago, an Alabama governor used his inaugural address as a rallying cry for segregationists and as a warning shot to integrationists. "In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever," said Governor George Wallace.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2013-feb-black-history-and-painful-truths

bill

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2013, 03:14:14 PM »
Funny how you forgot DEMOCRATIC Governor.

NotNow

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2013, 04:02:45 PM »
Intelligent and thoughtful insight.  Thank you Mr. Meeks. 
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Webini

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 05:59:10 PM »
Thanks for the honest and fearless editorial.   

The subject here really exposes the direct result of the "Post Martin" era, as I like to call it.  Let me bring attention to this particular sentence laid at the end of your editorial: " As long as we take for granted the accomplishments of the past and as long as we bite the hand that is trying to feed us, we have not overcome and we never will."

I had to read the article twice to be sure I understand your position though I'm not 100% positive that I do.  If, so please correct me in love if I have misunderstood.  I'm lead to ask, though,  "who" or "what" is "the hand that feed's us"? And who is "us"? Are we talking about society at large and if so, who or what is the "hand that feed us"? Or are we talking about African American society? If the latter, are talking about people, policies, laws and establishments brought about as a result of the Civil Rights movements and other socio political movements as "the hand that feed us"?

Either way, the issue has to be first dissected and brought into perspective, which I personally feel (that due to the forum) will be  (and was for you) difficult to do.  It almost sounds as though your article is has two prominent points of one theme:

1. White teachers and their disadvantage in "teaching" urban youth.
2. The proliferation of "crying race"

Let me start with the "White Teacher, Urban( Black) Student".  I'm a child of the 80s, and the year before I started 7th grade, a program called "Majority-Minority"  (M&M) was introduced. The purpose was to allow us urban (Black) students to attend schools outside of our districts. These schools were majority White and were in majority White suburbs.  In addition, teachers were given certain incentives to teach in our urban schools. My school in particular was filled with Black teachers who lived right in the neighborhood. My mom is still close friends with several people who taught me. By the time I was in the 9th grade, these neighborhood teachers were replaced with younger, liberal-minded White teachers.  A school with a 100% Black student body had Black instructors in TWO classes, band and gym.   So what?  Well, I noticed, first hand, the decline of my friends who stayed at our school and even the ones who took advantage of the opportunity to go to the suburban schools. As a matter of fact, the ones who participated in Minority-Majority faired MUCH worse. I saw shop class taken out of my school, along with home economics and other programs and clubs that TAUGHT SKILL.  We stopped receiving the tidbits of knowledge and history about our people and even our own neighborhood! We went from a solid school body that represented well in local scholastic competitions, like Scholar's Bowl, to a rough and rugged Junior High School that gained a horrible reputation in a little less than two years. I saw this happen! None of these characteristics were true during my 7th grade year.  So I thought what happened!? (yes, back then I thought like this)  It wasn't until I noticed one of the new teachers disciplining one of the known "troublemakers" that it hit me. Communication. Not that the teacher simply didn't know what he was saying, and he didn't know what she was saying. But they didn't understand what each other were saying. They couldn't peer into each other's perspective. What happened was, you took a white teacher from a very different background and culture and you put her in a new and unfamiliar culture to not only socialize with, but also teach a child within that culture. The same happened with my friends whose parents opted to send them AWAY from their community to be educated, only they had teachers AND students who they didn’t identify with on any level to socialize with. Again, let’s TRY and keep “race” out. It hasn’t a real place.

What has happened in Black America is that we've constantly sold away our own culture and community for this dream of acceptance and equality. And I do mean dream because there is no real definition for "acceptance and equality" in the context of this country today.  Meaning, you are free and equal according to YOUR deeds and principles. We know the problems, we know what caused and causes them.  The troubled kid mentioned earlier may very well have been helped by a teacher who lived in, or even understood who he was and his culture.  And I know this to be true because this particular student’s parents and situation was known by the former teachers and was getting an education until M&M was instituted.    What's happening in BLACK America has VERY LITTLE to do with race, itself (however, there are institutions and systems in place that play a big part that I won’t touch on here as I feel this is specific to the two points mentioned above).  But it has everything to do with culture and this idea that we need a sweeping savior. And it's two sided. Today's generation of Whites is just as removed from the Civil Rights era, if not MORE. It's not their responsibility or duty to make amends in my opinion. They should carry on their forefathers’ legacies.  It's MY responsibility as a father (I have three sons) and member of my community to make sure I raise productive young men, to make sure that I overlook my affairs, lead and create legacy for my generations to come.  And to do that I feel history including and beyond American Civil Rights is key.  I believe being FREE and ACCEPTED amongst Blacks FIRST is key.  And for this to happen we must take a serious look in our communities. Like my mom did for me, I do for my sons.  Remember, your average Black in America knows very little about his or her history beyond what is taught in the school systems, and our annual Black History Month (which in my opinion is due an overhaul). As a educator I'm sure you would agree that knowledge unlocks doors and frees the mind.  But gaining of knowledge starts at home, not in the classroom. And that is the disadvantage that the White teacher AND the urban (Black) youth BOTH have.

Now about crying race. I cringe when I hear "racist". Or when I hear "…because he/she/I was/am Black".  And I like you worry about what would happen if there is a REAL racist attack on people of color. How would anyone know if the complaint is authentic? I won't go into my rant on the so-called leaders of the Black Community. But I am often perplexed at the amount of racist charges from a group that seems hell-bent on imitating and being accepted into the so-called "racist" community. Let me explain: several years ago Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow coalition filed suite against NASCAR stating there should be more African American Drivers. He also called NASCAR a "Bastion of White Supremacy". Is racing such a social past time in African American communities? If so, why was there no plan or push to create a racing league for those parties interested? And no, it shouldn't have been a push for a "Black NASCAR". After all most national pass times grew from communities to include all. But, NASCAR, a national pass time that grew out of prohibition is now racists.  What did I miss?  I often asked, who were the multitudes of black drivers being rejected? I haven't fully researched that so I digress. But we see this on and on. Another example: Halle Berry and the Academy Award. I often asked, why wasn't her Essence Award "good enough"?  Again I digress. My point is, Blacks have to value Blacks before we see a change in our condition. The laws are what they are. The history is what it is. In the meantime, we have sufficient capital and sufficient education and/or access to education to completely turn this situation around. But it has to happen from within.   

I apologize for such a long "comment".  Oh, I am a graduate of The University of Alabama. I know first hand the legacy of the famous speech.

bill

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 06:25:11 PM »
Funny how you forgot DEMOCRATIC Governor.

wow.  just wow.

I know easy to omit when it does not fit your narrative.

Jaxson

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2013, 09:36:55 PM »
Funny how you forgot DEMOCRATIC Governor.

Almost everyone in the Deep South was a Democrat, so it should be no surprise that the Solid South was run by segregationist Democrats.  We forget, however, that there were Democrats from the North who did try to make meaningful change in our nation.  I agree that George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, John Stennis and their like were racist Democrats, but we forget that the mayor of Minneapolis gave a rousing speech in 1948 that sough to push forward a civil rights agenda.  Hubert Humphrey's remarks resulted in the 'Dixiecrats' walking out from the convention.  There is more to the Democratic Party than just tagging them all as segregationists back then.  The New Deal coalition was a large tent that included people from the urban centers as well as the rural sectors of our nation.  It is oversimplifying the issue to claim that every Democrat wore a sheet back in the day.
John Louis Meeks, Jr.

buckethead

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2013, 08:46:46 AM »
Funny how you forgot DEMOCRATIC Governor.

wow.  just wow.

I know easy to omit when it does not fit your narrative.

Bill.... Please go back and read the essay... Beyond the first paragraph.

BridgeTroll

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2013, 09:40:25 AM »
Thanks for the honest and fearless editorial.   

The subject here really exposes the direct result of the "Post Martin" era, as I like to call it.  Let me bring attention to this particular sentence laid at the end of your editorial: " As long as we take for granted the accomplishments of the past and as long as we bite the hand that is trying to feed us, we have not overcome and we never will."

I had to read the article twice to be sure I understand your position though I'm not 100% positive that I do.  If, so please correct me in love if I have misunderstood.  I'm lead to ask, though,  "who" or "what" is "the hand that feed's us"? And who is "us"? Are we talking about society at large and if so, who or what is the "hand that feed us"? Or are we talking about African American society? If the latter, are talking about people, policies, laws and establishments brought about as a result of the Civil Rights movements and other socio political movements as "the hand that feed us"?

Either way, the issue has to be first dissected and brought into perspective, which I personally feel (that due to the forum) will be  (and was for you) difficult to do.  It almost sounds as though your article is has two prominent points of one theme:

1. White teachers and their disadvantage in "teaching" urban youth.
2. The proliferation of "crying race"

Let me start with the "White Teacher, Urban( Black) Student".  I'm a child of the 80s, and the year before I started 7th grade, a program called "Majority-Minority"  (M&M) was introduced. The purpose was to allow us urban (Black) students to attend schools outside of our districts. These schools were majority White and were in majority White suburbs.  In addition, teachers were given certain incentives to teach in our urban schools. My school in particular was filled with Black teachers who lived right in the neighborhood. My mom is still close friends with several people who taught me. By the time I was in the 9th grade, these neighborhood teachers were replaced with younger, liberal-minded White teachers.  A school with a 100% Black student body had Black instructors in TWO classes, band and gym.   So what?  Well, I noticed, first hand, the decline of my friends who stayed at our school and even the ones who took advantage of the opportunity to go to the suburban schools. As a matter of fact, the ones who participated in Minority-Majority faired MUCH worse. I saw shop class taken out of my school, along with home economics and other programs and clubs that TAUGHT SKILL.  We stopped receiving the tidbits of knowledge and history about our people and even our own neighborhood! We went from a solid school body that represented well in local scholastic competitions, like Scholar's Bowl, to a rough and rugged Junior High School that gained a horrible reputation in a little less than two years. I saw this happen! None of these characteristics were true during my 7th grade year.  So I thought what happened!? (yes, back then I thought like this)  It wasn't until I noticed one of the new teachers disciplining one of the known "troublemakers" that it hit me. Communication. Not that the teacher simply didn't know what he was saying, and he didn't know what she was saying. But they didn't understand what each other were saying. They couldn't peer into each other's perspective. What happened was, you took a white teacher from a very different background and culture and you put her in a new and unfamiliar culture to not only socialize with, but also teach a child within that culture. The same happened with my friends whose parents opted to send them AWAY from their community to be educated, only they had teachers AND students who they didn’t identify with on any level to socialize with. Again, let’s TRY and keep “race” out. It hasn’t a real place.

What has happened in Black America is that we've constantly sold away our own culture and community for this dream of acceptance and equality. And I do mean dream because there is no real definition for "acceptance and equality" in the context of this country today.  Meaning, you are free and equal according to YOUR deeds and principles. We know the problems, we know what caused and causes them.  The troubled kid mentioned earlier may very well have been helped by a teacher who lived in, or even understood who he was and his culture.  And I know this to be true because this particular student’s parents and situation was known by the former teachers and was getting an education until M&M was instituted.    What's happening in BLACK America has VERY LITTLE to do with race, itself (however, there are institutions and systems in place that play a big part that I won’t touch on here as I feel this is specific to the two points mentioned above).  But it has everything to do with culture and this idea that we need a sweeping savior. And it's two sided. Today's generation of Whites is just as removed from the Civil Rights era, if not MORE. It's not their responsibility or duty to make amends in my opinion. They should carry on their forefathers’ legacies.  It's MY responsibility as a father (I have three sons) and member of my community to make sure I raise productive young men, to make sure that I overlook my affairs, lead and create legacy for my generations to come.  And to do that I feel history including and beyond American Civil Rights is key.  I believe being FREE and ACCEPTED amongst Blacks FIRST is key.  And for this to happen we must take a serious look in our communities. Like my mom did for me, I do for my sons.  Remember, your average Black in America knows very little about his or her history beyond what is taught in the school systems, and our annual Black History Month (which in my opinion is due an overhaul). As a educator I'm sure you would agree that knowledge unlocks doors and frees the mind.  But gaining of knowledge starts at home, not in the classroom. And that is the disadvantage that the White teacher AND the urban (Black) youth BOTH have.

Now about crying race. I cringe when I hear "racist". Or when I hear "…because he/she/I was/am Black".  And I like you worry about what would happen if there is a REAL racist attack on people of color. How would anyone know if the complaint is authentic? I won't go into my rant on the so-called leaders of the Black Community. But I am often perplexed at the amount of racist charges from a group that seems hell-bent on imitating and being accepted into the so-called "racist" community. Let me explain: several years ago Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow coalition filed suite against NASCAR stating there should be more African American Drivers. He also called NASCAR a "Bastion of White Supremacy". Is racing such a social past time in African American communities? If so, why was there no plan or push to create a racing league for those parties interested? And no, it shouldn't have been a push for a "Black NASCAR". After all most national pass times grew from communities to include all. But, NASCAR, a national pass time that grew out of prohibition is now racists.  What did I miss?  I often asked, who were the multitudes of black drivers being rejected? I haven't fully researched that so I digress. But we see this on and on. Another example: Halle Berry and the Academy Award. I often asked, why wasn't her Essence Award "good enough"?  Again I digress. My point is, Blacks have to value Blacks before we see a change in our condition. The laws are what they are. The history is what it is. In the meantime, we have sufficient capital and sufficient education and/or access to education to completely turn this situation around. But it has to happen from within.   

I apologize for such a long "comment".  Oh, I am a graduate of The University of Alabama. I know first hand the legacy of the famous speech.

Awesome post... Thank you.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

Dog Walker

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2013, 10:21:19 AM »
^ +1 !
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TheCat

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2013, 12:02:23 PM »
I find it troubling when we blame youth for their lack of understanding. You haven't described anything that is uncommon to most schools in America. You may not realize it but it's not just black males that are on their phones when they know it's against the rules. It's not just black females that are dressing provocatively when they go to school. And, though, a white kid may not say "you're being racist" in response to getting in trouble for bad behavior they may say other statements that are equally absurd (if I'm to follow your logic).

I don't know why I'm bothered by proclamations that call upon the black community to do or be or think "x, y or z." I suppose I think it's belittling to people, as individuals.

And, I think its created bureaucratic machine(s) that use the black community as America's guinea pig.

And, I think it allows for excuse making for the parts of our society that have failed people mostly coming from black communities.

Ultimately, though, you are saying there is something wrong with black people and until that thing is fixed in the entirety of the black community the next steps towards success will never be realized. Right, am I reading your words correctly? Then you relate this problem to schools but I'm not too sure if your ultimate point is "don't cry wolf about racism."

Either way, you just gave our education system a HUGE pass...for a few generations. If the problem is, as you say, that black parents are teaching their black kids "to disrespect authority..." then how long will it take to fix that problem before those kids can get an education?  5 years? 10 years? 20 years? 30 years? While you're fixing that problem how many millions of black students will receive a substandard education because well, they like to play on their cell phones.

No, I don't buy it. Our school system has a responsibility to educate given the variables at hand. Students are in class rooms for 8 hours a day from the time they are 4 or 5 years old. My God, if we can't educate kids when we have them for that long there's something wrong with us (universally) not with those kids and not with the black community.

So, instead of calling upon 40 million black americans to respect authority(?) or have them wait for an American Mandela let's just fix our schools so our kids are leaving the system brilliant, regardless of the things "wrong with them."

By the way who is "the hand that feeds you?"



« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 12:12:53 PM by TheCat »

Jaxson

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2013, 04:27:34 PM »
I find it troubling when we blame youth for their lack of understanding. You haven't described anything that is uncommon to most schools in America. You may not realize it but it's not just black males that are on their phones when they know it's against the rules. It's not just black females that are dressing provocatively when they go to school. And, though, a white kid may not say "you're being racist" in response to getting in trouble for bad behavior they may say other statements that are equally absurd (if I'm to follow your logic).

I don't know why I'm bothered by proclamations that call upon the black community to do or be or think "x, y or z." I suppose I think it's belittling to people, as individuals.

And, I think its created bureaucratic machine(s) that use the black community as America's guinea pig.

And, I think it allows for excuse making for the parts of our society that have failed people mostly coming from black communities.

Ultimately, though, you are saying there is something wrong with black people and until that thing is fixed in the entirety of the black community the next steps towards success will never be realized. Right, am I reading your words correctly? Then you relate this problem to schools but I'm not too sure if your ultimate point is "don't cry wolf about racism."

Either way, you just gave our education system a HUGE pass...for a few generations. If the problem is, as you say, that black parents are teaching their black kids "to disrespect authority..." then how long will it take to fix that problem before those kids can get an education?  5 years? 10 years? 20 years? 30 years? While you're fixing that problem how many millions of black students will receive a substandard education because well, they like to play on their cell phones.

No, I don't buy it. Our school system has a responsibility to educate given the variables at hand. Students are in class rooms for 8 hours a day from the time they are 4 or 5 years old. My God, if we can't educate kids when we have them for that long there's something wrong with us (universally) not with those kids and not with the black community.

So, instead of calling upon 40 million black americans to respect authority(?) or have them wait for an American Mandela let's just fix our schools so our kids are leaving the system brilliant, regardless of the things "wrong with them."

By the way who is "the hand that feeds you?"

Lets go along with your line of reasoning that a white student has the same flimsy excuses for not following the rules, albeit not using the race card.  The difference, in my opinion, is that the white students do not have the luxury of using the race card to attempt to get out of following the rules. 
Could you imagine a female being able to say 'that's sexist' if a supervisor asked her to do the same work that a man would do?  The problem with the race card in the classroom is that it allows students of color to play the same games that have made race hustlers rich but have made us more suspicious of each other.
We know that the flimsy excuses can be shot down by the teacher.  But to call the teacher a racist is intended to make the teacher submit to blatant bullying on the part of the student and the student's parents who choose to play along.
We either trust our teachers to do the right thing or we replace them with someone who can.  We cannot allow a few race baiters and hustlers to slander our teachers who are indeed trying to teach them.  That, in my opinion, is biting the hand the feeds when a student is supposed to be helped by his teachers but instead works his darndest to thwart their work.
John Louis Meeks, Jr.

Jaxson

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2013, 04:40:26 PM »
Here is one more piece of food for thought.  Racial tolerance is a TWO-WAY streeet.  If a white student defied a teacher who happened to be of another race, there would rightfully be an outcry.  If a white student's parents told him to defy an African-American teacher, that family might be run out of town on a rail.  I do not understand anyone who would try to rationalize racisim in any form, even if it is coming from those who were the oppressed in the past...
John Louis Meeks, Jr.

KenFSU

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2013, 04:51:27 PM »
Since moving to Jacksonville, I've always found it odd how the city doesn't widely celebrate its past or preserve its history like so many other cities do. A professor over at UNF proposed a really interesting explanation in that he believes that Jacksonville's history is so racially ugly that most would rather sweep it under the rug and ignore it (even at the time it was happening) than accept and embrace it (for good and for bad). He posited that Jacksonville is a sick city, and that unless we collectively come to terms with our past, Jacksonville can never truly take that next step as a city. There are obviously many other factors that have prevented Jacksonville from reaching its full potential, but it was really an interesting take on why the city seems so eager to turn its back on its history at times.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 04:53:05 PM by KenFSU »

Jaxson

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2013, 05:27:15 PM »
Since moving to Jacksonville, I've always found it odd how the city doesn't widely celebrate its past or preserve its history like so many other cities do. A professor over at UNF proposed a really interesting explanation in that he believes that Jacksonville's history is so racially ugly that most would rather sweep it under the rug and ignore it (even at the time it was happening) than accept and embrace it (for good and for bad). He posited that Jacksonville is a sick city, and that unless we collectively come to terms with our past, Jacksonville can never truly take that next step as a city. There are obviously many other factors that have prevented Jacksonville from reaching its full potential, but it was really an interesting take on why the city seems so eager to turn its back on its history at times.

+1
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Dog Walker

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Re: Black History and Painful Truths
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2013, 05:33:19 PM »
Our history has never even been WRITTEN much less "come to terms with".  This town has a fascinating and rich history and only bits and pieces of it have been written.  Some of the early "histories" are little more than glossy fiction.

People like Dan Shafer have done a brilliant job of researching and writing parts of it, but there are big gaps that haven't been studied by academics.  His books are very readable too.  Just finished his "Lost Plantations of the St. John's River."  His are the definitive works on Kingsley and Anna Jai.

A lot of documentation was lost in the 1901 fire which makes it tough.  Parts have had to be filled in from records in St. Augustine and Fernandina.
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