John E. James is a Black Republican, a combat Iraq veteran, and a President of a large multi-million dollar auto supply firm but a newcomer to high office politics. News reports say he has collected over 1 million dollars for his campaign for the US Senate. He has an impressive record but will the Republican Party machine support him? The effort to unseat Senator Debbie Stebenow has several challengers with experience in public office in the Michigan Primary. In a crowded Republican primary, Mr. James is a long shot. (No relation to AAPN publisher Richard James)
Mr. James’ biography reads as one of a privileged class. His father John A. James, built companies that the younger James leads. (There is also another brother that is a CEO of two companies in the James Group International conglomerate.) The senior James is a Democrat but their political differences has not deterred his son to run for one of the highest elected offices in the country. The conversation at last Thanksgivings Day’s dinner must have been interesting.
Unlike President Barack Obama who started out in politics as an Illinois state Representative and who took advantage of uncanny opportunities that thrusted him to national prominence, John E. James has a serious lack of political experience. But there is something compelling about his candidacy.
James is counting on his military experience and business leadership to sway voters. His website says, “He is a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-business conservative who has demonstrated energetic leadership, clarity of vision and a passion for service from the battlefield to the boardroom.”
Candidate James promised to post videos of his reaching out to the voters of Michigan. “100 days, 100 videos” he said. But that series of selfie videos seems to have stalled at number 12. But he is getting plenty of press and he is getting his name out there.
Mr. James is a long shot, but then again no one believed that Donald Trump would go all the way. He has picked up some important party endorsements. And he has gathered some serious cash for his run. The Michigan Primary Election is August 6, 2018.
We simply had to share to the following blog from the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard University. The Institute’s email communication with African-American Perspective Newsletter said, “Historian Donald Yacovone has contributed a piece reflecting on his study of how abolitionism, race, slavery, and the Civil War and Reconstruction have been taught in U.S. history textbooks from the 1830s to the present. It is called Teaching White Supremacy: U.S. History Textbooks and the Influence of Historians.”
We checked it out.
In the CHHIRP’s blog, Yacovone writes, “After reviewing my first fifty or so textbooks, one morning I realized precisely what I was seeing, what instruction, and what priorities were leaping from the pages into the brains of the children compelled to read them: White Supremacy.”
After reading Mr. Yacovone’s blog, ask yourself this question, “Were America’s children brainwashed to believe in whiteness as a superior quality and that Negroes were inherently and hopelessly inferior?”
Central Pennsylvania is currently struggling with a Heroin/Opioid epidemic. According to the Lycoming County Coroner’s Office 38 people died from drug overdoses in 2017. Mass drug addiction is no longer limited to the big cities. People, in large numbers, are dying in the rural America. Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf has declared the epidemic a “disaster emergency” in January 2018.
In the urban Black Community the struggle of drug addiction is a very familiar story. African-Americans have been dying in the ghettos of America from drug overdoses for a very long time. Decades.
For AAPN publisher Richard James, the fight is personal. His brother, Clifford “Chico” Thomas Williams suffered many years as a cocaine addict before getting clean. Chico passed away on July 24, 2007 from HIV complications. He would have celebrated his 67 birthday in March 2018.
Mr. James wrote a poetic letter to his brother in 1987. He published the letter in the August 2007 issue of the African-American Perspective newsletter. As a personal remembrance and as a reminder of the dangers of drug addiction, alcoholism and risky sexual behaviors, we re-print “Letter to a Brother”.
What follows is a letter that I wrote to my brother Chico during the summer of 1987. At the time he was man in his mid-thirties, but he looked like a man in his sixties. For a while I had lost track of him. His Philadelphia row home had become an abandoned shell. The following letter was never mailed:
I have a lot to say, but little time to say it. I hope that you are well, but I fear that you are not. Please don’t be offended at my sharp tone, but I feel the time has come to be clear and to the point.
Are you still a drug addict?
Julianne died. Who was she? I suppose in matters concerning the world she was a “nobody”. She had no particular claim to fame, no accomplishments worth mentioning in the eyes of the world. Just a piece of black flesh that lived, loved and wanted to be loved in an anti-black society.
Julianne died. Who was she? She was the mother of two little girls. She was a young woman that could not cope. She herself was barely a child surviving in New York City. She was a person that never, never got a decent chance in life.
Julianne is dead. Cold. Unmoving. Who was she? A crack addict? Yes. A prostitute? Perhaps, no one really wants to know. Who was she? She was my wife’s cousin. She was a slender attractive woman that had simple wants. She was a woman with milk chocolate skin and tight curly hair. She was a misplaced African beauty that no one would dance with. She was a person with whom I shared belly laughs and quiet smiles.
Forgive my flair for the dramatic. I am crying.
I loved Julianne the way I love all my people. My love of Black people is a deep love and within that love is anger and rage. (Anger against injustice. Rage against racism.) Within my love for Black people is fear and suspicion. (Fear of our future. Suspicion of our motives.) Within my love for Black people is hope and pride. (Hope for our children. And pride in our accomplishments.)
I LOVE YOU.
Are you still a drug addict?
The last time I saw Julianne, she was already dead. Yes, she walked and talked but the sparkle of life was dim in her eyes, like a flashlight with used up batteries. Perhaps she knew it and needed to visit her cousins in Philly before passing on. When we greeted her we stood silent, in shock, gazing at a young woman who had been transformed into an old lifeless wretch. We hugged her and pretended that nothing was wrong. But everyone knew that the specter of Death had its hand on Julianne’s shoulder.
I can see that odious white skull of death standing behind you. It waits. It grins that eternal death mask grin and waits! It waits for your next destructive decision.
And it is your decision, your responsibility. Only you, and no one else, know what is best for you. No one else resides in your skin.
Life or Death, the ultimate choice is yours and yours alone.
Wait! That’s not true. There is another entity that dwells within. It is that part of you that you choose to ignore. It speaks a strong and steady message you don’t want to hear. It speaks, yet you choose not to hear the messenger’s silent voice.
Julianne chose not to hear the message. And she is dead.
Are you still a drug addict?
What is the message? I don’t know. (I believe the message is different for each of us. I believe that every person has a message inside them whispering gently.) But, what I do know is this. I know that the message celebrates life with all of its wondrous possibilities.
Who speaks the message? The Speaker is known by many names. But don’t get hung up on who or what it is, just be satisfied in knowing that the Message Giver lives within your soul. You are a part of it and it is a part of you. We all have this entity within us. It is in the gleam of a baby’s eye. It is in the passion of young lovers. It is in the wisdom of our elders.
You must decide. If you choose to continue your walk with death, I will be sad. If you take the path of life, I will give thanks and rejoice.
Again, the choice is yours.
In any case, I will love you—no matter what. I can say this without reservation because I hear my own message within. It tells me that love is the greatest power in the universe. The death triad of drug addiction, poverty and racism is no match against this power.
The real tragedy is that Julianne sought love and acceptance from outside sources. The greatest love she already possessed. It was there, inside her, all the time.
But she could not hear the message. Will you?
Get still. Be quiet and listen with your heart and not your ears.
Your loving brother,
Although the letter was never mailed, Chico got the message. He reduced his drinking considerably, he cut out the crack cocaine and began to fight his HIV/AIDS.
On Wednesday, July 24, 2007 at Chico’s life came to a close. He lived for 20 years after I wrote this letter and he died clean. Rest In Peace brother.
It has been 31 years since Richard James wrote the letter. Since that time, Mr. James’ attitude about addiction has evolved and matured. He knows that drug addictions arediseases of the brain.
Here are a few local resource in the Williamsport area:
Alcoholics & Narcotics
Drug Addiction Treatment Center
“Nappy headed hos.” That was the downfall of nationally recognized Radio and TV personality, Don Imus. As part of our observance of Women’s History Month – March 2018, we look back at our second issue published in April, 2007 Volume 1.2. Enjoy.
Let’s bring civility back.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team won 22 of 25 games, which took them to the top of the NCAA playoffs. They lost to the University of Tennessee on April 3rd. Since that devastating lost (59-46) the young women had begun to settle in for a “life as usual” on the campuses of Rutgers University. Then, Shock Jock Don Imus and his producer, Bernard McGuirk uttered outrageous racist and sexist comments about the mostly black female team on Imus’ daily morning radio/TV show.
Imus insinuated that the women were tough, unfeminine and called them “Nappy headed hos”. Two days later, Imus profusely apologized for his remarks. But political and activist organizations are asking for Imus to be fired. The groups led by Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and others have opened a debate about the use of hateful, hurtful language in the media. (Imus has accepted a two week suspension.)
In my opinion, Imus was trying to be hip. His “joke” was a parody of the gangsta rap music genre of the Hip-Hop culture. In his own defense on the Today show, he noted that black men (rappers) also use such derogatory and demeaning language characterizing black women, but no one calls for their dismissal. He said that there is a double standard by which he is being judged.
I agree. There should not be a double standard. Hate speech is bad regardless of the color of the person who speaks it. Just because black people call themselves hateful names doesn’t make it right.
In my opinion, some words should be retired from the English language. At the top of the list is nigger, followed by chink, spick, wop, faggot, dyke, ho, and bitch.
A small number of Hip-Hop artists are making millions of dollars spewing hateful speech that degrades women. The entire Hip-Hop industry, controlled by white multi-national corporations, is making tens of millions of dollars producing and distributing musical content that generally denigrates the African-American culture.
I understand the need for self-expression and the freedom of speech. I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t believe in the right to proffer opinions even when they are controversial and disturbing. As an artist I also can relate to the need to feel unfettered when creating art. But enough is enough. Black women have been characterized as bitches and hos. Black men have been demonized and labeled as niggers. What hurts the most is that black artists are leading the hateful propaganda charge.
At the core of the issue are the hate, anger and disrespect that exist between black males and black females. In many relationships, in the black community there is an unhealthy adversarial competition among young men and women. This cultural self-hatred should be acknowledged; our very survival depends on a thorough examination of the root causes of the animosity and enmity between black men and black women.
The Hip-Hop culture has brought the ugly truth into the light, “there is no love in the ghetto.” Low-income African-American families are caught in a cycle of crime, illegal drug addiction, unwanted teen pregnancies, poverty, hopelessness and despair. For these people, life is without joy; exploitation, manipulation and discrimination dominate their lives. They believe that they are powerless.
We don’t need a rich, famous, middle-aged, white radio personality, backed by the powerful corporate media, to dump extra pain and suffering on the deserving young women of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights Basketball team.
As the current Imus flap unfolds, I hope that we take the opportunity to examine the deeper ramifications of his remarks. The American people need to declare to the world that such comments are “deplorable, despicable and unconscionable”. And within the black community, we need to stop calling each other bitches, niggers and hos.
And as far Mr. Imus is concerned, I am amazed that the public considers what he does as entertainment. He has been rated as one of the most influential radio commentators in the country. His deep melodic voice of insults and rude remarks is heard by millions of people daily. But, I never thought he was funny.
Where’s the civility? Where is the mutual respect? Where’s the love? Women, particularly black women deserve greater respect.
Do you use the “N-word” to describe an African-American? Do you call a black woman a ho? Do you know anyone that does use such degrading language? Why do black people demean themselves? How can we turn this strange phenomena around?
Should we burn gangsta rap CD’s that use such disgusting lyrics? Should we boycott recording companies that distribute hateful speech? Should we ban such destructive language?
Or should we provide the counter balance of a positive re-affirming language of self-love and respect. Can we publish a newsletter that showcases the talents of the African-American community? Can we display the other side that is usually overlooked in the traditional news media?
I think the time is right for good people to come together and express their disdain for a society that tacitly condones racism and sexism.
Let’s start a dialogue to end hate speech. Let’s offer an African-American Perspective.
“We found robust associations between area racism and heart disease, cancer, and stroke, leading causes of death among Blacks. Racial disparities in mortality from these diseases may be influenced by racism through biobehavioral channels engaged in the threat response.”
The above quote is part of a conclusion found in a study about racism as a stressor in the lives of Black folk. The peered review research paper titled, “Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality” found that certain areas of the United States are more racially intolerant and those racist attitudes negatively impact the health of African-Americans living in those areas.
But which areas of the country are more racist? The deep South, right? WRONG. According to the study that used data from Google searches, Appalachia was found to be the most racist section of the United States. This made headline news back 2015 when the study was published. See Washington Post article here.
Researchers analyzed the number of times the N-Word was searched on Google in all the 210 media markets in the nation. And cross checked that data from US Census Bureau data and National Center for Health Statistics on black mortality rates.
Stress makes people sick. Racism creates stress.
From the study conducted by the Public Library of Science:
“A growing body of evidence indicates that the unique constellation of environmental stressors and psychosocial challenges experienced by Blacks in the US contributes to accelerated declines in health and generates racial disparities.
Of these stressors, there has been increasing attention to the impact of racism-related factors, including interpersonal experiences of racial discrimination.
Racially motivated experiences of discrimination impact health via diminished socioeconomic attainment and by enforcing patterns in racial residential segregation, geographically isolating large segments of the Black population into worse neighborhood conditions.
These areas are typically characterized by social anathemas such as poverty and crime, and fewer health-promoting resources, including recreational facilities, parks, supermarkets, and quality healthcare. Such characteristics shape health behaviors such as exercise, diet, and substance use.
Racial discrimination in employment can also lead to lower income and greater financial strain, which in turn have been linked to worse mental and physical health outcomes.”
The Study concluded, “These findings are congruent with studies documenting the deleterious impact of racism on health among Blacks. Our study contributes to evidence that racism shapes patterns in mortality and generates racial disparities in health.”
Central Pennsylvania was included in the areas found to be highly racist.
Let’s examine her reasons for concocting such a story. She said that she was upset and purposely cut herself with a knife. She realized that her would be angry with her for the self mutilation. So, she decided that an abduction and rape story would take the heat off of her and that she would get compassionate care instead. But what is troubling is the injection of race. She blamed 3 black men. Why?
Such allegations in the past could have gotten black men killed. The story of white women accusing black men of rape is not new. In Alabama, in 1931, nine Black boys (12-18) were accused of raping two White women. They were arrested and convicted and spent several years in prison.
A white woman, an elevator operator, claimed that a black man sexually assaulted or harassed her on May 30, 1921. The white community became enraged and the Tulsa Oklahoma Race Riot began. The black section of town was destroyed by fires set by white mobs and bombed by white pilots. Hundreds were killed and injured.
Susan Smith, a white woman claimed that her car was hijacked by a black man which initiated a massive nationwide manhunt on October 25, 1994. Her children were in the car. She pleaded the hijacker to return her kids on TV. Her children were drowned in a nearby lake (3-years old and a 1-year old). Eventually, she confessed to murdering her children.
Why did these women implicate black men as criminals? Because America is likely to believe them. Since the founding of the country Black Americans have been viewed as less than, the other, or as criminals. Author Ta-Nehisi Coates explains the historical roots of black criminality in a short video, “The Enduring Myth of Black Criminality.”
A new report tells us what we already know: We failed at eliminating or even seriously reducing poverty in the United States… and the racial wealth gap between whites and non-whites is greater than ever.
A revisit to the Trayvon Martin case. On February 26 2012, black teenager Trayvon Martin was walking home on a rainy night through a gated neighborhood in Sanford Florida. He had been deemed as suspicious by an armed neighbor watch volunteer, a white Hispanic man, George Zimmerman. Despite being ordered by police authority not to follow Martin, Zimmerman pursued the teen and an altercation ensued resulting in the death of Martin. Zimmerman claimed self defense and was released. The outraged public demanded that he be held for trail and in 2013 Zimmerman was acquitted.
Most cases of racial prejudice and bigotry – which happens everyday, millions of times a day – are difficult to prove. I have been subjected to racial discrimination many times in my life. But can I prove that I was a victim of racial bias beyond a reasonable doubt? No. But I know a racist bigot when I encounter one, despite their smiling face.
As an African-American, I give all white folks some latitude. I realize that I can make mistakes, or errors in judgement. My perceptions can be false. But, after a series of questionable incidents with an individual I become wary. I let my intuition guide me.
Let me explain: I know a white man that is respected by many and he is well connected socially and politically. He is very friendly. He is a true asset to the community… And I think he is a racist. I could point to several incidents where his behavior towards me seemed to be the product of unconscious bias. I have determined that there is a strong subliminal belief system at work and he is not aware of it. If I told him that I think he harbors racist beliefs, he would deny that he was a racist. He would probably point out that he has black friends or Blacks in his family… etc.
After multiple opportunities to prove myself worthy of his high esteem, I recognized that he is not likely to see me as an equal, as a man. Ever. So rather than waste precious time trying to disprove the basis for his racial bias, I moved on. In my old age I realized that I don’t have to prove myself to anyone, I am not seeking acceptance. Those days are over. Long gone.
And that is what racism is like in contemporary America. It comes in varying degrees of unconscious animosity to outright hatred. Sometimes the racist is a blatant, hostile bigot but most of the time, most racists would deny that they are racist! Their dislike for another group of people are contingent on a range of variables. I believe that George Zimmerman believed that there were good Blacks and then there were the other type, “Fucking punks. These assholes, they always get away.” he said. His voice, recorded by the police dispatcher.
Unfortunately the statement in itself could not be used to establish that his state of mind was racially biased, but it seems clear to me Zimmerman did not see a innocent child walking home from a convenience store… when he pursued, and killed Trayvon Martin. (Would Zimmerman have challenged a white teenage girl under similar circumstances?)
Do Black Lives Matter in the United States? Is a white man’s word his bond? Despite the evidence, law enforcement gave Zimmerman the benefit of doubt. They believe his version of events, seemingly without question.
But there is a greater issue lurking under the scum in the Zimmerman-Martin case: the historical evidence of racial violence directed at Black people over the centuries in the United States. White men have been getting away with murder of Black folk for generations. Just take a gander of the work of the Equal Justice Initiative, the murder of black men by white men who were ultimately acquitted is nothing new. Viewed from the context of hundreds of years of racial injustice, Zimmerman”s claim of self defense did not ring true to some black ears. The Sanford Florida cops’ release of Zimmerman only hours after the killing of Martin seemed head scratching-ly inappropriate.
How the state handled the case is a separate discussion. The issue is the Stand Your Ground law that allows white men to kill black people with impunity across the south…
The situation is bad enough when young Black men shoot and kill each other in da hood. But when state government gives the wink to racists murderers, the Black community is outraged. And rightfully so.
He started out as Malcolm Little and ended up as El–Hajj Malik El–Shabazz but the world knows him as Malcolm X, the fiery orator of the Nation of Islam during the turbulent times of mid-century America. He rose from petty criminal, convicted felon to a national leader of black America.
He called out hypocrisy even when it was unwise and unsafe to do so.
He was a non-believer in non-violent responses to racial brutality but he was an advocate for black unity. And eventually, he evolved into a prophet of universal brotherhood when he was killed.
See the documentary The lost Tapes:Malcolm Xstreamed online, for free, on the Smithsonian Channel. His angry voice of armed self defense advocacy made Dr. Martin Luther King’s call for selfless acts of non-violence very attractive to white Americans. He was scary. They called him a hate monger. But Ossie Davis’ eulogy was an elegant and plain truth about the man that many black people loved,
“There are those who will consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captain – and we will smile. Many will say turn away – away from this man, for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black man – and we will smile. They will say that he is of hate – a fanatic, a racist – who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and say to them : Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him, or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did you would know him. And if you knew him you would know why we must honor him.
Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood! This was his meaning to his people. And, in honoring him, we honor the best in ourselves.”
We stand in awe of Malcolm X’s commitment to truth.
For more than 2,000 years people in many different parts of the world have forced their fellow humans into slavery. Between about 1500 and 1900, Europeans forcibly uprooted millions of people from throughout West Africa and West Central Africa and shipped them across the Atlantic in conditions of great cruelty. To refer to the Africans who were enslaved only as ‘slaves’ strips them of their identity. They were, for instance, farmers, merchants, priests, soldiers, goldsmiths and musicians. They were husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. They could be Yoruba, Igbo, Akan or Kongolese.
European slavers dispersed them across the Americas to lead lives of degradation and brutality, without thought for their personal lives. Millions died in the process. As a result, people of African descent are spread throughout the Americas and Western Europe. This is called the African Diaspora.