Saturday, May 24, 2008

Getting to know you...

Michael Eric Dyson, author, radio host and college professor gave a church address last Sunday.

He said that since Black People were forced over here to the good 'ole US of A, White People have constantly forced us to stay behind them, which is true. He said that since we have always been in the so called "back seat" here in America, we have been forced to learn about how White People are.
Again True.
We study White People. We know their habits, their dislikes, their choice of foods, their favorite pastimes, we even know how White People worship their God.

We have to know them in order to survive here. We had to learn their language, their customs, their holidays, we have voted for them in every election this country has ever had. We were forced to take their names, we have married into their families. Some of us have lost our own identities and sense of worth because of the way we have been forced to assimilate into their culture.

But on the flip side White People have not learned about us. I guess they have felt over the years that they did not need to. They don't know about our traditions, they don't know our foods, they don't know how we worship, they don't know our music, they don't know about what goes on in our neighborhoods. Sometimes they don't even know our language.

They just don't know.

They think they know about us from watching CNN, FOX NEWS, MSNBC, BET, ESPN and reading their local newspapers. But they just don't know.

They don't understand when someone like Jermiah Wright says something about the country that has treated us worse than Harry Potter's aunt and uncle treated him. (I am a huge fan of those books. Don't knock em until you read em!)

They don't understand when someone like Michelle Obama says something like "This is the first time in my adult life that I am proud of my country." They don't know us, therefore they don't understand.

They don't understand why the Black community got so outraged about the JENA 6. They don't know us, therefore they don't understand.

They don't understand Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson. They did not understand Malcom X. They think they understand Martin Luther King, but they don't.

They think that we should be grateful to them for everything that we have accomplished in this country. Granted, there are a few White People that fought side by side with their fellow Black Americans, and there are some that will fight with us today if they have too, but as a whole they don't know about us.

That is the problem with America.

That is the problem with our "LEADERS".

Anything that you don't understand, you don't like. If you don't like it, you don't try to get to know it. If you don't try to get to know it, you listen to other people's views instead of trying to learn for your self.

Everything that White People think they know about us has come from second and third hand sources.

This does not apply to all White Americans however, like I said some have been out in the fields with us.

But as a whole, White Folks just do not know about us.

And that is a damn shame.
Thanks to (A Blackman's view) for the transcript.

The Black/White dialogue is on folks.
And, Dr. Dyson is correct, this don't know, don't need to know attitude does not apply to all white Americans. There are some white people who welcome and embrace this dialogue. There are some who are willing to do the introspective work on themselves and make the effort to know first hand about their fellow Americans. My good friend Alexandra is working through this. She admits that she was raised in a racist atmosphere and that she was effected greatly by it. I admire her for being honest with such a painful reality. Monica, Alex and I talked for hours about everything from house and field niggers, to would Obama be where he is if he were dark skinned. Honest, no holds barred talk. More questions were raised and the three of us know we can always talk openly.

Instead of her usual video Friday post, Alex writes about her past and this part of her journey.
Alexandra's definition of history:
"History is more than dates and facts and places set up in a text book and read by High Schoolers dozing off and dreaming of Prom Night. History is a series of spiritual and emotional happenings. They are combined and shuffled and like a deck of cards thrown on the ground, and with that, they make up each and every one of us. We are a culmination of a myriad of time and space. Each thing affecting the other thing. And it’s how we react and how we don’t that tells us eventually what kind of person we will become. Adding in what’s happened by no fault of our own, we get the full picture."

The Pat Buchanans, Rev Hagees etc. who believe they know us black folks, or the people whose self esteem is based on an assumed superiority over others, will not take part in this national or private dialogue of healing. These people will never respect anyone else's journey. That's what it's about. Respecting each other's history. Finding that middle ground Alex is talking about so Americans don't have to relate and react to each other through wounds and fear.


Darius T. Williams said...

LOL - you gotta love that Michael Eric Dyson, right?!?!

Jackie said...

He knows how to get right to the point.

Monica Roberts said...

O love Dr. Michael Eric Dyson!

I remember watching him on Bill's Maher's ABC show Politcally Incorrect that was broadcast a week after 9-11 and Dr. Dyson saying, "White America, now you know the fear that Black Americans have lived with for centuries."

Jackie said...

That kind of anxiety is something unfortunately normal for black folks. 9-11 certainly kicked it up a few notches.

Kelli Busey said...

Thank you Jackie,
I am a subscriber to Monica's blog and saw your comment!
I love your post!
Honest open truthful face to face dialogue. When I was a pup I was taught by a black man who I assumed I was better than, that I was not... I came to admire not only his attributes(many of which I never will have) but how he earned them. We shared our lives in the confines of army life. We depended and trusted each other as soldiers and that morphed into personal admiration.
You are absolutely correct. We as a whole do not value or understand the black experience, that would require work and introspection.
Most whites do expect any Revelations such as a black woman speaking, like Michell Obama, to be grasious and unconfrational. That is the essence of bigotry.
Monica equated the trans journey to the black experience. I feel honored by that.
Rock On !

Jackie said...

I feel honored by that too and thanks for sharing your story. Welcome, Kelli!

clnmike said...

Hey just stopping by you hear about Bo?

Jackie said...

Hey guy! Bo, yes I did. Another great one gone. Nice pic, love that custom square ax.