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The Other Side of the Tracks blog by Word Press

Our Own Worst Enemy

The Other Side of the Tracks

A Socially Speaking commentary by Perry Redd

A Socially Speaking Commentary from Perry Redd

A Socially Speaking Commentary from Perry Redd

I’m trying not to get consumed by the day-to-day antics of the 2013 government shutdown, but I’m a “politics junkie.”  I want to stay apprised of the next dumbfounding Republican offer to end the shutdown.  In all of the antics, I continue to see Black Americans on the periphery, never a serious part of the conversation.

When Republican congressional leaders talk about budget cuts, no one speaks up for us; sure most Democrats oppose entitlement (wrong damned term by the way) cuts, but they don’t vocalize the damming effect of cuts to WIC, SNAP, Head Start or affordable healthcare.

The crisis has already led to furloughs of 350,000 federal workers, canceled military training missions and slowed economic growth.  By the way, when you hear “slowing economic growth,” you should hear, “no new hiring.”  Who do you think that hurts?  Blacks already have an unemployment rate virtually double that of whites, though we only make up 13% of the population. Those on the extremes of the workforce will be fine.  There’re always openings for the highest and lowest employees in the American workforce.  But for those 70% in the middle, you’re screwed!  Many, many of those workers are Black folks. Why, you may ask?

Chiefly because the United States has historically curtailed access to higher education, tech-training, management-level corporate positions and overall access to the American Dream.  Many Blacks made it “there” in the period after World War II and tailing off in the 1980’s.  This was also the rise—and fall—of the Civil Rights Movement.  Blacks made their way into government jobs by necessity.  During the great war, Blacks weren’t allowed to fight, but they were—as always—allowed to build.  Blacks built the government infrastructure.  This brought a greater share of America’s wealth into Black hands.

With that influx of American wealth, came home ownership, greater education and an expansion of civil rights.  Just because it happened, doesn’t mean that whites liked it.  This was seen by racists (and latent ones) as a threat to their rights as heirs. Though this rise was constitutional, it was contested all the way.  The postal service, state and municipal governments and the military helped Blacks up onto a higher plane of American society. 

Over the past thirty years, racist white America has been after those gains with the fervor of starved dogs.  I recall the days of the Moral Majority, the Republican Revolution, the Minutemen and now, The Tea Party.  These people have been trying to “take their country back” for some time now.  The battle is real…and the battle is on.  The question is, is it really theirs to take? This is a battle for America’s soul.  Sharing the country means no one will be “in control.”  That is an unwelcome proposition to whites who enjoyed the benefits of oppression.

So now, we see a Republican minority in congress shoot guns with no bullets, by offering up partial appropriation bills in hopes of coming out as Tea Party darlings and averting a government shutdown while claiming to lower the debt ceiling.  But in the rearview mirror are our enemies whom we fail to recognize…ourselves.

In an article on his blog, The Black Sphere, Tea-Party activist Kevin Jackson opines that intra-racism has intensified in the United States since the election of President Barack Obama and, because of this, the nation needs a White, Republican president.

This is the exact type of Black person who I deem an enemy.  There is no equivocation of my position on this.  Anyone who willingly supports the decimation of my people—even if Black—is an enemy.  His disingenuous arguments against anyone who may side with President Obama ought to make clear to you who the enemy truly is.

I have been an open critic of some of the President’s policies; namely, failure to close Guantanamo Bay, continuing the War On Terror, capitulation to Republican budget cut to entitlements, or bailouts of the major banks.  But I have to be an objective observer of the two-party system and weigh the pros and cons of the limited choices I have: a party full of virulent people of color-haters or a party who battles against them (for whatever reason). 

Just to think that a Black man would advocate that I embrace the concept of a “white, male savior” makes my blood boil and raises the hairs on my neck!  Men like Kevin Jackson are lifted up by Tea Party types…until their finished with them (remember Herman Cain? Michael Steele?)

These are the very people who question our loyalty to America though we celebrate their holidays and fight in their wars.  We tolerate their police-sanctioned murders (Shawn Bell, Sean Gillispie, Raymond Herisse, Henry Glover, etc.) and color within their lines.  Each time whites move the goalposts, we practice kicking longer field goals. Whether abolishing Affirmative Action, Defanging Detroit or Gentrifying DC, we’re being mollified by whites.  And here this Black man spews the rhetoric of insecure, white males.  They want to deny access to affordable healthcare; they want to shrink Social Security and Medicare, though we’re adding more Americans every decade, as opposed to adding new revenue streams.

I implore you to stand acutely aware of these types of Black men.  The type that will put out a fire at the massa’s house though he knows he’ll be whipped in the morning for leaving jumping the fence to do so.  I don’t want to inject slavery metaphors, but by God, Jackson makes it so tempting.  I cannot for the life of me see myself locking arms with an enemy of my personhood—even is the enemy is us.

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2 Responses to “Our Own Worst Enemy”

  1. Well that was an informative and stimulating article. I enjoyed reading it and it was fantastically written too!
    The whole thing was relevant and important to the contemporary scene.
    You have a very readable style too and that makes reading your blog even the more enjoyable.
    Some people tend to write above my head. You write so people can understand. Thank you for that.
    After finishing the article I was reading here, I actually feel like I have learned something. Keep up the good work.

    • John, I appreciate your kind words. It’s important to me and my editor that I write for a wide audience — nearly all of us, rather than cast my net narrowly as do too many talking heads.


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