Message on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day–The Future is Ours
January 18, 2016
Remember how African Americans used to be portrayed in the public media. They started out years ago as wide-eyed, fearful, (“feet don’t fail me now”). Remember how angry we used to be. Remember how they cast us in their movies and on television with that twisted mouth, angry expression, and emotional and angry dialogue.
Compare that to how Matea Gold described the Republican Presidential nomination campaign, on January 5, 2016, for the Washington Post, in a headline, “Forget hopes and dreams: The GOP race is all about nightmares,” “Scenes of masked men toting guns and waving black Islamic State flags. Refugees scrambling across the border. Fires and explosions… It’s not just a Donald Trump ad. Most of the Republican presidential contenders and their allies are now waging campaigns focused on fear — bombarding voters with ominous television spots that warn of national security threats and amping up their alarming rhetoric on the stump.”
“The commercials saturating the airwaves in Iowa and New Hampshire reflect how worries about terrorism are crowding out domestic issues such as tax policy and health care among GOP voters. The candidates are scrambling to outmuscle one another, offering dark assessments of the Obama administration’s fight against violent extremists and warning that their rivals are ill-equipped to take up the cause.” It is an appeal to fear and anger.
We should not look at these candidates as representatives of all whites. They are not. They are representatives of vested interests—political and economic, who retain their power over people by diverting their attention from the real cause of their problems. G-d provided for everything and everybody that He created and if those resources are not finding their way to those in need it is because of someone else’s greed. These candidates are being used in a game of divide and conquer so they can keep ruling people and resources.
President Barack Obama could not have been elected-twice-had it not been for a significant population of conscious whites, so the anger and hatred they direct toward the President is misguided. Minorities and a majority of their own people elected him-twice. (The second time with 65,899,660 popular votes.)
But they are playing to deep seated, subconscious concepts on both sides. White fear of Black (and other than white) uprising and overcoming. And Black fear, anger and rancor of centuries of slavery and terror. But today is a new day and the key to survival now, is consciousness. Imam Faheem Shuaibe, of Oakland, California, in a recent Khutbah (sermon) noted that “the media, authority, status symbols and uniforms of the society are trusted with an unconscious reverence and obedience.” We can only survive by rejecting the whispers and suggestions of these authorities when they violate the good moral conscience of you the common person.
As White Republicans blame the poor and the powerless for all their misery, their rage grows. A new NBC/Esquire poll ranked white Republicans as the angriest people of all Americans. But those who refuse to evolve past their negative socializations, have created their own consequence. They are a dying breed. The idea of racial superiority is a dying concept. The idea of divine in white flesh (or black flesh) is a dying concept. It is survival of the fittest today and the human family did not survive and evolve based on inferior organisms and inferior concepts.
Washington Post contributor, Fareed Zakaria, asked the question, in an article on December 31, 2015 “Why is Middle America killing itself?” He was referring to a recent study that noted that middle aged white Americans are dying at increasing rates. So when we hear their rhetoric from Oregon militia and Trump supporters that they feel under siege and fighting for their survival, we can understand their feeling. But it is not Obama that is the cause of their problem. It is their perception of their loss of power.
A study, co-authored by Anne Case and Angus Deaton, analyzed death rates for men and women aged 45 to 54 in the United States, a range often categorized as “middle-age.” The duo, both economics professors at Princeton, then compared the data to those death rates found within other domestic racial categories and those seen in similarly wealthy nations.
Zakaria points out that “Middle America is killing itself.” “They are dying in increasing numbers. And things look much worse for those with just a high school diploma or less. There are concerns about the calculations, but even a leading critic of the paper has acknowledged that, however measured, “the change compared to other countries and groups is huge.” The main causes of death are as striking as the fact itself: suicide, alcoholism, and overdoses of prescription and illegal drugs. “People seem to be killing themselves, slowly or quickly,” Deaton told me. These circumstances are usually caused by stress, depression and despair. That sounds like exactly what African Americans have lived under for centuries.
It is no coincidence that the demographic of this “declining species” is the same demographic as
Donald Trump’s core group of supporters. So our best strategy, for survival, is to not followed them down the dark whole of extremism. Don’t let the media and authority figures create discouragement and desperation within us. In the Muslim Holy Book, Qur’an, one of Satan’s attributes is the “Discourager.”
I believe we are on the right track. Ellis Cose wrote in Newsweek, May 15, 2011, even before President Obama’s second election, “Meet the New Optimists” and points out that “Despite all the problems facing the U.S. these days, one group is surprisingly upbeat: African-Americans.”
“The optimism that came so easily to many Americans as the new century dawned is significantly harder to summon these days. There is, however, a conspicuous exception: African-Americans, long accustomed to frustration in their pursuit of opportunity and respect, are amazingly upbeat, consistently astounding pollsters with their hopefulness. Earlier this year, when a Washington Post–Kaiser–-Harvard poll asked respondents whether they expected their children’s standard of living to be better or worse than their own, 60 percent of blacks chose “better,” compared with only 36 percent of whites.
Numerous previous polls found the same confidence. On the eve of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, 69 percent of black respondents told CNN pollsters that Martin Luther King’s vision had been “fulfilled.” Nearly two years later, as America prepared for the 2010 midterm elections, blacks shared little of the disenchantment that had overtaken many whites. African-Americans were more likely than whites to say that the economy was sound, found CBS News. And nearly half (compared with 16 percent of whites) thought America’s next generation would be better off.”
The Obama presidency of course has had a lot to do with this. When I was a child the highest aspiration of my family for me was to be like Jackie Robinson. Now a new generation of African Americans can truly see themselves as potentially as Leader of the Free World. Then there are his detractors who complain that he has not solved the plethora of Black issues, those that before they were waiting for the Second coming of Jesus Christ to solve. If you ask them though, “What have you done yourself since his presidency to solve your own personal or community problems” in most cases you’ll get flashes of anger.
Cose wrote: “Even before Obama came on the scene, optimism was building—most notably among a new generation of black achievers who refused to believe they would be stymied by the bigotry that bedeviled their parents.”
This is why we see this sudden deluge of negative news about the death of blacks by police and before that the scourge of black on black killings in our community. The terrorism card doesn’t work with us because we’ve already survived the fear and terror of living in America for centuries. I am more worried about my children being killed by street gangsters or police than I am by terrorists. So that is the subconscious fear and anger that they try to incite in us.
I believe that Dr. King’s dream has been fulfilled; that indeed he was a “Moses” of our people. But what followed, scripturally, the Moses, the visionary, was Joshua, the worker. We should see ourselves as the inheritors of his vision, but also as inheritors of the freedom to work and realize the full potential of our souls. To do this though we need to do as, South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley advised in her recent Republican response to President Obama’s last state of the Union message, and that is avoid the “siren call of the angriest voices.”