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Black Folks: It is Time to Lay Down the Mantle
Dell Gines

We have been through a lot as a people group, the middle passage, slavery, Jim Crow, sharecropping, segregation and the composite effects of those things on our current generation. To overcome we rebelled, we ran, we politicked, we hustled, and we marched. Our history is one of overcoming in the face of tyranny and abuse, of facing down psychological warfare, and social and economic disenfranchisement.

Because of this history many of us, and logically so, feel it is our responsibility to preserve for others the things we ourselves have won. Considered as the moral conscience of America, when outrages that smack of social injustice occur we are usually the first group in line to denounce them, even if the one offended against isn't a member of 'our' group. We view that as our mantle by virtue of our legacy in America. I believe it is time that we lay that mantle down.

During the recent immigration rallies one of the things that you saw was black folk at the forefront, on the podiums, in support. On the street level you heard rumblings from black folk that illegal immigrants were being used, exploited, 'disenfranchised' and should be allowed to have the rights as citizens. Valid or invalid perspectives aside, our historical memory resonated with the rhetoric of the supporters of the movement. We asked ourselves how can we who fought for our enfranchisement in America not support the enfranchisement of others? We wore our mantle.

It is time to lay that mantle down. Why? It is because we must deal with the realities of our situation as Black Americans today. In our effort to be the arbiter of social justice for all, we have effectively eliminated our own progress as a group. In our desire to ensure equality for everyone our effectiveness at creating equality for ourselves has diminished. As we spread our intellectual capital, our human capital, and our emotional energy into issues such as this immigration issue that clearly benefits another ethnic group while doing nothing to materially advance our own we keep ourselves in post-civil rights limbo. Our best and brightest seem to co-mingle social justice for all with black elevation for us. This is a mixture that doesn't mix well when economic growth and power is the next hurdle that must be jumped in our continue struggle as blacks.

So it is time to lay the mantle down. It is time to circle the wagons, and re-position ourselves to escape the post civil rights funk we are in. We need to turn our intellectual capital, human capital and emotional energy on issues exclusively related to black empowerment, particularly on an economic level in America. We are carrying that unnecessary burden to fix all of the nations acts that we perceive to be acts social injustice and it is a burden that we are simply not strong enough to carry and be effective at dealing with our own issues.

We are sensitive and compassionate, and those are noble traits to have, but our sensitivity and compassion for others should never supercede our desire for elevation of us. Our struggles have made us sensitive, but our struggles are not over. When we are at the place we need to be as black folks, then we can pick up that mantle of social justice and we will have the strength to carry the burden of being America's moral conscience. Until then we need to lay that mantle down and free our strengths in focus of our own people.
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quote:
Originally posted by Dell Gines:

When we are at the place we need to be as black folks, then we can pick up that mantle of social justice and we will have the strength to carry the burden of being America's moral conscience. Until then we need to lay that mantle down and free our strengths in focus of our own people.


I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Another way of looking at this is that the world is a complex, co-dependent, multi-faceted place where people and groups must learn to work and live with each other to meet their needs. In that spirit, one could believe that it is better/more effective to align with others with similar interests than to try to fight the world alone. Aggregating groups with similar interests to increase the probability of success for all would seem to be both a logical and efficient way to proceed. Furthermore, I would also argue that for those who care, speaking out against injustice (wherever it may be found) ADDS energy and refocuses the commitment to one's own struggles.
quote:
Originally posted by Dell Gines:
When we are at the place we need to be as black folks, then we can pick up that mantle of social justice and we will have the strength to carry the burden of being America's moral conscience. Until then we need to lay that mantle down and free our strengths in focus of our own people.

We cannot get to the place we need to be as Black folks without fighting social injustice. We don't have the luxury of picking these battles. All of our problems began with the hypocricy of White America... All men are created equal, except for the slaves. Because they are not people, they're property.

Are you suggesting that we lay down the mantle of fighting social injustice... and pick up the mantle of supporting social hypocricy?
No, but we fight social injustice that affects us 1st and foremost.

Blacks for blacks first.

Now to address both of your post. I am not arguing against mutually aligning with other groups or even whites when there is a clear benefit to us. But we have a habit of wasting resources and energy on issues that benefit other groups and only minorly benefit us if at all.

For example, when was the last time you have seen a strong hispanic support for any issue that was specifically related to blacks? The issue in Cincinatti a while back, where were the hispanic activist etc. rallying to support a 'black thing'.

Many of our leaders have taking up the anti-homosexual thang. When have you ever seen a collecting group of gays step out on behalf of blacks when it is a 'black thang'.

The fact is in this nation it is a rarity when other groups or ethnicities actively support black causes, but we step out often on theirs.

Some social justice issue do not effective us as a group, and those we should not be involved in.

Pragmatically speaking, every time we use intelletual, economic and emotional capital on issues that don't benefit us, we maintain our status quo condition or cause it to decline. When we use that capital on issues that only minorly effect us, when we could use them on issues that advance us, we stagnate our growth.

So no, I am not saying don't mutually align ourself with groups or on issues that mutually benefit us. That simply is strategically using others to advance your own agenda (like folks do to us all the time) and it serves the higher principle of black elevation. But it must be mutually beneficial to us, and it must be beneficial in a greater capacity than the use of those forms of capital would be in other areas of black elevation.

We have no moral obligation to help any other race until after we have first helped our own.
quote:
Originally posted by Dell Gines:

The fact is in this nation it is a rarity when other groups or ethnicities actively support black causes, but we step out often on theirs.


You raise an interesting point that I'm going to think about. Other than the white liberal/Jewish civil rights support in the 1960's and the abolitionist movement (in England and the Northeast) during slavery - I am hard pressed to think of others openly supporting us (other than perhaps the U.S. military and a subset of corporate America on affirmative action).
quote:
Originally posted by Dell Gines:

Smile Ebony I ain't all bad.

I just read this from blackelectorate.com, it provides another perspective:

http://www.blackamericaweb.com/site.aspx/sayitloud/kane413


Someone posted that here. I happen to vociferously disagree with the argument (and article) against our supporting Mexicans now because both African Americans AND Mexicans are BOTH being exploited by American companies. In this instance, we are uniquely tied together against the precisely same opponent on the same issue. That opponent has spent years upon years in 'spinning' that exploitation in a way that pits us against each other (to their benefit), but there is only one true winner in this illegal hiring issue, and that is the companies that break the law to exploit both of us.
How are we tied together? If they want to be exploited and understand they are being supported , why would they join us, when they know the are competing for the same job. If we could get the Big Corporations to pay a fair living wage for every job they fill it would be different. But you got both houses of Congress making excuses for the loophole, so what change do you think there is for Big Business to get a conscious and stop hiring cheap labor?
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:

I think some of us would do well to realize that the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend. Roll Eyes


Are you really suggesting that you can't see the connectivity here? The very same "enemy" is harming both of us. Do you dispute this? Who is harming us? Who is exploiting them?

Beyond that - how is the enemy of our enemy NOT our friend? Please explain that.
For one thing I do not see the legal injustice against the Hispanics to make this a social justice civil rights issue. There are two willing participants being matched up. You have businesses looking for cheap labor and you have illegal immigrants coming here to do it. You would think that if things were so bad that they would be calling back to Mexico telling the people they not to come here and face this abuse...but the fact that they keep coming tells me the opposite.

Another thing is that black people in Latin America are still second class citizens. I can't help but to believe that if we unified with their movement as soon as they achieved their objective and increased power....they would go back to looking at us like they do in their homelands and may join allegiance with white folks who look at us in the same way, in order to win favor with white folks. Also, look at the way Hispanics are attacking and threatening black folks in California.

What we need is black unity and not dilute our PECULIAR interest rising from the PECULIAR INSTITUTION (slavery) that put us in this peculiar predicament. Without power and unity amongst ourselves....others will just use us to get what they want.
quote:
Originally posted by Noah The African:

There are two willing participants being matched up. You have businesses looking for cheap labor and you have illegal immigrants coming here to do it. You would think that if things were so bad that they would be calling back to Mexico telling the people they not to come here and face this abuse...but the fact that they keep coming tells me the opposite.


The fact that working under crazy conditions and getting paid peanuts is better than things in Mexcio does not erase the fact that they are being exploited and in many cases abused. Either we believe in U.S. law and in general standards of how people should be treated in the world or we don't. Maybe we shouldn't care about people working in sweatshops. Screw it - it gets me cheaper clothes right?
td6

quote:
Another thing is that black people in Latin America are still second class citizens. I can't help but to believe that if we unified with their movement as soon as they achieved their objective and increased power....they would go back to looking at us like they do in their homelands and may join allegiance with white folks who look at us in the same way, in order to win favor with white folks. Also, look at the way Hispanics are attacking and threatening black folks in California.


Political alliances have NOTHING to do with natural "love and affection" between groups. It's ALL about power and achieving objectives. African Americans would - no doubt - have to be smart/strategic enough to successfully manage any relationship with Latinos to increase our influence in America.

Of course, it won't be easy. White supremacy never wants its victims to unite, now does it?

P.S. Do these three groups have any natural affinity for each other? Despite that they came together to accomplish an objective. When that objective was over - obviously - they went their separate ways.
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quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:

I think some of us would do well to realize that the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend. Roll Eyes


Are you really suggesting that you can't see the connectivity here? The very same "enemy" is harming both of us. Do you dispute this? Who is harming us? Who is exploiting them?

Beyond that - how is the enemy of our enemy NOT our friend? Please explain that.


No, that's not what I'm suggesting.
No, I don't dispute that.

Against my better judgment, and all reasonable doubt that it will do any good, I will try.

It is as Dell Gines explained above, so I will not go into repeating him, but rather suggest that you go back and re-read it.

I believe the biggest problem we are having with this issue, MBM, is that in your determination to prove your point, you seem to absolutely refuse to recognize any others.

I have never once denied that I can plainly see that Big Business exploits Mexican labor. Ray Charles can see that with Stevie Wonder's eyes.

That particular point/statement has nothing to do with 1) Entering this country subverting immigration laws is illegal; 2) Cheap Mexican labor depresses wages; 3) Educating/housing/providing medical care to millions of illegal immigrants strains local and state economies; or 4) on issues important to Black Americans, Hispanics have never reached out and offered a coalition to produce hundreds of thousands of supporters on our behalf.

You can scream about your exploitation issue as loud and as often as you like. It will still be as different from and have absolutely nothing to do with the four positions above. In fact, if no illegal Mexican immigrant had a job in this country, three of the four would still be true.

Again, this is no doubt falling on deaf ears, because you have no desire to see any point other than the one you are intent on making. I don't see where anyone here has disputed or denied the fact that Mexicans are exploited by American corporations. I also don't see where you have realized that the rest of us are discussing other relevant issues concerning the immigration issue nor stopped repeating yourself long enough to address those other points.

American corporations are dogging both races, yes. But you want me to get all upset at what they are doing to Mexicans ... I have not yet resolved being upset at what they have been doing to Black people for the last 300 years!! And yeah, I and me and mine come first.

I'll leave the big international group hug singing of Kumbaya to you, while I concentrate more on things directly affecting and of concern to the Black community. sck
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quote:
Originally posted by xxGAMBITxx:
Screw worrying about the "mantle"

Lets pick up the freaking gauntlet!


By letting the illeagal immigrants in while pretending it is so hard to stop the government permits cheap labor from Mexicans to compete with the existing lower classes in America. Lots of rhetoric about Americas imigrant tradition is used to muddy the waters about some fundamental economics of supply and demand.

The war is about the super rich versus everybody else.

umbrarchist
Dell, I'm feeling your message. We, as a people, should focus on our socio/political/economic gain; rather than, fighting for others, who BTW, largely sit on the sidelines during our fights. I haven't heard much from other groups on the Duke matter and don't recall hearing much regarding Katrina.

I think many of those banging the drum for others have either: bought into the multi-cultural/colorblind, "we're all in this together against those folk myth"; run out of steam on the Black advancement front, and are seeking the stage, any stage, to remain relevant; or are drama pimps [see the previous discriptor].

Yes, we can and should form alliances that are mutually beneficial. But the alliances that we have been forming as of late, entail us carrying the water and every other group drinking, leaving us with a dry bucket.
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:

I believe the biggest problem we are having with this issue, MBM, is that in your determination to prove your point, you seem to absolutely refuse to recognize any others.


Well, I have much to learn from you who is SO open minded and recptive of other views. I can really see how you've grown and evolved on this issue! nono

quote:
I have never once denied that I can plainly see that Big Business exploits Mexican labor. Ray Charles can see that with Stevie Wonder's eyes.

That particular point/statement has nothing to do with 1) Entering this country subverting immigration laws is illegal; 2) Cheap Mexican labor depresses wages; 3) Educating/housing/providing medical care to millions of illegal immigrants strains local and state economies; or 4) on issues important to Black Americans, Hispanics have never reached out and offered a coalition to produce hundreds of thousands of supporters on our behalf.


The first paragraph and the second are wholly inconsistent. One cannot credibly hold both positions, IMHO. If you acknowledge that exploitation occurs, then also talking about "subverting" this and "illegal" that makes little sense. That is language that the very same oppressor/exploiter has disseminated to spin the issue in their favor. Second, I have acknowledged that this problem depresses wages and takes jobs away from Americans. Where we disagree is in assigning blame for that fact. Mexicans did not either depress the wages or take jobs. Employers both set wages and decide who and how they will hire. Undocumented workers have no hand in that decision. As I mentioned in another thread, do you also blame the Indians for outsourcing? Would you have blamed the kids caught up in child labor? Did you blame Africans for slavery? Do you blame prostitutes for prostitution? We have a fundamentally different worldview if you agree with all of those things.

Thrid, I have already presented an article from the head of the Federal Reserve which refutes your claim about undocumtend workers' strain of the tax base. Who is choosing to not see the facts? sck

Lastly, in terms of the politics of this, some people see this issue as a threat. Others see it as an opportunity. With clear thinking, if one could identify the commonalities of our conditions and our oppressor - then it would seem rather obvious that African Americans and Mexican Americans have FAR more in common than anything that might realistically divide them. African Americans represent about 13% of the national population. Say the Latino commuinty represents about 14 or 15%. Grounded in our commonality, are we stronger together or apart? You do the math! bsm

With regard to previous alliances, who cares what has happened in the past? What does that have to do with the future? What had African America done politically for the Jews/Zionism prior to the CRM?

We can either think parochially or we can think strategically. It's up to us.


quote:
Again, this is no doubt falling on deaf ears, because you have no desire to see any point other than the one you are intent on making.


sck

quote:
I'll leave the big international group hug singing of Kumbaya to you. sck


We're not playing checkers here, we're playing chess. You can continue to focus on one piece at a time - one move at a time - while others, like Farrakhan, see the bigger picture of reality and opportunity and proceed accordingly.
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quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:

I think some of us would do well to realize that the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend. Roll Eyes


Are you really suggesting that you can't see the connectivity here? The very same "enemy" is harming both of us. Do you dispute this? Who is harming us? Who is exploiting them?

Beyond that - how is the enemy of our enemy NOT our friend? Please explain that.

yeah
The logic espoused here instantly took me back the the famous poem attributed to Martin Niemöller in World War II.

When they came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.


I can't believe how AA's are falling for this anti-immigrant rhetoric and particularly the language of citizenship. The same people that brought our ancestors over here in chains, are the same ones who stole land from the people we want to now label illegal. We have not been citizens that long, and with but the stroke of the a pen held by the hand of the wrong person, that status can be taken away. For most of this countries history, we weren't even deemed human beings. Remember Dred Scott? Remember, a black man having no rights that a white man was bound to respect? The Voting Rights act is just forty years old.

As far as I am concerned, the struggle for justice is my struggle as a black man. Period. If I ever find myself working to deny or exclude the rights of others, then what separates me from the oppressor?

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