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Redefining the black struggle: Where is, and just who is on, the frontlineAnthony Asadullah Samad

For those of us who maintain some constant involvement in the many, many conflicts that face Blacks in the 21st Century, individually and in the collective, what one fights for and who one is fighting for, seems to always be a point of contention for some people. While some understand the complexities of black struggle – that racism manifests itself on many levels and thus has to be fought on many levels – others see the "struggle" on the one level that they deal with, and think that fight is the only battle black people are facing. Thus, if you're not in that particular fight, you're not fighting at all.

This unsophisticated approach to black advocacy has added another layer of conflict to the already contentious inter-generational conflicts that sometimes consume black struggle. Trying to address "black struggle" these days is more the myopic focus of the civil rights or the pro-black radical movements of four generations ago. "Black struggle" in the post-Civil Rights Era has been as hard to fight as it has been to find, given the shift in overt to covert racism and the politics of race-neutrality that allow passive-aggressive attitudes to find cover in this new social construct.

Black people know that things are happening to them that they can't explain, and systems are compromising them in ways that they never imagined (until they get caught up in the system). Just like during "separate but equal," Blacks always knew that equal was never equal, but separate was definitely separate. Today, there is no legal "separate" (but there is a separate), and equal is still not equal, but the real problem is that the black community, in the collective, haven't figured out how to fight "colorblindness," which is the new Jim Crow. Blacks are conflicted as to where the struggle is, and who is on the frontline, and they constantly ask each other, "What are you doing to help the struggle?" It's hard to fight when most don't know where the fights are, and which fronts to fight on. And those who are fighting, see "the frontline" based on where they are.



The redefinition of "black struggle," and the stratification of "frontlines" that require Blacks to battle on many fronts, has come about as there has been a redefinition of the "black community's" collective interests that has come with the stratification of black income and wealth. Class and wage separation within the race is something that Blacks don't talk about as much as they should, but there is much evidence to conclude that the burgeoning black "underclass" has issues that are separate and distinct from the shrinking black middle class, and the thinning black middle-upper class. While each share some common issues on the racial front like racial profiling, the issues of the poor are not the issues of the middle class. For instance, the employment issues facing poor Blacks are different from the promotion issues facing Blacks with jobs. Police and fire academies are graduating fewer and fewer black cadets.

Both groups are facing massive discrimination, but not on the same front. The crime issues that both the poor and middle class face from shared geography impact each differently – the poor, out of desperation, the middle class, out of victimization. Then when they leave the community, they're accused of giving up on the community. The remediation issues facing poor Blacks make it impossible to let go of the public school system, while the black middle class is having problems finding quality schools that would allow their children to be able to compete for college admission, which has become highly discriminatory on another front. The access to capital issues facing both poor and middle class Blacks, discriminate differently – one on housing, the other on business loans. We can go on and on, but the point is that the struggle is on many fronts, the battle on many levels.



The biggest problem is we expect all of us to fight on all fronts, but that is not even a feasibility, given that we all bring something different to the table: experiences, knowledge, energy and ideas. If we're all fighting on the same front, it means only one thing is being done at one time and the other fronts are being left unaddressed. Until we acknowledge that the struggle has been redefined, respect what others bring to the table and that the fight is on many fronts, we'll be fighting about where the frontline is and who is fighting for a particular struggle. The argument should be about, why aren't more people fighting in the struggle, period. That's where we are now – not enough in the struggle to cover all fronts. That's the bigger problem, and should be the focus of our solution.

Anthony Asadullah Samad is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of 50 Years After Brown: The State of Black Equality In America (Kabili Press, 2005). He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com.
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quote:
Originally posted by Nmaginate:
This is an ambitious article.
There are several things I would like to explore regarding it. But I'll just ask one question:

How Do We Navigate This?
That is, how do we acknowledge that there are Many Fronts & Many Levels and resist the urge to think there is ONE WAY?


I think my mind went the same way as yours on this.

My quick answer is 'Keep an open mind.'

Knowing there are other battles being fought by others cannot detract, or dissuade you, from the battle you are in.

You are not the only soldier in the fight.

I agree with his observation that because I am in a particularly battle everyone should be in that same fight. AND...if you are not you are against me.

You may recall a thread sometime back about this issue, or the issue was brought into the discussion.

I remember using the example of Arthur Ashe who was such a force in dealing with South Africa's apartheid. Yet, he was castigated by the professor at San Diego State for not doing it his way.

I think this guy makes a good point.


PEACE

Jim Chester
"And of His signs is the creation of the heavens
and earth, and the diversity of your languages and
SKIN-SOLORS. Surely there are signs in this for The
Learned." - The Quran, Chapter 30:22.
www.sacred-texts.com/isl/quran/index.htm



It is pretty obvious that what we must "Re-define" is the SKIN-COLOR Struggle. My skin-color is not Black, is yours? The color of my skin is Brown, and I have kinky-hair, etc.

THE LAW OF SKIN COLOR: SHADES OF BROWN:
www.law.duke.edu/journals/dlj/articles/DLJ49P1487.HTM
["...that you may know each other..."]The Quran, Chapter 49:13 - www.al-quran.org.uk


It is possible that we have been "tricked" again by the White-folks. They claimed that "All" the [Negroes] found here in America, and the rest of The Americas, were originally brought here from Africa, in European Slave-ships.

Then how do they explain the [Negro] Tribe, cakked: The Olmecs of Mexico? They were before The Mayans an The Aztecs. And They left behind giant stone scuptures of their heads.

BLACK CIVILIATIONS OF ANCIENT AMERICA:
www.raceandhistory.com/historicalviews/ancientamerica.htm

TAN AMERICANS OF NATIRAH ANCESTRY:
http://members.aol.com/Natirah/H74MX.TXT.html
quote:
Originally posted by ulimo:
["...that you may know each other..."]The Quran, Chapter 49:13 - www.al-quran.org.uk


It is possible that we have been "tricked" again by the White-folks. They claimed that "All" the [Negroes] found here in America, and the rest of The Americas, were originally brought here from Africa, in European Slave-ships.

Then how do they explain the [Negro] Tribe, cakked: The Olmecs of Mexico? They were before The Mayans an The Aztecs. And They left behind giant stone scuptures of their heads.

BLACK CIVILIATIONS OF ANCIENT AMERICA:
www.raceandhistory.com/historicalviews/ancientamerica.htm

TAN AMERICANS OF NATIRAH ANCESTRY:
http://members.aol.com/Natirah/H74MX.TXT.html

I think that one needs to be careful in asserting such such hyperdiffusion theories such as this. I do not know what the credentials of the author of the link above, they are not listed and the citations are academic sources. If one is going to make such a claim, I would expect a little more scholarly rigor than visual comparative methodology employed.
"And of his signs is the creation of the heavens and earth, and the diversity of your languages and SKIN-COLORS. Surely there are signs in this for The Learned." The Quran, Chapter 30:22.
www.al-quran.org.uk

I repeat: "My skin-color is not Black... The color of my skin is BROWN, and I have kinky have, etc." Let's re-define it as: "THE SKIN-COLOR STRUGGLE", instead?

www.infinityfoundation.com/mandala/s_es/s_es_moag_r_pressures_frameset.htm


THE LAW OF SKIN-COLOR: Shades of Brown:
www.law.duke.edu/journals/dlj/articles/DLJ49P1487.HTM
JWC, it's obvious OLIMO doesn't have a point... beyond empty rhetoric.

Even if we take his suggestion then what is the alternative DEFINITION? How does acknowledging one's actual skin complexion change the dynamics of our struggle?

How is saying, "I'm not Black, I'm Brown" change our socio-political reality? How does it change our outlook, our strategy for dealing with that reality?

SOME ANSWERS ULIMO...
aka What is your point?
i.e. "Okay. You've said that. What else you got to say?"
And... What exactly does that mean?
How exactly is that relevant?


More importantly:
How exactly does that CLARIFY or BETTER DEFINE our struggle?

Thank you...
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
Then how do they explain the [Negro] Tribe, cakked: The Olmecs of Mexico? They were before The Mayans an The Aztecs. And They left behind giant stone scuptures of their heads.---ulimo

Most would agree with you.

The 'Kon-Tiki' guy proved that small sailing ship theory decades ago.

You might want to talk to Oshun Auset.


PEACE

Jim Chester


How could you Jim? I thought we were cool? Suggesting an Islamic Fundy have a convo with me is a low blow!... Even if the subject matter he brought up about the Olmecs being an African civilization(Mende script on the back of the megolithic heads)is accurate.

Ulimo, you may want to check the History section of the site....the diapsora area too.

But MOST of us were brought over here in a much later boat... I can't stand when followers of Noble Drew Ali's version of history try to distance themselves from Africa and calim to be indigenous and therefore, conscequently, minimize the massive amounts of us that were removed from Africa by the European slave trade...not aying that that is what you were doing.

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