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A Critical Missing Element – Urgency!

Guest Blog from Howard Eagle:

I would like to thank Frank for the opportunity to “speak directly [and somewhat extensively] to all” of you. That is, providing you actually take the time to read this. It is important for us to be completely honest and acknowledge the fact that, part of the critical missing element of urgency — relative to actually DOING something (other than merely talking-the-talk) that could significantly, concretely, measurably, and permanently impact the tripartite beast and illness — is folks’, especially white folks’, privilege and choice to ignore anything and everything that makes them the least bit uncomfortable ( http://minorityreporter.net/the-tripartite-beast-and-illness-of-individual-institutional-and-structural-racism/ ).

Thus, as it relates to understanding whether or not it was worth accepting Frank’s guest-writer-invitation, if all 180 or so of you have the necessary interest, and/or tolerance to get through this short submission — a note, even if brief, containing an open, honest response or reaction would be appreciated and helpful.

With regard to addressing individual, institutional, and/or structural racism (in significant, concrete, measurable, permanent ways) within this thoroughly racist, white-supremacist-based city, county, state, and/or nation, it’s not a secret that there is no real serious sense of urgency, at least not on the part of most, especially and particularly those who exercise great socioeconomic and/or sociopolitical power. If this was not the case, then we would have already witnessed much more anti-racist change and improvement by now — period.

Worse than the fact that there is little urgency on the part of all except those of us who identify, and struggle with or on behalf of, those suffering the most, is massive, pervasive, deep-seated-denial that it’s even true. In the process of chronic excuse-making and sophisticated rationalizations — the lengths to which many will go to explain away the lack of urgency is plain mind-boggling. Even those with the best of good intentions are sometimes complicit (probably unknowingly so). For example, those reading this ought to be familiar with the following declarations, which seem completely pure and legitimate on their face, but close examination reveals fundamental flaws and deep contradictions, i.e., “…if we don’t recognize and understand the origins and the depth of the conditioning that shaped our minds, we will not take seriously the need to deconstruct the result. We will not acknowledge, fully and honestly, the racial stereotypes and judgments we harbor. And if we move to action in this blind state, we will surely become ‘mess makers’.” Again, it sounds wonderful on its face. However, deep, clear, critical thought will reveal the facts that — for most white folks to”recognize and understand the origins and the depth of the conditioning that shaped [their] minds, [and] take seriously the need to deconstruct the result [,and] acknowledge, fully and honestly, the racial stereotypes and judgments [they] harbor” — undoubtedly represents a life-long endeavor. Therefore, we’re right back to what? That’s correct — acute lack of urgency.

The quote referenced above ends with the thought that — “if [white folks] move to action in [a] blind state [they] will surely become ‘mess makers’.” More than likely, that is in fact the case. However, after all is said and done, the bottom line is — since those who are suffering the most cannot afford to wait entire lifetimes for white folks to move beyond a ‘blind state’ — here’s the key: “if [white folks] move to action in [a] blind state” — WITHOUT FOLLOWING THE LEADERSHIP OF KNOWLEDGEABLE, THOROUGHLY COMMITTED, BLACK, BROWN, AND/OR OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR — they “will surely become mess makers” ( http://minorityreporter.net/snake-oil-solutions-critique-of-novice-mess-makers-and-those-who-know-better/ ) — period. Just so that the latter point is completely clear, let me, as Brother Malik El Shabazz was fond of saying, ‘make it plain’ — white folks who are serious about wanting to help significantly, concretely, measurably, and permanently reduce individual, institutional, and/or structural racism (in our lifetimes, as opposed to the abstract, distant bye-and-bye) — SHOULD FOLLOW KNOWLEDGEABLE,THOROUGHLY COMMITTED LEADERSHIP OF BLACK, BROWN, AND OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR — period.

Since, over 50 years ago, people such as Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. was dismissing all excuses, and had declared that — “we can’t wait” — then what (exactly and specifically) should we be saying and DOING today? This is not a rhetorical question: ( http://www.thekinglegacy.org/books/why-we-cant-wait ).

 

RESOURCES:

Brief article:  A white mother’s story of waking up and turning to action:  “How I Discovered I am White”

Brief article:  Another message of urgency:  “I Am Drowning in Whiteness.”

4-minute video:  “A Message from Black America”

540wmain Learning Academy – a Black-led organization with a variety of learning opportunities.

Follow Ally Henry on Facebook – a Black woman with clear, concise messages to white folks.

ACTION:

Howard Eagle is engaged in community organizing and advocacy for change through several organizations:  Take-It-Down Planning Committee, Movement for Anti-racist Ministry and Action Coalition, and the Faith Community Alliance.  Their primary focus now is working with the Rochester City School District to eradicate the many facets of racism in the district.  Learn more at his FB page.  He assures me that you can attend any of the meetings noted there without prior notice.  This is how I became acquainted with the work of these groups.

Howard is also an Adjunct Professor at SUNY Brockport, and conducts a 10-session course open to the public:  Education for Action.  Next dates TBA.

Attend:  Truth Commission, Organized by Just Leadership (WNY branch)  Friday Nov. 16, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Hear from people directly impacted by a variety of unjust practices in the legal system.  Place and other details TBA.

Pay close attention to upcoming elections – research candidates’ history and positions on key issues, particularly on race-related matters. For this and future elections, get involved as a volunteer in campaigns that align with your values.

Provide input to City Council members about the need for a Police Accountability Board that meets the criteria sought by community members.  D&C review including comments from Rev. Lewis Stewart: Lewis Stewart re PAB – in D&C

Encourage your friends, co-workers, family members, and neighbors to subscribe to this blog!

13 thoughts on “A Critical Missing Element – Urgency!”

  1. Thanks, Frank for giving Howard the podium. I took Howard and Rev Judy Davis’s 12 week Anti racist Ministry and Action Coalition last spring. It was the single most important experience i’ve had…..in terms of in depth learning about American history: race as a construct, the structure and content of the original constitution, written, by the way, to preserve political and economic rights to whites and which continue to be mind boggling today. Howard takes no prisoners and we white liberals learned a lot about ourselves. So, I humbly follow the lead of our leaders of color: PAB, Raise the Age, bail reform, End Solitary Confinement. There is more than enough to ACT. Thanks, all.

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    1. Penny,

      Thank you for the acknowledgement regarding the value of our 10-week Education For Action Course.

      We hope that you don’t mind us using comments such as yours (in the process of advertising our work). Please let me know.

      Indeed “there is more than enough [upon which] to ACT.” However, the historical record clearly bears witness to the fact that the most far-reaching and measurably-successful efforts have resulted from various factions and various interest-groups COMING TOGETHER IN REAL, as opposed to phony-lip-service-‘UNITY,’ and WORKING CLOSELY with one another; supporting each other on a constant, consistent, ongoing basis. THAT’S NOT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN ROCHESTER. The mantra about people working in so-called “silos” in this town is legendary, and oh so sad and true.

      I was just wondering, if you are “following the lead of our leaders of color [regarding the] PAB” — does that mean you’re following the lead of Reverend Lewis Stewart, and/or some other “leaders of color”???

      I’m also curious about which “leaders of color” are leading on “Raise the Age, bail reform, End Solitary Confinement???”

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    1. Carol,

      Indeed there is a dire need “to get beyond the the rhetoric and noise,” which IS the level that so many are STUCK at, and in MANY cases, have been for years, and in many other cases — probably NEVER will move beyond that. As deadly-serious, seasoned activists — those are NOT the folks we’re looking for. We’re looking for those who are serious about HELPING to impact individual, institutional, and structural racism in concrete, measurable ways (in our lifetimes — as opposed to the abstract, distant bye-and-bye).

      As was noted above, there are numerous efforts and initiatives in and around Rochester, in which people claim to be dealing with the Tripartite Beast and Illness (no, this is NOT rhetoric or noise) — racism actually has three major forms, thus the title tripartite (3), and hopefully you will agree that it can be likened to the most ferocious beast and most infectious illness — you can read more here: http://minorityreporter.net/the-tripartite-beast-and-illness-of-individual-institutional-and-structural-racism/ .

      Our team ( https://www.facebook.com/tidpc/ ) believes that we represent Monroe County’s moist consistent coalition of committed activists relative to confronting the beast (head-on). Our efforts are currently focused on attempts to help produce significant, concrete, measurable, permanent change and improvement in the Rochester City School District.

      As it relates to “getting beyond the rhetoric and noise [,and]I knowing what (really) to do” — it’s important to think in terms of ONGOING PROCESSES, as opposed to singular events. In our process, we are attempting to BUILD an ongoing MOVEMENT(a critical mass of ORGANIZED people who are thoroughly committed to working together cooperatively, constantly, consistently — around specific, agreed-upon, clearly-defined goals, and strategies and tactics by which to achieve the goals — think 1960’s Modern Civil Rights Movement, and/or other historic Movements that have taken place in the U.S.).

      We meet every Thursday evening, and the 1st Saturday of each month, and are involved (on an ongoing basis in the RCSD Superintendent’s initiative called REAL (RACIAL Equity Advocacy Leadership) team, which meets bi-weekly on Tuesdays.

      THERE IS NO SINGLE THING THAT WE CAN DO TO IMPACT THE TRIPARTITE BEAST AND ILLNESS IN ANY SIGNIFICANT, CONCRETE, MEASURABLE, PERMANENT MANNER. THE STRUGGLE IS NECESSARILY PROTRACTED: https://blackpast.org/1857-frederick-douglass-if-there-no-struggle-there-no-progress

      I hope this helps.

      If you would like to be placed on our email list, and kept abreast of our ongoing activities, please send me a note at howard.eagle90@gmail.com

      The Struggle Continues…

      Like

  2. All white people are essentially “Pavlov’s Dog”. We see a black person, and our minds salivate our socialization. One does not need a lifetime to understand that. “Chronic excuse making, and sophisticated rationalizations” speak more to a true lack of commitment to, or actual belief in what one says. True struggle is demanding, and most are willing to live within the contradictions of what they say and do. And here we are.

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  3. I agree with Howard that we each must act now in collaboration. Leadership must come from people most oppressed by racism. The cultural racism is so embedded in our lives that it will take decades to make the needed personal and institutional changes.

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    1. Thanks Mike. If “we each must act now in collaboration” — then when and where do we BEGIN? It’s not possible for us to “act in collaboration,” at least not in any significant manner — WITHOUT COMING FACE TO FACE. No more rhetoric. The operative term IS “ACT.”

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  4. Thank you, Frank for asking Howard Eagle to post on your blog and for Howard’s straight forward honesty. I am moved to read or review the references offered and to attend one of the sessions listed.

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    1. Tom, hopefully you will “attend one of the sessions listed,” but please know, it’s NOT about “attending one session.” The Anti-Racist Struggle is protracted, and will undoubtedly require an ongoing, deadly-serious MOVEMENT —that is, if we are to produce significant, concrete, measurable change and improvement (in our lifetimes, as opposed to the distant, abstract bye-and-bye) — think Progressive Movement, or Abolitionist Movement, or Women’s Rights Movement, or Modern Civil Rights Movement, etc… etc…etc… So, “attending one session” is a step in the right direction, but it’s only a baby-step. Yet, it is important — because if we don’t take baby steps, we are NOT likely to ever take giant ones, but it is important to acknowledge that a baby-step is but a BEGINNING. This is NOT about one-and-done.

      Speaking of “attending [a] session” — TONIGHT offers an excellent opportunity, i.e., RCSD’s Racial Equity Advocacy Leadership (REAL) team, which Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams established over a year ago, is meeting this evening at Central Office (131 W. Broad Street —2nd floor @ 6:00 pm). Frank knows about the REAL team — he attends. Ask him what it’s all about.

      Lastly, as it relates to ACTIONS that Frank listed — none of those are as important as forwarding your email address — so that we can add you to our email list, and you will therefore receive consistent notices about our ongoing activities relative to BUILDING A MOVEMENT. To tell you the truth, all else really is merely rhetoric and noise.

      Also, check out these FB pages below.

      The Struggle Continues…
      Howard

      https://www.facebook.com/tidpc/

      https://www.facebook.com/movementaction/

      https://www.facebook.com/United-Community-Response-To-Donald-Trumps-Ongoing-Hatred-And-Racism-219566925279978/

      Liked by 1 person

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