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 ).
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.
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!