Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Choose You This day Whom Ye Will Serve...."

Because I had little to add to the dialog, I didn't wade into the Trayvon Martin controversy, as many pundits have already weighed in with their unique and not-so-unique perspectives.

But after reading a prominent black Republican's perspective, I felt that I owed it to my readers to have my say. On his Facebook page, Allen West denounces the actions of law enforcement authorities in Sanford, and takes a cheap shot at those protesting:

I have sat back and allowed myself time to assess the current episode revealing itself in Sanford, Florida involving the shooting of 17-year-old Treyvon Martin. First of all, if all that has been reported is accurate, the Sanford Police Chief should be relieved of his duties due to what appears to be a mishandling of this shooting in its early stages. The US Navy SEALS identified Osama Bin Laden within hours, while this young man laid on a morgue slab for three days. The shooter, Mr Zimmerman, should have been held in custody and certainly should not be walking free, still having a concealed weapons carry permit. From my reading, it seems this young man was pursued and there was no probable cause to engage him, certainly not pursue and shoot him….against the direction of the 911 responder. Let’s all be appalled at this instance not because of race, but because a young American man has lost his life, seemingly, for no reason. I have signed a letter supporting a DOJ investigation. I am not heading to Sanford to shout and scream, because we need the responsible entities and agencies to handle this situation from this point without media bias or undue political influences. This is an outrage.

It is an outrage--and why can't we say it loud; why can't we "shout" it in overwhelming numbers, and "scream," if we must, above the silly din of a Republican primary that's hogging the airwaves?

What West doesn't seem to appreciate is that the Trayvon Martin case would have been swept under the proverbial blue carpet were it not for the shouting and screaming that took place online, in the streets of Sanford, Florida, and other places--student's showing their solidarity by walking out of class, New Yorkers showing their support with a
Million Hoodie March, and LeBron Raymone James posing with hoodie-wearing teammates. Were it not for bloggers, and other protesters, MSNBC in all likelihood would have allowed Nancy Grace to run exclusively with the story.

West, as is customary among black Republicans, dismisses the race nexus, reducing it to a footnote in the whole affair, when it's clear from the 9-1-1 call, and the allegations of a police coverup to protect Zimmerman, that race, and racial profiling, played a prominent role, and can't be separated from the incident, as one would egg white from the yoke. Some even insist that the words,"fucking coon," can be heard, at about 1:52 in, on an enhanced version of the tape.

Before I offer my opinions, let me discuss briefly a book that I read many years ago, titled, Contingency Management.

Contingency management says, substantially, all the various styles of management--autocratic, democratic, and participatory, to name a few--are valid, and useful, the effectiveness of each dependent on the situation, and one's ability to choose the right managerial strategy at any given time.

There are those who will swear that one management style is superior to all others, but what I found over the years is that a contingency approach to employee management was not only practical, but an indispensable approach to the art and science of effective management. It was preferable to focusing on just one style to the exclusion of all others, becoming, in time, an integral part of my overall managerial approach.

Similarly, there are those--white and black--who insist tirelessly that we must react to racism, and racial insensitivity, in one way, and one way only.

To that I say poppycock. Respond any way you choose!

Once upon a time in America, blacks chose to meet the horrors of racism with the threat of violence against violence (They called themselves the Black Panthers.), while others believed that a peaceful, non-violent approach would serve our interests best (as advocated by Martin Luther King, Jr.)

During the civil right's struggle, Ebony Magazine ran an article discussing the several "ways" blacks were responding to white racism, asking the question, "Which Way Black America--Separation? Integration? Liberation?"

Although I'm a proponent of change without violence, and civil disobedience, I would never tell blacks how they should respond to racism--individually or collectively.

If you choose to march, and voice your dissent, and your grievance, I say march on. If you choose to express your outrage in a blog entry, I say blog on. If you choose to call nothing racism, and openly oppose black protests--a community's vocal outrage against acts leveled at blacks--I say right on. If you choose to refrain from participating in a society dominated by whites and their ideals, I say resist on. If you choose to attend Harvard, become a lawyer, and the president of the United States, I say carry on.

The insistence of some black Republicans that blacks should downplay race, and never use the term "racism," even when it's blatantly obvious that racism is at the heart of certain behaviors, is to subject themselves to a mental contortion for which there's no recovery, but that's their choice.

And I honor that, just as I honor those who resort to actions that are out of the mainstream, and may run counter to the law, for the purpose of making statements that bring certain conditions into starker relief.

Nevertheless, I do condemn those who appear to use race issues as a way to further their own financial interests, such as the New Black Panthers, an organization who has borrowed the old Panthers' reputation of fierce resistance to racism, as a way to add street cred where it hasn't been earned. The old Panthers have denounced the new Panthers, as the new group seeks to reap where it hasn't sown.

When whites need a black boogieman to thrust a wedge deep into black and white cooperation, to polarize the races for the purpose of frustrating racial unity, the New Black Panthers are at the ready, seemingly prepared to deliver an image in keeping with white stereotypes of the angry, violent, black man, to fuel already feared black stereotypes.

Contingency management embraces all acceptable and responsible managerial styles, denouncing none, or elevating one style over another, or dictating when any style should be used, but yields to circumstances in play, and the manager's judgment to choose a managerial style as the need dictates.

Similarly, blacks have a virtual cornucopia of options from which to choose when deciding how to respond to their perception of racism, to do as Allen West did, sign "a letter supporting a DOJ investigation," downplay the "race" angle, and refrain from shouting and screaming (very dignified and low-key), with the hope that the system will respond appropriately, and justice will prevail, or take a hands-on approach, as it were, march, protest, "shout and scream," blog about it, take photos to highlight it--any action, or speech, or behavior that we feel addresses the grievous circumstances at hand.

Clearly, no responsible response is superior to another. All blacks who take up the cause of redress, and seek to address perceived threats to their life, and to their general well-being, as well as the life and general well-being of other blacks in a nation where racism once flourished, and still persists, have a duty to resist in ways of their choosing.

"Choose you this day whom ye will serve," and which response among many will serve the needs of those in black communities across this land, as we traverse the path that takes us from injustice to justice.

But let it be of your choosing, and not Alan West's choosing, or Bill Cosby's choosing, or....


Constructive Feedback said...

My dear friend Black Diaspora - I have come around to liking you -so don't disappoint me with your response.

Could you tell me why there is some type of "Index On One's Negrodom" based on his views and willingness to comment on the Trayvon Martin Case?

When you hear George Zimmerman's actions SUPERIORIZED to that of a "White Policeman" despite him being a civilian does it ever strike that you have never heard the run of the mill "Negro Killer" being promoted as such?

WHO DECIDED that Trayvon Martin's untimely death would take on such proportions than the estimated 1,500 other Blacks who have been murdered in America since the end of "Black History Month"?

Why is Rep Allen West (R-FL) a target of your angst but not Rep Fredrica Wilson (D-FL) who's "Hoodie Rally In South Florida" was greeted with a 4 person murder at a Funeral - just 3 blocks away from the gathering?? Yet she did not mention anything about this mass murder by Street Pirates.

Black Diaspora said...

@C.F.: "[S]o don't disappoint me with your response."

Now, you know you like me despite my responses. It's my responses that have enamored you. Admit it!

"Could you tell me why there is some type of 'Index On One's Negrodom' based on his views and willingness to comment."

Apparently you missed the point of my piece. I established no base--no standard, no calculus, no metrics--by which to judge or adjudge one's allegiance to the black community, or a black person's negritude, but advocated for just the opposite--a tolerance for all "ways," methods, approaches, styles in the overcoming of active and passive assaults upon blacks and their communities.

"WHO DECIDED that Trayvon Martin's untimely death would take on such proportions."

We all did--singularly and collectively.

All killings--in war, at the hands of a thief, against blacks, against whites, against anyone--are a strong reminder of just how far we have to go to become Highly Evolved Beings(HEB's).

I don't excuse any killing, regardless of who wielded the gun, the knife, or their fists.

Every killing should be met with equal contempt, but, given the racist history of this country, the killing of a black at the hands of a white--even one half white--is met with outrage because color and race have set us apart for special treatment at the hands of some whites--those who find our presence in this country intolerable, and our color repugnant.

Why is Rep Allen West (R-FL) a target of your angst"?

I have no "angst" against West. I believe he has some against me, however, for being on what he describes as the "Democratic plantation," but that's for another day.

I take exception to anyone, Allen West, or another, dictating how I, or another black, should respond to racial attacks on blacks or the black community.

Trayvon was racially profiled, and was the real victim of a "rush to judgment," and not Zimmerman, Fox News' contention.

Zimmerman saw in Trayvon someone who was guilty of living while young and black, as he hadn't broken any laws of Sanford for which he might have been arrested, or executed by police or the judicial system, but not so for this vigilante-styled Neighborhood Watch volunteer.

Zimmerman didn't wait to observe the actual commission of a crime, but found Trayvon's presence in the housing complex (Why are you here?) sufficient reason to follow him, and ultimately take his life, although Zimmerman stated that he didn't know if Trayvon was armed or not.

How brave of Zimmerman, to take on a supposed criminal and not know for certain whether he was a criminal and was armed!

BigmacInPittsburgh said...

I become incense whenever I hear of the senseless killing of any black person.
I think we as a community have become too use to the maddness that run rampat throughout our neighborhoods.

Black Diaspora said...

BigmacInPittsburgh said..."I think we as a community have become too use to the maddness."

You're right, of course. To become inured to "madness" is, itself, a form of madness, a derangement.

Bigmac, I've given this considerable thought over the years as to why.

The answer that ensues is always the same, we, as a people, are bereft of a sense of self-worth, and self-esteem.

When those who wield the power tell us from morning to night that we're the wrong color, the wrong standard of beauty, the wrong body and facial features, the wrong hair, the wrong intelligence quotient, the wrong origin, and from the wrong continent, it has to have an impact on the psyche of some so treated.

In this country, we're the only race that doesn't have direct ties back to Africa, not culturally, not linguistically, not hereditarily, not socially.

For example, many Italians living here have family members back in Italy, can speak the language, and have a social structure all their own.

Not so with black Americans. Black missionaries went to Africa some years back. For them, it was an unsatisfying experience, finding it almost impossible to relate to the indigenous people of that African nation.

Slavery took more from us than our freedom. It made us a rootless people, not connected to anything, but our common experience as slaves, and a white world that saw us an inferior to anyone white.

Black Diaspora said...


"In this country, we're the only race that doesn't have direct ties back to Africa, not culturally, not linguistically, not hereditarily, not socially."

This should have read: In this country, we're the only race of people that don't have direct ties to their country of origin.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Hey Diaspora:

It is so good to see you. You had been on my mind lately and in my prayers.

Anyway, this was an excellent article and I totally agree with you. I get so tired of people telling blacks how they should react to situations like Trayvon's. That to me is an infringment on our freedoms.

I'll be getting in touch with you as soon as I am feeling better. I've been real sick lately.

Black Diaspora said...

"You had been on my mind lately and in my prayers."

Thanks, Granny.

"I'll be getting in touch with you as soon as I am feeling better. I've been real sick lately."

I'm sorry, Granny. I'll keep you in my prayers.

I'll be looking for that e-mail you promised.

Greg L said...

Hi BD,

I'm coming off my hiatus here and enjoyed this post and I really like the message revolving around the idea that there's no one superior approach in respond to the Trayvon Martin murder or a great many other things that concern black folks. I've always been an advocate of having a marketplace of ideas and letting the results from the successful approaches speak for themselves. If the approach is truly viable, it will be replicated and improved upon in a way that generates an even better approach down the line. What we as black folks need to do is get that marketplace going rather than debate about whether "your" approach or "mine" is better--that can only be judged by the results and even evaluating results is frequently a judgment call as well.

I believe that the NBPP is a funded group of agent provocateurs whose only purpose is to detract from the legitimacy of real issue. What I'd love to know is where these guys get the money to travel all over the country. Their support in the African American community is next to nil.

Black Diaspora said...

@Greg L: It's good to have you back. It took me a while to share my thoughts on the Trayvon Martin case, but relented, finally, at the urging of Mr. I.M. Blacks, who asked in his last query, "BD: When will you be posting, I am looking foward to your insights."

This was on April 17.

"I believe that the NBPP is a funded group of agent provocateurs whose only purpose is to detract from the legitimacy of real issue."

Although I have nothing more to go on than a hunch, this is my belief, too.

The group leader has been a regular on Fox News. Fox has often used the New Panthers to blast Attorney General Eric Holder, who has refused to indict the group for what Fox described as "poll intimidation."

"I've always been an advocate of having a marketplace of ideas and letting the results from the successful approaches speak for themselves."

That's a better approach than summarily dismissing one for fear that it might offend potential supporters, or that it won't garner wide public support.

Now that you're back, I'll be checking your place for your latest thoughts, and offerings.

Greg L said...

I mentioned to someone here recently that the NBPP is a cartoonish caricature of a "radical" black group. If you think about it, even the name "Malik Zulu Shabazz" itself is a caricature. I'd love to find out where they get their money from.

Black Diaspora said...

@Greg L: "I'd love to find out where they get their money from."

As would I. Those uniforms along look expensive, and those medals, very official. What do we have, a major and a captain?

Where do they hang out until they're called up for their next gig?

Mr. I.M. Black said...


Good to have you back; hope all is well.


Black Diaspora said...

"Good to have you back; hope all is well."

Thanks, Mr. I.M. BLACK.

Writing posts (blog entries) are a real challenge, now that blogger has reconfigured the use of tags in writing posts.

The use of
(breaks) are everywhere!

My old control has given way to their new, and superior upgrade.