Saturday, July 2, 2016

Clowns, left. Jokers, right. I’m stuck in the…you know where.

Click this link to read the entire transcript — without my inserted commentary — of the speech that has been getting a lot of attention for Mr. Jesse Williams, recent recipient of Viacom-owned BET TV’s 2016 Humanitarian Award. With that bestowment, it is now official: Williams has been anointed as heir to the civil rights throne so recently and unwillingly vacated by a couple of Reverends.

As a humorous side point, I saw a blog that attributed Williams’ beauty as the reason people are listening to him. After all, if a handsome bi-racial male says the struggle not only isn’t over but there’s been no progress either, then it must be so.

I also make comment on the fact that not to acknowledge progress is to perpetuate a lie. To say nothing is better is not the same as saying more progress can be made. No matter or when, more progress will always be needed when it comes to ways for man to be inhumane to man.

Lest you think this is a white woman speaking on matters she has no right to because she isn’t black, let me say blacks are also speaking out against Mr. Williams’ eloquently delivered speech. Read Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page article here. Inviting possible criticism from fellow blacks, Page summed up the speech this way:

Stacy Dash, not interested in safe spaces for herself and marked as the new whipping girl of the black civil rights elite, also spoke out against it here, saying:

Also, Mr. Williams’ comments do not reflect the fact that more whites are killed by police than blacks. Read what this article reported:

Though my results showed that 0.1% of my DNA comes from the western parts of Africa, no one would ever mistake me for anything but coming from European descent, most notably 87% British but with so many more variations thrown in that it only proves my ancestors were a randy lot who loved to meet new people.

However, as a white mother who raised her white children to see color as an adjective and not a judgment call, and whose adult children reflect those values she instilled in them, this woman does have a right to speak out on this subject when someone attempts to tar her with the brush of racism and prejudice. So, let’s get to it.

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT [With my inserted commentary in this style.]

Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that. [Angela says: Very well done.]

Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life. [Angela says: Very nice. I also love how he has managed to quietly skewer the existing school system’s inability to teach, while showcasing the importance of parents taking an active role in their children’s education outside of the classroom. Yay for Jesse.]

Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. [Angela says: Classy. No mention here of race, color, political, socio-economic, or religious references of those involved in the civil rights struggle, as all are acknowledged.]

It’s kind of basic mathematics – the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize. [Angela says: With the use of the words “we” and “who” the inclusion aspect is huge here since many of all colors and races have been involved in civil rights both here in the U.S., and in other countries where those civil rights issues may or may not be about color but about caste, religion, or political affiliation.]

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you. [Angela says: I’m not sure why this is in here since it speaks more to interpersonal relationships than civil rights per se, but I shall surmise as to his meaning. It is possible Mr. Williams was alluding to the practice of some men who leave their women high and dry to raise children on their own. And he acknowledges that those women have done that and done it well. Also that the older generations of men who have done right by their women will teach the younger generation these same high principles.]

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. [Angela says: The police also manage every day not to kill people of all other colors and races. Mr. Williams’ statement here is inflammatory. He is accusing all police of using their training only to benefit white people. Given that black (12.2%), Hispanic (11.6%), other (3.5%), and women (12.2%) make up about 40% of the police in the U.S. — see WSJ report here — he has, in effect, called all black police racists. Surely he cannot mean this. Did he really mean to insult — what one can only assume he thinks of as — his black brothers?]

So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours. [Angela says: Here Mr. Williams is implying the function of the police is to kill blacks and get away with it. He does not acknowledge how many times those same police put their lives on the line to save others without once asking their color before they fling themselves into the fray. His threat to restructure is grandstanding at best — actors are good at that — to pandering at worst.]

Now… I got more y’all – yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt. [Angela says: Tragedies need no commentary other than to say one should always make sure of all facts concerning a case before anyone should cite it to support a claim of injustice. I myself will not comment on these cases as I do not have all the facts.]

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money – that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies. [Angela says: Mr. Williams is confusing branding from a hot iron inflicting horrible pain and leaving behind an ugly scar in order to show ownership of a body with the voluntary spending of one’s own money to purchase an item with the logo of a person or company one admires and wants to be associated with. The two have nothing in common. Unless — and this is possible — unless Jesse is saying that folks are being forced to spend that money and have no choice in the matter, in which case we should have another and very different conversation.]

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t leveed [sic] against us – and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so…free. [Angela says: Freedom is always, and always will be, conditional for everyone because there is no such thing as unconditional freedom. Freedom is a hard-won state of being. There will always be those who don’t want others to be free, including anyone who says they are fighting for civil rights but whose every word and action does nothing but foment hatred and division in order to line their pocket and set themselves up as a new messiah.]

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now. [Angela says: Oh, Mr. Williams, don’t we all?]

And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little sidenote – the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, alright – stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down. [Angela says: Ah. I wonder. Can Mr. Williams define what it means to have an “established record of critique”? Who sets the criteria for established record? Again, big words that make awesome soundbites, but on their face are meaningless.]

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though… the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real. [Angela says: Again, great soundbites but meaningless. If there were no blacks killing more blacks than anybody else. If there were no blacks selling their brand-name clothes at highly inflated pricing while targeting those sales at poor blacks. If there were no black institutions using predatory lending only on blacks. If there were no bankable and highly respected and very-well-paid black actors or artists. If there were no black-owned music streaming services selling out while claiming to be all for the black artists. Then and only then would I say you might have a point, Jesse. But there is, so you don’t.]

Thank you. [Angela says: You are welcome, Jesse. If your goal is to inhabit the civil rights throne so recently — and unwillingly — vacated (by certain Reverends who have held corporations hostage with threats of blackmail if they didn’t get their hush-money fee), then you’re on the right track by stepping right on in it by indulging weakness and employing questionable methods. But Jesse? I don’t think that is what you want. I think you’re a young fellow feeling his oats and like all young people you want to do something. Well, if you really want to do something beneficial, first get your facts straight, reign in the dramatics, then maybe you too can teach a man how to fish. In any case, don’t go about making enemies of people by tarring those who have been fighting injustice on more fronts than you have and for much longer.]

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