Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
So anyway, I was having this argument with my father about Martin Luther King and how his message was too conservative compared to Malcolm X’s message. My father got really angry at me. It wasn’t that he disliked Malcolm X, but his point was that Malcolm X hadn’t accomplished anything as Dr. King had.
I was kind of sarcastic and asked something like, so what did Martin Luther King accomplish other than giving his “I have a dream speech.”
Before I tell you what my father told me, I want to digress. Because at this point in our amnesiac national existence, my question pretty much reflects the national civic religion view of what Dr. King accomplished. He gave this great speech. Or some people say, “he marched.” I was so angry at Mrs. Clinton during the primaries when she said that Dr. King marched, but it was LBJ who delivered the Civil Rights Act.
At this point, I would like to remind everyone exactly what Martin Luther King did, and it wasn’t that he “marched” or gave a great speech.
My father told me with a sort of cold fury, “Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south.”
Please let this sink in and and take my word and the word of my late father on this. If you are a white person who has always lived in the U.S. and never under a brutal dictatorship, you probably don’t know what my father was talking about.
But this is what the great Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished. Not that he marched, nor that he gave speeches.
He ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south.
I’m guessing that most of you, especially those having come fresh from seeing The Help, may not understand what this was all about. But living in the south (and in parts of the midwest and in many ghettos of the north) was living under terrorism.
It wasn’t that black people had to use a separate drinking fountain or couldn’t sit at lunch counters, or had to sit in the back of the bus.
You really must disabuse yourself of this idea. Lunch counters and buses were crucial symbolic planes of struggle that the civil rights movement used to dramatize the issue, but the main suffering in the south did not come from our inability to drink from the same fountain, ride in the front of the bus or eat lunch at Woolworth’s.
It was that white people, mostly white men, occasionally went berserk, and grabbed random black people, usually men, and lynched them. You all know about lynching. But you may forget or not know that white people also randomly beat black people, and the black people could not fight back, for fear of even worse punishment.
This constant low level dread of atavistic violence is what kept the system running. It made life miserable, stressful and terrifying for black people.
White people also occasionally tried black people, especially black men, for crimes for which they could not conceivably be guilty. With the willing participation of white women, they often accused black men of “assault,” which could be anything from rape to not taking off one’s hat, to “reckless eyeballing.”
This is going to sound awful and perhaps a stain on my late father’s memory, but when I was little, before the civil rights movement, my father taught me many, many humiliating practices in order to prevent the random, terroristic, berserk behavior of white people. The one I remember most is that when walking down the street in New York City side by side, hand in hand with my hero-father, if a white woman approached on the same sidewalk, I was to take off my hat and walk behind my father, because he had been taught in the south that black males for some reason were supposed to walk single file in the presence of any white lady.
This was just one of many humiliating practices we were taught to prevent white people from going berserk.
I remember a huge family reunion one August with my aunts and uncles and cousins gathered around my grandparents’ vast breakfast table laden with food from the farm, and the state troopers drove up to the house with a car full of rifles and shotguns, and everyone went kind of weirdly blank. They put on the masks that black people used back then to not provoke white berserkness. My strong, valiant, self-educated, articulate uncles, whom I adored, became shuffling, Step-N-Fetchits to avoid provoking the white men. Fortunately the troopers were only looking for an escaped convict. Afterward, the women, my aunts, were furious at the humiliating performance of the men, and said so, something that even a child could understand.
This is the climate of fear that Dr. King ended.
If you didn’t get taught such things, let alone experience them, I caution you against invoking the memory of Dr. King as though he belongs exclusively to you and not primarily to African Americans.
The question is, how did Dr. King do this—and of course, he didn’t do it alone.
(Of all the other civil rights leaders who helped Dr. King end this reign of terror, I think the most under appreciated is James Farmer, who founded the Congress of Racial Equality and was a leader of nonviolent resistance, and taught the practices of nonviolent resistance.)
So what did they do?
They told us: Whatever you are most afraid of doing vis-a-vis white people, go do it. Go ahead down to city hall and try to register to vote, even if they say no, even if they take your name down.
Go ahead sit at that lunch counter. Sue the local school board. All things that most black people would have said back then, without exaggeration, were stark raving insane and would get you killed.
If we do it all together, we’ll be okay.
They made black people experience the worst of the worst, collectively, that white people could dish out, and discover that it wasn’t that bad. They taught black people how to take a beating—from the southern cops, from police dogs, from fire department hoses. They actually coached young people how to crouch, cover their heads with their arms and take the beating. They taught people how to go to jail, which terrified most decent people.
And you know what? The worst of the worst, wasn’t that bad.
Once people had been beaten, had dogs sicced on them, had fire hoses sprayed on them, and been thrown in jail, you know what happened?
These magnificent young black people began singing freedom songs in jail.
That, my friends, is what ended the terrorism of the south. Confronting your worst fears, living through it, and breaking out in a deep throated freedom song. The jailers knew they had lost when they beat the crap out of these young Negroes and the jailed, beaten young people began to sing joyously, first in one town then in another. This is what the writer, James Baldwin, captured like no other writer of the era.
Please let this sink in. It wasn’t marches or speeches. It was taking a severe beating, surviving and realizing that our fears were mostly illusory and that we were free.
Reblogging this so I can come back to it in the spring when I teach the Civil Rights Movement to my 5th graders.
Reblogging this for all the non-black people who like to quote MLK like he’s theirs.
THE TRUTH OF NATIVE AMERICANS BEFORE THE GENOCIDE
Gotta put this on blast.
We never needed a white savior.
I hate this country.
What I learned from this video:
- 100 million Native Americans died at the hands of white colonists
- Instead of planting crops the colonists spent their days digging random holes in the ground looking for gold. They started starving and dug up Indian corpses to eat. They took Indian prisoners and forced them to teach the colonists how to farm
- Native Americans had massive cities with tens of thousands of well constructed houses, intricate water canals and large merchant areas.
- The Native Americans used soaps, deodorants and breath sweeteners while colonists never bathed or even took of their clothes
- There was a delousing policy with the mantra Nits create Lice; nits being Native American babies, so their goal was to kill every Indian, including babies
- In the 1700’s 80% of the Federal Budget went towards eradicating the Native American population so they could take their developed farmland
- Colonists leaders went town after town killing men women and children under the approval of George Washington
- "Pursue Indians to extermination" -Thomas Jefferson
- California governor (1849-1851): “extermination must continue to be waged until the Indian becomes extinct”
The main factor which prevented Native American extinction was the fact they were used for slave labor. The most prized Native Americans were young girls who were said to be valued for labor and lust (that one white dude in your ethnic studies class that says he’s 1/36th Cherokee?)
In modern times children were forced into Indian Boarding Schools whose goal was to “Kill the Indian in them”. It was federal policy. They were beaten if they used their native tongue, they were forced to dress and style their hair like whites
This country was literally built on terrorism and mass murder. White people are savage terrorists.
Until, this is taught in schools everywhere- “history class” is merely a racism propaganda course.
… wow, now I feel like my AP US History teacher went above and beyond in a lot of ways. We spent a fair bit of time talking about the “boarding schools” that … really, boarding school isn’t the right name for them. Forced acculturation centers is a better term. While we didn’t go into depth on our early presidents’ attitudes, he was rather … critical (that’s a good, mild term) of the idea of manifest destiny, and strongly attacked the theft of native land.
I wish every school, every US history student, had a teacher like that. Because he was amazing. He was the first person to really teach me to be critical of history books, and for that I will always be grateful.
During WWII, Japanese American soldiers were among the first to liberate the Nazi concentration camp in Dachau, Germany. “U.S military commanders decided it would be bad public relations if Jewish prisoners were freed by Japanese American soldiers whose own families were imprisoned in American concentration camps,” therefore, these Japanese American soldiers who liberated hundreds of Jews are missing in our history lessons.
See, that implies that our history lessons actually talk about the fact that our government put Japanese Americans IN camps - and that by our silence we LET them. We condoned it. That’s on the heads of every white person who stood silently by and said nothing.
Also, yeah, not regularly taught.
To All the Little Black Girls With Big Names by Sha’Condria “iCon” Sibley (for Quvenzhane’ Wallis).
As book and poetry lovers know, words and names have power far beyond the syllables and sounds they seem to be. The way we use and value words and names says a lot about how we treat and value the things or people associated with them. To counteract the de-meaning (and demeaning) of black girls’ names, Tumblr user subconsciouscelebrity provided this list (and you can see how the conversation that followed the list here):
The meanings of a few names that people would typically think are ghetto and meaningless
LAKEISHA: a swahili name meaning “favorite one”
LATEEFAH: a north african name meaning “gentle and pleasant”
LATONIA: a latin name. latonia was the mother of diana in roman mythology
LATISHA: means “happiness”
TAKIYA: a north african name meaning “righteous”
ESHE. African Swahili name meaning “immortal”
KALISHA. Probably from the Galla word kalisha “sorcerer, wizard, witch doctor, magician”
LEENA (لينا). Another spelling of Arabic Lina (q.v.), meaning “softness.” In use in Africa.
MAKENA. African Kikuyu name meaning “the happy one.”
NIA. African Swahili name meaning “intention, life purpose, mind.”
MONIFA. African Yoruba name, meaning “I am luck,” from mo “I,” and ifa “profit, luck.”
NUBIA. Unisex. African. From the name of the country Nubia, meaning “land of gold,” from the Coptic word for gold.
AYANA : Ethiopian female name meaning “beautiful flower.”
SHANIKA. Unisex. African Bantu name, probably meaning “young one from the wilderness.”
SALINA. African. A name in use in Kenya. It may mean “merciful.”
TAMEKA. Another spelling of the African Congo name Tamika (q.v.), meaning “a twin,”
TAMELA. African Zulu name meaning “she who basks in the sun,”
AMARA. f. African. From the Swahili word amara, meaning “urgent business.”
Hindu. name meaning “immortal.”
African. Ethiopian. Amharic amari, meaning “agreeable, pleasing.”
CHICHI f Western African, Igbo
Diminutive of Igbo names beginning with the element Chi meaning “God”.
IMANI f & m Eastern African, Swahili, African American
Means “faith” in Swahili, ultimately of Arabic origin.
AZIZA f means “Respected. Darling.” Muslim,African, Egyptian, Arabic, Somali name meaning “gorgeous.
DALIA/DALILA f means “Gentle.”
African, Arabic, American, Egyptian, Spanish, African, Hebrew
BIBI : An East African female name meaning “daughter of a king.” Also a Kiswahili word meaning “lady” or “grandmother.”
ADA : Ibo of Nigeria name for firstborn females.
ZENA : Ethiopian name meaning “news” or “fame.”
JAMILAH f means “Beautiful.”
Arabic, Muslim, African
KALIFA f means “Chaste; holy.”
RASHIDI/RASHIDA f means
“Wise.” Egyptian African Swahili name meaning “righteous.”
TAJ means “Crown.”
FATUMA : Popular Swahili and Somali versions of the name Muslim name, FATIMA, meaning “weaned.”
NANA : Ghanaian name meaning “mother of the Earth.”
AJA : High Priestess of Mecca.
ADINA : Amharic of Ethiopia word sometimes used as a female name, meaning “she has saved.”
BALINDA : A Rutooro of Uganda name meaning “patience, endurance, fortitude.” (Balinda is also used as a male name in Uganda.)
FANTA : Guinea and Cote D’Ivoire name meaning “beautiful day.”
KAYA : Ghanaian name meaning “stay and don’t go back.”
LAYLA , LAILA , LEYLA , LEILA : Swahili and Muslim name meaning “born at night.”
SHANI : Swahili name meaning “marvelous.”
ANAYA : Ibo of Eastern Nigeria name meaning “look up to God.”
TANISHA , TANI : Hausa of W. Africa name meaning “born on Monday.”
ZAKIYA : Swahili name meaning “smart, intelligent.”
TITI : Nigerian name meaning “flower.”
SAFIA , SAFIYA , SAFIYEH , SAFIYYAH : Swahili and Arabic name meaning “pure and wise” or “lion’s share.”
LULU : Swahili and Muslim name meaning “pearl” or “precious.”
KADIJA , KHADIJA : Swahili name meaning “born prematurely.”
AMINA : Somali and Muslim female name meaning “trustful, honest” and referring to Muhammed’s mother. This name is popular with the Hausa of West Africa.