Brother AACOOLDRE : Race & Class

Discussion in 'AACOOLDRE' started by AACOOLDRE, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. AACOOLDRE

    AACOOLDRE Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Race and Class

    Growing up in a small city of Jackson,Michigan left little exposure of my heritage in the public school system. With the exception of Martin L. King (MLK) being drilled down our throats all I knew was that we were slaves until the great white savior President Lincoln set us free. Even with this limited amount of one-sided propaganda was flawed because they never told me that Lincoln freed only the slaves from states that had rebelled against the Union and freedom didn’t come from his heart but a political/military strategy to win the Civil War. After the war was over Lincoln contemplated sending us overseas because he felt black and whites couldn’t live in harmony. I was upset that my father’s property taxes were used to force some white men in history into glory. My teachers told me that MLK was the best role model that we should imitate. But these same teachers never told me that the government had their military conduct survalence of MLK and was responsible for contributing to the atmosphere of his assasination.
    When I finished High school I was determined to learn the true history and development of my heritage. This self-taught knowledge has had a profound impact on appreciating my history and knowing how other ethnic groups has had an impact on mine.Unfortanetly this impact on my culture has been classified as white supremacy over every aspect of our lives including but not limited to: economics, education, labor, law, politics, religion, sex, war and even entertainment. My role as a Family Life Educator will be to bridge the divide between the above fields one individual at a time. I might not be able to change the world but I can have small steps of improvement with people I come into contact with.
    Who am I? (in terms of ethnicity,social class, and values).
    I’am an African-American with some new found Native-American blood in me. My grandfather on my father’s side is African-American. My grandmother on my father’s side said her family mixed with some Native-Americans down south in Tennessee but offered no evidence. My mothers father is what appears to be a Native-American. His name is Raymond Hubbard. I’m told that Hubbard was a popular name native Americans adopted to avoid discrimination. there are many people with the last name Hubbard who wrote books about Indians, a state senator from Arizona, a Hubbard museum for Indians in New Mexico. Squash is a Native-American word meaning to eat raw. there are four winter squashes and one of them is Hubbard. Unfortunately, Hubbard divorce my grandmother and remarried to another full-blooded Native-American woman. Because of this divorce I know very little of my Native-American heritage. My Aunt says that she has information on the reservation we came from in a box collecting moisture and dust in her basement.She is reluctant to reveal information to me because she thinks I want to write a book and make some money. Actually I just want to know all of my heritage and get some benefits from the federal government if I can prove I have at least 25% Native-American blood in me. My aunt showed me a picture of my great-great-great grandmother who was half Native-American and German but her offspring and herself included married back into Native-Americans. Her portrait was cute with her western dress on looking a lot like my mother. Growing up I was considered to be only African-American. I guess this was due to the one-eighth rule. If you had 1/8 % Black in you you were counted as black. In 1896 the U.S Supreme court ruled that a Louisiana law mandating separate but equal accommodations on intrastate railroads. Homer Plessy was considered “Colored” under Louisiana state Law because he had at least one-eighth African blood. This ruling promoted race hatred and distrust which remained the law of the land until 1954. If I will be able to go to school free I will take advantage of the opportunity and get a PHD. I will consider it reparations for all of the land and treaties White settlers broke with some of my blood relatives who were Chiefs at that time. And then I will wait on my 40 acres and a mule from my African-American side.
    Social Class
    Last year me and my ex-girlfriend applied for assistance with the Community Action Agency (CAA) so that I could get my roof fixed from the rain leaking in our house. The CAA classified us as being 125% below the poverty level with a family of five. I considered ourselves situational poor. My father, since 1968, works for one of the largest employers in Jackson County that’s Consumer’s Energy. My mother worked for them for 14 years. My father’s father retired from GM in Lansing. So I can’t be classified as Generational poor because I come from a family tree of home owners and workers. I’am now more than ever situational poor with the departure of my girlfriend who was the bread winner in my house. I’m currently jobless because I’ve had a chronic illness I’m trying to beat with no health insurance. I regret quitting one of my jobs. I guess I’m going to have to shed some of the characteristics of being poor if I want to get ahead. One of the traits of poverty class is quitting job based on the likes/dislikes of your boss instead of trying to negotiate a conflict resolution. But people must understand black people have been trained for generations since slavery to be obedient without questioning authority. So when we are under unjust pressure from our boss we feel the only power we have is to quit working because we aren’t slaves anymore. I’ve had jobs that sprung me into the middle class like being a former corrections officer. But I lacked one of the anti-poverty resources of not emotionaly engaging in self-destructive behavior that, (Payne, 1996, p.16; 76) Payne talked about. I’m told that: “people who get into the American job market and stay there seldom remain poor unless they do something self-destructive. And behaving self-destructively is the hallmark of the underclass”.-Charles Murray (Losing Ground, 1984). I hope to continue to grow and mature so I can stay above a class that under.
    Values
    The top three commodities I value in life is Religion, education and saving your money. A belief in education, the development of skills and the refinement of character are the best weapons against backwardness of self-destructive attitudes and behavior. I’m a very spiritual person who indepently thinks for myself. I don’t share the orthodox view on. I believe that Africa played an ancoring role in the history and development of the Old and New Testament. My uncle taught me that a man is more free and independent if he/she would save more of their money. One of the main reasons I left my ex-girlfriend was because she didn’t know how to save money and didn’t want me to save money. She wanted to live week to week not taking into consideration that we could save for some rainy days, emergencies or crisis situations that happen from time to time.
    What is my attitude toward other ethnic groups and social classes?
    At the present moment I’m mad at my own self. I’m trying to figure out why Koreans, Mexicans and Arabs are setting up hair care shops and stores in the Black community and African-Americans are being left out of this enterprise. It’s sad that they think all black people want to do is steal. The President of Mexico Mr. Fox says that mexicians will take jobs that even black people don’t want to do. This is misleading Mexicians want employment with the best wage they can get. They are trying to get factory, construction jobs just like the rest of Americans. I hate to see the big corporations have ethnic groups fight each other for the lowest wage possible for their benefit. It’s not about race its about greed. I’m frustrated with the Black middle and upper class. They desire to live on an island of their own. They move away from the inner city and forget from whence they came from. If the middle class would stay and play as role models in black communities they would have more credibility when they criticize poor Blacks. Bill Cosby is a perfect example. Cosby crictizes Black women for giving their children ebonic names that whites find hard to pronounce; and end up throwing their resumes in the trash. Cosby shouldn’t concede to racism. Not having certain types of names isn’t about cultural assimulation but conceding to racism. Teach other cultures to love names like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lewis Alcindor) or Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay). Learn to love the person and not prejudge someone because of their name. Whites in the upper and middle class are hyprocrits too. They sit back and talk about black sexuality and entertainment as being self-destructive when they are the main economic supporters of it.
    What general observations are possible about ethnicity and social class as they affect families and family life?
    There are five characteristics about black families: Strong kinship bonds, strong work orientation, adaptability of family roles,strong achievement orientation and strong religious orientation. With variation these five characteristics can be found in any ethic group. Conservative Republicans have some talking points when addressing families and class. They assert if a family have a job any job, finish high school, no out of wedlock or teen pregnancy, get married and stay married they have a 1% chance of being in proverty.They use these four measures to justify no need for The Great Society programs that came into existence in the 1960’s to eradicate proverty. Well in 2004 me and my girlfriend were together and we were in that 1% of proverty of being 125% below the proverty line. People in the lower class must start adopting some of the values of the middle class if they want to make it into the mainstream. I know I must begin the process of sheding some of the hidden rules among the proverty class. For example there could be no peace in my household until I ended a relationship with my ex-girlfriend who wanted Matriarchal rule when I grew up in a house of Patriarchal rule of seeing my father rule my household. My girlfriend grew up in the gehetto in Chicago and never saw a man run his household. Society criticizes Black Matriarchal homes as a pathology when they often cites the Moynihan Report. The Moynihan report was one sided. It blamed the weakness of the Black Family because no father was in the house without saying proverty and racism also weakens the family. By analogy it would be like the Reagan administration saying the causes of the homeless was mental illness. Well studies have shown that being homeless was deteriorate a person’s mental health and well being. When society in general has an affrimative-Action policy towards black males to be in prison rather than in college the results will be lesser black males in families. When President Bush declares it soft bigotry of teachers low expectations of Black students in schools he confirms that Public schools are cheating black youth into a cycle of proverty. Family Life Educators can set individuals goals to personal understand the experiences of other cultures they can become guides to matching solutions to problems.
    How does the ethnicity and social class of the Family life practitioner affect the intervention process? How should these variables affect the process?
    I feel that I could be of some use and help being a family Life educator here in Michigan. For example if I worked as a DHS social worker I relate to the people I would help because I been in their shoes. A couple of years ago I had an ATM food card and had to seek assistance for my roof with the CAA. For my white co-workers I could help explain cultural stereotypes and misconceptions. For example in class one of my fellow students assumed it was racist on the part of blacks who have Miss Black America beauty contest. Secondly, my teacher talked about a Blackman talking white in the office but using ebonics among his fellow blacks. The most famous black socialist, W.E. B. Dubois , may have explain this in his book The Souls of Black Folk. Dubois said:
    The Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second sight in
    this American world-a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only
    Lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar
    sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self ,
    through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks
    Amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness-an American, a Negro; two
    Souls, two thoughts, two unrecognized strivings; two warring ideals in one dark
    body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder (Dubois, 1903,
    p.5).
    It’s impossible to talk about race without sex. Blacks aren’t racist because they formed their own Beauty contest. The Beauty contest is an affirmation that “Black is Beautiful” after we were told that we were ugly. We formed our own Miss Black America because it took a very long time for us to win. When Vanessa Williams won Miss America in 1983 it was based on white standards of beauty. Take for example the white sitcom Friends that had no blacks on their show for a very long time. When they finally got a black person it was a Black female who was married to a White man that talked white with all white forms of mannerism. So what did black people do? They came up with a sitcom called Girlfriends. Dubois challenged his talented tenth “To attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self…[we] simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face” (Dubois, 1903 p.5). In reality Black females want to participate in both pageants. We has a black community want to have society recognize and appreciate cultural difference to the point where we can eliminate the hyphen in African-American and just be called Americans. We are not there yet until white society stops wanting us to concede to racism being disguised as assimilation/acculturation. I’m not talking about Ebonics, we all need to know how to speak the Kings language acceptably.
    I think that helping people out about their perceptions about different Ethnic groups can be very helpful in the intervention process. When people have certain types of notions about people they interactions might not be effective with quality. I was glad to express my knowledge of why Black people have their own beauty pageants. But I was troubled because she seemed not to have a clue that it was the history of white supremacy that produced a Black Beauty pageant. I guess she didn’t know that “Inter-racial sex jealousy and accompanying sadism has been made the wide foundation of mobs and lynching” Dubois, 1933, p.699). How could you have a Black model be involved in Miss America when the standard of beauty was hostile towards blacks. A couple of months ago the US Senate just passed an official apology for not enacting an anti-lynching Bill. Two Senators were missing from action from Mississippi; the very place where the Civil Rights Movement was born due to Emmett Till being lynched in 1955. Till’s murderer was just sent to prison this year (2005). Trent Lott a Senator from Mississippi refused to vote on the lynching apology bill. Lott of all person should have made it to the vote. Lott was dethroned from his leadership position with the Republicans because he praised Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) 1948 presidential segregation platform. Strom Thurmond had racist politics but in 1925 he got a black servant pregnant. Until 1964 miscegenation between Blacks and whites was a felony in South Carolina. Ironically Thurmond second wife was a former 1969 Miss South Carolina beauty queen. All of this has to be viewed in context to explain my classmates question as to why Blacks form their own Beauty contest awards. And I might add the only time the mainstream media focused on a Black beauty pageant was when Mike Tyson was wrongly accused of rape. The Supreme Court ruled rape to be a non capital crime in 1967. Up to that year there is absolutely no record of any white man being executed for raping a black woman. But virtually all the lynching of blacks was for the alleged crime of rape. But we know 97% of white females are raped by white males. But the perception is the fear of blacks committing crimes against blacks. If a person has an accurate perception of the history and development of an ethnic group they are serving then it becomes a win win situation.
    Conclusion
    Helping others and helping yourself so that you can serve others with love (agape) is one the fundamental goals in any spiritual philosophy. This was reinforced with my class textbook which stated the Christian philosophy was a “Call to discipleship and service” (Mindel, Habenstein and Wright 1998, p.348). Politicians on the Republican conservative side deplore the transformation of the former Family Independence Agency to the Department of Human Service. Conservatives like the former name with scriptural backing from (1Thessalonians 4:11 NIV) but the total context of the entire NT rest on service to humanity. We are judged on our “ works, and charity and service” Rev 2:19. Politicians are attempting to have cultural wars with their poster cases being abortion, god, guns and gays. But this is a deception to disenfranchise the working poor for corporate welfare. DHS workers must become aware that politics do play a big part into peoples lives good or bad. For example James Baldwin wrote: “Most of the Negroes I know do not believe that this immense concession, [1954 Supreme Court decision outlawing Plessy V. Ferguson], would ever have been made if it had not been for the competition of the cold war” ( Baldwin 1962, p117). The real point in the NAACP fighting for the end of the Plessy rule was not that blacks wanted to go to school with whites (although integration was a good thing), but that we wanted access to quality education. Without an education we as a people can’t and will not make any leaps forward. Teachers, social workers, counselors politicians and lawmakers must unite and work in unity for programs that will uplift all of god’s children no matter what the hues.We must educate ourselves and each other to be multicultural healers.






    References

    Baldwin, J (1962), The Fire Next Time New York: Dell
    Payne, R.K. (2001). A framework for understanding poverty. Highlands, TX: aha!
    Process Inc
    Mindel, C. H., Habenstein, R.W. and Wright, R. (Eds). (1998). Ethnic Families in
    America, (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall
     
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