Black Students Expelled for Fist Fight!
Should Rev. Jesse Jackson Be Demonstrating in Decatur, Illinois?
Jesse Jackson Should Not Be Demonstrating in Decatur, Illinois!
When some Black high school kids from a Decatur, Illinois school were expelled by the school board because of a fist fight during a ball game, Jesse Jackson should not be demonstrating, getting arrested and making a point. This is not the 1970s, this is the 1990s when other more effective strategies are available to get the message across America and the world about any form of injustice. The best thing Jesse could have done was to get hold of these kids, get them counseling to set them on the right path, and find scholarship for them to attend much better private schools. A couple of years later, Jesse Jackson can come back and present the children to the nation as a success created from those that were rejected by society. As a minister he would be in his right place to say, look America, I helped to make something out of these children like the Bible says, "The stone that was rejected by the builders is made the head of the corner stone."
Although Jesse Jackson's action is greatly applauded by those who have experienced passionless treatment from society because of inner mindset and preconceived notions or for whatever reasons, we should not be fighting old problems with old strategies when there are more effective ways to deal with such problems. If they reject your children for whatever reason, you can make the welfare of your children your highest priority and put the school board to shame. It is not the time to go to the school board begging on your knees with tears running down your cheeks just to appease those whose minds have been turned against a certain segment of society. It is the time to learn to take care of your own.
Failure of Black Leaders
Why is Jesse Jackson the only person out there fighting for the kids? What happened to other Black leaders and celebrities? Although I do not believe in engaging in civil disobedience to make a point, but the complacency of many Black celebrities has intensified the harshness of treatment against people of color. We all know too well that if you call a particular group of people names or you dare to do something against them, the whole group (although they are minorities too) of people will rise against such a person, school or institution.
Black leaders and organizations have failed the delinquent Black children particularly children from the inner cities who are presently being deprived of normal basic education. It is their responsibilities to develop orchestrated efforts to solve problems of the inner cities to rescue Black children in trouble no matter the problem. We can not wait on a society who has never cared about those children to do any better than they have done. Evidently, the school board would never have treated their own children like they have treated these children if they had a fist fight. Would they? There are many well known Black celebrities that should have done more to help the Black children in trouble. Instead of helping to resolve these problems, being idolized by society is more important to those Black celebrities because it feels good to be accepted by the majority. Even those Black talk show hosts and hostesses who are in the position to educate America about the deepness of racial hatred and the harshness with which some minorities have been treated have failed. Consequently, the problem continues and more Black children will not graduate from high school because they did not receive adequate education. The future is very troublesome! Like the old saying, "When the good people keep quiet, the voices of evil will grow louder."
School Board's Action
Most minorities do not expect anything better from the school board because we lived in a culture of victimization and orchestrated anger against a particular group of people. The children were wrong to be fighting at the ball game. Such behavior should not be accepted. Although such fights happen everyday in schools across the nation regardless of color. We see professional ball players do the same thing all the time. However, should we throw a baby out with the bath water?
Many who applauded the school board's decision already accepted that the problem in most schools are due to unruly Black kids. Is this true? Evidently they would have been treated differently if they were children from another race. Perhaps society is still angry at all the shootings across the nation by White kids and Black children become a convenient target to deliver the message to the people. It is not fair, but that is the system that has been established in America. When you want to make a point to society, use the minorities as the scapegoat. Such action is always accepted by the people that are in denial about looking at the inner self but will rather point an accusing finger at other children. This is the basic aspect of institutionalized racism endured by many educated Blacks across the nation.
The school board is in the right position to use Black children as scapegoats because we are a culture that loves to celebrate racial intolerance. It is called being conservative! During the incident which happened in the military when White soldiers were shaving body parts of White women, getting drunk and partying like crazy, two minority officers were accused and about to be put on trial. It was 60 Minutes Magazine which exposed that these two officers, one Black and the other Asian were not even at the party. But, by American standard, they fit the profile of those to be used as scapegoats.
Conservative Radio Talk Shows
After the incident in Decatur, I listened to the voices of very angry Whites across the nation including those on KMOX Radio with Charles Jeco show, National Public Radio, jokes made by Kernie on KMOX about Jackson's arrest and many others. I was very dejected and felt sad for America as a racially divided nation. It is the only country racial hatred is accepted for being patriotic. Twenty years from now, we will see the full impact of the damage done to society by the so called "Conservative Radio Talk Shows" whose agenda is primarily based on bigotry and divisiveness. These are the same talk shows that fostered the anti-government sentiments just because they support one political party against the other. After the Oklahoma bombing which killed close to 200 people because of anger against the government, President Clinton strongly appealed to the radio stations to watch their rhetoric. They refused, their negative rhetoric got stronger. The trouble continued. The same talk shows advocated for more guns in the streets and children are killing children with guns in the schools and also some are using guns to commit suicide, yet there is no call for restraints. The basic sentiment of these talk shows is to care less about minorities while strongly protecting the rights of the majority. They see minorities as threats to their existence, forgetting the minorities who utilized unpaid sweat to build this country. Similarly, the voices of anger heard over the radios across the nation did not come alive when White children were shooting and killing other kids in schools across the nation.
When White children shot and killed many of their school mates, they were called "screwed up kids." When Black children had a fist fight at a ball game, they were called "criminals," and expelled from school. It is justice American style! What else is new?
Appropriate School Response
Part of the major problems in school today is the failure of the system to establish discipline using corporal punishment if necessary. The schools board should have dealt with the student as children not as Black children. They should have been punished and immediately returned to class. Those children were not treated as children, they were treated as out-casts by a society that loves to hate minorities and blame minorities for all the social problems. The school board should have treated the children the same way they would have treated their own children at home if they had a fist fight -- institute punishment and teach acceptable behavior. By throwing them out of school is to add to the problem and it is sad that most of those educators do not understand the difference between destructive punishment and restorative punishment. Children thrown out of school usually go down a destructive path very fast. Yet we always question ourselves how we create criminals without recognizing the resultant effects of action such as this taken against children which could have been salvaged. The school board's action did not do society any good.
In St. Louis a group of high school White kids had a party and went on a drinking binge. It was against the school's policy. So, the school suspended them from playing ball game -- meaning they will lose their scholarships. There was community outrage from these kids' parents supported by many other people that the punishment was too harsh. The school changed its position and the students were let off the hook. In another incident, a group of White parents rioted and beat up the referee after the game because their children's team lost. With amusement the incident was discussed on some radio shows questioning how parents were setting a bad example for their children. There were some that were sympathetic to the parents because the referee was unfair. Fights happen all the time in ball games across the nation whether by Black or by White kids, it makes no difference. But should we as adults condemn these children and expelled them from school? Are we not sending a message to minority kids that they are not wanted worsening the situation?
On November 19, 1999 a brawl broke out between an African American and a white student at Palmdale intermediate school, a suburb of Los Angeles. The black student received a blow to his head and eventually died of his wounds. The mostly white Palmdale school officials suspended the student for five days. There were no criminal charges filed.
About last year, a White boy from the USA and some of his friends were in Singapore jail to be flogged for defacing public properties, vandalizing cars as they went on a rampage. There was a national outcry that this nice boy is going to be emotionally damaged because of the punishment. People across the nation were pouring down their sympathy and expressing dissatisfaction for such punishment as barbaric. I wonder if society would have cared if they were Black children to be flogged in Singapore.
If they were White children doing things wrong, they are being children, but if they were Black children, they are criminals. This is how we as a society have created two nations because of preferential treatment for certain group and justice continue to elude minorities as they remain the target of victimization.
Blaming the Black Students
The major blame still lies on the shoulders of the students (and their parents) who got into a fist fight during the ball game understanding the consequences of such behavior. The kids acted as if they live in a nation where there is justice for all. Perhaps they will learn from now that there will always be one justice for minorities and another justice for other people. Such treatment is applauded by the society as bigotry continues to be a well celebrated and accepted tradition in America. Those children knew what they were getting into, hopefully they would have learned their lesson.
Race Relationships and Reasons for Hope
On the overall national level, race relationship has gotten better -- not all Whites are racist and not all Black are racist either. When I evaluate the race relationship where I work, go to church and where I live, my hope and joy were renewed. In the north county of St. Louis nobody can conceal seeing young Black and White kids walking down the streets together. It is not unusual to see White grand parents bringing their Black grandchildren to grocery stores on Saturday or see a pregnant Black woman married to a White man in a group of all White family members. It used to be many young Black guys in cars with young White women. Now, we are seeing the best of the best of the educated Black women being snatched and married to by educated White men. Some Blacks are not happy with this trend. But as long as there are more Black males in jail than in college, educated and more attractive Black women will continue to attract the passion and hopefully true love of educated White males.
Danger to Society
The danger to society is not the children's fist fight as much as the repercussion of the punishment handed down by the school board. If these high school students were deprived of proper education and socialization because of one fist fight, society bears the life burden of watching them sink into delinquency. The same society may eventually pay for the outcome of perhaps criminal behavior by these children in later life or as adults.The major part of the purpose of education is to prevent such outcome. But it is easy to stiffen up our necks, bulge our eyes and yell the words, "Take responsibility for your action," or "What happen to accountability?" -- primarily reserved for minority children. "Can any of the school board members treat their own children like that?" said one concerned White woman from the county of St. Louis. Her voice is a minority opinion just like on "Talk of the Nation" on National Public Radio discussing the same issue. Despite many Whites supporting the school board's action, a couple of Whites called to question the motive of the students' expulsion from school. There was a White woman who actually indicated that the action of the school board was based on racism, she cited the "Three strikes you are out" rule putting more Blacks in jail. She said, "How can America not see that this is racism?"
When we refuse to deal with problems, it will eventually come to haunt us. For example, the drug problems was ignored when it first started. It was portrayed to President Reagan as a Black problem. Later they found that more Whites are dropping dead due to drug overdose. By the time the government realizing the drug problem has no color, it was already too late. When Black gangs were established in the inner cities, society refused to find the cause let alone find solutions. Seemingly and years later, the same problems are now besieging Whites kids and blood starts to flow in high schools across the nation. The saddest part of the issue is that we remained as a society in denial.
Book: Two Nations
We do not have many Blacks in jail because most Black children are criminals. It is because of the great disparity based on race and the harshness of sentencing over drugs. This put more Blacks in jail despite more middle class Whites use drugs more than Blacks. But, the law was designed to be "three strikes you are out" and the Blacks pay for the crimes of the entire society. It is not called scape goating but being conservative -- it is a fashionable tradition in America! So why should we blame the school board as Blacks remain a group society loves to hate? Why should they care about the welfare of those children?
Two Nations, Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal (257 pages, published by Ballantine Books, N.Y.) written by Andrew Hacker, a White college professor from New York. He defines the evils of racism in America and how it has adversely affected minorities and Blacks. He explores different aspects of American life and how racism permeated every one of them. Andrew Hacker explains why racial disparity persist and why most Whites remain in denial because it is fashionable and accepted to be White in America. According to the author, America is an apartheid system with great denial from Whites who benefit from most of the opportunities. He claims that the attack on affirmative programs is a way to delude society that Blacks are being given undue preferential treatments when 100 percent of the quotas have always been reserved for Whites. "More Whites have come out against preferential programs and increasingly condemn Black for casting their race as victims who have no control over their conditions. America is inherently a 'white' country in character, in culture, in structure. Blacks as a people face boundaries and constraints set by the White majority," he says.
"We are left with the crushing effect of what we have done to ourselves by using race as our defining tool and lying most of the time about what we are doing." Roger Wilkins, The Boston Globe
Politicians are as Responsible for Racial Division in the Country
American media is directly responsible for prejudice against minorities since it created the fear in society that minorities are criminals. The same media refuse to present the achievements of middle class Blacks and other minorities. The society remains with the impression that minorities are criminals. There is almost nowhere such a label does not follow a member of a minority group in America depriving him or her justice and being subjected to ridicule and the hostility of discrimination. They are constantly subjected to the bigotry of racism and prejudice regardless of educational status.
Although it is not fair to blame politicians solely for racial division since it has been cultured into the system before their time. Some of them however took advantage of the division to win election votes just like Rush Limbaugh uses America's political division to win a jackpot becoming a millionaire created by mediocre minds who follow him.
When Jesse Jackson went to Decatur, many of the voices of Whites said he was playing a race card. When the former President Bush utilized the Willie Horton case of a convicted Black criminal to win political votes, he was playing conservative. Similarly, Jessie Helms' slogan of "You don't get the job because they gave it to an unqualified minority," -- he was applauded by fellow supporters as being conservative. These politicians were not playing the race cards according to their supporters despite utilizing bigotry to win political votes while Jesse Jackson was trying to bring racism to the attention of society as it raises it ugly heads over and over again. Sadly to say, racism remains an accepted and celebrated part of American culture. Until we look into the windows of our conscience we will never realize the damage we continue to do to ourselves and society because of this evil.
Book: Overcoming the Invisible Crime : Do we embrace Blacks the way we embrace Whites when they do good?
I remember spending endless hours on the telephone with major newspapers in the country like New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, St. Louis Post Dispatch and many others to review the book Overcoming the Invisible Crime, 352 pages published by Lara Publications of St. Louis. A book which discusses the suffering of an educated and ambitious Black man in corporate America and how he managed to deal with his hurt and pain and disappointment without resorting to violence. The book was designed as a campaign against violence and abuse. The story clearly depicts the ugliness of racism and injustice, corporate abuse and institutionalized bigotry. Whites need to read this book to understand the sufferings of Blacks due to racism. It is a highly inspirational book about how young Blacks can learn to resolve conflicts without violence because we live in a racist society. So, when Blacks do something very positive even to solve their own problems the main media hardly ever give them fair coverage.
I remember a big newspaper book editor told me their paper do not review Black books that I should go to a Black newspaper. But the same media is quick to report crimes by Blacks, accentuate such report to anger Whites and in some cases cover up those crimes by Whites or find convenient excuses for them.
I was told by some readers that O.J. Simpson's verdict is a vindication of my book Overcoming the Invisible Crime and I strongly disagree. I believe to the contrary that the verdict is an irony of the events in the book. O.J. was accused and found not guilty. I was accused of doing something a White person did wrong, despite they all knew I was not at fault, they took their anger off on me to pay the price and I ended up losing my supervisory job at a West county hospital in St. Louis. I tried to educate the media and society about the prevalence of racism in America and the ultimate damage, but people don't want to listen. The story is not juicy enough for the media because it doesn't involve a murder.
A history of injustice by the judiciary system and social racism
In the early1920s, there was a riot in Oklahoma due to a White lady's false allegation that she was raped by a Black man. White men came and burned down the largest collections of businesses owned by Blacks called the Black Wall Street. After the riot which was caused and initiated by Whites, close to 300 Blacks were murdered. Efforts to rebuild the Black Wall Street were unsuccessful. This Black Wall Street in Oklahoma was one of the most successful collection of businesses by Black professionals in American history. Some Blacks claimed that is was partly jealousy and partly racism by the Whites against the Blacks which led to the riot and the destruction. It was said that the Whites not only wanted it all, they wanted the Black to always be at the mercy of the White system.
Take the case of an older Black woman who already spent seven years in jail. Her son was convicted of arson and was sent to jail, God knows for many long years. Well, the police officer who investigated the case was not satisfied. He picked the convict's mother as a culprit in the crime because her fingerprints were on the gasoline can used in committing the crime. The mother was convicted based on her fingerprints on the gasoline can and sent to long years in jail. As the case turned out, after this poor Black woman spent about seven years in jail, the White police officer who gathered the evidence finally admitted to planting the mother's finger prints on the gasoline can which was used to convict this innocent woman. The Black woman was then set free after serving seven years for a crime she didn't commit. In another case narrated by 60 Minutes Television Magazine a Black woman released a couple of years ago spent ten years in jail for a crime she didn't commit despite co-workers testified she was at work at the time the crime was being committed.
In 1963, Edger Evers, a Black man, was shot to death in his drive way by a White man. Despite the White man's fingerprints on the gun, he was found innocent by an all White jury and it took thirty years to get justice when this old frail looking man was finally sent to jail.
Emmett Till was a fourteen year old Black boy accused of whistling at a White woman, Carolyn Bryant, in Mississippi 1955. He was dragged by White men out of his uncle's house mercilessly beaten, stabbed numerous times, shot in the head, and his body tossed in Tallahatchie River near Greenwood, Mississippi. He was the only child of his mother. Back in Chicago, Emmett Till's body was presented to the public so that according to the mother, Mrs. Till, "The world should see what was done." Emmett's face was badly disfigured with numerous stabbings, the bridge of his nose was chopped up, his right eye was missing, and the left eye was dangling from the socket, and one ear cut off. Mrs. Till said after identifying her son's body, "What kind of a person could do this to another human being especially a fourteen year old boy?" Only heavens know how much pain this young boy had to bear before death finally rescued him from the hands of these human monsters? Mrs. Till concluded, "Emmett's mutilated body represents the personification of White hatred for Blacks in Mississippi in 1950's." According to the Chicago Tribune, by 1952, Mississippi led the nation in recorded lynching of 534 Blacks. The two White guys, J.W. Milam 36 and Roy Bryant 24, one of them Carolyn' s husband went on trial. Despite eye witnesses and an ocean of evidence and even an all White male jurors later admitted they knew the two men on trial killed Emmett, yet, after one hour of deliberation, the White murderers were found not guilty and set free. There was an outcry condemnation of the verdict all over the world.
In the Scottsboro's case, nine Black men, Powell, Norris, Weems, Montgomery, Robertson, two Wright brothers, Patterson and Williams were falsely accused of raping two White women in 1931. They were convicted and imprisoned for long years despite their obvious innocence and pieces of evidence which proved them innocent. One of them was even sentenced to death. Many groups joined in their defense in repeated trials including the NAACP, League for Industrial Democracy, Episcopal Federation for Social Service and the International Labor Defense. The men were later freed in 1950 after 19 years in jail.
The U.S military in Britain had a Black General Infantry court marshaled and sentenced to death for having an extramarital affair with a married White woman in 1944. The White woman's husband claimed his wife was raped. Despite the woman later admitted to U.S. military officers in charge of the trial that her affair with the Black GI. was a consenting affair, the Black soldier was executed by the military for a crime he didn't commit!
Another story in Mississippi in 1968, a White man of age 30 years was caught having sex with a twelve year old Black girl in the woods by the police. Instead of the police arresting the White man for statutory rape, the Black girl was jailed for prostitution.
In Philadelphia 1996, over fifty cases against Blacks were thrown out and the convicted criminals set free after it was discovered police planted evidence to convict the suspects.
In Los Angeles, a few days after O.J. Simpson's verdict, a couple of police officers were caught and suspended for planting evidence on Black suspects. There were so many cases where innocent people were sent to jail for many years and some unfortunately met their demise unjustly the electric chair. Is this justice?
Racism is America is nothing new, we Blacks deal with it every day of our lives as people condemned because of the way we are roasted in the Creator's oven. What I hear Black people echoing over and over again is racism in education, job, courts and other aspects of social life. Do we ever see justice? Heck no! In America animals have more rights than people of color. Whites don't deal with such hurt and pain and it probably makes no difference to them. However, the only time the system is broken is when it doesn't favor Whites the same way some Blacks use racism as an excuse for every problem dealing with Whites. The biggest culprit in the perpetuation of racism is the giant arrogance of media that continue to position people of color as criminals, parading them on television and refusing to deal with positive issues about successful Blacks working very hard and making an honest living. If you've never worn this black skin, you would not know the magnanimity of guilt unfairly associated with its innocence.
Judgment Day for All Nations
Sadly many people have used Jesus Christ to make money and others to pursue their political agenda. He warned people of the end of time and the prevalence of false prophets.
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ." II Corinthians 11:13
The primary goal of his ministry was well defined and many political groups who professed to advocate for Christ many times tended to do the opposite of his mission. Jesus made it clear, he did not come for the rich, well to do, famous or the righteous --- he came to rescue the sinners, the poor and those that are oppressed. His agenda was very clear.
"Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me. --- Depart from me you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not take me in, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me." St. Matthew 25: 40.
Our Mission in Life
Our mission in life is not to get rich at others expense alone, be famous or popular or brag about our talents to make other people feel so bad they would want to commit suicide. Our mission in life constitutes the essence of our being --- to utilize the talents that the good Lord has given to us to improve human conditions and leave the world a better place. In the end, everybody must give account of what they have done with the talents the Creator has given them.
Article by V. 'Yinka Vidal, Managing Editor, OUTCRY Magazine