going back to africa

Reunifying African diaspora across the Americas with each other, their pride, history, culture, true homes & identity…

Archive for the tag “Ku Klux Klan”

Bruce’s Beach

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While visiting Southern California, my native stomping grounds, I caught this amazing sunset in Manhattan Beach. Sometimes I forget to turn my location off & Google Maps will prompt me to leave reviews for places that I’ve been, this excursion mentioning Bruce’s Beach, which I had never heard of. I’m thinking, “who’s this guy, Bruce?” Curious, I clicked the location for more info & recognized from photos, a cute 3-acre stair-shaped, hillside park that me & my family had parked our car at the bottom of. I was surprised to read this small description on Google: Small local park known for its role in African-American history, as well as its scenic views.

Aside from me, my son & his father, I hadn’t noticed any other African-Americans at this park or on the beach, not during our sunset stop, nor the next morning when we went back to admire the ocean one more time before heading home. So naturally, I was intrigued about what sort of African-American history this park had in such a predominantly white beach front neighborhood.

The City of Manhattan Beach has a page on their city’s site that states Bruce’s Park is the oldest park site in the city, claiming that it was ‘obtained’ in 1929 (the year my maternal grandmother was born). This 2-block community was once home to minority families & businesses, one of them being a resort owned by the African-American entrepreneurial couple, Charles & Willa Bruce:

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In 1912, George Huntington Peck, Jr., a prominent real estate developer who became one of the founders of Manhattan Beach, purchased land there & dedicated 2 city blocks of his property to offer plots for sale to African-Americanswho had very limited, to no access to the public beaches of Californiaa reality that was normal all over the US at the time. The Bruce’s bought several lots & turned their home into a resort, Bruce’s Lodge, which included a bathhouse, cafe & dance hall. It was one of the very few resorts & beaches that blacks were allowed to enjoy.

While the Los Angeles area continued to boom, the growing African American population in Manhattan Beach was not well received & the KKK was gaining momentum. Black Bruce Beach goers were increasingly harassed & assaulted. Visitors & residences vehicles & properties were vandalized & destroyed. The city pressured the black residents to sell their properties for below market value & when they relented, the city eventually seized the 2-block neighborhood by condemning the area through eminent domain proceedings that commenced in 1924. Bruce Lodge was torn down & the space remained undeveloped for 30 years.

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It wasn’t until over 80 years later in 2007 that the park was renamed Bruce’s Beach to commemorate the couple’s legacy & the City of Manhattan Beach held a celebration ceremony in their honor, erecting a stone plaque monument that tells their story.

Reflecting on my time there after learning about the Bruce family was bittersweet. I am endlessly grateful for the life I am able to live today that so many ancestors before me were not able, many who fought their entire lives for the right to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures. I imagined how devastating it must have been for the Bruce family, their friends & neighbors, who lost so much of what they had worked so hard & long for, some who lost everything. I imagined myself in that situation, with my son, my family, trying to just enjoy some time at the beach, then being driven away for no other reason than our precious melanin. I hate that my ancestors had to fight so hard for normalcy, for basic liberties, yet I will forever have gratitude that they did. Because of them, we can…

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My son & I at Bruce’s Beach

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Delusions of Grandeur

Beyoncé’s Formation has triggered a tsunami of white tears. There has been an influx of white rage over the perceived messages that were presented in the artwork. I have seen a great deal of commentary & criticism making a few of the same baseless claims: Beyoncé is racist, divisive, anti-police, supports hate groups & that the Super Bowl was not the time or place to push her political agenda.

Clearly, through the eyes of many white people, any mention of the disproportionate police brutality against ‘minorities’, is to insult their service or to spew hate towards all police, not just the bad ones. That any mention of systematic racism & it’s lingering effects is, within itself, an act of racism. By this special kind of logic, to mention the poor outcome of any action, is to perpetuate that action yourself. Many are also claiming that to associate with the Black Panther Party, is to condone or support every single facet of it.

Obviously, too many of these people are unaware of the concept of constructive criticism. They seem to not understand that it’s possible to appreciate & respect something or someone, yet still not let the good they do give them a pass on the wrong they do. If you care about something or someone, don’t you want them to be the best they can be? The police have always had corruption & violence issues since its inception, so for these things to be eliminated, or reduced as much as possible, isn’t it necessary to address them? The first step to solving a problem, is to acknowledge that there is one, is it not?

Foolishly, many people are claiming that the Black Panther Party, at its creation, was an organization based in hate whose main objective was calling for senseless violent acts against white people based solely on their race. Despite the fact that the BPP virtually never engaged in any such activity & that most of any violence they promoted or acted out was strictly as a means of self-defense, white people still feel the need to bring it up as if it’s relevant & even go so far as to compare the group to the KKK, who actually did act out the hate & violence that they preached. They also conveniently never seem to be aware that the BPP did many great things for their communities that were struggling as a direct result of systematic racism, which was implemented by whites. White people are mad about the existence of the BPP & any support for or praise of the group, but consistently fail to mention that it only exists because of the actions of white people. They never want to acknowledge the fact that had America always treated all their citizens as if their lives mattered, the BPP, BET, Affirmative Action, Black Lives Matter, minority scholarship programs & every other government program or racially exclusive organization tailored specifically for PoC (people of color), exists because of white supremacy/privilege. Too often do white people whine about the symptoms of systematic racism, but don’t want to address the disease itself.

Arrogantly, perhaps due to centuries of policing black people & structuring their acceptable amounts & types of blackness, far too many white people continue to feel they have a right to tell black people when, where, how & which parts of the black experience they are allowed to discuss, celebrate or portray. They also too often believe that they somehow obtained the credentials to determine how long it should take black people to “get over” 500 years of living within a racist society. Too many believe that it’s their place to tell others what they should or should not care about. They are too often more concerned about getting black people to stop mentioning systematic racism (because it makes them feel bad [white tears] even though they can’t experience it) than they are about finding ways that they themselves can help end it.

Historically, whites have always glorified their terroris- excuse me, heroes – who in most instances, were violent criminals whose rise to fame & power involved the murder, robbery & exploitation of PoC. I live in the South & there are statues, monuments & streets all over the place named after Confederate soldiers & generals who participated in wars that fought, in part, to maintain their right to keep blacks enslaved. There are housing developments named after plantations. Many white people take pride in these killers & are thankful for the carnage they left behind, as it gave way to the white privilege they all benefit from today. Even those who came later, like the mob & folks like Bonnie & Clyde are hyped. Ted Bundy, Charles Manson & several other serial killers are found to be fascinating, their evil often attributed to mental illness or poor upbringing, but will attribute evils committed by ‘minorities’ to their nature. Many whites will look at a photo of a white person holding a gun & an American or Confederate flag (same difference) & will deem them a patriot, yet will see a photo of a black person holding a gun, waving an RBG flag & will deem them a thug. These are the same type of people crying ‘double-standard’ when it comes to Bey & her dancers wearing BPP garb.

Dear White People: It is not your place to tell any groups of people that have been oppressed & marginalized by your race, what ways are acceptable to celebrate their heritage & racial pride. Blacks do not need your approval for which parts of our history & current circumstances we choose to discuss. We are exposed to your racist history every single day, every time we see an American flag or dollar bills, but you want to cry about a couple of minutes of seeing a few black people dressed up like a group that practiced resilience against a system designed for them to fail? GET OVER YOURSELVES. You don’t get to tell us how to heal & grow from the effects of systematic racism. You have no right to tell us when or where it’s ok to express ourselves. You also don’t get to set the time frame for how long that will take, especially being that systematic racism doesn’t only exist in the past, it still remains today. When you bring up black-on-black crime, the broken black family unit, subpar education, ghettos, etc – don’t forget to mention how an overwhelming majority of those problems came about: systematic racism that was created & implemented by white people. Just because you didn’t have a hand in it doesn’t mean you do not have any responsibility to help clean up the messes & right the wrongs of those before you, because you still reap the benefits from the evils they carried out, while PoC are still trying to heal the wounds. It’s not Beyoncé, those who are singing her praises for her latest work, or the BPP you should be so deeply disgusted by, it should be the series of unfortunate events that led up to these things coming into fruition.

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White History Month

Every year without fail, during Black History Month, black people catch flack for celebrating, accused of racism for focusing only on black history and accomplishments. Often it’s asked, “Why don’t we have a White History Month?” Well, I thought I’d share something I saw on Facebook, a list of things that should be highlighted during that month, if ever created:
1 Cherokee Trail of Tears
2 Japanese-American internment
3 Philippine-American War
4 Jim Crow
5 The genocide of Native Americans
6 Transatlantic slave trade
7 The Middle Passage
8 The history of White American racism
9 Black Codes
10 Slave patrols
11 Ku Klux Klan
12 The War on Drugs
13 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
14 How white racism grew out of slavery and genocide
15 How whites still benefit from slavery and genocide
16 White anti-racism
17 The Southern strategy
18 The rape of enslaved women
19 Madison Grant
20 The Indian Wars
21 Human zoos
22 How the Jews became white
23 White flight
24 Redlining/Gentrification
25 Proposition 14
26 Homestead Act
27 Tulsa Riots/Black Wall Street
28 Rosewood massacre
29 Tuskegee Experiment
30 Lynching
31 Hollywood stereotypes
32 Indian Appropriations Acts
33 Immigration Act of 1924
34 Sundown towns
35 Chinese Exclusion Act
36 Emmett Till
37 Vincent Chin
38 Islamophobia
39 Indian boarding schools
40 King Philip’s War
41 Bacon’s Rebellion
42 American slavery compared to Arab, Roman and Latin American slavery
43 History of the gun
44 History of the police
45 History of prisons
46 History of white suburbia
47 Lincoln’s racism and anti-racism
48 George Wallace Governor of Alabama
49 Cointelpro
50 Dotbusters
51 School tracking
52 Mass incarceration of black men
53 Boston school busing riots
54. Man made Ebola and A.I.D.S.
55  Church Bombings and fires in deep south to Blacks
56. Church Shootings
57. How the Irish and Italians became white
58. The Perpetuation of the idea of the “model minority
59. Housing discrimination
60. Systematic placement of highways and building projects to create ghettos
61. Medical experimentation on poor PoC (people of color) especially Blacks (including surgical and gynecological experimentation)
62. History of Planned Parenthood
63. Forced Sterilization
64. Cutting children out of pregnant Black mothers as part of lynchings
65. Eurocentric beauty standard falsification
66. Erasure and eradication of all achievements of Ancient Africa and Kemet
67. White-washing of history and cultural practices of PoC
68. Media manipulation and bias
69. Perpetuation of the myth of reverse racism
70. The history of white cannibalism
71. White Fragility
72. Indian Removal Act
73. Red Summer of 1919
74. Compromise of 1877
75. The Assassination of Dr King

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And a perspective about Black History Month from Zipporah LeGarde:

Black History Month, as well as other history months based on racial history, aren’t racist. BHM is no more racist than Breast Cancer Awareness month is discriminatory against other types of cancer. Racism is defined as privilege plus power, and something that uses racial lines to instill a hierarchy in society, usually with white on the top. So, from a sociological standpoint, only Euro-Americans can exercise racism, but racial minorities can only be prejudiced.

That being said, the purpose of these months is to highlight the contributions racial minorities have made to the fabric of America. Some of you believe we don’t “need” these months, bringing up what Morgan Freeman said (regardless of the fact most black and other minority intellectuals have written countless articles rebuffing his point of view. Sorry y’all, Freeman is an actor, not a race scholar, and doesn’t speak for the entire black race – we are not monolithic in our blackness). But you’re not looking at the larger picture. Tell me when, in school, you learned about a minority in history that wasn’t Harriet Tubman, MLK, George W. Carver, *maybe* Malcolm X, you see the point? And you *probably* learned about them during BMH.

Black History IS American History, and if our educational system made more of an effort to incorporate minorities (including women) into the story of how America came to be, it would then be unnecessary. But to say it’s racist not only is a gross misunderstanding of what racism actually is, but totally ignores the fact our educational system is highly Euro-centric. When you’re a racial, gender, or a member of other minority group, it means a lot to have positive models from your camp, to let you know you can achieve what they did, that you can be as successful.

The Negro Project

Michael Brown is all over social media & the news… Yet another unarmed African-American teen shot down dead by the police, an organization whose supposed intent is to protect the public. This is nothing new, it’s no longer shocking, yet it is still hurtful.

A serious lack of empathy, respect & value for human life has always loomed in America, especially for those of African descent…

The Ku Klux Klan at it’s peak was 4 million members deep, some of them governors, mayors & senators. Today they only claim to have only a few thousand members, yet that does not mean their ideals do not still reside in the mindsets of far more. It was recently discovered that a couple of Florida police were members. Most police officers, mayors, governors & senators probably aren’t members either, but that doesn’t mean they don’t share their sentiments!

The police departments in America were originally formed to protect Caucasian people & their neighborhoods, not African people & theirs. Jim Crow laws were formed & implemented & still being exercised today. Planned Parenthood was originally called The Negro Project, formed to attempt to rid society of their undesireables. When an entire race of people is deemed to not be fully human, of course their lives will matter less & be dismissed as expendable.

abortionWhen cases like Mike Browns come about, a great sadness befalls the African American community & many of it’s parents become fearful for their own sons & daughters lives. Some even become afraid to reproduce. Some have been convinced that the tiny persons developing in their wombs are not human either, just like many of their oppressors believe about them. Only a few years ago, abortion ended the lives of more African American people than their top seven leading causes combined. So in some ways, The Negro Project has been a success.

Side Note: I am not trying to spark a debate about abortion rights, or if it’s murder. Technically, it’s not because murder is the illegal ending of a human life & abortion is the legal ending of a human life. I do not argue the aspect of morality regarding abortion either; that is based on personal beliefs & my perspective is not based on that. Mine are based on facts, and the Universe proves to us when human life begins, which is at conception. The laws of nature are not debatable.

Black on black violence is a major issue in America, and is often brought up when incidents like Mike Brown’s generate outrage. They wonder where the outrage is when we kill each other. Trust me, it’s there, but it doesn’t garner the same level of backlash from the community, because it’s not based in the same ideals; It’s not racially motivated. Logically, there is no reason to even compare the two. Most violent crime happens within racial lines, not across them.

Today in America, you will find people of all backgrounds struggling. However, even within that struggle, there are privileges to not being of African descent. Most Asians & whites do not have to live in fear of being harassed or killed by the police in their own neighborhoods just because of their appearance. Monsanto buried toxic sludge in predominantly African American neighborhoods that have caused serious health problems throughout those communities, including death; There are no predominantly white neighborhoods that this would ever happen in. When African Americans gather for peaceful protests & vigils for their fallen, they are greeted with a heavy police presence, dogs & tanks. You will not find such things at gatherings held for people of any other color.

Marching & protesting doesn’t help the situation or change anything. The justice system in America does not typically work in the favor of African people, so it’s pointless for us to trust & believe in it. Awareness alone does nothing; Action is the only solution. It seems like tragedy is the only thing that brings the African American community together. We need to continue this unity at all times. We’re so busy fighting & competing with each other, we’re not able to stand up against our common enemies to better our situations.

No matter what we do, we’re still living under their system & must live by their rules, even when those rules do not benefit us in any way. In America, we have no power. We own nothing & run nothing in comparison to all that our oppressors own & operate, such as land, shelter, utilities, media outlets, clothing companies, banks, court systems, law enforcement, etc. We rely on all these industries that they control. That’s why we need an infrastructure of our own, because we’re not faring well under theirs & it’s modeled in such a way to make sure that we never will. We could be thriving instead of just surviving, but we first must learn to value ourselves & each other!

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