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1/29/Blog2005/#7 Hail Purple: Finding the Common Ground Between “Reds” and “Blues” to work against the common denominator of opposition to Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Nellie Stone Johnson, & Condoleezza Rice: racism against “bad Blacks” (Rs or Ds). Unintended consequence: making her job easier and more effective.
We have been treated to tremendous programs on TV dealing with racism these past two weeks on three great Blacks: Jack Johnson Joe Louis on PBS, and Condoleezza Rice everywhere.
We prefer the color Purple to the colors Red state. Blue state. How about Purple state? We in Minnesota understand purple, the color of our beloved Vikings and the color you get when you mix red and blue. In our book and on this web site, we continue to advocate finding common ground (Chapters 5 and 17). Even Hilary Clinton urged it last week in terms of abortion. Why? Because, first of all, we are all Americans and we have areas we agree on: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the education, jobs and housing needed to achieve those in general and the civil rights and human rights in particular that should surround them. Where we disagree is how to achieve good education, good jobs, and good housing. One of the big road blocks is racism. It drips from every page in my book. It is acknowledged but, like weather, becomes something people talk about but do little about. There are several people discussed in this post, all Black, who did/have done/are doing things to combat racism in order to open up equal access and equal opportunit for all: Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, and Condoleeza Rice.
This is important to remember as we approach February as Black History Month, urging everyone, Black and White, to stop the racism, and to remember Dr. King’s counsel to go on “character” not “color”. And if color must enter in, “Go Purple!”, not red or blue. My book is about the racism in education, jobs, housing, government, etc. Now we see blatant racism in the treatment of Dr. Rice. I may not agree with everything she stands for but I don’t agree that anyone should receive the racist treatment she has been subjected to, although, given the racism towards Blacks in education, jobs, and housing in Minneapolis, it is not a surprise. But why do they think we are so dumb we Blacks can’t see it?
In 1908, Jack Johnson became the first Black Heavyweight Champion. Whites were
furious, turned violent, and went on destructive rampages, and then relentlessly
pursued a “Great White Hope” strategy to find a White fighter to
beat Johnson. The finally achieved their goal in 1914.
Then came the between the war years. Hitler. Fascist socialism. Fascist socialistic totalitarianism. A threat to Western Civilization. White supremacy. German supremacy. The West needed a champion. A Great Democratic Hope. In one of the more ironic twists of history, the new hope was a Black man, Joe Louis. The hopes of the White West rested on the shoulders of ths 24 year old Black man. Recall that the German Max Schmeling had knocked out Louis in the 12th round of a fight in 1936. In 1937, Louis won the heavyweight championship. Schmelilng wanted it. Early in ‘38, as the world teetered on the brink of World War II, the Louis-Schmeling rematch had become a metaphor of that coming war. When Louis met with FDR prior to the fight, FDR gripped Louis’s arm and said, "Joe, we’re depending on those muscles for America."
Now Western Civilization is depending on another black, Dr. Condoleeza Rice. This assumes the new democracies will be true "majority rule, minority protected" democracies and not some perverted form such as “tyranny of the majority.” And as Western Civilization is at stake, it is all the more important that the "majority rules, minorities are protected" be the case. For those who don’t think Western Civilization is at stake, read this at Minneapolis based, Time Magazine Blog of the year.
Jesse Owens, another great Black athlete, knocked the wind out of Hitler’s racial supremacy myth by winning four Olympic Gold Medals, in Berlin, with Hitler watching. Now, on June 22, 1938, the crowd expected a long fight. All the world was listening. But unlike the white delerium for a Black man’s loss, with Jack Johnson, their sense of safety and freedom was on the line. Hitler’s Arayan Master fighter was in the ring. What American David could stand up to this German Goliath? A Black man: Joe Louis. And now the Whites cheered for this Black man’s victory for it would be their vitory too. Joe had learned from his first meeting with Schmeling. He knew how important this was. The fight was the largest radio audience of any programming before and not again until the war.
Louis TKOed Schmeling in the first round. The Great Black Hope triumphed.
America went crazy. Everyone was a Joe Louis fan that night. But when Joe joined the Army for World War II, he was put into a segregated unit. And then later Civil rights critized him. Racism works everywhere: he wasn’t "the right kind" of Negro. for them. Dr. Rice gets that now. And many wonder why Blacks have lost the civil rights momentum. It is because too many have put party over people.
And now we see the geopolitical version of Jack Johnson and Joe Louis in Condoleezza Rice. We are again at war, a Global War Agaisnt Terrorism, and again need champions of democracy to free enslaved peoples. Instead of Hitler’s Nazi White supremacy we have radical Islam’s doctrine of Islamic supremacy and its drive to turn the world into an Islamic theocracy.
In the 19th century there was a popular phrase, “the only good injun is a dead injun.” The Democrats seem to have a 21st century version of that: the only good Black is a Democrat. Condoleezza Rice was a little girl in Birmingham when four other little girls were killed in the infamous bomb blast. Condi went on to better herself. She learned languages, including Russian. She became an accomplished concert pianist. She served as the Provost of Stanford University, the “Harvard of the West Coast.” And now she is the first Black woman to become Secretary of State. How does the “Black party” of Democrats celebrate? By playing the role of mosquitoes swarming her with the stings of many false charges, projecting their own role as liars on her, as they approachedher with of context, ideologically distorted, using her to launch empirically groundless attacks on what they think are attacks on the President and the Republicans. In reality they are attacks on the United States.
Sixty years ago, the Nazi Death Camps of Auschwitz and Dachau were liberated. The world vowed to never forget. The world vowed “Never again!” In Iraq many mass graves have been found, bearing witness to the fact that Iraq was a place where it was happening again. Are these not the equivalent of Auschwitz and Dachau? Have we forgotten? Can the bitterness of electoral defeat be so strong that Democrats wish Saddam was still filling mass graves rather than admit freeing 20 million people is a good thing? The relatives of the hundreds of thousands killed by Saddam already know that the main weapon of mass destruction was caught hiding in a hole. Do we no longer care about the modern Auschwitzes and Dachaus of Saddam, the Sudan and Dufur and the sub-Sahara genocide going on as we debate? How did we get to this point?
Democrats used to fight for the Voting Rights Act. How is it that that has now become a “sacred” relic of the Democratic Party for Blacks to vote for them but can’t stand up for either Blacks who don’t vote for them nor for the victory enabling Iraqis to vote democratically for the first time in their 5,000 year history, not to mention the voting done in Afghanitan and the voting in the area of the Middle East referred to as the future country of Palestine?
Is voting a universal ideal or only for those who vote for Democrats? If it is for Democrats then, by all means, bring the troops home and let the rest of the world that lives in chains continue, so that we put off worrying about it until later when Iran takes over the Middle Easter oil fields or North Korea sends us its nuclear messages.
So how was Condoleeza Rice treated? The Democrats wanted a great White hope, not a Black woman who wasn’t a Democrat. Ted Kennedy, whose treatment of women makes Bill Clinton look like a choir boy, uttered his proposterousnesses, backed by our own so-called liberal scaredycat, Democrat Senator Mark Dayton, and, of course, backed by former Ku Klux Klansman Democratic Senator Byrd from West Virginia, who couldn’t hurl his false charges at her fast enough. As one commentator put it “the sight of an old Klansman blocking a little colored girl from Birmingham from getting into her office contributed to the general retro vibe that hangs around the Democratic Party these days.”
They subjected her to the most questions asked any nominee in history. They say it wasn’t racist. I say it was. I don’t agree with all Dr. Rice says. But I also don’t agree on the continued practice of the Democratic party’s racism (as inner city Blacks are continually “kept in their place” in terms of education, jobs, and housing, all controlled in the inner cities by Democrats, with as special concern for the emergency regarding young Black inner city males.
Why the Democrats liberal racist response (1968 Kerner Commission Report: Blacks aren’t like others and can’t make it on their own and thus must be wards of the state?
And why the same racist response by conservatieves (1998 "Bel Curve: Blacks are too dumb to make it on their own and must be wards of the state.
Both are racist. This is why , when asked, I say I am a "Nellie Stone Johnson Democrat (see book, Interlude 3).
Nellie Stone Johnson, Black woman civil rights activist extraordinaire, leader of the Farm Labor Party and co-founder with Hubert Humphrey of the Democrat Farm Labor Party in Minnesota, would have been proud of Condaleeza Rice. She may have disagreed on some issues with her (just as she did with Paul Wellstone), but she would have gloried in what Condoleeza has made of herself and held her up as a model to young Black women.
It is time Blacks took a closer look at the party that looks more and more like a suicide cult. Nellie experienced this racism herself. For example, she was forced off the Democratic National Committee by the feminists who wanted half the positions filled by women, but only White women. As Nellie put it, they “would push quotas for women, but not for minorities,” they wanted “the high echelon of the white middle class, not for anybody with a brown skin.”
Nellie learned, as did Martin Luther King, that the Mason Dixon Line was actually as far north as the Canadian Border. As Nellie said, “the white women there across the board-you can’t lay this all on the white Southerners—felt they could lord their whiteness over everyone.” At the DNC, she said, “there was so much racism in the women’s caucus. The feminists had a women’s department that didn’t have any women of color.” Even Paul Wellstone, who she liked, treated her this way because he did what the White women wanted (as he sought support for his upcoming first senatorial race that she didn’t know he was planning). Wellstone ran against her in a DNC race “just to knock me off.” And later, "Jackie Cherryhomes…and Linda Higgins” did the same and ran Bea Underwood against Nellie. As Nellie explained it, they said she was too old even as they ignored “older white women with comparable jobs” (pp. 198-203 of her autobiography, “The Life of an Activist.” Natalie Johnson-Lee is getting the same treatment from the DFL.
So Condi, congratulations. Read my book and its followup volume coming out next month and you’ll see where we have our common ground and then we can work on how our different approaches might work together to help address the emergency of the young Black males of our inner cities.
And in the meantime, be sure to send the Democrats a thank you note. They often crippled the work of Colin Powell by constantly saying he was the only sane, rational person in the Bush administration, and they continually believed at some point he would resign and expose the whole “Bush house of cards,” causing many foreign leaders to think we were not serious at the UN, for if we were he would resign. And now that he has resigned, the left has gone after him too as seen in this cartoon of Colin Powell by Harper’s Magazine, posted 1-25-05, headed "Colin Powell re-entering the job market," carrying a sign that says, "Will supress all sense of moral decency and lick corporate ass crack for money." Apparently they are intent on punishing him for not being the turn coat they wanted him to be.
Just as the protestors caused the Vietnam war to drag on, they also gave rise
to the hopes of the terrorists in Iraq that we will leave. The Democrats made
sure, their unintended consequence, that the world knows the US, based on her
responses, eally does have one policy, democracy, and that delays under false
hopes of a Democratic White Horse are just that, false, and that all will be
better off getting with the freedom and liberation program.
Posted 1-29-05, 4:00 pm, CST
1/29/2005/#6: Does the President speak for the inner city too? Who does the DFL speak for?
As civil rights activist/DFL founder Nellie Stone Johnson said (see our book, Interlude 3), “no education, no jobs, no housing.” In other words, without an education good jobs are scarce and without a job good housing is scarce. In our book, and on this web site, we talk about seeking common ground to work together to close the gaps in the “Big 3” of Education (Chapters 7 & 10), Jobs (Chapter 9), and Housing (Chapter 8), and we have urged working together applying the Golden Rule (Chapter 5). We talk about the goal of equal access and equal opportunity, and we talk about the political and social leadership (Democrat/Republican/Independent and Liberal/Conservative/Radical/Libertarian) that, as we outline in chapter after chapter of our book, have either worked to keep Blacks “in their place,” sighed with despair and accepted the status quo, or talked the walk of civil rights (especially the DFL, NAACP and the Urban League) but instead walked the talk of status quo, leading to the unjust, unfair, and immoral gaps in the inner cities between Blacks and Whites in the areas of education, jobs, housing, and, most especially, as these relate to helping cause the emergency of young Black inner city males.
These are under the control of the DFL. And the Rs have stood by and let them.
Now that President Bush has been re-elected will he be the President of us all?
As a web site and book, we havee not shied away from either the bad news about race (Book Interludes 2 and 10) or the good news on race (Book Interludes 5 and 7). In his press conference of January 26, President Bush said “civil rights is education and ownership” of homes. We want to know who is for us. New Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid said we are in danger of a depression with “soup lines” and Senator Hilary Clinton said our economy is on the verge of “collapse.” Is this the Democrats way of again ignoring the plight of the inner city and echoing the Republican Herbert Hoover who told FDR on the way to FDR inauguration, “there is nothing that can be done”?
We stand for a strong two party system. But we know that the three big areas causing us problems in the inner city are controlled by Democrats (education, jobs in terms of city compliance, and housing). We want our readers to know that the President has established some common ground goals we agree with as he expressed them in his inaugural address, and we would like to know where Democrats stand on them:
"Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another, and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth. And our country must abandon all the habits of racism, because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time."
Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave."
So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
"In America’s ideal of freedom, the exercise of rights is ennobled by service, and mercy, and a heart for the weak."
We also remember and support these words of Abraham Lincoln, spoken in Cleveland,
Ohio on February 15, 1861:
"As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy."
How can anyone, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Independent, liberal, conservative or green, not celebrate and rejoice not only that more people are moving towards governing themselves in freedom, but that in the regions of Afghanitistan and in the Middle East, they are beginning to recognize that the U.S. is making sacrifices to help Muslims govern themselves in freedom. In 1775, there were no democracies in the word. After 1776, there was one. Today there are 117, 61% of the world’s governments, which is twice what it was 30 years ago. How can any protest this?
All we ask at this web site is that the concept of freedom be extended to the
inner cities of America in terms of education, jobs, and houosing. We know how
to achieve these noble ideals. We continue to wonder why so many leaders of
the Minneapolis government, educational, civil rights, and journalism communities,
both White and Black, continue to ignore these unjust and unfair gaps in education,
jobs and housing that are the result of their political party of choice, and
why they accept this because “nothing can be done,” which they can
only say by ignoring the “what can be done” solutions we have placed
before them in our book (Chapters 5 and 17) and on this web site as we advocate
that they, together, use The Minneapolis Table Building Blocks
to implement The Seven Key Solutions, using The Golden Rule
(Chapter 5) to guide the process.
Posted 1-29-05, 4:00 pm, CST
1/29/2005#5: Open Letter to the Strib to follow the lead of the LA Times: have an “Outside the Tent” column (or: Other tents and sub-tents) to discuss a diverse range of ideas for solving the problems left unsolved by keeping the status quo.
Because of the artful "cut and thrust" of the duel between the Minneapolis Star Tribune and us, and because of our belief that such give and take will benefit all, why not experiment with the "Outside the Tent" column being tried by the L.A. times (started in January)? The L.A. Times uses the term “Outside the Tent.” We find that dismissive, as if there is THE way, the tent’s way, and that those outside the tent must, by definition, have their heads in the sand.
Reality is multiple. So why not use "Other tents and sub-tents" to
acknowledge not only other realities but different ways to get to the same desired
reality within each one?
Such a column would give others a chance to express what they believe and why, regardless of whether their interpretations are based on the secular, the transcendent, or both, and bear witness to the fact that there is ore common ground thn not. We know there will be social change. Society is dynamic, not static. Yet most of the problems stem from those trying to freeze the status quo rather than let the status quo breathe and expand, contract, and transform as needed. And we know we all have our social roles as does each organization, agency, and elected official.
Most of us want the same things (as we express in chapters 5 and 17 of our book). Where we differ is how to achieve them. My bet is that we don’t really have separate tents or just one tent surrounded by sand. My belief is that we have one tent, the United States of America, and that inside this tent are many sub-tents, some trying to become the only tent and others trying to create paths to the other tents in order to work on ways to work together, even if separately, under the same national tent. I urge the Star Tribune to try this.
We would further urge an approach that makes more sense to us than the traditional left-right or liberal-conservative divide. Borrowing from the work of sociologist Peter Berger, we advocated in our book’s conclusion, p. 322, that such label confusion be done away with and instead recognize that too many on both “sides” want their way to be THE way, and attempt to thus MAKE it so. Thus we opted against the historically specific conservative approach (far left and far right, who want to either create a utopian future that can’t exist or resurrect a golden past than never existed, and conserve it, i.e., FREEZE it in place. This has resulted in a freeze of poor eduation, poor jobs, and poor housing for inner city residents.
This is why we opted for the more dynamic historically non-specific conservative approach, as we see this as a "way out" of the often so-confused-they-mean-nothing-splits of right/left and liberal/conservative divide. As change happens, and as we all have our place in that change, doesn’t it make more sense to “make haste slowly” with social policy as social change is the only constant? Social roles rule, and there needs to be a willingness to change course depending on whether the unintended consequence(s) that accompany any policy are found to help achieve or prevent a policy’s goal. It is this lack of a willingness to change that keeps our inner cities mired in poverty and its residents on the short end of the stick in terms of education, jobs, and housing.
We urge the Star Tribune to invite those outside their tent to comment and
to stir up a positive conversation to bring more ideas and solutions to the
table. Or is the Star Tribune only for the status quo, as their “side”
is in charge in city government, or, if change must be made, does favor only
the changes that favor the ideologies favored by their editorial board and which
make sure that Blacks are kept "in their place?
Posted 1-29-05, 4:00 pm, CST
1/29/2005,#4 Spike Moss: Though dismissed, honored. We need more, not fewer of the likes of Moss. We can do no less for our youth or we will have no future.
Allthough it still remains unclear why City, Inc. terminated the position Spike Moss has held for 20 years, in light of the needs in our community, it was made clear at the January 21, 2005 Roast of Spike that even as one more Black organzation lets down the community, those in attendance individuals still showed that they know what needs to be done: have more men like Spike Moss at work in our community. Read more details in the Minneapolis Observer.
Spike Moss was and is as well-known for “demanding accountability from black people as he is for railing against white racism.” Minneapolis and its institutions, both White and Black, are found wanting. Whites have once again succeeded in putting another Black Man in his place with the backing of Blacks. We hope that better minds and calmer heads find a place for where Spike can work to better our community. Let’s listen to what others said and then hear Spike’s clarion call:
Don Shelby: “Don’t let Spike Moss’s voice fall silent.”
Mahmoud El-Kati: “I don’t wish to roast Spike but to toast him.” “To hail and salute him for living a committed life.” “he committed himself to the question of social justice, the question of freedom, equality, and dignity for African people in America. That’s how I see Spike. That’s what I call the definition of a person: when you can compare what they say [to] what they do. And as far as I can tell, he’s doing what he said he would do. That’s a rare thing for most of us.” “He is a positive byproduct of the civil rights struggle, a good example of what it means to love one’s people-hood. In this case we’re talking about the peculiar and beautiful humanity of black people.”
Clyde Bellecourt, speaking by phone from Canada: “a great warrior.”
Minneapolis Observer: “Moss long has been the worst nightmare of mayors and police chiefs in Minneapolis, all of whom knew that when they caught hell from him, they indeed were catching hell from black Minneapolis.”
Natalie Johnson-Lee: ““Spike Moss has sought out and called out injustice wherever he sees it, and in many cases, wherever it attempts to hide. He continues to publicly respond to issues of concern to the African American community. While some would have his voice silenced, there are many who are grateful for his compelling, provocative, and sometimes controversial advocacy on our behalf. We may not always heed the call, but we can say that he is a strong vanguard who has made it his personal agenda to make us aware, keep us informed, and urge us into action, and for this we are appreciative and grateful.”
Spike Moss: “I hate to leave at a time when our kids are so disrespectful, when they talk to their parents any kind of way. I can’t imagine, when I was young, calling my mother a bitch or a ‘ho’.” Our kids today have more drugs than they do college degrees. They have more guns than they do pencils. Murder has become common. And it has to stop. This is our community. And we have to save it.”
And so once again Spike notes the work to be done and laments he has to leave his job during what the Minneapolis Observer called “a time of unprecedented crisis in the community.” And once again the White community turns its back and yet once more a so-called Black organization fails in its task. As long as our Black organizations don’t raise a ruckus and get rid of those who do, why would the good White Democrats do anything?
Our future is our youth. This is why this web site, our weekly columns,
and our book continue to urge addressing the
emergency state of youth of our community. We still need
to create equal access and equal opportunity by closing the gaps in education,
jobs, and housing, and address them by following The Golden Rule (Chapter 5),
using The Minneapolis
Table Building Blocks to implement The
Seven Key Solutions.
Posted 1-29-05, 4:00 pm, CST
1/17/2005 #3, Honoring Dr. King, Preparing for Black History Month in February.
These are the three key words on the Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project web site:
The project’s web site is at http://www.stanford.edu/group/King where you can hear his voice, read his papers, learn and understand the history of the struggle for social justice, transformation, and reconciliation. As Dr. King said on April 4, 1967:
We have made the choice to maintain this web site in order to (1) tell the continuing story of how Minneapolis like the last outpost of the great experiment to show other cities how to master the harmful political and economic machinery for keeping minorities “in their place” in terms of education, jobs, housing, and the war on young Black men, and to (2) provide practical suggestions/outlines/recipes for how to achieve these goals of social justice, transformation, and reconciliation.
We have our suggestions/outlines/recipies in our book, The Minneapolis
Story, Through My Eyes (order on our web site at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com)
and through our materials on this web site. Our “second volume” will be ready
for purchase in February. It will be called “Leave No Minorities Behind: Fulfilling
the Inner City Dream: The Experience of Bringing Alternatives to Stop the White
and Black Forces of Reversal and Nullification.” We have summarized our approach
of how to bring about social justice, transformation and reconciliation in education,
jobs, housing, and public safety in our papers on the State of Emergency for
Black Youth as we urged the following of The Golden Rule (Chapter 5), using
The Minneapolis Table Building Blocks to implement The Seven Key Solutions.
Posted 1-17-05,3:30 am
1/17/2005/#2. Watch PBS Bio of Jack Johnson, Mon & Tues nights, Jan 17 & 18, 2005
PBS: Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns (did documentaries on the Civil War, baseball, and jazz).
Jack Johnson: Heavyweight Champion, 1908-1914. Considered by many as the best, along with Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali. He fought in an era when the status of boxing was far greater than it is today and when the status of being black was far worse than it is today.
In our book The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, useful for studies/reading/thinking for February’s Black History month, are individual Blacks who are singled out for their contributions (see especially Interludes 3-4, 9, 11, and 15. There are stories featuring Black communities who have overcome great adversities (Interludes 5-8, 10, 13-15). The web site reference about Martin Luther King, Jr. below in BTL#2, outlines his life using three themes: social justice, transformation, and reconciliation. Jack Johnson is an excellent example of how to and how to achieve these. Booker T. Washington advised young Black men to get ahead through industriousness and self control, as a way of working for social justice. Jack Johnson was certainly a man of industriousness. But he lacked self-control. W.E.B. DuBois argued for economic justice and urged advancement of Blacks on all levels, in all pursuits. At this Jack Johnson also excelled. His problem, however, as this documentary shows, which we see a lot today, was that he put another personal creed ahead of these: “I’m getting’ mind.”
Johnson was a complete fighter: big, powerful, speed, smooth, a shrewd defensive fighter who feinted, blocked, and counterpunched and rarely “brawled.” Think of it: a charismatic Black man, self made, in the ring, smiling, trash-talking, chatting easily with the crowd all the while demolishing his opponents and receiving torrents of racial slurs. It was for him that the phrase was coined, “The Great White Hope,” anyone who could be him.
Burns describes him using Jack London’s 1908 description of him as a “man of sunshine temperament,” despite this dark time called the “low point of African American life after Emancipation” (words of Geoffrey C. Ward as quoted by Marty Hughley).
As Burns shows, Johnson was a renaissance man who was “an avid reader, a history buff, a musician, a night club owner, and even an inventor who held a patent for a wrench.” Burns uses the title “Unforgivable Blackness” in his title to suggest, in his view, that Johnson’s “original sin” was that he was Black. James Earl Jones, on the other hand, suggests that Johnson’s story is a “story of hubris [pride] more than race or anything else.” Martin Luther King said the key was to judge a person by “the content of their character not the color of their skin.” Johnson was a free spirit who felt he didn’t have to live by others’ rules, and whose behavior to others was so “brazen, careless and sometimes despicable unquestionably contributed to his troubles.” In other words, having offered both sides, it comes down to what we Blacks know: it was the color of his skin that made him a target.
When Johnson knocked out Jim Jeffries, “the Great White Hope” (that phrase alone settles the debate) Blacks celebrated while Whites responded with rage and violence (“setting fire to a Black tenement and then trying to block the doors and windows so that no one could get out….” Some attempted to murder Johnson. His downfall was “his predilection for white lovers.”
For Johnson, James Earl Jones tells us, “the issue of him being black was not that relevant. But the issue of him being free and a total person was very relevant to him.”
A key statement of Jones is “So what happened to him was he walked out into a world that was not read to accept a Black man as a total person. And he didn’t know how to function otherwise.”
This is the message of Bill
Cosby when he addresses the behavior of young Blacks of the inner city who
don’t have Jack Johnson’s discipline to read, become a knowledge buff of some
kind (Johnson’s was history), master being a musician, a businessman, and inventor
as Johnson did. It is what we meant when we posted in November 2003 our High
Hopes For Young Black Men, as we maintain our concern about the State
of Emergency for Black Youth. We encourage everyone to watch this series
on PBS on Jack Johnson and then read our “solution papers” (
The Blocks to Construct a Minneapolis Table for All to Sit at Together
and Seven Solution areas),
and talk about how we can implement them such that we can raise up a generation
of Jack Johnsons who are men of “sunshine temperament” who “know how to function”
in what can be a wonderful world of theirs with everyone else.
Posted 1-17-05, 3:30 a.m.
1/17/2005#1, Questions from the past about the past: The James Sackett case reopens.
The Star Tribune reported Sunday that Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner announced the reopening of the 1970 shooting death of St. Paul Police Officer. James Sackett, and that two have been indicted and arrested, Ronald L. Reed, 54, and Larry L. Clark, 53. We were glad to read that Gaertner said that "I expect at the trial there will be some discussion of what motivated this horrific crime," and we were also glad to read that Former Police Chief William Finney said "Like many people, he was an activist, probably on the militant end," Finney said. "Those were radical times. White kids, blacks kids, all kids were antiwar or antipolice. That was the times."
We have several questions: how will the times be interpreted in terms of Blacks
and Whites, police and non-police? Why, of all the “cold cases,” was this the
one that St. Paul police Sgt. Tom Dunaski kept “warm?“ Was this was done with
a “local-federal task force” so they could seek the death penalty?” What pressure
has or will be brought to bear on the Black communities of St. Paul and Minneapolis?
Finally, in terms of this tragedy from 35 years ago, is this “payback” time
or will the system use this case in the spirit of Martin Luther King and use
it to bring about the three pillars of: Social Justice—Transformation—Reconciliation?
Posted 1-17-05, 3:30 a.m.
Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entires and solution papers. Please cite the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and www.TheMinneapolisStory.com for the columns. Please cite www.TheMinneapolisStory.com for blog entries and solution papers.
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