By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader
Black America needs a few victories.
There is clearly no item on the agenda for the incumbent administration to address the concerns of America’s so-called racial minorities. It’s not a source of concern and never has been for “45.” Conversely, the needs of Black people are ignored and suppressed by the indifference and adversarial attitude of the Donald and his minions.
Black Americans often find themselves grasping for straws – clutching at anything that restores a sense of belonging and a prospect for change. We burst with pride when three of the four finalists in the U.S. Open were African American. There was another shot of euphoria injected by Emmy Award winning Blacks in television this week.
Then we are reminded that yet another white police officer will not be held accountable for the shooting death of an unarmed Black man. And we see a fat white fireman whose story goes viral because he said saving one dog is more important to him than saving a million Black men. We know he’s stupid and irrelevant, but still – what if a child heard it.
It’s hard to imagine what’s going through a Black child’s mind right about now. We’ve seen instances of police just looking at elementary school children upon which they “assumed the position” of being taken into in custody.
This country is intimidating our women as well, compromising the spirit of those who comprise the cornerstone of our community. There is the sad video of a Black woman who cried hysterically when a white cop pulled her over. No wonder. In another video, a white woman is told, “Don’t worry. We only shoot Black people.”
It was a shame the way white media virtually ignored the “home going” of one of the most iconic figures in the Black community over the past century – Dick Gregory. And the only coverage given to protestors in St. Louis were the obligatory looter shots and news commentary lamenting injured police officers.
One brighter spot that I detected was The Root naming of the 100 most influential Blacks in 2017. It is worthwhile to note a few:
Director, producer, writer Jordan Peele topped the list for his brilliant film, “Get Out” which the news source said depicted living while Black in America.
By depicting a world in which white people are literally stealing Black bodies for their own enjoyment, Peele—who completely flipped the script on the predictable tropes of the horror-film genre—exposed how white liberalism is just as complicit in the destruction of Black people as those who commit state-sanctioned violence on Black bodies every day.
Solange Knowles was honored at No. 2 for releasing one of the most political albums of the year with A Seat at the Table. The album is packed with R&B songs—like “Don’t Touch My Hair” and “F.U.B.U.”—that sonically whisper; yet beneath those graceful notes are politically potent lyrics that roar with a sense of empowerment, independence and identity. The album peaked at No. 1 on the music charts.
In the world of sports, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry were up there, as is Colin Kaepernick, the football player banned from the game because of his refusal to stand for the national anthem in a nation that ignores police brutality and Black oppression on a regular basis.
Few media tell our story. Those awarded for keeping it real included journalists Yamiche Alcindor, who covers politics and social justice for the New York Times; Angela Rye, whose biting political commentary on CNN is focused and relentless, along with Ta-Nehisi Coates and Vann R. Newkirk II (65), who use their platforms at The Atlantic to challenge those in power on white supremacy.
And so it goes. One day there is something to make Black America beam with excitement, then the next minute of the SAME day there is some dreadful revelation or horrid affront to our being. It’s been a long time since African Americans have been on this kind of rollercoaster ride – feeling displaced in their own home.
But trite and clichéd as it may seem, the only solace is knowing this too will pass. Normal hasn’t abandoned us altogether. It has just taken an extended leave of absence. Most Black Americans would say the return of “normal” can’t come soon enough.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].