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Still Last and Tired of It

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Republican and Tea Party positions on minoritiesThe reports are undenied.  Michelle Bachman, the front runner in the race for President against President Obama, signed a pledge that Black children were better off as Slaves than they are today under a Black President. Then she made public statements that the meager million plus dollars won by Black farmers in the famous Pigford Farm discrimination case should be taken back and given to flood victims in, I believe, Kansas.  These events bring it all back that there are some whites who still believe that they are somehow a superior race because they are white. They believe that as long as whites are taken care of, Blacks can do without.

The recent report that white wealth is twenty times that of Blacks seems to be the natural order of things for the Tea Party and their Republican benefactors. Black male unemployment in Harlem is 50 percent. Elsewhere it’s nearly twenty percent, while whites are suffering at 12 percent. The Republicans want to trash Social Security entitlement and/or raise the age of entitlement to 67 when Blacks don’t even get a fair share at the current age of 65 because many Blacks don’t even live to see 65, much less 67.

The Republican/Tea Partiers have made a dirty word out of entitlement, like it is an unearned welfare benefit. In fact, the payout of insurance like premiums that come out of your checks each week is your social security check. I say get it. It feels better in my hands than it does in some insurance company’s bank account. You paid in, now you want the benefit you paid for. You are entitled to it without having to share it with some Insurance executive that wants a share of your benefit just because he wants it.

Also, the Republicans don’t want you to get your unemployment check that the employer contributes to. They want to make sure the millionaire gets his subsidy and tax breaks before my granddaughter gets an education grant.   Let us not forget that the lives of Black slaves were insured by companies like Aetna. But the life Insurance check went to the slave master rather than to the families of the slaves. The rich got richer, and Blacks stayed poor and a cheap form of labor.

That was then and today things seem, on the surface, to have changed a whole lot. But just look closer. One example is that the California State auditor reported that while the tuition at the Universities of California have gone up, and less funding is available, there is less funding available at the four University campuses where Black students attend. The four schools are: Merced, Riverside, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara.  

There is nothing new about Blacks being last.  It’s been the rule since Slavery, and it often seems more-so to be the rule today. During Slavery there were songs and poetry that dealt with the phenomena of Blacks being last and whites being first.  An 1853 poem called “SONG” from Frederick Douglass called, “My Bondage and My Freedom”, says it well:  “We raise the wheat, dey gib us de corn; we bake de bread, dey gib us de crust; we sif de meal, dey gib us de huss; we peel de meat, dey gib us the skin; and dat’s de way dey take us in; we skim de pot, dey gib us de liquor and say dat’s good enough for nigger.”

On first reading, it may sound funny but there is nothing funny about the racism and continuing discrimination.  Why do we have to keep being last?  My maternal grandfather wrote a poem addressing this in the 1950’s. An excerpt from his poem, “When All The White Folks Are Dead”, is as follows:  

“They speak of God, maker of all with love infinite divine, who last creation crumble and fall keep watch all of the time. Even the sparrow with tiny wings outspread is assured a feast for tomorrow, But I must wait until the whites are dead . . . ”

I’m sick and tired of being last!  We must fight this Republican and Tea Party trend to turn back the clock on Black progress.  We’ve already lost too much.