. . . Taxation Without Representation and Other Theft's Keeping Us Poor
In life, we sometimes give things away and look back later and say we wish we had kept some. Black Americans were forced to give away labor and ideas which ended up as money makers for others. The evidence is all around us.
In my kitchen cupboard there is a box of Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix, a Box of Uncle Ben's Rice and a bottle of Michele's Honey Crème Syrup. In my bathroom cabinet there are bottles of cosmetics for Black hair and skin care with names like Clairol, Sta Sof Fro by the Carson company and Dudley and La Ran Hair Care Products. In some of those categories we have maintained some ownership, but we have lost or given away a lot. Ask yourself what would be the value of a Black Baseball League today if it still existed?
In Natchez, Mississippi on Highway 61 there is a restaurant which is a twenty-eight foot tall building designed to look like a giant Aunt Jemima. The restaurant is called "Mammy's Cupboard." Aunt Jemima, is a Quaker Oats product created in the 1890's. Like Uncle Ben's Rice, it was originally sold as a product that helped usher in the period of convenience in home cooking, while playing into underlying racial stereotypes and nostalgia for the days when slaves cooked for white families and cared for their children.
Aunt Jemima signifies the convenience of having a slave without actually having one. Some called it a "Slave In A Box." You can probably guess where the original recipe came from. Can you say "THE HELP?"
The story of Aunt Jemima is featured as part of a book called, The Grace Of Silence, a family memoir. The book, by Michele Norris, tells the trials of growing up Black in America and the secrets African Americans keep from their children, to protect them from the ugly treatment of Blacks by White America.
As if to demonstrate that White America can't get over African Americans being considered equal to them, White Tea Party Republicans are working on plots to keep Blacks from voting in the next election. The September 15, 2011 issue of "Rolling Stone" magazine chronicles the new tricks being used to keep Blacks, Latinos, and perceived liberals from voting in Florida, Texas, Maine, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Indiana, and Wisconsin, lest we get another Black in the White House.
The biggest organized deterrent of Black voters will be the states that require picture ID cards or Driver Licenses. Everybody doesn't have a car, much less a Driver's License. Some of the states won't accept ex-felons or student ID cards with pictures, but will accept hunting licenses or gun registrations with pictures. Some of the rules were implemented to keep down the number of Black college students at Historical Black Colleges and Universities from voting in the states where they go to school.
Please encourage your child to register to vote as soon as they turn 18. And start putting away a few dollars to send to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign NOW! This suggestion is for Latinos as well. The Republicans don't want you to vote either, but we must encourage each other to vote. The Tea Party sees us as all the same because we are "DIFFERERNT FROM THEM." If there is ever to be a Latino or female President, there must be a showing that a Black Man can get elected (and re-elected).
So know that it's ok to get mad at President Obama for some of his strategies. Write him, and speak your mind, but don't give aid and comfort to the party that supports the rich over the poor. Most of us get angry at people we love sometimes, but it doesn't mean we go take our love to our enemies. We try to make our loved ones better. Send some money and vote for Obama, and work to make him better at judging Republicans and Tea Partiers.
A few years ago a friend of mine who happens to be a white Lawyer named Rick, took note of the statement that I made in a column saying that my father taught me that white folks don't sleep at night trying to think of new ways to keep Black folks down. Rick, you will be happy to know that my Dad wasn't talking about all white folks. But the so-called Conservative Republicans and their Tea Party cousins were surely included. If you don't believe me or my Dad, just read the list above and the Rolling Stone article.
The Republicans and Tea Parties would have us all slaves in boxes, and they would tax us for the benefit of the rich without allowing us to vote for our own representatives. They give billion dollar contracts to Insurance companies like the Haliburtons and Merck Drug Company for drugs without competition while working to steal and redirect the tax dollars for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. If you vote Republican you may find yourself broke, living in a box, looking for an intoxicant and joining in Ray Charles' song, "LET'S GO GET STONED."
Note to President Obama: Just because you are bi-racial doesn't mean everything needs to be bi-partisan.