Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Haters Beware by Akindele Akinyemi

Dear Candidates for Detroit City Council, Academicians, Community and Grassroots leaders:

Today, I was speaking to a group of Arab children at an elementary school in Dearborn, MI. These were 4th and 5th graders who I was speaking with in the classroom. When we went around the room I asked each of them to identify their nationality.

Children stood up and told me that they were from Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon and Palestine. While I listened to each student in the classroom about their family upbringing and their goals in life I asked the students how did they feel about Israel.

You would have thought the gates of hell had opened. Their mood changed instantly.

One Palestinian student in the 5th grade wanted to see Israel wiped off the face of the Earth. Another Lebanese student told me how Israeli solders killed his cousins in Lebanon and he has no love for Jewish people. Another girl stood up and said how the United States are wrong for allowing Israel to screw us in the behind with our tax dollars.

That last statement was deep. In fact, I had to walk out of the room to collect my thoughts.

When I came back in the room I asked the children where were they getting all of this. 90% of them told me their parents.

Once again, the human race are practicing fear. The Arab-Israeli conflict (which has been going on forever) is no different than the racism we see here in America with Whites and Blacks, Blacks and Arabs, Black and Jews, Hindus and Muslims, Asians and Blacks/Whites, etc.

It's sad to hear so many children feeding off the foolishness from their parents. Not just the Arab children but I have spoken to Jewish children and they feel the same with Arabs. Both groups, however, feel that some Blacks are a "dangerous" race of people because they see the images on TV of how we are killing each other in our community at alarming rates.

When we view things from a silver rights perspective we are in the business of relationship building. We have to
let’s get on with the business of really living out the full potential of our lives.

Racism and discrimination are still terminal cancers on society. One reason why racism exist is because of the lack of education and spiritual laziness. Too many races of people in this country and abroad are prone to accept either a backwards dogma they grew up around or simply one laid out before them and presented as truth. This is why outside of my educational activities I take the time to utilize race relations exercises with parents and children to see what is really on their minds.

To this day, racism and discrimination seem to impact and effect almost every facet of life for the average American in this country. Let me be clear that racism is not just exclusively to Blacks in America.

For example, Japanese Americans were discriminated against, in this country, in the early 1940’s during World War II, and stripped of their rights as American citizens; simply because of their race. As we have subsequently learned many of them were great American patriots. Even a nuclear device was dropped on their country.

Today, Japan leads the world in automobiles.

More than 6 million Jews met a deplorable fate at the hands of the Nazi’s, again because of harsh and intolerant discrimination against their “differences.” This was hate filled racism.

Today, I love watching and learning from my Jewish colleagues on how they take family, education and economics seriously. Their women have class and they respect their men. The men respect their women and children and build an economy like no other. All because of "never again."

I'm not mad at them.

To this day and time the “Masteso” in Mexico, a darker ethnic mixture of the native Indian and the Spaniard, are locked within a century old class-based system of structural poverty – both economically and educationally – while their Spanish bred brothers and sisters, arguably the ruling class in Mexico, own more than 90% of the shops and businesses, run industry and lead the political power structure.

Today, I watch how the community in Southwest Detroit is growing and hope one day not only they grow economically but grow politically in the City of Detroit. Nationally, their power and influence is growing.

It could be said that simple oppression is the weapon of choice against societies’ underclass, or its poor in spirit. Making matters even worse, in the 21st century, the nature, look and very structure of oppression has changed.

My fellow colleagues, I believe that in this decade
, the modern form of racism has increasingly reared its head in the form of an economic class structure, and indifference. Increasingly, the problem is not a matter of love or hate, but indifference. And indifference is the death nail of the soul.

We have to be in the business of breaking down the fear factor that has gripped the world's soul for far too long. I tell my urban conservative colleagues to always be truthful and honest when teaching (not indoctrinating) the truth to those who need it.

So let's be honest and truthful.

We already know racism exists in both political parties. I do not care if you call yourself a Democrat, a Republican or so-called independent people have racial tendencies in these parties. Historically, the Democratic Party practiced full blown racism during slavery. The Confederacy? Democrats. Who wanted to keep us enslaved? Democrats. Hell, who STILL wants to keep us enslaved in social engineering traps? Democrats.

The Republicans were originally the party of freedom fighters and abolitionists who wanted to establish power for freed slaves. However, as time went on, they too lost focus of their original purpose. Freedom became a narrow dogma of a few in the GOP. We used the Southern Strategy and forgot all about minorities in the party. We accepted Barry Goldwater's libertarian dogma and with the advent of the social conservative movement the GOP became more religious than policy oriented. Again, social engineering concepts used to keep minorities at bay.

I find it interesting that Black Republicans mention Ronald Reagan more than Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells or Frederick Douglass in the GOP. These were pioneers in their own right and in their own time. My history in the GOP does not start with Ronald Reagan. However, the scarier part of SOME Black Republicans is the lack of knowledge of themselves and trying to fit into a paradigm that does not suit them well. This is called self-hatred.

Where I am going with this is how both parties use racial fear tactics on people to keep us in the dark about our culture, history and even religion. When will be honest and truthful about each other cultures and family lives?

I had a conversation with some Nigerian children not too long ago where they felt out of place with African-American culture because they were not used to seeing the level of disrespect that occurs in our community. Most of these Nigerian children come from two-parent homes and their parents stress education as much as God and spirituality. Speaking of such how many times Africans have been attacked by African-Americans in terms of their education, work ethics and family upbringing? Some Black folks feel that African and Caribbean people are better than them.

Think about it. Blacks been here in America for 400 years and while we have made strives academically and politically we are still lagging in economic development, technology and have regressed in family development. Blacks across the Diaspora normally take education seriously, get advanced degrees and build a family business for their families to build legacies. Mind you, some of these people came over here on a boat in shark-infested water, have lived through civil wars, have been orphans due to losing their family to AIDS, Ebola and malaria, genocide, and corrupt military governments. Yet, they come to America and do very well. So what is the excuse from Black people in America?

What I am saying here is I am not seeking to force people to love each other. We should be simply about creating real opportunity so that poverty and wealth do not symbolize threats to one another.

The racism and fear needs to end. It's silly. For example, we say Islam is an evil religion but the United States buy oil from Islamic nations. We teach that Jewish people do not care about anyone but themselves. We say Hinduism is a false religion but go to the doctor and see an Indian doctor. We say Buddhism is not a religion but Japan and China have strong economies that the United States trade with and Toyota is the #1 automaker in the world. Toyota is Japanese. We discriminate against Chaldeans and Mexicans but patronize their businesses daily.

The reason why we sometimes have to discuss this angle of race is because we need to have a different perspective on the battle. It means changing the way somebody sees what’s happening in their world – our world - so that we are ultimately creating fundamental change through a change in fundamental perspective; a paradigm shift.

Urban conservatives and silver rights activists must be in the business of changing the way Hispanic, Black and other races see themselves and see their community. Our task is to change the way others see the inner cities and see their own responsibilities and investment.

Yes, it is true that racism and discrimination are as real and destructive to the spirit today. So is sexism, ignorance, bad health, bad parenting and dysfunctional families, financial insecurity, a lack of education and a lack of personal spirituality. What does this means? Nothing. Why? Because naming these items, and giving them more weight and value than they deserve, would not make one single thing any better in your life, while at the same time giving attention and power to the negative issues and the problems that only guarantee to make a bad situation worse.

Yes, racism and discrimination are alive and well in society today, and for that reason I am very thankful that we have organizations that are working full-time to identify it where it rears its ugly head, and to eradicate it.

This said, the deeper threat to ethnic minorities and the under-served today is not racism and discrimination, but poverty. Spiritual poverty. This is why areas like Detroit cannot move forward.

Poverty is cured by hard work, for Proverbs 10-4 states, “lazy hands makes a man poor.”

Or as Proverbs 6:10-11 asks, “How long will you lie there you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come on you like a bandit, and scarcity like an armed man.”

When an individual takes responsibility for their own life, and begins to enrich themselves and their life with love, wisdom and knowledge, a marketable skill, economic education, economic empowerment and ultimately ownership self esteem will soon follow. And with a healthy self-esteem poverty dissipates and falls away, and is replaced with wealth and the understanding of owning oneself.

This is what I shared with those Arab children today in their classroom. I have also shared it with other children of different cultures. Learn to dream and take responsibility. Hatred is a tool of the devil. If all races continue to practice hatred towards one another we will eventually be extinct. I asked those same children if they had Jewish or Black children in the classroom that had the same interests as them would they become friends. All of the Arab children said yes they would become friends. Friendship creates positive relationships in our community.

All I care about is progress. Let's remove the hate from our children's hearts by becoming more responsible adults. Remember, our children are watching our actions. Our actions must be Godly and positive.

Educationally Yours,

The Controversial One


Chaz said...

Again, I have to agree with your well thought out logic. I was in Zambia a couple months ago ministering to and educating children. Many of the children I worked with did not have parents do to disease such as malaria or illness such as aids. These children were hungry and obviously very poor. Many of the children would wear the same clothes day after day. But I cannot stress how important education was and is to them. They work diligently, they love each other, and community over individual is emphasized. My heart is broken to those children who constantly struggle. “But Jesus said, Let the little ones come to me, and do not keep them away: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:4 Keep speaking the Truth!

Anonymous said...

And Akindele, why aren't you running for Detroit City Council again? You have a degree in African American Studies. That will impress the black folk. Plus, you have a Master's and you are well-educated and not afraid to speak your mind. If they had a great leader like you, you would be surprised by how many would vote for you. There are more blacks willing to vote Republican than you think, they are just looking for the right candidate to endorse.