Reminiscence #7 is a previously unpublished writing prompted following the outburst by comedian George Carlin about the plight of African-Americans in New Orleans during their infamous flood of criticism for wanting to be saved and helped.
SEEING AND HEARING WHAT WE WILL
Men like George Carlin and Bill O'Reilly (it's black and it's white) almost always get it wrong when judging others, which is why the greatest man we know urged people to "judge ye not one another." They condemned New Orleans as at fault and remained silent about the Florida Keys wherein most people ignored warnings to get out, year after year. The difference of course was "black and white residents in obvious need of help. "
Sons and daughters echo the sentiments of their parents and grand-parents who in turn had been filled with the baggage carried forth by their parents from previous generations of good and bad attitudes --- in the context of Messianic Christianity that benefited them and denied others.
The reasons are easy enough for scholars to understand. Most people much of the time, Americans or any other societies, see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear in rendering opinions about alien people and places. And, the alienation of Africans and their descendants in America is a daily reminder that race matters to many.
Mothers, and fathers too, arm their children with prejudice to identify friend or toe; most priests and preachers mostly preach pretentious prayers; and teachers and former teachers like Carlin and O'Reilly teach what defines who is superior and inferior beings; and so writers will thus rationalize who is deserving and eligible for "goodness" of God and man. And who are animals, heathens?
A good example is the namesake of Carlin himself, --- another place that some Christians would urge their government to rush to save if they heard a call for help. We might prejudge that his attitudes (heathen sarcasm) hails from generations of attitudes and behavior reflected in his life. But, we would be non-Christians or would we? Like New Orleans, --- Carlingford is also a seaport town. It's in Ireland, in County Louth.
There are ruins of King John's castle and of a monastery of the 14th century. The town claims to be the landing place of Saint Patrick in 432 AD.. So, why should we care to know or believe something about people and places with a historical past'? Because it is important to the people of Ireland? Or, the best angels of our nature --- that hail efforts to implement the good news for all new generations of humanity? HIS church or our church'?
It is believed by some scholars that Patrick, the apostle of Ireland, was probably born at Bannaventa (in Northamptonshire. England near Daventry), where he was captured when sixteen years old by a raid of predatory Irish. Carried to North Ireland, he spent six years there as a slave. Then he escaped, went to Gaul, where he became a monk, and later, having received the papal benediction (about 431 AD..), returned to Ireland as a missionary.
He established the see of Armagh, and is said to have found all Ireland heathen and left it wholly Christian.' Tradition puts his death in 492 or 493, but 463 is considered a more likely date. Whatever the date may have been, the issue is that struggles to eradicate heathenism (including slavery) are always championed by men of action. Most scholars know of but very little about the attitudes of champions they dare judge, unless the subject is about them and their heritage. Too many view Africans as objects to hate.
In fact, New Orleans has many thousands chore Black Catholics than any city or region in America and even established Xavier University and many Roman Catholic churches based on the European model. And, the U.S. Army general that President Bush sent to help was a Roman Catholic born and raised among the kinds of people crying for help. Messianic values are not on the basis of race, sex or creed.
Indeed, there are many action Jackson types who go where lesser men and women fear to tread; and, in our view are and will be first in the kingdom of heaven on earth that many hypocrites think to be just for them. Scholarly knowledge and understanding can be gained via Professor Eric Bennett cited in Encyclopedia Africana published by Professors Louis Gates and Kwame Apiah of Harvard University.
"New Orleans. Louisiana, the most European and African of North American cities, in which French, Spanish, Creole, African, and English cultures have blended to produce distinctive music, cuisine, and festivals. This cultural synthesis distinguishes the history (# the city from other, more common patterns of . urban growth in the United States. " ~ Eric Bennett]
MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
"Sigmund Freud had promised his. family to leave Austria once the Nazis look over. Noun he told an English colleague. Dr. Ernest Jones, "This is my post and I can never leave it." This reminded Jones ol'the o~~icer on the Titanic who, when asked why he abandoned ship, replied: "I never left the ship, she left me." [Adolph Hitler: John Toland (Pulitzer Prize Winner)]
But, Freud and many other Jews did escape Nazi Europe and survive to tell their tales about many who did not. Sure, everyone knew and were told the Nazi menace descending on Europe might destroy their lives and property --- but, why did so many stay? Do we condemn those caught in the holocaust as stupid or denigrate them for not knowing what to do? Who to believe`? Is it possible that human beings can become irrational or fatalistic when faced with disaster over which they feel helpless'?
Is it not a matter of situational mental health conditions and environments we dare not judge? Another example was the Irish potato famine (1845-1846) that generated millions of immigrants to America and Australia. What about the Irish population that stayed and suffered? Did the British government have a moral or political obligation to rescue starving people? Was British Prime Minister Peel responsible for sending relief to the worst stricken counties? Our view is that Irishmen and women who made it to America did not view with contempt their brethren who stayed put or were unable to get out.
The issue of going away or staying in place has always been argued and debated among African-Americans, --- long before the recent Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans wherein most, if not all, middle-income blacks and whites left "the least of us" to fend for themselves. Happened before, during the Civil War, when Union forces captured the city, --- and owners and overseers (including many Creoles) of the slave population left in a hurry_ It takes a measure of faith and maturity to leave a nest, and where it is nonexistent one is not likely to find many departures.
Enlightened scholars ought to be familiar with action minded disciples like Richard Allen, Martin Delaney, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman (and grandson William Tubman), Henry Hyland Garrett, Alexander Crummell, George Washington Williams, Casely Heyford, Ida Wells, Booker T. Washington, Mary Church Terrell, Marcus Garvey, Adam Clayton Powell (father and son), Vernon Johns, Nnamdi Azikewe, Kwame N'Krumah, Patrice Lumumba, Martin Luther King (father and son). and Jesse Jackson (father and son)!
What attitudes can be used to characterize them? What faith did they profess? Who was courageous? When did Americans care to understand that impoverished spirits also exist in impoverished bodies and minds? The big question of course is all about who has the power to act in a land where freedom was long denied, --and resources limited to mighty men of means. A related question is whether or not a population group can be saved or salvaged that during successive generations assigns most of its black male youth to lives of ignorance and degeneration that assure impoverishment of body and spirit that can never uplift a race or people. Issues, answers and reasons span generations.
The hypocrisy is that George Carlin types praise their own uplift; but, without exception during the entire 18th, 19th and 20th centuries have castrated, criticized, and denigrated any and all Messianic initiatives ... voicing or seeking to uplift generations of Black poor bodies and spirits in places like New York and New Orleans, where many poor blacks congregated during the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
The first Catholic Bishop for the Caribbean/Haiti was appointed by the New York diocese. Marcus Garvey, a devout Messianic Christian, began his movement in America at Saint Mark's Roman Catholic Church in Harlem (NYC). Garvey was both feared and hated in New York City by church and state (including the NAACP leaders like WEB. DuBois who were not his color or kind) for organizing universal self-help programs though he never defrauded, threatened or harmed anyone. But, he was feared because, like Jesse Jackson, millions listened to him.
In the days of Carlin and O'Reilly fathers, --- both fellowship and communion were denied on the basis of many condemnations including accusations of witchcraft among American and Caribbean Catholic claimants of universal faith. The journal news pictures and commentary that came out of New Orleans originated with young men like Tucker Carlson who were biased long before going on assignment. Most knew little other than skin colors about people they were observing. (beyond cuisine, music, the French quarter, Mardi Gras, Super-Dome).
Amazingly, Fats Domino was in the news coverage, though never seen or heard from. Black colleges/scholars were ignored in their knowledge references. Not amazingly, the earliest religious figure cited by the media for expertise about the suffering in New Orleans was a rabbi who had escaped to Philadelphia. Here again, news media managers put on faces they know and trust to speak wisdom.
The earliest settlers right up to the 20th century offer considerable insight as to the arguments that likely occurred. The first was likely: where on earth can I go'? Do I runaway or can we run away together? Why should you or we stay here? What will happen to me if I leave? What will happen to those I leave behind? Who do I believe? Who do I trust? Don't listen to the abolitionists. Wade in the water children! Indeed, most slave runaways were young men with the nerve to go by any means necessary.
African-Americans are uneasy about judging as cowards or stupid the plantation matriarchs and others who feared to leave "down home." Think about it this way. People who are poorly educated and likely illiterate, such as many welfare recipient mothers, are also ignorant and fearful of the people and world outside their circle or enclave. Matters have been made much worse by public policies for the past two generations that deliberately encouraged young women to go it alone, without extended families to be sure and the absence of youthful men in fact. Freudian under-beliefs were not a factor'? Right'? No? Christians would not dare interfere with natural laws encouraging reproduction and nurturing children? Families need men? It is in the best interest of the child that women be independent of men --- who lack material means that matter'?
The publicly accepted reasoning that it was better to pay welfare mothers a stipend than empower families via integrating men into the workforce --- has been very effective. Civil rights and certainly affirmative actions were redefined and rerouted as women's rights and a lot of other reasonable rights --- and, the issue of color was officially placed on the back burner of American life. It is and was the foundation for building matriarchies with free prescription drugs that indoctrinate drug-addicted cultures and offspring that demonstrate their addiction via ruthless killings of one another. And, yes the African-American population has actually declined according to the last census figures measuring two generations of "benign neglect" in a nation where all other groups increased in number. To be sure, there are many people who believe not being born black is good.
Who cares'? Two generations worth of infamous feminist slogans such as "You can he unhappy by yourself, you do not need a man to be unhappy or the slogan of slogans "the only difference between a man and woman is that a woman has a ............and a man has a .............
" So, who is now mentally unbalanced in America? Mothers without husbands? Boys and girls without fathers or grand-fathers? The people and places on television, radio and in the newscasts are faces and distances not known or internalized by them as achievable excepting perhaps professional entertainers and athletes often cited as "made it without going to college."
There are indeed millions of lost sheep that follow no shepherds; and millions of self-righteous with the audacity to criticize Messianic minded men like Jesse Jackson who try to instill hope in otherwise useless lives. We should ask the critics who should gather in the sheep? Their churches and synagogues? Urban public schools`.'
How bad is the problem --- interview some teenagers living in degenerated neighborhoods and whose only travels have been to and from bad schools, the jails and prisons. They are far less knowledgeable than their grandfathers and great grand-fathers in the first half of the 20th century, who traveled up and down the rivers and via railways across the nation to jobs and joys in factories, mines and mills.
Anti-black riots and union organizing during the Civil War, at Andrew Carnegie's steel-mills and right up through the 1960s so-called "southern strategy" by Richard Nixon --- were mostly about keeping Black men from obtaining hard-hat pay and jobs desired by White men. Grand strategies that denied the least of us --- have now grown into offshore enterprises to deny "the most of us" excepting for those university level and technical school graduates for in country service industries. So, now a new generation of equal opportunity since at least sometime in the past when, well, anyway, ... whenever it was. Just get on with their lives!
The average American scholar would be shocked to learn that most poor Black boys have never traveled more than a few miles from home. Schools have insufficient brainpower, manpower, or even horsepower. In fact, how dare urban schools not teach youth to drive and earn a driver's license? It is as though there are intentional desires to deny them aspirations and attributes to travel and seek meaningful jobs. No wonder that so many thousands are arrested annually for driving without a license --- adding to their rage and woes of unemployables.
If anyone noticed that few black boys in the cities any longer play baseball --- or comprehend "level playing fields of dreams. " When was the last time anyone saw a busload of urban poor Black children on a school-outing'? The problem is very much of the 19th century era of slave plantations, --- worse now than at any time in the 20th century; and the enemy is us who profess color-blind righteousness but remain silent as scholars awaiting others to speak truth to power.
It is literally crazy for educated people to pretend that what they saw in New Orleans is not real America for "the least of us. " The United States has a serious health problem, in general with people who consume to much garbage and not enough knowledge to cut out the pork, --- and expand viable education and employment in the face of competition from Asia.
The taxes paid and expected have been in both so-called black and white blood and bones of men and women who died and lived for America! Telling people not to expect slave plantation owners to educate and help empower people they held ignorant and powerless is old news; but, pretending that government should not help people who are obviously helpless is godless or at least anti-Christ. Sure, this is America --- home of the free and home of the brave, with a lot of people not free from poverty, ignorance and disease. It is a black and white issue --- as Bill O'Reilly likes to remind us. Dumb and dumb kind for sure!
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