The number of vicious, disrespectful permeations (i.e. diffusing into everywhere and into everything) pertaining to Black Americans by Euro-Americans and the magnitude of each and every one constitutes a Maafa (“immeasurable catastrophe”). The problem started centuries ago in Africa when Africans extended Ma’at type attitudes and respectful behaviors to friendly appearing but evil Europeans who instituted unimaginable bruteness to them and to Amerindians (who were also destroyed). Europeans then used African’s Nonaggression orientation to enslave Africans, rape their women, suck riches out of their land, take their land, steal their brilliant civilization and cultural achievements, leave Africa in shambles, and generate civil wars among Africans. This same thing is happening every day to scores of Black/Brown peoples of the world. Although there is no cure, Step I in self-protection is to really know the who and the what concerning causation and perpetuation of the problem. Study African American slavery because not much has changed in the perpetrators attitudes or practices. Today’s educational tracking system becomes an example of institutional racism, a way of sorting kids on the basis of both race and social class. It takes amazingly little for Black youth to be put in dead-end situations (e.g. “special” classes and alternative schools) where they are lost forever as productive citizens.
Step II is for Black people to return to the state of inner strength/soundness that characterized their Ancient African Ancestors-called the Sankofa concept (Bailey, Special Minds). I saw this in action by the Black teachers in my boyhood Wilson and Greensboro, North Carolina schools who were successful with us Black students because of their common feature of caring so much about us—about our character, about what we did, about how we appeared, and about how and what we learned. Hence, we put forth extra effort to make them proud of us and, as a result, we increased our self-confidence and willingness to assert ourselves. The respect they showed included the determination to provide for our well-being and, in turn, we passed it on to family members and neighbors. Such a demonstration of respect was lacking in the White teachers who replaced the Black teachers when school integration occurred in 1954. Thus, Step III is for Black parents to get heavily involved in every aspect of their children’s schooling. Do what it take to promote academic excellence— things like constant reading, doing homework, and exposure to mind-building things. Understand what is going on. For example, when Black persons seek admission to a university, apply for a job, or hunt for an apartment, simply by being Black means they are viewed as threatening. Studies show that job applicants with “white” sounding names are 50% more likely to receive a call-back for a job interview than applicants with “black”-sounding names, even when all job-related qualifications and credentials are the same. White women are far more likely than Black women to be hired for work through temporary agencies, even when the Black women have more experience and are more qualified. If in a job or training situation and deliberate racist deeds are done to a Black person, for the Black to complain is viewed by Whites as being uppity, whiny, playing the “black card” or the “woman card,” and a troublemaker. Whereas Whites are equally or more likely than Blacks or Latinos to use drugs, it is people of color (Blacks and Latinos mostly) who comprise an extremely high percentage of the persons incarcerated for a drug possession offense. Despite the fact that White men are more likely to be caught with drugs in cars (on those few occasions when they are searched), Black men remain four times more likely to be searched and jailed. What is being disrespected is a Black person’s or Black people’s dignity. Step IV is to be far, far more alert to disrespect and taking action in the form of protesting, boycotting, self-asserting, and “block” voting.