To many, the situation for black Americans in the world today seems hopeless. In Dirty Laundry, author Lavelle presents his personal view of race relations in the world and how these relations have affected both the black and white culture.
Through a series of essays, Lavelle describes the current state of black culture, examines the elements that have caused the erosion of the black community, and describes what the future holds for black Americans. Dirty Laundry presents Lavelle's thoughts on array of topics relevant to the black community:
• Race issues in the world
• Segregation versus integration
• Black social and cultural issues
• The role of the police and the justice system in the black world
• Parents and crime
• Athletes and sports
While sharing his opinions and views, Lavelle suggests actions that can be taken that would improve the future for both black Americans and the United States as a whole.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.32(d)|
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Dirty LaundryColoreds and Whites
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Lavelle
All right reserved.
One definition of change is the transformation from one state, condition, or phase to another. The word change was heard a lot during the 2008 presidential campaign. It became an effective rallying cry for getting Barack Obama elected president of the United States.
Now that we are done with the "yes, we can" slogans, let's look some of what's changed. Unemployment is high, between 8 percent and 10 percent; banks that received bailouts are not sharing the wealth; and homes are being foreclosed, leaving many homeless. Poverty is greater than I can ever recall. Americans are unhappy and suffering, and the blame is being placed on the two entities that are almost always in bed with each another: the government and big business. The Occupy demonstrations that took place in major cities like New York, Chicago, and Oakland in 2011 and 2012 are evidence that many people are angry and don't like the current state of the nation.
Those who protest social or political issues often are effective in bringing about change in this country and abroad. Labor laws and the civil rights and voting rights acts all started with someone or a group of people who were unhappy with the status quo. Once again, the country is demanding change.
It's nice to see members of organizations like the Tea Party voicing their opinions and winning seats nationwide. It is about time that someone stepped up and questioned the leaders of this country about the decisions being made on Capitol Hill, which some say are destroying the fabric of America. Even if, as Politics USA wrote that Tea Party members are on the same wavelength as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as far as their ideology and bigoted philosophy with notions of protecting liberty and returning to the strictest interpretation of the Constitution. KKK aside, in talking to others as well as my following the news and current events, the point is; that people are questioning and challenging the direction and leadership of this country, and that is a good thing.
And it is not only the Tea Party. Many people—black, Latino, and white—are complaining about the choices made by elected leaders. Some, like me, would like to tear down most of the current political structure, starting by getting rid of the gatekeeping black officials who go along with the ideology of rich, sometimes racist whites, while paying lip service to the pitiful blacks who believe that those in power hold the key to their happiness. The United States of America has a history of oppressing and excluding people, from American Indians to Africans. How can one avoid becoming an oppressor himself after joining such an entity?
This is why I have such a hard time trusting most elected officials, including those who are black. That should not be surprising. I am a black man in America; as some see it that is my crime. For that reason alone, I see the government as an entity that will harass, abuse, and lock black people up for life or carry out the death penalty on them.
My black elected officials, where are the laws that stop racial profiling? Why are there disparities in jail time for using or dealing crack cocaine and powder cocaine? What about enacting laws that prosecute and punish racist white cops who kill unarmed blacks? Instead they get gold medals for lying their tails off after they kill somebody's son or daughter. Have you passed any laws that make it harder for a black man to be jailed or put to death for a crime that he did not commit? What about laws that prosecute companies that deny jobs to people simply because they made mistakes in their youth and went to prison, even though they've paid their debts to society?
Things have gotten worse for a lot of people in this country. In the wake of the housing crisis and 2008 market crash, many people have lost their jobs and their homes. Middle-class Americans of all races are struggling, which is why this crisis is real and not simply an instance of poor, black people complaining while they sit on their butts doing nothing.
If white America is suffering from a cold in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, then black America must be suffering from the flu. If hardworking, non-black Americans are feeling the crunch—losing their jobs and homes—where do the poor, black people stand in all this?
Unfortunately, black people as a group are divided and, as such, they are in a house that cannot stand. It probably can't get much worse from a unity standpoint; black-on-black crime and ignorance are running black people into the ground. Things can get better, though. If people would only focus on their commonalities, the black race could achieve a more prominent place in society. It's hard to challenge the direction of the country when many of your people lag behind everyone else in wealth, education, and social position.
Currently, quite a few black people hold government office, probably more now than at any other time in the history of the United States. Some continue to be elected despite the fact that the districts or wards they represent have constituents who are at the bottom of the social ladder, although many of their non-black counterparts don't even speak the English language.
In my opinion, many black people in government have joined the club. They seek power and prestige, supporting their counterparts by raising taxes, depleting Social Security, and allowing big business and special-interest groups to have their way. Meanwhile, the American people suffer.
The gap between the rich and the poor is increasing, and in many black communities across America—given the poverty, crime, filth, and ignorance that exist there—the conditions are like the Third World. Why do we continue to elect officials who have outgrown their usefulness, when desperation and despair engulfs so many?
Black America, I vote that, for now, we put all current politics and politicians on hold. Only with an establishment of a new party, with new people and new ideas, should black people come to the table and begin again. I'm not trying to stop you from voting; I'm just saying that it's time to wake up and smell the coffee. You should value your vote, not give it to a particular party or individual simply because that's the way it is.
We need more black doctors, teachers, lawyers, business owners, dentists, and construction companies. These are the individuals who can make a difference in the lives of black youth and serve as inspirations to the generations that follow. It's time to build, people.
The way to ensure that black America is more united and has solid economic and social standing is right in front of our face and has nothing to do with politics. Unfortunately, many either refuse to act, are part of the problem, or simply don't care. Others would rather beg or blame others, or believe that President Obama will wave a magic wand and uplift the black race after a count of three.
People elect these officials and then act surprised that things in their part of the world are the same or worse. Nothing will change until we build a better foundation, neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city, and state by state. If the politicians do decide to help or get involved with this process, good, the more the merrier, as long as their intentions are sincere and not simply for votes or publicity. But believing that someone else is responsible for your wellbeing or to ensure you have a better life is childish. Thoughts like that have to go in the big pot, along with the other inhibitors that keep black people at the bottom of the social ladder.
It's way past time to uplift the black race to a better place in society. The community as a whole has major problems. There are not enough black businesses in predominately black areas; fewer black males are going to college or even finishing high school. If things continue in this way, there will be a high number of uneducated and ignorant brothers and sisters in the future, surrounded by a higher number of striving or successful people from other races. Such a situation could send black people back to the cotton fields. Without a legitimate income, education, and respect for oneself and others, what else will black youth face in the future, if not slavery?
The time has run out for politics, or at least politics in its current state. I include groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Rainbow/PUSH, and other so-called black-focused groups in this assessment. Despite the existence of numerous black organizations, the state of black America seems to have regressed. What is the real purpose of such groups?
I have never trusted these organizations because I believe they have their own agendas, are puppets on a string that are controlled by white people, and seek funds from the government solely so they can become wealthy. In my opinion, they are also an ineffective driving force within black America. Those organizations, like every able black man, woman, boy, or girl in this country, need to be held accountable for their actions. In essence, they need to take up a broom or a shovel, shine some shoes, and get to work. Black America is either in or heading toward a crisis, depending on your point of view. Instead of being brainwashed by groups or individuals and focusing on being accepted by other races, we need to take up the reins, pull up our bootstraps, and build, build, build. Let our work speak for itself and earn the respect that we seek.
Anyone who is poor and lives in an impoverished community needs to know that there isn't a politician on this earth who can make your neighborhood prosperous or crime free. Communities need industry and businesses run by those who live there, not talk and speeches.
If your councilman or representative doesn't own a business, how can he give you a job? How can he clean up your neighborhood? He can create the climate for business to excel, but without the businesses and services that a prosperous community has, things will never change.
Are elected officials supposed to give a job to every unemployed person in a district, ward, city, or state? It's amazing how many people believe that someone other than themselves and God can improve their lives.
Many need to stop thinking that the government or organizations is the cure to all that ails us. God helps those that help themselves, as the saying goes. If you want something, you go after it and work for it. And you will get it. Construction, engineering, and architecture are examples of careers that have great earning potential. These are some of the fields in which young black people are needed and can make a good living.
While everyone won't be wealthy, you can live somewhat comfortably if you choose to do so. It depends on how hard you work and how smart you are with your money. One way to feel like you are a part of a process or part of a community is by doing your part. It starts with making a living if you are healthy and taking care of yourself and your family, if you have one.
You want representation? You need blocks of home ownership, respectful neighbors, and children attending school. You need neighbors who are working and own businesses. You need medical and dental services.
My community has very few black-owned neighborhood restaurants and corner stores. The mom-and-pop stores that once existed are now owned by immigrants, who serve chicken, steak sandwiches, and pizza puffs to the black community. This is not a knock on other ethnic groups; they're running their businesses and trying to make a living, as everyone has a right to do. Rather, this is a knock on the black race.
If we took a poll right now, asking members of all races across this nation which race lacks the most, which one would be said to have the most despair? Which would be number two? What would the survey tell us? The results might terrify some individuals but be of no surprise to others, I bet.
As long as the black base is nonexistent, things will remain exactly the same or get worse. Since the black base is weak, there is no real representation, only promises that are never kept. In many cases, there is nothing to represent. But if the work is done to build a better base for black America, there will be no need to look to politicians or others for help. Instead, they will look to us to see if we need help with anything. The more prosperous and prominent that black America becomes, the better off the United States will be. Until that happens, most will continue to hear plenty of talk, with little or no action.
You might ask, "What do you mean? President Obama is going to change everything, remember?" That is what the naïve and misguided were saying in 2008.
Those who want to relish the moment he was elected president should feel free to do so. I always feel the same, regardless of who is sitting in the White House. My entertainment level varies from president to president, depending on who is in office at the time. Many black people disliked George W. Bush, but I thought he was funny and enjoyed hearing him speak.
Since Ronald Reagan's presidency, I have tried to stay current on governmental affairs. I remember when Reagan was elected, but I was only nine years old in 1980, too young to understand what was going on. As I grew older though, I began to pay attention to the president, vice president, speaker of the House of Representatives, senators, and congressmen. Of course, race was not a factor in most elections for president, governor, or senator. In most presidential elections, the only choices have been to vote white or not to vote at all. Before Obama, only six black candidates ran for president: Frederick Douglas in 1888; Shirley Chisholm in 1972; Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988; Alan Keyes in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2008; and Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton in 2004.
I did not vote for Obama simply because he was black. In fact, I didn't vote for him at all. I didn't have the sense that there was history was being made. My thoughts were, They put this guy in the front, surrounded by whites, with no ties to anything black or the struggle to be black in America. And because he looks somewhat like me I'm supposed to think that black people in America have arrived? Even so, I congratulate him for being elected and I am pleased that we have a black first lady, who was raised by two black parents in the city of Chicago. This is a first in American history and a moment that should be relished.
There were some people who didn't vote for Obama because he was black, a low blow even by this country's standards. Considering that the previous forty-three presidents have all been white, one would think that even the most racist hate mongers would conclude that one out of forty-four isn't such bad odds. Looking at it any other way is just stupid. Of course, I know that all presidents endure criticism from one group or another. But let's be honest, some of the criticism of Barack Obama is because he is black.
Regardless, he has filled his cabinet with more white people than black, just like every other president. So let's wait and see if he accomplishes anything before we start celebrating. If he started a movement that brought an end to the hate and violence perpetrated by many young black people, then that would be history. If state supreme courts or the US Supreme Court had half as many black judges as they do white ones, that too would be history.
A black president is in the White House, and all hell breaks loose. Now, a bad economy, the unstable stock market, healthcare debates, and the high rate of unemployment are recurring topics in this country. A lot of the blame for these things is placed at Obama's feet. This is what I and others were wary about when Obama was elected. We believed that if America elected a black president, it meant the shit was about to hit the fan, and the establishment would blame it on him.
Some compared Obama as Martin Luther King Jr. Some tried to connect the famous "I have a dream" speech to Obama's speech when he accepted the Democratic nomination for president. Obama referred to King as "a preacher from Atlanta" rather than as "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." But some naive people try to draw some comparison between the two by comparing photos of both King and Obama in deep thought and passing them around. Maybe Obama was being poetic when he called King a preacher from Atlanta instead of by his name in both his Democratic nomination and President elect acceptance speech. In some of my close circles of friends we discussed if maybe Dr. King was not recognized by name intentionally, as a way to not offend white America, and more importantly, as a way to win white votes.
King dealt with race-related issues. Obama has not. King marched and was beaten and arrested; he was spied on and betrayed by black FBI agents who infiltrated his organization under the order of white officials. The only thing Obama and King have in common is their skin color, period. After all the years of struggle, despite efforts by Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, John F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, to deal with issues of race, President Obama makes statements like he is the President of all people in America and not just black people. But during Obama's presidency the ban on gays in the military has been lifted, gay marriage is allowed in some states and there has been immigration reform for Latinos. Does this means that gays and Latino rights are the focus and take more precedence than black issues?
Excerpted from Dirty Laundry by Lavelle Copyright © 2012 by Lavelle. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Change....................1
Chapter 2 Chicago-Style Politics....................14
Chapter 3 Race in the World....................27
Chapter 4 Segregation versus Integration....................44
Chapter 5 Social and Cultural Issues....................53
Chapter 6 The Police and the Justice System....................70
Chapter 7 Parents and Crime....................81
Chapter 8 Athletes and Sports....................91
Chapter 9 People....................113
Chapter 10 What Now....................? 121 References....................127