Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jackie Robinson On "Progress"


Hall of Fame NFL tight end Kellen Winslow wrote about discovering that his lofty gridiron accomplishments scored nothing with Racist. He's just another nigger. Earlier this month Hall of Fame baseball luminary Hank Aaron disclosed that much of the opposition to President Obama is because of Racism. White angst erupted. Super Bowl champion, Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman has brilliantly dissected the White Supremacist, antiblack logic behind the attacks on himself and the release of DeSean Jackson from the Philadelphia Eagles. Many Whites rapidly promote the rhetoric of "progress." The fact that Sherman and Jackson are able to make millions while being loud-mouthed braggarts and staying cool with their hoodlum homeboys evidences just how far we've come from the days of Jackie Robinson. Heck. Kobe Bryant can be accused of raping a White woman, is never convicted, gets a $48.5 million dollar contract while playing in 6 of 82 games of the season, and makes time to scoff at the notion of defending the likes of Trayvon Martin just because he's black. Surely this is the era of black liberation.

Jackie Robinson's name is frequently invoked in slanderous juxtaposition when any number of Whites vilify the likes of Bryant or Marcus Smart. It's a coded way of saying: Nigger, we've done so much worse to you people; shut up and be happy with all we now give and permit you to do. On this day Whites have designated as a time to honor the White Terrorism Jackie Robinson endured - the same Racist purgatory that likely resulted in his death at age 53, we should reflect on Robinson's own thoughts on White Supremacy and the fairy tale of "progress."
I thought I had learned the worst there was to learn about racial hatred in America. The year 1949 taught me more. A black man, even after he has proven himself on and off the playing field, will still be denied his rights. I am not talking about the things that happened to me in order to portray myself as some kind of martyr. I am recording them because I want to warn the white world that young blacks today are not willing—nor should they be—to endure the humiliations I did. I suffered them because I hoped to provide a better future for my children and for young black people everywhere, and because I na├»vely believed that my sacrifices might help a little to make America the kind of country it was supposed to be. People have asked me, “Jack, what’s your beef? You’ve got it made.” I’m grateful for all the breaks and honors and opportunities I’ve had, but I always believe I won’t have it made until the humblest black kid in the most remote backwoods of America has it made.
It is not terribly difficult for the black man as an individual to enter into the white man’s world and be partially accepted. However, if that individual black man is, in the eyes of the white world, an “uppity nigger,” he is in for a very hard time indeed. I can just hear my liberal white friends and a lot of Negroes who haven’t yet got the word that they are black, protesting such an observation.
The late Malcolm X had a very interesting comment on the “progress” of the Negro. I disagreed with Malcolm vigorously in many areas during his earlier days, but I certainly agreed with him when he said, “Don’t tell me about progress the black man has made. You don’t stick a knife ten inches in my back, pull it out three or four, then tell me I’m making progress.”
Malcolm, in a few well-chosen words, captured the essence of the way most blacks, I believe, think today. Virtually every time the black stands up like a man to make a protest or tell a truth as he sees it, white folks and some white-minded black folks try to hush or shame him by singing out that “You’ve come a long way” routine. They fail to say that we’ve still got a long way to go because of the unjust headstart the founding fathers of this country had on us and the handicaps they bestowed on“the red men they robbed and the blacks they abducted and enslaved.
Whites are expert game-players in their contests to maintain absolute power. One of their time-honored gimmicks is to point to individual blacks who have achieved recognition: “But look at Ralph Bunche. Think about Lena Horne or Marian Anderson. Look at Jackie Robinson. They made it.”
As one of those who has “made it,” I would like to be thought of as an inspiration to our young. But I don’t want them lied to. The late Dr. Ralph Bunche, a true black man of our time, felt the same way. The “system supporters” will point to the honors heaped on a Ralph Bunche. They will play down the fact that he and his son were barred from membership in the New York Tennis Club because of blackness. They will gloss over the historical truth that Mr. Bunche was once offered a high post in the State Department and did not accept because it would have meant Jim Crow schools for his children. Look at Lena Horne, they say. The show business world took this lovely woman and tried to make her into a sepia Marilyn Monroe.” “They overlooked her dramatic ability and her other talents and insisted that she be cast only in the role of a cheap sexpot. When she refused they white-listed her out of the film colony. They point to her as a success symbol, but they will go easy on reminding you that she defied the United States Army when she was programmed to sing Jim Crow concerts for black troops and separate concerts for whites and German prisoners of war in a Southern installation. Lena sang for the black troops only.
If a black becomes too important or too big for his racial britches or if he has too much power, he will get cut down. They will cut him down even when the power the black has doesn’t come from the white man, but from grass-roots black masses, as was the case of Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell. With all his faults, Adam was a man who rocked the establishment boat, and the establishment lynched him politically for it. I don’t think anyone in or out of sports could ever seriously accuse Willie Mays of offending white sensitivities. But when he was in California, whites refused to sell him a house in their community. They loved his talent, but they didn’t want him for a neighbor.
Name them for me. The examples of blacks who “made it.” For virtually every one you name, I can give you a sordid piece of factual information on how they have been mistreated, humiliated.
Not being able to fight back is a form of severe punishment.
I Never Had It Made (pg169 -174)


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