America’s Collective Amnesia


Our collective amnesia in this country is pathetic. People want to look at Dr. King and call him a hero or a prophet and any other number of great names. I agree that he was all that. But the problem I am having is that according to white America in the years up to his death he was considered public enemy number one. He was called an uppity Negro or other N word. Yet now everyone is on the bandwagon about how great he was. If this is the case then where were you people when he was alive? In fact what are you doing today to make his dream of freedom, equality and end of poverty true for all people in this country? The answer is not a damn thing.

You have idiots like John McCain who comes to Memphis and apologizes that he actually opposed an MLK holiday in Arizona and how he finally gets it. Yep, right, I believe that he gets it. A person who has done exactly what to realize not one of MLK’s dreams now wants me to believe that they somehow get it. His family fought on the side of the confederacy and I know that his family was probably big time racists as it was natural at the time and I am going to believe that his family didn’t hand down any of that racist venom to him. Not only are they all trying to tell me that Obama’s preacher has so much power over him and is obviously shaping his views to this day. So wouldn’t it then be fair to say that McCain’s racist family tree is shaping his views and thoughts as well. Let’s not be hypocritical.

They are chronicling the words and memories of people close to King at the time of his death such as Jesse Jackson, Clarence Jones . My question for these fellows is what have you been doing to further the movement MLK started? How much have they accomplished or did they sell a bunch of books or did they just sell out period. All these people claim that they are keeping the dream alive. What dream is this exactly? Because I have not seen very much movement in erasing racism, discrimination, equality or erasing poverty in not only the black community but ALL communities. Yet they are all working towards his dream when in fact I think that they are all just dreaming. They divided the black community and everyone is looking at their own agenda.

Bill Clinton says that we are making great strides. What the hell does that mean? MLK and the rest of civil rights movement people made great strides. Through the peaceful campaign starting in 1953 to 1968 they got not only black voting rights but desegregation and the promise of equality. So what great strides have we made since then that he is talking about? The fact that blacks were being disenfranchised in presidential votes even today, that blacks are still on the bottom of the socio-economic scale, that black communities are still poor, that blacks are still being denied jobs based on race, that the justice system is still biased and still having the short end of the stick when it comes to healthcare. These are just some of the problems that I guess Clinton overlooked when he said that we were doing OK with respect to MLK’s dreams.

The problem is that you can’t come from a position of privilege and status then turn around and tell a community of people affected whether or not they are getting closer to the goals their leader spoke of. We as black people need to stop getting so happy just to have the company of these privileged politicians who only come barreling into town when they want to make some good press. We need to get over the fact that they showed up. What counts is that they show up when it’s time to make changes to the status quo. And so far not one after LBJ showed up for that and he only did it out of serious necessity. We get so happy that someone, anyone in a position of power actually decides to bother to have anything to do with us we start to act like it means something when in fact it means just as much as the talk we have heard year after year, presidential campaign after presidential campaign.

“I am here to make sure that you in the black community get a fair shake….” These are the things that they say but the fact is what they show us once they have our vote is basically the back of their hands as they slap us back into our place while they continue to strengthen the status quo. We need to understand that the only ones who are serious about our equality, about the state of our black community and the state of our health care is no one other than ourselves.



Filed under African American, Barack Obama, Black community, Black Culture, Black Family, Black People, Presedential candidates, Racism

10 responses to “America’s Collective Amnesia

  1. Pingback: America’s Collective Amnesia | Barack Obama Chronicles

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  4. MacDaddy

    Great post, Black Sentinel.

    And don’t you just love it when your oppressor tells you that you’re making progress?

    (A potion to cure us of African American genocide. Priceless).

  5. Great post,
    You’re absolutely correct that over the years, White America has softened DR. King’s image. They conveniently forget he was opposed to the Vietnam war and his criticism of country near the end of his life.

    No politician will ever help change our condition. Especially when we do not hold then accountable and fall for the Bill Clinton’s of the world, showing up at the NAACP awards, as if it is a sign of progress. That is not progress, it’s called pacification.

  6. The Engineer

    “… If this is the case then where were you people when he [Dr.
    Martin Luther King] was alive? In fact what are you doing today
    to make his dream of freedom, equality and end of poverty true
    for all people in this country? The answer is not a damn thing.”
    — quotation from the article, “America?s Collective Amnesia,”
    April 7, 2008, by The Black Sentinel.

    A very good question.

    My mother would often say that the “bigger the trashing, the
    bigger the monument.” She was saying this in reference to anyone
    who was destroyed (e.g. loss of money, loss of career, or worst,
    loss of life) and then eulogized.

    When the mainstream media has such glowing words for Dr. King, it
    is possible that the mainstream media is really gloating; they
    criticized him while he was alive, and they compliment him now
    that his is dead. This method of operation is common among the
    Majority when it is used against those the Majority does not like.

    Your question is important. What have we done to foster freedom
    and equality for everyone and to improve and uplift the poor?
    It would appear that Our National effort is wanting, but on a
    personal level, I would say that I do two things: one, do not
    practice racism; two, do practice fairness in everything.

    I do not practice racism by simply not participating in it when
    asked to do so. For example, if a member of the Majority offers
    a snide remark and tries to elicit my opinion about a particular
    demographic, I just ignore the question and change the subject.
    This is easy enough to do if the snide remark is trivial and/or

    However, if the snide remark is based on something that is
    serious, then I may try to introduce a question that addresses
    the fairness of the situation. Has there been fairness in
    opportunities? Has there been fairness in treatment? Has there
    been fairness in cultural exposure? Quite often, I have found that
    the issue of plain logical fairness cannot be adequately discussed
    without some obvious bias — which proves how biased the Majority
    are in their opinions.

    I do have some, not many, friends who are members of the
    Majority, and they have learned what my position is in such
    matters. Since they still associate with me, I think I am
    winning a few converts.

    Our Nation’s struggle shall be a long one, and we must remember
    that Our Nation is a very young one (232 years), and there is
    much growing to do.

    Thank you for listening.

  7. I think that many white people just use MLK as a way to absolve themselves of Guilt from the sins of their forefathers. They say look! Here’s a black man that wasn’t angry, he loved everyone, and we love him back! So as long as we have a black man to admire, we can’t possibly be racist…

  8. renaissanceguy

    There were white people who supported Dr. King, as you well know. In fact, all the civil rights legislation was passed with a majority of white people in the Congress and with a white president. It’s just as wrong for you to generalize and stereotype people as it is for white people to do so.

    Where was I? I wasn’t born until 1963. My parents, however, were cheering Dr. King on. They weren’t active, but they were completely supportive of his objectives, and they lived what they believed. They taught us that people are equal and treated others that way. They had black friends–real black friends, not tokens.

    You have every right to judge McCain for his remark about the MLK holiday. It was stupid–and suspect. However, I don’t think that you should judge him for his ancestry. You wouldn’t want anyone doing that to you, would you? It could be that one of your ancestors was an African nobleman who had a few slaves of his own.

    You can’t compare John McCain’s dead ancestors to Obama’s pastor, whose teachings he has sat under for 20 years. Yes, some racism may have been passed down to him, but you don’t know for certain.

    You ask what strides have been made?

    There has been a huge shift in the attitudes of many white people toward black people. Think about it. I see it among school kids who now take it for granted that there are black and white kids together–in classes, on sports teams, and in clubs. I see it among politically active people who want to draft Condoleeza Rice. I see it among sports fans who admire black athletes. I see it among housewives who adore Oprah Winfrey. I see it among movie buffs who consider Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett great actors.

    We have more black people in positions of power: mayors, governors, Congress members, cabinet members, business owners and managers, university professors, and many others.

    Could things be better? Yes, and I hope that they will be. But please don’t despair or get angry, and please don’t ignore the progress.

    I know that you won’t accept what I’ve written becuase I come from a position of status and privilege. You wouldn’t like it if I said that you have no right to have an opinion about white people or their lives because you are black.

    By the way, I think it would be fun to compare our economic backgrounds, educational level, and current earnings. Although I’m white and you’re black, I wouldn’t be surprised if you are not “ahead” of me in at least one of those areas. (And I’d be happy for you if that’s true.)

  9. renaissanceguy,

    I think you may be misunderstanding me. I know that white people supported King that is not the issue. I am talking about the fact that people talk about great strides then know full well that blacks don’t have equal access to jobs, pay, healthcare and housing. Then say well we still have a ways to go. Why? Why don’t we stop with all the bull and just commence in evening the playing field?

    I am trying to show that people will talk about Obama learning from Rev. Wright and I am saying that McCain has racists in his own family. His family are confederates and proud of it. Not that this means that they ARE racists. But he and his family have racist tendencies. So people can’t tell me that you don’t learn MORE from your family than so called reverends. So why no hoopla over his upbringing in a family clinging to the confederacy?

    Also, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion I have no problem with that. I don’t have to agree to it and that is my opinion. I will listen to almost all views unless they are blatantly racist that is where I draw the line. I never said that whites don’t or shouldn’t have an opinion on blacks etc.

    I am venting at the fact that people are so gung ho that they are so supportive of King and what he stood for. The majority of whites were spitting in his face. Or smiling in pictures while blacks were being lynched in the background. These people are still alive today. Did they just do a 180 degree turn around and are now free of those views that they harbored? I doubt it and that is what I was speaking to.

    That people praise him today but hated his guts and felt he was enemy number 1 back then. McCain is one of them. He acknowledged his mistake yet, why should I believe him? He has blatant racist family members, friends and acquaintances and no one is poking around saying anything about his beliefs because of this.

    Thanks for the reply

  10. great read, I enjoyed this

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