Tag: African American

Harvey Pens Intimate Book on The Life of C. T. Vivian

By Michael August 7, 2020 0

Cascade Publishing House is excited to announce the publication of My C. T. Vivian Story: A Powerful Flame That Burned Brightly, by our publisher and author-in-residence, Harold Michael Harvey.

Vivian, an iconic civil rights leader and Harvey were neighbors for 27-years until Vivian’s transition in July 2020. They often shared private dinners where Vivian mentored Harvey and shared his innermost thoughts on various events that occurred during the civil rights era. read more

Albert Murray:The Omni American Interned at Tuskegee

By Michael April 9, 2018 4

Albert Murray coined the phase Omniamerican as a way to explain the cultural conundrum that the American melting pot is and always has been. He did not like the expression Black American or German American. Murray began with the “basic assumption that the United States is a mulatto culture.”

There was no better way to explain the bastardization of American culture than through the gutteral sounds of jazz music, which he loved and appreciated along with the blues and the classics. read more

Trump’s African American

By Michael June 3, 2016 6

“Trump’s African American” has a certain bothersome ring to it. I can not believe I heard him say he has an African American. Let us not make any mistake about it, presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has an African American.

Trump is apparently thrilled with his relationship with his African American. He boldly made a crowd aware of his friend, oh, I mean his African American, in Redding, California during a campaign stop on Friday.

The African American was not named nor shown by the television crews covering Trump’s campaign rally. It is not immediately known how Trump’s African American feel about being, well, Trump’s African American.

The soon to be Republican nominee is so reckless in his disregard for anyone who is not a member of his economic class that he does not have a clue that his characterizations of other people are couched in deep-seated racism.

Most of this week, Trump ranted that a federal judge presiding over a case involving Trump University could not perform his job because the judge’s parents were born in Mexico. When challenged on this obvious racist behavior, Trump exclaimed that because he is going to build a wall between Mexico and the United States border, the judge is biased towards his position in the Trump University case.

How absurd can that be?

The Trump University case was winding its way through court long before Trump became a candidate for the GOP nomination and before he uttered his bombastic nonsense about building a wall and requiring the Mexican government to pay for it.

It really comes as no surprise that Trump, the owner of his own jet, has his own African American. Neither should it surprise many, if anyone at all, that any African American still wading in the murky waters that flood Republican Politics these days, would still be owned by a wealthy white American.

Donald J. Trump has himself an African American and at least one African American has himself a master in the 21 st century, very similar to the master/ servant relationship of his enslaved ancestors, during the 16th, 17th, and especially 18th and 19th century America.

SOURCES:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/03/politics/donald-trump-african-american/

Williams, Eric. Capitalism and Slavery. 1944. Reprint. Miami: Ian Randle, 2005.

Stampp, Kenneth. The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1975.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.

Cam “The Black Man” Newton

By Michael January 29, 2016 8

Cam “The Black Man” Newton, in case anyone had any doubts, is a Black man. One could say that he is unapologetically a Black man.  Cam Newton was unmistakably a Black manchild, when he played little league baseball out of a DeKalb County, Georgia Park in a prominently Black community.

He was undoubtedly proud to wear the jersey of the Birmingham Black Barons to honor a team of Negro baseball players who played in a segregated league because Major League Baseball owners refused to permit Black baseball players to compete alongside white baseball players.

The 26 year-old Newton was definitely a Black student in the predominantly Black West Lake High School in College Park, Georgia, where he learned the quarterback skills he now displays on Sunday afternoons.

Hardly anyone believe that Newton was anything other than a Black young man when he was run through the campus judicial system at Florida State University.  I’m willing to bet 9 will get you 10, that everybody knew Newton was a Black quarterback when  Alabama Alums ran Cam and his dad through the ringer over the methods Auburn used to recruit him.

There was no question when Newton accepted the Heisman Trophy in 2011 that he was a Black man on the brink of making a whole lot of money.

I had not paid much attention to Cam Newton prior to an October 2012 football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons. I had been aware of his exploits as a budding little league baseball player and of his prowess as the quarterback at West Lake High. I dismissed the rumors that he had stolen a computer at Florida State.

The allegations smelled a bit fishy to me. After all, Newton’s dad was a well respected minister of the gospel in the metropolitan Atlanta area. He came from a middle class home and would not have a need to steal an electronic device.

Also, I dismissed the Auburn allegations involving his dad and the recruitment of Newton. I know how easy it is to get people to believe the worst when you toss in the possibility that a Black man is the culprit. Essentially, I believed that Newton did not deserve the bad rap he was getting, but he was not on my radar as a person that we would be hearing more from at a later time.

On this particular Sunday afternoon in 2012, I was in Naples, Florida working as a Precinct Captain for the reelection of President Barack Obama. My precinct office was in the home of a white family who had in previous elections voted Republican. However, they had a grandchild who had contracted cancer. The family at the beginning of this century had lived a life slightly above middle-class.

By 2012, they like most Americans, had seen their income and savings evaporate as a result of the George Walker Bush economic meltdown in 2008. The family was unable to obtain insurance to properly care for this grandchild because of the pre-existing condition rule followed by all insurance companies prior to the Affordable Care Act.

Before his death, the grandchild had made the grandmother promise, that she would support President Obama, because he had done the research and found the only way for him and others in his situation to obtain the health insurance they needed was for the implementation of ObamaCare.

For this reason, they opened their home to me to use as a satellite office. They fed me well and often threatened to sic their huge German Shepherd dogs on me, if I did not show the proper respect for their home, whatever, that meant. I took it to mean that I  may be working to reelect the President of the United States, but I was indeed a Black man in their eyes.

On this particular Sunday afternoon in October the television was turned to the Carolina vs Atlanta game.  Newton was working his trade, throwing bombs, scrambling, dancing and prancing, or as the kids say, doing the “dab.”

Suddenly, the white woman of the house exclaimed, “I hate him! I just hate him!”

“Why,” I asked?

“I hate him,” she bellowed, blood rushing to fill up her cheeks, eyes bulging!

“Why, what is it about him, I queried?

“I just hate him,” she said emphatically!

“What did he do,” quizzically I asked, while focusing on the television screen to see if I could discern what had caused her outburst?

“I just don’t like him,” she intoned in a white woman’s snarl.

At that moment, I had no doubt that in the mind of this white lady, Cam “The Black Man” Newton was indeed a Black man playing quarterback on a high level in the National Football League. And those taunts about sicing the dogs on me were a real possibility. After all, I sauntered  in a bold intellectual “dab,” like the free Black man that I am, throughout a white household, where the dogs had been trained to attack Black men who approached the premises.

As Black men we have to perform our jobs expertly in spite of the hatred that is hurled at us, usually behind our backs, by white people. At the end of the day, like Newton, I had a job to do in Naples, Florida, and that was to improve Obama’s vote total in Collier County, Florida from the eight percent he received in 2008 to ten percent. Mission accomplished, I flew out of town. I’m awaiting Newton’s performance next weekend.

So when Newton told reporters during his weekly media session at Bank of America Stadium., “I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing they can compare me to,” he spoke nothing but the truth, about how white Americans , some of whom he has never met, feel about him.

I applaud Newton’s unflinching declaration that he is a Black man playing a white man’s position better than anyone (Black or White) has played it up to this time. Given Newton’s cultural upbringing, why should he sublimate his identity just because he will quarterback his team in Super Bowl 50? Why should he pretend that America is a post-racial country and that white people are not afraid of black men whether they flaunt a “dab” or no “dab?”

Perhaps, race relations would improve for the better, if more black athletes, entertainers and politicians were as unapologetically Black as Cam Newton.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com

 

 

BlackLivesMatter Not Cosby’s Folly

By Michael July 7, 2015 0

Black Lives Matter, not Cosby’s follies. A few days after Dylann Roof sat in an African Methodist Episcopal Church and gunned down nine African Americans in cold blood, I posited this rhetorical question on my Facebook Timeline:

“How long will it take for black people to become distracted again and what will distract them?”

The question was not designed for a response. I wanted the community to stop and reflect on issues of grave concern. Nevertheless, it produced 46 comments.

One commentator, similar to the “dashiki wearing brother” I referenced in Justice in the Round, my new book on race and justice in America, took offense to the question. He intimated that the mere asking of the question was an insult to black people.

“This is great. Black people get killed. And we attack black people. Way to go, brave souls,” an old friend whom I have not seen in two decades, weighed in 15 minutes after the query went live.

Billy Pearson said, “W can expect people to become distracted when the “new Air Jordan or smart phone rolls out.”

“Black people can’t wait to jump on somebody else’s bandwagon,” Jarvis Jones opined. She added, “rather than rolling up our sleeves and getting busy.”

“Harold, both of us have been in this a long time and we know in a few weeks this will have all died down in the minds of African Americans,” Faye Coffield said. read more

Obama Said “Nigger”

By Michael June 24, 2015 2

ATLANTA, GA (CASCADE PRESS) President Barack Obama said “Nigger” the other day.

I just be damn.

Like everything he eats, drinks, wears, thinks and does, it is causing quite a controversy.

What’s new about that?

I just be damned.

It is not like the President called anybody a “Nigger.” It is not that he denigrated anyone with the use of the word “Nigger.” He did not use the term to prove he was superior to a so-called “Nigger.” He did not say “Nigger” in such a way that you knew with a degree of specificity that Obama hated “Niggers.”

I just be damned.

Obama said that we have to realize that racism is more than calling someone “Nigger.”

You know what?

Obama is right. He should know.

I am sure growing up with white people he, like every black American I know in his age range, was called a “Nigger” multiple times by people wanting to impress their superior status over him. For a guy with half white DNA, that really has to sting.

When I was in junior high school, I had a white teacher who called me “Nigger” everyday. I knew with a certainty that she was belittling me and my parentage. Although she has long since rotted in her grave, I rather still dislike her today for the  sting that word produced in my soul each day she pronounced to the world that I was a “Nigger. ”

Then there were the times when my black classmates and I walked from football practice through a white neighborhood and encountered a group of white men, probably in their mid-twenties, drinking beer under a tree.

As my group passed them, someone often yell out, “Nigger.”  Looking over our shoulders we could see the group with their menacing stare daring us to turn and fight. Fighting would be futile. If we managed to beat them out of their drunken racist minds, they would lie and say we were trying to break into a home in the area.

I know the sting of the word “Nigger.” The manner in which President Obama said “Nigger” the other day does not carry the same sting, nor did he intend it too. This is the crux of the matter. Racism, Obama properly opined, is more than a word.

While we are on the subject of words with sharp meanings, I like soup. I like to have saltine crackers with my soup. Then one day my doctor took me off crackers. I now hate crackers. I won’t touch a cracker and I won’t go near a cracker. The only thing a cracker can do for me is point me in the direction of some sweet potato chips.

I just be damned, I just said crackers. I just said I hate crackers.

I just be damned.

Oh my gosh, there is that word again, damn. Damn becomes profane when you say “damn you,” or worst when one damns God. Otherwise it is just a word that denotes a doomed state.

Political correctness, I just be damned.

 

Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com 

Rachel Exposes Big White Lie

By Michael June 14, 2015 6

Rachel Dolezal has exposed the big white lie. A lie bigger and more sinister than the lie she told about her ethnicity. The evidence is clear that Dolezal is of Czech and German ancestry. Equally clear, is the fact that she has denounced her European heritage to live a lie.  Do not get me wrong, there is no excuse for the multiple lies Dolezal has told to pull off her ruse.

She looked black, dressed black, talked black, married black and segregated herself from white people as white people for ages have segregated themselves from black people. It can be argued, on the surface, that she segregated herself from white people for the  same reason that white people segregate themselves from black people: She does not find any endearing utility for white people in her immediate life. As shocking and startling as this revelation is, it is the only plausible explanation for her actions.

In telling her own lie, Dolezal has managed to pulled the sheet off the big lie about white racial superiority. A lie that is told all across white America at the dawning of each new day.

“I don’t know what it feels like to be white,”  I posited to a white female journalist over coffee this past Memorial Day.

She replied, “If you don’t know what it feels like, you don’t want to know what it feels like. It’s weird.”

I can only suppose that white people literally wake up in the morning thinking the world owes them more than it owes people of color.  After all, rules and regulations are enacted from the local, state, and federal level to ensure this advantage remains each morning they awake. All white people do not engage in this process, but a majority of them elect representatives who enact legislation which determines everything from the quality of air and water in black communities to the number of polling places and the days those polling places can be open,  to laws that restrict the advancement of colored people in housing, education, employment and finance. The only leading indexes where blacks out perform white Americans is in being shot by police officers and in earning a long stay in the prison industrial complex.

While a vast number of white Americans have rushed to condemn Dolezal for lying about her parentage, she has managed to expose the big lie that has been floating around the planet since Europeans first encountered black and brown people “in Asia, Africa and the Islands of the seas.”

Eons ago, whites determined that they were superior, and because they were superior, they had the right to be master over men and women of color. This is a bold-face lie. Nothing could be further from the truth. Only white people can stop white people from believing this nonsense about themselves.

Since 2008 President Obama has been encouraging white Americans to honestly engage their neighbors of color in a discussion on race. Following the riots in the streets of Baltimore this year, President Obama put it as bluntly as it could be put when he said: “We could solve this problem [race] if we wanted to solve it.”

The president, a man of mix parentage, who identifies with the culture of his black father, grew up in the household of his conservative white American grandparents. He knows first hand the racial feelings white people have about black people, even when they have a black person living closely among them.

Obama knows that although his grandparents showed him love and respect that they somehow made a distinction between him and other black people who lived across town from them. What was he to do? After all his grandparents clothed him and fed him while his mom traveled the world in search of her own Rachel Dolezal type quest.

The president knows from sleeping and eating in the same household with white people on a daily basis, that if white people would face up to the lie they tell themselves about their superiority over people of color, the racial divide would dissipate over night. Dolezal knows this salient fact too. She grew up in a home where the parents had adopted several black kids. She witnessed first hand the distinction made by her parents between her adopted brothers and other black boys in the community, and those depicted on the evening news.

I dare say, so too do the vast majority of white people. White people know the truth about their own racial feelings. But the lie feels good. It feels safe. It feels empowering. In fact the lie of white racial superiority feels so good, the truth to everyone and the exasperation of black people, be danged.

I am not concerned with Dolezal’s lies, as reprehensible as they are. In the end, they only have a minuscule effect on the racial advancement of black people.

I am more concerned with the big white lie told about white racial superiority and privilege. I am more concerned about the myths it creates and promulgates. I am more concerned that the myth of white racial superiority, if left unabated, will continue to impede the advancement of colored people beyond the Spokane Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

 

Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com

 

Strange Case of Rachel Dolezal

By Michael June 13, 2015 14

The strange case of Rachel Dolezal has the country up in storm. Dolezal was born to white parents of Czech and German ancestry. Sometime after emancipation she decided to identify as black. She immersed herself in the African American culture, tanned her skin, weaved her hair; and spoke in the cadence and sauntered with the swag of a black middle class woman.

Quite frankly, I find what she has done refreshing. She could not have appeared on the national scene at a better time. Dolezal’s claims of being black is just the fresh air that the country needs to finally get a grip on the great racial divide that W. E. B. DuBois said would be the main problem in the 20th century. DuBois, I believe, surely thought Americans would have solved the problem of race by the 21st century.

It saddens me to report to DuBois’ legacy: As Americans, we have not solved how “the lighter races of men relate to the darker races in America, Asia, Africa and the island of the seas.”

Individually, some Americans have. I have met several white women who identify very deeply with black culture and the struggle of the African American community to rid itself of the shackles of racism. One of whom told me just the other day, that as a young white woman in the work world, it did not take her “long to figure out that the white man was the problem.”

Albeit, none of my friends have taken the Dolezal step and rejected their European ancestry and self identified with people of African descent.

Dolezal’s bold and courageous move speaks volumes for race relations in America. The Christian Messiah preached that if you wanted to be like him you must be prepared to “… leave your possessions, pick up your cross and follow me.”

This Dolezal has done and like the the Christian Messiah, she has suffered her own crucifixion, in the media, by white and black people. Whites find it impossible to believe that a white person would voluntarily give up the privilege of white skin. Perhaps because few of them would be willing to do it.

From the appearance of it, Dolezal has rejected her biological parents and created a new life in the black world. None of my liberal white friends, no matter how progressive, when pushed have said they would be willing to forfeit the perks of skin color.

On the other hand black people feel a sense of disrespect, as if, Dolezal is treading on precious black space. Precious because the dominate white culture only allows a small percentage of black people to occupy space with rich soil. Blacks are reluctant to share what little good space there is in the American melting pot.

In the Soul’s of Black Folks, DuBois writes about the “concept of twoness” experienced by black Americans. The experience of being American, yet not being treated like an American and how black people struggle with who they are as a result of this “unreconciled twoness.”

Dolezal has wrestled with DuBois’ identity crisis from the white perspective, as she has tried to reconcile the American dream of white Americans, with the American nightmare of black Americans. She has opted to live black, to think black, and to work for black advancement, all the while entrapped  by her genetics, which dictate that she is predisposed to live the white cultural myth based upon the lie that somehow white people are superior and blacks are inferior people.

Dolezal freed herself from her genetics the only way she could, and the only way all of us can, by freeing the mind.

How cool is that?

Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com