Tag: NAACP

Georgia Civil Rights Groups Flex Political Muscle After Senate Victory

By Michael January 24, 2021 0

Demand Congress Oust Six GOP Reps

Two weeks after an angry mob stormed the US Capitol in what can only be described as an outright act of war against the federal government, two civil rights groups in Georgia have demanded the ouster of six Georgia delegation members in the House of Representatives.

The civil rights groups alleged that six Republican members of the US House knowingly told lies, claiming that impeached President Donald J. Trump had won the 2020 Presidential Election. Their lies stirred up the hatred that led to a raid on congressional offices and legislative chambers, placing the entire Congress and the Vice President in jeopardy of serious bodily harm or death. read more

The Caught and the Uncaught

By Michael June 15, 2015 0

 

“The caught and the uncaught” was the title of a sermon preached in  1982 by Rev. Jasper Williams, a legendary Atlanta preacher. In this sermon Williams preached that there were two kinds of church people: The caught and the uncaught.

“The only thing that separated the uncaught from the caught is that the uncaught had not been caught yet,” he preached.

He explained in the sermon that santimonious people should be careful because in a twinkling of an eye they could slip into the caught category.

In 1977 Andrew Young was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He was the shining example of what a black person could achieve in America at that time. He had been appointed to that position by President Jimmy Carter. Young had earned a reputation as a bridge builder from his days as a top lieutenant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On December 14, 1977, Young met in a Manhattan apartment with  the United Nations Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). At that time the PLO was not recognized by the US. There were no diplomatic relations between them.

Young had committed the unpardonable sin of violating US protocol when meeting with the PLO. He knew that he was violating the law. Young also knew it was futile to attempt to resolve the conflict in the Middle East without bringing the Palestinians to the bargaining table with their Israeli adversaries.  So he risked violating American law in his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.

This was a noble act. A workable accord was reached.  Then word of the meeting leaked. He was caught.

President Carter was forced to fire Young. All of the goodwill that had been brokered in that meeting in the Manhattan apartment was swept away because it was reached by an Ambassador with unclean hands. He had moved from blessed and uncaught to caught and damned.

In 1977, Andrew Young was the right man at the right time to forge a peace settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis. This was not to be. The US blew its window of opportunity because Young had not been authorized by his government to engage in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Nine years later, the US decided that it was not such a damnable sin and initiated contact with the PLO.

I reflect upon this because I just received word Rachel Dolezal has decided to resign from her post with the Spokane, Washington NAACP. From all indications, Dolezal was committed to the goals of the NAACP and grew the Spokane Branch in the five months she was the organization’s president. But she fell from grace once it was learned she was not a fair-skinned sister, but a Caucasian  woman who was pretending to be black.

It is not clear from news accounts if she ever told any officials at the Spokane NAACP that she was black or if her peers in the organization merely assumed that she was because of the apparent melanin in her skin, and the hair extensions that she wore. It does not matter much at this point, because when the story broke it was assumed that she lied about her race. It was even assumed that she lied about her race while a student at Howard University in spite of the fact while at Howard she sued the university for racial discrimination because of her white ethnicity.

Many in my Facebook newsfeed have opined that if Dolezal would lie about her ethnicity she would lie about anything. In the 1950s Howard Griffin, born to two Caucasians, lied about his race for a solid year. He traveled the country looking like a black man and found that everywhere he went he was treated like black men were treated in this country in the 1950s; and not like the white man he actually was.

Griffin later wrote a book about his experiences, Black Like Me. which helped to explain racism in this country to white people who had not bothered to be concerned with non-white people. He even appeared around a few friends who knew him as a white man. They did not recognize him. He was deceptive and caused his friends to act out their true feelings when encountering a person they presumed was black.

It can not be denied that Griffin’s ruse was an excellent object lesson in race relations. When my son was in a private high school, he received racial threats from one of his baseball teammates. Part of that young man’s punishment was to read Griffin’s book and to do a book report before he was once again in good standing with the campus community. This was some 40 years after Griffin had given whites an inside look at race from the eyes of a black person.

It does not yet appear the good that will come forth from Dolezal’s deception, but good will surely follow. God knows white people need to take President Obama seriously in his quest for an honest conversation about race in America. Also, the comments I have seen on my social media newsfeed from black people are from one extreme to another and suggest we all need more maturity on racial matters.

Well, what does this all have to do with Andrew Young and the PLO, or with Rachel Dolezal?

When Young left office it created a vacuum. There was no one to take his place, or at least, no one who had his commitment to peace and gift for resolving disputes. Certainly none of his critics on the right who argued that it was the God awfullest thing that he could have done. Young had to go because he was deceptive, he met with the PLO without telling his President. He knew if he did not attempt to broker a peace with the PLO no one else would try.

I am willing to bet that if you put all the good deeds of all of Dolezal’s critics throughout the country together, they would not equal the work for the advancement of colored people that Dolezal has put in since she committed her first deceptive act concealing and denying her biological birth.

When Dolezal was uncaught, she could do no wrong in advancing the goals of the NAACP. Very few people knew she existed or knew of her work for social justice. When she was caught in a lie, she became an overnight sensation. And overnight, her work for social justice ceased.

Who among her critics will pick up her mantle? Who is willing to try to advance the cause of colored people in the 21st century? How many of the pied-pipers shouting “she is a liar and must go” are willing to volunteer an hour a week at their local civil rights office?

Obviously, this is a rhetorical question.  One which you can answer by showing up at your local NAACP, National Urban League or Southern Christian Leadership Conference, just to name a few organizations, to help them wage the fight that a white girl from Montana was proud to fight before she moved from the uncaught to the caught. The Almighty knows that these organization are willing to accept whoever shows up and and say they are willing to work. Perhaps it is time for authentic white and black people to give a little time to help these organization advance justice and equality for 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

 

 

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