#JoinTheHumanRace Tumblr posts

  • j-t-h-r
    06.05.2015 - 6 years ago

    A Few Thoughts on Baltimore

    My friend Reginald Hall wrote what I felt was a well thought out piece of commentary on the events of Baltimore over the last few weeks. Whatever view points we have and however we all may feel, I believe that it’s important that we all share thoughts and learn to understand each other’s perspectives and make strong attempts to see through each other’s point of view.  If we all can’t learn to to do that than we do not allow ourselves a chance at getting to the crux of what are still multiple issues surrounding Race Relations in America.  This piece below is a great example of dissecting and explaining why incidents such as Baltimore and other unfortunate happening (such as Ferguson) happen, have happened in the past, and will keep happening until everyone, not just black and white, understands why. 

    - JTHR

    A Few Thoughts on Baltimore by Reginald Hall Jr.

    I rarely post social commentary on Facebook because – usually – I’m communicating with people who share a similar worldview, which can lead to a virtual circle-jerk. At worst, I learn which “friend” holds a viewpoint that’s racist, sexist, or homophobic. That’s always disappointing.

    But Baltimore is on my mind and I want to unload a few thoughts that, if nothing else, don’t have to occupy room in my head.

    Now is an opportunity to acknowledge the U.S. school system needs to teach children a more detailed and more accurate version of America’s complicated and messy history in regards to race and class. In the past week I’ve heard questions and statements like:

    -  “Why would people destroy their own community?”

    -  “Today’s black people don’t know how to protest peacefully like in the 50’s and 60’s.”

    -  “I have no sympathy for people who behave like animals.”

    Better education would give insight into why riots happen and the mindset of those involved. This understanding might even spark the EMPATHY needed to propel people to change the conditions that inspires people to riot.

    First – the majority of people in Baltimore protested peacefully. Don’t overlook this. Unfortunately non-violent protests don’t attract eyeballs to television screens or sell newspapers as much as violence does.  

    How do things like riots happen? Well people much smarter than me like Martin Luther King Jr. and Michael Eric Dyson explain this well.

    But picture this. You, you’re brother, your sister, your parents, their parents, their parents’ parents have been told that they are – and will always be – less than. You’re poor, just like most of the people around you. Still, you try to follow the dream America sells you – with enough hard work you too can be happy and wealthy. All you need is to earn an education, gain new skills, and market yourself or perhaps start a business.  

    Except your school is understaffed and underfunded. Your peers carry unresolved emotional and physical trauma. Lendors pray on your community’s lack of financial literacy. Politicians use the injustice you face as a platform for their own agenda. Police, the people sworn to protect you, view you as a potential threat instead of a human life with value. Large portions of the general public believe you’re responsible for the injustice you face.

    As much that mental burden weighs on your psyche, you resolve to make your way to a better life. But one day – once again – the police murder your neighbor with little remorse. This is not the first, or second, or third time.

    How would you feel? What would you do? Would you write a letter to your local councilman? Would you call the police or other law enforcement?

    No, most likely you wouldn’t. These institutions have already failed you, your family, and your peers for too long.

    So what good would rioting do? What good would destroying parts of your community do?

    The actions would give you a feeling foreign to your typical existence – empowerment. For once, you’re in control and dictating action instead of being acted on. You also benefit by attracting attention to your grievance. For most of your life your struggle is either invisible or overlooked by the people with the influence to help you the quickest. In a riot, for one moment in time, your plight would be finally be the utmost priority of all of the people who ignore and overlook you – media, police, government. For once, somebody with clout is going to notice you're hurting and angry and not going to let it happen anymore.

    I’m not advocating for rioting. I’m pointing out that the violent images you see flash inside your TV and computer screens are the result of intense frustration – and that if you were put in the same situation, you just might do the same thing.

    Our education system glosses over the intertwining factors that have systematically contributed to the circumstances of the poor and non-powerful. It's frustrating because if we took more time to investigate and listen to the stories of people facing injustice and their attempts to overcome it, we'd be better equipped to prevent similar injustices from happening.

    If you don’t agree with me, that’s okay. (And if you want to constructively explain why, I welcome it).  I just hope the next time this happens you consider all of the factors at play and not just the end result.  

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  • j-t-h-r
    30.04.2014 - 7 years ago

    Mike Missanelli

    Our first interview is with Mike Missanelli, a Sports Talk Radio Host for Philadelphia's ESPN Affiliate 97.5 The Fanatic. Sports and race have had quite the historical relationship and when a racially infused local or national story comes to the forefront, he isn't one to shy away from engaging his callers in conversation during airtime.  

    JTHR: How do you feel about Donald Sterling's comments? What should the NBA do about it? Do you think this kind of "behind the scenes" racism runs rampant in corporate sports culture?

    Mike Missanelli: I think Sterling's comments are deplorable. The NBA must take the same stance as baseball did many years ago with Marge Schott by suspending him. The only thing I can say is that I HOPE this kind of racism amongst ownership doesn't run rampant in the corporate sports culture since a majority of the athletes in many sports are black.

    (NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has since banned Donald Sterling for life and fined him the maximum amount of 2.5 million dollars for his comments)

    JTHR: Have you experienced racism in your life and if so how did you react to it and how did it make you feel? 

    Mike Missanelli: For me to say I've experienced racism would be cheating the people who have actually EXPERIENCED racism.  I've been called ethnic slurs at various times of my life and it made me angry enough to fight someone. I can't imagine having to deal with racism on an every day basis and having enough decorum not to react with anger.

    JTHR: If you have a discussion with someone regarding a racial issue and they don't understand nor care, what do you do to guide them towards a better understanding of it? 

    Mike Missanelli: I try to open people's minds to that possibility. Most white people cannot relate to the concept of racism because they live in their own little bubble or certainly in denial. Living in denial helps you press the issue downward and you dont have to consider whether you've ever been guilty of racism. To deal with that possibility means you actually have to work at it and most people don't want to face up to that workload.

    JTHR: Do you think it's possible to eradicate racism and if so, how? If not, in your opinion, what can everyone do to make it less of a problem for future generations in America?

    Mike Missanelli: It CERTAINLY is possible to eradicate racism if people can open up their minds to that possibility and make special effort to do so. I ask people all the time: how is it POSSIBLE to be TOO politically correct. Fact of the matter is, being politically correct doesn't take much effort. All it takes is to understand the other person's position. If someone is telling you they are offended by something, its not YOUR choice to decide if they are. It's their ball game. Racism is filtered out by education. The more educated we are about the problems, the more we can understand it. Our ancestors at one point or another had racist tendencies. Today's generations should have a better understanding of racism because we have been more educated, we have been given more opportunity, we have traveled more, we have met more people of other cultures. JTHR: Do you think "reverse racism" exists and regardless, what do you think of the term?

    Mike Missanelli: Reverse racism? So far as I can tell, white people still have it pretty good in America, whether they have had to sacrifice any bit of their existence to acknowledge that other cultures and creeds DO exist.

    JTHR: From a White perspective, do you think there’s a responsibility to understand why race in America is an issue and why it continues to be a “controversial” topic, especially for black people and other minorities?

    Mike Missanelli: I think it is ESSENTIAL that white people acknowledge that racism still does exist, otherwise we're not going to make any further dents into the problem. JTHR: One time I was at a bar and I had a drunken white guy come up to me and he bought me a Long Island because I'm black and he was sorry about "the past." He offered to hook me up with his white girl friends or something - I'm not kidding, I swear this happened.  This probably would be a hilarious yet exaggerated example of “white guilt.” - Do you feel that there's a "white guilt" backlash? What do you have to say to people who accuse you of having “white guilt?” 

    Mike Missanelli: White guilt? Trying to help bond other races and cultures and creeds for the sake of a more harmonious society is white guilt? I laugh at the ignorance of that term.

    JTHR: Is there a subliminal "we got it first now it's your turn" sentiment between minorities and white people in the entertainment industry regarding white jokes? 

    Mike Missanelli: I dont get what white jokes are. I think white people should find a comfort level that they are not the aggrieved party. No white joke can offend me enough that I equate it as offensive as racism. JTHR: How do you feel about the term "Post-racial America?"

    Mike Missanelli: Post racial America is an idealistic term. I hold hope that little by little, we are getting there. But we certainly are not there yet.

    JTHR: It’s been my observation that racism and hate in general is taught.  Do you agree with this or not? Regardless what do you think is the right thing for parents and adults to say to young children regarding the topic? 

    Mike Missanelli: I see SO many racial attitudes in young people and that disturbs me more than anything. Obviously they are getting that from semi-bigoted and still bitter parents. That's a real shame. But again, only education is going to foster better understanding. We all stood up to our parents about attitudes and methodologies that we didn't agree with. It is the responsibility of young people to do that now when it comes to racism.

    Join The Human Race thanks Mike Missanelli for sharing his thoughts! 

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