I am a first generation Jamaican immigrant whose experiences and accomplishments were made possible by the courage, sacrifices and the heroic acts of many whose bodies have rotted away in unmarked graves. Those are my heroes. Their sacrifices and death paved the way for my children and I. Failure to Listen is a token of my eternal gratitude. Failure to Listen is a tribute those generations of unmarked graves occupied by people of all races whose ultimate sacrifice of life opened the door for me and others, THANK YOU.
Failure to Listen https://failuretolisten.wordpress.com/ uses cultural lenses to appreciate and understand the relationships between current events and our values, beliefs and attitudes. Culture is everything without it we are nothing. Failure to Listen will take you on a journey to recognize the beauty of our differences as the seeds to creativity, innovation and resolving disparities.
By sharing my personal and professional experiences, I hope to do justice to the perspectives of those who are rarely heard or listened to. This site is not to incite anger but rather to provoke thought. It is my hope that Failure to Listen will work to foster intergroup dialogues and motivate readers to step outside the box and get to know ALL PEOPLE.
In the spirit of Martin Luther King, let's join hands and remember his famous speech about a dream...
A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead
The theme of Black History Month this year is African Americans in Times of War to coincide with the centennial of the end of the First World War.
In 1918 African Americans who in spite of the prejudice, intolerance and persecution they endured at home as a result of Jim Crow, still loved their country. They were men who labored under the most difficult circumstance to show all Americans and the world that they were worthy of being soldiers and citizens of the United States of America. Their stories cannot be allowed to be forgotten, nor can we allow Jim Crow and the intolerance of other movements which demean and persecute those who love this country because of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality.
The African America men who volunteered included raw recruits as well as veteran soldiers who had already served full careers…
Do you know what it’s like to be me? Very lonely. I see and feel things that others don’t. I don’t think I’m crazy but rather evolved. At the balcony I gain perspective. Sometimes I wish I couldn’t see through people because I wouldn’t have to feign ignorance. How many of us are out there?
My wish to know more about my great African ancestors motivated this post. Further, for Black History Month I wanted to step outside the box of paying tribute to the popular black leaders, murdered by the US government. I am not a historian or an anthropologist but rather a student attempting to seek the truth about my ancestral past.
First, I embarked on an online literature search, aka, a poor man’s search, for African history pre-Transatlantic Slavery, unsurprisingly, there wasn’t much. And what there was, many would not consider legitimate sources. Then I stumbled upon a video or article that led me to the book Nature Knows No Color-Line by J. A. Rogers. It is the information in this research into the “Negro Ancestry in the white race” that I’d like to share with you.
There is irrefutable evidence that civilization began in Africa and that the first people were dark-skinned with wooly-hair, black African people. The oldest human skulls found in South Africa were of black Africans. The earliest Christians depicted the Virgin Mary and Christ as black. (1). Some of the greatest scholars and ancient philosophers believed (and this is without full gene mapping) man originated from Africa and that climate or rather the degree of sunlight along with racial intermixture accounted for the different races. They believed race was a dynamic process that produced new races over time. In ancient times color prejudice was minor. While slavery existed (captives from war), it was viewed as indentured servants or poor farmers as opposed to objects to be exploited and denigrated. Freed slaves could go on to serve in high positions. There was a core respect for all human beings and the contributions made by everyone based on their role or position in society.
So how did color prejudice begin? To Be Continued.
There are two videos below: the first one appeared to be a research project that was sponsored by IsraelUnite.org and the second is a collection of art at the Princeton University Art Museum that examined the roles of African/black people in 16th century Europe. Both were very informative and not long.
Black People Ruled Russia & All Europe During The Dark Ages – IUIC
The Africans of Renaissance Europe: A painted record
Rogers, J. A. (1980) Nature Knows No Color-Line. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.
So much division and violence in the world today. I guess that has always been the case throughout history. The difference is we are more knowledgeable than our ancestors. We know despite the differences in the color of our skins, we all belong to the human race.
Race is a social construct created by behavioral scientists to study different groups. Such knowledge may shock you, but race is not genetic. In other words, there is no Black or African gene, no Asian gene, no Native American gene, no Anglo-Saxon white gene or Latino gene. Civilization began in Africa, the racial differences we see among each other are due to geographic differences and are not genetic.
Many do not believe or even know of this. I recall an anecdotal study where a racially diverse class had DNA samples of their students analyzed. The findings were astonishing to the students. One would think black people are more closely related to each other than to other racial groups and the same for Asians and whites. But that was not the finding. It turned out you could not predict based on phenotype. A black female student was just as likely to find her genes more closely related to that of a white male than her black classmates. Race did not predict the relationship between genotypes.
Unfortunately, US history is tainted, and myths have become facts in the minds of the ignorant. We have kids, mostly white males who believe the white race is under attack and at risk of genocide. They blame people of color for their problems and believe violence is the only solution to save the white race from extinction. So they go out and randomly murder innocent people and children in public places to induce fear and become infamous. Later, they may even get a book deal or a movie.
According to reports, there were 18 high school shootings so far this year, about one mass shooting a week, most committed by men, white men spewing racist jargon they picked up on Fox News and the over 900 protected terrorist white supremacist groups in the US.
Ironically, many of these groups are pro-life and vehemently declare “All Lives Matter.” But all lives cannot matter until Black Lives Matter. These terrorist white supremacist groups don’t see or care to understand. These groups, as well as many whites, take offense at the thought that Black Lives Matter. Think about that for a moment.
Why do white men get away with murder? At least that is the opinion of many people of color. Seems every other ethnic group or organization is heavily surveilled by the US government and labeled a threat except white terrorist groups euphemistically called hate groups. Our society downplays their terrorism, calling it hate or mental illness. While gun control is important, objectivity, consistency in enforcement and interpretation of the law and justice are more important. At the moment, white men are rewarded for murder.
Lord, help us to appreciate our differences as well as our shared values and ancient ancestry. Let us look to nature as a model of diversity. And marvel at how seamlessly and beautifully nature accommodates. It’s time we move beyond race and ascend to a higher level of thought that brings us together as one human race. A race that values the lives of our children, our loved ones and each other.
Below are two videos. The first video is short and touches on the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida where 17 people were murdered. The last video is a classic– Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Experiment by Jane Elliott
It’s February 1, 2018, the beginning of Black History Month. This is an opportunity to find out more about black history. This month, FTL will delve into our history before slavery by encouraging readers to share links or stories.
At a time when black lives are under attack, it’s imperative we come together and understand who we are.
Since 1976, the month of February has been officially designated Black History Month by every US President. Other countries including Canada and the UK also celebrate a month of Black history What is Black History Month?