Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Having BLACK UNITY and PRIDE as a black woman at WEST POINT and in The AMERICAN Society


On May 22, 1962 Malcolm X made the following statement "The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman, the most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman"

54 years later and this statement still holds true in American society. This statement breaks my heart and builds me back up all over again because it motivates me to RESPECT Black women, PROTECT, Black women, and to SUPPORT my fellow Black women. 






I am a member of the West Point class of 2012. One of the most difficult times in my life was my 4 years spent as a Cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. At times these 4 years were pure hell for me. There were numerous times throughout my journey where I wanted to call it quits and regain my life and sanity back. As a black woman at the academy I always felt as if I was an outsider and that I did not belong. I continuously had to prove myself to my peers and demolish any and every stereotype that was bestowed upon me simply because I was a black woman. There were many occasions where I was completely unhappy and regretted my decision to attend West Point. I felt alone and unhappy and desired to attend an HBCU ( Historically Black College/University) where I would be surrounded by those who looked like me and able to celebrate my culture and community without it being seen in a negative light.


I was called out numerous times for apparently being to black. I even had a negative counseling wrote on me by a classmate because I had President Barack Obama's autobiography in my room and as a member of the military many service members seem to think that you can not have a political opinion when that is not the case. As a student/cadet at West Point I vowed to always remain true to myself and never change who I was both inside and out.

While at West Point I had classes where I was the only female and the only person of color. There literally was not a day that did not go by where I did not feel like an outsider. I did find comfort with my cross country and track and field teammates. Whenever I was at the track I was happy. Being a minority at an institution that is centered around the accomplishments of white men you have to find a way to survive and thrive and I was able to do that through organizations that were established by minorities at the school such as the Cadet Gospel Choir, African American Arts Forum, and the National Society of Black Engineers. These particular clubs allowed me the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of minorities and to learn more about black culture and what we are capable of accomplishing. 

In order to make it through West Point you truly need a strong support system and I was able to find that within the Community of African American women that attended the academy. Me and my girls encouraged, motivated, and supported one another on every level throughout our time at the academy. Through our trials and tribulations we became family. 

Recently the African American Women of the class of 2016 took an old corps photo together. This photo was simply symbolizing their pride and support in one another for sticking together and being future graduates from West Point.






As with any photo you take the ladies decided to strike more than one pose and chose to display the a symbol that is currently popular within the black community. ( a raised/clenched fist) This raised fist represents the tight close knit bond that these women share. It represents the unity that resides within them. It represents the support and the love that they have for one another. 












Originally when the photo was posted online ( 26 April 2016) I saw both positive and negative reviews. One of the areas I saw negative stem from came from the campus us West Point through the use of the app #YikYak






Many people outside the black community continuously misinterpret the symbolism behind the raised fist and consistently and almost always tie it back to the Black Panther movement. The raised fist can be traced back hundreds of years to the Mesopotamian East semitic goddess Ishtar during ancient Assyria which symbolized resistant in the face of violence. Additionally numerous organization have used the symbol to include feminist movements and the industrial workers of the world. 







If a photo of Black Women having pride and celebrating their unity bothers you then I would highly suggest that you take a long hard look at yourself, your morals and your values. I am so here for this #BlackGirlMagic and cannot wait to see more of this in the future from minority women at my Alma Mater. To my fellow Black Sisters of the Class of 2012, we definitely need to get together one of these years and take our own version of this photo. Kudos to the Black Female graduates of 2016 you really have made me proud. Continue to represent for your community and celebrate your awesome accomplishments, you have a team out here rooting for your success. 

















Remember To Always Be
Fierce and Fabulous 
xoxo 
Lela Victoria



53 comments:

  1. Sweet. Mother. I don't even know where to start. There's my white privilege giving people the benefit of the doubt. Now If only the pesky band aids could be darker to make people feel accepted by society.

    1)My favorite line is that they are above rebuke by anyone who does not believe in what they are doing, effectively dismissing all criticism. Must be nice to live in that subsidized bubble of ignorance. I guess I am not allowed to interpret the pumped fist sign of "resistance in the face of violence." That's a good thing because "WHAT VIOLENCE?" would be my first question. The violence perpetuated by BLM about not receiving enough free things from the government? Or are you talking about the violence perpetuated by BLM based in proven false accusations of white police based in racism.

    2) I am sorry USMA is the most difficult thing you did with you life. I truly hope that there is a wider breadth of experience awaiting you.

    3) The fact that HBCUs exist is racism against other groups.

    4) A swastika was originally a sign of favor in ancient communities. It's not socially acceptable to be flashing that around so the justification for the black panther fist doesn't fly either.

    5) When I was at USMA, Protestors gutted and set on fire one of my classmates family's business.

    6) It is not "being too black" to have a autobiography of a prior senator in your barracks room. I can think of 19.3 trillion other reasons why that is a bad choice though.

    Here's some stats.

    -15% of the population commits 70% of the crime
    -1/3 black men go to prison for committing a crime
    -AA Women are 300% more likely to commit a crime that a white woman
    -Black married couples have a poverty rate in the single digits which is comparable to whites.

    -the single motherhood rate in the black community has climbed to 72 percent in the last 40 years. Is America more Racist now than during the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement?

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417899/it-isnt-legacy-slavery-caused-social-breakdown-ghetto-communities-thomas-sowell


    I am going to get off here before the FBI shows up at my door. If my parking pass gets revoked I will update haha (I think that's funny, sorry)

    - a 2015 Grad

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ArmyMD2016,

      First, HBCU were created because people of color were not allowed to go to school and get educated with white people.

      Second, HBCUs are not racist. Anyone of any color can apply, attend and graduate if they want.

      Delete
    2. 2015 Grad,

      1) BLM came about because unarmed african american males were being killed and the officers doing the killing were not being indicted. Are we as a community suppose to let that happen without voicing our outrage.

      2) Being 26 I would think USMA would be the hardest things I have done. Due to me being in the Army I have yet to start my own family. USMA was a 4 year journey where I was consistently sorry I haven't lived the life of an 80 year old. Additionally I would assume you are a white male ( my assumption could be wrong) but you did not have to deal with the things that a double minority deals with at USMA

      3) How is it racist that HBCU's exist ( please elaborate) they were originally founded because African Americans could not get into schools that were majority white. Why not branch off and create institutions of higher learning for their own people.

      4) Who says a raised fist only represents the black panther organization. Additionally the Black Panther organization was one that did many great notable things within the black community. From your statement I would assume you have no clue what they really did for their community,

      5) I necessary don't agree with the unfortunate events that went on after the police officers were not held responsible for their actions, but I do understand the frustration of the black community and of the movement.

      6) I received a negative COR in 2012 for having President Obama's autobiography in my room. He was at that point the sitting president for the past 3 years. He was my future boss, my commander in chief, why wouldn't I want to learn about his life experiences.

      The statistics you mention really do not prove anything. There have been cases in america where a black man and white man have committed the same exact crime yet the black man receives the harsher punishment.....those statistics are skewed, the same can be said for black teens versus white teens. You might not want to believe these things but it's true

      Lastly what was the purpose of highlighting single black mothers???? I do not understand how that contributed to the topics that were discuss

      Delete
  2. Thank you for writing this slice of positivity. It has been troublesome and dismaying to see the vitriol aimed at these ladies instead celebrating their success. I appreciate what you've done here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you're welcome, as a fellow old grad I feel some type of way seeing my fellow sister scrutinized, just because they chose to celebrate their blackness

      Delete
    2. Both of you should see it differently, as I remember correctly from my time in service the only color that mattered was red, blood red. For many of the platoons I deployed with 3 to Iraq, 1 to Afghanistan that was all that mattered. No one had to celebrate their blackness or whiteness. Encouraging behavior like that seems counter productive to eliminating segregation and becoming one team one fight.

      Delete
    3. Unknown; Well said, and true. In the Marine Corps, we were all one color, "green". Skin color was not acknowledged. The only racism in America is from those making color an issue, and it all stated with Obama.

      Delete
    4. This cadet will turn out to be a horrible officer. She is focused on herself and her own racist attitudes.

      Does anybody here think that she will treat all of the soldiers entrusted to her strictly according to their individual merits and totally ignore skin color?

      You go to West Point because you desire to serve your nation. And this service requires that your own political beliefs be put aside.

      Delete
    5. "Unkown" lets be real, I'm a soldier, but the fact that I'm a black soldier does not goes unnoticed. There is nothing wrong with celebrating your community, who you are, and where you come from. These ladies will be fabulous leaders, they already are at the academy and I can not wait for them to prove you and all the other negative nancys in america wrong ....

      Delete
    6. "Hello Master" you can not blame President Obama for the systematic racism that was in place in our country long before he was born

      Delete
  3. According to military regulations (AR 670-1 HANDBOOK)

    k.
    Wearing Army uniforms is prohibited in the following situations:
    (1) In connection with the furtherance of any political or commercial interests, or when engaged in off-duty civilian
    employment.
    (2) When participating in public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies, or public demonstrations, except
    as authorized by the first O–5 in the chain of command.
    (3) When attending any meeting or event that is a function of, or is sponsored by, an extremist organization

    THESE PEOPLE RISK THEIR FUTURES BY DOING SHIT LIKE THIS. IF THEY WANT TO MAKE A POLITICAL STATEMENT... THEN THEY NEED TO DO IT IN CIVILIAN CLOTHING. NOW, THEY MAY FACE MILITARY PUNISHMENT, FOR THEIR ACTIONS. THEY ARE NOT IN THE CIVILIAN WORLD, THEY ARE HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD OF CONDUCT THAN MOST PEOPLE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a crock of crap and open to interpretation. How is this connected to any furtherance of any political or commercial interests?

      Delete
    2. Damian, do you know they are making a political statement or are you assuming based upon your perception? The fact that you quoted a regulation to which the very tenets you list do not apply show you don't know what you are talking about. They are on post, in a Cadet common area, not out in the community, at a rally being interviewed or anything else listed. So other than their fist being up, what other evidence do you have? There are no signs showing a political agenda or affiliation. There is no audio of anything being said. So other than people outside of the group making claims about why they think they are posing, what do you have? You are assuming and when you assume . . . Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? I guess that only applies when . . .

      Delete
    3. They simply wanted a picture of themselves together. A group of friends that were there for each other through thick and thin. Every year groups of men, who are close friends at WP, get group pictures. I don't see any hoopla about those pictures. Exhale butterfly, don't make this into something it isn't.

      Delete
    4. Under the UCMJ you are guilty until proven innocent.

      "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."

      What exactly is a lie? What is cheating? Working to mask evil people are doing is Evil. We have an issue here where a group of women are apparently racist, and attached to a political group that is controversial. Just bring up Malcolm X into this article was a bad move.

      How the author of this article perceives these young women, and the intent or motivation behind the article, just possibly put all those cadets into hot water.

      This US Military is not your local University where you can protest. Using the Military Uniform for politics is a no-go.

      Delete
    5. There have been black leaders in the US Army for a long time. It has been working out.

      The NAACP is a racist organization. How much money have they made since Obama took office and started inflaming racial tensions? The NAACP is a socialist institution. They worked with the Black Church during Civil Rights, but their basis, arguments, and agenda is inherently racist. It is an outdated institution that needs to go away.

      Watch yourself, and choose your words carefully. There are powerful people who know God watching.

      Delete
    6. That 'Black Power' fist is itself proof that she is a racist and promotes a racist agenda.

      People like her dishonor the uniform and the example set by all of the officers who put their duty above any political opinion.

      Delete
  4. 1) as future officers in the US military, they are held to a higher standard than anyone else. You put aside you and become we. Celebrate your blackness all you want, but you NEVER make a political statement in uniform as a representative of the US Army

    2) in no way shape or form can the raised fist be seen as anything other than a political statement. Justify it anyway you want to make yourself feel good but facts are facts.

    3) as a black woman who served in the Marine Corps I am seriously disappointed in this picture. Like we don't have enough things to hear criticism about. You have to go and do one more thing without thinking of the consequences

    ReplyDelete
  5. 1) as future officers in the US military, they are held to a higher standard than anyone else. You put aside you and become we. Celebrate your blackness all you want, but you NEVER make a political statement in uniform as a representative of the US Army

    2) in no way shape or form can the raised fist be seen as anything other than a political statement. Justify it anyway you want to make yourself feel good but facts are facts.

    3) as a black woman who served in the Marine Corps I am seriously disappointed in this picture. Like we don't have enough things to hear criticism about. You have to go and do one more thing without thinking of the consequences

    ReplyDelete
  6. What your article does not address when it comes to violating the DOD directive 1344.10 is something many civilians might not understand, but those in the military know all to well. If doesn't matter what message the cadets are trying to send. Their intent does not factor into what message can/may be perceived by their actions. In other words, you have no say in how someone else interprets your actions/behavior.

    For instance, one SSgt of my unit told an off color joke to a group of people he worked with while off duty and out of uniform. Everyone that he worked with thought the off color joke was funny, but a civilian husband of one enlisted female decided he was offended on his wife's behalf. Against his wife's wishes, he reported the SSgt who was then written up.

    When you are in the military or government service, your intent does not matter when someone else perceives your words/actions as offensive, or as a statement, or in any reasonable capacity that can be construed from indirect reception. You don't have to be involved in the situation, you can be someone walking down the hall and completely unrelated.

    You are reaching if you honestly expect anyone to believe that these women were intentionally raising their fists "to the Mesopotamian East semitic goddess Ishtar." They made a statement in uniform. Regardless of what the statement was, it is fully legitimate for a someone to assume it was in relation to the Black Panthers. Ignoring their behavior allows people to think that the military also supports and endorses the Black Panthers...which, like any other political movement, it doesn't.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You are right on many levels. What is the context of the picture? I graduated from USMA in 1982. I have seen a lifetime of groups taking pictures out of context. The most infamous was when we were at summer camp. A bunch of cadets were wearing sheets and playing like ghosts and someone took a picture. The NY Times ran it as KKK at West Point. They never retracted it even when someone pointed out that one of the hands sticking out under a sheet was obviously not white. There is a brother(sister)hood at West Point that that is hard to describe. Any additional ties that bind you to one another such as being a minority bind you more. It is traditional for Seniors to have group pictures taken. Were they all on a sports team together? A clenched fist can be used to signify unity for many things. Those pictures mean these are our friends and we want our picture taken together. I doubt if it was political, but they need to be careful because perception can be truth. In the military, that is true also and they are now embarking on a military career. I agree that it is not right but if you don't think perception can be truth, ask the NY Times.

    ReplyDelete
  8. One white person, who knows nothing, writes a blog post calling a picture a Black Lives Matters pose (Black Lives Matters has no trademarked poses) and a number of other folk jump on the bandwagon. WHY? The blogger is no expert on Black Lives Matter or what these young women have in their hearts. There were dozens of these type pictures taken of all White Males, all White females, all Asians, all sports teams and all certain religious groups taken. Are we going to look through all of those and see if I as Black woman feel offended about those? This is much ado about nothing. We have real issues in this country but folks want to get side tracked with foolishness. This is about a group of friends that took a picture together for memories in a uniform that is not an official USA uniform. ----- This is worse than the people who though then candidate Senator Obama did a "terrorist" fist bump with his wife on stage. People had been doing fist bumps for years and now everyone does them. ----Stop seeing everything Black people do in a group as negative or a threat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said if you are an imp.
      Poor ole blacks, You have it so bad.....whitey will get sick of this very soon.

      Delete
  9. Because Chandra, this picture is relative to today, and today girls of other ethnic backgrounds who also graduated in the class we left out, left out because they were NOT black. This is not what West Point or any military branch stands for. The fact that they left out other races blatantly and that had the situation been reversed and white women took that picture holding up a confederate flag, there would be an uproar on a national if not global level. There are double standards today being validated by our past. Be very proud of who you are, acknowledge that there are still douchebags in the world who are bigots and racists on all sides, but don't become part of the problem!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Black Nationalism.

    Nationalism - A common heritage, culture, language, religion, and so on.

    What exactly is a Black Nationalist or a Black Nation? Given there is a Black Nation, then there is a Non-Black Nation. Good job black nationalists. You helped ghettoize black people.

    Tell me some more about Racist Malcolm X and how much he influences your thoughts and beliefs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Evil - Some men know of God. They would rather believe there are many gods, and/or they try to be their own god. God is Holy and Separate from sin. Men who stray are not God, and they are not holy. They are Evil.

      Love and Faith are both patient and kind. Satan is a liar and he plays into people's passions. God's way for civil rights may have been more of a Booker T approach.

      I would say that WEB Dubios is in Hell. Did he do some good things? Many people believe so. That doesn't change his relationship with God, and what he believed. If Evil were easy to see than it could not flourish?

      God's way is a line, and you have to walk the line. Straying off either side of the line may bring someone into wickedness and filth.

      Delete
    2. God is a Judge. He is King of Kings. I King was often the highest official in the Judiciary, and people came to him to settle disputes.

      As a Judge, God has to punish the wicked and Evil God is holy and separate from sin. Sin does not do well in his presence.

      Your lack of belief in Hell or God does not matter. It is inconsequential as something to hide behind. God is real. Even Satan believes in God, and knows He is real.

      https://www.reddit.com/r/philosophy/comments/47lm0i/the_almost_eternal_war_proving_the_existence_of/

      Delete
  11. They're a disgrace to the USMA and a disgrace to the uniform they clearly don't deserve to wear.

    ReplyDelete
  12. As ever...., typical pathetic negro racist apologist diatribe................


    These unqualified yet allowed entrance to the USMA need to be thrown out, period.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you know they are unqualified, do you know their academic, military or physical grades.... ??? don't make assumption

      Delete
  13. "Many people outside the black community continuously misinterpret the symbolism behind the raised fist and consistently and almost always tie it back to the Black Panther movement. The raised fist can be traced back hundreds of years to the Mesopotamian East semitic goddess Ishtar during ancient Assyria which symbolized resistant in the face of violence. Additionally numerous organization have used the symbol to include feminist movements and the industrial workers of the world. "

    And the swastika dates back much further. Because of the swastika's most recent adoption and use, it is not really appropriate to carry on with this symbol. Its meaning has been re-appropriated as symbol of hate.
    The raised fist gesture was similarly adopted by a black supremacist group, the black panthers.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "Many people outside the black community continuously misinterpret the symbolism behind the raised fist and consistently and almost always tie it back to the Black Panther movement. The raised fist can be traced back hundreds of years to the Mesopotamian East semitic goddess Ishtar during ancient Assyria which symbolized resistant in the face of violence. Additionally numerous organization have used the symbol to include feminist movements and the industrial workers of the world. "

    And the swastika dates back much further. Because of the swastika's most recent adoption and use, it is not really appropriate to carry on with this symbol. Its meaning has been re-appropriated as symbol of hate.
    The raised fist gesture was similarly adopted by a black supremacist group, the black panthers.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Good thing I will never have to serve under them. They can stick that proud, raised fist where the sun don't shine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess it's your lost, missing out on GREATNESS

      Delete
  16. Here is a picture America should be reposting, when talking about about West Point women of color (Emily Perez, former Cadet Command Sergeant Major, KIA Iraq, 23 years old, 2LT). Grip hands, Ladies!

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/69/Emily_Perez.jpg/220px-Emily_Perez.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We definitely pay tribute to Emily Perez every year... may she rest in peace...

      Delete
  17. Poor judgement being displayed by these cadets. They may be too young to remember the 60's, but most of America is not. Forget about what a raised fist represented 3,000 years ago. These days it represents Black Power. These cadets were trained that an open hand, presented in the Middle Ages, signified to approaching soldier (Knight) that they held no weapon, and intended to pass in peace. The clenched fist represents the opposite of that. The Army is one color - Green, and has had probably THE most effective equal opportunity program in the world. Don't make it something it's not. Obama and his administration has moved race relations backward. He is also not a friend of the military. Military personnel are expected to present a politically neutral persona. Hanging Obama's picture on your dorm wall at Tuskegee U is one thing, but given his overt dislike for the military it is poor judgement to hang his pic on your wall at the USMA. His picture is all over military installations as the commander in chief. Race relations will be an issue in the foreseeable future. Obama had to prove he was "black enough", and in doing so has riled the majority of the population. The pendulum now swings in the complete opposite direction with Donald Trump.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I doubt Malcom X would view attending West Point as a symbol of black nationalism. That said, there is nothing wrong with being proud of achievement, but this is just the start. Achievement takes years and effort to accomplish. And being successful, showing you have what it takes and then using the prestige and good will that comes with earned accomplishment can be used to promote a successful lifestyle of accomplishment to others. But you have to earn it and then live it to become a leader inspiring others to follow. This goes in all aspects of life, not just the military. I think to many people treat success and leadership as an "instagram moment" as opposed to a lifetime of service, leadership and setting the standard.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow...I have to say the original blog has really made me think and do my own research into quite a bit of American history (I can't say black history or white history, because..well...I'm a genealogist and I believe history belongs to everyone). I actually know quite a bit about the civil rights movement because my parents both experienced, just on different sides of the country. Mom in New Mexico, dad in Arkansas. Little Rock highschool is still talked about. Anyway, the point is this. You have every right to celebrate your heritage. All 16 of those women should be proud of who they are, where they come from, etc. They accomplished a lifetime achievement. Black lives do matter, just like every other race. Now, I wasn't in the military (first generation since America was ruled by England to not serve) but many other members of my family and my fiance have and do serve. The military is, in and of itself, uniform. You can be whoever you want, within reason, outside of your uniform. However, the moment you put that uniform on, you are a part of something bigger then individual race. You are a part of over 200 years of tradition. There is no room for race, or politics above your orders. And yes, I imagine you did have problems bonding with your team if everything in the forefront of your mind is concerned with your race instead of being a part of a team. And yes, the modern interpretation of a raised clenched fist is the black panther movement. But no, that isn't correct anymore either. No its black lives matter. And they do. Because all lives matter, not only black lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You had me going in the beginning, the Black Lives Matter movement was not established to say other lives don't matter but instead was created to bring awareness to the black lives that were being LOST and IGNORED...and I agree.. BLACK HISTORY is American HISTORY

      Delete
  20. For what it's worth, I thought it was a wonderful photo.
    The women made it through four years of that were very
    demanding and challenging for any person, but for a person
    of color in a place like West Point it requires a 'mental
    toughness' (I've always felt that 'mental toughness' helped
    me survive Vietnam as a grunt Marine).

    One thing that struck me in reading different accounts by women who made it through West Point was that simple things like three or four Black women sharing a meal at the same table on Sundays was cause for someone to ask them what was going on? I'm
    white, but it reminded me of my time in the Marines when more than two Black marines walking or talking together would make Lifers or some brass view it as a conspiracy.

    I chuckled at the woman's account because I knew that wherever and whenever she looked around her she would see groups
    of white cadets walking or chatting together and no one would go up to them and ask "What's going on here?" Or, "how about if you
    don't all sit together; we don't want anyone thinking it's a Klan meeting."

    About the Black Panthers, they were a good organization. They provided free medical clinics, health and counselling programs, youth training. Visiting nurses program, assistance for seniors, free food program, clothing, drug alcohol awareness program. The Federal Government got the idea for the 'School Breakfast Program' from the Black Panther Party's 'Free Breakfast for School Children Program.'

    About the by a person who said "In the Marine Corps, we were all one color, "green". Skin color was not acknowledged." That is pure bunk. The Marine Corps was the last branch of the armed forces to integrate. Being in the Marines was the first time that I ran into such widespread and open racism! Why do you think some 'Fraggings' happened in Vietnam.

    As for ArmyMD2019 talking about a 'subsidized bubble of ignorance.' Racism is built upon ignorance and hate. People aren't born with racism in them; it's taught by their parents, peers, and many others. People with racism within them exist in a 'bubble of ignorance!'

    Finally, Lela Victoria, thank you for your article; it's educational and informative, and a breath of fresh air to read.
    Peace
    Paul Meuse





    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul,

      Thanks for breaking down the truth for those who refuse to really see it. I love that you were so in the know and you actually understand the difficulties of being a double minority at a service academy. Thanks for highlighting what the Black Panthers really stood for


      Shalela

      Delete
    2. Hello Shalela,

      I always have to respond when I see vile bigotry and racism. Growing up outside of Boston I'd ask my mother about events I saw on TV like Little Rock 1957, the lunch counter sit-ins (1960ish)or Selma. She grew up in Irish South Boston; her parents were born in Ireland. She always told me that the hatred I was seeing was wrong, and we were all God's children.

      As a boy 8-10 (1958-60)living in a housing project
      I came into the house for a drink of water on my way to j to play football with my friends across the street. My father was playing chess with a black man, Mr. Fields.

      I asked what they were doing, and after he said he said and introduced us to each other, I went out to play. When I joined my friends some asked me who was in my house, and they were curious about what was going on. They had seen Mr. Fields; I hadn't.

      I said my dad and his friend from work (a leather mill; both were WW II vets) were playing chess. It surprised the older boys, and my friend and neighbor Kevin, from the only black family in the project(he lived in our quad). But, to show you where my head was at that time I was wondering if Mr. Fields knew that my dad was a bad loser:-

      A for the so-called historian-with a blind spot about racism and its historical roots in America I suggest reading 'The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South' by Kenneth M. Stampp, as a start. Also 'Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent' by Eduardo Galeano (I'm reading it at the moment; the first time in 40 years). Galeano has a stunning amount about slavery, the slave trade and how the foundations of modern capitalism and wealth of Europe and America was financed by slavery.

      Also try 'Black Like Me' journalist John Howard Griffin.

      I think Historian was slick, saving the bile after buttering up the reader. As for saying "if everything in the forefront of your mind is concerned with your race." A person's colour is evident and inescapable, but what can change is a person's attitude; I'm talking about a person's bigoted and racist beliefs and attitude. Those can change.

      And while it's true that all lives matter the po lice aren't running around on a killing spree against white people in America, just people of colour, mainly black, hispanic and Native American.

      Shalela, as for my attitudes, besides my parents, I give the benefit to the many people of colour that I met along the road in life, whether at work, friends (particularly Jimmy in Vietnam Veterans Against the War), and the professors I was blessed to meet, especially Chris Nteta (RIP).

      But, I naturally felt anger at racism, and knew that some of my friends who had like feelings were very nice people except for that one area, and it's like a cancer on the soul. Psst: I had the Panthers book 'The Story of the Black Panther Party:(AllPwer to the People) for almost three decades. I lost it moving and miss it!

      Peace to you
      Paul Meuse

      Delete
  21. Shalela,
    Thanks for the kind words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your in depth reply as well, I will be sure to read the books that you suggested to me. I'm excited for what I will learn and how I will grow and gain more knowledge from reading them. I hope you're having a blessed 2016.

      Delete
    2. Hello Shalela,
      I learned more from you and your post. I have to be honest. When scrolling down after reading your post I seem to get stuck at the photo of the Black Panther women;-

      But, on a serious note, I drank and more for most of my first two years after Vietnam. It was trying to numb or erase what I saw and experienced in Vietnam, and much on a jungle ridge line.

      But, then I went to college, and took a number of African and African American history courses. Like war it opened my eyes wider. One book I read in one of Chris Nteta's class I'd recommend. It's 'Ancient African Kingdoms: A Fascinating Study of the Great Black Civilizations of Africa' By Margaret Shinnie.

      Long before people in Europe were barely coming out of caves there were African civilizations that were highly developed. Like the great civilizations of the Maya civilization that reached great heights and then was gone. The Mayas disappeared suddenly.

      The Dogon tribe of Mali, West Africa claim via oral tradition that they came from the star system Sirius.
      I wish you the same. A blessed 2016. Keep your head up. Time will pass there.
      Peace
      Paul

      Delete
    3. Hello Shalela,
      I learned more from you and your post. I have to be honest. When scrolling down after reading your post I seem to get stuck at the photo of the Black Panther women;-

      But, on a serious note, I drank and more for most of my first two years after Vietnam. It was trying to numb or erase what I saw and experienced in Vietnam, and much on a jungle ridge line.

      But, then I went to college, and took a number of African and African American history courses. Like war it opened my eyes wider. One book I read in one of Chris Nteta's class I'd recommend. It's 'Ancient African Kingdoms: A Fascinating Study of the Great Black Civilizations of Africa' By Margaret Shinnie.

      Long before people in Europe were barely coming out of caves there were African civilizations that were highly developed. Like the great civilizations of the Maya civilization that reached great heights and then was gone. The Mayas disappeared suddenly.

      The Dogon tribe of Mali, West Africa claim via oral tradition that they came from the star system Sirius.
      I wish you the same. A blessed 2016. Keep your head up. Time will pass there.
      Peace
      Paul

      Delete
  22. Inspiringggggg pooooosttt!!!!!!++++:))))) Greaaat takeawayyys!!!!! Thankkks for quieting the unnecessary noise by those who just don't get it and probably never will. Whatever color you are should be celebrated if you choose to do so and those who don't celebrate their color and heritage obviously hasn't endured enough struggle and oppression to understand why people who have been systematically oppressed, left out, and marginalized would take pride in doinggg sooooooo. More power, respect, and love to people who celebrate their difference by bonding in unity and pride with there singular oneness despite the obscurity they are tempted and routinely forced to choose but debunking the delusional comfort of complete annihilistic separation of ones unique identity while still celebrating pride in accomplishments and showing respect to there institution in way they deem appropriate and I am sure not to be taken as rebellious at the risk of throwing away all those years of sacrifice and daily conquering adversity.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Inspiringggggg pooooosttt!!!!!!++++:))))) Greaaat takeawayyys!!!!! Thankkks for quieting the unnecessary noise by those who just don't get it and probably never will. Whatever color you are should be celebrated if you choose to do so and those who don't celebrate their color and heritage obviously hasn't endured enough struggle and oppression to understand why people who have been systematically oppressed, left out, and marginalized would take pride in doinggg sooooooo. More power, respect, and love to people who celebrate their difference by bonding in unity and pride with there singular oneness despite the obscurity they are tempted and routinely forced to choose but debunking the delusional comfort of complete annihilistic separation of ones unique identity while still celebrating pride in accomplishments and showing respect to there institution in way they deem appropriate and I am sure not to be taken as rebellious at the risk of throwing away all those years of sacrifice and daily conquering adversity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kyle thanks for taking the time out to read my post . Sometimes it can be a bit frustrating trying to explain things to some folks who just don't see to GET IT and yes I agree with you, it is a beautiful thing when you are able to celebrate you own culture and embrace the community that you come from.

      Delete