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Faith of A Mustard Seed

by Barbara Woods-Washington
Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

 “BLACK people in the United States differ from all other modern people owing to the unprecedented levels of unregulated and unrestrained violence directed at them. No other people have been taught systematically to hate themselves —psychic violence —reinforced by the powers of state and civic coercion —physical violence —for the primary purpose of controlling their minds and exploiting their labor for nearly four hundred years. The unique combination of American terrorism —Jim Crow and lynching —as well as American barbarism —slave trade and slave labor —bears witness to the distinctive American assault on black humanity. This vicious ideology and practice of white supremacy has left its indelible mark on all spheres of American life —from the prevailing crimes of Amerindian reservations to the discriminatory realities against Spanish speaking Latinos to racial stereotypes against Asians. Yet the fundamental litmus test for American democracy—its economy, government, criminal justice system, education, mass media, and culture—remains: how broad and intense are the arbitrary powers used and deployed against black people. In this sense, the problem of the twenty-first century remains the problem of the color line.”  Cornel West “Race Matters” 1993.

While working the 2010 Decennial Census I soon discovered that there were only Five categories of Race that the United States maintains. First on the list is White. The most recent United States Census officially recognized Seven; White, Black, Latino, Asian, Native American/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian; as well as people of two or more races.

I worked the area that Nashville has identified historically as ‘The Nations’; more so because most of the streets are named for States.  But for the purpose of this information discovery, in 2010 the Nations was undergoing a major shift in race.  What had been since my years as a student at Tennessee State University a very clear line of demarcation between the TSU community and the Nations became my first time, in 2010… entering.   My point here in the Census taking is that the vast majority of persons who I met were from South America.  More countries than I had ever been taught in any of my education curriculums.  But, I found that while many of the women would identify with Latino, most all the South American men identified themselves as White.

So I am now thinking of how the Majority American population is ONLY “White”?  What is “White Race” in America?  First is the ‘knowledge come’ that the US Census Bureau maintains an “International Database” where World populations and Americans who ‘self identify’ their Ancestry is recorded.  A press release at census.gov headlined “German-American Day: October 6, 2022” has first numbers found.  In table data format listing… 42,220,180 million German Americans; with this statement “German-Americans now make up the largest self-reported ancestry group, which is around 44.2 million.”  Separate… but Equal to —White in America.

The List continues:  31,825,171 million English Americans.  31,495,897 million Irish Americans.  15,947,138 Italian Americans.  8,237,026 million Polish Americans.  6,448,506 million French Americans.  5,244,788 million Scottish Americans.  Separate… but Equal to —White in America.  I noticed that very blantantly missing from this data is the Russian American population.  Made me go hummmmm? All ‘Separate… but Equal’ to —White in America.

Black Nation now has a very HATE relationship with Cornel West since his ‘lone wolf’ voice as it stood against the Administration of President Barack Obama.  Truth Proclaimed!  Prophetic Fire! Whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth; which Black Nation refuses to handle because, we “can’t handle the Truth”.  Dick Gregory put it right, “Black Folk need to stop falling in love with Politicians”.

I believe Dr. West to be one of the most ‘Woke Men’ in the history of America.  His “Race Matters” statement rings as loud as the Liberty Bell: “Yet the fundamental litmus test for American democracy—its economy, government, criminal justice system, education, mass media, and culture—remains: how broad and intense are the arbitrary powers used and deployed against black people. In this sense, the problem of the twenty-first century remains the problem of the color line.” 

By email: myfathersmansionpress@gmail.com

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