Monday, August 12, 2019

Fishers, Indiana - Public Library With Limited Books by Black Authors - Part 2

Approximately a year ago, I commented on the lack of  books related to African Americans and the experiences of African Americans in the United States.  Well not much has changed in a year.

I recently sought to find the book "Before The Mayflower" by Lerone Bennett Jr.  in the Fishers, Indiana library system.  My search request came back with the results that the book was not in the holdings of the Fishers, Indiana library system.  I queried several other books by black authors with "no results" being the result when I pressed "search".  This prompted me to write a letter to the head of the library as follows:

Hello, Over the past year I have periodically sought books either by African American authors or on topics related to African Americans. On several occasions the library obtained the materials for me via an inter library loan.  I'm thankful for those efforts. Recently I did several searches for the following materials:
1.  The book "Before the Mayflower" by  Lerone Bennett Jr. 2. The book "Blood in their Eyes" by Grif Stickley and 3.  Looked up a book on Ed Dwight the first candidate to become a black astronaut.
On each occasion the search turned up no results.  So I am concerned that the library's offerings are not as diverse as it could be under the published guidelines.  I understand the community does not have a large African American population, but the information available in the books are a source of knowledge to help educate other races and cultures regarding the experience of African American's in this country.
I did comparable searches under such topics as "Ku Klux Klan", "White nationalism" etc. and offerings immediately appeared.  I would like this matter brought to the attention of those responsible for procuring materials for the library.  If needed a resource from the African American community should be contacted to see what are the basic offerings the library lacks regarding the African American experience and interests.  The Board of Trustees appears to suffer from a lack of diversity to fully understand the need for diverse materials.
I also noticed a reference that a group called Friends of the Library also contributes  funds to library operations?
Thank You
Mr. Arnell Hill
The response I received said the following:
Dear Mr. Hill:

I appreciate that you have taken the time to provide this feedback.  It is very valuable.  I will share your concerns and suggestions with our Resource and Access Services staff who are tasked with developing our collections.  It is important to us that our collections are current and reflect the interests and needs of our patrons. 

Do I expect the collection of the library to change?  Nope.  Fishers, Indiana is definitely a majority European American based community.  Diversity is not a strong point of Fishers, Indiana.  Of course Fishers will occasionally feature a black music group at some activities and events.  Also an athlete is always welcomed for display.  That is the reality of some European Americans.  African American athletes and entertainers matter.  Ensuring books by African Americans exist in a library's collection, does not matter.  In terms of a welcoming environment, Fishers really doesn't have a lot to offer an African American family interested in African American culture.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

ICE immigration raids versus LAECE education raids

The United States government is sponsoring raids of households.  Not raids in foreign countries.  These are raids of homes and businesses within the United States.  The goal is to find and detain “immigrants” who will then be sent back to their country of origin.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security is the government organization tasked with the purging of these United States of  immigrants deemed as not having the right to be in this country.

If we have ICE, I think we also need to have LAECE (Locating Ancestors of Ethnic Cleansing and Enslavement).  The mission of LAECE would be to locate the descendants of people who committed atrocities against Native Americans and/or who enslaved people from Africa.  Once located those descendants would be informed of the actions of their ancestors.  Then they would have to appear at a public press conference and make comments regarding the actions of their ancestors. Lastly the descendants would be asked that knowing the truth what do they propose to do in the present to remove the stain of their ancestors?  As part of the process, the informing of the family would be video taped and shown as “news”.

There are many white, European American households in the United States.  Some of these households may be economically well off based on actions taken many years ago by their ancestors during the early years of the United States.  Do white, European American, families know that their ancestors may be responsible for stealing land formerly inhabited by Native Americans?  Some of their ancestors may have participated in the mistreatment, cheating, or slaughtering of Native Americans.  Do white, European American, families discuss at family reunions that they have ancestors who enslaved African American people?  Do these same families discuss how the lighter complexioned black people in the United States are based on the sexual assault/rape of African American women by possibly one or more of their ancestors?  Several of the white, European American, candidates for President have acknowledged that enslavement of African people was done by one or more of their ancestors.  Do these discussions regarding the truth happen at the family reunions of white/European American people?  If not why not?

Imagine agents of LAECE coming to the homes of white people in exclusive gated neighborhoods, the board rooms of corporations, construction sites populated by well paid white construction workers, at concerts with 20,000 plus people watching their favorite rock star, and the halls of the Congress and Senate of these United States of America.  Their purpose as agents of LAECE simply being to reveal and expose the past actions of your ancestors who enslaved people or participated in actions that forcefully removed Native Americans from their land.  The LAECE agents would provide the clear and brutal details on the actions of your ancestors.  The facts that you need to hear.  The facts you never wanted to know about.  The facts your ancestors never wanted discussed in the history lessons you were taught in school.

Just as today’s immigrants may be living in fear of a visit from agents of ICE, you also should be living in fear of a visit from agents of LAECE.  How would you feel once the story of your ancestors’ mistreatment of people is publicized and you become the target of jokes and your children bullied for being slave owners or ethnic cleansers?  Maybe that is just what this country needs.  More of the truth about the past so the racist mistakes of the present are no longer continued.  Maybe some of you already know the truth about your families past and just want the truth to remain buried?

How many millionaires have come forward and “confessed” that their ancestors enslaved people? How many owners of those downtown condominiums and million dollar homes in the suburbs have confessed that their wealth is partly due to an inheritance based on the enslavement of black people or theft of Native American lands?

Next time a white person starts a conversation with you, ask them if any of their ancestors enslaved people?  Ask them if any of their ancestors took land that was formerly possessed by Native Americans?  You are now an agent of LAECE.  Watch their facial reaction.  It’s likely the same reaction on the face of an immigrant being confronted by agents of ICE.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Land of the Free Since 1865!

It just occurred to me that the ending of the United States national anthem should be amended to "...and the land of the free, since 1865."  Plus all those references and advertisements also need correcting to add the clarifier "...since 1865".  Because that is when the United States institution of legalized slavery ended.  Of course all that has transpired in the 154 years since has not been land of the free activities for black and other people of color in this land.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Driving through the Storms When the Detour route does not work

When planning a return drive from a family reunion in Arkansas, I found myself constructing a journey analogous to real life situations.  I saw a weather report about bad storms north of our location.  I would be driving north and would likely encounter the storms on the route I planned to take.  In life we often know of bad situations and conditions that are not good for us and we have to decide whether to put ourselves into that situation or condition. 

In the instance of the storm north of us, I had the opportunity to try to avoid the weather by detouring to another route.  I would change direction to avoid the storms.  The same applies to our lives.  We often have to change direction in either our behaviors or thoughts to avoid situations that are against the Word of God or that may result in physically harm to us.

So I planned the detour route that I thought would keep us away from the storms.  In real life we make decisions to keep ourselves "out of trouble".  We try to avoid breaking religious and man made rules/laws.  During the course of my detour route, I periodically would check the weather ahead of us using the technology in the car I was driving.  It showed that even though I had adjusted my route, my route was still taking us too far north to avoid the storms.  As in real life, dangerous conditions and temptations just don't go away.  Some may even follow you!

Seeing that I would still be driving into the storm, I again adjusted our route.  The new route showed a better chance of avoiding the storm.  In real life we constantly make decisions and adjustments to avoid problems and situations.  Who likes to purposely move yourself into danger?

The new route was going well.  There was no rain or storms in sight.  Then I noticed that in checking the weather map in the car, a smaller storm was still headed our way and would cross our path.  All my planning and detours would not keep us totally out of the storms.  Just as in life we can try to avoid trouble, but trouble will often find us anyway.  Or a situation you purposely made a decision to avoid suddenly reappears in your life.

So the storm caught us.  I found myself just having to drive carefully through the storm.  I had to become more aware of my surroundings and prepare myself to make quick decisions.  Some drivers ahead of me were turning on the car's warning lights. The environment got stressful, but I found myself driving calmly knowing that nothing bad would happen to us.  I had done what I could to avoid the storm.  Now that I found us in the storm, I needed to calmly deal with the situation and drive us out of the storm.  The storm was temporary.  I didn't pull over and stop the car to wait the storm out.  I kept moving and purposely moved through the storm seeing clear skies ahead.

This is the same as in our daily lives.  We encounter problems and situations that present challenges to our religious beliefs.  We have to then make decisions on whether to drive through those challenges or to pull over to the side or the road and succumb to the power of the storm.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Abortion - State Laws Roll Back Man's Life or Death Decision

I have heard bits and pieces about two states in these United States of America, making a move to outlaw abortion except under one or two conditions.  That's the price I pay for not focusing on knowing every tidbit about human activity in this country and this world.

I must admit that I found the news refreshing.  Abortion is man's solution to being unable to control the sexual nature of ourselves.  We often engage in sex for pleasure and if birth control is not practiced the result is a life is conceived.  Unfortunately during some sexual acts conceiving a life is not what we had in mind.  The goal was sexual pleasure, not to conceive a son or daughter.  Then a decision has to be made on what about the coming child?  That decision often is made by the woman as it is within her body that the child is developing.

Sometime during the 1960s the "women's liberation" movement resulted in many women vocally expressing the view that they had a right to manage their bodies.  This "body management" included the right to terminate a pregnancy within their body.  This decision often was made in a situation where the father of the coming child did not want the child either and may have left the woman's life after the sex act.

Abortion was man's solution to what happens when through the act of sex for pleasure an unwanted child is conceived.  We have taken the gift of conception that God gave us and have created the "man" option where we can kill a life before it leaves the women's womb.

People do what  people want to do.  Just because we can.  I have yet to find a reference in the bible that God delegated to man the right to decide which life is allowed to live and which must die.  If you find that reference please send me the reference citation.  The root cause of unwanted pregnancies is with the actions of men and women.  Practicing birth control and understanding what may happen if you engage in sex (the conception of life) should be in the forefront.  We should not reduce the importance of God's gift by creating a process where we can abort the pregnancy because a human law says we can!

I'm hoping and praying that many other states over turn laws that make having an abortion a "right" of people.  It's time to return to the principles of life our Creator intended for us to follow.

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Era of TV Displaying Homosexual Relationships Continues

I made the mistake of joining my wife to watch a new CBS drama, titled "The Red Line".   The story line allegedly revolves around what happens when a white police man shoots and kills a black man n a store.  There are several sub plots.  One being the fact that the black man shot, was a gay man in a relationship with a white man.  Yes, the TV industry continues to push gay relationships out for us to view.  The scenes often have scenes where same sex partners are kissing or engaging in sexual acts that can be shown on TV.  This was the case in the "Red Line" on Sunday.  A scene of two male characters kissing was prominently displayed.

The past 5 years have featured a number of shows that felt obliged to show the sex life of the characters as an important feature to display visually.  The scenes are not necessary to the plot.  So why are they being shown?  Do producers and executives really believe that the mass public wants to see same sex relationships on TV with partners kissing and having sex?  Do they believe our youth need to see these images on TV shows? If it were up to me I would cancel our cable TV subscription and invest that money in a certificate of deposit and earn at least 2% interest per quarter.

I understand we are going through an entertainment phase where TV shows are going to have numerous scenes and plots involving homosexual characters.  I just choose not to watch them. People do what people want to do.  There are several places in the Bible where it specifically says that God did not intend for people to have homosexual relationships.  I know some people say they were born Gay, but many people are making a conscious decision to lead a gay lifestyle only because they can.  We do not need television to put the idea into the mind of people, especially our youth.  People are well equipped already to make bad decisions on our own.

Enough is enough. I told my wife I  was tired of seeing these gay lifestyle TV shows.  She can watch them by herself.  I pray Hollywood reverses this entertainment trend and gets us back to showing images that depict how God wanted us to behave.  Or is that too hard to do?

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother's Day from an African American Perspective

Mother's Day.  A day to honor mothers of the present.  It's also a time to remember and honor the mothers of the past.  For me it's especially a time to think about and reflect on those African American and African mothers of the past in my family.

The African mothers.  Imagine that first expression on their faces as they gave birth to their children.  Compare that expression to the facial expression when told that slave traders had taken that child, now much older away from Africa into enslavement.  They would never see that child again.

The early years of African American mothers in these United States of America was not a joyous time.  The years when black people were enslaved in the United States meant that the child of an enslaved black woman could and many times was taken away and sold into slavery far away from the mother.  That black mother never had the opportunity to watch that child develop.  That mother did not have time to nurture that child into adulthood.  She lost contact with that child, forever.

We should never forget what those mothers went through emotionally seeing their children snatched away from them.  So as you look your mother in the eye and give her a kiss and hug, sometime today think about those original African mothers, and African American mothers whose mother hood was ruined by the American institution of slavery.