Integration

“And if the word integration means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it.” – James Baldwin

This quote spoke volumes to my heart because it clarifies the dilemma that we face in our country today and it encourages us not only to make change where it is needed, but to accept each other for who we are. So many mistakes were made in the past that we continue to perpetuate today through hidden (not so hidden) emotional conflict. It’s very difficult, and pretty much impossible to fix any problem while you persist in creating more. If we choose to judge others for their shortcomings, it takes our focus off of ourselves and puts an even heavier burden on them. There is no love in that, just conflict and eventually the line that separates right from wrong becomes non existent. Change is needed and everyone plays a part in that transformation. By dealing with others in love – not only are we acting in our true nature, but we become a light that reveals what’s in the hearts of others; giving them an opportunity to be a part of that much needed change that transforms a divided nation into a whole one. External peace means nothing when we still have animosity under the surface. But when we can see the lives of others as nothing separate from our own lives, integration becomes not only possible but inevitable.

-Shareek Pittman

A Trick

“…it’s a trick… thinking its a right of passage for a black male, ain’t real n!##@ til you enter that jail…”

-Royce Da 5’9″, “Tricked”- The Allegory

That line hits home hard. As a black man who, as a child, knew nothing of racial conflict and black stereotypes, as I look back, I see my preteen childhood as a testament to that truth–we’ve seen prison as a right of passage for us.

It’s an unspoken tradition– a vile trick that has effected, to this day, the lives of many young black men and boys. When confronted with great adversity, children normally look to their heroes for guidance on how to handle life’s issues. But many black boys suffer from America’s increasing culture of fatherlessness. What is a little black boy to do then?

Due to the struggles of black men to provide for their families in the overtly racist America of the very recent past, they found themselves faced with a life threatening dilemma– make their own way with any means available to them, or suffer the sight of a family deprived. In a country that blatantly disapproved of them solely because of their appearance, black men expressed their anger with American society by disregarding the laws – the same laws, that legally ostracized them. Therefore, the black rebel became a symbol of heroism for black Americans across the country– strong black men who stared into the face of overwhelming odds and chose survival. This became the definition of a black man. But this is also where the trick began…

It’s not a secret – for a time, America was all but inhospitable to black people. Sadly but understandably, what it has meant to be black has become an embrace of anti-establishment ideology. Why? Well, we have to understand that every prominent black American hero, at the hands of white people, have been harassed, beaten, imprisoned, and/or killed! We think if we are bold like our heroes, who had to brave the violence and strife brought on by racism and the government leaders who either participated or enabled it, only then are we strong enough to be black men in this country.

If the world of American racism is symbolized as a battleground, then the prison system would be behind enemy lines. The jails became a place where survivors of the struggle were held. The same way we honor prisoners of war, we honor the ex-convict black man who survived the extent of white oppression.

As the world evolves, so too should the mindset and model of the black American male. But I fear that if there is always a going to be a battlefield (societal racism), there are always going to be fighters, and prisoners of war (black men behind bars).

This Black History Month, let’s take some time to reflect on how we can change this for future generations.

-Q. Patterson

HOW TO THINK CRITICALLY ABOUT CRITICAL RACE THEORY

by Lord Serious

Before you make the decision to accept Critical Race Theory as the lastest progressive tool to help Blacks achieve racial equality in America, let us exercise prudence and CRITICALLY THINK about the potentail pros and cons of Critical Race Theory. We do not have to accept this theory on face value. We should test this theory, challenge it, and force it to prove its accuracy. There are many acedemic and scientific theories from cosmology to social science which initially appeared to be accurate but upon closer examination they fell flat on their face after getting debunked and discarded like yesterday’s trash. For instance, Karl Marx held the theory that every capitalist nation would collapse and transition into a socialist society. But, this theory was proven wrong. Then there was the theory that giving criminal offenders lengthy mandatory sentences would lower the crime rate when actually it did the exact opposite; it has only acted as a catalyst for corporations to privative the prison industrial complex and lobby politicians for tougher crime policies. Then there’s the criminal justice theory that justice is blind and that we are all innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. But the history of American jurisprudence tells quite a different story. From the era of the Black codes and Jim Crow laws, to the era of mass incarceration due to racially biased laws like the disparity in the treatment drug offenders received for possessing/distributing powder cocaine – compared to the the sentences drug offenders received for possessing/distributing the same amount in crack cocaine, to the public policy of stop and frisk, which permitted law enforcement to racially profile “suspicious looking people” (meaning Black and Brown people). These laws and their enforcement all disproved these theories and reveal that historically Whites have weaponized the laws in this nation to target and control Blacks. Now that we all agree that just because a theory is receiving a lot of media attention, or it is being endorsed by experts or scholars in academia, this does not mean we should automatically agree. Remember, it was these same prestigious institutions of higher learning who supported all of the racist anthropologists and social experts in the 19th Century who theorized that Blacks were an inferior race to Whites. Therefore we must proceed with caution and THINK CRITICALLY about Critical Race Theory.

Next, let us analyze how this society has used race to advantage Whites and disadvantage Blacks. And while doing so, we must ask ourselves… since America has used race as a means to implement social control, does this mean we should write race off as being a purely a social construct? Since the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Berlin Conference, Whites have used race as the gatekeeper to determine who in the society is entitled to receive benefits and access to resources and who is not. Typically, in societies where Whites make up the majority, the policy has been to remain as exclusive as possible. Citizenship and naturalization is usually reserved for members of their own group. This is why early America adopted the “one drop rule”. Having one drop of Black blood in your genealogy made you a Negro in America who had no rights the White man was bound to respect. However, in areas where Whites are in the minority, yet the society is under White domination, these societies usually are far more inclusive. The trend has been whenever Whites are in the minority, they are more willing to allow fairer skinned others to pass as White. Asians, Arabs, Hispanics, and mulattoes, who are typically barred and discriminated against in majority White societies, will be classified as White or Colored when Whites are a minority in that society. A few examples of this can be found in South Africa, North Africa, Central America, and South America. This is clear and convincing evidence proving that the White race has historically used race classifications to establish White domination over any society, and it doesn’t matter if Whites make up the majority or the minority of the population. Whites have never failed to find a way to manipulate the way societies in Africa, North America, Central America, and South America determine race classifications to keep power in White hands. But using race as a tool to keep and maintain social control does not meet the scientific threshhold of proving racial classifications themselves have no biological basis.

In fact, there is an entire scientific discipline dedicated to the study of such matters and it’s called ANTHROPOLOGY. However, it’s true that during antebellum (slavery), most White anthropologists selectively interpreted the data to support their biased views on the inferiority of Blacks as a race. But does this mean we should dismiss this entire science and all of its findings as being more speculative than scientific?

Here are some undisputed facts we must consider before throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The science of anthropology has provided sufficient evidence to support the necessity of at least two racial classifications, if not three. There is a significant difference between the bone structure, bone density, and level of calcification of the pineal gland to justify acknowledging Black people and White people as two separate and distinctly different races of people. There is no evidence to support any claim that our biological differences rise to the level of requiring a separate species classification, as is the case when you compare the biological differences between our species Homo Sapien Sapiens to the Neantherthals who are now all extinct. I would also like to highlight that one contributing factor to the biological differences between Black people and White people is the fact that most White people have at least 3% of Neantherthal DNA found in their genetic make up, while Blacks have none.

For all of the above stated reasons we have enough evidence to conclude that the provision within Critical Race Theory that proposes race is merely a social construct having no biological basis is inaccurate. Therefore, the entire theory is false and it should be rejected and discarded.

However, I will now like for us to further dissect Critical Race Theory, because I’m of the opinion that it’s fundamentally important that we learn how to THINK CRITICALLY about things like Critical Race Theory. Historically, Blacks have indiscriminately accepted progressive policies, BELIEVING that these policies would perform just as advertised. We have taken your experts at their word BELIEVING that their latest social measures would finally deliver the long awaited promise of racial equality for Blacks in America. And as a result Blacks have historically found themselves victims of White subversion instead. Blacks were told that ending segregation would improve our quality of life and our children’s education. But the only thing integration did for Black people is it destroyed the Black community. Today, there are less Black home owners, less Black-owned business in our neighborhoods, and our children are still disproportionately receiving a substandard education. Blacks were also told by progressives that Affirmative Action would level the economic playing field. Instead, it has done the exact opposite. Affirmative Action has only fortified White privilege by granting White women the progress America promised to Black people. Furthermore, the unemployment rate for Blacks in this nation has typically remained around 14%.

So, the Black race in America must ask itself could Critical Race Theory be the latest Trojan Horse? Every progressive measure their experts promised would help with America’s race problem always benefitted the White race more than the Black race. Every progressive measure implemented to render support for Blacks who have been disadvantaged by the racism of Whites has always served the interest of Whites more than Blacks. This is why we must THINK CRITICALLY about Critical Race Theory. It is time for the Black race to learn how to use foresight so that we may predict how these so-called progressive measures could potentially harm Blacks more than help them. It is highly probable that though Critical Race Theory appears to be promoting what’s best for all of humanity, it is actually designed to impede the Black race’s ability to advance.

I’m sure there are some Blacks who saw the controversy surrounding Critical Race Theory and they thought to themselves: “Since racisist Whites are opposed to it and seem to hate the idea of Critical Race Theory being taught in schools, then I should be all for it because it’s teaching that racism is wrong.” But what these Blacks fail to realize is that as dangerous as overt racism is, covert racism can be just as dangerous. The White Liberal has to be a lot more cunning to conceal his racisist intent. So he designs these progressive measures and policies that are intended to incite and inflame Conservative Whites today so that he can disadvantage the unsuspecting Black race tomorrow.

Therefore when analyzing the potential long term ramifications of allowing Critical Race Theory to be taught in schools we need to look out for the following:

1. Black children once were encouraged by James Brown to “Say it loud – I’m Black and I’m proud!” But future generations will no longer understand the significance of how racial identity relates to their self identity, and as a result Blacks will be even less likely to successfully unite around their common racial group identity.

2.Black children who are taught to believe that race is a social construct having no biological basis will have no desire to learn Black history.

3. Critical Race Theory miseducates children to believe that it’s race and not White supremacy that is the social construct having no biological basis.

4. After a couple of generations of Blacks have been taught Critical Race Theory what is the likelihood that Black people will value our RACE’S unique experience enough to still hold White America accountable for the sins committed against their Black ancestors? Will Blacks still demand reparations? And by allowing Black children to be taught race doesn’t exist what grounds will future Blacks have to stand on when they need to be protected as a disadvantaged group?

5. What guarantees can these experts give us that none of these things will occur?

In conclusion, I hope that you find my take on Critical Race Theory educational and thought provoking. I even encourage you to fact check me, maybe you’ll believe Google if you don’t believe me. I know some of you are closed minded and you already had your minds made up. But my goal wasn’t to convince you of anything. I did not write this to tell anyone what they should think about Critical Race Theory, remember I wrote this to teach you HOW TO THINK CRITICALLY ABOUT CRITICAL RACE THEORY. Peace!

Lord Serious is a blogger, a podcaster, and the author of two books “Apotheosis Lord Serious Hakim Allah’s Habeas Corpus Appeal” and “The Powerless Pinky”. You can learn more about Lord Serious by visiting his website www.LordSeriousSpeaks.com.

Prompt: The Education of Critical Race Theory

There’s been quite a stir these past few years in the mainstream media about critical race theory. It’s extremely important for us, as incarcerated people, to understand it because it speaks to why the prison system is disproportionally black.

I posed the question: ‘What is critical race theory?’ to many of my colleagues. To my surprise, most of them were uncertain. Education Weekly defines critical race theory (CRT) as an academic concept that observes the perpetuation racial inequality. The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a new concept. It’s a scholastic perspective that’s over 40 years old.

Some suggest that the teaching of critical race theory is essential to the healing concerning racial conflict in America. Others say that the teaching of this history serves to maintain the divide in black and white relations in this country. Consider it a case of the ‘truth hurts’ vs. basking in blissful ignorance.

CRT views race as solely a social construction without any truth bearing in biological reality. That is to say, the CRT scholars acknowledge that there is no biological difference between races, and that the concept of races being fundamentally different is a complete fabrication. Though a construct, CRT acknowledges that the idea of race is significant and thus, guides race relations and interactions on cultural, social, and legal spectrums.

CRT suggests that this country systemically promotes a racial caste system, where minorities are relegated to the lower tiers of society.

If CRT has been around as long as 40 years ago, why is it just becoming popular now? Well, to anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the last decade or so, the recent events leading to what is now recognized as the ‘racial reckoning’ has brought awareness to many Americans about the unfair practices used to continuously oppress the black American population. In the view of CRT, the subjugation of black people has persisted way beyond their enslavement, and has been legally promoted and protected by law in America. The issue now — with the continuous validation of this theory — it has enough merit to guide the curriculums of K-12. Many state legislators (largely conservative Republicans) are rushing to ban the teachings of this theory at the grade school level.

I am of the opinion that, though the truth can be hard to bear, the truth sets you free. I believe that the teaching of critical race theory will be the start of setting this country free from its vile racial divide. Others believe that the teaching of CRT will lead to further the divide in this country. What do you think?

Prompt: Write a paragraph or more describing your opinion on CRT, and your opinion on whether or not it should be allowed to be taught in grade school. Additionally, if you can, trying answering some of the foundational questions of CRT to add more opinion to your piece.

*How do you think law protects racism and upholds racial hierarchies?
*How does law reproduce racial inequalities?
*How can law be used to dismantle race, racism, and racial inequalities?
*How do you think law constructs race?

— Peace and Love, Q

Slavery

We are slaves in the midst of freedom, waiting patiently and unconcernedly, indifferently, and stupidly, for masters to come and lay claim to us, trusting their generosity, whether or not they will own us and carry us into endless bondage.

Martin Delaney (1812-1885 United States)

My name is Antoinne Pitt I am from Portsmouth, Virginia. This profound statement can be related to today’s time because slavery still exists but is done more intelligently. The Constitution of the United States abolished slavery, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party has been duly convicted.

Prison warehousing is modern day slavery and the convicted are the subjects. A system has been put in place that is designed for people of the lower class to fail. Projects and section 8 housing were built to house individuals with a low income. In these environments, the lower class people become susceptible to the things that go on, because the things that we see and hear are planted in our subconscious mind and stored as sensory data. This is where the term ‘product of my environment’ takes rise. We begin to adapt to these environments and begin to engage in some of the activities in what we call a will to survive. Adapting to this survival-of-the-fittest mentality has lead to the mass incarceration of the olive people.

Prison is a billion dollar industry and is truly legalized slavery. A system was put in place and designed for us to fail, but that does not mean we have to fail. Self government relinquishes the power of those that govern. This legalized slavery can be combated by governing yourself – if not, you are consenting to be governed. This is done by living a righteous life, right thought, right action and adhering to the universal law of cause and effect that governs all events. A person who didn’t teach you right has no intentions of treating you right.

You are only as free as your thoughts. Stop waiting for your master to give you direction, but direct the course of your life by mastering yourself. Peace and love.

– Antoinne Pitt, From Portsmouth / LVCC

Progress

A few hundred year old monuments get taken down and we celebrate… yet the systems, the people and mindset that allowed those monuments to remain in place as a constant reminder of what this nation was built on and the oppressed position we were supposed to stay in; continue to teach our children, patrol our communities, sentence our youth, and block or pass legislation that directly effects US.

Remove the robes from a clansman and he’s still a clansman! I say keep the monuments and instead get rid of the systems and people that maintain what those monuments stand for… because we know that latter will not be done as long as we are distracted by the optics of the former.

– Sincere Born Allah, #1131459, Nottoway Correctional Center

Integration

The quote that I selected for this months assignment is from a past-prominent African man. Malcolm X. His quote reads: “We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society.”

In today’s society, I feel African people in this country are still faced with adversity on this exact quote as we speak. Prejudice, discrimination, and repression; African people are still faced with now in 2021 as if we were still in the 1960s. There are numerous examples of Malcolm Xs quote that exist to name to date to live in america as a African man/woman that continues to happen as if nothing has changed much from now as it was back then that we still see on the news and social media now.

-Kamau Lumumba #1025732, Norfolk, Va

Power

“The Black Man is oppressed because he has not developed the power to prevent his oppression.” -Amos Wilson

Usually Black History Month is a time to celebrate Black achievements and Black excellence, while we all spend this month sharing our knowledge about the greatness of the Black race. It is my opinion that the above quote perfectly sums up the experience of Blacks living in America. Despite our race’s numerous contributions to this society as a whole, Black people remain the most oppressed group in the United States. The purpose of Black History Month is not to give us a false sense of security. Black people cannot afford to rest on the laurels of our ancestors. None of their accomplishments have yet to liberate us from White supremacy. Therefore, the true purpose of Black History Month is to inspire new generations to surpass those who came before them. And as noteworthy as our individual achievements may be, our primary goal should be gaining the independence of our race from White domination.

In his book “Blueprint for Black Power”, Amos Wilson provides the blueprint needed to reverse engineer the structural racism within America, which was designed by White elite males, to keep Blacks permanently trapped in a subordinate position. In closing, I encourage you all to learn all that you can about the illustrious history of our race. But under no circumstances must we ever become content, because there is still so much work to be done.

Lord Serious is the author of “Apotheosis Lord Serious Hakim Allah’s Habeas Corpus Appeal” and the childrens book “The Powerless Pinky.” He is featured on the podcast “For The Culture,” which airs every Friday at 7pm EST. You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram @Lord Serious Speaks. To learn more about him visit his website www.LordSeriousSpeaks.com.

Criminal

To be a criminal is not soley a matter of self determination, no more than being homeless is. It is accompanied with a lack of social responsibility as well. Almost no one randomly wakes up and says “I just want to commit crimes for a living.” No.

Illegal acts are social dilemmas, mostly committed in states of distress, where individuals are seeking immediate relief from very present, very persistent problems. In this search, they make grave mistakes, sometimes harming others… inconsiderate of others, because of the apparent lack of consideration for them by others. The pressures and problems they face are less likely of their own making. Crime on a large scale is a societal problem that plagues the impoverished. A problem few of our leaders see fit to impute upon the victims or simply ignore.

Where the jurisdiction of social responsibility ends, the choice of an individual to select a destiny of their choosing must take precedence. The identity of a criminal must be shed, because a criminal is not what you are just because a crime is what you’ve committed. In opposition, society’s inclination to be “tough on crime” and continue to demonize those who (for the most part) are victims of society’s failures, does not allow for such realization. Truth is, society has had a great hand in trapping millions of people into the role of the “criminal.” Showing them that their lives are less and beyond redemption; that their existence does not amount above the mistakes they have made.

The abolishment of parole and the reluctance to restore it, along with the restriction of earned sentence credits disregards the practice of incentive as a means of enforcing ethical behavior. In fact, it enforces the idea that no matter your behavior, your lot in life is unchangeable, breeding despair and further instilling the persona of the criminal.

To be a criminal is not a crime, it is merely a product of an imperfect society, but to remain one is. To assume that this problem is definite is a grave injustice that stands to keep destroying countless lives and stagnating the evolution of society as a whole…

– Q . Patterson, Brilliance Behind Bars Creator, #1392272

Lessons

“Education is our passport to the future.”
-El Hajj Malik El Shabazz

Education isn’t just what we learn in a formal setting such as a classroom, in fact the lessons we actually hold onto the most and build off of are those we experience and or learn on our own, not those we are taught in a formal setting.

Human intellectual development depends on problem solving using what we learn from two sources; Nurture and Nature… Our future is determined by how well we are able to identify, extract, and use the lessons from each of those experiences. Our ancestors captors went to great lengths to keep them (and us) ignorant because they understood that ignorance breeds dependency.

No people solely dependant on another can ever be in control of their own future.

– Sincere Born Allah, #1131459, Nottoway Correctional Center