Desnee Flakes's Blog

That Noise You Hear Is Real Talk For Real People

Desnee Flakes

Desnee Flakes
Aiken, South Carolina, US
December 04
I am a recently employed activist who has been writing all my life about the issues that mean the most to me. My interests lie in politics, parity, race, and history. I believe that each of those things are interconnected and that only when we look straight at something do we actually see it. My politics are left of center, and I don't rely on any movement to define where my center is. My father taught us to measure others with the same yardstick you measure yourself.


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FEBRUARY 3, 2012 3:39PM

Know Your Place The Real Black History Lesson

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I just read a great post titled February Is For White Folks Too. This made me think about how open is Open Salon to that idea. So I looked at the home page to see if the editors found some literary gems written by Black people for this month. And I have to say it is overwhelmingly white with regards to what they had determined was great writing. 
Now I don't want people to just put Black writers up because they are Black. Nor do I want to see a month dedicated to Black posts. But, I would like to feel that for this month they could stretch themselves a little and put up posts that might make one think about any given issue from another perspective.
Because I suspect that much of what is considered good has to fall in line with what is considered right.  If one looks at political discourse in this country it really is driven by those who either write about it, or those who talk about it, or both. Even the leaders are driven by what this class has to say. Examining them further you find very little diversity of ideas among those on either side. On the Right there is a lack of compassion, what appears to be a love affair with ignorance, and the ability to take a fact and flip it on its head. 
If you examine the Left you find that the big tent is for everybody as long as they are marching behind the same drum major. Like myself, you could have worked with illegal immigrants and seen first hand how Americans are disappeared from a labor sector, but you must never ever speak of it.  If you do speak of it, you must sound like a Buddist chant repeating the universal Ohm, which represents harmony. You must on one hand embrace the xenophobia of couching the entire conversation around Hispanics, then condemn anyone else who notices that the majority of illegal immigrants are Hispanic.
You must with a straight face be able to say, "Whose gonna pick the lettuce!!!" then say to anyone who says, "We can" "Who wants to do stoop labor?" And make it seem like that is an egalitarian approach, a way to justify what can only be seen as a racist point of view.
When we speak of "comprehensive reform" in our immigration laws, the entire conversation is only about one ethnic group, how is that comprehensive? 
You can't examine the history of immigration in this country, even though there are plenty of books that address how immigration and whiteness are linked. Which brings me back to that post I was reading, Mimetalker was saying that this month is a good opportunity for white people to explore the history of blacks in America. I'm assuming the writer is a she, and she lovingly spoke of her son-in-law who is a black spoken word artist, who works all month educating people about that history.
Much of that history involves immigration and how it has had negative effects on black Americans. We have black groups like NAACP talking about the Dream Act to ensure that "children" up to the age of 35 who were brought here illegally are able to receive an education. I used to raise funds for this group, and I wonder if those 60 and 70 year old lifetime members are aware of how their membership dollars are being spent. I wonder if they even know that this group now states their mission is to help all people of color, not a bad mission I'll grant you. But when you have a black college admission rate of 41% and you think you're giving to a black organization this is not the issue you want to learn they are fighting for.
But where or where are you going to hear this when there is no adversarial black presence on the Left? There are black people who conflate what the Left is doing with the black condition, but they don't in any way challenge what their white counterparts have to say. They march behind that same drum major with glee, they address all kinds of social issues and they slip the word black in dutifully. What they don't do is talk about  how blacks are negatively impacted by Left wing ideas, because they want to get paid.  And they are well aware that in this new paradigm if they speak truth to power their work will be overlooked or ignored altogether.  The real lesson of Black History Month is know your place. 

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Welcome to OS. Your initial take on the community is pretty much right on. Your voice will be a welcome addition–I can tell from your reasoned comment back on Mimetaker's blog– and I'm looking forward to hearing more from a leftie activist seasoned black woman who won't define herself, even though I just did! ;-)
Greenheron you just elicited a great big belly laugh and that is always welcome. Thanks for the welcome I'll be checking you out because I think we will become fast friends.
Very thoughtful post. Racism must be countered the whole year and not just in February.
There is just no doubt about this. Fewer and fewer have more and more control and "accepted" opinion remains highly circumspect--despite the internet and all its potential. Now we are considered "bloggers" more with scorn than accepted since we are beholden to no more than the language we share. And I'm afraid they're moving in fast on us cause it sure is hell getting outa here.

Great to have you here.
Miguela and Ben so glad you each stopped by as you know Ben I think you are a fine writer and appreciate that you are reading my post as well. Miguela I've seen your responses on a couple of post I've read and now I will return the favor and read yours as well. I'm especially glad that you understood that I am addressing an issue not making a statement against a group of people. Peace
Thank you for this and the spot-on comments you expressed on my post. I like your second paragragh. It is hard to know why EP's are chosen, but it doesn't hurt to send the editors a message with this suggestion. And welcome!
You are very welcome Mimewalker your post was a great motivation for me. I loved it. And thank you for reading and commenting here as well.