I remember the period of time when Black males, regardless of their age, would frequently be addressed as a boy. If there was an occasion that you were stopped by the police or had a reason to enter a police station, and you were a Black male, you would be insulted by being addressed as Sambo, Slick, Buckwheat, Step in Fetchin, etc. If you were a Black female you would be disrespected by being addressed as Sapphire, Caldonia, Aunt Jemima, etc. I will always remember when “Mugsy” Moore was appointed police inspector at No. 2 Police Station on the Hill and his first order was that every person that entered that station was to be addressed as Mr. or Miss. Yes, it was the beginning of a new era in police relations.

A great many of us were raised with the understanding “that sticks and stones could break your bones, but names would never hurt us.” The overwhelming majority of us had great difficulty living with that saying, just as we had difficulty living with the statement, “turn the other cheek.”

In the year 1918, in a small village in South Africa, a Black baby boy was born. He was the son of an African chief and was named at birth, Rolihlahla, in translation it meant “troublemaker.” The chief should have been a prophet because the baby boy grew into a strong Black man who became the first Black president of South Africa and one of the most respected and powerful men in the world, the “troublemaker” grew into…Nelson Mandela.

On a personal level, when you are addressed as a 21-year-old male, does it automatically mean you are a man? A male can be a father, but it takes a man to be a daddy.

There are males and females who expect to be addressed as women and men of God, but in fact are preachers, and there is a difference.

Tragically, there are too many Blacks, who not only run for public office, and get elected, who describe themselves as elected Black officials—but in reality, they’re colored politicians who serve the political party that they represent.

An unbelievable number of persons who refer to themselves as Christians, but in reality the lifestyle they live would indicate many are just churchgoers.

It is amazing how frequently Blacks focus on politicians whom they describe as liberals and conservatives and upon being questioned about who are these liberals and conservatives you constantly talk about. They generally tell me that all Republicans are conservatives and all Democrats are liberals. In order to not fall out with them I generally ask them a few questions, which they never answer, and I just leave. A perfect example of the kind of question I generally ask is, “How long has the City of Pittsburgh been controlled by the same political party? Is it not a political party of liberals?”

It is an established fact that Black voters in Allegheny County since 1936 have been the most loyal bloc of voters in the party of liberals, but look around at unemployment, underemployment, incarceration rates, housing conditions, lack of affordable housing, and contracts for Blacks are almost non-existing.

(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)


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