Journal Entry - Sunday, July 23, 2000

by E. Amado Williams

Two weekends ago I received bad news, news that no family member ever wants to hear. One of my "pocket" nephews ended up a victim of being on the receiving end of a gun barrel. Though my nephew, at age twenty-eight, has a habit of enduring at least one annual event that adds gray strands to family members' hair and wrinkles to foreheads, watching this cat fight for his ninth life does not help us rest at night.

My nephew and I are opposites and, no, we do not attract. Where I am a vault of lexicons and languages, he is a master of a poor vocabulary and corner dialect. My degrees and accolades diametrically go against his high school diploma that he felt was as far as he wanted to go in terms of education; to move forward, to him, is to sell out. Along the lines of being able to define "the establishment," he has the inside scoop; I am still trying to get a grasp on the cosmetics and dynamics of what and who this body of mania is.

I often hear great talk about "the establishment" and its position in terms of hindering the American Black community. Loosely used and conveniently inserted into topics of conversation related to the advancement of American Blacks in society, the label adds spice to a soup of accepting defeat before entering the ring to fight. The statement "nothing will fair you but a trial" is merely fancy lettering on toilet paper.

My nephew, and countless others who think just like him, equate the establishment to White America. A portrait of White men in country club attire sipping on mint juleps and sassafras tea, served up by Mr. Bojangles who has accepted the notion that he is nothing more than a servant, is presented with delight and rapture. The same perpetrators who decade after decade deny American Blacks the right to be men and women are held up as examples of roadblocks for our community. Yet, after Whites retreat to their cookie-cutter neighborhoods, garnished with freshly cut lawns and fancy cars, we take our anger and ignorance back to our respective communities and inflict pain on those who look just like us. Where is "the man" in all of this lunacy?

Some man who felt that it was necessary to hold back my nephew was the person who pumped him with bullets. The marksman, according to an eyewitness, was detailed as being a Black man. Now, I am confused. If the establishment is in place by nature of the White man to hold back the Black man, why was my nephew not gunned down by some pasty, blond hair, blue eyed soul, snow white passion without the hot comb? Why wasn't it some old, rich White man in a spotless Mercedez, complete with beige leather interior, pulling the trigger like a kid trying to shoot the balloon to win a stuffed animal too large to fit in the car on the way home? Why won't my sister's eyes stop projecting endless streams of tears because some Black man felt it was necessary to limit her son's progress in life? If the establishment is instituted to stop Black progress, and it is expected that Whites' sole purpose on this earth is to enforce impeding progress for Blacks, how can I account for a Black man doing something far worse to my nephew than any White man has ever done? Could the establishment simply be any sorry individual who refuses to allow Blacks to move forward? Lord knows we do an excellent job of cutting each other off at the pass without any intervention from "the man."

It has taken such an ugly event to hit so close to home for me to realize that I am sick and tired of sucking on a pacifier peppered with apathy and convenient excuses. The White man doesn't give us jobs, but we shoot and kill each other so that there is one less Black to even apply for a job. White folks don't want to live next to us, but we drive by each other's homes and decorate the front of the houses with bullet holes. Whites watch us like hawks when we enter "their" establishments, but we are quick to burn down our own businesses in unorganized protest and riot. It seems that for every evil we perform in our own fold, there is an equivalent pretext applied with respect to Whites erecting hurdles too high for us to clear. For me to say that I fear Whites less than I fear my own people sickens me, but I would be lying to myself if I felt otherwise.

Who is the establishment? Give me some characteristics, colors, economic and social attributes. Is the establishment a physical entity or is it a pathetic excuse, a reason to simply not try? What news should I give my nephew? What words of encouragement should I deliver to my sister, my other siblings, nieces, and nephews? How can a supposed strong army of Blacks combat unity tampering if one third of the battalion has it's hands over its eyes, another third has its hands plugging its ears, and the remaining third has its hands firmly clasped over its mouth? Is the White man truly holding us back or have we stepped up to assuming that responsibility? I have no answers and I have no plausible assurances.

Journal Entry - Sunday, July 23, 2000 by E. Amado Williams

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