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Jonathan D Richardson

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Jonathan D Richardson

Comparatively Speaking (Part 1)
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Tricky Waters
By Jonathan D Richardson   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, September 08, 2007
Posted: Tuesday, August 14, 2007

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The Difficulties of discussing racial matters openly.

Black Talk / White Listeners

There is a feeling of consternation in many Black Americans when discussing problem issues which have elements of being self inflicted, while in the presence of White Americans. The recent controversy involving Don Imus has propelled to the forefront, some of the degrading language used by some rappers to describe Black Women. Also being exposed is the misogynistic messages sent through some rap videos. These are problem issues that definitely need to be addressed by the black community. But why is it oftentimes so troubling for blacks to discuss these and other community issues in the company of whites?Please find (below) an excerpt, WARNING: Please Read If You Are Of European Descent, from a book entitled The Complicated Life Of The African-American Man(What’s on his mind)© 2006 Available at: or This excerpt (as well as other topics covered in this thought provoking book) will give the reader a better understanding and feel for the African-American perspective.

To Get Insight, Is To Get Information;

To Truly Be Informed, One Must Truly Listen;

If One Is Inclined To Listen, One Is Destined To Learn

The Complicated Life...

WARNINGpg. 163

As we move forward in this book, we will begin toexpound upon issues and situations that are taking placewithin the African-American community. Many times,African-Americans are reluctant to discuss African-Americanissues in the company of European-Americans. If wediscuss issues that take place among African-Americansin the presence of European-Americans there seems to bea sense among European-Americans that the root of theproblem is self-inflicted by the African-Americans withina given community. There is an attitude of absolvementfrom European-Americans who would like to believe thatsocietal racial differences have had nothing to do withthe present state of affairs within the African-Americancommunity.There seems to be a sense of relief among European-Americans when an African-American speaks about theills of the African-American community and places theblame squarely and solely on the shoulders of African-Americans. While we will be discussing issues that webelieve African-Americans need to take a prominent rolein helping to rectify, by no means are we absolving whitesociety from its role in helping to create an environmentin which these issues thrive and flourish.Most African-Americans believe in personal responsibility.In most discussions by White Americans (as wellas some Black Americans) the base or foundation of theirplatform seems to be personal responsibility. They say,“People need to be responsible for their actions.” We tendto agree that individuals need to take responsibility fortheir actions. It gets kind of hard, however, to take adviceor instruction on taking responsibility for one’s actionsfrom those who have not taken responsibility for theiractions (or inactions).A young girl lives with her mother and father.

Chapter 6 - WARNINGpg. 164

The Complicated Life...

Her uncle (her father’s brother) lives with his wife about threemiles away. The uncle has been molesting his niece forabout five years. The uncle’s wife has witnessed the molestations,but she covers up his actions by throwing awayor burning any incriminating evidence. A family friendtells the girl’s father of the molesting, but he refuses tobelieve that his brother, who otherwise has a pristine reputation,would molest his daughter. If the father would onlyinvestigate a little, he would find evidence showing thathis brother is guilty, but he would rather look away andact as if it is not possible that his brother did this. Themother believes her daughter’s revelation, but in an effortto keep her family together (which she thinks will be tornapart if this is exposed), she acts as if nothing has happenedand goes on with life as usual.The young lady grows up with the burden of thisweighing heavily on her. She commits sex-related crimes(molesting young boys) as an adult. Ultimately, she is responsiblefor her personal behavior as an adult, but whichone of these four previously mentioned adults can standin front of her and speak to her about accepting personalresponsibility for her actions? Her uncle? Her aunt? Her father? Her mother?Not all Americans have committed vicious race-relatedacts against African-Americans. European-Americansare quick to point out that not all White Americansbelieve and act as the Ku Klux Klan or the racially insensitiveAmericans of the past. While we acknowledge thatnot all White Americans are violent racists, we are concernedabout those who are (like the family of the molestinguncle) enablers. Like the wife of the molester, thereare those Americans who try to cover up the injusticesperpetrated towards people of color. Then there are those(like the girl’s father) who refuse to even acknowledge

pg. 165

the possibility of wrongdoing, denying it could ever havehappened. There are those also, who are like the motherwho, to keep appearances nice, will not even bring uppast and present injustices.Now, if an African-American commits a crime, whichone of these individual groups is justified in telling himabout personal responsibility? While we do believe thatany African-American man should be able to talk to anotherAfrican-American man about personal responsibility,we find that some of the conservative men of color donot really take into consideration the effects of racial injusticeson the psyche of the African-American man.Do you think it is a coincidence that most of thepeople who grow up to molest children were themselvesmolested as children? We are about to take you into theworld of the African-American community. You will bewitness to topics and issues that you might not otherwisebe privy to. Be aware, however, that although we will belooking towards self-examination by the African-American(concerning issues of his and her community), theeffects of the societal culture in America may have affectedeven their ability to see themselves as they should.The molested children hated being molested, so whywould they as adults molest children? Could the environmentin which they lived have affected them? In trying tocurb the effects of the molestations and to prevent themfrom acting in similar fashion, you would not simply say“What’s past is past” and “You are responsible for youractions,” expecting them to be all right. In the same vein,you cannot take issues facing the African-American communityand not take into consideration the effects of racismin America.Have you ever noticed how it is easier for a recoveringalcoholic (who is attending Alcoholics Anonymous

Chapter 6 - WARNING166

The Complicated Life...

meetings) to speak openly to, and receive counseling from,an individual who has had success in battling his (or her)own alcohol addiction? Likewise, a person who is tryingto kick any other habit will usually express and exposehimself more openly to a person who has traveled the sameroad he has. You should not find it odd then, that African-Americans would be more apt to speak openly to, andreceive criticism from, other African-Americans who atleast share the common ground of race.

In Addition

We witness African-American guests on television shows across this country debating and discussing topics and problems facing the African-American community. There are some (in discussing the Don Imus controversy) who would contend that rap artists who send misogynistic messages through their music and videos are directly or indirectly responsible for the “culture” in which Don Imus and others of his ilk feel comfortable in making statements like “Nappy headed ho’s”.Do middle aged white men generally listen to rap lyrics in an effort to find acceptable words to use in disparaging black people? They have not had any problems finding the perfect words to do so for the 300 plus years in American history before rap music was created.

Food For Thought: “There’s more to a movie than the one scene you were paid to appear in”

Jonathan Richardson


Web Site: Tricky Waters- Black Talk/ White Listeners

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