When first hearing about the then 17-year-old Black male teenager being sentenced to 10 years in prison for a non-forced sexual encounter with a 15-year-old girl, my first reaction was that the girl must be White.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that there is no way that a Georgia court would give someone that kind of time for non-forced sex with a 15-year-old Black girl; but I was wrong, they did.
Don't get me wrong, I have a 15-year-old granddaughter and would be extremely angry at a 17-year-old male having non-forced sex with her. But it would be near criminal for me to push for a 10-year prison sentence for the teenager.
The lesson to be learned from this is that we Black folks had better wake up and smell the collard greens and come out of the delusional trance that too many of us have been operating under during the past 35-plus years. Old-schoolers had better warn young Black men that though they may have their interracial flings in major metropolitan areas with some degree of safety, they put their lives in jeopardy when they have these flings in small cities and towns, especially in the South. Meanwhile whatever is necessary must be done to get that now 20-year-old young man released from jail immediately.
Supporting Black Publishers
More than 25,000 librarians poured into Washington, D.C. for the annual convention of The American Library Association. It was enlightening to see several Black book publishers and one Black distributor displaying their books in the huge Exhibit Hall of the D.C. Convention Center. These included Brand Nu Words (www.brandnuwords.com), Sights Productions (firstname.lastname@example.org), Solar Publishing LLC (www.solarpub.com), Africa World Press (www.africaworldpressbooks.com), Books Subscribers (email@example.com) and Third World Press (http://thirdworldpressinc.com).
The latter is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Their books cover a wide variety of subjects of importance and interest. They need our support. Don't be like the NAACP, which, according to columnist James Clingman, contracted a non-Black publisher to manage the Authors' Pavilion at its 2007 Conference in Detroit. When asked why, says Clingman, an NAACP representative "responded with an equally outrageous excuse that they were not aware of Black bookstores, distributors or publishers in Detroit …" No wonder that organization is having a serious relevancy problem.
The Fallacy of Brown
Those of us coming out of the Malcolm X wing of the civil and human rights movements of the 1960s always had a problem with the premise of Brown v. Board of Education that all-Black schools are inherently inferior. We regard that as psychologically damaging. All-Black schools were/are inferior because of deliberate malign neglect by public officials and too much apathy from too many Black folks. We believe strongly that neighborhood schools, readily accessible to concerned parents, guardians and activists then and now can provide the quality education needed by our children if we are unified in making that happen. Think about it. What vested interest do believers in White supremacy have in educating Black children so they can successfully compete with their children? We are the only ones who have a vested interest in providing our children with a quality education. And we can do that if we are serious.
A. Peter Bailey was the former editor of Blacklash, the publication of Malcolm X's Afro-American Unity Organization