Passion = Truth? How Jeffrey James Francis Ircink Sees The World? I love when people are passionate about something. That surging of emotion is the one honest measure of what truth is. It's a truthful display of how a person really feels about something or someone at that particular moment. That passion IS truth.



About me...

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Greendale, Wisconsin, United States
Ex-producer of THE REALLY FUNNY HORNY GOAT INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, playwright, actor, singer, outdoorsman, blogger, amateur photog, observer & bitcher, Beach Boys groupie, Brett Favre fanatic, lover of everything Celtic and forever a member in the Tribe of HAIR. Spent most of my life in the Village of Waterford, a small town just outside of the Milwaukee suburbs. After 12 years in North Hollywood, Bel Air and Culver City, Cali, I moved back to Wisconsin in September 2009. No regrets - of moving to LA OR moving back to WI. Have traveled to Belfast, Ireland, Dayton (OH), Manhattan, Seattle, Cedar Rapids, New York, Miami and Sydney, Australia with my plays. Moved back into the Village of Greendale where I was born. Life is good.

Celtic!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Was it really worth THIS, Mr. Henry Louis Gates?

The lynching of Laura Nelson in Oklahoma on May 25, 1911. Her son was being lynched and she tried to protect him. So they were lynched together.

Was it really worth all THIS, Mr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.?

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research there. He was educated at Yale and the University of Cambridge, taught at Yale and Cornell and joined Harvard in 1991. He is an educated man. He is a black man. I feel awkward attempting to question something he said on the radio. Some feel a white man has no business commenting on the trials and tribulations of the black man. I have no beef with Mr. Gates or what he said generally - just one sentence. I heard him on NPR this past Wednesday, the day after Barack Obama won the presidential election.

By the way - the photograph above. I know...it hurts. The history of black people in our country includes some of the most horrific events in U.S. history. It pained me to put that picture on my website. I thought about it three or four times...'should i or shouldn't i?' - thinking perhaps that I could make my point without the photograph. But I can't. I apologize if I offend anyone. That is not my intention. I don't like looking at it either. But it directly addresses the contention I have with Mr. Gates' one statement. Click on READ MORE! to read an excerpt of Gates' statement, as well as my retort.

(WAIT! There's more...)

Gates stated, "How many of our ancestors have given their lives—how many millions of slaves toiled in the fields in endlessly thankless and mindless labor—before this generation could live to see a black person become president? "How long, Lord?" the spiritual goes; "not long!" is the resounding response. What would Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois say if they could know what our people had at long last achieved? What would Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman say? What would Dr. King himself say? Would they say that all those lost hours of brutalizing toil and labor leading to spent, half-fulfilled lives, all those humiliations that our ancestors had to suffer through each and every day, all those slights and rebuffs and recriminations, all those rapes and murders, lynchings and assassinations, all those Jim Crow laws and protest marches, those snarling dogs and bone-breaking water hoses, all of those beatings and all of those killings, all of those black collective dreams deferred—that the unbearable pain of all of those tragedies had, in the end, been assuaged at least somewhat through Barack Obama's election?

...His victory is not redemption for all of this suffering; rather, it is the symbolic culmination of the black freedom struggle, the grand achievement of a great, collective dream.

Would they (ancestors) say that surviving these horrors, hope against hope, was the price we had to pay to become truly free...that "great gettin' up morning" in 2008 when a black man—Barack Hussein Obama—was elected the first African-American president of the United States?

I think they would, resoundingly and with one voice proclaim, "Yes! Yes! And yes, again!" I believe they would tell us that it had been worth the price that we, collectively, have had to pay—the price of President-elect Obama's ticket."

See - this very last statement by Gates is the one I have a problem with. He should have stopped after paragraph #2.

According to the Tuskegee Institute figures, between the years 1882 and 1951, 4730 people were lynched in the United States - 73 percent were black. On the average, a black man, woman, or child was murdered nearly once a week, every week, between 1882 and 1930 by a hate-driven white mob. Unthinkable by today's standards. It should've been unthinkable by ANY DAY'S standards.

Barack Obama's presidential win is, without question, a monumental and historic event. As would be any issue that helps move forward the advancement of black people or other minority. Fine. But to say, in so many words, that it was worth the murders, beatings, and discrimination...I mean, is anything really worth all that? Given the choice, what do you think Laura Nelson's (pictured above) family would've done back then? Would they have preferred to have Laura and her son safe at home - alive, or would they have chosen to have a black man as President in 1911?

Yes - Mr. Gates, the sufferings of black people in our country's history and the discriminatory practices and brutality toward them has culminated, finally, to the first black man being elected President of the United States. For that reason, the black culture should be proud. Yes - blacks have struggled and this event certainly is light at the end of the tunnel. Yes - it has put an exclamation on the point that anyone can dream and dreams do come true. Dr. Martin Luther King's dream was a hope that "all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last!..."

But no - having a black president of these United States of America does not suddenly set the black man "free". Nor does it set free other minorities from their oppressors or the things they are oppressed by. What it gives black people is hope - as Dr. King stated - just like the hope I have and my family has. I commented on a Wall Street Journal article written by another black man which stated the Obama's promise of "change" during his election does not mean "change" for blacks. Any rational person would concur that a black president would not say, "for too many years we've been beaten and murdered and discriminated against and just plain treated like shit; black people everywhere will, from now on, have a free ride to make up for all the injustices we as a people have suffered".

Advancing that thought might be the equivalent of me saying my opportunities as a white man have lessened now that Barack Obama is President OR my opportunities would have been greater had John McCain been elected. Is that lady swinging from the tree limb above really worth it just to say "we now have a black man sitting in the White House?"

Gates is the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research there. Educated at Yale and Clare College of the University of Cambridge, he taught English literature and Afro-American studies at Yale and at Cornell before joining Harvard in 1991.

Gates co-edited Africana; The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience and is general editor of The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, co-editor of Transition magazine, a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of essays, reviews and profiles in other magazines, scholarly periodicals and newspapers. Gates' honors include the George Polk Award for Social Commentary and the Tikkun National Ethics Award. He has been a Mellon Fellow at Cambridge and the National Humanities Center, a Ford Foundation National Fellow and a MacArthur Prize Fellow. He is also a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

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