Black Veterans: The Epitome of American Patriotism

I want to give a big thank you this Veterans Day to every Black man and woman that served in the United States military. It is ironic that patriotism and racism go together like baseball and hot dogs in the good old USA, as those who scream the loudest saying, “Support our troops!”, often care little about the domestic polices and de facto racism that keeps their “heroes” from living the very American dream that they are told to fight for and export to nations around the world.

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The Black soldier lined up to fight the British in 1775, even while they were being enslaved! To add insult to injury, many of the Black soldiers fought in the so-called Revolutionary War “in place of their masters, fighting for a freedom they would never see for themselves. (In many cases, their enlistment bonuses or even their pay went straight to their masters.)

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At the time of the Civil War, Fredrick Douglass argued that the Black soldier could help the North win the war, but Abraham Lincoln did not want armed Black slaves (and you were taught in school that he wanted to free the slaves right?). He later gave in, but imagine the horrific torture that awaited a Black Union soldier that was captured by the Confederate army? The Black soldier did not receive equal pay for his fighting, and heroes like Robert Smalls proved that the Black soldier really was as smart as the White soldier, which was a common stereotype of the time as well as today (e.g. “IQ tests”). These Black soldiers would soon be placed back into second-class citizenship in the U.S., as the Union and Confederate states sought reconciliation with one another, not the men and women that it had enslaved for over 250 years. Those same Black soldiers, like other formerly enslaved Black Americans, didn’t receive their ”40 acres and a mule”. That land was given back to the very people they had just fought against just years prior.

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Fast forward to WWI, right in the midst of the Nadir period for civil rights, as Black Americans were “free” but certainly not equal, so many Black men enlisted to fight, “the War Department had to stop accepting black volunteers because the quotas for African Americans were filled.” “African American men who owned their own farms and had families were often drafted before single white employees of large planters. Although comprising just ten percent of the entire United States population, blacks supplied thirteen percent of inductees.”  They returned to a nation who’s cities erupted with race riots that stole black wealth (Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921) and lynchings and sundown towns.

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By WWII, Black Americans still enlisted and desired to fight so-call fascism with pride. However, how embarrassing was it for the USA to be called out on its hypocrisy by none other than…Hitler. He noted that the USA’s treatment of the Negro set an example for how Germany must deal with “foreign Jews”. They returned home after WWII still subjected to Jim Crow segregation, more race riots, and once again, unequal pay, as 1.2 million soldiers were not able to take advantage of their GI Bill and be free to move into the newly formed suburbs which would soon create an even wider wealth gap through housing that remains firmly entrenched into the 21st century. The result, the Black soldier’s family could not benefit from sacrifice that he made for his country not just with housing, but because they were also unable to use the money for college tuitions or business loans. To add insult to atrocity, many were attacked by Whites as they were on their way home from the war.

 

How much changed by the Vietnam War for the Black soldier? I think you know the answer, as the 1960s are the one period of time most American’s did learn about in school as the “Civil Rights Era”, due to the assignation of Dr. Martin Luther King. Black Vietnam veterans, as after every other war, returned to segregated communities and “their place” in society. However, this time, the situation was in the process of changing. Some of these veterans returned home determined to now make this country live up to the promise it had been making to prior Black veterans for generations.

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How will we look at the time of service for those who served in Desert Storm or the so-called Iraqi War and years of fighting the “War on Terror”? Fifty years from now, will we look back and note their time of service at the time when Black men and women were being shot and killed by police officers and the officers continuously get found “not guilty”? Will we see that they served at a time when “White Extremists” in their own country, are considered more dangerous than the terrorist they were fighting in the Middle East?

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In my opinion, the Black veteran is the epitome of an American patriot. Perhaps they have never fought for what America actually was to them, but for what America always promised it would be to them and their offspring for their service.

For that, I sincerely say, thank you for your service.

Cool Pappa

Presentation Outline: The Evolution of Blackface

Lexi had the opportunity to present to her college class this week and decided to talk about the Evolution of Blackface. Perfect timing, as we had just watched Spike Lee’s Bamboozled a few weeks prior, but this was going to be a particularly “interesting” topic before a majority white classroom. 

She has allowed me to repost her presentation outline (so it does not read like an essay) here on our site. Actually, that is the whole point that I’m teaching her, it is HER work! We write so many papers and do so much research for teachers or our employers, but it is our work, and something in us that we should share for our own purposes and not the benefit of others. 

I must also say CONGRATULATIONS to my girl. In one month, she graduates with her Associate’s degree right after clocking the odometer over to her 18th birthday.  Since she’s is going to be an English guru, hopefully she can edit dad’s sloppy grammar here on the site (and get him to write more) as well. 

 

Topic: The Evolution of Blackface

Specific Purpose: To Inform my COM 206 class on the evaluation of blackface.

Central Idea: Everyone believes that blackface ended in the 1980’s, but there are still many examples of its presence online and in the news. From its racial beginning, controversial middle, and still foreseeable future.

INTRODUCTION

Attention-getter: Lisa R. Pruitt looked at her 1985 yearbook she edited when she was an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas. She was looking to see if any of the students appeared in blackface. After everything that has been starting to surface from other people’s college years, Pruitt believed she would find some photos depicting the same thing. After some searching, she was surprised to see that there weren’t any, but wouldn’t be surprised if she would have some.

Relevance to audience: The controversy about blackface has been spreading in the news lately, and this issue is one that is important to understand. Not only to judge future politicians and clothing, but to understand history as a whole.

Preview of speech: So, I will give a quick overview of how blackface came to be, what was happening with college students in the 80s, and how it’s being used in the 21st century.

(Let’s first start with the quick history.)

BODY

  1. The history of blackface is a very controversial and hidden history.
    1. According to Eric Lott from the book Love & Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class writes that the minstrel show is a, “transparently racial curiosity, a form of leisure that, in inventing and ridiculing the slow-witted but irrepressible ‘plantation darky’”.
      1. Eric Lott continues to say that this was a way of conveniently rationalizing the oppression of black people.
      2. Movies like The Birth of a Nation is an example of blackface. In which white people put on blackface and then made black people look savage and animal like.
    2. The use of blackface dates back to minstrel shows in the mid-19th century
      1. Minstrel shows were the biggest form of entertainment in America before TV shows and movies. These shows often depicted falsehoods about black people to make them seem idiotic and stupid.
    3. After the 1980’s, blackface started to lose its value and instead was being ridiculed. Attitudes started to change about how African Americans are being depicted and whether or not it was right.

(Now that we know some history, let’s jump to the 80s. Where blackface flared until it died, our so we thought.)

  1. For blackface, the 1980’s had many white college students taking part in the practice. This is referred to as the “Great College-Yearbook Reckoning”, stated by Zipporah Osei in “The ‘Great College-Yearbook Reckoning’: Scholars Say Blackface Images Aren’t Outliers”.
    1. Lisa Pruitt also said, “that back then, she and her white classmates weren’t sensitized to the overt racism of blackface”.
    2. This article continues to explain how politicians wore blackface to parties and events during their college years.
      1. Hafsa Quraishi for NPR writes, “both the (Virginia) governor and the attorney general admitted to instances of dressing in blackface for parties in the 1980s”.
      2. Zipporah Osei continues to say that, “Mark Herring, Virginia’s Democratic attorney general, admitted that he too had donned blackface in the 1980s”.

(Now after this time period of college rebellion, we enter the 21st century. This is when we start to see another rise of blackface, but in a different form.)

  • There are still images of blackface being created today in the 21st century. What’s to say that it will end any time soon.
    1. The NPR article says that, “Back in 2000, when comedian Jimmy Kimmel was the host of The Man Show, he had a recurring skit in which he wore blackface to impersonate former Utah Jazz basketball player Karl Malone”.
      1. In this skit, he would mock Malone’s speech and intelligence while wearing full-body blackface.
        1. Jimmy Fallon also wore black face while portraying comedian Chris Rock in an episode of Saturday Night Live in 2000.
      2. This was being talked about so much that Spike Lee, a famous black director, made a movie called Bamboozled that was released in 2000.
        1. This movie touched on the reality of what would happen if minstrel shows were brought back today in the form of a television show. Not only did it talk about blackface, but it also touched on how black people can sell each the out.
      3. The Italian brand Gucci just got ridiculed for selling a black turtle necked sweater that included a red-lined cut out for costumers’ mouth.
        1. Other brands that had similar racist moments include Burberry with a hoodie that had a noose around it, and H&M with its ad controversy of a black boy wear a shirt that said, “coolest monkey in the jungle”.

CONCLUSION

Summary Statement: To conclude, blackface is still very much alive and well. Even though we think that no one uses blackface anymore; brands still release clothing that are blatantly racist. Famous comedians today also have put on blackface, yet they seem to be surprisingly quite during this blackface controversy toward the Virginia governor.

Audience Response Statement: Staying on top of this situation is important to understand how your century thinks. Will you still feel the same way you did when you shopped at Gucci before the sweater outrage, or will you know feel disgusted to own their products?

WOW Statement: We can’t get to a world of no racism, it is virtually impossible. But things as blatant as Gucci’s sweater can be resolved with a little common sense and understanding of history.

The Top 10 Richest Countries in the World

This is a list of the top 10 richest countries in the world by GDP per capita.

10 – Saudi Arabia – $51,924 GDP per capita

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Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy. The country also possesses 18% of the world’s petroleum reserves and ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum.

 

9 – The United States – $54,630 GDP per capita

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While having the world’s largest economy and the third highest population with 325,735,473, it is surprising that the country can maintain a per capita GDP of $54,630. The reasons why are because of their automotive industry and their technological sector.

 

8 – Switzerland – $57,235 GDP per capita

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The reason that Switzerland is eighth on the list is because of the Swiss banking and financial institutions. Some of the wealthiest people and companies in the world own Swiss bank accounts. Switzerland’s most well-known cities (Zurich and Geneva) is ranked among the top ten highest living standard cities in the world and Swiss is also ranked first in best country.

 

7 – Norway – $64,856 GDP per capita

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With an economy driven by fishing and major oil and petroleum exploration, Norway is seventh on this list. Norway is also the eighth largest exporter of crude oil, 9th largest exporter of refined oil, and 3rd largest exporter of natural gas in the world.

 

6 – The United Arab Emirates – $67,674 GDP per capita

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With a population of about 9.4 million people and land area of about 32,278 sq. miles (which means it can easily fit inside New York State, which is 54,556 sq. miles). A third of the economy comes from oil revenues, while the other two-thirds are from the service sector and telecommunications.

 

5 – Brunei – $71,185 GDP per capita

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Located in Southeast Asia, Brunei is a small country with a wealthy economy. It is supported by exports of crude oil and natural gas. They also have a population of 434,448 people.

 

4 – Kuwait – $73,246 GDP per capita

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Kuwait is a small country. There population as of 2016 is 4.2 million, but only 1.3 million are Kuwaitis the other 2.9 million are expatriates. The highest-valued currency in the world is the Kuwaiti dinar. Kuwait also as 10% of the world’s oil reserves and the petroleum accounts for nearly half of the GDP and 95% of government income.

 

3 – Singapore – $82,763 GDP per capita

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Singapore is a tiny city-state with a population of 5,784,538. The reason Singapore is third on this list is because of it financial services sector and a chemical export industry. Singapore also has the second busiest port in the world, exporting $414 billion of goods in 2011 alone.

 

2 – Luxembourg – $97,662 GDP per capita

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Luxembourg is a small country in western Europe with a strong economy, held up by its financial sector, fiscal policies, and industrial and steel sector. Banking in Luxembourg is the largest sector of its economy with an asset base of over $1.24 trillion.

 

1 – Qatar – $140,649 GDP per capita

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Qatar is a small country located western Asia with a small population of 2,338,085. Qatar has an oil exploration industry where the petroleum industry accounts for 70% of its government revenue, 60% of its GDP and 85% of its export earnings. Because of the country’s wealth and economy, it has been chosen to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first Arab nation to do so.

I hope you liked this list. Some of you may have been surprised by this list and in the next post will be about how the countries got this way.

-BigHomie  age 12