*(Via Huffington Post) – Since the 1960s, America has gone through a number of topical changes in its cultural makeup. Over the last 50 years we have seen everything from the election of the nation’s first Black President, to a Black woman named Oprah attaining the status of billionaire. Yet, we stand at a place where the anomaly does little to explain the mass reality of a Black America that has digressed by nearly every major indicator over that same period. Financial stability, incarceration rate, social structure, moral commitment, we have lost path and direction no matter the category you identify. To put this in context, according to DiversityInc.com
The wealth of Black households is a statistic not even compiled until 1984. At that point, Black families had about 9 percent of the wealth of white households. This financial gap has not only widened in the past 30 years, but the wealth of Black households has shrunk from just over $7,000 to roughly $6,400. White families have seen their wealth increase from $82,000 to more than $91,000 in that same time period, or more than $14,000 for every $1,000 of wealth Black families have. Dr. King’s Dream Failing?
Also, during this time we have seen an even greater digression in our athletes, entertainers and politicians’ stance on issues that play on the reality of America’s ugly racial history. From Jay-Z’s race neutral response to Barneys
, to the more recent issues with Charles Barkley & Matt Barnes opinions on the word Ni**a. The distance we have fallen since Muhammad Ali stated, “I Ain’t Got No Quarrel With The VietCong…No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger”
in 1966 is mammoth.Modern American popular culture has become so popular that it has left history out of its DNA. It has replaced that history with a mix of idealism, hope and fantasy. Recreating the black and white divide that has defined our country, as though it were the Hatfields and McCoys, with two sides of equal power that need to now get along. The issue is American history did not happen that way
. We are on the precipices of having to honestly face what America’s racial monster really left under our cultural bed, as our nation’s postmodern image of race cracks under the pressure of historical reality.
Earlier this month Matt Barnes upon being ejected from a game tweeted:
The tweet was then supported by statements by Charles Barkley on TNT, narrowly defining a validation for the use of the word (Ni**a). Note: A word that I feel should be stricken from the English language and American culture due to it resonating an echo of an ugly history of slavery, lynchings, rape and dehumanization.
On TNT Barkley stated “Matt Barnes there is no apology needed. I’m a black man. I use the N-word. I will continue to use the N-word with my black friends, with my white friends. They are my friends. In a locker room and when I’m with my friends we use racial slurs…” Charles Barkley continues on TNT by saying “This national debate that’s going on right now makes me uncomfortable,”
Jason Whitlock of ESPN responded to Charles Barkley with a poignant and honest article entitled “More than sticks and stones”
posted on ESPN. In the piece Whitlock not only assessed the ignorance of justifying the use of the term. But, he also delivered a long needed assessment of entertainers speaking on social issues without enough bases to understand their statements greater social impact.