The old saying “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it” has helped many people avoid making the same mistakes by providing an opportunity to learn from them. But when past actions resulted in desired outcomes, wouldn’t it be logical to repeat those actions in some shape or form?
With that in mind, there’s no surprise that we’re in the midst of our government repeating similar “mistakes” to achieve common goals. The question is whether they’re really mistakes or orchestrated tactics?
Let’s take a look back at a few moments in history and you can come to your own conclusions.
Spanish American War
On February 15th in 1898 a mysterious incident took place off the coast of Havana that left the US Naval battleship Maine at the bottom of the harbor and resulted in Democrats pushing a Republican administration to wage war against Spain.
Despite the Republican President’s wish to avoid war, pressure from Democrats, and from public opinion shaped by the yellow journalism of William Hearst, led to the Spanish American War. Subsequently American influence grew in the Caribbean and the Philippines.
On May 7th in 1915 a German U-boat sunk a British passenger ship (Lusitania) off the coast of Ireland. The ship’s occupants included 128 American civilians and covert military equipment. Despite that fact, the American contingent was upset that the people on board weren’t warned before the sinking of the vessel.
This act, accompanied by British propaganda of vulnerable towns being destroyed and civilians killed, elevated the American public’s’ opposition against the Germans. Their support was now fully in place to deliver a response.
Lastly, the interest of several powerful American businessmen such as J.P. Morgan were on the line. These entities funded the British and French war efforts upwards of $3 billion dollars. A loss to the Germans would have led to unpaid debts and yielded a significant financial blow to the American business community. Therefore it was imperative to demand U.S forces to join the allied powers against Germany through the Preparedness Movement.
Karl Marx once said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
On December 7th in 1941 a squadron of Japanese fighter planes bombed Pearl Harbor which killed thousands of Americans and sunk four Navy battleships. Reports indicated that the American commanders in the Pacific received a prior warning on the 24th of November but no proof has ever been confirmed that the President was aware of the attack.
This act of aggression easily persuaded the American public to support the entry into the war and raised its associated fears. It help foster a system of discrimination against our own Japanese American citizens and the use of internment camps to keep the homeland safe.
Plans like the Lend Lease Program also added additional incentives to join the war. This program provided military aid with the expectation of payment at the conclusion of the conflict. America’s financial interest was heavily at stake and was in serious jeopardy.
Afghanistan & Iraq Wars
On September 11th in 2001 four passenger airlines were used to kill thousands of Americans in New York, Washington D.C and Pennsylvania. Prior to that day, multiple intelligence reports indicated the high probability of civilian planes being hijacked and utilized for attacks on American soil. The failures of sharing that information with the proper stakeholders has been deemed as the primary obstacle in thwarting this attack.
These events gave rise to several hate crimes against our own Muslim American citizens and garnered the support of the American public to wage war against any entity the Government held responsible. Questionable wars in Afghanistan and Iraq soon followed under the scope of eliminating al-Qaeda and its supporters.
15 of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, 2 from the United Arab Emirates, 1 from Egypt and 1 was from Lebanon. Those facts did not play a role in the decision making process. Even the false claims of weapons of mass destruction in the oil rich Iraq held enough weight to proceed with its invasion.
What’s next? Well Karl Marx once said that “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce”. Those words in addition to the aforementioned examples must awaken our collective minds.
The unjust discrimination and questionable conflicts based on fear and propaganda have all been too common in our history. Let the past be our source of guidance in creating a new future free of this overused playbook.
Chadwick Boseman Forever!!
It is clear that Chadwick Boseman chose iconic roles like Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, Jackie Robinson and Black Panther with deliberate intent and for a specific purpose. In an age where positive roles for Black actors is often sparse, Chadwick managed to land and portray historical figures that made most respect his talents if not revel in his ability to transition effortlessly for one character to another. Even I had to give his African accent a solid B+ (It’s the highest grade the Nigerian Standards Bureau can give for an African accent to a non African FYI.)
Holding out and preparing for these dynamic roles came with both great frustration and incredible resolve I’m certain. Not to mention the taxing ordeal of battling Colon Cancer as the grueling scheduling of filming and increasing responsibility for positive representation loomed. Even under extreme duress, Chadwick’s commitment to others appeared to outweigh his own tribulations, unbeknownst to us all.
Black Panther may have been just a movie to some and that may be because some can easily rattle off 10 movies with a king of non Af-Am origin. It represented a lot more to others. Albeit imagined, imagery on cinema often accomplishes more to augment the social narrative and society itself than actual reality. If negative stereotypes influence perception then positive ones absolutely have the same converse effect.
Even in jest, the cultural misappropriation of raisins in potato salad on SNL skits directly spoke to the tampering of black culture to which T’challa championed, represented and aptly responded “Oh hell Nah Karen!”
If you don’t understand the relevance of representation, it’s probably because you are thoroughly represented. After all, no one is ever grateful for every breath they take until they are gasping for air.
R.I.P Chadwick Boseman. Thank you for breathing life into the possibility of Black excellence.
Dance like Everyone is Watching
Rainy Sunday in New York and Carry on Wayward Son is smudging out the politics of the day. I’m not on message 24/7. I ain’t as righteous as I used to be, but I do require twice the ice-cream. Lord, while I don’t believe in you, just let me have some classic rock and soy milk in my coffee and we’re square today.
I ain’t as righteous as I used to be, but I do require twice the ice-cream.
Oh, and we’re not running for President. Our oily portraits will neither festoon the Presidential mugshots in your classroom nor litter your currency. And while a gay joke is never far from our lips, we’d die for our gay friends. Or at least put down the remote.
Maybe we’re the not-so-missing link between the old breed and the new one. The breed behind so overtly racist, the one ahead telling more appropriate jokes, perhaps, devoid of the baggage of the present tense. A necessary step in the evolution towards a new day, one with its own pins and needles that won’t likely include the color of your skin or who you like to suck on.
“… my peesh has other plans…”
But what happens if we’re in a power relationship? Maybe I’m your hiring manager. Can you trust me then? Shit, I hope so. Can I trust me? Have I painted myself into a corner? Squirrel!
In the same weekend Trump’s “grab her by the pussy” makes headlines, Bruno Mars’s song with its own macho baggage makes it to number one. There’s as many asses in the Bruno Mars video as on the senate floor. Context is everything. And you can’t unscramble an egg.
We hear the words “Human Rights” thrown around very strategically and deliberately. It’s a term that immediately resonates with the psyche once it is heard and hurled towards any entity deemed against it.
Think about it, how many times have we heard calls for some forms of embargoes or sanctions against countries or persons for the following acts?
- State sponsored terrorism
- Human right abuses
- Committing acts of violence that threaten the peace or stability of “insert country“
Currently the United States government has embargoes against approximately 30 countries or territories for these violations. Specifically omnipresent in all of these actions are infractions against Human Rights.
Based on those facts it would appear that the U.S has a hard line against the infringements of Human Rights across the board. With that being said, what should happen to a country that commits the below egregious acts?
- Administration of the law based on race
- Human right abuses
- Condone City/State sponsored violence against specific citizens by not charging for excessive force
Still thinking? Well ask yourself this….What exactly is the difference between the first three acts committed and last three that were mentioned?
For most rational thinking human beings the differences aren’t much at all. They are all grounds for a call to action. Human Rights are supposed to be rights inherent to all human beings regardless of race, religion or sex. It should be alarming that we as a nation are not practicing what we preach.
We may choose to turn a blind eye to this reality but the world is noticing and beginning to utilize it to defend their positions. More importantly are we comfortable with our country committing these acts in our names? especially against our own citizens? and what will we do to change it if we truly aren’t?
Now that I really have you thinking, ponder this thought. When has any of the below tactics been effective in bringing about legitimate change in an oppressive force’s policies?
- Levying economic sanctions
- Appealing to its moral compass
We easily have many examples to draw from that prove the effectiveness of two of the aforementioned tactics. Only limited time will tell if the third can achieve the same goal. The choice is collectively ours.