TMG founder, writer, and editor Tracy Jones talks with rapper and educator Paul Richardson and recent Bard College graduate, Brooklynite, and future lawyer Bernadette “Bernie” Benjamin. We discuss the role of black men and women, the global #blacklivesmatter protests, Japan’s insular culture, and reparations for 400 years of free labor.
If you didn’t see the live broadcast, below is an edited version of the discussion. At the beginning was a bit of a continuation about the re-education of America. The current American education system is designed to create division for purpose of sustaining capitalism. It teaches white children that they are the victors and black children are the victims of conquest. Learning about slavery in school I couldn’t help overlapping the images of slaves working the fields with my folks who were independent farmers, picking tomatoes. That experience instilled a kind of shame instead of pride. To my father’s joy, attending Hampton University for summer school exposed me to other forms of blackness that forever altered my view, but it also further extended my resentment towards the privilege that my white friends unknowingly enjoyed.
Paul mentioned America’s Japanese internment camps during World War II and it reminded of giving a presentation to my daughter’s class about black history. Talking to her and her classmates about Yuri Kochyama was an attempt to connect Japan and America. In a country where “there is no racism,” explaining to Japanese people the significance of these Black Lives Matter protests, is like trying to balance a glass of water on your head while riding a bicycle. Its up to young Japanese people to openly object to the way that their prescribed future is being forced upon them. They are more aware of racism, but their fight is against a totalitarian system that rebukes change in everyway. If they can identify a clear objective to fight against then may be the floodgates of their suppressed anger and frustration will burst open. I’m cautiously hopeful.
Bernie veered the conversation towards black gender roles. She made the point that black women are forced to play masculine roles, which takes away from their femininity and beauty. The black woman has always been the caretaker of America. The figure that cleans up after the mess that black and white men have made. In the movies she’s “the help” or the moral compass of self-destructive and angry men. Whenever there’s talk of the first black woman president, expect America’s roof to be on the verge of imploding and with 45, we’re at the precipice of that moment.
The way to end systemic racism is to end capitalism. Burn it down. A socialist economy doesn’t need poor people to sustain it self. People keep talking about the looting during the protests and yet I haven’t heard many people talk about the looting of us from Africa or the looting of taxpayer dollars going to multi-national conglomerates.
Recently when my daughter asked me, what is a vampire, I started describing an entity that sucks the blood of people and it lives for centuries. Finally I said, “You know what a vampire is, it’s a corporation.” And America, like corporations, do what’s best for business. So on the eve of Juneteenth, Tennessee state lawmakers voted to keep a statue of The KKK’s founder in the hall of their state capitol building. If you don’t know about Juneteenth, please look it up and ask yourself why this isn’t one of the most celebrated holidays in America, cause it should be.
On this episode, our special guest was my 6-year-old bum-rushing daddy’s frame and sitting on my lap. She wanted me to let you know that she can read Goodnight Moon all by herself. Peace.