The Glover Report: From Freddie Gray to Micah Xavier Johnson: Honesty Needed in Healing America’s Insidious Addiction to Racism

doni glover riot penn north

Doni Glover, Publisher, at Penn-North the day after the Baltimore Riots of 2015, precipitated by the tragic death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.

All of the cops in the world with all of the latest riot gear still won’t fix racism. Like Marvin sang, “Only love can conquer hate.”

By Doni Glover, Publisher

(BALTIMORE – July 10, 2016) – In light of last week’s horrific losses – Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and the five Dallas Police Officers killed by Micah Xavier Johnson, this country is once again being confronted with its addiction to racism. And, like any other addiction, denial prolongs the problem as the untreated situation only gets worse. While the rest of the world is preparing for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, America is on the brink of civil war. What is most pathetic is that the US government historically will spend a billion on putting people in jail or on invading an oil or resource-rich country on another continent, but will not put the same or similar investments in building its own people. For the record, it is far less expensive to educate a person than incarcerate him.

The most vital ingredient in overcoming any addiction is honesty. Show me a person effectively recovering and I will show you a person who truly understands honesty. If one can’t be honest, one cannot recover. It’s universal law.

Baltimore, I have found, with its most notorious tale of two cities, is merely a microcosm of the broader effects and ramifications of centuries-old American institutional racism. Home of some of the very first housing segregation and red-lining laws in the nation, Baltimore’s ‘handling’ or ill treatment of blacks has been replicated nationally by way of policy. Given that Baltimore had more free blacks prior to the Civil War than anywhere else in the country, there has always been the plaguing question referred to as “The Negro Dilemma”: What to do with all of these black people.

I saw a clip this morning of a white woman asking an all-white audience to stand up if they would want to trade places with black people. Not one would take a stand. Granted, it was only 30 people or so and one cannot paint a broad brush on any group of people that way. Period. However, America’s level of hate for black people is far beyond obvious and I imagine only a few white folks alive would be willing to actually trade in their white privilege to be permanently black.

After all, who wants to be shot down like an animal by American law enforcement – sometimes for no reason at all? White suspects get “de-escalation” while black suspects get bullets. Who wants to be incarcerated at the highest levels like nowhere else on earth, just because of your skin color? Who wants to be a part of a community where 85% of the households are headed by single black mothers? Who wants to be followed around a store just because they are black when it is often the old white ladies doing a lot of the stealing? Who wants to be the face of welfare checks when in all actuality there are more white people on welfare and doing illegal drugs? And who wants to see a Pit Bull get more love than one’s own black son or black daughter?

This is what I think when I see the TV commercials late night asking for donations to help make battered and abused dogs and cats more comfortable. And that makes me think of Hurricane Katrina and how dogs were put on coach buses while black people were literally left dead in the water. Sometimes, I wonder to myself just where these people come from who consistently ignore the safety and well-being of fellow humans but would put the safety of animals at a higher priority?

It is ridiculous and somebody should be ashamed.

And, as conscious black people everywhere know, it doesn’t stop there. Institutional racism permeates the very fabric of society and meets black people at every turn. Racism disaffects black people’s entire existence in ways the average white person will never truly comprehend.

It is possibly most evident in the mainstream media, what Malcolm X described as the most powerful entity on the planet. The mainstream media plays a key role in all of this confusion by the way it chooses to tell the story (– You know, as if black people don’t exist. And if we do exist, it is not in our natural form like the over-feminization of black men).

Quite frankly, this motivates me to the nth degree every single day. The mainstream media inspires this particular black-owned news outlet – – to work a little harder, to dig a little deeper so as to better tell the story.

Why? He who tells the story controls history.

For me, people of African descent have played a far too critical role in the history of this nation to be castigated as anything less than outstanding human beings, especially in a country with such a flagrantly violent, mentally abusive, and psychologically dehumanizing racist history as America. Given all that black people have endured at the hands of American supremacists for generations, every black person who descended from America slavery deserves reparations and more importantly, respect.

Who would have thought that in the era of the first black president that racial tensions would escalate to such cosmic levels? Names like Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray are but a few in the ocean of young black lives mowed down like wild animals in the Obama era alone.

America shows more respect for dogs than it does black people, and, yet – after centuries of this demonic misbehavior, the sleeping giant is finally awakening. Pushed by a younger generation and fueled by the phenomena of Social Media, I just don’t think life can go on in America without the necessary change that is long overdue. And it is not complicated. It is very simple. Where there is hate, replace it with love.

This is a new day in America where I pray we, as a nation, will finally come to grips with our collective past so as to build a better future for all people.

NOVEMBER: Besides the financial, physical health and overall well-being of the black community nationwide, I also pray that we leverage the black vote in the November election. Put simply, we need resources for the black community nationwide and we need a president who will make it happen. We need promises for Black America and we need them in writing, such as comprehensive job training programs for 16 to 24 year olds without a GED. We must embrace them and serve them so that they can one day serve us proudly.

Anything less should cause every black voter to pause and think.

Whatever you do, though, please make sure your vote is counted, and also make sure your vote is earned. Baltimore City’s bungled 2016 primary is proof positive that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong and that Republicans are not the only ones who will steal an election. Sometimes, it’s your own damn party. Baltimore’s April voting fiasco that featured 1,800 reported voting irregularities (vs 200 in the rest of the entire State of Maryland) is a clear example of how far the Democratic Party in Maryland will go to keep the status quo. I am among a ton of people who know that Sheila Dixon actually won but was robbed by the Democratic establishment, including several key black people. It was shameful! Some 2,000 struggling black people were promised $12/hour jobs and given chicken boxes in exchange for their vote during Early Voting. It was so egregious that a riot broke out on Election Day at the Catherine Pugh Walbrook Junction office. Bottomline: It’s not just white people blacks have to watch. A lot of times, the enemy is us!

So, I really don’t a lot of faith in either party right now and that’s why I say we need some promises for the masses of black people and we need them in writing, including a black Supreme Court Justice of the ilk of a Thurgood Marshall. Whatever black leaders can effect that change and bring resources to the black community, I support. On the other hand, if they ignore black people, we will help black people ignore them!

Other than that, black leadership in America has been self-serving at best, draped in façade improvements, but more importantly lacking the faith of the people, especially this younger generation. There are too many VIP-type events that draw a wedge amongst black folks, and so, classism in Black America is too an issue. Truth is, we need black leaders who know how to effectively pull all segments of the community together and how to leverage power like DC Mayor for Life Marion Barry and Atlanta’s Maynard Jackson for the benefit of the masses. Tupac may have said it best: ‘To white people, we are all thugs.’

Frankly, I am not impressed by what I see in black leadership nationwide today. We are not working together. The preacher is focused on money, not saving souls. There are possibly far more churches than we actually need. Even more, give a black person a high position without the support of the community, and what you’ll get is a figurehead with no sense of the people’s needs. Sure, such black leaders often have Ivy League pedigrees but they lack common sense. As a result, too many leaders are out of touch with the black community.

In addition to growing some balls politically, I think we also need to simultaneously better channel our dollars in the spirit of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Durham, Richmond and Weeksville. Truth is, we already have everything we need to be successful as a community. The challenge is we, as a people, keep going outside of the community for acceptance. The black dollar must re-circulate and re-circulate again in the black community repeatedly before it leaves. Sadly, we’re too busy going shopping instead of buying up properties in our communities. We are moving to the suburbs while white people are moving to our old communities. We are buying beauty products that help send other people’s children to college.

Did you hear me?

If we first love and accept ourselves for the kings and queens God made us to be, we’ll be fine. Jesse Williams said it during the BET Awards, although it went over a lot of folks’ heads: Are we willing to give up the brand name jeans? Are we willing to replace our superficial materialism and love for things for more permanent and more tangible solutions to the ills which trouble us every day of the week? Are we willing to start supporting our own black companies who can make even better brand name jeans – ones that are instead made and supported by black people?

I remind that Black Wall Street TULSA had over 600 black businesses and was the envy of all people in America before an angry mob of whites bombed it and burned it to the ground. So, we did it before and we need to focus on how to do it again – without a lot of divisive classism where we end up with black leaders speaking for us but who do not give a damn about us.

As this election approaches, we have to be cohesive. We have to be deliberate. We have to make our voices heard.

A concern I have, especially given our collective ability to leverage our black political power historically, is if black political leaders will finally and effectively negotiate the greatest empowerment policy ever for Black America. Yes, I want a stimulus package for Black America. And I do not want to hear “no” for an answer. Black people have sat back and watched every other group in America get love for the past 8 years. Now, it is our time. We just need solid leaders who have not sipped the Kool Aid to speak up on our behalf. Too often, we get self-absorbed leaders who lack integrity speaking in our stead.

Clearly, the time is now to speak truth to power and negotiate the most impactful policies ever written in the history of this great nation so as to finally address the ills of Black America that do, in fact, go back to the era of American slavery. We just need leaders who can make this happen. And please, no more excuses. Just make it happen.

White America has been freezing black people out from the gitty-up and it is time for it to end. Look at our prisons. The US represents 5% of the people on earth, yet we have 25% of the world’s inmates. And for me as a black man, this is particularly disturbing given that my race and gender comprise 44% of those inmates. Black people are 15% of the population but black men alone star in the prison picture. Further, black women are the fastest growing prison demographic. Something is fundamentally wrong with this equation and it clearly must be arrested and reversed immediately.

Just like President Bill Clinton ushered in the Omnibus Crime Bill in 1994, it is time to undo all that is wrong with that policy. It featured “crack” cocaine sentencing disparities that have significantly added to the devastation of the black family nationwide. The US consequently grew its prison industrial complex from 300,000 inmates in the mid-90s to 2.3 million today. We have become a nation of inmates, and if we do not check it and check it expeditiously, there will be a hell of a price to pay as these people ultimately return to society.

Dear America, when President Ronald Wilson Reagan allowed Colonel Oliver North to lead the infusion of crack cocaine onto American streets via “Iran-Contra-Crack”, it was the beginning of a hell never before seen. This government dropped crack and guns in poor black neighborhoods and nobody said a word. Thirty years later, other people have great things to say about Reagan, like the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. For me, though, I remember the number was 6-6-6 the day he was elected. That was a sign indeed. Even more, a tour of the old neighborhood is a lucid reminder of the damage done to Black America during the Reagan years.

What this government did not anticipate is how many white kids would become addicts in the process.

So, that’s but a snippet of where we are at as a nation. That’s a bit about what black folks need. Now, before I go, let me simply add that many white people need therapy. Just like these handkerchief head black spokespeople need therapy, a lot of white people need therapy, too. They have been thinking so wrong for so long, many don’t know any better. So, that is a very important thing, just like with any addiction.

Furthermore, the irony to all of this entitlement and white privilege is how it affects all of our children. The next generation will not be looking at this racial tension quite the same way. They are more tolerant of others although they are also more self-consumed. I just need to see my community better off than we have been historically. And, unless it is checked, the rampant killing of young black men across America is going to drag this country down the drain.

It doesn’t make any damn sense. If you are afraid to be a cop, then do not be one. However, if you are going to be a cop, then administer justice to all people the same way. That is exactly what is not happening. Time after time after time after time after time, the news reports of another young black male being killed by cops is going to lead to more Micahs, most assuredly. If we cannot find a way to live peaceably together, it looks like we will all perish together.

Isn’t it about time we finally get it right? I mean, seriously, you want black folks to be scared of ISIS when you have fools running around killing black kids in the streets with no remorse. REALLY?

Black people have as much invested in America as anybody other people, except the Indigenous Americans/The Indians. Our inventions have helped catapult this nation at every epoch of its evolution into the powerhouse it has become. We built the White House. And we fought in just about every skirmish and war on this continent in one way or another since America’s inception. Our great great grandmothers put titties in white babies’ mouths. They were also raped. They were beaten. They were lynched. And their families were consistently split up and sent to other parts of the country.

Time nor space can truly afford the entire story of all of the wrongs done to the otherwise glorious people of African descent, brought to this country in chains in the hulls of funky ass slave ships. What I will say is that those people who endured the Trans-Atlantic SlaveTrade or the Ma’afa such that we could be here today – they wanted the best for us.

And America has continually given Black America a bounced check marked by insufficient funds. This clearly is not working. The domestically-violent disease of racism is eating away at the very core of this nation. This repeated murder of young black men is a slap in the face of humanity and everybody dies a little bit more every time it happens.

Stop it. Stop it now. Don’t make excuses. Just stop it. Don’t try and explain it because actions speak louder than words. Be careful, America. We are trekking on very thin ice that is increasingly the precipice of what we will become.

What will America do? Cower? Hide its head in the sands of denial? Or, will America grow the hell up and start taking responsibility for its actions?

One last thing: I imagine our beloved President Barack Obama would really want to speak truth to power as it relates to the killing of young black men across America in a time as now, especially since he is, after all, a black man and no one can deny how well he understands the winds of racial tension in North America and, in fact, globally. People say he has to say the things he does because he is the president of all Americans and not just black folks.

I get it.

That being said, this is why the next President must indeed have a racial agenda that includes the comprehensive healing of Black America and America overall from a twisted and sordid history that still causes a whole lot of pain – all because of the color of one’s skin.