Book Review: Africans in the Americas: A History of the Black Diaspora

This book seeks to explore, in a single, short convenient text, the complex relationship between Africa and the Americas from the early sixteenth century through the end of the twentieth century. Beginning with a preview of the relations between Africa and Europe prior to 1500

Source: Africans in the Americas: A History of the Black Diaspora: Michael L. Conniff, Thomas J. Davis: 9781930665682: Amazon.com: Books

I didn’t like this book. Avoid. It had lots of facts, but was short on giving a perspective on what day-to-day life was. You can not intellectualize such a horrific experience. It completely misses the point.

Fortunately this was only a few dollars at Goodwill. I am continually disappointed about books about the black experience. They miss the difficulty and heart ache that millions of blacks feel. When I worked with Blacks they knew that their race set them apart and that they were not treated the same way. Let me give you an example.

One time I was working on Saturday with two black coworkers and two police cars pulled up the building. At the same time an alarm went off in the building, so naturally they had to be related. As we all looked out the window at the police cars pulling up I said to my two coworkers, “Who wants to greet the police?” They both said to me “You better since your white it will probably go better.” The police offers were white and this was immediately after some tragic situation where a black person lost their life that the media shared. So I went down and spoke with the officers. It turns out that I had accidentally tripped a building alarm since I left the door to the outside open too long. I explained that I worked in the building and offered to show an ID and that I had opened a door and the alarm went off. A white guy showed up shortly after I was telling the officers this and I repeated it to him. He worked in another office in the building. He said that they had a robbery in the past so upgraded the security and was afraid it happened again. He told the police they could go and proceeded to check his office security.

I went back to my coworkers and explained the situation. They were on the way down to make sure I didn’t have any problems since it was taking me awhile. Time after time, I have listened to stories from black coworkers in which they were targeted for their color.

Another example. I had a boss who was well dressed and mannered person. He took the train to work and told me that the police officer at the train station had been eying him. He said that he was sure that the officer was going to approach him and it turns out he was right. A few days later he shared that the police officer approached him and asked him why he was so dressed up and where he was going and asked to search his bag. He said the officer suspected he was a drug dealer, and that it wasn’t normal for him to be in the nice neighborhood he was in and wearing nice clothes and that raised suspicion. As a white man I have never had the experience of the police bothering me like this or any other way. Isn’t this sad and frustrating that this is a common experience just because of something you can’t control like your skin color?

Head Start program played anti-segregation role in the Deep South

Source: Head Start program played anti-segregation role in the Deep South — ScienceDaily

So according to the article HS employed people who didn’t have formal teaching degrees, and that enabled social improvement. Isn’t it interesting that even without trying, often there are benefits of programs designed for one group of people. It’s almost like you can’t help one group without helping other groups.

Equality is interesting isn’t it? When we treat some groups as less than equal, we do a disservice to everyone. Historically our attempts at making decisions have been ineffective. It’s not my goal to tell people how to make decisions, but certainly skin color is not relevant at all. I wonder when people will judge people by their intentions, character and situation rather than some arbitrary standard?

It is the most common thing to see people who have been marginalized because they were not what someone else thought they should be. In the past I was discriminated against on the basis of a religion. I certainly understand the frustration of people who face discrimination on a daily basis. With the recent ruling on marriage equality that is a promising sign that we are growing as a civilization. One day I hope we look back at our past discrimination and wonder why we were ever so immature to think so limited.