ARE WHITE CORPORATE POWERS TEAMING UP TO SQUELCH BLACK FREE SPEECH & VOICES?
“We have to build our own power. We have to win every single political office we can, where we have a majority of black people… The question for black people is not, when is the white man going to give us our rights, or when is he going to give us good education for our children, or when is he going to give us jobs-if the white man gives you anything-just remember when he gets ready he will take it right back. We have to take for ourselves.” – Fannie Lou Hamer
HOUSTON-It was the late television comedian and personality Joan Rivers who made the phrase, “Can We Talk?” a famous slogan, but now her comedic words are not so funny when it comes to African-Americans standing up, using their freedom of speech and talking back to the political leaders and pundits who for years relegated Black thought and opinion to the “back of the bus”.
The new tactic involves “lynching” the personalities of high profile African-Americans and killing or reducing their credibility and word power to levels that reach a near deafening silence.
These “Burger King-esque” political and business leaders in 2017 want to have it their way today by shutting strong personalities and Blacks voices up and shutting them out of key elements, discussions and issues affecting Black life, history and culture.
The Jemele Hill Factor
ESPN suspended “SportsCenter” anchor Jemele Hill for 2 weeks — after she allegedly “violated social media guidelines” by encouraging people upset with Jerry Jones to boycott his sponsors.
Hill was reacting to the Dallas Cowboys owners’ statement that any players who “disrespect the flag” will not play for his team.
“If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers. Don’t place the burden squarely on the players,” Hill tweeted.
Hill had been in hot water before … after calling Donald Trump a “white supremacist.”
President Trump, in a tweet of his own, demanded an apology and the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders termed ESPN “hypocritical” for not punishing Hill and asked the network to hold their “anchors to a fair and consistent standard.”
Reacting to the media coverage the tweets received, ESPN released a statement distancing themselves from Hill’s opinions.
ESPN’s stand is that Hill crossed the line and openly and figuratively “lashed” her with a 2-week suspension.
“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines,” ESPN said in a statement.
Simply put, Hill’s public ridicule was meant to send a message making her that example similar to the days when certain plantation-based slaves were beaten or killed in an effort to prevent rebellion and hold others in check.
Hill did absolutely nothing wrong – except being a strong, vocal, activist female Black journalist.
Hill is One of Us
Hill is a strong-willed Black journalist and a socially conscious Black female.
According to www.thefamouspeople.com, Hill is a Detroit native, raised by her single mother and who had a rough childhood.
During her high school years, Hill stayed with her grandmother for a while in Southfield, a suburb of Detroit. Despite this, she maintained good grades throughout her academic life and graduated from the Michigan State University. Beginning her career as a general assignment sports writer for the Raleigh News & Observer, she later joined Detroit Free Press. She also served as a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel before being hired by ESPN as a national columnist. Hill was conferred with the inaugural McKenzie Cup at the 2007 Poynter Media summit.
In 2014, she and Smith started hosting their TV first show together, ‘His & Hers,’ a sports discussion program on ESPN2. Hill is the co-host SC6 with Michael & Jemele, alongside Michael Smith, They were promoted to host ‘Sportscenter’ in 2017.
Rashad Robinson, executive director of the racial justice organization Color Of Change, released a statement calling ESPN’s suspension of Hill “a flagrant suppression of black voices in sports” in a statement.
“ESPN is happy to stand with enablers of racism and sexism, but dare speak out against these issues and you’re in trouble,” Robinson said. “They seek to champion black athletes, activists, and hosts until billionaires like Jerry Jones threaten their revenue streams. . . . By choosing to ban its reporters’ opinions, ESPN is making an explicitly political decision to side with the Trump administration on the wrong side of history.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network followed with a statement and a warning.“We consider it outrageous that Jemele Hill was suspended by ESPN. She has the right to tell people that they ought to let advertisers know how they feel, since they are the consumers. While she didn’t call for a direct boycott, it’s not off the table for us in the civil rights community.”
According to http://www.uscourts.gov/, the First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:
“Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.”
What Does Freedom of Speech Mean:
Freedom of speech includes the right:
- Not to speak (specifically, the right not to salute the flag).
West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).
- Of students to wear black armbands to school to protest a war (“Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.”).
Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969).
- To use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages.
Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971).
- To contribute money (under certain circumstances) to political campaigns.
Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976).
- To advertise commercial products and professional services (with some restrictions).
Virginia Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Consumer Council, 425 U.S. 748 (1976); Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977).
- To engage in symbolic speech, (e.g., burning the flag in protest).
Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989); United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990).
MASSA’ Don’t Know What’s Best
The hot word on the streets of White America and corporate board rooms is that free speech does not really apply to Black Americans.
Think about it. Historically, when the First Amendment came into being in 1776, Blacks were slaves and considered property that was bought, sold and used as commerce throughout the South.
Blacks had no real rights because one Black man was not even considered one Black man.
During those dark times, we were considered only as three-fifths of a man and even then we had no unalienable rights afforded to White America.
Many Blacks were forced to work long hours in cotton fields and sugar plantations across the South from sunrise to sunset for no wages, fewer breaks or holidays.
Black folk were seen, but seldom at all heard unless it was to answer their Massa’ wiih a low toned “yassir or nawsir”.
The Resurrection of Jim Crow does not tolerate free speech and equality for Black people and thus we have 75-percent of the NFL under scrutiny and other outspoken Blacks being monitored and some being harrassed.
Freedom of speech does not include the right:
- To incite actions that would harm others (e.g., “[S]hout[ing] ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”).
Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919).
- To make or distribute obscene materials.
Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).
- To burn draft cards as an anti-war protest.
United States v. O’Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968).
- To permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration.
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988).
- Of students to make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986).
- Of students to advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event.
Morse v. Frederick, __ U.S. __ (2007).
Is freedom of speech reserved only for White folks?
It is apparent that Blacks cannot speak up, speak out or have a strong opinion without being castigated by White corporate America and media.
Hill apparently was not guilty of any of these. She simply violated the hidden Jim Crow Laws that still exist in this country.
Colin Kaepernick is also another in trouble and has been publicly “lynched” and economically black-balled from the NFL and corporate America for speaking out on Black historical facts, police brutality and starting a movement. Add Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton lost millions in yogurt endorsements and others too because he speaks out.
The More Things Change/The More They Stay The Same
Black women and men have historically been at the forefront of this country’s political, economic and human-rights advancement.
History appears to be repeating itself right before our eyes on or near the 100th birthday of another great vocal Black female journalist and a Black female civil rights activist who went toe to toe with White America, and too was targeted, threatened and harassed by the White establishment, but both remained undaunted as they fought to speak their piece and make their marks for freedom and equality in a racist, segregated America.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Ida B, Wells-Barnett was a fearless anti-lynching crusader, suffragist, women’s rights advocate, journalist, and speaker. She stands as one of our nation’s most uncompromising leaders and most ardent defenders of democracy. She was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862 and died in Chicago, Illinois 1931 at the age of sixty-nine.
She was the first Black women to run for public office in the United States.
It was in Memphis where she first began to fight (literally) for racial and gender justice. In 1884 she was asked by the conductor of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company to give up her seat on the train to a white man and ordered her into the smoking or “Jim Crow” car, which was already crowded with other passengers. Despite the 1875 Civil Rights Act banning discrimination on the basis of race, creed, or color, in theaters, hotels, transports, and other public accommodations, several railroad companies defied this congressional mandate and racially segregated its passengers.
In 1889 Wells became a partner in the Free Speech and Headlight. The paper was also owned by Rev. R. Nightingale– the pastor of Beale Street Baptist Church. He “counseled” his large congregation to subscribe to the paper and it flourished, allowing her to leave her position as an educator.
Wells penned in her paper and left town; other members of the Black community organized a boycott of white owned business to try to stem the terror of lynchings. Her newspaper office was destroyed as a result of the muckraking and investigative journalism she pursued after the killing of her three friends.
She could not return to Memphis, so she moved to Chicago. She however continued her blistering journalistic attacks on Southern injustices, being especially active in investigating and exposing the fraudulent “reasons” given to lynch Black men, which by now had become a common occurrence.
In Chicago, she helped develop numerous African American women and reform organizations, but she remained diligent in her anti-lynching crusade, writing Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases. She also became a tireless worker for women’s suffrage, and happened to march in the famous 1913 march for universal suffrage in Washington, D.C. Not able to tolerate injustice of any kind, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, along with Jane Addams, successfully blocked the establishment of segregated schools in Chicago.
Fannie Lou Hamer
Hamer, a former share cropper who was instrumental in organizing Black voter registration in the south, led the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party’s (MFDP) delegates to the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, NJ. There, she stood toe-to-toe with President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was seeking reelection. She demanded that he and other party leaders let the delegates, who’d been elected by more than 80,000 Black and poor White Mississippians, be seated and allowed to exercise their right to vote during the party’s nominating process.
Like so many Black women before and after her, Hamer was initially dismissed as inconsequential by Johnson and other party powerbrokers. But she refused to back down.
When the MFDP was denied participation in the party process, Hamer stood in front of the TV cameras and told the world the truth about how Blacks were treated in the south. She spared no detail about how they were being killed, beaten and denied work just for attempting to exercise their right to vote. Her testimony grabbed the nation’s attention and nearly upended Johnson’s nomination.
She was fired from the plantation where she worked as a sharecropper in 1962 because she and a few other black Mississippians registered to vote and was famous for saying she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired” of the abuse that African-Americans suffered in the segregated South.
Hamer and other activists spent the next several years working to register black voters amid changes facilitated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed segregation in public places and discrimination in employment practices, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed practices that massively disenfranchised black citizens.
That same year, Fannie Lou took her activism to the next level and ran for Congress in the Mississippi Democratic primary against the incumbent, a white man. When asked why she ran for office she said, “I’m showing the people that a Negro can run for office.” Her activism has inspired a generation of Black women and her legacy provides a roadmap that shows how every day Black women lead from the voting booth to elected office.
Corporate America Using Jim Crow’s Playbook
Jemele Hill’s situation is a classic case of White corporate America sending a message that “Negroes working for them will tow the line and stay compliant or face certain public “lashing” and public ridicule.
Her discipline is designed to intimidate other young and upcoming Black leaders and journalists to be “good N!**ers” and not to step out of line by expressing your free speech public sentiments in a so-called free speech society.
The Hidden Double American Standard
Native Americans were correct to point out that there is an ethnic group in America that speaks well, but who talks with a “forked tongue”.
In Hill’s case, free speech advocates are quiet and have not stood up in outrage over the assaults on her. She is standing alone because like Ms. Hamer and Ms. Well- She is Black.
One of the reasons is coming to the aid of a modern Ida B Wells or Fannie Lou Hamer violates the well hidden principles of Jim Crow Laws today and that is Do not upset of cross the rigid now invisible lines or racial separation that exists in America.
Old Traditions, Old Ways Revisited
It is no different than the days where there were separate dressing rooms, public areas, separate water fountains and bathrooms and when Blacks literally walked streets with heads down approaching Whites and could not even walk on the same sidewalk with Whites.
This is a fight to restore the hidden hostile order of Jim Crow and bring back a kind of neo-slavery area back to American life.
It starts by attacking the high profile and influential Blacks in American society, including Hill and Stephan Curry and also isolating and cutting off the economic earning power of Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Vince Young, Donovan McNabb, Warren Sapp and other rich NFL and sports figures and stars. In essence using Jim Crow tactics to reign them in using intimidation and control of their economic growth, status, financial acceptance and access.
In Hill’s case, it’s one thing for White America “Meet The Press” (White Male Anchor) and MSNBC’s White males and several White females and CNN’s leading White entourage of journalists to hold panels and talk nasty about President Trump, but if you are Black, you are clearly out of line, out of your league, not playing on the same field and not even in the same political-economic ballpark.
However…Its perfectly fine for President Trump to degrade Black mothers and call their sons “sons of b!*ches” and nothing be said in White media about the inappropriateness of his other words and statements on Twitter – that frankly are a threat to OPSEC and national security.
Is it because he is a rich White billionaire who expresses the thoughts of others “in the club”?
According to what happened to Hill, Kaepernick, Newton and others like them, you obviously don’t have a right to kick against the system, make statements or have a free thinking public opinion in a free America because you are Black!!! It goes without saying…
White corporate America wants to control every aspect of Black life. Jobs, earnings, community, economics, spending on products and manipulate your television habits, computer time and your ability to function on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and others.
The goal is simple: Control and keep n!**ers occupied on the economic plantation.
In the eyes of modern White Supremacists, Blacks are consumers and still are not equal people and should have no voice, no opinions and should not allowed to express themselves freely and openly in a “democratic” society.
Doing so, paints a huge target leaving you open like Wells and Hamer to threats of being politically and economically isolated and having your character “stripped” and “lynched” by White America.
Hill and what is happening to Kaepernick is a warning to Black people to sit down, shut up, accept your place in society and do not question the system.
As Black folks, we must stand up like Wells and Hamer, be bold, raise hell and question.
Ms Hamer was right when she said, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
We cannot continue to accept this foul stale state of affairs and the bogus bill of goods being sold to Black people today.
By: Darwin Campbell