Just Thinking: A Pigmentation Problem
May 15, 2014By V. Knowles

There exists in the earth an unpleasant ,inconvenient and uncomfortable truth. If one is truly honest and objective, personal observation will confirm this undeniable fact and human weakness. This terrible shortcoming is more keenly felt, acknowledged and exercised in and upon people of color - in general - and those of darker skin - in particular.

It is my attempt in the following to challenge your perception and perhaps change that attitude and outlook.

Love, hate and prejudice are illogical emotions. They have no definable boundaries, they defy reason and rational explanation.

Donald Sterling, the beleaguered basketball team owner, was born Donald Tokowitz. He changed his last name to Sterling, believing the anglicized sound would offer him cachet and would be more appealing and acceptable to his "wasp” friends and acquaintances. His estranged wife is Jewish. His girlfriend - at 30 years old - young enough to be his great granddaughter, is half black and half Mexican. He owns a team coached by an African American and populated with people of the same ethnicity. He was slated to be honored by the NAACP with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He is an 80-year-old man stricken with prostate cancer with the majority of his life behind him and a brief uncertain future ahead of him. I am sure he is aware of the tragic history of the Jewish people.

In the aftermath of the dedication of a wing at Yad Veshem, the holocaust museum in Israel and the subsequent murder of two Jews at a synagogue in Kansas City during Passover week, the Jerusalem Post quoted a verse from the Jewish text – the Haggadah - in a response editorial, "In every generation they arise to destroy us.”

Do you find it fantastic or does it boggle the mind that Sterling - a person in such a precarious position - would entertain such thoughts as he has expressed?

Nevertheless, regrettably, his attitude is not all that unusual or isolated. Throughout history and in every corner of the globe, the darker-skinned peoples of the world have experienced the bitter sting of separation, discrimination and persecution. It is a human failing so deeply ingrained in our psyche that is a hurdle almost impossible for every human being, light or dark, to overcome. The following is a poignant lament from the Bible, "Do not gaze at me because I am dark because the sun has looked upon me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept.” If you recall, the dark skinned slaves were assigned to the backbreaking, brutal work in the cotton fields while the lighter skin blacks and mulattoes served in the plantation house.

In every segment of society worldwide it is a long held belief that darker hued people are less than…

Elgin Baylor, the former general manager of the LA Clippers, has charged Mr. Sterling in a lawsuit of running a "southern plantation" type structure with the business. There is a striking similarity expressed in an excerpt from the book Black Saga about the making of the ideal black slave.

The second step was to create a sense of personal inferiority. Slaves had to "know their place.” They were made to feel the difference between the place of the master and the slave, and that their African ancestry was a curse and their color a badge of degradation. All white people, no matter their position, had to be respected; slaves had to give way on the streets to whites of the lowest social position.”

In view of that, it is no wonder Mr. Sterling considered it an affront for his mistress to be seen cavorting with black men. In his estimation, that is not the natural order of things.

Mr. Cliven Bundy, the embattled rancher in Nevada, went a step further in declaring that Blacks were better off as slaves on cotton plantations.

It does not matter how far you go or high you climb, the danger always exists for something or someone to remind you of your inferior status.

At the last Republican Convention, two delegates threw some peanuts at a black CNN camerawoman, snarling, "This is how we feed the animals.” She sadly stated that such incidents have occurred more than once during her assignments for the network worldwide.

In 1939, Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for her performance in "Gone with the Wind.” At the awards ceremony she was not even allowed to sit at the same table with her fellow actors of the cast, being assigned to a separate table alone. She was not trusted to write her own acceptance speech, rather it was crafted by one of the studio writers lest she dare say something offensive.

This may not seem important until you consider that most of Hollywood was controlled by Jewish moguls who must have known what was happening in Europe. Jewish merchants and families were being dispossessed, persecuted and herded into concentration camps. They were well aware of the injustices being visited on their fellow brethren. Yet, they saw no hypocrisy in the mistreatment and disrespect of the above actress and her kind.

In the recording that got Sterling into trouble, he mentions how the Black Jews are regarded as dogs in Israel and don’t not smell good. He is right about that. The Ethiopian Jews in Israel are called "Falashas,” a somewhat derogatory term which is not what they call themselves. The name they chose is Beth Israel, meaning house of Israel. In the ‘90s there was a news report that Israeli blood banks were dumping all donated blood from this group for fear of the AIDS epidemic.

Some years ago, a Black mechanic working in a garage on Miami Beach who happened to speak Yiddish overheard two Jewish customers calling him a dog. He promptly informed them in Yiddish, to their shock and dismay, that he was a man and not a dog.

In Israel and everywhere in the world, most of the menial positions are held by people of dark skin. In addition, they are overly represented in slums, ghettoes and prisons-all places devoid of hope, aspiration and progress.

This pernicious trait is so pervasive that even Black people have fallen prey to this crippling characteristic of self-hate. Oprah Winfrey aired a heartbreaking documentary about the despicable attitudes of black people towards people of darker complexion.

While engaged in a conversation about the past, I learned that in the city of Detroit during the fifties and sixties there existed a club that only permitted blacks of light color with a college degree.

In post-colonial countries the Dominican Republic, it is virtually impossible to obtain a respected position if you are not a mulatto or a White person. It appears there and elsewhere that sports remain the only viable avenue and option for success for these disadvantaged people. Nevertheless, as evidenced by Mr. Sterling’s comments and the shameful racial taunts from European soccer fans, that route does not always offer safeguards from this stubborn mindset.

Even in Africa, the cradle of Black civilization is not immune to this disease.

The brutal system of Apartheid was implemented in South Africa to subdue and control the "kaffirs.”

An unhappy, unfortunate consequence of this negative mindset makes Nadinola, a bleaching cream, one of the largest selling products in Africa.

The Madras people of India are called the untouchables and are primarily assigned to garbage collections and other distasteful undesirable occupations. Some years ago, I read a report of an ugly incident at a college graduation in India. It said that a dignitary refused to shake the hand of a student because he was an untouchable of a lower caste.

Just this week, the North Koreans referred to President Obama as a mixed breed with unclean blood and the body of a monkey.

The people who do and say these types of things seem to relish inflicting damage upon the spirit of their fellow man. Apparently, they derive some perverse measure of joy and pleasure by watching some poor soul squirm and grimace under their verbal and physical assaults.

Yet their actions do not add one cubit to their stature, does nor enhance their well being, nor improve their standing in life.

There is something twisted about exacting enjoyment from the misery and discomfort of a person with a perceived defect he or she is unable to control or correct.

In the case of Paula Deen, it can prove to be awkward and detrimental to their affairs.

While education and maturity may combat such injurious thoughts and negative impulses, the only certain remedy for this kind of sickness is a genuine sincere relationship with Jesus Christ. Circumstances may not change but your attitude and response to them will.

The central theme of His message, "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” offers comfort, solace and hope for a better tomorrow.

Christ prayed and died that we might be one. It was symbolic that on the day of His crucifixion the veil of the temple was rent in two,thereby tearing down the wall of separation between you and I. Henceforth, there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, bond nor free but we are all one in Christ Jesus.

When we walk in the light of this truth, freely we will stop judging one another or do anything that will cause another to stumble or fall into sin and we will accept one another as Christ has accepted us.

I do understand that to the intellectually astute the foregoing is naïve and simplistic but love as I stated above is neither logical, reasonable nor definable.

However, in conclusion, I would like to offer you, the arrogant, haughty bigoted individual who looks down your nose upon those unclean dark natives, a somber note of caution and word of warning.

Consider your ways.

The window of opportunity when you are king of the mountain is not permanently opened and extremely limited. Age and time are conspiring together against you. They are coming to knock you off your lofty perch. In the passage of time, you, I and everybody else will find ourselves helpless and flat on our backs.

I visit a nursing home every day as my mother-in-law is now a resident there. I have noticed a curious thing. All of the CNAs who perform the dirty work are people of color and dark-complexioned. If you have mistreated and mishandled them or their family members during your rise to the top while she is cleaning your behind, changing the dressing of your wounds or replacing your soiled diapers, you had better hope to God he or she has discovered Jesus.

If not, you have just run smack into a big pigmentation problem.

V. Knowles is a husband and father with an interest in penning issues that serve to uplift mankind. He melds his love for Classic literature, The Bible and pop culture - as sordid as it may be - into highly relatable columns of truth, faith and justice. Hence the name: Just Thinking. If he's not buried in a book or penning his next column, you may find him pinned to his sectional watching a good old Country and Western flick.



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