MANSFIELD: Race Madness

Does race trump truth? Allow me to clarify: Should I take the side of a mendacious black person over a truthful white person — all in the name of racial solidarity? Am I being a race traitor simply because I won’t co-sign innuendo, truth shading and flat-out lies from a brother or sister?

Some confused folks believe I should, probably because they fail to understand what they are saying or writing is their twisted version of the truth, which often is a straight-out fabrication. They’ve often taken a grain of truth and constructed a mountain of myths out of it. But of course, if I or any other person of color has the temerity to question the veracity of their version of reality, that’s simply further proof that I’m in the pocket of the “white man” and doing his bidding.

This borders on the juvenile 7th grade game that children play: “If you’re going to be “their” friend then you can’t be “my” friend too.

When I was involved in street life, some wannabe shot callers used a similar tactic in an attempt to maintain control. They cast aspersions on anyone who didn’t toe their line by branding them a snitch. It was (and probably still is) an effective strategy because no one wants to run around trying to convince others they are not a snitch, since there’s no way to prove one isn’t, is there?

These accusers are black folk that have fallen victim to the untrammeled racism persons of color face in this country on a daily basis. And believe me, it’s enough to drive you ziggity-boo. It’s a wonder half of all African-Americans in this country aren’t locked away in a padded cell, consigned to spending all eternity playing handball with their own shit.

This constantly having to be on guard, questioning the motives and intentions of whites is tiring. “Did they mean what I thought they meant, or is my racial antenna over-tuned?”

And it’s not just black folks that have been driven half mad by racism — not by a long shot. There are some whites that have allowed themselves to driven batshit crazy over issues of race too. Ever since blacks demanded to sit in the front of the bus they have felt something has been taken from them.

Every call for a level playing field in the employment arena on the part of blacks has been interpreted as an attempt at instituting unfairness — as an attempt to gain something we’re not qualified for. This, in spite of the fact the “old-boy network” has been protecting white bums in the workplace for centuries.

The cleverly built and diabolically maintained racial chasm that separates blacks and whites does its job all too well, especially politically. The Republican Party doesn’t have a race problem simply because for the most part it’s not diverse — and they like to keep it that way. While, on the other hand, the Democratic Party has a huge race problem.

Take the local Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, for example: Blacks and whites are currently at each other’s throats over endorsements in judicial races. Here’s the problem in a nutshell: there are 33 judges in the General Division of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and two of them are black. In the Domestic Relations Division it’s one out of five that’s black; in the Juvenile Division it’s two out of six. Yet blacks are one-third of the county’s residents.

If the west-side (white) faction of the county Democratic Party was of a mind to play fair, those folks would vote to endorse qualified black judicial candidates in more races, invite them to their ward club meetings and help them with fundraising instead of supporting whites with little or no experience simply because they possess an Irish surname.

As Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics is local,” and if the local Democratic Party can’t learn to play fair in terms of race when it comes to judicial contests, then how in heaven’s name can Democrats expand their agenda, both locally and nationally?

The fact that neither the state nor national Democratic Parties has seen fit to flex their considerable muscles in these local judicial contests shows they are asleep at the wheel or don’t give a damn; but if they don’t wake up they deserve to crash and burn.

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.

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