Quit Playin: Brothers…Where You At?

By Vincent L. Hall
Columnist

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” – Maya Angelou

It’s been a lousy week for Black male pride. Hopefully, the sisters will pull us through because the brothers are looking suspect. We are in the battle of a lifetime, and the brothers are acting strange. Where is our courage? Political commercials are blaring on every medium. Whether you are listening to the radio, watching local TV, or on the national broadcast rail, the number and rapidity of messages are just getting more and more confounding. I almost hopped out of my skin when I saw the large contingent of Black female Mayors of major U.S cities endorsing Biden and Harris. It was so refreshing to see the same women who have been degraded and demeaned by Donald Trump take an active role in delivering his demise!

However, that encouragement was short lived. The next ad was a much smaller group of their Black male counterparts. Mayor Eric Johnson of Dallas was not there. I was pissed that Johnson was omitted, then I remembered the September article in the Dallas Morning News. “But Johnson has explained his view that, “it’s important that we keep nonpartisan offices nonpartisan,” saying earlier this year that not participating in the election cycle, “in terms of an endorsement, I feel like that’s good for Dallas.” What the hell is nonpartisan in a war like this one? What kind of bullshit was that?

I get the cringes every time I hear a John Cornyn ad. But the latest one on Black radio featured Senator Royce West’s damning words against MJ Hegar. How does someone who has been a team player for the Democratic Party for 35 years suddenly decide to go rogue? Just Dumb shit! Later still, I’m on CNN, watching Ice Cube, for whom I have an immense amount of admiration. Cube walked-back the idea that he was supporting Trump. But he should’ve never said it in the first place. We have heard of “opportunity zones and platinum plans,” under different names. Nothing new. It just means that rich White folks will take every opportunity they can in newly gentrified areas and go platinum financially.

The weeks-old news that one of every four Black male college students was voting for Trump still weighed me down. Our inability to teach Black history to three generations of our children is coming back to haunt us. Kanye has mother issues; I can’t tell you what this Black student/Trump fan phenomenon is. We want to wallpaper the world with the 1994 Crime Bill and the prison industrial complex. We listen to Trump’s simplistic salvos, blaming the Democratic Party as the culprit.

Many of our family members who went to prison never got a fair share because most of us refuse to sit on a jury. We have subrogated our rights as citizens on the local level for more than 60 years. We haven’t been to school board meetings en masse since Brown v. Board. We failed them in the courtroom and the boardroom. The Democrats didn’t pick your Black candidates; you did! We keep choosing on congeniality rather than conscious. We abandoned “movement and grassroots leaders” for sexy speakers. And all we’ve got is talk. Man, it’s been a horrible week for Black male pride. Or at least for this Black male. What happened to our communal courage? Sisters, you got to turn this thing around. We only got a week, and too many of our brothers have abandoned ship. 

Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.

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