Curtis Mayfield: After the Rain
In Joe Feagin's book, Systematic Racism (Routledge), published in 2006, he found through unconscious stereotyping that nearly 90% of whites, who took the test, implicitly associate the faces of black Americans with negative words and traits such as evil character and failure.
Even though over half of all crime is committed by non-Hispanic whites, almost all whites and a large number of participants of color believe that these crimes are committed by people who are black or Latino.
The United States incarcerates a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid.
We continue to question China on its record of human rights, as we should but it's important to note that of China's population of 1.3 billion people, 1.6 million remain in prison. In contrast, the population of the U.S. is considerably less at 309 million, yet the number of blacks incarcerated is at over 2 million, which is more than the entire prison population in all of China.
According to national surveys, roughly three out of four whites refuse to believe that discrimination is any real problem in America. In fact, there isn't a time in the history of our country that white people have thought that blacks have had less than themselves. As a result, and this is critical, African American's are reluctant to bring up race in the work place since it will likely be questioned by most, bring further suspicion to their integrity and character, and even possibly place their jobs at risk.
And finally, when Arthur Ashe was asked in an interview about the pain and struggle of dying from AIDS, which he acquired through a blood transfusion, he would reply that growing up with racism was far more painful.
On August 13, 1990, Curtis Mayfield was in Brooklyn, New York to perform at an outdoor concert at Wingate Field in Flatbush. As Mayfield walked up the steps and took the first few steps on stage for a sound check, an unusual burst of wind would take down the stage light scaffolding, falling on Mayfield and paralyzing him from the neck down. As he lay motionless on his back and people began to scream, he would remember that it also began to rain. Six others would be injured but it was Mayfield who would remain a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.
Eleven years later, his message continues to live on as he remains a mirror of our social conscious and the voice of the oppressed. He is a light that shines in the midst of struggle, the hope for those that continue to sacrifice in the name of brotherhood and human rights. He had the sensitivity and wisdom to love all people and his search was one that confronted the problems that faced all of humanity. He was a brother, a gentle and spiritual man with a dignified and soulful voice who also understood the power of love and understanding. And though the rain has passed and he is no longer with us, his integrity and truth shall remind future generations of an extraordinary man who exemplified the very essence of nobility and compassion.
May he rest in peace.
"We the People Who are Darker Than Blue"
We the people who are darker than blue,
Are we going to stand around this town
And let what others say come true
We're just good for nothing they all figure.
A boyish, grown up, shiftless jigger
Now we can't hardly stand for that
Or is that really where it's at?
We people who are darker than blue
This ain't no time for segregatin'
I'm talking about brown and yellow too
Hey yellow girl, can't you tell
You're just the surface of our deep well
If your mind could really see
You'd know your color same as me
Get yourself together; learn to know your side
Shall we commit our own genocide?
Pardon me brother
As you stand in your glory
I know you won't mind
If I tell the whole story
Now I know we
Have great respect
For the sister and mother
It's even better yet
But there's the joker in the street
Loving one brother and killing the other
When the time comes
And we are really free
There'll be no brother's left you see
Pardon me brother
I know we've come a long way
Let us not be so satisfied
For tomorrow there can be
An ever brighter day
"People Get Ready"
People get ready
there's a train a coming.
You don't need no baggage
You just get on board
All you need is faith
to hear the diesels humming.
You don't need no ticket
you just thank the lord.
So people get ready,
for there's a train to Jordan.
Picking up passengers
coast to coast.
Faith is the key