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Soulvine by Betty Pleasant

The census doesn’t ask you what your parentage is or what ethnicity your parents say you are.  It’s all about what you say you are. Dolezal chose to be Black. Jul 1, 2015 RACES — I didn't

The census doesn’t ask you what your parentage is or what ethnicity your parents say you are.  It’s all about what you say you are. Dolezal chose to be Black.

Jul 1, 2015

RACES — I didn’t get a chance to join in the national discussion about Rachel Dolezal, the White ex-president of the Spokane NAACP Chapter who identifies herself as Black, because the massacre at Emanuel AME Church required all of my attention. I want to back up a little bit and express my sorrow over Dolezal’s resignation as head of that NAACP chapter once it was revealed that she is biologically White. I wish she hadn’t done that for a couple of reasons.

ComptonHerald.com | Betty Pleasant

“Soulvine” is commentary by Betty Pleasant

Reason one: the national NAACP issued this statement: “One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP membership or NAACP leadership. We encourage Americans of all stripes to become members and serve as leaders in our organization.”

Reason two: When the U.S. government conducts its census count of the residents in the whole country, it issues a census document that contains the question, “How do you identify yourself?”  Then it lists a series of ethnicities — such as White, African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, etc. and you put a check mark next to the one you say you are. The census doesn’t ask you what your parentage is or what ethnicity your parents say you are.  It’s all about what you say you are.

Dolezal chose to be Black. And since Black people come in all colors — from snow white to charcoal black — she could easily disavow her Caucasian genes and become absorbed in the Black culture and join the fight for civil rights, as many White people did during the glory days of the 1960s. Why wouldn’t she want to be Black? Heck, it’s good being Black — accept when you’re stopped by a racial profiling cop. But then Dolezal wouldn’t have that problem because she doesn’t look Black enough to be hassled by the cops. But you see, that alone made her valuable to the NAACP in its fight for the political, educational and economic justice it advances for the benefit of “colored” people. Instead of resigning, Dolezal could have been used in a series of stings against racist law enforcement agencies, commercial enterprises, housing providers and other entities in which she could document the treatment/services she— a presumed White woman — received from these people in comparison to how they treated obvious Black people. Gosh, I really wish she had stayed with the NAACP.

And then there’s Donald Trump! The most despicable person of any color in the country. Can you believe that this man announced his candidacy for U.S. president by unleashing a racist, hate-filled attack on one of the largest segments of the United States’ population?! In one fell swoop, the man spewed vile generalizations that Mexican immigrants bring nothing to the United States except crime, drugs and rapists!! Then he added, as an aside: “Some, I believe are good people.” Then he called for the building of a wall along the southern border of the U.S. — (kinda like the Berlin Wall that was the iconic symbol of the Cold War that separated East and West Berlin? How did that work out?).

As you know, I don’t like to generalize and pass judgment about folks, but I am compelled to say that Donald Trump is proof positive that some White people are crazy.

June 22, 2015

THE WAY I SEE IT, that white fiend Dylann Roof’s massacre of nine Black members of Charleston, S.C.’s historic Emanuel AME Church last week was a byproduct of the national craze of killing unarmed Black people for a variety of specious reasons that has overtaken law enforcement and is showing the world that Black lives don’t matter to cops, ergo, they don’t matter to anybody else!

The almost daily incidents occurring in America in which cops kill unarmed Blacks and face no retribution from our alleged justice system, can’t help but cause a crazy person to assume that doing so is a good thing. Roof even admits in his hate manifesto that his murderous spree was inspired three years ago when the unarmed and Black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot to death in Florida by George Zimmerman, the White neighborhood watchman (an armed pseudo cop figure, mind you) and got away with it! That was proof positive to Roof that Black lives had to end. And the numbers of Blacks and Browns killed by law enforcement have increased tremendously throughout the U.S. ever since Trayvon’s killing. What is a crazy person supposed to think about that?

Whenever I argue with White people over my feelings about cops, they ask me: “Well, what about Black-on-Black crime?” I respond: “Well, what about White-on-White crime?” Cops don’t kill unarmed White people; they don’t even kill armed White people. In fact, it is interesting to note that after Roof’s massacre, the South Carolina cops captured him, asked him if he was hungry and then took him to Burger King and treated him to a burger before taking him to jail! What the hell is that?! The man just killed nine people and cops what to know if he’s hungry?! Then they feed him?! And people want to disassemble my opinion of cops!The massacre at Emanuel AME was the worst act against us since the 1963 KKK bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. which killed four little Black girls. Back in the ’60’s, we didn’t hide our disdain for cops and we openly called them pigs. But the cops among us today are worst than they’ve ever been. We can’t call present cops pigs because in doing so, we’d be insulting pigs.Back in the ‘60s we Blacks and Browns did not have the political leverage we have today. Back then, all we could do about police abuse was pray and march through the streets singing “We Shall Overcome.” But now we have a Black president, a Black attorney general and a Congress full of Black and Brown representatives.

Our national representatives get the picture: specifically, that law enforcement in this country is out of whack. The righteous members of Congress are trying to enact the “End Racial Profiling Act of 2015” (the ERPA; HR1933 and S1056) specifically designed to change the racist behavior of the country’s law enforcement agents and agencies.And, thanks to San Diego Assemblymember Shirley Weber, and our local senator Holly Mitchell, California is finally moving in tandem with Washington D.C. to curtail the racist character of law enforcement in this state. They have introduced AB953 and AB619 and unlike Washington, there are enough Democrats and Black and Brown members in our Legislature to enact these bills to end racial profiling by California law enforcement. (That is, of course, if our other Black legislators can disregard the fact that they go out of their way to obtain endorsements of their elections from every cop organization in the state!)

We must hold all our representatives’ feet to the fire and make them understand that they represent us — the people, not the cops. Otherwise, we’re stuck in the powerless 1960’s and crazy people can keep on killing us just like the cops do.

It might be well to note that the ACLU is pressing for a change in whatever state law we have that keeps LAPD Chief Charlie Beckfrom providing the details of Ezell Ford’s LAPD murderers. If the unarmed mentally challenged black man had been killed by somebody other than a cop, Beck would not hesitate to tell us — the press and the public — all the details of the killing. Beck says he can’t relate anything pertinent to the matter because “state law will not permit it.”  I agree with the ACLU’s response: “Then change the damned law!” Are you listening, state legislators?

I do have one good thing to say about cops: Today, the LAPD arrested three men and a woman for the killing the other day of Tavin Price, that South L.A. teenager because he was wearing red tennis shoes. That’s what we expect them to do: catch and arrest killers; not become killers of the innocent themselves. Now they need to find the killer of South L.A.’s  “Taco Man” and the killer of that Koreatown restaurant owner and the man who killed the Quiznos owner. That’s what we expect from cops, not that other stuff that keeps them in the public eye and creates black sitting ducks for every lunatic who comes along and shoot, just as they do.The next step is to yank that protective rug from district attorneys who either refuse to or are too incompetent to prosecute cops for killing unarmed black and brown people. This is outrageous in Los Angeles County and the people are geared up to deal with it: People in organizations like Black Lives Matter, Project Islamic Hope, the National Action Network, and others.

AND IN CONCLUSION — One of the pillars of our community, Brad Pye Jr., was appropriately honored Monday when the city of Los Angeles unveiled the Brad Pye Jr. Athletic Center at the Saint Andrews Recreation Center. Brad has made outstanding contributions to the world of sports and specifically, Black athletes, and has advocated for the community’s constituents. His distinguished career as a journalist, a managing editor, a sports- writer and sportscaster; as the first African- American appointed to the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commission, as a 8-year member of the State Athletic Commission, which he served as president twice, as well as his membership in the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. Brad was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010 for developing and promoting the success of many of the nation’s finest Black boxers and athletic associations.He’s had many other accomplishments and positions, including his work with former Supervisor Yvonne Burke, the Challengers Boys and Girls Club and the Woodcraft Rangers. The naming of the Brad Pye Jr. Athletic Center was championed by 8th District City Councilman Bernard Parks, who, along with Carl Cooper, supervisor of Recreation and Parks, spoke at Monday’s unveiling.

Betty Pleasant is a contributing writer and columnist for the Compton Herald. She was formerly a reporter at the Los Angeles Sentinel and a columnist at the Los Angeles Wave.

  • A. Gray September 14, 2015

    Are there any new “Soulvine” by Betty Pleasant articles since Jul 01, 2015?

  • Cora Roever April 28, 2015

    Poorly written article about the obviously emotionally disturbed child, whom you used to further your agenda against LACOE.

  • Mildred Lewis March 28, 2015

    More please. Would love your take on the upcoming elections in Los Angeles and Inglewood.

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