Much ado about Blackness – By Yvonne Sam

Much ado about Blackness

By Yvonne Sam

In order for the youth and obviously ignorant among us to be aware of how Black people have been abused, marginalized and arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, we often instruct them to open a history book.  This is in addition to viewing documentaries, the Internet, visiting museums and even talking to living and breathing people, who remember the bad old days of racism and segregation. Sadly the group of folks who witnessed first -hand some of these injustices, where Blacks could live, worship, marry, attend school, work, and be denied the right to vote are on the verge of making the transition.         

There are others who can recall how they were beaten by or harassed by White citizens or police who questioned their presence in a neighborhood or city where “they did not look like they fit in. Once upon a time, “sundown” towns existed both in Canada and in the South and North of the U. S. A Black face had “better not” be seen after “the sun went down” or they would have the police called on them to be jailed or worse

In her 2017 meticulously researched and compellingly analyzed best seller Policing Black Lives,

Maynard explains that “sundown” laws and other bylaws existed in many Canadian cities which required blacks to be in their homes or out of town altogether by a certain time of day, effectively criminalizing their existence outside of providing exploitable labor. Whites were taught, and fear was instilled in them, based on the circulated ideas that Black people were dangerous and posed a threat to the safety of Whites.

Today the media and courts may inquire about how a Black person could be shot dead by a police officer “who feared for his life.” Mostly White juries have been shown to side with the officers. Now in the last four months, not seven and a half decades ago, the police were called to remove two Black men who were waiting for a friend in a Philadelphia Starbucks. At another Waffle House Restaurant in Alabama, Chikesia Clemons  a Black woman who asked for the phone number to file a complaint with the restaurant’s corporate office had the police called on her to restrain her . In Oakland, California a White woman summoned the police on a group of Black people who she said were not allowed to barbecue  at the city-owned site.


In April in Toronto, Canada a restaurant owner was ordered to pay a black man $10K after asking him to prepay for meal. Staff ‘motivated by a stereotype that black persons are criminal or deviant’, says judgment. This ruling also serves to highlight a growing push in Canada to address issues of systemic racism and discrimination. While the country is hailed for its diversity and inclusion – and often compared favourably to the United States on both metrics – critics have contended that the sunny image belies a grimmer daily reality for many: Canada’s black prison population is the fastest-growing inmate demographic

and black people are disproportionately targeted in police shootings. How about the 69-year-old Black granny who was cursed and manhandled during a traffic James Legg a Georgia State Trooper

Now let us broaden the theme:

What about political plots, related to GOP state officials seeking to devise schemes to deter Black people from voting? Formerly it was the Klu Klux Klan or the poll tax that was used to achieve this goal.  Now it’s rigged voting districts, where only White and Republican voters can assure politicians hostile to civil rights a seat in a lawmaking body for years.

What about those Black children, who are said to be disruptive, having the police, rather than a staffer, summoned to deal with their behavior. They are suspended, expelled and removed from the public schools for infractions which are handled more gingerly if they were not Black. In Canada Black Torontonians have been subjected to disproportionately high rates of carding, excessive force, in-school policing and incarceration.  In other provinces school boards have streamlined Black youths to low-skill courses.  Walking, driving or shopping while Black has also been added to the new wave of hostility. . It is obvious that the mainstream culture did not get the advisory that if you encounter a Black person in a public space, especially a Black male that he is not there to rob or perpetrate other breaches to anyone’s personal safety. These Black folk may want to buy coffee, be served some fast food, check out a house in a certain area, or drive an elegant overpriced vehicle.

Blacks became a threat because they were moving forward decades after slavery ended. In fact they became so much of a threat that they had to be kept “in their place” by police or mobs. Remind you of any recent trends?  Now history is being repeated and is read as the top story on the radio or television, or emblazoned in big headlines across the front of newspapers.

Do we need a history book, documentary or the painful memories of the elderly to give today’s generations of Black people a reality check on how being in the wrong place, driving the wrong make of car, or standing up for yourself, can lead to being arrested and brutalized, as quickly today as years gone by. These events reveal to today’s Black man, woman and child, what their forefathers quickly realized just 50 or 100 years ago. Even in the face of all the earned social and racial advances, Black people are still considered the inferior and scary “other” – unwanted and to be penalized.

Blacks had better quickly and  practically determine ways to use the legal, political and economic resources available today to combat the sanctions being imposed on us for Driving, Eating, Walking, Shopping/browsing, Standing in our own yard or garage– While Black

How we respond will reveal who we are as Blacks not only in 2018 but way beyond.

But more telling is how far we have come as a people since slavery.

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  • Anthony  On 09/09/2018 at 1:08 pm

    Recently, a white female police officer shot dead a Black St.Lucian man in the USA, and she was charged with “manslaughter” and the media claimed that she was the victim of a mistaken condo unit.

    When the expats from USA, Canada, UK, China and Taiwan start living in Guyana for the oil, racism in Guyana will be like we have never seen before.

    Thousands of Afro-Guyanese who live in the Sophia and Ruimveldt area will be forced to flee their homes so that expats will construct fancy towers there.

    And laws will be made that if Jory Hector (Sophia Man) sings songs against this, he will be thrown in jail for “hate speech against Chinese, white women, expats, etc”.

    There are already clauses in the Cyberbill law where criticizing foreign oil companies is tantamount to treason!!!!

    Mark my word that racism will become worse in Guyana, if the government doesn’t protect Guyanese from a Chinese invasion.

  • Trevor  On 09/11/2018 at 9:38 pm

    Which country is safe for us now that foreigners are taking over the capital city and bringing in their elitism and racism slowly from the Marriott Hotel, and soon to come Pegasus towers?! Where!!!!

  • walter  On 09/12/2018 at 2:16 pm

    Blacks had better quickly and practically determine ways to use the legal, political and economic resources available today to combat the sanctions being imposed on us for Driving, Eating, Walking, Shopping/browsing, Standing in our own yard or garage– While Black

    How we respond will reveal who we are as Blacks not only in 2018 but way beyond.
    But more telling is how far we have come as a people …………

    So true, there are many black people in positions of power, and can and must do more, so fed up with the constant complaining. In AMERICA two very powerful forces are “Buying Power” and “Voting Power” these are in the hands of every ordinary person. USE IT times passing.

    • Trevor  On 09/12/2018 at 10:33 pm

      America had since 1963 TO FIGHT RACISM but it’s almost a losing battle because whites know how to use right-wing racism and left-wing feminism and homosexuality to destroy the African-American communities.

      Guyana needs to stand up against racism by whites and we must protect ourselves from social, economic and class apartheid by these whites.

      Once the white woman sends her stooges to corrupt our women into lesbians and combat soldiers for gender warfare, Guyana will slowly collapse socially and economically while the white woman and her white man live in the Robert Badal 15-storey Pegasus tower and the Chinese man will construct entire cities of sheer skyscrapers.

      Guyana has almost 8 billion barrels of oil, but Guyanese are afraid of what’s to come because it’s beginning to look like Angola.

  • Lionel Mann  On 09/15/2018 at 8:34 am

    Just read Trevor response to this article and am reminded of the reasons I left. How is it, in a government dominated by afro guyanese, that controls the laws, police and army, afro guyanese can think like this? It is the kind of sentiments that blames ethnicity and not corrupt governments, fuels race riots and provides an excuse for the looting and burning that follows.
    This is the true tragedy of Guyana, nothing has changed.


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