One of the very first lessons that Black parents share with their children is one dealing with and helping them to recognize America’s propensity to employ double standards almost always for the benefit of Whites. We tell them stories that have since become legends where Blacks have faced all kinds of injustice and undue scrutiny, no matter how much money they may have accumulated, how impressive their academic and intellectual pedigrees may be, how shiny their mantel of social status may appear — even the non-Black acquaintances with whom they may have once spent most of their time, falsely believing that they had “arrived” and could safely discard their Black skin, Black consciousness and ages-old limits forced upon us simply because we were or are Black.
Jack Johnson and O.J. Simpson learned this the hard way just like Bill Cosby has in more recent years. Like countless others, they forgot the lessons their parents taught them, believing the hype instead. So, don’t be fooled by the propaganda or the intentionally-devised smoke screens all of which lead to one purpose: keeping Black America from recognizing fact from fiction and truth from lies.
As the midterm elections draw near, we urge our community to keep their eyes on the prize, to register to vote, to do their own homework about each and every candidate and to refrain at all costs the tendency to accept the accusations, innuendoes and conclusions offered by those who have never had our best interests at heart.
On the national scene, we see the double standards that allowed the recent presidential election to proceed without the normal level of intense scrutiny of the candidates. Now, as a young man from Miami, the current mayor of Tallahassee, stands at the precipice of becoming his state’s first Black governor, a rarely-discussed yearlong investigation by a grand jury concerning public corruption has suddenly become the topic of the day.
Like Donald Trump, who has refused to dispel all rumors on a laundry list of concerns and tell U.S. citizens the unadulterated truth about any connections that may have been or continue to be maintained with associates, colleagues or contracted workers for hire who have since been charged with, admitted to and found guilty of breaking the law, Florida’s Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nominee, Mayor Andrew Gillum, now finds himself in a potentially similar conundrum.
We cannot say if Gillum’s past or present connections to or friendship with one or more lobbyists who allegedly posed as real estate developers, some even presumed to be FBI agents who have since disappeared, proves that he attempted to secure advantages, including wealth or prestige, through unethical or illegal means. We do not know if he may have gotten into bed with some bad folks, criminals, due to poor judgment rather than intention and has since been about diffusing the cloud ominously hanging over his head, his administration and his city.
What we can say, however, is that in a country where double standards are as common as baseball and apple pie, Blacks are presumed guilty first — Whites instead enjoy the presumption of innocence, even if a bevy of convincing evidence and witnesses surrounds them.
So, while we remain adamant in our desire for truth and justice, and in our belief that the truth will ultimately set us free, we cannot condone potential witch hunts aimed at Blacks that have the potential to destroy reputations or derail political aspirations in which victory would be of more benefit to the dispossessed and marginalized in the alleviation of their suffering than to America’s privileged.
Lest we forget, the District has already witnessed this kind of undertaking before. Just ask former D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray. We’re sure he’ll be able to provide you with greater perspective and clarity.
Finally, what did Gillum’s Trump-endorsed Republican opponent, Rep. Ron DeSantis, really have in mind when he said, immediately after the results of the primary race had been posted, that Florida’s voters would “monkey this up” if they elected Gillum for governor?