If you’re reading this, you have a mother or you wouldn’t be here. If your mom is not living, then you know this is the time of year when every American thinks of that one woman, her impact on his or her life, her relationship with the man known as your father AND what they taught you about life.
Subjects I vowed to skip as often as possible when defining High Heels & Hot Flashes are the subjects of race, politics and religion. But today I break my own rules. For those who know my family since we were children, for those I met in high school and college and for those I met along the professional road, this will not come as a surprise to you.
My siblings and I grew up as African American children in a diverse suburban New Jersey family home with a backyard and two parents. By social standards, we were considered “Haves”. We were not poor, hungry or without shoes. We had it all, including college educations paid for by our parents. Perhaps the most upscale character in our family however, was the insistence that we live right, live clean, get an education and stand up for ourselves with our heads up. In our case, situations didn’t always include race or sex or religion, but if they did, we were taught to be ready. One of the last things my mother said to me hours before she passed several years ago was: “Don’t let the boys forget me and keep it on the family channel”. She was talking about her nephews but I didn’t get the family channel thing and I told her. She told me, as she always did, that I would figure it out and I did. This subject this Mother’s Day weekend is about Betsy DeVos, Edison Jackson and FOX news.
Our Mom would say: “Who is Edison Jackson and anybody else at Bethune Cookman University to invite someone to speak who is clearly faking it for political gain?”
Mom would also say: “It’s bad enough the Presidential election went down the toilet, but the appointment of Betsy DeVos was the next slap in the face.”
Mom DID say many times, as did most of my family and friends: “We don’t do FOX “
Surely FOX has tried to change it’s racist image by scheduling more “BLACK” shows, but the following is FOX’s headline about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaking at Bethune Cookman’s graduation as the graduating students jeered and turned their backs on her:
FOX NEWS: “Students shame Bethune-Cookman by ‘acting the fool at graduation’”.
(Fox must have taken a page from Shaquille O’Neal’s sports analysis show entitled: “Shaqtin A Fool”. Not good, racist overtones and the phrase itself is nothing but a kick in the a.. at slang created by African Americans. Taking phrases and fist bumps and other cultural things is “The American Way”. Apparently, using it to demean ethnic cultures is also “The American Way”. Not acceptable!!!)
Mom would say: “What does that racist, sexist network think it’s doing with a trashy headline like that. This country will never change. In fact it only gets worse.” Yes, I know what my mother would say because she spent a lifetime letting us know what she would say. She lived to see Barack Obama serve a full term and she screamed at the racist pundits in the news everyday. Her funniest nickname was the one she gave Mitch McConnell. I intend to write all about my mother TOMORROW.
So, as someone who was college educated in the 70’s through many political and social demonstrations at colleges, I would be amiss if I didn’t say that my generation and my parents generation loudly applaud the 2017 graduating class of Bethune-Cookman for turning their backs on Betsy DeVos . That 213 year old Historically Black College had no business turning to the Trump Administration for a speaker with so many living Alumni who have made names for themselves. The embarrassing man Edison Jackson, at the helm of that school, should have never been hired and once he threatened to withhold the student’s degrees because they didn’t want to hear Betsy DeVos, his desk should have been cleaned out for him. Betsy DeVos accepted the invitation because, like so many people on and off FOX, in and out of my life both school and work and others, she THOUGHT the passive reputation of African American people would happen there. She THOUGHT because she was in Florida at a school that has also based its reputation on religion, that these black students would be on their knees grateful for her presence. Well, surprise Madame! You just witnessed the black family channel turning up the volume because this ongoing multi-generational racial battle took a backseat, at least for a minute. However, we know that what our ancestors suffered and what they tried to teach us as a result, came to fruition in May, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida. The black family channel is proud.
And by the way, we’re not alone. More than 200 college professors have signed off on a letter written by two college professors in North Carolina to the students at Bethune Cookman. These professors also know their parents would be proud of them for supporting the students who stood up and turned their backs. All of our ancestors would have done the same thing, had it not been for the tragic punishments they would have suffered. As a people we have been so beat down, abused, under paid or not paid at all, laughed at, ignored, disrespected and always “preached to” by white people. Those students decided to say: “Not today and not in my house”. It brings me to tears as I write these lines because, as my former colleagues know, I have left hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table to protect my dignity. Watching those students, I could only think: “YES they did”.
For the education of those of you who don’t get it or don’t care like FOX NEWS, here is a copy of the letter to the students with the list of professors. Keep it for your American History archives. This IS our family channel and like it or not, it IS your future. So yes Mom, I hear ya’ ©
by Dianne Thompson ® comments welcome at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org