A MESSAGE FROM THE AAECF CO-CHAIR -
PROFESSOR JAMES BANKS
(please read in it's entirety)
The Twin Pandemics:
On behalf of the African American Educational and Cultural Festival Inc. I agree the Pandemic of Racism that has been around for generations is an insidious one. Sean Bell, Ahmadou Dialo, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and George Floyd are evidence enough to say ENOUGH!!
This nation has declared war on poverty, war on drugs, and even war on crime, but never a war on crimes against blacks. Our nation was founded on and by people who enslaved Africans to build it, Native Americans driven from their lands and subject to Genocide and even more recently, the demonizing and ostracizing of Latin people at our borders. Yet we supposedly live by the Credo that “All Men Are Created Equal.”
We Blacks know there will never be a credible response to the tragic Pandemic of Racism in America until the disparities in diverse leadership of those who control the narrative of socialization are modified. Just look at who determines our intake of information and experiences - who directs input. For example, look at the following truths according to author Susan DeAngelis: News show Presenters 90 % white. The Book Authors 90% white. Our Teachers 82% white. Full-time College Professors 84% white. Of the 100 top grossing films 95% were produced and directed by whites. The President’s Cabinet 91% white. Owners of Professional Football teams 97% white. Books published 90% are by whites. Of the 10 richest men in the world 7 who are Americans, 100% are white.
The Top Military Advisors are 100% white
Now listing these stats is not to suggest all these folks are bad, but they control the narrative consumed and experienced from Main Street to Wall Street, and from New York to California. Additionally, due to both economic segregation and resulting Structural Racism, some have very little exposure to people of color and are often mislead and uninformed throughout the course of their lives. Speaking of courses, many can go through their lives without education or class on Racism.
So how else will the leaders of all those primary organizations learn about these things and change the narrative to one that is informed and thereby sensitive to the plight of African Americans and other people of color? Education alone won’t do it.
All of us need to face these enemies called the mystified White Supremacy and also White Fragility, but first, we must be open to introspection and ownership of the consequences of ignorance, defensiveness, and miseducation. We need to right the wrongs of economic and health care disparities. Hell, those are even fuel for why the minorities are suffering from the COVID 19 Pandemic.
Finally, the last recruitment cycle I participated in the recruitment of potential minority officers by organizing and/or teaching test preparation courses for 60 candidates located on all 3 campuses for 8 consecutive weeks. The goal is to help diversify the la enforcement of Suffolk County. This is an incremental start in getting minorities in leadership positions. - getting people of color as officers on the force.
I want to acknowledge Gerome Bell and the late Mathew Moore for their assistance and work in recruitment and teaching. We would not have been able to run classes on all 3 campuses without them.
In my opinion, the bandaid placed on in response to George Floyd is a necessary but temporary fix. We need to do more!
The time for Social Justice is always Right Now!
Sincerely, James " Dr. Love" Banks, LCSW-R, CCH - Co-Chair, AAECF, Inc.
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