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It’s Still Racism; It’s A Hate Crime, People

Brandi Worley is the author of the Crumb Snatchers series. She’s an award-winning journalist and inspiring motivational speaker.

Reprint from “Her Reaction to a Racist” @Rap Rehab By Brandi Worley

@BrandiWorley

My Story…

On Sept. 18, 2012, I was one of two black women who experienced a violent, senseless, racist, physical and verbal attack by Grand Isle, La. resident and business owner Josh Jambon. As a trained journalist, I employed myself to think, think and think. Then I rationalized his act was an unjust that could not go under the rug. I proceeded to think like all the gifted journalists before me and did as they would do.

I made a bold decision to press “record” on the camera in my phone and was brought to hell; sacrificed down to the lowest of lows.

I tried to figure out why it happened. I literally asked myself, “I’m a writer who was just there to make honest money to support my writing habit … how do I piece myself back together and how do I carry on?”

Co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Huey P. Newton

I always believed if I were born in the 1950s, I would have been a Black Panther. I’ve even told my close friends I would have been a Panther because its co-founder Huey P. Newton is from my home state of Louisiana. He would have signed me up too, because I just know he would have respected my intelligence and pride in my “black uniqueness.”

It was the Black Panthers’ philosophy and mantra outlined in its Ten-Point Program that endorsed socioeconomic and political reform, not militant, unintelligent violence as once declared by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and those of his likeness.  The “black” ideology of education, health care, employment, clothing, land and other social reorganization and reparation attracted me to become a student of the works of those associated with the Movement. Hence, I soaked up the works of Newton and fellow activists such as Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, Elbert Howard, Geronimo Pratt, Angela Davis, Afeni Shakur and Tupac Shakur.

Their stories attracted me and my soul because I know how important it is to be a black woman who lives in the United States and well-versed in our history. That history includes Blacks being beaten with clubs, hit with fists, sprayed by high-pressure water hoses, sicced by German Shepherds, spat by cowards, threatened by ignorance and shot or killed by the evil.

I thought those days were over and we were living in the newer form of quiet racism: the unspoken kind that is done behind closed doors; a quiet racism that happens everyday around the country.

Everyday, talented, educated blacks, such as me, are disrespected. We are denied promotions, terminated or not even given consideration for employment in the first place. If we are forcefully employed through ‘diversity programs,’ companies casually employ slick moves to decrease working hours. So though you may be gainfully employed, you’re not gaining enough money and you gain the inclination to quit. They instigate chaos by creating lies and rumors. They blackball us so we find difficulty in getting another job. They incarcerate us. They ensure our educational institutions are improperly funded. They limit our resources. They give us less and expect more.

I opine the blatant disrespect they have for us is prevalent in the music industry. It’s a pertinent reason why certain songs are played with such repetition on urban radio stations. The heads of these record labels, particularly Sony, Warner Brothers, EMI Group and Universal, only choose that we hear gangster, misogynistic, violent music instead of anything uplifting. Because they know how music can change cultures, and anything to uplift the Black culture is forbidden. So let’s sign Chief Keef and put him on a bigger platform to get more violence out.

Racial disregard is so deeply rooted in Hollywood, we can only win awards if we play the bad guy or slave well.

We do everything right. We go to college. We keep a neat and clean appearance. We play the part by not being “too ethnic,” so we don’t don the braids, dreadlocks or cornrows. We articulately relay politeness, kindness and honesty. We work hard. Yet, they still keep you from being successful.

They always have the upper hand.

I wept my heart out to a close friend because I now need help for myself and my decision not to retaliate. I knew I had to go back to my neighborhood, a place where everyone knows if someone hits you, pushes you or spits on you, you hit them back. I constantly thought about how folks there were going to lament me for not fighting back.

She advised me. “Brandi, that was your Black Panther moment when you decided to pull out your camera and record. You held on to that camera no matter the cost. You could have lost the evidence. There would be no help for those women, no story.”

She then hit me with a subtle, yet powerful reminder.

“The Panthers didn’t always fight back physically with their muscle,” she said. “They used their intelligence.”

Brandi’s story:

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