Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Decoding the color question in United States: Afri-centric Anlysis

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
February 05, 2014

Now that the world famous America's super bowl is over and the season has ended, it is a propos to revisit the anomalous decision by the management of the National Football League (NFL) to designate 6 January 2014 as "Black Monday" because of the "mass firing" of five head coaches.

The salient truism is that almost all the fired head coaches are White. Ergo, shouldn't this day have been designated White Monday? What's wrong with this picture? Such a designation would have not only been more appropriate but also most realistic.

The fact of the matter is that the Commissioner of the NFL and the vast majority of the owners are not Black; neither is the Commissioner of the National Basketball association (NBA). In addition, the vast majority of head coaches and quarter backs in the NFL is not Black. The vast majority of head coaches in the NBA is also not Black.

On the flip side, the following historical/crucial/vital questions immediately come to the fore to be dealt with : Why isn't the unfortunate and sad shooting of then President Abraham Lincoln in Ford's theatre in Washington, D.C., on 14 April 1865 described as a White Day? Why isn't the sad and unfortunate attempt to assassinate then President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C., on 30 March 1981 designated a White Day? Why isn't the unfortunate and sad shooting of the President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on 22 November 1963 described as a White Day? Why isn't the first, sad and unfortunate resignation of a sitting President Richard Nixon on 9 August 1974 described as a White Day? Why isn't the sad and unfortunate impeachment of then President Bill Clinton by the House of Representatives on 19 December 1998 designated as a White Day? Why isn't the sad and unfortunate shooting/killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman on 26 February 2012 described as a White Day? Why aren't both "one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history" that occurred at Columbine High School on 20 April 1999 and the massacre at a Colorado High School on 13 December 2013 designated as White Days? Why is it that when a White NBA management team fires a Black head coach that day isn't described as a White Day? and finally, according to the official US 2012 population census data, Black Americans account for only 13.1 per cent; can one, therefore, exrapolate a la NFL's "Black Monday" minority firing of head coaches that America is a Black nation?

Indeed, now that a Black man has been duly elected and re-elected as the 44th President of the United States of America, it is a sine qua non that all Americans should be a bit more cautious and sensitive when they apply the label Black to certain situations, instances and events that occur in every day life.

Put another way, now is the most opportune time for all Americans to cast aside/reject the notion that any and every time something either goes wrong or array/malfunctions or is deemed negative or illegal or even if a human tragedy occurs as in people losing their jobs, then, the label Black should be applied as in "Black ice" or "Black Monday."

In the era of an African-American President of the United States, now is the time for all Americans, including those in the print and radio/television news and sports media to delete from their jargon, lexicon and repertoire, the following: "Black Monday" to describe "the blackest days of the Great Crash of 1929" , the "Black Hole" to describe "the structural calamity in the (US) Defense Department's procurement contract program" and "Black Friday" to reflect "the biggest sales generator of the (holiday) season."

The fact of the matter is that neither the vast majority of the profitable retailers nor customers/shoppers is Black on "Black Friday" in the United States during the Christmas shopping season.

In addition, the so-called "Black Box" in the case of a sad and unfortunate airline tragedy/mishap is originally yellow and orange in color. It is never Black in color, even when severely damaged. What's wrong with this picture?

It should also be fully explained that the official US government's technical name for this aircraft monitoring instrument is the "flight data recorder". Ipso facto, the logical question that immediately comes to the fore is: Why and how, then, is this instrument suddenly called/labeled the "Black Box" when something goes wrong/malfunctions?

In the final analysis, now is the time for a new dawn of positive human interaction. As the slain African-American Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once issued this poignant, apocalyptic admonition : "Now the judgement of God is upon us; we must either learn to live as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools."

Shem Hotep ("I go in Peace").

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is Professor Emeritus, Department of Pan African Studies, Kent State University, U.S.A.

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