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After watching recent episodes of Jeopardy, I had a real Aha moment.

Approximately every two out of six episodes had at least one category related to African Americans.  The rest of the game board categories contained a combination of academic subjects such as spelling or mathematics and a host of random facts regarding White American interests and/or other history.

To my chagrin, I noticed that each time a category regarding all things African American was included, it was prefaced by the words: African American this or African American that.  The same was not true for other categories.  In fact, the other categories in the game were labeled quite differently and often quite humorously.

I further noted that even when all the answers pertaining to the other categories in the game were regarding White authors, White actors, etc., the categories were never labeled as White Authors or While Actors or White Philosophers.  Author, Actor or Historian were enough.

Why?

Why did and do questions relating to African Americans have to be singled out and specified…both on the show and in life?

Inevitably, after THE category (because it was only one) specifically​ labeled as African American this or African American  that was completed, the remainder of the game board contained information specific to situations celebrated, revered or sometimes even considered less appreciated by white America.  But, regardless of the associated emotion—from love to abject horror—the topics were merely categorized as History, Actors, 18th Century Authors, etc., with only the locations to give them away.

I had no other choice but to, once again, conclude that anyone versed in “White” History—or, as it is usually called, “History” in general—can do well on this particular type of game show as well  SAT/ACT exams and the like, since these mandatory tests are little more than mini-episodes of Jeopardy, minus the musical interlude and snappy comebacks from the host.

However, if that same individual focused on historical matters pertaining to their own history or race of people, they would not do nearly as well in any of these things.  In fact, they would probably not even be considered bright.

Militant maybe…even hateful.  But bright wouldn’t be listed.

Meanwhile, White Americans can and do finish school having learned barely anything about African Americans other than the occasional Black History Month studies.  And let’s face it, even if that is adhered to, it often showcases the same Blacks—e.g. Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Charles Drew, etc.—or emphasizes African American athletes and entertainers over the past and present-day contributions of African Americans to Science and Technology.

In 2017, students can finish school with minimal knowledge of African American life while it remains mandatory for these same students to know almost every facet of “White” life in order to be successful on any level of society…including game shows.

And what galls me even more is that, even when African Americans were directly involved in “White history,” we are still overlooked and left out of the history books.  The movie Hidden Figures is just one outstanding example of the squashing of African American contributions to America.  There are many, many others.  Somehow, the story regarding the Space program is included in American History.  However, the African American females integral to the mission were omitted!

Why?

Was this an innocent oversight or a deliberate attempt to white out (pun intended) the contributions of African Americans to society?

I’ll take “deliberate attempt to white out African American contributions to society” for 1000, Alex!

I guess we’ll just shuck and jive or play a few quarters while White Americans make history.

Can anybody hear me?

Contrary to popular belief, terrorism and the threat of terrorism are not new phenomena.  In fact, terror attacks are, in a big way, the very reason we’re speaking today.  Think about it, the fact that the United States of America is even a country is as a direct result of the invasion and conquering of other lands and people by European settlers, who then called them their own.  In the history books, this process is lovingly referred to as colonization.  At least, that’s what it’s called by the culprit.  Just for one moment, try to imagine how the peoples being invaded felt.  Imagine being attacked and decimated, having your families tortured or used for sport and watching your homes burn to the ground.  Imagine succumbing to diseases you had never even heard of due to being given infected blankets or injured by strange weapons never seen before.  I think we can safely assume that the individuals being colonized were not willing participants and did not view the process as a blessing.  Thus, battles ensued.  Blood was shed.  Lives were lost.

But more than the overwhelming loss of life was the loss of the culture of the inhabitants of the conquered lands.  Whatever ideals, religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs, customs etc., that were a part of the conquerors’ world were now imposed on the remaining individuals that survived the physical slaughter.  I don’t think it is farfetched to say that these same citizens had to have experienced extreme trauma, major distress and mental illness after being forced to abandon everything they ever knew or believed on the threat of death.

Now, imagine this same scenario being repeated and played out from sea to shining sea.  The trauma imposed upon the conquered occupants who were oftentimes members of thriving civilizations before being colonized was completely ignored.   Honorable mention to the raping and pillaging that ensued.  But, depending on your vantage point, the success or failure of each mission changes.

Try to imagine conquered peoples having to live through and with these situations without reparations or apology!

Fast forward to today and the script is being flipped!  The former conquests are now becoming the conquerors!

For the first time in history, the colonizers are getting firsthand knowledge of the fear and helpless rage that their conquests have lived.  Now, the former master is being threatened, confined and controlled by forces who have a totally different belief system.  For the first time, the former conqueror is afraid…and rightly so.   After all, he is dealing with a rising group of people who believe that their way of life is both accurate and mandatory.  To that end, they are willing to kill or be killed.

The former colonizer finds himself unprepared to deal with this new threat.  So, amazingly, he solicits members of other societies that he previously colonized to take on HIS latest enemy.  By convincing them that they are being threatened as well, he feels that he can get them to be willing to die in his stead.

And why not?  He’s done it before!

He sends them to boot camps and other training camps designed to strengthen his cause.  He convinces those that he has consistently terrorized to assist him in terrorizing his future conquests.  He uses inclusive words such as “us” and “we” when discussing the threats  —  ones that are actually aimed at dethroning HIM!   Once graduated, the reformed members now use words such as “us” and “we,” seemingly forgetting that they were previously as much of a “they,” “them” and “those people” as their new enemies.  As such, they are now ready to die for a country that never even considered them human beings!

And then you have people like me.  As all this is going on, we’re here encouraging others to live by the words of Tonto when he addressed the Lone Ranger after the latter’s frantic statement that “they” needed to hurry to escape from the natives who were pursuing them.

Can anybody hear me?