The Rev. Addie L. Wyatt – - an advocate for workers rights and civil rights – -
died Wednesday at the age of 88 after a long illness, said her adminstrative aide.
Wyatt, who was the first female president of a local chapter of the United Packinghouse Workers of America, worked with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery Improvement Association in Alabama and endured violent opposition during marches with King in Chicago in the 1960s.
“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” President Obama said in his first comments about the shooting, acknowledging the racial element in this case.
I’m sure when the news of the death of Trayvon Martin and the details that followed reached President Barack Obama’s office; his first immediate thoughts were on his two girls, Malia and Sasha.
“Obviously, this is a tradegy.” I can’t imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy. I think about my own kids,” President Obama told reporters.
President Obama went on to say:
“I think all of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that examine the laws and the content for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.”
“Every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together — federal, state and local — to figure out exactly how this tradegy happened.”
If you are an American Black, living in America, your mind automatically revert to the Civil Rights Struggles, the blood that was shed, the water hoses that were directed on your people, whose only crime was being Black and seeking to have the same rights under the law as other American citizens.
Each of us would like to think that we have made some real strides in respect to the Civil Rights of others, but if the truth is told, we have only inched our way forward with much work yet to be done. When you say or even began to speak about “Civil Rights” immediately the tension in the room permeates the atmosphere as though someone shot tear-gas in the environment.
I have worked with various nationalities my entire 30+ years in the business arena. I’ve had the fortunate pleasure of getting to know everyone from the janitors, my peers, judges, dignitaries’ and transplants from other countries. In each group of people, I’ve studied their demeanor, their culture, their personal interaction with each other as well as watch them as they simulate with the people in the United States and other nationalities.
I worked very closely with people of Hispanic backgrounds for more than 20 years. It was my observation that they were fiercely loyal to their homeland. I also discovered that some not all was taught from birth to distrust people of color. One of my close friends confided to me that when Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered she cried and her father slapped her across the face and told her that he don’t want her to ever cry for a Black man again. Even as she was saying it, I don’t think she comprehended it as much as I did, being a Black American.
I was the only Black American in my workplace for most of my adult working years. I started at a bank with the majority being Caucasian. I found their acceptance of me to be quite enlightening. They didn’t appear to judge me from the surface of my skin but rather gave me an opportunity to find my niche within the organization which I did and quickly rose the ranks.
However, when I moved on to Court Administration, where the majority was Hispanic, I encountered a very different atmosphere. I found most, not all of my peers of Hispanic origin to have a huge sense of entitlement. I found that they would constantly challenge your intelligence and would outwardly and openly make racist comments, which were known by the administration. Your civil rights were violated on a daily basis and they would look at you and laugh, as to say, “What are you going to do about it?”
My peers were so comfortable in their entitlements, that one Hispanic male told me out of exasperation, [I suspect wanting me to get with the program;] “Don’t you know that all we [he was Cuban] do is lie, cheat and steal. I was dumbfounded and waited in horror, for one of his co-workers to interject and say, “No, not me!” unfortunately, to my disbelief, I made eye contact with everyone of them in the room yet they uttered, not one word to dispute his claims. From that day to this one, I think about what he said every single day.
That day he opened my eyes into the minds of not only himself but others who were of his origin. I also worked with an employee [he was of Basque origin, Pyrenees region of Spain] that stood in my face and told me that his father told him to never with a Black man. I was his boss at the time. While I’m not a man, I am Black! After a period of time, that same employee was out on sick leave for some weeks, called my office one morning and called me the “N” word. I told my supervisor and she told me please don’t pursue charges with Human Resources, that she would take care of it.
I wanted to give you some insight and a little history lesson on being Black living in America. “It speaks to how much progress we have made and how much progress is yet to be made.”
Yes, we need to keep the discussion about civil rights front and center until no such discussion is needed. What I found out through the eyes of a “Female Black American” is that you can take a person out of a communist country but you can’t take the communist ideas and idealogy out of the person!” While they may come to this country to seek the freedoms that this country affords, there minds are still full of communist thoughts and ideas.
Less hope that truly, the cancer of racism and prejudices will be no more and that you can look at me without being blinded by the color of my skin and I can look at you without being blinded by your preconceived prejudices. Then and only then, can this country we call The United States of America reach its full potential.
Food for Thought:
“Every human being is born with a clean heart and pure spirit. No prejudices’, no preconceived ideas or thoughts of racism or hatred. Racism & Predujices’ are a “learned ” behavior!”
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