Saturday January 21st and Sunday January 22 were historic and existential and future consequences. There were the issues of Ukraine; football, basketball history and culture.
I was invited by Joseph Gerson and attended the Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War: Social and Economic Costs of the Current Nuclear Weapons Buildup. It was a 3-hour conference via Zoom sponsored by Massachusetts Peace Action. The parade of scholars, activists, and religious leaders was most impressive.
The budget for the nuclear research advancement is 2 trillion dollars. This is supposed to win the nuclear race, but it was pointed out that the U.S. already has three times more long-range missiles than Russia and far more nuclear devices than other countries. So, if the question of winning the nuclear race, America has already won. Therefore, what is the need to win what you’ve already won? It would seem that the argument would be to cease at this point and direct the resources to human needs, which were spelled out in graphic details during the conference. Which means when all the other money and resources goes to the Pentagon more is spent for the needs of the Pentagon and not enough for the needs of the American people.
The statistics underscored that what would happen in a Nuclear war is terrifying and the causes of a nuclear war were equally terrifying. No nation, it was pointed out, would deliberately go to nuclear war. But accidents, misinterpretations, miscalculations of a nation’s intention could ignite the end of the human race.It behooves all Americans, in fact, all the peoples of the world need to unite and become active at whatever level they can.
We invite you to attend our organizing meeting this Saturday, January 28th 2023. One of the issues will be War and Peace and another issue which poses a threat some would say, and even more of a potential for annihilation-climate change.
Football and the lessons of African American History and Culture
This weekend was football heaven for the lovers of the sport. Two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday. These were semi-finals and the winners of these games will play for the championship of their respective leagues next Sunday 1/29. And the winners of those two games will meet for the SuperBowl.
On Saturday, the Jacksonville Jaguars were defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs; the New York Giants were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles; and then Sunday, the Buffalo Bills were defeated by the Cincinnati Bengals. While most people of the world, I suspect, were rooting for the Buffalo Bills since the near- injury death of Lamar Hamlin who was injured in a prior game between the two teams. The Dallas Cowboys were defeated by the San Francisco 49ers and they will play Philadelphia next Sunday.
So at the end of the weekend it means that in one league Cincinnati Bengals will play the Kansas City Chiefs and in the other league the San Francisco 49ers will play the Philadelphia Eagles. The winners will play for the SuperBowl.
Now, I must confess that when I’m asked my favorite teams, I become race conscious. A long time ago when I was a youngster, I would put pictures of football players up on the wall in my bedroom. My oldest brother Lonnie came into the room and studied the pictures as he said, “where are the black players? I don't see any Black players” and I looked and didn’t see any either. Then I went searching for Black football players and I found Kenny Washington, Jackie Robinson, who was playing at UCLA. (As I later researched the dates and players, Levi Jackson was at Yale 1946.)
I started looking for not only Black football players but for Black people in every endeavor. I’m 92 now (for those who understand I’m 93) and I have vigorously been looking for people of African Ancestry all over the world in every position of life.
First, in football I looked for ownership, are there any Black owners of a professional football team? No. Then you look for the executive director, that is the person who is responsible for all that happens with the football teams. In other words, they're in charge of the football operations. To my knowledge, I don’t know of any in charge of football operations. Then I go down to the playing field, are there any black coaches?
And there are no black coaches of the present teams that have been mentioned. Then I go to the coordinators of defense or offense. They stand next to the coach and usually they are picked for coaching jobs. There are coordinators on the San Francisco and Kansas City Chiefs. Then I go to the quarterbacks, they are on the playing field generals. The quarterback is considered intelligent, tough, creative, physically agile, and strong. Of the present teams, there is one quarterback on the Philadelphia Eagles and another of African origin on the Kansas City Chiefs.
For those of us particularly this weekend football, and all of life to be relatively conscious is to be in search of Black people all the time. Of course, you will immediately recognize our change in James Baldwin's statement from “To be Black in America and relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”
But to be Black in America and to be relatively conscious is to be in search of Black people - ALL THE TIME.