Book Excerpt – When Minorities Lead in America: A Black Theologian’s Political Journey
When Minorities Lead in America: A Black Theologian’s Political Journey
by Herman J. Fountain Jr.
Publication Date: Jan 22, 2017
List Price: $14.95
Format: Paperback, 138 pages
Parent Company: lulu.com
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Growing up in the fifties in Louisville, Kentucky, I wondered how much I was like the other kids in my neighborhood. My parents did the best they could to raise their six children to be upstanding, hardworking, law-abiding and to hopefully avoid incarceration. My mother was the drill sergeant who whipped us for small infractions. My father, a hard worker, always had two jobs, and rarely had normal conversations with us. When I was twelve it occurred to me that he only seemed interested in his children when he was about to beat us.
I was deathly afraid of him because his whippings were brutal when he was angry. Being knocked around by both parents convinced me that I was unlovable. Even today, I still remember the lyrics from a blues song by B. B. King that seemed to perfectly encapsulate my childhood. “Nobody loves me but my mother, and she could me jivin’ too.”
My dad gave my three brothers and I flat-top haircuts that we hated. Playing with my friends one day, someone asked, “Who is the ugliest of us? They picked me. These early incidents heavily influenced my thinking that I was ugly and unlovable. Many whippings and few expressions of love by my parents, coupled with friends labeling me as ugly, convinced me that people I meet in the future will see my flaws and reject me.
These experiences happened in my mostly black neighborhood, before I began interacting with white people. After hearing the stories about how badly white people treated black people, I was terrified because I was already treated badly by blacks. I couldn’t imagine how white people would treat me. Years later during a job interview, a white interviewer told me, “You should smile when being interviewed.” I had no reason to smile. I was too scared.
Almost forty years later, there are two reasons why I wrote When Minorities Lead In America. The first is because I heard a twenty-one-year-old African American woman say on television, “Slavery happened many years ago. Get over it!” My guess is that she is not aware of how discriminatory institutions and systems continue to preserve white privilege in America and oppress people who look like her.
The second reason is because the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said, Blacks should not attend the University of Texas where they may not do well, but should go to a less competitive school where they will do well. I surmised from Justice Scalia’s statement that he believed African Americans were intellectually inferior, with no consideration of the possible negative effects of the environment at the University of Texas campus.
As an African American male who attended both Historically Black (HB) universities and Historically White (HW) universities, I have insight as to why some African Americans may not perform well academically at a HW school such as the University of Texas. The racial pressures they encounter could significantly impact their ability to concentrate. This is what I experienced at HW universities and a HW seminary.
The European population is shrinking globally. In a few years White America will experience what they never dreamed of—becoming a minority. When African American, American Indian, Latino, Asian, Muslim, and all other minorities, form a cooperative voting and governing block, they will become the new majority group. In the past, white society used their majority numbers to colonize other groups, confiscate wealth, and establish privileged lifestyles for themselves.
Whites will soon find themselves in a position where they are no longer the dominant group that limits the advancement of minorities. Whites have valid reasons for concern about the treatment they might receive when “turnabout” in voter representation occurs. Members of this new voting block have long memories of mistreatment at the hands of European Americans. How will they govern?