In Memoriam: Jerome Allen

Posthumous Reprint: Racial Uprising

Featured, History & Politics

When Black Is first originated in 2007, it was a tiny operation that was held together by myself and a friend, Nneka Hall. At the time, we did what we could to create a monthly e-publication and leaned on our loved ones to assist us. Nneka’s partner, Jerome Allen, was one of those loved ones, and most recently we lost him in a fatal car crash. In his memory, I am reposting the first article he wrote for Black Is. I recall him sending several revisions; he wanted to ensure it was a perfect first piece, which for me was a testament to his character. Jerome, you will be greatly missed.

The long standing relationship between blacks and whites in America has been a tumultuous one mired by the events of colonial slavery (16th – 19th century) and 20th century Jim Crow. But as we approach the end of the 1st decade of the 2nd millennium, most figure we are beyond such racist and malicious acts. I say think again. A multitude of cases have sprung renewed life into the racial tension that exist between the two, most notably the unjust prosecution of the young men of Jena Louisiana. While other events range from the widespread hanging of nooses around the country to the marking of a swastika on the body of a deaf black student, racism has reminded us that it is going nowhere anytime soon. With emotions rising high, we must work to find a resolution or become participants (willing or unwilling) in a repeat of racial uprising.

The array of incidents involving blacks and whites has invoked the spirits of the past, which was prevalent at the march in Jena last month. As one news report stated, ‘it was a page out the fifties and sixties…’ The reason why this statement is more than just an analogy is because we are still those people from the fifties and sixties. Both blacks and whites. We carry the genes of our ancestors, therefore they are always with and within us. So when we are faced with similar actions of the fifties and sixties, this reveals the associated emotions that are consistent with our treatment. But when we take to the streets, we are labeled as bitter and angry, rather than the justice seekers we are. We are told to get over the past, but my response to that would be to ask a rape victim if their rapist raped them repeatedly, then returned year after year to commit the same act, would they get over it.

We need to go no further than the internet to find out how people of opposing sides view the latest affairs between the rival races. While the majority of the backlash has been directed towards blacks, it calls into question whether whites actions are perceived as innocent and justified. One site in particular seems to think so: www.overthrow.com. As we witness the behavior exemplified by these types of people, we must ask, “Where do we go from here?” What do we do to avoid a repeat of the sixties?

As it is apparent that these problems have and still do exist, the only solution is one which is rooted in the repair of the relationship. I contend that there are three keys to the success of this quest. First, a willingness on both sides to sit down and discuss the issues. Second, open admission to the contribution to the detriment of the relationship. Third, a concrete agenda aimed at ridding the country of this ailment now as well as in the future.

The main problem has been that we have yet to make it to the first step in the process. Blacks have argued that whites won’t answer the call, while whites suggest an informal apology is a suitable settlement. While both sides will justify their position, what remains is a lack of bonafide communication. And without proper communication, no relationship can survive. The origin of the problem must be examined, otherwise problematic situations will be doomed to repeat themselves. And if that’s the case, our best bet is to be prepared to go to war.

One Comment on "In Memoriam: Jerome Allen"

  1. Tara May 25, 2011 · 12:25 pm

    I am just shocked….Jerome was not just talented but a very kind man. I had heard so much about him before even meeting him in person…I got the opportunity to meet him a few months back…we talked about ideas I had and what I wanted to do and he was very positive even when I was negative….even when I thought they were stupid ideas…he was that type of person…he wanted me to go for what I wanted and get a solid game plan and we were supposed to discuss over coffee whenevr I happened to be in LA…we never got the chance to have that coffee…

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