Sistas On Fire

The Heat Is On!

In high school, I read and studied a book called Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther. In the book, Gunther shares insights on what it means to live by, parodoxically, examining what it means to die.

One can suffer a worse death than the physical, I think.

Last week, several African American female professors at Nassau Community College received a written death threat. The death threat oozed with the stink of racial slurs and stereotypes. The letter was violent enough in nature to make the professors fear for their safety.

Of course, the letter was anonymous, because people who write death threats are cowards. In addition, even as they tingle with the momentary sense of power in anticipation of shattering someone else's sense of security and safety, they secretly know there is no honor in such a sleazy, slimy act. Even as one feels relief in releasing bile from one's stomach, the act is still disgusting, so disgusting that one is mortified to do it publicly and usually seeks privacy.

Therefore, I am confident that the coward who wrote the death threat had a fleeting, if any, pleasure in it. And those who eat hate for breakfast, will surely get nauseous again!!!

Yet, this shameful event is as much about the lack of publicity and public outrage as it is about the sicko who incited it! A week later, the majority of the College and the surrounding community remain uninformed! And I want to know why is that? Why are we more likely to know what is happening in the Jolie-Pitt backyard than our own?

This is the kind of shituation that has had the tendency to frustrate me and then haunt me. However, I have managed to find some relief in the creation of Sistas on Fire! The play is not just merely a vehicle to pontificate about social injustice....it is also meant to publicize it! It is sad how uninformed the average person is about the social injustices, great and small, that make American's title "Land of the Free" a misnomer.

Like I say in Dead, but Not Silent (which discusses the lack of publicity about the execution of Frances Newton, the first African American woman to be executed since 1869), I really don't care that YOU (America) don't care about me. I don't care that if the professors were white male, the College would be well-informed and mobilized by now. I don't care that the department chair's reaction to the letter was mild at best. I don't care becaue I hadI pretty much figured out that little value is placed on the lives of African American women.

I simply want to thank the hateful, racist, and sexist cowards of the world for motivating me even more. They are so stupid that they don't realize their actions are now having the opposite effect! The letter was intended to create fear and thus subdue the rising tide of black achievers. My frustration, and that of many, has led to political and social movement fueled by the urgency these....running out of non-four letter words to describe them...LOL...degenerates create.

Farrah Gray, the African American man who became a millionaire at age fourteen, said something in his book Reallionaire that I post as a recurring note on my calendar: "Comfort is the enemy of achievement." It is with this truism in mind that we should move forward, letting this incident be the start instead of the stop it was intended to be.

Views: 17

Comment by Elisa Buxton-Lloyd on May 5, 2010 at 8:26am
Marcia, I co-sign with you on your thoughts. “I simply want to thank the hateful, racist, and sexist cowards of the world for motivating me even more. They are so stupid that they don't realize their actions are now having the opposite effect! The letter was intended to create fear and thus subdue the rising tide of black achievers. My frustration, and that of many, has led to political and social movement fueled by the urgency these....running out of non-four letter words to describe them...LOL...degenerates create.”
We are constantly being challenged by the haters. Haters have no color. Their behavior towards positive people helps us to grow more productive.It helps us to teach our children how to cope in the world we live in. It is called survival.
Comment by Carol Gilliam on May 8, 2010 at 10:35am
When I read Marcia's essay "Death Threat, Be not Proud", I had to send a comment. I had just read parts of a new book by Sheri Parks entitled, Fierce Angels, the Strong Black Woman in American Life and Culture. This book exposes the overwhelming emotional costs-- as well as the benefits--attached to this role. Yes, indeed we all know a strong Black woman. She is twined throughout the branches in our family trees. She's my mother, grandmother, aunt, teacher, and even my college professor! She's all around us. On this Mother's Day, 2010, we salute all "fierce angels" who continue the struggle to be loved, outspoken, recognized and respected. We can evoke great change! We are worthy daughters of "Mother" Harriet Tubman and many, many more.
Carol Gilliam, Blk. Heritage Librarian, The Roosevelt Public Library
Comment by Marcia L. McNair on May 25, 2010 at 6:02pm
Thanks for your thoughtful comments Carol and Elisa! I just wanted to let you know that the investigation is still underway. I will not say more right now, but I am certain this individual will be caught.
Comment by Renee on June 8, 2010 at 6:47pm
^5.

I'm wondering what this person expected to accomplish by their writings? Did they expect staff to not show up for work or to just quit? Ignorance may be bliss but hatred is soooo ugly.

In this day and age many would think happenings such as this were a thing of the past. I know hatred is nothing new, and I'm not one of those who believes that it no longer exists. Unfortunately, I've experienced it even within my own race. Nonetheless, I do believe that progression is what fuels this fool's (4-letter word, LOL!) anger. He/she is obviously passionate about his belief and I find solace in knowing that RECIPROCITY IS DUE to every being. I don't have to witness it nor hear about the repercussion as I believe he/she will receive their just due.

Within my area a situation which is racially driven is brewing. Because both instances are concerning those in the Education field it makes me wonder just what is happening in the background. A brief summary goes like this: One position for advancement that three educator's are interested in and ultimately apply for. Three people consist of 1 white female and 2 black males. The 2 black males were called in for 2nd interview in which one of them was offered the position. White female lost her current position entirely at the school and after becoming knowledgeable of next years placement she's now screaming Sexual Harrassment being inflicted by the same 2 black males. All of it is nonsense. She has changed her story several times and is supposedly stating the harassment is based on visual assault....nothing verbal, no touching. In addition she claims the harassment ocurred more than 2yrs ago. Apparently most staff at the school especially these 2 men did not get along with this woman and they purposely attempted to avoid her because of her nasty disposition. Mainly they felt and were aware of her hate. My belief is in the end the School Board will allow her to keep her position, and shift all of them to different schools. Causing the guy who was hired for the new position to miss out on his advancement. No one can reverse the hands of time and undo the public humility being felt by these men.

Situations like the one I described are increasingly popular tactics of haters.
Comment by Marcia L. McNair on June 15, 2010 at 9:28am
Renee, I like your use of the word "tactics" because it increases awareness. Often, even well-meaning liberals are confused by the covert nature of these situations. It's our duty to out the passive aggressive racists out there! They've gone underground because their behavior is no longer outwardly acceptable. Yet, we can't let them get away with the subterfuge. Their tactics are only a temporary fix, because they have actually outted themselves with their behavior. Eventually these folks self-destruct or implode out of guilt. In other words, this chick dug her own grave. Stand by and spit on it when she throws the last shovel of dirt on herself.
Comment by Marcia L. McNair on June 15, 2010 at 9:35am
Oh, I forgot to add this, and it clarifies my response to Renee: Around the time of the incident at Nassau, I kept running into a professor whom I hadn't seen in years. She was always chain smoking, and I was shocked because like, er, isn't she in the Nursing Department? Isn't that a HEALTH field? I started me wondering what she was so damned nervous about (I had no clue of the death threat incident at the time). After I heard about the death threats, I started to connect the dots...Now I'm not saying this person did it, but I do feel she was involved or had some kind of knowledge which was plaguing her. I don't believe in coincidences. Like I said, I had not seen her for years and only started running into her, though we teach in the same building in the mornings, around the time of the incident! I truly believe in what goes around comes around. Now this doesn't mean we should kick back and not take action, but it does mean that we should not get caught up in retribution or discouraged by the long amount of time it usually takes to bring these folks to justice.
Comment by Elisa Buxton-Lloyd on June 15, 2010 at 10:47am
Marcia, I want to share a positive message that was sent to me recently, It has helped me to deal with many issues I have come accross in my work life, it helps me to stay focus and not on external forces.

The Funeral-

One day all the employees reached the office and they saw a big sign on
the door on which was written: Yesterday, the person who has been hindering your growth in this company passed away. We invite you to join the funeral in the room that has been prepared in the gym.

In the beginning, they all got sad for the death of one of their colleagues, but after a while they started getting curious to know who was that who hindered the growth of his colleagues and the company itself.

The excitement in the gym was such that security agents were ordered to control the crowd within the room. The more people reached the coffin, the more the excitement heated up. Everyone thought: 'Who is this person who was hindering my progress?" Well, at least they died!'

One by one the thrilled employees got closer to the coffin, and when they looked inside it, they suddenly became speechless. They stood nearby the coffin, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul. Lord, I could not wait my turn to look into that coffin. As I nervously approached it, I looked inside and was also speechless for there inside the coffin was a mirror; everyone who looked inside it could see themselves!!

There was also a sign next to the mirror that said: There is only one person who is capable of setting limits to your growth: IT IS YOU!!!!!

Your life does not change when your boss changes, when your friends change, when your parents change, when your husband or wife changes, when your company changes, when your church changes, when your location changes, when your money changes, when your status changes... Your life changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs. Examine yourself, watch yourself. Don't be afraid of difficulties, impossibilities and losses. Be a winner; build yourself and your reality. It's the way you face Life that makes the difference!

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