- Posted March 25, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
One year since Trayvon Martin's death
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- Will the Black Church survive the Same-Sex Marriage Amendment?
The Black Codes of 2012, history repeats itself
“Always pay close attention to your surroundings, son, especially if you are in an affluent neighborhood where Black folks are few. Understand that even though you are not a criminal, some people might assume you are, especially if you are wearing certain clothes.”
by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/The Independent Business News Network
United States of America (IBNN/Blackness Editorial/March 25, 2012)…The Black Codes were laws in the United States after the Civil War with the effect of limiting the basic human rights and civil liberties of Blacks. Even though the U.S. constitution originally discriminated against blacks “other people” and both Northern and Southern states had passed discriminatory legislation from the early 19th century, the term Black Codes is used most often to refer to legislation passed by Southern states at the end of the Civil War to control the labor, migration and other activities of newly-freed slaves.
In 2012, there’s a new set of “Black Codes” for the survival of Black people – especially Black males. Some of the Black Codes are common sense – like don’t shout out the words “red neck” in an all White country bar down south. The consequences might be irreversible. Going up in Minnesota, my parents always taught me to say “yes sir and yes mam” to every person, no matter what their color was whom I recognized as an adult.
There were special considerations.
When I got my drivers license, my father told me, “If you and your friends are driving around town and the police pull you over (usually a White cop), put both hands on the steering wheel and don’t make any sudden moves until the policeman instructs you to do so. But also, announce to the police man what you’re going to do.” This meant, telling the officer, “I don’t have any weapons and I’m going into my back pocket to get my drivers license out for you to see.” Dad felt this standard operating procedure would keep me off the record as one of many Black children (teenagers) who were gunned down by the local police department – something that still happens in Minnesota today, but more efficient with tasers added to the killing.
As a Black male adult, there are many more Black Codes to live by. When I go shopping in downtown Minneapolis – I not only have to be self-aware, but aware of my surroundings, especially if I’m wearing jeans and a t-shirt. On a recent trip to Macy’s department store (jeans and a t-shirt), I was amazed at the number of loss prevention personnel who surrounded me, followed me and watched every move I made while white teenagers stole cologne from the skyway level sample counter.
Being one not to tolerate crap, I came back to the downtown Minneapolis department store the next morning in a suit and tie. Again, I was amazed at the double standards. With a change of clothing, I became “The Good Nigger.” The Black man that walked department-to-department with store clerks saying, “Hello, welcome to Macy’s, can I help you find something?” I had to look in the mirror because I thought I had changed color, race and hairstyle. How could this be? Am I really at the same store I visited the day before? What happened?
I was the same person yesterday.
I made purchases yesterday too.
Why treat me differently because of my clothes and color – or color and clothes? It’s really too hard to figure out.
In 2012, like after the Civil War, the effect of limiting the basic human rights and civil liberties of Blacks is still a reality.
Black Codes still apply.
1- The Black Codes after the Civil War: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Codes_%28United_States%29