After Thwarted Kidnapping Plans, Whitmer Calls for Unity

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]

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Maladjusted bigotry is not a job description

By |2006-10-12T09:00:00-04:00October 12th, 2006|Opinions|

By Terry Howcott

This is to weigh in on the horrific circumstance of Ferndale, Michigan’s Affirmations’ wrongful, shameful maltreatment of Kimya Afi Ayodele and Vanessa Marr. For the unfamiliar reader, Kimya Afi Ayodele was terminated by Affirmations administrators on Monday, Oct. 2. Her heroic colleague Vanessa Marr resigned on a dime after witnessing what she describes as abusive, mean spirited behaviors perpetrated against Afi Ayodele – and her own experiences with increasing harassment. Both of these women are single mothers of African descent.
Those observing might wonder why the Black Same Gender Loving community has moved so rapidly in coming to these women’s defense. Affirmations administrators may even accuse blind allegiance. But, what revs up our fury and seeds our activities is our long and short-term awareness of ongoing complaints of abusive behaviors by this non-profit agency against black staff and visitors. We know the history, and this time – we want justice for these women and we want it right now.
I also want to macro-delineate how racist organizational conduct in metro Detroit forces profoundly dangerous, life-threatening and therefore murderous conditions for black and brown Same Gender Loving family children and youth. My befriending a woman who has been a forensics photographer makes me more cognizant than I already was of the magnitude of the impact “LGBT” institutional racism has on black Same Gender Loving disenfranchisement and possible death. She tells of indications left behind by black SGL women who kill themselves with no supportive services, no affirmation and no hope.
When Between The Lines, Triangle Foundation and Affirmations function decade after decade without black names, faces, personalities and expertise at their helms – they send distinct messages to black and white communities alike given their public prominence. They communicate to specifically black Same Gender girls to women and boys to men that their identify development is not recognized, their evolvement is not respected and their elders are not good enough to play administrative roles in key organizations. They conduct like absent minded professors – incapable of having professional relationships with black people who are rooted and concerned with the masses of their own folk. Even the ACLU board, of which I am a member, boasts an “LGBT Project” that is as caucasian as a bottle of fresh bought office “White Out.”
I confess I could care less than a sweet roll about white organizations and their roles in black communities. I don’t trust most of them, and lost respect for their maintaining racist power structures of governance long ago. Their financial and psychological domination hovers over throngs of black people who often feel forced – even if they don’t know it – to conform in their rhetoric and vision to get pork and beans and salad fixin’s for their endeavors. Black SGL folk are acculturated to nod in agreement with white people who aren’t very smart to get their ideas off of the proverbial ground.
I contend that all of them should be forced to work without the benefit of having one single black face on their roster. They should lose funding dollars having been found incapable of finding one solitary person of African descent who will work for them. If white organizations can’t hire and maintain professional relations with those of us who are rooted in traditions that include caring for our own people – they should be forced to look only at each other.
But, when these Euro-administered organizations ostracize and victimize, they also create an environment in which black families children and youth are abandoned without a safety net and help services that other populations can enjoy unencumbered. People are essentially left to die slow and sometimes instant suicidal deaths while we engage in semantics-driven argumentation and debate about what we all know is true – that the whole tarnation community is a rancid stew of racism and injustice.
I see these events as equivalent to the failure of this U.S. administration to act in haste to save the lives of victims in New Orleans post-Katrina. This ruthless chain of events in Ferndale is a guise – keeping us looking at individual behaviors rather than this horrid, elongated pattern of racist ideology. These organizations fail to practice “affirmative action” – that would keep point-people in their midst who would innately know how to work the magic that prevents suffering and dying in the streets. This is genocide by way of neglect. Their actions are much like the sickening silence of this administration that allowed Israel to bomb Pakistani innocents to death while Bush pontificated the merits of a cease fire and Hezbollah’s guilt or innocence on camera with a mouth full of food.
The nonchalantness and dereliction of white Detroit area organizations in addressing these defensible accusations lodged against them is shameful and reprehensible – but also a deliberate oversight. They are neglecting our people to poverty, institutions and death when they have resources that emanate from black tax dollars to help save them. This pattern of conduct is unforgivable and not reconcilable until the powers that be – are simply no longer in power. I call upon the executive director of Affirmations to resign effective immediately.
I call upon all the aforementioned white guided entities and organizations in metropolitan Detroit to be stripped and rebuilt from the ground up so that their foundations have a synergy and emotional intent to foster a sincere inclusion. Much like with this country – rightness can not be laid atop organizational cultures that have long, sickening histories absent authentic respect for black people. Most of us both black and white know that these two fine women are far more brilliant and capable than their previous employer who certainly isn’t being paid to be a maladjusted bigot. But, what we just watched occur will happen again and again as long as black, proud, educated community organizing experts like they are paid to bring pleasure to white, jealous, third-rate women at the helm.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.