Ethnic pride — where is it?

Richard Hammond, Esq.

Richard Hammond, Esq.

I feel at this time that there needs to be an explanation and clarification as to why I have written some of these editorial essays with a definite biased slant to some of them. All of my life (since childhood) I have heard the old folks talk of how things used to be in the ‘old days’ when there were iron men and wooden ships. There were some things that we just did not generally do. Having grown up in Detroit’s old ‘Black Bottom’ and later the Brewster Douglas Housing Projects, I remember how on weekends (especially Friday and Saturday nights) some of the men would go out early and come back drunk later. Men would tip their hats to any woman of good repute. They would cuss like sailors but not in front of women and children. If there was a man or woman who had a different sexual preference, it was kept private.

Children were protected and respected. And the children stayed in their place—being children. We could not say someone told a ‘lie’. We had to say they told a ‘story.’ Anything else was like saying a bad word. If you got out of order anywhere around an adult, you got checked and hoped they did not tell your mother or father on you. To talk back or sass was an unspoken taboo. There were, however, rumors that White children did that sort of thing [talk back or sass]. But for us to think of doing such a thing was akin to having dental work without the benefit of novocaine.

The women dressed modestly for the times and if you saw anything above the knee it was the rolled up knot of nylon that the old ladies wore if they had no garters. During warm summer nights, you could leave home with only the screened door open and return home with nothing missing. But all was not roses, ladies and gentlemen. Oh to be sure, we had to recognize that there was another world that did not include us—but we had our own community that functioned quite well. Family was the center of most activity. Now as for the reason for this clarification: It is my belief that we have a strong concept of right and wrong. Our racial memory has not yet been erased completely. I find it angering to witness the destruction of our racial heritage. I hate to see rude disrespectful children and loud, foul-mouthed women. We came from stronger, from better. Where is that example of guiding direction? Our leadership has been bought and paid for in the pulpit. Where we once had individual strong, principled, moral men with supportive nurturing women, we now have iron ships and wooden men backed by painted ladies of the evening. And as for that other world in which we were not included, the more like them we wanted to become, the more like them we became. My anger is to witness every day just how far a great nation of people (us) has fallen. When judgment comes, having hell to pay for our misconduct will be nothing compared to having Heaven reign down upon us.