By Bria Jenkins
The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s was incomplete and did not accomplish everything it set out to achieve, a professor from Morgan State University said Wednesday.
Speaking before about 50 people at Goucher College, Dr. Jared A. Ball said African Americans should not be fooled into thinking that their current economic and political status is acceptable just because the country has taken such steps as electing its first black president.
He said African Americans need to reconsider the harsh social critique offered by Malcolm X in the 1960s rather than being complacent with the status quo. He said black America still has a long way to go, adding that it is wrong for African Americans to believe that everything is “good now.”
“You got to look at America like the uncle who paid for you to go to college but who molested you,” Ball said, quoting from comedian Chris Rock.
“Black lives do not matter to anyone outside of the black community,” Ball added. “The black leaders of today have the same ideals of the white left and at a certain point there is a block.”
Ball said the black community will never be able to achieve the success it deserves until alternative ideologies are considered.
He criticized Manning Marable’s 2012 Pultizer-prize winning biography about Malcom X, arguing that Marable watered down the ideas of the civil rights leader as a way to prevent today’s youth from becoming angry enough to start thinking the way Malcom X did in his prime.
Ball also criticized how blacks are portrayed in the mass media.
For example, Ball said that important figures like Stokely Carmichael and Diane Nash were either not represented or underrepresented in the recent film “Selma.”
He said movies that focus on African Americans are often created to reassure white Americans so that they can feel good about themselves.
Unlike the former, Ball said, these movies did not get as much recognition because they depicted blacks in a different light. He said movie critics said there was no plot in these films when in reality it “wasn’t the plot they cared to see.”
Ball talked about colonialism in America and said blacks have been systematically oppressed in America. For example, Ball said the income gap between blacks and whites is larger today than in 1957.
Ball, who authored the book “I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto,” said the mixtape originally was a way for DJs to sell their work from parties to the public. “It was a work of artistry,” Ball said.
Today, Ball said, record labels and corporations have transformed the mixtape into a hyping mechanism to help boost the sales of albums.
He said the digital age has made it easier for corporations to control the messages contained in the mixtape because of copyright laws on the Internet, net neutrality and websites like Soundcloud.
Ball stressed the need for higher standards in the black community and the need for a more critical attitude, not only of society but also of those that are supposed to be representing the community.
The speech was part of Goucher’s Peace Studies series “Do Black Lives Matter,” which will conclude April 8.
Ball’s work can be viewed in any of his books or on his website ImixwhatIlike.org.