• Marcus Garvey's Ghost.

    One of the most notable exploits of Jamaican-born leader Marcus Garvey, aside from the formation of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and the cultivation of Pan Africanism and black nationalism throughout the 1910s and 1920s, was his attempts to encourage black Americans to return to their continent of origin by way of Liberia. The African nation had already been established during the early 1820s by the American Colonization Society as a sanctuary of sorts for black freedmen.

    Opposition from European leaders, a lack of interest from black Americans and Garvey's own troubles with the proto-FBI and the initially successful but ultimately troubled Black Star Line put an end to those efforts. It didn't help that Garvey, a firm believer in black nationalism and separatism, and W.E.B. DuBois, who believed his "Talented Tenth" would lead blacks into an era of prosperity and eventual inclusion into the mainstream, were constantly at loggerheads with one another. You just don't call someone a "Supreme Negro Jamaican jackass" for nothing.

    The underlying premise of pulling up stakes for greener African pastures was simple - if America is so bad for blacks, why stay?

    Mychal Massie must had thought that the spirit of Marcus Garvey was moving through him as he wrote his latest column for World News Daily, the virtual hangout for washed up, past-prime conservatives like John Stossel and Walter Williams. Whereas Garvey posited his question as a response to the systemic, institutionalized mistreatment and subjugation of people only decades removed from actual slavery, Massie's question comes as a condescending sneer towards a people seen as, for the lack of better words on the part of yours truly, a bunch of whiny titty babies:

    If America is so bad, blacks - why stay?

    The entirety of Massie's column is a finger-wagging admonishment of the so-called "race baiters" and "angry black militants" who dare speak out about America's on-going racial injustices. In short, the entire piece screams "America - Love it or Leave it" to an audience Massie sees as ungrateful and unwilling to forgive their white counterparts for age-old injustices and current "misunderstandings."

    When a piece starts out like this, you know you're in for a treat:

    A fact in retail is that there ultimately comes a time when you are unable to satisfy a customer who insists on being irrational and/or is unwilling to accept what is being done for him or what is being offered to him. When you have exhausted all efforts to accommodate said customer, you apologize and politely offer that it is apparent, despite your best efforts, that you are unable to satisfy him. And you suggest that perhaps his or her interests would be best served elsewhere.

    If America were a restaurant, black America would be the party of five who had to wait an hour and a half for the table next to the men's restroom and then wait around for a server who studiously ignores them while taking everyone else's orders, only to be told to kindly piss off and dine elsewhere if they don't like the service shortly after wondering aloud if that server would ever stop to take their order.

    Massie's apparent ideal is for black America to patiently wait and wait and wait until its almost closing and the server finally takes their order, but most of the menu items are gone and whatever's left is half-cooked and unceremoniously dumped into a takeout bag, which is then plopped down on the table by a now-smirking server whose smirk disappears when black America rightfully refuses to leave a tip. "How typical," she says...

    "It is THEIR OWN FAULT they decided to show up without a reservation," mutters the conservative couple a few tables over, nevermind how black America spent hours trying to get one only to be told again and again that there weren't any tables available, even if the restaurant is huge and half-empty nearly all of the time. "They did it to themselves. Besides, it was years ago they couldn't even set foot in the joint, so why are they complaining now?" say the libertarians across the aisle. "It's all in the past - they should be grateful."

    When black America wants to improve the service they get from America, the land of the free drink refills and the home of endless breadsticks, the management trots out guys like Massie to tell the uppity customers to stop whining and dine someplace else if they don't like how things are. Massie gets brownie points from conservative customers and the chance to take a few of those breadsticks home if he likes, but only if he asks management for permission first.

    As far as Massie's concerned, racism is over, "Penitence has been made for slavery and Jim Crow" and the militant kneegrows will continue to bitch and bitch about America but not leave because no other country would be as accommodating or as willing to put up with their nonsense as America. And somewhere in the background, a bald eagle sheds a single, solitary tear before flying majestically into the sunset:

    If blacks are so mistreated, if the realities of life that beset people of every description are more onerous because of white people here in America, why stay?

    If that is truly the case, why do they stay here? Why not leave and go where they will be happy? Why not leave and go to a country where “true” opportunity exists? A place where they are taken care of and provided for better than they are in America?

    For the same reason most black Americans took a rain check on Marcus Garvey's one-way voyage to Liberia decades ago.

    Deliberately cut off from their remaining cultural, social and linguistic ties to Africa, the U.S. became the only home black Americans knew, for better or worse. Black Americans have put in more than their fair share of blood and sweat equity to rightfully claim a piece of the American Dream for themselves and their families, no matter how often and how much it was denied to them. The same applies today - yet another diaspora to parts unknown won't change the way things are done in the U.S. There's also the faintly dim but ever-present hope that eventually, black Americans will sit down to the American table and be finally acknowledged as equals.

    Massie's paternalistic finger-wagging at the "angry militants" and shiftless complainers may impress his staunchly conservative paymasters and kingmakers, but it winds up as proof positive of the man's misguided and comical self-loathing with nary a single trace of self-reflection and introspection in sight. Massie can chide and insult all the black customers he wants and blow the whistle on fellow workers who smuggle a breadstick or two out of the kitchen, but when it comes time to ask the bosses for a few take-home items, the answer will always be a firm "no." In these decidedly non-union environs, asking for a raise to buy his own breadsticks or diving in the dumpsters for slightly-stale leftovers constitutes a swift termination of employment.