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What does white Americans owe Black Americans?

Tears streamed down the face of the Reverend Jesse Jackson as he waited to hear Barack Obama's victory speech.

But cynical commentators wondered if they were tears of joy for America's first black president or of frustration because the veteran civil rights leader knows he will be an outsider looking in at the new administration.

Sincere? Reverend Jesse Jackson reacts after projections show that Senator Barack Obama will be elected to serve as the next President of the United States of America

Relations have been frosty since Jackson was caught out crudely criticising Obama when a microphone was switched on before a television interview in July.

While celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey were in the Obama inner circle to celebrate his victory in Chicago's Grant Park, Jackson was lingering at the back.

He insisted his tears were because he was thinking of the history of black people in the US. and their rise from slavery to president.

Why do some blacks like to harp over stuff that happened a long time ago? can't we just move on with our lives? Granted, the election of Obama is history, but when people like Jesse Jackson keep harping on the civil rights movement and it's end result over and over again, it kind of becomes monotonous and makes it seem as if the whole world, or rather, the white world owes black Americans a debt that can never be repaid, or have been repaid.

Am I being insensitive? What do you think?

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Just like a kid who attends public school in the village can't have the same opportunity for advancement with their counterparts who goes to a private school in Victoria Island. Ok, but then again, the child on the south side of chicago can without a doubt overcome all obstacles, and get a free ride to college at harvard. It happens, but back home? How many? I look at the wasted opportunities of girls serving as maids in households, of boys riding motorcycles because of a lack of opportunity. Now, these are the same people who had "voting rights before all African Americans.", And probably exercised those rights with no beneficial results in their lives.

How about that?

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Jak, na Sam Cooke abi na George Benson? You know say everybody dey remix these days.

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Don't delete this post Sky Blue. American musicians have made their own contributions to highlighting the plight of Black America, so an honorable mention is definitely in order now that the tide is turning.

Blues singer Billie Halliday comes to mind right now - " Strange Fruit "

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Ndipe, You cannot have an honest discussion until you start seeing black Americans as individuals. Did you ever think that you would be as successful as you are if your  Parents were Born in Katagori LG in Sokoto? Or did you think that Bill Gates would been successful if he were born in Darfur? Some Nigerians always think that racism was long time ago in America without thinking that Nigeria had  voting rights  before  all African Americans. Have you ever considered unevenness of opportunities? A kid schooled on the South west side of Chicago cannot educationally compete with a kid schooled in New Haven Conn. Here is the difference but not an excuse for some slackers.  If  unevenness of opportunity benefited or disadvantaged some folks, then some folks were direct and indirect  beneficiaries . I believe Bill Cosby's  school of thought on  black issues in America. "If sentencing guidelines on crack cocaine Vs powder cocaine disproportionately target black folks, then you should not do drugs"

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I stand corrected, SkyBlue.   Try as I could, the name of the first singer of those words escaped me.

Going slightly off topic, George Benson's jazz roots run deep, with his early influences traceable to Wes Montgomery's octave-emphatic flow, but you will have to pore over his very extensive musical archive to stumble across those solidly traditional old-school jazz offerings.

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Forgive my ignorance of your origins, Ndipe. 

I do agree there is no question that black Americans are eligible for so many more of their society's benefits and protections than are African blacks resident in their homelands, BUT, the one thing that fee-born Africans are luckily exempted from in Africa is that prevalent undercurrent of subtle and direct racial bias, like that which runs deep through the strata of American life even today, at the dawn of this historic and boundlessly optimistic era in American politics.

Black America has so much for which to be grateful, yet so much past injustice and humiliation which they, as a racially-delineated American demographic, cannot afford to forget even now.  These thoughts and many others would undoubtedly have flooded Jesse Jackson's mind, as he broke down and wept for joy in Chicago.

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I am an American born Nigerian, and while I can understand the plight of black americans in the USA, can they confidently say that they are worse off than their counterparts in Africa? don't think so. What dont blacks have? There is UNCF, an organization that offers scholarship to blacks (or minority) exclusively, there are black magazines, black this, black that, and let a white man create an organization that caters exclusively to their race, and katakata go burst in this country.

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I think it was the PC thing to cry at that moment, so of course Jesse had to shed some tears, or else answer why.

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Ndipe regardless of how long you have resided in America as a free-born immigrant, you can never BEGIN to fully grasp the true and full story of Black America, and how that legacy of slavery CONTINUES to affect American-born blacks from their earliest years in grade school, until the time their hair turns grey .   The American civil rights struggle has been a long and bloody one that claimed the lives of many of the brightest and best black Americans to ever walk that land, and so is NOT a chapter of American history that can so easily be closed and forgotten like the Boston Tea Party.

So many of those who actively engaged in that civil rights struggle are still alive today, thus it is natural and fitting that they would recall, on the day a black man FINALLY rose above it all to become president of the United States of America, the tortuous struggle that culminated in this epic victory for the downtrodden and forgotten race that first arrived on America's shores in shackles.  Yes sir, Rev Jesse Jackson's tears were as heartfelt as those streaming down the faces of so many who stood around him on that chilly Chicago night as President Obama addressed America.

Now a few words from jazz guitarist George Benson

There were times when I thought

That I couldn't last for long

Ah, but now I'm able

To carry on

Its been a long, long time coming

But I know

A change is going to come

Oh yeah, a change is going to come

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