God created created a tertium quid and called it a Negro, – a clownish, simple creature, at times even lovable within its limitations, but…foreordained to walk within the Veil! – W.E.B. Du Bois, the Souls of Black Folk
Today we celebrate Independence Day 2016. While researching and writing for dissertation, I came across the above quote. This was a thought that Mr. Du Bois pondered while writing about the slave-ship(s), humanity, liberty, freedom, and opportunity. Tertium quid literally refers to an OTHER, a something ELSE, a some-THING else! I thought then, maybe this is why we have mass incarceration in the United States. Since Black men are disproportionately incarcerated in jail or prison, I thought, “Obviously Black men are seen as an OTHER, a something ELSE, a some-THING else! Which led me to the question, are black men innately immoral, lazy, criminal – violent?! Are Black men some new kind of monster? a tertium quid” (Irvin, 2016)?” This is quite possibly so, “within the Veil!” So, we celebrate Independence Day 2016, but our brothers and sisters of all colors are yet to experience freedom from without the Veil! Huh?! Period, Case-Closed!
Irvin, Derek O. (2016).
The following link is from my Uncle Barry’s blog! This man is truly my teacher! I share and dedicate this to my doctoral candidate colleagues at Prairie View A & M University!
I have the pleasure of knowing someone who went to a furniture store not long ago. Let’s call his name Joseph and the store, Mr. Charlie’s Furniture. Joseph is a Black male. He was searching for a filing cabinet for his office. As he was walking around the store, he overheard a conversation between two men, one Asian and the other Black. They were negotiating the price of an item. It was an interesting and happy exchange. The Asian gentlemen said, “OK, how about $200?”. The Black gentleman paused, and responded, “how about $185?” And so on and so forth. They then decided to toss a coin. The winner would get his stated price. The coin was tossed up, down it came on heads. The winner called heads.
Then the owner walked over to Joseph and said, “Hello sir, how can I help you?” Joseph said, “Oh, I thought you were the customer!” The gentleman responded humbly, “No sir, I’m the owner!” It was the Black man. Joseph immediately understood how that sounded and tried to recant, but did a very poor job of it.
Joseph’s response to this Black store owner has puzzled me. I have not had a chance to share this story with my professors. Do Black people have an internal belief that when out shopping that we assume that the businesses are owned by someone other than a Black person? I’m just thinking out loud. Period, Case-Closed!
Two powerful conversations and two powerful women, Michelle and Oprah.