Hedreich Nichols


Catch up on the latest episodes of Small Bites!

Small Bites Friday Five 09-04-20

20-30m – Listen to Howard University Alumnus Chadwick Boseman address the 2018 graduating class in the HBCU’s 150th commencement address.

15-20m – Listen to 1st and 2nd person stories on this set of podcasts from Historically Black.

10-15m –Listen to the first person stories of people who survived the Tulsa Black Wallstreet Bombing.

5-10m – Read this Smithsonian Mag article on looking back honestly at our founding fathers, judging neither by the imagined whole, nor ugly part.

0-5m – Read about racism and immigration history in the US which highlights important stories of many peoples afflicted by racist policies.

In a year in which

  • COVID-19 has killed over 13,000 to date;
  • thousands of students cannot access learning;
  • almost 3 million people have filed for unemployment and
  • homelessness is so rampant that even the government created homeless camps–already an ignominy–cannot house them;

police funding outpaces every other budget item in Texas major cities. Think about that for a minute. In a year in which local shelters, schools, food pantries, social services and mental health support organizations are struggling to meet the needs of our communities, we believe that policing is the number one concern. And communities like Austin who are reallocating a small portion of funding into proactive community programming are being threatened with sanctions.

What would happen if more money was poured into education than policing? What if money was poured into eradicating hunger and mental health issues instead of funding prisons? What would happen if we valued humanity by investing in humanity?

Defund the police was the most ridiculous slogan I heard this year–until I realized how much more money we put into policing than into preventing the need for policing.

Before you believe the false narrative that we need protection because “some people just want to live like animals” let me ask you: How many generations out of slavery is your family? How many generations out of Jim Crow is your family?

My great grandmother was born in 1892, one generation out of slavery. She lived her life, until her 80s, under the Jim Crow laws of the south. She helped raise me and lived long enough to see me through high school graduation and my first year in college. The stories I heard about the Jim Crow south are first hand, the stories of field work still fresh in the minds of Mommie’s friends who came to visit in my early childhood.

I represent the first post Jim Crow generation in my family.

Does that put criminality and poverty in perspective? Lack of education, access and opportunity has plagued the black community since we were forced on to slave ships.

I represent the first post Jim Crow generation in my family: the first generation in which the law has supported my choice of school, neighborhood, job, bank and hospital–as long as I can pay for access. And therein lies the problem. The Black community on the whole has not had generations to build, to stand on the shoulders of parents who achieved in the generations before. That’s why talking about slavery or Jim Crow isn’t divisive, it’s simply the connection between poverty and crime, between education and lack, between generations of wealth building and generations of fighting to be twice as good to get half as much.

Before you decide what is divisive, ask yourself if you would rather look away than see that the problem lies not with one community of “thugs and criminals” it lies with the vestiges of what a community has lived through.

And before you decry that connection as divisive, please, consider whether your own upbringing gave you opportunities that others did not have. I know mine did, one of them being the divisive language my great grandmother used in telling me her first person stories so that I would know the truth.