THE HACKLEY REPORT By Eric Hackley
James Redmond: No! Perhaps, very minute. Very few people will speak out and I don’t know why that is. Some are afraid of screwing up their jobs and livelihood. Even when you have a job, you should speak out when right is right and wrong is wrong.
EH: And, if you don’t speak out, things will never change.
James Redmond: That has been my philosophy over the years and you know that. What’s wrong with the other people? I don’t know.
EH: How do you cope with the reality that when you do speak out, blacks will call you controversial?
James Redmond: When you hear right wing talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity say what they want to say with no recourse, why shouldn’t I say what I want to say? I speak out because I want to speak out. If I see a wrong, I’m going to speak out about it regardless of the consequences. I don’t care about the consequences.
EH: What will happen if blacks never speak out?
James Redmond: Things will regress. Just like what the Supreme Court did the other day concerning the Voting Rights Act, we’re going backwards. If we don’t start to speak up, we’ll keep going backwards.
EH: Has slave mentality become perpetually on autopilot?
James Redmond: To a certain extent, it has. We do have the means to turn it around if we want to do that. We first have to educate ourselves to what’s going on. The young people don’t really know what’s going on. It’s up to the older people to try to educate them as to what has gone on in this country because they don’t know. They only see things the way they are since they’ve been on the planet. It’s been a lot more things achieved for them that they don’t even know about. Like the beatings in Selma, Ala. They don’t know anything about that. They don’t know anything about Dr. King. All they know is what they read or what someone told them.
EH: What do you say to blacks who say they’re concerned about issues affecting black people, but they don’t want to talk about past issues like slavery or the 1960s?
James Redmond: I feel like this. The Jews still talk about Auschwitz. They will never let it die. So why should we let slavery and all of our atrocities die? When blacks say they don’t want to talk about slavery or the ’60s, they’re shooting themselves in the foot. When they say this, they have not been educated. When my kids came along, I made sure they were educated to all blackness. Everything that went on before they got here so that today, they are aware. It’s up to the parents to educate their kids, otherwise we’ll keep going backwards to when we were on the plantation.
EH: Texas has changed the meaning of slavery of the Africans to their being “unpaid interns.” How do we keep it real?
James Redmond: Right here in Fort Wayne we have a situation similar to that where black men don’t have jobs and we have a mayor in this town who could care less about black folks and I have no reservations about saying that, because it’s true. Fort Wayne is going to be just like Texas.
This article originally appeared in the July 10 print edition.