Of OBAs and NOBAs (A Wolf Yowl)

A Divide among American Blacks needing recognition

Copyright Yowling Wolf 2019 / All rights reserved

Dedicated to…

The few Africans present at the very dawn of New World exploration, and the few who in that early time willingly set sail to the Americas to seek their fortune…

But, especially, to the millions unwillingly herded onto ships as so much cattle, brought to the New World long ago shackled, stacked as cordwood, countless numbers perishing and cast anonymously into the sea, many by their own volition, so bleak and awful was their plight.

Who, along with their descendants, suffered hundreds of years of untold suffering and hardship and indignity as slaves.

And after that shameful stain on America were freed to be the downtrodden and despised in the land of hope and promise for others.

Yet endured.

And to their millions of descendants who continue to endure.

* * *


I—Have you noticed that… …… 5

II—OBA?, NOBA?… Meaning what? ……… 5

III—The very best of times to be Black in America! ……6

IV—Yet many millions of Black Americans lag and fall farther behind. … 7

Dismal statistics ……… 7

In sum …… 9

V—More dismal statistics pointing to a major problem ……9

VI—Reason millions of Black Americans (but not all!) are falling behind ……10

An important, unexamined aspect of the story …… 11

VII—NOBA millions; stark OBA-NOBA disparity among Blacks losing ground .… 12

The true, even more dismal state of OBA millions ……12

Who and how many are the NOBAs? ……..13

VIII—Peek at a sizable, inadequately explored/examined contingent—Blacks choosing
to come to America (and their many descendants)

IX—Number OBAs, NOBAs among 42+ million American Blacks ……15

X—Tiger Woods—OBA or NOBA? ………17

XI— NOBA difference and advantage vis-à-vis OBAs ………17

NOBA advantage in sum ………21

XII— Poverty/difficulty in NOBA country of origin argument/factor ……21

Educational advantage………22

NOBA origins of relative privilege ………22

XIII—“NOBAs also have slave history legacy” argument/factor ………22

History of very different OBA-NOBA ancestor enslavement ………3

“King Cotton” effect ………25

1791 Haitian revolt factor ………27

Tight yoke on OBA southern ancestors post Haitian revolt ……27

XIV— OBA ancestors post-emancipation: glimpse of a Promised Land denied

Pre “Reconstruction” ………29

Reconstruction ………30

Reconstruction thwarted ………30

Stoking of anti-Black sentiment, elevation of Whiteness ideology …….31

XV—Crippling OBA Legacy of economic disadvantage ………32

OBA exceptions to economic impoverishment ………33

But… ……33

In sum ………35

XVI—Versus NOBA economic advantage ………35

XVII—Generationally-passed-along OBA Legacy of self-denigration, inferiority, anger

Damaging toll on OBA ancestors and descendants ……39

Telling measure of benefit of “leaving the race” ………40

Example of generationally-passed-along Legacy ………41

Legacy effect on Wolf OBA southern kin ………42

Present-day example of pernicious OBA Legacy at work? ………43

Effect of generationally-passed-along Legacy ………44

XVIII—Translation of OBA Legacy to OBA disadvantage, NOBA advantage

General Colin Powell example ………46

Contrast of aspiring, achieving Wolf OBA versus NOBA relatives ………46

Example of OBA negative self-image Legacy ………47

XIX—Examples of problematic OBA anger Legacy ……47

Toni Morrison, Samuel L. Jackson ………47

XX—NOBA advantage in sum ………48

XXI—Shirley Chisholm example of NOBA advantage ……49

XXII—Obama family OBA-NOBA example ………50

Barack Obama ………50

Barack Obama NOBA advantage ………51

Michelle Robinson Obama ………52

XXIII—Advantageous positioning of NOBAs to benefit from OBA-led gains

XXIV— Example of recent African arrival benefitting from OBA-won gains

Can NOBAs in position of authority identify with OBAs in their charge? ……57

XXV—Example of NOBA advantage passed on to succeeding generations

XXVI—Current prominent NOBAs and another key NOBA advantage …..60

Introducing the Black (OBA) anger factor ……60

Obama example of NOBA reaction to racial slight ………61

Differing NOBA reaction to racism-triggered anger ………61

XXVII— More on important anger factor………62

Angry Black Man factor ………62

Other successful, possibly angry, but non-threatening OBAs and NOBAs ……63

Then there’s Martin Luther King ………65

XXVIII—OBA examples of importance of lack of anger and reasons therefor

Exception proving the rule ………66

XXIX—Conclusions, implications of OBA-NOBA divide going forward …..67

Sociological study and survey needed! ………67

XXX—Topics for follow-up “Solutions!” Yowl ………68

E.g., Rap-hip-hop factor (impeding Black advance!) …….68

* * *


The Wolf believes and hopes all previous topics, pronouncements, ruminations set forth provoke useful, innovative thought, and thus are important. The one explored here is in The Wolf’s estimation the most important to date.

Les get it on!


I—Have you noticed that…

Judging from surnames, none of the victims in the grim, ongoing saga of so-called “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) police encounters resulting in deaths of Black men seem of immigrant African descent.* Surnames such as Matumbo, Okoye, Ansah, Awusie, Osemele, Amukamara, Ariri, Gbaja-Biamila, Iguebuike, Asomugha, Umenyiora, Kiwanoka, Ajayi and the like are absent from the sickening headlines and mere notices.**

* See Black Lives Matter Yowl for in-depth exploration of this topic, in particular WHY the vast majority of Blacks stopped by police for DWB (Driving While Black), etc. are not removed from vehicles, not spread-eagled, not arrested, not shot (by Black as well as White officers).

** A seeming exception might be Amadou Diallo, 23 year old illegal immigrant “street peddler” from Guinea, Africa, shot to death in the Bronx, NY, by undercover police officers in 1999 in a case of mistaken identity. However, Diallo was shot at night in the vestibule of an apartment building, not following a police stop. He never had personal interaction with officers. An officer tripping, falling on the building stoop in pursuit, thought to have been shot, precipitated the deadly fusillade that killed Diallo.


Nor do Blacks spread-eagled, arrested, shot by police have French surnames, suggesting relatively recent Haitian Caribbean descent. Although, apparently, no statistical analysis presently exists, The Wolf speculates that very few, if any, police stops resulting in altercation, arrest, beating, or death involve Blacks of immigrant West Indian-Caribbean, Central or South American descent, and, of late, Africa-African background.


The Wolf posits that Blacks arrested, beaten, killed by police, incarcerated or on parole from prison (37 percent of a prison population of over 6 million!), are overwhelmingly OBA, most from the teeming population of angry urban OBAs.

Nary a BLM victim is NOBA!


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II—OBA?, NOBA?… Meaning what?

Referred to not so long ago as “Negroes” and “Coloreds,” currently “Black Americans” and “African Americans,” Blacks not identifying as Hispanic number 42+ million in a total United States population of 330+ million. About 14 percent.

Among the many millions are obvious divisions—young/old, male/female, poor/well-off. Another divide has garnered some notice. Not, in The Wolf’s view, near the notice deserved.

The Wolf believes this divide to be so significant that millions belonging to each group deserve separate labels. Indeed, these labels would usefully replace “Black” and, in particular “African-American”, the blanket catchall currently applied to all of African descent.

The latter—“African-American”—, because an estimated 2.1 million Black Africans have emigrated from Africa to the United States since 1990 (!!), making “African-American” an inapt, confusing identification of Black Americans in general.


The Wolf proposes as alternatives “OBA” (Original Black American), and non-OBA—“NOBA.” Compelling reasons for such designation and distinction will herein be set forth.


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III—The very best of times to be Black in America!

Right now—2019—is without doubt the best of times in American history to be Black!


There’s been a Black POTUS and FLOTUS.* Pushback against Trumpism by the creative classes has resulted in attractive, smiling, middle-class Blacks in numerous television commercials. Even interracial pairings! Even White grandparents with a mixed-racial grandchild! Whoa!

* President of the United States, First Lady of the United States.

There are “Black” television shows and movies. Thousands of Black collegiate athletes, and countless multi-millionaire Black entertainers and Black professional athletes are non-stop television viewing, making Blackness hip and attractive. Black elected officials from police chief to United States senator are numerous and unremarkable. Blacks in the tens of thousands occupy ranks of major professions. Blacks are employed by White businesses and corporations in unprecedented numbers. A few major institutions are headed by Blacks—e.g., American Express, until recently the Ford Foundation.


Think about it. By far the most powerful, influential couple in the world is….

Wait for it!

Don’t Jay-Z and Beyonce’ exercise greater global influence than any other couple one can think of?

They surely do!


Consider rap-hip-hop, its origins in the simmering anger of OBA urban America. It and its trappings—thug-gangsta association, crotch-grab-pants-down-the-ass strutting, vile defiant lyrics, middle-finger-to-convention—represent individualism, rebellion, freedom from conformity… Bad-Ass-ness!

Rebellion against parents, authority, life-as-worker-drone being irresistible worldwide, little wonder (primarily) OBA-created rap-hip-hop has swept the globe. Youth in every foreign capital rock American Rap, wear pants-down-the-ass, flash gang signs.


Recognizing this, major international corporations have embedded thug-gangsta-rap-bad-ass association into advertising of automobiles and other products.

So attractive—hip, cool!is being Black, that for the first time in American history Whites aspire to be Black, at least on occasion.*

* See, e.g., Rachel Dolezal, “wiggers.”


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IV—Yet many millions of Black Americans lag and fall farther behind

Dismal statistics

Foregoing notwithstanding, the grim reality in 2019 is that life for many millions of Black Americans remains tenuous. A staggering 70 percent and more Black babies are born out of wedlock, guaranteeing by all measurements a disadvantaged start in life. 24 percent of Black families live below the federal poverty line (vs. 11 percent of White families). The percentage of Black families living in poverty rises above 50 percent for families headed by single women, and 40 percent of Black children live in single female-headed homes.

A sizable segment of Black Americans—likely most OBAs!—live in urban high-crime, deteriorated neighborhoods with substandard schools.

All in all, to be born Black in America continues to imply a life of severe disadvantage. Although only 14 percent of overall population, Black Americans, most as noted male, constitute 37 percent of the U.S. prison population! Near 50 percent of Black American males will have a non-traffic-related criminal conviction by the age of 23! A third of American Black males have a felony conviction! A third of all Black American males will do jail and prison time!


Moreover, since hard-won 1960s civil rights gains, the situation has gotten worse, not better.* For example, out-of-wedlock Black birth rate was only 24 percent in 1965. It climbed to 68 percent in 1991, 72 percent in 2011!

* https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/09/28/black-and-hispanic-families-are-making-more-money-but-they-still-lag-far-behind-whites/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.05529fc72b7d


Consider the following:

Report: No progress for African-Americans on homeownership, unemployment and incarceration in 50 years (Chicago Tribune 2/27/2018)

Convened to examine the causes of civil unrest in black communities, the presidential commission issued a 1968 report with a stark conclusion: America was moving towards two societies, “one black, one white—separate and unequal.” Fifty years after the historic Kerner Commission identified “white racism” as the key cause of “pervasive discrimination in employment, education and housing,” there has been no progress in how African-Americans fare in comparison to whites when it comes to homeownership, unemployment and incarceration, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute released Monday. In some cases, African-Americans are worse off today than they were before the civil rights movement.



In sum

Bling-glitter, mega-millions affluence of highly-visible, highly-paid athletes and entertainers notwithstanding, notwithstanding tens of thousands of well-paid professionals, business owners and managers, and millions earning a reasonable wage, half and more of America’s 42+ million Blacks remain outside the American Dream (angrily) peering in!

As has been the case since ancestors were brought from Africa hundreds of years ago.


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V—More dismal statistics pointing to a major problem

Wealth/net worth is total assets—cash, retirement funds, home, car, jewelry, etc.—minus total liabilities—credit card debt, student and car loans, mortgage, etc.

Per Forbes magazine, 2018:

Appallingly, for well-documented reasons of historical Black disadvantage,* many continuing to this day, the average White American family has 20 times the wealth of the average Black family!

* E.g., exclusion from homestead act land-owning opportunity and even entire states following “emancipation”; “redlining;”** decades-long exclusion from purchasing in suburban locales (and home equity wealth appreciation opportunity); realtor “block-busting” practices followed by city/municipal neglect; exclusion from trades and job opportunities; widespread, persistent “last-hired, first-fired” practice; difficulty (to this day!) qualifying for loans; predatory lending practices in urban Black neighborhoods; purposeful introduction of drugs and alcohol into Black urban neighborhoods; daily racial slight and discrimination; etc., etc.

** Practice of banks, at one time the federal government (!!), of excluding designated—”red-lined”—Black urban neighborhoods from access to loans.


Continuing with unsettling Forbes statistics:

The Economic Policy Institute found that more than one in four black households have zero or negative net worth, compared to less than one in ten white families without wealth.

Moreover, while Whites have moved ahead, the situation for Blacks has gotten worse! Per Forbes:

The Institute for Policy Studies recent report The Road to Zero Wealth: How the Racial Divide is Hollowing Out the America’s Middle Class (RZW) showed that between 1983 and 2013, the wealth of the median black household declined 75 percent (from $6,800 to $1,700), and the median Latino household declined 50 percent (from $4,000 to $2,000). At the same time, wealth for the median white household increased 14 percent from $102,000 to $116,800.

You might think that the economic outlook for the black community and other people of color has gotten better lately, given [president Trump] touting black unemployment is as low as it’s ever been. Yet RZW shows that far from getting better, the total economic picture for black people is still deteriorating. In fact, by 2020 (just two years away) black and Latino households are projected to lose even more wealth: 18 percent for the former, 12 percent for the latter. After those declines, the median white household will own 86 times more wealth than its black counterpart, and 68 times more wealth than its Latino one.

If this trend continues, median black household wealth will hit zero by 2053.



At precisely the moment when Black advance in America seems at a zenith, the truth for the average Black American is discouraging.

As reflected in lyrics of rap-hip-hop, not surprisingly there is deep-seated anger and frustration among Black millions.

However, as will become evident, not nearly as much for the group designated NOBA!


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VI—Reason millions of Black Americans (but not all!) are falling behind

Is the story of Black-White American wealth disparity, of millions of Blacks falling farther behind simply a reflection of centuries of subjugation, terrorization, and disenfranchisement of Blacks in America?… Since unwilling arrival of African ancestors in grim holds of slave ships, fewer than half surviving a horrific, chained-together-as-cordwood “middle passage?”
Also, how steep the climb has been from hundreds of years of lynching, degradation, and daily humiliation at the hands of White fellow citizens, inflicting grievous emotional, psychological, and economic damage on Black American millions. Which debasement and disadvantage, although abating in recent decades, is certainly not over for many millions of OBAs primarily?


An important, unexamined aspect of the story

That millions of Blacks lag and fall farther behind indeed results from described factors. However, the foregoing distorts and papers over an important aspect of the story.

Many millions of Black Americans—e.g., the 2.1 million Africans arriving from Africa since 1990—have never experienced the whispered, generationally-passed-along, debilitating legacy of America’s especially cruel version of the “peculiar institution,” and its many decades of near equally damaging aftermath. They lack corrosive anger harbored by many OBAs, who ascribe the adverse plight experienced by many Black millions to racism and an unjust American slave past. They do not distrust America, Whites, and their ability to advance and prosper.

These many millions—NOBAs!—tend to hail from stable, two-parent households that emphasize education and achievement; that inculcate family and cultural (often non-American) pride; that insure children and grand-children are prepared to take advantage of opportunity; that conform and insist that offspring conform to norms indistinguishable from those of Whites, Asians, other immigrant groups.


This group of Black Americans likely does not fit the dismal portrait of Black America overall set forth above. This group—they or forebears—came to America by choice, voluntarily!

If measured statistically, this group likely would be found to be doing very well.*

*See, https://www.quora.com/Why-do-immigrant-blacks-do-better-than-native-born-blacks-in-America

Indeed, NOBAs likely compare favorably with other American immigrant groups—White, Asian, etc.—in most important measures of social and economic success and advance.


Apart from successful athletes and entertainers, and a not-insignificant segment of OBAs who, in spite of disadvantage of ancestral legacy have indeed managed to advance and prosper,* The Wolf posits it is NOBAs who predominate among Blacks enjoying the American Good Life.

* What Massachusetts-born son of a free Negro mother and White father, sociologist, historian, intellectual, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor, first Black graduate of Harvard, W.E.B. DuBois termed “Talented Tenth,” and their descendants.

This distinction in its important implications demands recognition, scrutiny, address!


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VII—NOBA millions; stark OBA-NOBA disparity among Blacks losing ground

The true, even more dismal state of OBA millions

As matters stand, Black Americans are willy-nilly lumped together—viewed as a single entity. Thus, foregoing dismal statistics understate and mute the truly dire situation of a majority, appropriately distinguishable segment of Black America—most OBAs!

The Wolf posits that if the many millions of NOBAs and their wealth and achievement are subtracted from the sum of all Black American wealth and achievement, a far more dismal, worsening situation of remaining millions of Black Americans, overwhelmingly OBAs, will be starkly revealed.


As subsequent calculation will suggest, the foregoing description of a major segment of Black America lagging badly and losing more ground reflects half and more of America’s 42+ million Blacks!

The Wolf postulates this group to be disproportionately OBAs—American Blacks descended from America’s especially lengthy and cruel slave history, and its equally destructive, continuing to this day (!!) aftermath.


Who and how many are the NOBAs?

NOBAs, the other distinct, sizable segment of 42+ million Black Americans, include not only the above-referenced 2.1 million Africans arriving since 1990, but, more importantly, Blacks arriving in significant numbers since 1920 and earlier—from “West Indian” (Caribbean) former European colonies long removed from a less cruel, destructive slave past. Also Blacks arriving later from former slave colonies in Central and South America and Mexico.

Most important, the millions of descendants of Black immigrants who chose to come to America.*

* Over 50 “Black Americans”, almost all NOBAs,** are direct descendants of Wolf Jamaican paternal grandparents arriving at Ellis Island, NY, in the early 1920s.

** Immersion of some with OBA parentage and primarily OBA culture/upbringing qualifies them as OBA!

The Wolf postulates that, disproportionately, these many millions of NOBAs enjoy the meager share of American Good Life allotted to Blacks overall!


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VIII—Peek at a sizable, inadequately explored/examined contingent—Blacks choosing to come to America (and their many descendants)

The following statistical analysis respecting OBA-NOBA divide addresses merely foreign-born Black arrival since 1980. (January, 2018 article: “Key facts about black immigrants in the U.S.” http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/24/key-facts-about-black-immigrants-in-the-u-s/.)

It opens, it must be noted, with a gross error in the following remark:

“…significant voluntary black migration is a relatively new development.”

No, and NO! Significant numbers of Blacks began coming to America voluntarily in the 1920s from Caribbean, Central, and South American former slave colonies. The Wolf’s Jamaican grandfather, arriving at Ellis Island with numerous other Jamaicans in 1923, was one such.

An estimated 40-50,000 West Indians came to America during 1940-50 to fill jobs in the wartime and post-war economy!

Previous smaller numbers of Black immigrants from former West Indian (Caribbean) British colonies began arriving in America in the late 1800s.


Omission of voluntary Black migration dating back to the late 1800s noted, the article offers in relevant part the following:

The United States has long had a sizable black population because of the transatlantic slave trade beginning in the 16th century. But significant voluntary black migration is a relatively new development – and one that has increased rapidly over the past two decades. Here’s a closer look at the small, yet growing, black immigrant population in the U.S.:

1 The black immigrant population has increased fivefold since 1980. There were 4.2 million black immigrants living in the U.S. in 2016, up from just 816,000 in 1980, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Since 2000 alone, the number of black immigrants living in the country has risen 71%. Now, roughly one-in-ten blacks (9%) living in the U.S. are foreign born, according to 2016 American Community Survey data, up from 3% in 1980. (Immigrants make up 10% of the black population in the March 2016 Current Population Survey.)

2 Much of the recent growth in the foreign-born black population has been fueled by African migration. Between 2000 and 2016, the black African immigrant population more than doubled, from 574,000 to 1.6 million. Africans now make up 39% of the overall foreign-born black population, up from 24% in 2000. Still, roughly half of all foreign-born blacks living in the U.S. in 2016 (49%) were from the Caribbean, with Jamaica and Haiti being the largest source countries.


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IX—Number OBAs, NOBAs among America’s 42+ million American Blacks

As noted, foregoing article/numbers suggesting NOBA immigration presence as relatively recent is very much in error. Likewise, that only ten percent of Black Americans are immigrants.

Left out of the count—It seems no one has counted!—are millions of descendants of Black immigrants, multiple generations dating back to the substantial, largely West-Indian/Caribbean immigrant Black influx of the 1920s and decades following.

For example, as noted (fn. p. 13), over 50 U.S. citizens alive today are direct descendants of Wolf paternal grandparents who came to America in the 1920s. If similar numbers can be traced and attributed to tens of thousands of pre-1980 Black immigrants, NOBA numbers are substantial indeed!


So far as The Wolf can ascertain, no statistical OBA-NOBA numbers distinction prior to the foregoing statistical analysis exists. Previous to 1980 or so, there has been no OBA-NOBA distinction in Black population count.

What is known is that OBA slave population at 1864 so-called “emancipation” was estimated to be 4 million. Simultaneously, an estimated 1.5 million free OBAs lived in the South (!!), and 200-300,000 free OBAs in the North.* If projection of natural increase over numerous subsequent decades from these known estimates is made, it can safely be assumed that a majority of America’s 42+ million Black population is OBA.

* New Jersey apparently has the distinction of being the last state to free its slaves. NJ had some 2,500 slaves in 1864—who were not at the time emancipated.


Respecting NOBA numbers, apart from 2.1 million immigrants from the African continent since 1990, 2016 census figures reflect 4.5 million “Black” (or “African-American”) Americans identifying as “West-Indian” or “Caribbean,” including a substantial influx in recent decades from Haiti. A significant number of undocumented, non-citizen Caribbean-West-Indian U.S. population is also believed to exist, many of whom may be reflected among the 4.5 million.

As “recent ancestry” and “identify themselves as” are incorporated in census count, it may be presumed that many additional millions of generationally-at-remove descendants of Caribbean-West-Indian-Central-and-South-American immigrants exist.

For example, among the 50+ direct descendants of Wolf paternal Jamaican grandparents who came to America in the early 1920s—now three, four, five generations removed—, it is doubtful any but the two surviving children of the original pair (89 and 92 years old!) would identify as “West Indian,” possibly “Jamaican.” All others (excepting some who’ve “crossed the color line” to become White!) would identify as “Black” or “African-American.”


Nonetheless, unless raised in and strongly identifying with OBA lineage, owing to significantly advantaging characteristics of their heritage-The Wolf, e.g.—, all such descendants of West Indian-Caribbean, and Central and South American immigrants should be considered NOBA!

It must be concluded, therefore, that NOBAs amount to many millions. Not a majority, but a considerable segment of America’s 42+ million Black population.


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X—Tiger Woods—OBA or NOBA?

Renowned golfer, Tiger Woods, presents an interesting case of racial/cultural mix, and whether OBA or NOBA. Early in his career Woods sought, apparently, to both deflect the designation “first prominent Black golfer,” and appeal to potential fans worldwide. Alluding to his amalgam racial background of Black, White, Asian (Philippine-American mother), and, erroneously it turns out, Native American, he self-identified, somewhat clumsily, with the made-up term, “Cablinasian”—Caucasian, African-American, Asian blend or whatever.

Of course, America being America, this didn’t fly. As evidenced by how Woods has been identified by police in several widely-publicized incidents during his career, he is Black or African-American, same as his late father!

Of course he is!


That being settled, given Woods’ Philippine-born mother, is he NOBA or OBA?

Although Asian admixture is evident, in color and features Woods appears Black. Woods gives credit to his mother for instilling discipline and a killer instinct. Had he been raised in the Philippines—say, on or near one of the American military bases to which his father was assigned when he met his future wife—, Woods might be designated NOBA.

However, he grew up in California facing discrimination Black youths would typically face at the time, especially at lilywhite golfing venues he frequented. He grew up in the presence and under the close tutelage of his OBA father. Presumably, he was often in the presence not of his mother’s distant family, but his father’s large, Kansas-based OBA family.

The extreme discipline exhibited in Woods bearing and play may be a maternal influence. However, owing to OBA influences and experience, The Wolf would designate Woods OBA.


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XI—NOBA difference and advantage vis-à-vis OBAs

Although not framed as such, OBA-NOBA divide is increasingly noted, explored, touched upon in articles and discussions.* A recent sports-related article is instructive. It explores OBA-NOBA difference redounding to the advantage of the latter, respecting not only professional football, but advancement in an America still beset by racial prejudice and inequality.

* Partial list of OBA-NOBA-related articles: https://slate.com/culture/2014/07/black-american-versus-african-american-why-i-prefer-to-be-called-a-black-american.html (Where I’m From: How a trip to Kenya changed the way I think about the terms African-American and black American; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPFTbOFBwSU (REAL TALK Africans versus African Americans. What’s the difference?); https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/02/16/black-panther-why-the-relationship-between-africans-and-african-americans-is-so-messed-up/ (‘Black Panther’: Why the relationship between Africans and black Americans is so messed up.); https://www.quora.com/What-do-black-Africans-think-about-black-Americans-and-vice-versa (What do black Africans think about black Americans, and vice versa?); https://www.theglobalist.com/african-americans-african-immigrants-differ/ How African-Americans and African Immigrants Differ: The rift between Africans-Americans and recent African immigrants to the United States); https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7rNR4C0fhg (Why don’t Africans and African Americans get along?); https://www.blackenterprise.com/black-immigrants-in-u-s-earning-30-more-than-u-s-born-blacks/ (Study: Black Immigrants Earn More Than U.S.-born Blacks); https://theithacan.org/columns/african-vs-african-american/ (African versus African American), etc.


Entitled, From Africa to the NFLhttps://theundefeated.com/features/from-africa-to-the-nfl-native-born-and-first-generation-players/—, author, Sunni Khalid (himself likely NOBA), discusses origins and increasing presence of African and African-immigrant-descended players in the National Football League. He points to differences between these and indigenous “African-American”—OBA!—players, that highlight cultural and other advantages enjoyed by NOBA African and recent Africa-descended players.

Khalid notes, “long-time NFL scout Mike Mayock and others have observed that many Africans [“African-Americans?”] are playing offensive line positions, usually reserved for the more cerebral players.” [Wolf emphasis added.]


He continues:

There’s no doubt that to be in the NFL, you have to be highly disciplined, tough and intelligent, especially if you’re an O[offensive]-lineman,” Mayock added. “You can’t fall in love with great measurables, size, strength and speed. The guys that are making it are tough and smart. If what you are telling me is they’re disciplined and tough and smart, the league wants these guys.”

While native-born and first-generation Africans have generally grown up around and socialized with African-Americans, they remain culturally distinct in some ways.

Many of the native-born and first-generation players are the children of college students and come from two-parent households. Generally, their parents stress sports, such as football, as a means to further their educational goals, instead of vice versa. Many of these athletes go on to finish either their undergraduate degrees or pursue postgraduate degrees after their playing careers are over.

“I don’t think they’re hungrier than American kids,” said NFL Networks Jeffri Chadiha. [Himself the NOBA son of African immigrants—father dentist, mother professor.] “If you’ve been here, you realize you only have so many opportunities—you’re very aware that if you don’t make it through sports, you might not make it. But [native-born and first-generation Africans] are not distracted by the same things, fame and fortune, that prevent them from succeeding.

“They’re pragmatic. They pick up discipline quickly; it’s like a built-in advantage. I can’t remember any African-born player being a discipline problem. It’s different for American-born players; we’re socialized to value money and prestige. We [OBAs?] feel lesser. Players from Africa aren’t hardwired with these sensibilities.” [Wolf emphasis added.]

Many of these players, like Okoye [Osemele, Gbaja-Biamila, Umenyiora, Asomngha, Ajayi], Are members of Nigeria’s Ibo people, one of the nation’s three largest ethnic groups, long noted for a deeply ingrained reverence for education.

“African parents always, always support education,” Okoye added. “They want you to finish your degree. Football is not forever. You never know how long you will play. You can play for more than 10 years; you can also play for one. African parents are right.”

Khalid argues that “the pride many native-born African and first-generation immigrant players have gives them a built-in advantage.” [Wolf emphasis added.]

Further, per Chadiha, “There are a lot of kids in America, black [OBA] kids, who deal with insecurities of dealing with the legacy of slavery.” “They deal with the feelings of inferiority in the society. With the Africans, it’s different. They’re a different people from another country. They have a different sense of pride.” [Wolf emphasis added.]


Another article candidly explores OBA-NOBA divide from the perspective of an African immigrant. Underscoring need to distinguish the two groups going forward, the considerable psychic advantage of immigrant Blacks vis-à-vis Whites—Africans in this instance—is described. It may be noted that perspective and psychic advantage of Caribbean, Central and South American Black immigrants and their numerous descendants (!!) likely would not be very dissimilar.


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In How African-Americans and African Immigrants Differ The rift between Africans-Americans and recent African immigrants to the United States (https://www.theglobalist.com/african-americans-african-immigrants-differ/), Jacob Conteh, who grew up on a farm in Sierra Leone, Africa, writes:

As an immigrant to the United States from Sierra Leone, I perceive a huge chasm between African-Americans and African immigrants in the United States. That chasm has widened over the years. It has caused deep animosity between many African-Americans and their African immigrant cousins.

… Astonishingly, many African-Americans believe that Africans are backward and primitive. Some make crude jokes about Africans or do not acknowledge the great contribution Africa has made to the world.

For their part, many African immigrants buy into the erroneous notion that African-Americans are lazy and violent.

They do not appreciate the great sacrifice African-Americans made, through advocating for their civil rights, to lay the foundation for Africans to be able to come to the United States and live in a country where both blacks and whites have equal rights, at least in theory if not always in practice.

Different experiences of the two groups

To understand the deep division that exists between African Americans and Africans, one first has to examine the background of the two groups.

Before migrating to the United States, most Africans have typically dealt with white Americans who went to Africa as Peace Corps volunteers, missionaries, doctors or teachers. These Americans acted as mentors and guardians to the Africans and developed positive relationships with them.

When they come to the United States, it has been my experience that Africans can easily identify with white Americans because they understand each other. Before migrating to the United States, the majority of Africans have had little to no direct negative experiences with whites. They simply do not hate them. [Wolf emphasis added.]

On the other hand, most [OBA!] African-Americans grew up in black neighborhoods where they learned from older generations the history of slavery and the cruelty it inflicted on the black race. Furthermore, they have usually experienced firsthand and in their communities the legacies of racism that still exist in the United States. [Wolf emphasis added.]

With this background, many African-Americans are not generally predisposed to trust white Americans, and they look down on those African immigrants who express respect or admiration for white Americans.

How they react to racism and discrimination

A fundamental difference between African Americans and African immigrants is the way they react to racism and discrimination.

African Americans usually see racism as the main cause of poverty among their people. They are also quick to point out instances of perceived racism, even in circumstances where it is ambiguous, unclear or more complex than simple racial bigotry or discrimination.

For Africans, after suffering many years in civil wars, military coups and other problems, they are happy to be in a country that offers them freedom. They are ready to integrate into the American culture without getting involved in the lingering racial conflicts. They do not typically get involved in the ongoing civil rights struggle – and that has angered many African-Americans. [Wolf emphasis added.]

How they react to adversity

Perhaps the greatest difference I have seen between African immigrants and African-Americans is how they react to adversity.

Most African immigrants to the United States came here for economic advancement. They do not have any political agenda. They are willing to take any job and do not blame the “system” when they fail in their endeavors. [Wolf emphasis added.]

Most African immigrants to the United States often live in mixed neighborhoods instead of black neighborhoods and they easily integrate. African immigrants know who they are. They are not easily offended when someone tries to put them down. They know where they come from and why they are here. [Wolf emphasis added.]

For African-Americans, there is often a tendency to blame slavery for most of the problems they face today. For instance, when African American students fail in school, some educators blame slavery and do not look for other factors. [Wolf emphasis added.}

However, the time has come for African Americans to realize that while racism still persists, the best thing they can do for their children is to teach them to take full responsibility for their actions. Fathers need to take care of their children and young women need to stay in school instead of having children. [Wolf emphasis added.]

Mr. Conteh ends with a plea, implications of which will be explored in a follow-up Yowl on the topic (of the order, OBA-NBOBA Divide Noted, Now What?):

It is only when black people, be they from Africa or America, unite to instill discipline and respect for each other that the chasm that has divided us will narrow. Then we can finally work together to remove poverty from our people both here in the United States and Africa.


Okay. Fine. While The Wolf appreciates that African nations are beset by poverty and social problems, that continent is not the focus of this piece or OBA concern! We—readers, others of positive intent—need be concerned with the well-known, daunting problem previously described here. In the United States!

Of course, that NOBAs, especially recent immigrants, may be of mixed mind and divided loyalty respecting resource allocation bears noting.


NOBA advantage in sum

NOBA advantage over, likely, the great majority of OBAs, may be summarized as follows: appreciation for opportunity America offers; desire for and focus on conventional economic advance; willingness in such regard to take any job (and save, sacrifice, delay gratification to get ahead); not blaming Whites and slave legacy for adversity; ease of integration/association with Whites; especially, lack of (debilitating, inhibiting) racial anger toward Whites!

Additional NOBA advantage will be noted.

Why OBAs and NOBAs must be distinguished begins to crystallize.


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XII— Poverty/difficulty in NOBA country of origin argument/factor

Respecting advantage/disadvantage, NOBAs—immigrants, descendants—may point to severity of circumstance in the country left behind as disadvantage and cause for sympathy. Certainly, migration is most often prompted by prospect of a better life to be had elsewhere.

However, even if grinding poverty akin to a Mumbai slum was the motivating circumstance, did the immigrant have an intact family? If not mother and father, caring relatives? Was an ethic of need to work hard and sacrifice to better one’s lot inculcated? Is there appreciation of opportunity America offers, and that endurance and perseverance is necessary to advancement?

Very likely! Minimum wage jobs in America may present as windfall opportunity compared to what was left behind.

Perhaps most important, as evidenced in foregoing referenced articles, NOBAs and NOBA descendants typically lack the corrosive legacy of hundreds of years of survival under the cruel mantle of American slavery and its aftermath. Absence of enduring psychic injury and impediment, revived and stoked by daily reminders of second class citizenship, is great advantage.


Educational advantage

Circumstance of possible impoverishment in the home country having been noted, it must further be observed that many, if not most NOBA immigrants were not the downtrodden whence they came. As noted in afore-referenced articles, many African immigrants arrive with college degrees. If not college-educated, basic schooling received in home countries was likely superior to that of impoverished urban precincts in which millions of OBAs reside.

Such educational opportunity as existed surely was not rejected out of hand as “acting White,” the self-destructive double-bind misguidedly embraced by many OBA youth.

NOBA origins of relative privilege

Indeed. Blacks choosing to come to America, and having initiative and wherewithal to do so—again, Wolf Jamaican paternal grandparents in the 1920s as example—, tend often to hail from strata of relative privilege in the home country. If only, as in the instance of Wolf NOBA forebears, that they and relatives had homes, shops, trades, possibly a small farmstead.

The Wolf’s Jamaican grandmother’s father, for example, as the person who repaired machinery on a sugarcane plantation, enjoyed some rank. Descendants of his who stayed in Jamaica presently own farms in hills above Kingston—patrolled by guard dogs, with servants!


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XIII—“NOBAs also have slave history legacy” argument/factor

Slavery in any form is loathsome, damaging, likely harsh for its victims. The Wolf has no doubt that his enslaved NOBA Jamaican forebears, the same as enslaved OBA forebears—in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi—experienced hardship, at times cruelty and humiliation.

However, in sharp contrast to NOBA forebears, who eventually gained independence and supremacy in Jamaica and other former slave colonies, and, from outset of emancipation enjoyed security of at least numerical supremacy, America’s brand of slavery, especially in the South, when conjoined with a punishing aftermath of 150 years of OBA suppression (and still counting), was different and far more damaging in form and practice. Its deleterious effects continue to cast a damaging shadow on present-day OBAs, whether descended from slaves, free OBAs, or slave-owning OBAs (!!).

Much more so than on NOBA descendants.


Any argument that slave history/legacy of NOBAs of non-recent-Africa-origin—West Indian/Caribbean,* Central, South American—is even minimally akin to OBA slave history respecting generational damage extending to the present, is specious.

* “Caribbean” vs. “West Indian” distinction has to do with the circumstance that many former slave colony islands—Bermuda, Barbados, Trinidad, etc.—are in the North Atlantic, not the Caribbean.


History of very different OBA-NOBA ancestor enslavement

It must be noted that slavery in Africa tribes and nations existed long before Europeans transported Africans to the New World to be slaves. Ancestors of recent African immigrants captured and sold New World OBA and NOBA ancestors to European slavers!


The first slaves brought to British colonies that became the United States, it may be noted, came not from Africa, but from Caribbean-West Indian colonies. And not until 1655.*

* The Dutch colony of New York saw introduction of African slaves in the future United States as early as 1626. Slave ownership in British American colonies prior to 1655 was illegal.

NOBA New World slave ancestry thus predates OBA slave ancestry!


Excepting the then-Dutch New York colony, earliest Blacks in American colonies were not slaves, but “indentured servants.” A Public Broadcasting System piece reported as follows:

Indentured servants first arrived in America in the decade following the settlement of Jamestown by the Virginia Company in 1607.

The idea of indentured servitude was born of the need for cheap labor…

Servants typically worked four to seven years in exchange for passage, room, board, lodging and freedom dues. While the life of an indentured servant was harsh and restrictive, it wasn’t slavery. There were laws that protected some of their rights…

In 1619 the first black Africans came to Virginia. With no slave laws in place, they were initially treated as indentured servants, and given the same opportunities for freedom dues as whites. [Including sometimes upon release from contract land, a year’s worth of corn, arms, a cow, new clothes]. However, slave laws were soon passed—in Massachusetts in 1641, in Virginia in 1661—and any small freedoms that might have existed for blacks were taken away.

… the shift from indentured servants to racial slavery had begun.


Indeed. Early on in American British colonies, Blacks were not especially distinguished from Whites. Blacks owned land and had indentured servants. When slavery became legal, some OBA ancestors owned slaves! The divisive concept of “race” had yet to be invented.*

* Persons of dark complexion—Spanish “Moors,” North Africans—were not uncommon among early15th-16th century New World explorers, including Columbus (1492). At that time, individuals were not so much categorized by race, as by nationality, tribe, wealth, deed (exploits), sex, color. “Race” had to do with national/tribal/ethnic association. The Irish, for example, were considered an “inferior race” by the English. For a time they were enslaved along with Africans and Indians in the Caribbean.

The concept of “race” as color and other-characteristic-related concept—hair, facial features, intelligence, brain size, etc.—, applied in order to differentiate entire groups of humans, evolved some 300 years ago as pseudo-science and political-social expedient to justify enslavement of Blacks!


If initiated earlier, slavery in Jamaica, Barbados, Bermuda, and other English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch “New World” colonies ended sooner than American slavery—generally by 1834 (French colonies in 1848) vs. 1864. Importantly, slave populations in colonies outside the United States normally greatly outnumbered Whites. It was to the vast, fertile expanse of the future United States, not disease-ridden, tropical and sub-tropical colonies that Europeans flocked in great numbers, bearing large families, multiplying quickly in number.

Thus, New World NOBA ancestors were not freed into surrounding, majority-White populations that despised them as competitors, then systematically, persistently denied them opportunity to work and thrive. As noted, superior numbers afforded a measure of security.

By contrast, near four million southern OBA ancestors released from bondage, family members (unlike those of NOBA ancestors!), dispersed and far-flung,* entered a surrounding, majority-White community, itself devastated and impoverished by the Civil War.

* Following emancipation, American newspapers featured numerous plaintive ads placed by freed slaves seeking knowledge of whereabouts of children and family members often long-separated by sale.

White resentment ran high at the prospect of competition from freed slaves, and sudden upheaval of a long-accustomed order in which “I may be poor, but I’m white and better than any nigger!” That 180,000 OBA ancestor soldiers (!!), most escaped and freed slaves, played a critical role in defeating the Confederacy, was further cause for White resentment.

It may be noted that many, likely most Whites in the North blamed slaves for the Civil War.


In sharp contrast, newly-freed New World NOBA ancestors likely continued in former capacities, now paid wages and with some legal rights. Having some security as the numerical majority, they eventually owned and farmed their own land, established businesses serving not just themselves and indigenous peoples, but also Whites, moved toward eventual political sway.

Doubtless, slights, humiliations, injustice to NOBA ancestors courtesy of Whites continued. However, not so long, not nearly to the damaging extent experienced by OBA ancestors.


Likely owing to the inhospitable environment for OBAs persisting long past 1864 emancipation, it may be noted that even in the North the United States did not become a destination for NOBA emigration until the late 1800s. Then only in small numbers. NOBA immigration to the United States in significant numbers did not occur until the 1920s.

Also important to note is that, unlike the rapidly-expanding United States, New World European slave colonies, many mere islands, were limited by territory, language differences, and competing nationality respecting expansion and movement of slave population. If, same as in America, families were at times separated, such was and could not be to the extent of members being separated and literally “sold down the river” to faraway southern states.

Moreover, climate and limited suitable land in NOBA New World colonies dictated that mostly sugarcane was grown in quantity for export. Simultaneous with slave numbers south of the U. S. stabilizing toward the end of the 1700s, and movement toward abolition accelerating, advent of “King Cotton” dictated a near-diametric opposite course in the United States.


“King Cotton” effect

In the 1999 national best-seller, A History of the American People, by Paul Johnson, is described (pp. 307-310) how invention of the cotton gin in 1793 (by, in an irony, a Yankee from a “poor farm” in Massachusetts),* by greatly expanding need for and value of slaves, derailed probable earlier extinction of slavery and the slave trade owing to religion and abolitionist efforts, and propelled North and South toward the Civil War.

* A “natural mechanical inventive genius,” during a visit to a Savannah plantation, Eli Whitney “became fascinated by the supposedly intractable problem of separating the cotton lint from the seeds, the factor which made raw cotton costly to process.” Observing a cat claw a chicken and end up with clawfulls of mere feathers, he produced a solid wooden cylinder with headless nails and a grid to keep out the seeds, while the lint was pulled through by spikes, a revolving brush cleaning them. His cotton gin “enabled a slave on a plantation to produce 50 pounds of cotton a day instead of one” leading to an explosion of cotton production and heightened demand for slaves from that point on.

“Cheap to make and easy to operate,” the cotton gin made possible vastly-expanded production of raw cotton, baled and shipped to cloth-making factories in Britain, thence to a world eager for the lightweight, comfortable, easily-cleaned cloth.* Demand for slaves to work acreage from Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana west to Texas and beyond, and, accordingly, slave value, exploded. By virtue of mere association by color, OBA ancestors, whether free or slave, were throughout America blemished and imperiled by their dollar value as commodity.**

* By 1800-10 the United States was chief supplier of cotton to British manufacturing. In 1810 Britain consumed 79 million pounds of raw cotton, 48 percent from the U.S. South; by 1830 148 million pounds, 70 percent from the U.S.; in 1860 over 1,000 million pounds, 92 percent from Southern plantations.

** As exemplified by the movie 12 Years a Slave, based upon an actual account, high value of slaves for sale to southern plantations imperiled Black freedom in all regions of America.

Virginia, its tobacco fields and need for slaves exhausted, responded to increased demand and slave value by establishing as a state industry breeding slaves for sale!


As Johnson writes (p.308), “there was a price to be paid” for “hundreds of millions of people, all over the world,” being “able to dress comfortably and cleanly at last,” and “the huge growth in the cotton industry made possible by Whitney’s genius,” and “the black slaves paid it.”


Simultaneous with NOBA ancestors to the south emerging to freedom and majority status, if not equal rights and political power, King Cotton expanded, prolonged, and intensified American slavery. In greatly enriching all parts of America, King Cotton made all Americans complicit in OBA ancestor exploitation.


In order to justify complicity in what abolitionists properly railed against as “an abomination against God,” it may be suggested that not just average White citizens, North as well as South, but also free Blacks, and even slaves and abolitionists themselves (!!), became receptive, if but subconsciously, to a burgeoning industry of pseudo-science and theoretical, religious, and other rationalization for the inhumane, shameful treatment of millions of OBA ancestors.*

*E.g., https://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h244.html; http://www.ushistory.org/us/27f.asp; http://www.shilohtrenton.org/shilohvideo/sermonnotes/SERMON%20BIBLE%20SLAVERY%2011-06-11.pdf; https://www.kingscollege.net/gbrodie/The%20religious%20justification%20of%20slavery%20before%201830.pdf; http://time.com/5171819/christianity-slavery-book-excerpt/; https://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/01/arts/from-noah-s-curse-to-slavery-s-rationale.html; etc.


Surely a people beaten down and reduced, at law and, literally, to status of cows, horses, and pigs, must in some wise be less than human, at least lesser and deserving of the lot befallen them.

Such thinking became deeply embedded in the psyche of all non-OBA Americans. And, plausibly, in many OBAs (!!). Aspects of such thinking in America have yet to be extinguished (!!).

A salient question is how best to accomplish such necessary extinction.


Indeed, such thinking is currently refreshed, almost daily, not only by White nationalist, dog-whistle tweets of the current POTUS, but, arguably (to be explored in a follow-up Yowl setting forth remedial prescriptions and suggestions going forward), pervasive aspects of straight-outta-Compton (indeed!) thug-gangsta rap-hip-hop culture gone global.


1791 Haitian revolt factor

In 1791 Haitian slaves initiated and led a “successful” revolt against White French colonial masters, ending in 1804. “Success” was pyrrhic. The revolt of a slave population in a Caribbean colony so alarmed European powers of the day, that Haiti was immediately isolated and punished economically, and politically. Effects remain apparent in today’s impoverished nation.

Nonetheless, the Haitian revolt prompted momentum toward slavery’s end. But only in colonies south of the United States. Tellingly, where fear of uprising by majority slave populations prompted by Haiti’s revolt led to amelioration of conditions for NOBA ancestors, in the American South, where King Cotton was expanding slavery’s numbers and reach, the Haitian revolution prompted tightening of strictures for maintaining slave subservience (!!).

Where the spread of news of Haitian triumph—inevitable owing to regional proximity and trade—, buoyed, emboldened, gave pride and hope to NOBA slave ancestors, positive effect for OBA ancestors, if they heard or knew of the Haitian revolt, was likely negligible. Slave uplift effect was outweighed by fear and security implications generated among slave owners.


Tight yoke on OBA southern ancestors post Haitian revolt

Continuing, and long after the Haitian revolt, southern slave OBA ancestors were barred by law, custom, and practice from free movement, gathering, being taught to read and write. An estimated 1.5 million free southern OBA ancestors, not a few of whom owned slaves (!!),* also would have been invested in maintenance of a tight yoke of law and custom suppressing thought and unrest that might threaten system status quo—escape attempts, the slightest insubordination.

* 1830 U.S. census reports 3,775 free Blacks (possibly in all states) owning 12, 740 slaves. Noted historian, OBA John Hope Franklin, wrote, “…free Negroes had a real economic interest in the institution of slavery and held slaves in order to improve their economic status.”


It may be noted that numerous Native Americans in the South, their strength and sovereignty broken by future POTUS Andrew Jackson, given the choice of conforming to White agricultural patterns or being marched west–search “trail of tears”–, chose the former. These persons merged into the White population via intermarriage. They, too, owned OBA ancestors.


Counterintuitively, it may be noted that support of the “Plantocracy”* slave system by majority average, non-slave-owning Whites, with seeming little dissent—e.g., “slave-catcher” bands enforcing restricted slave movement—, ensured continuance of typically substandard, impoverished lives by poor and middle-income Whites compared with northern counterparts.**

* Rule by the landed, former slave-owning southern gentry class.

** Slaves were trained and skilled at various trades. This obviated need for White blacksmiths, carpenters, businesses and services that enriched northern entrepreneurs and led to establishment of new northern towns and even cities. Apart from King Cotton-related industry, the South stagnated.

Such race/color-based divide of persons whose shared interest should cause them to join forces seems to still work well in America!


Ironically, greater freedom of OBA ancestors in the North, free and slave, and their perceived threat as social and work rivals, made OBAs more despised among working class Whites in the North than in the South!


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XIV—OBA ancestors post-emancipation: glimpse of a Promised Land denied

Is it better not to be given a glimpse of a promising future, which future is denied and snatched away, than not to envision such a future at all?

Suddenly freed into America’s vastness and opportunity, OBA ancestors initially had the prospect of a brighter, more promising future than NOBA ancestors!

However, as a result, OBA ancestors experienced greater disappointment when doors to that future were systematically, ruthlessly shut. This disappointment, stoked alongside resulting self-doubt and anti-White-America animus, has been passed along generationally to the present.


180,000 OBA ancestor soldiers (!!), most slaves escaping to Union lines or freed by advancing Union troops, had enlisted and were a major factor in achieving Northern victory. These prideful individuals triumphantly returned home to claim fruits of their new, prideful free status.

Emancipation for OBA ancestors into a vast land of opportunity, via a war founded on principles of individual liberty and freedom, that they themselves had assisted in winning, into a vast land of opportunity—versus, in the main, NOBA emancipation by benevolent decree—, ignited hopes, dreams, possibilities unknown to and unimagined by NOBA ancestors.

Given this hope and euphoria, for a time OBA ancestors enjoyed advantage over NOBA ancestors.

Advantage, however, would be fleeting, aftermath deeply scarring.


It has been pointed out by scholars that, given foundation principles of freedom and individual rights and equality upon which America was founded, and the expanse and resources enabling a national move toward world economic supremacy, perhaps never in history had a people—OBA slave ancestors—been raised from so low to such height of potential.


However, White fear of Black competition and sway; virulent racial hatred stoked by a Plantocracy desperate to re-establish dominance; and, especially, northern fatigue with war and expense of bringing a recalcitrant South to heel, quickly short-circuited not only OBA euphoria, but the prospect of Americans of all races moving forward in even a modest semblance of harmony, much less equality.


Pre “Reconstruction”

During the lengthy congressional recess after Lincoln’s assassination in spring 1865—until December!—, Tennessee-born Andrew Johnson, now elevated to the presidency,  enabled so-called “Black Codes” to be passed in states of the former confederacy. These threatened to return freed slaves to the equivalent of former subservience.*

* E.g., their lands and rights restored by Johnson in return for pledge of fealty, the Plantocracy enacted laws requiring that freedmen show work contracts (often with former owners) or be declared vagrant. If vagrant, a former slave could be fined and forced to work off the fines at forced labor in much the same role as when enslaved. Freed slaves had not yet been designated citizens, and could not vote.

Simultaneously, in order to cow newfound freed slave confidence and Black advance, White mobs and vigilantes throughout the South fomented violence meant to intimidate.*

* Search, e.g., Memphis “Riots” of 1866; New Orleans Massacre (of Blacks) of 1866.

Outraged by the mob violence and murder of Blacks, northerners rallied to the freed slave cause. The returning activist, super-majority Republican Congress sent Union garrisons south to preserve order, overrode the Black Codes and other Johnson actions, and enacted the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution. The latter granted all born on U.S. soil, including freed slaves, citizenship and rights appurtenant to.  Also, applicable to southern states, Black male suffrage and equal protection under (federal constitutional) law.



To re-acquire voting rights in the Congress, Southern states had to ratify the new amendments. Protected by Union garrisons, newly-enfranchised OBA males in great numbers elected OBA legislators not only to state legislative bodies, but the United States Congress.

This opening Reconstruction salvo prompted near ten years of freedmen optimism. Despite ongoing White efforts at suppression, former slaves opened businesses, voted, advanced.

In the words of historians/scholars, freed slaves “refreshed the spirit of democracy in America.”


Recognizing and esteeming the importance of education long denied them, a progressive measure passed by Black-dominated southern state legislatures to benefit all southerners was free public education, previously unknown in the South.*

* OBA-sponsored legislation was passed to construct schools all over the South. Knowing Whites likely would not send their children to school with Blacks, racial segregation of schools was accepted by OBA legislators. Simultaneously, not trusting Whites to be fair in instructing Black children, many of today’s historically Black colleges (HBCs) were established for the primary purpose of training Black teachers.

This halcyon period of Union garrison-backed relative racial calm, during which poor southern Whites aligned with freed slaves in farmer cooperatives against a Democratic party backed by and representing the planter class that had impoverished them,* was to be fleeting.

* See, e.g., “Fusion Party.”

As said by W.E.B. Dubois, the great early twentieth century OBA intellectual and leader:

“The slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.”


Reconstruction thwarted

A plan by the federal Freedman’s Bureau to distribute over 850 thousand federal government-owned acres of southern land in 40-acre parcels to freed Blacks, along with a mule and plow—so-called “forty acres and a mule”—, came to naught.

Meantime, forced by nationwide financial panic in 1871 to look to local and personal concerns, northerners wearied of the expense of Union garrisons. Shifting from Republican control, Congress determined southern states were best positioned to address the “problem” of “their” freed slaves.


The 1875 civil rights bill, guaranteeing OBA ancestors, now citizens, equal access to business establishments, housing, transportation, etc., was generally ignored in the South. It was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1883.

Until the next and second civil rights enactment under President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 (!!),* southern OBA ancestors and descendants would be shamed by “Whites only!”, “No Coloreds” (and worse) designations on businesses, drinking fountains, seating in buses and trains.

Until the next and second civil rights enactment under President Lyndon Johnson in 1964!*

* Following winning a boxing gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics, young Cassius Clay, destined to become the great boxer and activist Muhammad Ali (typically pilloried by the White establishment), naively went to a hometown downtown Louisville, KY, diner (wearing his medal), presumably hoping for recognition and wanting a celebratory meal. He was told, “We don’t serve Negroes.” To which he said he responded, “I don’t eat Negroes!” But was summarily ushered out. Thus begin the awakening of one of a number of notable OBA athletes who’ve taken major stands in opposition American racism. See, e.g., OBAs Jack Johnson, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, latterly (somewhat subtle) Lebron James.

Most pernicious in effecting a return to pre-Civil War status quo was “sharecropping.” And, especially, “convict leasing.”*

* In the former, freed slaves farmed land often owned by their former owners, for a share of what they grew, but fell into debt owing to interest payments, rental of equipment and seed, and other onerous terms of yearly contracts that, being typically illiterate, they could not read. In the latter, Blacks, male and female, were arrested, often on specious charges—vagrancy (as with Black Codes), loitering, violation of Whites-only prohibitions—, sentenced, fined, hired out (in prison garb on chain gangs) to individuals and business entities to work off the fines.


Prisoner-for-profit enterprise, of course, thrives in America to this very day! Especially in states of the old confederacy, populated disproportionately by the two million Blacks in prisons. Most likely OBA descendants!


Stoking of anti-Black sentiment, elevation of Whiteness ideology

Goaded by vicious, relentless, Plantocracy-sponsored attacks against OBAs in newspapers—typically accompanied by grotesque cartoon caricatures of Blacks—, a deepening divide of color, racial fear and resentment was stoked. “Whiteness,” meaning above and not belonging to the threatening “inferior race,” was promoted as ideology. A feverish industry of pseudo-science burgeoned in support.

Never mind that, similar to OBAs, most southern Whites were also poor and suppressed by business, political, and social elites. “You are better than the highest nigger!” was promoted to salve resistance to suppression of alleged attempts by “subhuman” Negroes to supplant White national domination.

Promotion of America as a “White nation,” and the Civil War as but an attempt to preserve White supremacy, reached a zenith with release in 1915 (to enthusiastic acclaim by White audiences North and South) of the racist propaganda movie, Birth of a Nation.


By 1900, not only were OBA ancestors excluded from political office and influence at any level anywhere,* but soon (1912) a southerner—Woodrow Wilson— would be president, who would introduce racial discrimination and segregation at all levels of the federal government.

* Including until the 1960s in most states, policeman, fireman, dogcatcher, etc.

Incidents of lynching and even wholesale massacre of OBA ancestors not only fostered fear, subjugation and discouragement among OBA ancestors in all parts of America, but a disparaging view of all Blacks by most Whites that poisons race relations to this very day!*

* Search, e.g., Elaine, Arkansas massacre of 1919.

Owing to his father’s activist support (circa 1925) for writings of NOBA pan-Africanist-African-Nationalist Marcus Garvey,** the family of controversial OBA civil rights agitator and leader Malcolm X was forced to move several times in his (and Warren Buffitt’s) hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, by Ku Klux Klan and others. When Malcolm was 6, his father was killed under suspicious circumstances in Michigan, where they had moved. Three of Malcolm’s four uncles were murdered by Whites—in the North!

** It may be noted that Garvey, same as many immigrants, Black or other, hailed from a two-parent family of relative advantage. Per Wikipedia, “His family was financially stable… Garvey’s father had a large library, and it was from his father that Marcus gained his love for reading.”

That Blacks were inferior, reinforced—Catch-22!—by the circumstance of omnipresent inferior status, became dogma throughout the American continent. This, necessarily, inculcated a legacy of corrosive self-denial and denigration in OBA ancestors, passed along to descendants.


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XV—Crippling OBA legacy of economic disadvantage

America prospered greatly as a nation in decades following the Civil War. But not OBA ancestors. Free or newly freed, OBA ancestor exclusion from American prosperity was uniform and near complete. As noted, proposed “forty acres and a mule” reparation never materialized.

Excepting, much as when enslaved, they toiled daybreak-to-night in fields from Georgia to Texas for bare subsistence wage, or in exchange for “sharecropper” plots on which they grew produce for self and family (but delivered most of their crop to White and sometimes Black landowners), freed slaves and free Blacks alike—all OBAs!—were bystanders to America’s explosive post-Civil War prosperity. Grinding impoverishment was the norm for most freed slaves, to the point that their former lives in bondage could seem attractive.


If freed OBA ancestors could obtain work, jobs were the lowest, worst-paid. Mirroring OBA male emasculation that began before America became a nation, and continues today (!!), OBA women, usually able to secure menial domestic work, often were primary breadwinners.

In the North, Blacks worked only if Whites were unavailable, and at the lowest wages.


OBA exceptions to economic impoverishment

There were, of course, exceptions to post-slavery OBA “sink, barely swim” predicament. As higher education became available to former slaves and their children, professionals—most teachers, ministers—arose among former slave populations. Some OBA ancestors acquired limited wealth. In the Oklahoma territory over 50 Black towns were established (!!). In towns and cities South and West, Black neighborhoods and business districts sometimes flourished.


Threat was ever present of economic gain being snatched away. Accusation of the most minor offense by a White neighbor or merely mischievous White stranger—especially rape or assault on a White—, sufficed to light a match of always smoldering anti-Black hatred.

Blacks who acquired farms, houses, and businesses, typically having to overpay,* were set upon by envious White neighbors. If not killed, they and their families were run off. Entire Black communities and Black towns were destroyed by White mobs.** With no legal or other recourse.

* As did The Wolf’s maternal grandfather, son of freed slaves, when he purchased a 270 acre farm outside Memphis, TN, in 1910.

** E.g., Wilmington, NC (1898), Tulsa, OK (1921) “riots”—thriving OBA business districts destroyed by marauding Whites, Blacks killed; Forsyth County, GA (1912) “racial cleansing”—entire Black community set upon by White mobs, churches, businesses burned, over 1100 OBAs driven out, land and surviving homes/businesses passing without compensation to Whites (described in Blood at the Root, by Patrick Phillips); Rosewood, FL, “massacre” (1923)—entire Black town burned; Sycamore Row (John Gresham novel based on actual account)—Black southern family driven from its land.


Important to note is that whether free or newly freed, post-slavery OBA ancestors were excluded from such wealth-building opportunities as cheap homestead acreage offered to White easterners and White European immigrants. States where OBA ancestors might have farmed, put down roots, accumulated wealth—Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas—are near lilywhite to this day.


Excepting rare instances of sympathetic, well-meaning Whites endeavoring to assist Black economic advance,* OBA ancestors were completely shut out of not just the major enriching advent of transcontinental and local railroads, growth of oil, steel, and other industries that generated the vast “Robber Baron” wealth of Vanderbilts, Carnegies, Mellons, Rockefellers, but more modest endeavor that to this day contributes to economic advantage of average White Americans—e.g., access to factory and union hiring, trade apprenticeships.

* E.g., circa 1850, Black [OBA] Columbia, PA, businessman, Stephen Smith, owner of a lumberyard purchased from the White to whom he was once indentured (!!), joined by fellow OBA Columbia businessman, William Whipple, conceived a toll bridge across the (very wide) Susquehanna River from Columbia to Wrightsville, then the major route westward (photo below). Blacks at the time were prohibited from majority ownership of such an enterprise. To circumvent this prohibition, a group of local, abolitionist-leaning Whites, Lancaster, PA lawyer/politician, Thaddeus Stevens, of “southern scourge,” “forty mules,” “Black Laws” mention one of them, fronted the enterprise as 51 percent owners.

With the substantial proceeds from this enterprise, Smith and Whipper commissioned secret railcar compartments to conceal Black [OBA] runaways from Maryland and points south on the rail line from Columbia to Philadelphia (2nd rail line in the U.S. after one from Washington, D.C., to Harper’s Ferry). Possibly, as Blacks were secreted up to the town and rail lines via tunnels from the river edge, this gave rise to the expression, “underground railroad.” Smith and Whipper sponsored other runaway and abolitionist efforts, including a river route “underground” north to freedom in Canada up the Allegheny River in western PA (establishing the town, Freedom, north of Pittsburgh). They were among the wealthiest Blacks in America in their time.

The impressive bridge was burned in 1863 to thwart confederate army advance east toward Lancaster and Philadelphia. Its substantial stone pilings remain visible today alongside the replacement bridge.


Until recently and often still, OBA ancestors and descendants were denied advantage of “good ‘ol boy,” “scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” inside knowledge and cooperative dealings—e..g., knowledge of where a railroad easement or new road might increase land value.

Continuing to present day, following one’s father or relatives into jobs in mines, factories, and especially skilled trades—typical White pattern and route to the middle class—, has not been an option for OBAs and OBA descendants. “Last-hired-first-fired” has been a staple of Black American existence, continuing in no small measure today. The prison record of the 1/3 [!!] of Black men passing through America’s criminal justice system, the vast majority very likely OBAs, ensures continuing disadvantage of literal millions of Black males.


In sum

OBA ancestors post-slavery, much as millions of OBA descendants today (!!), not only were largely relegated to bystander status while an America catapulted forward by King Cotton and slave labor advanced economically, and Whites acquired wealth, but continued to be harassed, humiliated, threatened, terrorized, and daily reminded of inferior status.


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XVI—Versus NOBA economic advantage

More so than NOBA ancestors, OBA ancestors were confined within segregated communities respecting pursuit of educational, business, trade enterprise and advancement.  Always, as noted, under threat of White individual or mob violence, or other stratagem that erased meager gain.

Such has been exclusion of OBAs from American prosperity that, differing from NOBAs, OBAs have only slowly, hesitantly awakened to and embraced possibilities now beckoning of participation in the larger White world of commerce.*

* The Wolf, e.g., same as other OBA descendants in the 1950s and 60s, did not grow up with the notion that Blacks could become dogcatcher or police officer, much less be employed and rise in ranks of a major (White) American corporations and institutions. Such possibility was not discussed at the dinner table. Rather (thank goodness!), “Is your homework done?” Aspiration focused on the professions.


NOBAs arriving in north-American cities in the 1920s likely also were largely been shut off from participation in White economic spheres. However, as is true of many immigrants, often they hailed from entrepreneurial backgrounds, and they operated cohesively.* From the start this gave them decisive advantage over recently arrived, fresh-off-the-land, often illiterate southern OBAs.

* E.g., at entrances to the underground transit system in Mexico City, young boys sell small packets of Chiclets gum, obtained at the start of the day from adults who buy in bulk. Such modest enterprise, same as land cultivation, ubiquitous bazaars, and barter-sale markets in so-called Third World countries, provides useful introduction to buy-low-sell-high entrepreneurial savvy.

There is also the pattern of immigrants coalescing in enclaves pioneered by others from not just their home nation, but their home town-village-neighborhood! Self-help collectives are formed, economic and otherwise. See, e.g., the “miracle” of Somalis (later Congolese and other Africans) settling in the dying mill town of Lewiston, ME. https://www.newsweek.com/lewiston-maine-revived-somali-immigrants-78475

In the 1920s in Harlem, New York City, and counterpart segregated Black enclaves of Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit, NOBA immigrants, chiefly Jamaican, dominated business dealings. Hailing from the same city, town, village in country of origin (similar to other immigrants), cooperating and excluding OBAs, they became landlords and business owners. They started “numbers” and crime-syndicate operations.  And were envied, indeed hated by less sophisticated, less savvy and enterprising OBAs they preyed upon.


Similarly, more comfortable with Whites, unburdened by OBA legacy of suspicion, fear, anger, resentment toward Whites, NOBA immigrants of late, and descendants of earlier NOBA immigrants, are better positioned to take advantage of opportunity for advance emerging in recent decades in previously exclusive White spheres of commerce and enterprise.

Same as other immigrants with the initiative, drive, the means to come to America to take advantage of opportunity, NOBAs more easily take advantage of America’s welcoming climate for business enterprise. They more easily move into corporate pathways of advance.* They are not stymied and made hesitant by anger and resentment. They are not burdened, owing to passed-along legacy, with self-doubt and, notably, the thought, “I must give back to my downtrodden brethren.”** They simply, much as Whites, Asians, East Indians, etc., press whatever advantage they possess to take advantage of opportunity presented!

* Not long ago The Wolf asked a NOBA friend, longtime executive with a major NYC-based bank (parents from Trinidad many decades ago, father an Episcopalian bishop), about Blacks promoted to vice-presidency at his bank. He acknowledged that all in his recollection—no exceptions!—were NOBAs!

** By way of example of OBA reluctance/hesitancy in taking advantage of new opportunities, The Wolf and his sister visited one of the sister’s former high school students at arguably America’s foremost higher institution of science—Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Asked by The Wolf at some point whether she was thinking of one day working for a large corporation, the young woman—a brilliant OBA from a disadvantaged background with a full scholarship—shook her head, “No!” She wouldn’t feel comfortable. Wanted to devote her talents to making a meaningful contribution to the lives of disadvantaged Blacks. Did not envision realizing this aim from a position of influence in a “White” corporation.


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XVII—Generationally-passed-along OBA Legacy of self-denigration, inferiority, anger

Doubtless, post emancipation, NOBA ancestors were also regarded as inferior by Whites and ill-treated. However, as noted, Bermuda perhaps an exception, they emerged the majority group. They rose eventually to rule their small nations, unchallenged on basis of race.

If, for even decades post emancipation NOBA ancestor treatment was not benign, it never approached systematic, often violent, post-emancipation subjugation of OBA ancestors, and even OBA descendants today. East, West, and North, as well as in the American South, the great majority of Whites disliked and disdained Blacks. If not sanctioned by White-passed laws, systematic suppression of an entire citizen population was ongoing in all parts of the nation.*

* In Oregon, for example, where a Black sailor had set foot in the territory in 1788, and a Black slave was with the Lewis and Clark 1805 expedition, a mere two percent of today’s population is Black. Before and after becoming a state (1859), Oregon was hostile toward Blacks. Its 1859 constitution forbade Blacks from “living, working, owning property” in the state. Upon threat of “public whipping”—39 lashes every 6 months until departure—, until 1926 it was illegal for Blacks to move to Oregon! There is no record of such a whipping. No need. Oregon’s reputation as a place Blacks did not go sufficed as deterrence.


Excepting South Africa during its apartheid era, whence few Blacks as yet have emigrated to the United States, NOBAs cannot point to anything approaching sustained, organized campaigns of violence and intimidation designed to terrorize and suppress, waged by such as the Ku Klux Klan, White Knights of the Camelia, “Red Shirts,” John Birch Society, and other White-supremacist groups. Far from disappearing, such groups have experienced renewal, growth, inspiration, even leadership under a racist, White-nationalist POTUS.*

* Hate crimes are reportedly up 271 percent in counties in which Donald Trump has held rallies, vs. those he has not. Murderous episodes—e.g., Pittsburgh and San Diego synagogues, in Black churches, against elected officials at the highest level—are attributable directly to bully-pulpit POTUS incitement.

In 1998 three young White men, one bearing a tattoo of a Black man in a noose, randomly selected James Byrd, Jr., a Black man walking outside Jasper, Texas. They killed him, tied his body to the back of their truck, and dragged the body until it was dismembered. In 2015, in hopes of “igniting a race war,” Dylan Roof, 21-year-old White supremacist, murders nine Blacks (OBAs all) during a prayer service at an OBA church in Charleston, SC. This after praying with parishioners for an hour.

Near-universal White resistance to OBA advancement kept OBA ancestors from all walks of life—whether formerly slave or free—intimidated, humiliated, scrambling to eke existence under a heavy heel of 1,000 forms of discrimination, all supported by such laws as those in the South denoting that persons with even “1/32nd African blood” were non-White, thus subject to abuse and denial of rights.

If treated as children and chattel property under slavery, post-slavery, OBA ancestors were treated more as despised children. They were valued less than pigs, horses, cows they had once held equal legal status with.


Such systemic terrorization is evidenced and memorialized by the recently-opened Montgomery, Alabama, Memorials to Peace and Justice. Humiliation, abuse, often murder of OBA ancestors, not just in every southern county, but in counties in near every American state, continuing to the 1960s, is documented and dramatically symbolized by hanging obelisks representing each such county, and names of OBA ancestors lynched therein.  (See following photos)

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala., remembers the thousands of victims of lynchings. Credit Audra Melton for The New York Times

Lynching Memorial Is Opening.

Image NY Times


That White intimidation of Black advance continues in brutal fashion to this day is evidenced by the following startling statistic gathered by the federal government. A Black American citizen—most than likely poor, urban, OBA!—, is shot every 38 hours by police (!!).*

* See, e.g., Black Entertainment Television documentary Finding Justice. https://www.bet.com/shows/finding-justice/about.html


Damaging toll on OBA ancestors and descendants

Such terrorization, abuse and denigration, atop 200 years of enslavement, relentlessly pursued during 150 years of post-emancipation and continuing, stoked in various ways even at present by America’s particularly virulent form of racism,* such that present-day Black collegians demand “safe spaces,” necessarily exacted and continues to exact a damaging psychic toll.

* E.g., unlike notoriously “racist” South Africa, where mixed-race persons, called “Coloreds,” are/were given separate status between “Whites” and “Blacks,” White America, for reasons of… disadvantaging large segments of population?, guilt at its transgressions?, has long insisted on excruciatingly strict racial demarcation. “One-drop” laws defining any with 1/32nd African admixture Black, notwithstanding that all such are likely indistinguishable from Whites, have been noted. In such regard it may be noted that recent DNA research and results suggest that “a significant percentage” of Americans defining themselves as “White”, in particular those with ancestry dating back to the 1800s, are estimated to have African DNA (!!).


It translates into self-defeating, self-negating manner, posture, thought, behavior.

Namely, self-doubt, caution, hesitancy regarding Whites and participation in White spheres; mocking of one’s race and self and abiding sense of inferiority;* justifiable resentment; anger at self and (justifiably!) at Whites especially and willy-nilly, and at America itself.

* E.g., historic, not fully extinct, self-denigrating tropes, such as “light and bright [referring to lighter-skinned OBAs, especially women] is right”, “brown, stick around”, “black, get back”, and “brown paper bag” testing of skin color to determine admission into certain historically Black college sororities; literal branding of members of a certain Black fraternity to this day (!!); use of “nigger” by OBAs to disparage (also self-mockingly endear) other Blacks; characteristic reserve among even educated, well-off OBAs respecting interactions involving Whites; adoption and mimicking of White standards of beauty, such as straightening derided (“nappy”) natural hair; use of skin-bleaching concoctions, etc.


This toll severely damaged OBA ancestors, and a damaging Legacy endures. It has been passed along generationally- whispers and tales of injustice and denigration at the hands of Whites, and in characteristic OBA conduct, manner, behavior, vis-à-vis themselves and Whites.

Damaging Legacy effect exists within OBAs of all income, social, and educational levels. To this day it negatively impacts OBA behavior, outlook, self-regard in differing ways and degrees, most negative, but not always.*

* There is, of course, the most self-defeating behavior of all, doubtless born of anger, low self-esteem, lack of proper guidance in a culture broken by the Legacy—denigrating application to studies and self-advancing behavior (such as being law-abiding!) as “acting White”. On the other hand, anger, resentment, need to “prove oneself worthy” can motivate achievement. The Wolf would “cop” to the latter.

Because the truth of such poisonous Legacy tales and whispers and reasons for; this advisability and correctness of conduct, manner, posture inculcated by passed-along Legacy; and self-defeating behavior at a time of genuine change and opportunity requiring different conduct, manner, posturing, and thought in order to be taken advantage of…

Continues to be reinforced by daily experience!


And, it may be noted and can be safely posited, in such disadvantageous regard NOBAs are far less affected, if at all.


Telling measure of benefit of “leaving the [Black] race”

Such was benefit of escaping OBA status as late as the 1940s, that Walter White—blonde, blue-eyed, mixed-race, longtime head of the NAACP, who traveled to the South to effectively use his ability to “pass as White” to infiltrate and investigate southern racial wrongdoing—, at the time estimated “12,000 Negroes a year crossed the color line” to live going forward as Whites, often forever turning their backs on beloved family members.* Advantage gained by such a painful, life-changing maneuver was so apparent to Blacks unable to “cross” (by reason of obvious Negroid color or features), that few persons “leaving the race” were betrayed to Whites.

* Fair-skinned, red-haired, progeny of Thomas Jefferson and his mixed-race slave concubine Sally Hemings (half-sister of Jefferson’s deceased wife Martha) are an example of mixed-racials crossing to live as Whites. See also The Human Stain, movie based upon a book by Phillip Roth (supposedly based on a Walter White-like New York acquaintance of Roth). Also the meme of the “tragic mulatto.”


In which regard, noted OBA scholar Henry Louis Gates, pioneer in exploring Black/White American DNA admixture, estimates the average OBA to be 20 percent European (!!). DNA ancestry research reveals a significant percentage of “White America,” especially any tracing ancestry back to early 1800s and beyond, has African and/or Native American admixture.


Example of generationally-passed-along Legacy

Beyond recounting by The Wolf’s OBA Tennessee-born/raised-farm-girl mother (now 95) of walking barefoot on a dusty road to the local one-room, wood-clapboard school for Blacks, while White children passed in a bus headed for their nice brick school in Cordova (east of Memphis), several generationally-passed-along stories of injustice at the hands of Whites in this family branch come to mind.

There is the story that one of several maternal slave forebears submitted to the master’s will (and power and lust)—producing a Wolf forebear—only after being locked in a shed for a week. Also, that another forebear, slave of a Tennessee family reportedly prominent in banking,* submitted to one of the master’s sons.

* “Barrett,” supposedly.


Then there is belief that death of The Wolf maternal grandfather, forebear of over 80 descendants (most still alive), was hastened by racially-suspect and possibly motivated government taking of land this proud man—son of freed Mississippi slaves, still-practicing MD at his death at 87, founding member of the Memphis NAACP chapter, father of nine (all but one college graduates!)—purchased in 1910,* and lived on and farmed with his family continuously for over 50 years until his death months after the 1963 taking, just before having to vacate.

* Administering to both rural and Memphis OBAs and on rare emergency occasions Whites (he began his practice in Memphis and maintained an office there). Owing to his education, Dr. G. F. Pinkston was a source of farming advice to neighboring farmers—most White—, who respected him and called him “Doc”. A Mississippi schoolteacher before becoming an MD, he loved his family, his land, farming, and until his sudden passing, tending to patients. Initially traveling by horse and buggy on rounds, he owned the first tractor in the area and one of the first automobiles. A hard-to-notice highway marker off Lenow Road (Cordova, TN), across from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) power facility situated on his former farm, honors this Memphis pioneer.

Entirely White-run at the time, in 1963 the TVA sought area land for a new electricity-generating plant to serve the city of Memphis 20 miles west. Surrounding neighbor White farmers were willing to sell comparable property. However, against the Wolf forebear’s firm resolve not to sell, the only OBA-owned farm of size was targeted for seizure via eminent domain. Dr. Pinkston passed months later following a court judgment against him, mere weeks before his land passed into TVA hands.

It may be noted that, as was customary and an added burden faced by OBA ancestors seeking to advance theirs and family fortunes, and often Blacks to this day!, a premium was paid for Wolf forebear acreage—i.e., more than a White seeking to purchase would have paid.


Legacy effect on Wolf OBA southern kin

Nearly all college-educated, hard-working, law-abiding, and relatively prosperous, Wolf southern OBA kin are very much what W.E.B. DuBois termed “The [Black] Talented Tenth.” Not merely the above-passed-along incidents, but surrounding southern reality has formed the Legacy that has shaped even present-day outlook and comportment.

From emancipation forward, in order to survive, Wolf southern kin accommodated and acceded to White dominance. They have long been careful to “avoid trouble,” to avoid insult, to be safe from threat of surrounding Whites (including White neighbors who knew them), and from the larger surrounding, threatening anti-Black culture.*

* “Dress up and stay out of trouble,” was admonished whenever any of the 9 children—Wolf mother, aunts (4), uncles (4)—left the farm. So as not to attract attention and incur White neighbor envy (and possibly be burned out, as was not uncommon in the South until mid-20ieth century [!!]), the farmhouse was more modest than it might have been, wood not brick, and set considerably back from the road.

Understandably, given OBA ancestor history, intimidation, and suppression described, such caution vis-à-vis Whites and safety concern was, often still is standard among southern OBAs, most of whom, whether in city, town or hamlet, once hunkered in segregated, largely self-sufficient OBA enclaves.


Unlike Jamaica-descended northern NOBA relatives, Wolf southern relatives possibly, very likely harbor a sense of being less than Whites. They are surely less confident and assertive than their accomplishments warrant. Many are lawyers, doctors, engineers, professors, educators, and in business (the latter mostly, as was The Wolf, on a smaller scale), and more educated and prosperous than The Wolf’s NOBA side. They manifestly are not less than Whites (or NOBAs!). There is, possibly and unexpressed, a reserve of resentment on such account.*

* Southern kin doubtless appreciate that, but for racism and, perhaps, their reaction to racism, their situation would be improved, their outlook likely different in a positive way.

However, The Wolf has never witnessed or heard tell of an outburst of anger toward Whites. Certainly not toward America. With a notable exception!*

* The above-described patriarch, notwithstanding good relations with and respect of White neighbors, and calm, dignified manner; or possibly precisely because of the latter and how hard he worked and his erudition, refused to accompany his wife Saturdays to the Memphis farmer’s market where she and other OBAs sold produce and meats to Whites. Devoted to family, kind, possessed of an excellent sense of humor, even a practical joker, and never anything but indulgent to The Wolf on boyhood visits, this proud, accomplished man was occasionally called “boy” on his trips to Memphis for medical supplies. Such, apparently, was inner frustration and anger, that reportedly on occasion he whipped horses and cows until blood ran from their noses. And no one dared interfere.


Wolf southern relatives reflect calm and patience where race relations are concerned. They do not exist by leave of Whites, but have existed and continue to exist on the margin of a wider world perceived to be largely owned and controlled by Whites. “Go slow, keep your head low,” seems a tenet. Also, longstanding, “Get your education and be twice as good [as the White person],” that you can have a fair chance.

They remain cautious, reserved, patient. They remain optimistic.


Present-day example of pernicious OBA Legacy at work?

A discouraging March, 2018 New York Times article suggests a discouraging, not-precisely-determined, self-defeating influence on Black male children of even privileged, well-to-do parents.* It may be noted that one Will Jawando, contributor to the piece, son of a Nigerian father and White mother—similar to President Obama!—, a lawyer with three children, is presented as one who swam against this depressing tide, having climbed from relative poverty to working in the Obama White House. He, of course, is a NOBA.

* * Entitled Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys (March 19, 2018),


The article asserts in relevant, poignant summary:

Black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families… living in the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds, according to a sweeping new study that traced the lives of millions of children.

White boys who grow up rich are likely to remain that way. Black boys raised at the top, however, are more likely to become poor than to stay wealthy…

Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America. And the gaps only worsen in the kind of neighborhoods that promise low poverty and good schools.

According to the study, led by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau, income inequality between blacks and whites is driven entirely by what is happening among these boys and the men they become. Though black girls and women face deep inequality on many measures, black and white girls from families with comparable earnings attain similar individual incomes as adults.

Reference to The Equality of Opportunity Project upon which the article is largely based suggests as its “Finding # 1: Hispanic Americans are moving up in the income distribution across generations, while Black Americans and American Indians are not.”

Further asserted by this Project of note: “black women earn slightly more than white women conditional on parent income. Moreover, there is little or no gap in wage rates or hours of work between black and white women. We find analogous gender differences in other outcomes: black-white gaps in high-school completion rates, college attendance rates, and incarceration are all substantially larger for men than for women. Black women have higher college attendance rates than white men, conditional on parental income. For men, the gap in incarceration is particularly stark: 21% of black men born to the lowest income families are incarcerated on a given day, far higher than for any other subgroup.”

OBA-NOBA divide, of course, is not explored as a possible factor in the Project the article draws upon. Factors examined are parent marriage rates, education, wealth; also differences in ability, as measured by test scores.*

* Both Black male and female children of comparable wealth, neighborhood, and schools, test lower on average than White counterparts. However, Black girls nevertheless achieve and earn at a higher level than either White female or male classmates with higher test scores!


The Wolf posits that investigation of the OBA-NOBA factor might well reveal that Black males in question hail predominantly from OBA-descended families.


Evidence of this is the finding of the importance, in lower-income Black households showing better outcomes for male children, of fathers being present. Immigrant NOBA families more typically feature dual parents. Families often start out in cheaper housing in low-income, urban, OBA neighborhoods, but move out when they can.

As asserted in Finding #6 of the Project upon which the above-referenced article is based:

“Higher rates of father presence among low-income black households are associated with better outcomes for black boys, but is uncorrelated with the outcomes of black girls and white boys.” Moreover, noted in Finding #7, “Black men who move to better areas—such as those with low poverty rates, low racial bias, and higher father presence—earlier in their childhood have higher incomes and lower rates of incarceration as adults.” (Emphasis supplied.)

Sadly, also noted in Finding #7:

“The challenge is that very few black children currently grow up in environments that foster upward mobility. Fewer than 5 percent of black children currently grow up in areas with a poverty rate below 10 percent and more than half of black fathers present. In contrast, 63 percent of white children grow up in areas with analogous conditions.”


Effect of generationally-passed-along Legacy

In contrast with NOBA ancestors and descendants, generationally-passed-along Legacy in OBA descendants likely provokes deeper, more resonant, negating response to real (and imagined) present-day racial slights. Which slights—police stops, being followed in stores and bypassed by taxicabs (driven in many instances by immigrants!), being denied mortgage and business loans, unthinking remarks—all on account of skin color, occur with frequency.


It may be there is even greater resonance/reaction to racial slight among OBAs who grow up in privilege.  Precisely because their privilege makes the slight so unexpected, even shocking.


Moreover, given typical greater fragility of male pride and ego, (in particular OBA male pride and ego), especially when enhanced by privilege, resonance/reaction more likely manifests in self-defeating anger more in privileged OBA male than female children.


Indeed, as suggested, precisely owing to privilege and advantage, awareness of society-wide prejudice against Blacks, and experiencing racial slights, is likely doubly jarring and hurtful in OBA children of privileged background, especially males.

In small but accumulating fashion, racial psychic dings produce anger, self-doubt, and other effects that more impair advance in developing privileged OBA males than female siblings.


Of course, debilitating OBA legacy is most evident among the majority millions of lower socio-economic, urban-ghettoized OBAs, whose problems of self-image and self-destructive behavior, sadly, are entrenched.*

* E.g., sharply in contrast to reverence of and desire for education on the part of freed-slave OBA ancestors (expressed, as noted, in provision of free, for the first time ever, public education to Blacks and Whites alike in the post-Civil War South by elected OBA ancestor legislators!), lower socio-economic urban OBA ancestor youth, pinning hopes short-term on hustle and false macho bluster, long-term on utter pie-in-the-sky false promise of athlete and entertainer success, characteristically, and as noted, regard application to obtaining education, so prized in the entire rest of the world, as “acting White.”

The above-referenced Equality of Opportunity Project asserts that “black children born to parents in the bottom household income quintile have a 2.5% chance of rising to the top quintile of household income, compared with 10.6% for whites.”


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XVIII—Translation of problematic OBA Legacy to OBA disadvantage, NOBA advantage

The Wolf posits that in today’s “enlightened” era—again, best of all times to be Black in America!—, in which not just opportunity, but, to satisfy “diversity” requirements, demand for Black participation exists in such not-so-long-ago-comfortably-all-white-institutions as colleges, corporations, and police forces, talented OBAs are slower to fill ranks than NOBAs.*

* Recall previous footnote noting only NOBAs filling vice-presidency openings at a major NYC bank.


General Colin Powell example

The most prominent “Black” or “African-American” military figure, for example, widely respected by Whites, is army General Colin Powell. Son of Jamaican immigrants (therefore NOBA), he seized American opportunity in the only major organization offering opportunity to Blacks in his time—the U.S. military.

Who, where is General Powell’s comparable OBA peer?


Powell’s much-admired calm and assured manner, evincing not the least animosity toward Whites, is, arguably, directly the result of having a prideful, two-parent (NYC) upbringing, absent White-directed suspicion and anger.*

* Occasional resentment, perhaps. However, not suspicion and anger translating to self-doubt and hesitation where Whites and entry into White spheres is concerned.

It may be noted that, as in slave times (!!), lack of seeming anger and resentment toward Whites remains a key requirement for approval/advancement in White worlds of endeavor.


Neither Colin Powell’s family nor he was burdened by the self-denigrating, anti-White animus, post-emancipation Legacy OBA descendants typically carry. Quite the contrary.

Distinct NOBA advantage!


Contrast of aspiring, achieving Wolf OBA versus NOBA relatives

Relative prosperity of Wolf maternal OBA relatives has been noted. Generally, this southern family branch surpasses paternal Jamaican-descended northern NOBA relatives in education and accomplishment. However, as noted, the former group to this day evinces caution vis-à-vis Whites. Likely more sensitive to and careful to avoid situations in which racial slight may be encountered, their participation in White-involved activities tends to be hesitant.

They tend to maintain social distance from Whites. Only one, a medical doctor in Memphis (following first marriage to an OBA, producing children), has married a White—former nurse with grown children from a first marriage to a fellow White. Quite a few in the NOBA (northern) family branch married Whites, including The Wolf.


Of course, NOBAs may also may carry a legacy of racism-occasioned injustice. Same as OBA relatives, Wolf NOBA relatives do.* However, such legacy has not engendered caution where Whites are concerned. If racial slight occurs, which, if only in subtle ways oftentimes happens, it is attributed to White ignorance, and rather easily brushed off.

* The Wolf’s father, army vet and PhD candidate, died suddenly, unexpectedly in Mass General Hospital, Boston, in 1957, age 32. The death was investigated by a (Black) family friend and lawyer. He concluded that the White doctor and all-White hospital personnel were “too powerful” for a case to proceed. Not an unusual “Black outcome” at the time.


Example of OBA negative self-image Legacy

An obvious example of embedded negative OBA self-image is the popularity, going back generations among all OBA strata, of skin-bleaching creams, and, especially, methods of straightening curly, “kinky” hair to resemble that of Whites. Respecting same, consider such—OBAs all!—as Oprah, Michelle Obama, Beyonce.* This in spite of “Black is beautiful” admonitions of the 1960s and 70s to discover beauty in natural hair and dark skin.**

* Recent immigrant African (NOBA) women have in some measure introduced appreciation for natural “Black” features—e.g., actress Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years a Slave. However, simultaneously, a measure of the powerful influence of White culture worldwide, bleaching creams and hair straightening has caught hold in African nations.

** In a hopeful, also double-edged trend, OBA and NOBA American males, having, as opposed to women, in response to ‘1960s-70s, long abandoned hair straightening and processing—e.g., “jerrrie curls” dripping oil, mocked in the (OBA) Eddie Murphy movie, Coming to America—currently embrace a variety of stylings of their natural hair. The problematic aspect, to be explored in a follow-up YOWL re what to be done about counteracting problematic aspects of OBA legacy in still-racist American culture (!!), has to do with reinforcement of negative stereotypes among Whites, especially of violence, occasioned by the often outlandish, seeming aggressive, in-yo-face-whitey! nature of current stylings.


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XIX—Examples of problematic OBA anger Legacy

Toni Morrison, Samuel L. Jackson

Noted OBA author, Toni Morrison, raised in Ohio, whose writing is much focused on OBA lives, characteristics, concerns, speaks of her Georgia-born father’s extreme antipathy towards Whites. Indelibly, as a boy, he witnessed an OBA businessman snatched off the street of his small town by Whites, taken away and lynched.

Noted OBA actor, Samuel L. Jackson, age 70, recounts having had scant interaction with Whites before attending Morehouse College in Atlanta. He attributes his “simmering, controlled anger” exhibited on screen to “an authentic place”—the segregated world of Chattanooga, Tennessee in which he grew up, where Whites referred to OBAs as “’the nigras’ with a condescending sneer.” He recalls that “the way he glowered back” at such Whites without dropping his head “alarmed his grandfather.”


Echoing the Samuel L. Jackson example, until well past mid-twentieth century, OBAs in the South who exhibited high spirit and rebelliousness against Whites and White culture and practice demanding OBA submissiveness and obsequiousness, especially young men, if their propensity could not be curbed/subdued, were typically sent north to live with relatives.

Responsible OBA parents to this day (and, increasingly, some NOBA parents) carefully instruct children, especially boys, on the importance of submissiveness when dealing with anticipated police encounters.

To an OBA wife who objected to her OBA husband taking such instruction to the extreme of physical blows, the husband responded, “Do you want me to beat him, or the police?!”


Generationally-passed-along suspicion, anger, resentment toward Whites, deeply corrosive, daily revived and triggered by such commonplaces as routinely being followed in stores by clerks, is not likely found in NOBA home countries, whether Africa or New World. Not even in South Africa, with its savage history of Black oppression.

If it is—say, from India-descended clerks in Nairobi, Kenya, or White and “Colored” clerks toward “Blacks” in South Africa—, those discriminated against and made to feel less are nevertheless buttressed by their majority status and Black rule.


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XX—NOBA advantage in sum

In sum, as suggested in quoted articles, where OBA slave history and Legacy tends to trigger anger, resentment, anguish over perceived (often real) racial slight, NOBA history and (relative lack of) legacy enables more easily overlooking same. There may be sting, but less.

NOBAs are buoyed by pride of family and origin. Struggle making their way in the country they or ancestors chose to come to was anticipated. For the prideful immigrant of color and prideful descendants, American racism, same as language and possible initial poverty, is but a hurdle to overcome. NOBAs from former British colonies even enjoy a language advantage!


Never experienced in its most virulent form—lynching, White mob attack, effects of existing in a majority culture that despises you—, if not necessarily “rolling off the backs” of NOBAs, American racism is often disdained, even mocked as ignorance and scoffed at.

In modern America, recently-arrived NOBAs quickly discern that they and family members can easily outcompete average White Americans (!!).

Also, tellingly, the same as other immigrant groups, NOBAs very soon perceive that one group of Americans can be regarded as decidedly inferior—OBAs!


Meantime, evidenced by the referenced study showing that even Black males raised in privilege (OBA?) are much more likely than Whites (or Hispanics) to fall back down the economic ladder, OBAs of all economic strata tend to be checked emotionally, if only slightly and momentarily, by racist behavior of the most incidental kind. In anticipation, fearing racial slight, OBAs tend to employ measures to minimize situations where such may occur.  They may avoid interaction with Whites, as evidenced by preferring and seeking segregated “Blacks-only” tables and dorms at predominantly White colleges.

In such wise, unlike NOBAs, OBAs may stifle potential for initiative, enterprise, advance that may require familiarity and cooperative endeavor with Whites.

OBAs of all economic strata, certainly those of The Wolf’s (60s) generation and into the 1970s and 80s, and virtually all in the majority OBA population of urban Black poor, harbor corrosive, self-defeating, health-endangering, racism-engendered anger and resentment.


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XXI—Shirley Chisholm example of NOBA advantage

Civil and women’s rights advocate and onetime presidential candidate, elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Brooklyn in the 1970s, Shirley Chisholm provides an apt example of a Black American benefitting from NOBA advantage.

Per Wikipedia, born in Brooklyn in 1924 to immigrant parents—father from British Guiana, mother from Barbados—, eldest of four daughters, Representative Chisholm “exhibited unprecedented strength, persistence, dignity, and fierceness of purpose in the overwhelmingly White male Washington, D.C., power structure of the 1970s”, not just for a Black person and woman, but, perhaps noteworthy, a woman with dark skin and plain features.

Characteristic of NOBA immigrants, there were two parents, and both worked, father a laborer, mother a “skilled seamstress.” Also characteristic was family planning to advantage their children’s futures. It being difficult for the working mother to manage her job and raise four children, in 1929 five-year-old Shirley and the next two girls were sent to live with the maternal grandmother in Barbados, not to return until 1934. Per Wikipedia, henceforth deeming herself “Barbadian American” and speaking with a West Indian accent, in her autobiography, Unbought and Unbossed, respecting her unusual, admirable qualities, Rep. Chisholm wrote:

“Years later I would know what an important gift my parents had given me by seeing to it that I had my early education in the strict, traditional, British-style schools of Barbados. If I speak and write easily now, that early education is the main reason.” Regarding the role of her grandmother, she later said, “Granny gave me strength, dignity, and love. I learned from an early age that I was somebody. I didn’t need the black revolution to tell me that.”


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XXII—Obama family OBA-NOBA divide example

The “first American Black POTUS” (president of the United States) and FLOTUS (first lady of the United States) provide an apt example of OBA-NOBA contrast.


Barack Obama

Barack Obama is surely Black. Trump “birther” nonsense notwithstanding, he is also American. However, in terms of a Black American emerging from uniquely degrading American slavery, continuing aftermath and Legacy to become POTUS—an Original Black American president!—, such not only has yet to occur, but numerous attempts haven’t come close!*

* Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton being latest aspirants, there have been over 40 Black candidates for POTUS since 1900, most OBAs! All have been protest candidates, most nominated by fringe political parties—e.g., “socialist party,” “workers party.” The highest vote total secured by any was just over 200,000 (versus over 69 million for Barack Obama).

United States senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, son of southern-born OBA parents of means, whose qualities differing from previous OBA POTUS candidates will be explored in a subsequent segment, is the first remotely plausibly electable OBA presidential candidate.


Son of a prideful, ambitious, well-educated Black Kenyan citizen father, and an equally educated, ambitious White American mother, Barack Obama is a NOBA!

No question but young “Barry” experienced racial discrimination growing up. His father having departed early on, his mother re-marrying, a la 42nd POTUS Bill Clinton, young Obama’s family was dysfunctional. Yet, he had important, characteristic NOBA advantages.

Barack Obama NOBA advantage

Young Barry Obama’s African father hailed from a privileged family, members of the highly achieving-oriented Kenyan Luau tribe.*

* Similar to fellow Kenyan Kikuyu tribe, whose children regularly score at the very top of international tests, also Ibo or Igbo of Nigeria (whence most Nigerian doctors in America hail), acquisitive, competitive Luau tribal culture was adaptive to competitive colonial (Western modern) values and models of success.

Per Obama in an autobiography,* his mother—a forward-thinking, White PhD anthropologist from solid, mid-America (Kansas) stock,** termed by a high school classmate “an original feminist”—, was “the dominant figure in my formative years.” Doubtless determined to prove her departure from norms and expectations of her time was not a mistake (e.g., in choosing a Black mate), she would rouse her mixed-race son for early-morning extra study, that he might succeed in school. She sacrificed to send him to Hawaii’s premier private academy.

* Dreams From My Father.

** Father a college-educated salesman, mother a bank vice president. Abandoned to raise her son as a single mom (soon to wed again), Ann “Dunham’s” biography denotes grit and individualist, feminist striving unusual for her time.

A telling (typically American?) family feature is both relation to Wild Bill Hickok (6th cousin), and Ann Dunham’s mother having a 17th century Black Virginia slave in her ancestry.

Unusual for a time in which some parents shunned daughters who got pregnant out-of-wedlock, never mind a White daughter having a Black man’s child, Obama’s maternal grandparents were very supportive. He fondly recalls spending considerable time with them. There was no whispered damaging Legacy passed along, anti-White or otherwise.

If not early on ingested by Obama himself,* the expectation conveyed by his support network was of limitless possibility.

* As suggested by lackluster performance at the prestigious Punahou private academy in Hawaii, and by a serious teen dalliance with marijuana.


It may be noted that in one respect young Obama’s sense of alienation from White mainstream America caused him to exhibit a limitation often observed among advantaged OBAs, but not so much NOBAs.

When opportunity presented to cash in on his signal achievement of being first Black editor-in-chief of the prestigious Harvard Law Review, surefire pathway to wealth and security in a corporate law firm,  a felt need to seek social justice for downtrodden Blacks determined Obama’s path. His decision to be a modestly-compensated “community organizer” in a poor Black neighborhood in Chicago was surely dictated by “Black experience” motivating a desire to uplift less fortunate Blacks. Very likely also, same as many OBAs, personal search for identity and place in America.


In the end, of course, Barack Obama possessed confidence, drive, and savvy to rise meteorically up the ladder of Illinois state senator, U.S. senator from Illinois, then POTUS.

Likely more important in such regard, in contrast to OBAs who have aspired to the nation’s highest office—Reverends Jackson and Sharpton again noted—, Barack Obama presented as calm, cool, devoid of anger. The latter was/is especially necessary to garner White votes.

Barack Obama presented as non-threatening and non-judgmental of Whites, critical to advance in any American precinct where White acceptance and approval are needed.*

* It may be noted in such regard that the non-threatening/not-angry applecart was nearly upset by long association with fiery OBA church pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Dissociation from Wright and his perceived angry, anti-White sermons was pivotal in Obama successfully moving forward in his POTUS campaign.


Michelle Robinson Obama

Contrast with wife and quintessential reasonably-advantaged, upward-striving OBA, Michelle Robinson Obama, as revealed in her autobiography and elsewhere, is instructive.


Michelle Robinson’s forebears were American slaves. Her grandparents, along with numerous southern Blacks seeking employment opportunity and greater freedom, migrated from South Carolina and Georgia to the south side of Chicago in the early 1900s. Notably, her four great-grandparents were mixed-race, signaling that in their background was the commonplace of non-consensual (rapine) slave master-slave union that typically advantaged forthcoming issue—children—, who would also be slaves owned by the father-master.*

* In many instances slave-master fathers of mixed-race offspring sought to advantage their blood issue. Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were often initiated and/or funded by White former slave-owners seeking to ensure their (mixed-race) offspring received higher education.

Typical of the minority among OBAs who have advanced in spite of slavery, discrimination, and Legacy impediment, Michelle Robinson had an intact, supportive family—two hard-working, supportive, motivating, upward-striving parents.*

* Father a city (water plant) employee and Democratic precinct captain, mother a secretary for Spiegel clothing catalogue co.


Notwithstanding this advantage, in her recent autobiography Michelle Robinson evinces characteristic OBA self-doubt. Despite her brother having attended and played basketball there, she is surprised at her admittance to Princeton. She felt she must prove herself not only to roommates, but to herself. Not in the mold of fairer-complexioned women OBA men of education and ambition tend to prefer,* seemingly not an object of male pursuit in college, law school, or, before meeting her future husband, in her high-profile White, corporate, Chicago law firm, the current icon of fashion and glamour was initially highly skeptical of advances of the handsome, younger Black man assigned to her lawyer tutelage—Barack Obama.

* Owing to (White) European/American sway and pre-eminence in past centuries, Caucasian beauty standards, especially preference for lighter skin complexion, remains an unfortunate fact in, seemingly, most nations of the world. Skin-lightening concoctions have forever been popular among OBAs. They are popular in Japan. There are reports currently of life-threatening skin bleachers popular in African nations.

OBA men of all complexions have traditionally favored fairer OBA women. The expressions “light (or white) is right,” “brown, stick around,” “black, get back” have been noted.

That, after having been in love with a White woman, Barack Obama chose Michelle, bespeaks a mindset unlike that of high-aspirant OBA men. It is documented that partnering with Michelle redounded heavily in Obama’s favor among darker-complexioned OBA women across America. (It brought them joy!)


The Wolf will opine that former FLOTUS’s straightened hair and seeming penchant for designer labels and shopping is a hallmark of OBA insecurity respecting self, and, per OBA parlance, “bourgie” need for compensatory trappings.*

* See, e.g., The Black Bourgeoisie (1957), OBA sociologist E. Franklin Frazier’s ground-breaking exploration of the habits and affectations of America’s White-mimicking Black (OBA) middle class.

Upward-striving Michelle Robinson Obama describes her suspicion of and impatience respecting her husband’s choice to be a poorly-compensated community-organizer, then state legislator. She was astounded by his pursuit of an Illinois United States senate seat, and soon after the U.S. presidency. His and her ascension to America’s highest office both mystified and flabbergasted the former awkward (OBA) girl from working-class roots.

That her husband would not only aspire to America’s highest office, but achieve it, and she become First Lady, was beyond Michelle Robinson’s wildest imaginings, notwithstanding being an apt example of an OBA benefitting from education that prepared her for highest leadership.

One senses this OBA woman, who has taken an exhilarating, unlikely ride with her NOBA husband, yet pinches herself to make sure all was not a dream.


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XXIII—Advantageous positioning of NOBAs to benefit from OBA-led gains

Such NOBAs as Jamaican pan-Africanist, polemicist, author, writer, entrepreneur, etc., Marcus Garvey, also Stokely Carmichael,* Shirley Chisholm, and Harry Belafonte,** unquestionably have advanced the cause of empowering and enabling opportunity for American Blacks.

* Born and schooled until age 11 in Trinidad and Tobago before joining his immigrant parents in Harlem.

** American-born son of mixed-racial Jamaican immigrants.

However, there can be no question but heavy lifting resulting in greater civil rights and opportunity for American Blacks has long been initiated, and has been spearheaded primarily by OBAs! E.g., Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Fannie Lou Hamer, Walter White, Bayard Rustin, A. Phillip Randolph, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, John Lewis, Andrew Young, Jesse Jackson.

These and many other OBA civil rights leaders were aided for the most part by OBA “foot soldier” southern HBCU students, also Whites, in particular American Jews.


Notwithstanding, The Wolf postulates NOBAs far-and-away to have been the Black Americans benefitting most from opportunities opened to Blacks in the last half century (!!).


The Wolf postulates NOBAs are disproportionately represented among tens of thousands of Black professionals, own a disproportionate share of Black businesses and homes, dominate Black college admissions and Black educational attainment, and, especially, predominate in management positions in corporations and other institutions previously closed to Blacks.*

* Recall footnoted anecdote of exclusively NOBAs advancing to vice-presidencies at a major NYC bank.

For obvious reasons.


NOBAs did not arrive in slave ships. They came to America by choice! They arrived as immigrants! And, for the most part, only after the most severe racist practices visited upon OBAs had sufficiently abated to make America more attractive than NOBA countries of origin!


As noted, NOBAs began arriving in small numbers toward the end of the 1800s, in significant numbers following World War I, from Caribbean, Central, and South American nations, more recently from Haiti. As noted, 2.1 million have arrived from various African nations since just 1990, most educated and hailing from backgrounds of relative privilege. African men in the latter group in particular have mostly been possessed of college degrees (!!).


Apart from their badge of color in common with OBAs, NOBAs are not unlike immigrant millions of all races and backgrounds, who have made their way to America to take advantage of opportunity not afforded in home countries.

Being brown and black, NOBAs have faced an additional ongoing burden and obstacle of color discrimination not faced by other immigrants. Same as OBAs, NOBAs were and are perceived as Black, with disadvantage such identification implies. However, importantly, from the outset of NOBA influx, such disadvantage was significantly offset by characteristics not shared and enjoyed by the vast majority of OBAs.


Notably, predictably, NOBA immigrant forebear advantage—e.g., work ethic, prizing education—is passed on to descendants. It enables succeeding generations of NOBAs to be well positioned to take advantage of gains, opportunities, and openings made possible by OBA efforts.

NOBA legacy (small L!) buffers against racism, and is in most instances advantageous!


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XXIV—Example of an African immigrant benefitting from OBA-won gains

As oft-noted, the same as German, Italian, Asian, and other immigrant groups before them, NOBA immigrants possess the buffer against discrimination of family/cultural pride. In addition they typically hail not only from intact, two-parent households, but, unlike, say, many seeking to cross the U.S. southern border on foot, an advantaged background in home countries!

An example presents from among the 2.1 million “African diaspora” NOBAs come to America since 1990.


Dr. Daniel Wubah is president of small Millersville State University in Millersville, PA. 25 years ago he arrived from Ghana, Africa, a former British colony, with a Ghanaian college degree in botany.  In America he earned a masters in biology from the University of Akron in Ohio, a doctorate in botany from the University of Georgia, then embarked upon a career as professor, then administrator at Virginia Tech and Washington and Lee universities.

It may be noted that the above southern universities, same as all non-HBCU (historically Black…) southern colleges and universities, prior to the 1960s wholly lacked student, faculty, or administrative Black presence. Blacks at such institutions occupied an exclusively menial role—dining hall servants, groundskeepers, etc.


The attitude sea change since the 1960s, resulting in not only formerly all-White institutions such as Virginia Tech and Washington and Lee, but American institutions across the board—banks, corporations, local, state, and federal governance, etc.—not just welcoming, but actively recruiting “diversity,” especially Black presence, is owed entirely to civil rights efforts—sit-in protests, boycotts, marches, arrests, beatings, countless deaths, etc.—, as noted, initiated and led primarily by OBAs and White supporters!


The pantheon of Black civil rights heroes contains some NOBAs, as also noted. However, their contribution pales in comparison with that of OBAs!

NOBA Wubah not only is beneficiary of OBA efforts. More than most OBAs, he was well-poised to take advantage of opportunity made possible by OBAs.

In Dr. Wubah and NOBAs in general, White America finds its desired Black diversity (!!).*

* See, e.g., Kerwin Charles, Guyana-born NOBA recently tapped Dean of Yale School of Management.


Having, in addition to brown skin, a friendly, engaging, rock-no-boats persona is today a gold-plated calling card in White America.

Such as Dr. Wubah, having no generational Legacy of subjugation and injustice perpetrated by Whites even beginning to approach that of OBAs, harbor scant psychological baggage of inferiority. They harbor little and mostly no anger toward Whites.  Slightest manifestation of same, of course, especially by Black males, quickly dooms advancement in White precincts.*

* Owing to immersion in maternal OBA culture and experience, The Wolf has long harbored antipathy toward Whites. Such mitigated against finding mentors in White-dominated institutions (briefly) worked in.


Similar to other NOBAs, especially those recently arrived, Dr. Wubah possesses a solid work ethic, acquired growing up in Ghana.* Possessed in addition of crisp, British King’s English (adding international flare to institutions likely seeking to shuck off parochial aspect), Dr. Wubah differs from ambitious Whites only in skin color (!!).

* Dr. Wubah credits his success to “staying true to values of his culture [including ‘hard work… instilled growing up in Ghana’].”

Whether Dr. Wubah has become an American citizen during his many years in America is not known. What is certain is that in addition to the comfortable, well-compensated life of a university president at present enjoyed with his family, Dr. Wubah is a Ghanaian king!

Daniel Wubah during the coronation process (Twidan Family Photos)


Yes. Member of a royal lineage from birth, Dr. Wubah ascended to a 400-year-old tribal throne. In so doing he acquired the name Nana Ofosu Peko III. King Wubah rules 140,000 subjects in the Ghanaian Bremen Traditional region. He reportedly confers overseas by phone each morning with tribal council elders.

The region ruled by Dr. Wubah is also the traditional homeland of the Asante tribe, Dr. Wubah’s forebears. In a fine irony, the Asante fiercely resisted British colonialism and were instrumental in capturing slaves sent to America in the 1600s and 1700s!


Dr. Wubah is described as caring, nice, helpful. Doubtless, he is further calm, measured, dignified. As noted, same as many NOBAs, he is precisely the Black diversity White Americans love and want to invite into their institutions!


Can NOBAs in position of authority identify with OBAs in their charge?

It is recognized, indeed, axiomatic that White school administrators have difficulty identifying with, therefore being qualified to advise prospective and incoming Black students. Particularly at-risk admits, typically poorer and, The Wolf would posit, OBA.*

* Often recruited to satisfy governmental and other diversity guidelines and goals.

What of, then, an administrator born and raised in a foreign country, whose only connection with OBA student prospects is skin color? To date this rather obvious qualification issue seems to have been conveniently ignored.


For example, The Wolf had occasion not long ago to converse with an immigrant from Nepal, a brown-skinned woman married to a Pakistani immigrant, recently relocated to the East from Kansas. A nurse by training, proud of her older daughter (of two children) pursuing a PhD, daughter to owners of a prospering local ethnic-cuisine restaurant, in which she and other relatives work part-time—a bona fide American immigrant success story!—, this woman listened with interest and sympathy to The Wolf’s sketching of parameters of the instant Yowl, and the conclusion that OBAs, by reason of their special Legacy, should be distinguished from NOBAs.


However, at one point, slightly impatient, she interjected with the following familiar and telling criticism of the situation of impoverished urban OBAs:

“Why can’t they just work harder and improve their circumstances?!”

In other words, “Why can’t they do as I and my family have done? We came to this country with very little, worked hard, saved our money, sacrificed, etc., etc.”

The very same argument Whites typically offer, wholly ignorant of the colossal damage wrought on the majority of OBAs by history and debilitating Legacy.


Thus, as the primary present source of Millersville University students is lower-income Whites and Blacks, is it not appropriate to inquire whether Dr. Wubah, despite brown skin, is meaningfully different from White predecessors respecting ability to empathize with and relate to predominantly urban OBA youth, recruited in such nearby feeder cities as (in Pennsylvania) York, Lancaster, Reading, Philadelphia, and also nearby Baltimore?!

Can Dr. Wubah empathize with and suggest solutions for generationally-handed-down-through-little-fault-of-their-own, American-racist-Legacy-imposed, obvious economic, social, and educational handicaps target OBA students must overcome to even think about college? Especially psychological and emotional handicaps imposed by generationally-handed-down Legacy respecting Whites and White institutions, that one such as Dr. Wubah can only have a theoretical inkling of?


Can, in particular, such as Dr. Wubah identify with anger that so frequently and easily derails OBA youth prospects (e.g., by incurring trouble with the law)?

Can he identify with debilitating OBA lack of confidence?

Can he even offer a useful role model of Black success once he opens his mouth and his clipped British articulation spills forth?


The answer to above queries, over a year into Dr. Wuban’s tenure, is likely no. On the other hand, he has been very effective in raising money from (mostly White) alumni, local and regional business interests, and others fawning at the diversity and progressivism he represents.

It may be noted that Dr. Wubah was named Millersville president over an equally qualified OBA female candidate.


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XXV—Example of NOBA advantage passed on to succeeding generations

Wolf paternal Jamaican lineage provides apt example of NOBA advantage passed forward. Now in 4th and 5th generations, over 50 U.S. citizens (incl. The Wolf) trace back to the patriarch/matriarch of modest background and means who arrived at Ellis Island in the early 1920s.

Similar to other American immigrants, Wolf NOBA forebears were possessed of ambition and not insignificant characteristics and qualities boding well for success.


Having little more than 8th grade education, however a solid foundation from demanding, British-modeled schools; hailing from generations of industrious workers, farmers, small business entrepreneurs, dating back to ancestor emancipation circa 1830 (when Britain outlawed slavery), both Wolf paternal grandparents possessed pride of family. Both were from two-parent homes and spoke crisp, British-accented King’s English.*

* It may be noted that even in the America South of the 1950s and 60s, when discrimination and Jim Crow laws promoting Black inferiority were much in vogue, even average Whites gave a pass to Blacks wearing African garb and having other indicia—e.g., British and French accents—indicating they were not despised OBAs toward whom discrimination and suppression was aimed and intended.


Arriving with other Jamaicans in 1923, finding railroad laborer employ in the unaccustomed cold of upstate (Elmira) New York, within a year The Wolf paternal grandfather brought his wife and two toddler sons from Jamaica, and they had a third son—The Wolf’s father. They moved to a Jamaican enclave in the NYC bedroom town of Montclair, NJ, and had two more children, one a daughter. The couple remained happily married until the patriarch’s passing at 72 in 1965.

Initially taking odd jobs—chauffeur, catering server (faithfully, uncomplainingly performed, reflecting typical immigrant acceptance of a difficult, sometimes demeaning path to success)—, Wolf paternal patriarch became janitor at the high school his five children attended en route (all five!) to college degrees. He purchased a large, multi-family house, installing his immigrant sister and her family on one floor, acquired rental properties. He was a deacon in the local, predominantly Jamaican Anglican (Episcopal) church. Other than when cultivating an admired flower garden, this somewhat formal man normally wore tie and vest. He drove Buicks he kept immaculate, loved America, watched his four sons don uniforms and go off to WWII.


These NOBA forebears and their progeny faced racism. However, it was largely ignored.  It was shrugged off as but nuisance to be worked around. Indeed, family members felt superior to most Whites. Discrimination was also faced from OBA neighbors,  regarded as inferiors. “Don’t associate with American Blacks” was an edict given to the four sons and daughter. (Ignored by The Wolf’s father in particular, although on occasion he had fistfights with OBA boys.)

Raised strictly and closely monitored, the five children, as noted, completed college. All married, none divorced. The Jamaica-born sons married NOBAs, one of Venezuelan descent, the other a Jamaican national.* American-born siblings (incl. Wolf father) married OBAs. Thirteen grandchildren all attended college. All own homes. Most have/had stable, conventional families. Most of 23 great-grandchildren have completed or are attending college. Great-great-great grandchildren currently number in the teens. It is expected most will attend college.

* After many bachelor years, the eldest son, longtime official with HUD in St. Louis and NJ, returned to Jamaica to find a bride. They had two children, who both have advanced degrees. The Wolf’s second-generation Venezuelan aunt, born and raised in Brooklyn, obtained a doctorate and taught at a NJ university. Nephews of hers have reached high-ranking posts in NYC banks and corporations.


All descended from the original NOBA Ellis Island patriarch have been and are model citizens. Albeit at times facing some additional burden of race discrimination, all, same as other immigrants, have taken full advantage of unmatched opportunity America offers to those willing to work hard, save, obtain an education, obey the laws.


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XXVI—Current prominent NOBAs, and another key NOBA advantage

Introducing the Black (OBA) anger factor

The most notable current prominent NOBA, of course, is calm, cool, acceptable-to-White-voters, Barack Obama. Again, instructively, he may be contrasted with such unelectable OBA presidential candidates as fiery (seeming angry!)* Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

* Of course they’re angry! All red-blooded, woke OBAs are entitled to anger, and should be angry! The question, to be addressed in a follow-up Yowl, is how to ameliorate such often self-destructive and self-defeating anger; how to channel anger not into such vehicles as vile rap-hip-hop lyrics, lethal encounters with police, refusal to take advantage of free public education, etc., but into constructive, self-and-life-affirming channels leading to economic and social advance (!!).


Kamala Harris, California U.S. senator running for POTUS, daughter of Jamaican father and Tamil (East Indian) mother, is a NOBA. Other notable NOBAs are aforementioned General Colin Powell and former U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the latter of Barbadian origin.

Respecting advantage these and other prominent NOBAs have over equally educated, qualified OBAs, beyond having supportive two-parent (excepting Harris) families who emphasized education and achievement, The Wolf posits relative lack of Black (OBA) anger.


Not lack of passion respecting issues, many affecting Black Americans, but visceral, down-in-the-gut, easily aroused, resonant, corrosive anger. Born of racial slights, real and perceived, stoked early on by generationally-passed-along family Legacy—tales of White injustice, etc.—, magnified and reinforced by experience.

Characteristic OBA anger is a product of ultra-sensitivity and suspicion respecting White behavior and motives, and frustration over inability and/or failure to effectually confront its cause. It is anger that erodes self-image and esteem. It sows self-doubt. It stunts effort and ambition, and is ultimately self-defeating.


Black (OBA) anger is in some wise irrational anger, but exists. It is desirous of showing its face to White America, but most often visited upon targets nearer—family, neighbor, self.

And is the bane of OBAs, from well-off and privileged to, especially, the many millions teetering in marginal urban neighborhoods on a knife edge of survival.


Obama example of NOBA reaction to racial slight

The story is told of Barack Obama, prior to becoming POTUS, suffering the typical Black indignity of being bypassed trying to hail a taxi.* Such a slight for an OBA, the same as being followed or eyed suspiciously when shopping, tends to conjure the felt weight of humiliation and indignities long suffered by an entire people, triggering visceral anger. Plainly, the future POTUS moved beyond such slight with equanimity intact.

* An indignity he would likely again experience were it not for his security detail.


Differing NOBA reaction to racism-triggered anger

Of course, racism-triggered anger can be visceral for NOBAs as well. However, there is little likelihood of shame. It is unlikely to be debilitating. There is the previously noted buffer of family and cultural pride. There is lack of generational antipathy toward Whites. There is appreciation for opportunity America has offered.

NOBAs are thus likely better able to compartmentalize racism-generated anger. They are better able to rationalize racist incidents as but burdens to be gotten past en route to the goal remaining uppermost—personal and family advancement in the adoptive country.

If NOBAs harbor racism-generated resentment, even anger, they are better able to conceal and stash it where it doesn’t inhibit advancement, particularly where White approval is needed—e.g., corporate settings, elective arenas requiring White votes.

OBAs all too often have the disadvantage of racism-generated anger they cannot easily disguise. NOBAs not so much.


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XXVII—More on important anger factor

In the pantheon of impediments to (mostly OBA?) Blacks getting ahead in America—lack of education, lack of family support, etc.—, beyond institutional and everyday expression of racism by Whites and others, and also Blacks (!!)—e.g., self-deprecating casual use of “nigga” (by mostly OBAs?) as a term of bro endearment, but also, same as racist Whites (!!), vile disparagement of fellow Blacks via the “N” word—, probably the most important is, simply,…

Brown skin… coupled with anger!


Owing perhaps to complicity-born guilt, whether conscious or unconscious, there is little White America fears and dislikes more than perceiving anger in a Black person.


And, more than anger in a Black woman, anger in a Black man!


Angry Black Man factor

Barack Obama’s candidacy succeeded only because, unlike a Reverend Jackson or Sharpton, he was perceived to lack anger, especially anger toward Whites. During his entire presidency—unlike Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, every White president!—, lest he be labeled “Angry Black Man,” he was hampered by being unable to have a temper tantrum, either in public or private.

Certainly not a racism-race-related temper tantrum.

Unlike, for example, Lyndon Johnson, he could not lean into the personal space of legislators, White or otherwise, to impose the sort of personal, physical threat men in particular have understood from boyhood forward as being useful in gaining advantage and compliance.

Barack Obama could not be seen to be a Black man angry on account of race! Nor can any other Black man (or woman) aspiring to advance in a venue or field—local school district, corporation, elective office, etc.—in which Whites have the say in advance, or comprise a sizable electorate.


Current democratic party darlings-—because they came close to winning against seeming insurmountable odds!—OBA Stacy Abrams, who narrowly lost the Georgia governor’s race, and OBA Andrew Gillum, ditto for Florida, are successful in appealing to White voters precisely because, same as Barack Obama, they are publically calm, soothing, positive, sometimes passionate, but not perceived as angry toward Whites as a result of racism past and present.


Other successful, possibly angry, but non-threatening OBAs and NOBAs

Steve Harvey is an OBA with outsized personality and gleaming white-toothed grin. He hosts popular vaudevillian television shows with predominantly White audiences, for which he is handsomely rewarded. Ordinary, possibly otherwise racist White folk adore ever-genial (reminiscent of Amos ‘n Andy?) Steve Harvey… As they do engaging (non-threatening) OBAs Oprah, and Don Lemon, mixed-racial NOBA South African transplant Trevor Noah (liberal Whites at least), prolific, engaging OBA Harvard scholar Henry “Skip” Gates,* genial, man’s-man former NFL star Michael Strahan (an OBA raised in Germany).

* Some may recall the well-publicized episode of Professor Gates, attempting to gain access to his home in an upscale Cambridge, MA, neighborhood, being accosted and arrested by police after a neighbor reported an attempted break-in by “a Black man,” which humiliating kerfuffle resulted in the famous “beer summit” between Gates and the arresting officer hosted by President Obama. Thus does it continue to be for Blacks of highest elevation in America.

Recall fawning-over-Whites OBA Sammy Davis Jr.!


The Wolf does not know Steve Harvey personally. Nor Oprah or the others. Or calm, non-threatening, curiously misguided, OBA up-from-Detroit-slums-through-Yale-and-U.-Michigan-medical-school current HUD Secretary and former prominent neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, Jr.

And The Wolf does not regard any of these high-achieving Blacks to be in any wise Uncle Toms. But The Wolf is confident that all of these mega-successful OBAs harbor well-deserved racial anger/resentment that perhaps fuels their ambition. Oprah’s experience of a lifetime of not atypical racial struggle and insult is well-documented.


The point is that, excepting Black rappers, a subgroup exception to be addressed at length in a follow-up Yowl, to make one’s way successfully as a Black person in America, even today, still requires that one not hold gaze with a White person too long, that one present as somewhat oblivious/forgiving of past and continuing racial injustice.

That one be perceived as a benign (docile) Black!


The OBA gay CEO of the influential Ford Foundation is another example of this ilk of Black success, and The Wolf could go on and on… Back to escaped-to-freedom Frederick Douglass, likely the most influential Black person in American history, who, while harboring significant, wholly-justified anger, understood the importance of treading a fine line of aggressiveness-without-being-overly-threatening in agitating for Black causes. Also, later, influential, White-concerns-accommodating OBA freed-slave, Booker T. Washington. (See following.)


Contrast, for example, Booker T. Washington with his raised-in-freedom (in Massachusetts), mixed-racial, more fiery and impatient counterpart, the great scholar and activist W.E.B. DuBois.* Contrast the above foregoing with threatening, agitating (and punished for it) NOBA Harry Belafonte, OBA Paul Robeson, OBA (?) James Baldwin, OBA Dick Gregory, and firebrand OBAs Bayard Rustin, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson.

* Freed with mother and siblings on a small Virginia plantation at age 9; reunited as a family with his (OBA) father who worked in a West Virginia mine; following a trek of hundreds of miles on foot to get there, educated at HBCU Hampton Institute in the Virginia tidewater (near Williamsburg, where, reportedly, his admission test was to clean a classroom, which he did meticulously), Washington founded (with considerable backing of prominent Whites such as Andrew Carnegie) Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He saw as his mission and forcefully advocated (with approval of Whites) Blacks becoming literate, but also, more importantly, learning useful (largely manual) trades such as carpentry and home-building, so as to make themselves indispensable in society and able to make a living, but not to attempt to upset the applecart of White dominance, including repressive, anti-Black laws and practices. Versus his leadership rival, DuBois, Booker T. Washington was about Blacks making their way without making waves.

Then there’s Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King (MLK), beyond doubt the most prominent, influential Black of the past half century and more, is an example of an OBA treading the precarious line between being reviled by Whites for appearing angry and impatient, and reviled by the sullen, lumpen, angry OBA Black majority for not being angry and impatient enough. Of course, even his non-violent posture and conciliatory preaching did not suffice to thwart—nay, it invited!—martyrdom by a run-of-the-mill, nobody-in-particular, affronted, southern-born White racist.

Inspired by religious belief and the example of the great (South Africa-born lawyer) pacifist crusader for India independence, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King, in context of an America awakening to Black (and liberal) challenge to an entrenched, smugly self-assured racial caste system, seemed an angry, radical rabble-rouser to Whites in the late 1950s-early 60s. As momentum for Black advance progressed, his moderate, patient approach began to seem too moderate and too slow to ordinary OBAs. Rhetoric of such as NOBA firebrand Stokely Carmichael and OBAs Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan eclipsed MLK’s more moderating, incremental progression.

A signal achievement of Dr. King was laying bare racism as a significant challenge, and also economic injustice, not just in the American South, but also in the North and elsewhere. Racism among the vast, national swath of Whites marginally more advantaged than Blacks, was shown to continue to fester virulently beneath a calm, suppressing system of class caste.


The Wolf’s posits the inescapable conclusion that the Black person in America who stands best to advance in a still White-dominated society continues to be the Black person—OBA or NOBA (excepting Black rappers and others who exploit Black anger)—, who does not threaten Whites in manner, carriage, attitude. He or she must seem absent of racial anger or conceal same.


Better the person be attractive, but not necessarily. The primary thing is not to appear angry or show anger, especially racial anger, no matter a lifetime enduring racial insult and indignities in a country still sharply racially divided, one group (no matter protestations of some confronting loss of privilege) still heavily advantaged and actually (depressing indeed!) gaining ground.


As noted, NOBAs tend to work around, rather than chafe and sulk over racism and racist impediment. Pride of culture and family blunts and assuages racial slight. Respecting family members who first landed on American shores, there was doubtless expectation of hurdles to overcome, including, in the instance of the United States, given its history, racism.

As noted, for NOBAs, generational legacy of resentment and anger respecting racist insult does not amplify sting of racist encounters.


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XXVIII—OBA examples of importance of lack of anger and reasons therefor

Likeable current POTUS candidate, New Jersey U.S. senator Cory Booker—and before him a very successful, deceased-at-age-92, New Jersey-born-and-raised OBA uncle of The Wolf, married to a NOBA aunt—, likely experienced frequent racial slight growing up in near all-White suburban New Jersey precincts, Wolf uncle a generation earlier than Booker. Yet—key to the success of the one in politics, the other in business—, neither emerged in adulthood seeming to harbor animus against Whites.


In the instance of The Wolf uncle, mitigating factors seemed to be 1) having supportive parents of relative means; 2) being pretty much the only minority person in the neighborhood and at school (therefore not a threat, but somewhat a celebrity curiosity); 3) skill at sports that earned respect among White classmates; 3) non-Negroid good looks;* 4) an amiable personality.

* Wolf uncle was of the order of Kenneth Chenault, former OBA CEO of American Express. NOBA Sidney Poitier exemplifies a Black person whose good looks (and likely clipped British accent) seem to enable Whites to transcend his dark features.

Similar factors would seem to apply respecting Cory Booker.


Exception proving the rule

Atlanta, GA, born and bred, large in stature and presence, dark-skinned, surely intimidating to Whites (as well as Blacks), powerful OBA lawyer and Washington, D.C. operative Vernon Jordan seems an exception to anger-as-Black-impediment. Marvelous to behold, quite unlike Barack Obama, Jordan, unique in a White-dominated sphere, was able to exercise full manly swagga and sway.

Of course, Mr. Jordan was closest of friends with fellow southerner and POTUS Bill Clinton. As such, protected.


More typical, exemplifying the advantage of seeming lack of anger, privileged background, and non-negroid good looks in advancing among Whites, would be the following OBAs—first Black Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson (high school friend of Vernon Jordan), and civil rights activists Andrew Young (also an Atlanta mayor), and longtime Georgia legislator Julian Bond.


While anger surely impedes advancement of otherwise advantaged OBAs, its near-universal presence among vast legions of disadvantaged OBAs in blighted urban precincts, exacerbated by constant encounters with a significant police presence, and television reminders of the better life enjoyed by Whites and other Blacks,* has predictably devastating results. Not least of which, as noted, is decrying attempts to better oneself via education as “acting White.”

* The Wolf’s sister, art teacher in a Newark, NJ, high school, relates the telling remark of an inner-city OBA youth, one in a busload of college-hopeful students she took on a college-visit trip. Upon seeing a White father and son playing catch on the lawn in front of a house as the bus traveled through a suburb, the youth, a male, remarked wistfully, “I thought that happened only on TV.”


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XXVIV—Conclusions, implications of OBA-NOBA divide going forward

The Wolf has posited that if NOBA wealth-education-achievement-advance is subtracted from the sum of all Black American wealth-education-achievement-advance, only then will the true dismal state of OBA lack of wealth-education-achievement-advance be revealed.

Only then will the true toll of America’s long, particularly destructive Black enslavement, and equally destructive long aftermath and OBA Legacy, extending to the present, be revealed.


For example, if Black OBA males alone are separated out, the already staggering “1/3 of all Black males will do prison time” likely escalates to… between 40 and 50 percent?! Higher?

An outrage to anyone’s sense of equity and what America supposedly stands for!


Confronted with the true extent of devastation visited upon generations of OBA descendants, institutions and forces of all kinds, from all corners, may be moved to consider and back drastic measures of redress and repair needed to afford succor to, compensate, especially resuscitate and place on workable pathways to joining first NOBAs, eventually all Americans, a sizable, problematic proportion of American population that exists as a continuing rebuke to “land of equality, freedom, justice for all, opportunity, etc.”

If a form of reparations, so be it. (Although form thereof presents a complex problem.)


Sociological study and survey needed!

An accurate picture of true OBA circumstance and need can only be ascertained, and appropriate steps devised to properly address the likely crisis situation revealed, if relative OBA-NOBA numbers, and respective wealth-education-achievement-advance are made plain.

To The Wolf’s knowledge such has yet to be done. Indeed, the divide here explored seems, in the parameters indicated, altogether fresh!


Therefore, JOB #1—a sociological survey ascertaining respective OBA-NOBA population and socio-economic measurements needs commissioning.


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XXX—Topics for follow-up “Solutions” Yowl

Always,upon defining a problem, The Wolf endeavors to propose a solution. The Wolf fashioned a business career out of solving a highly complex, perplexing (educational) problem.


The problem of likely starkly revealed, dismal reality of millions of OBA lives, should NOBA wealth, achievement, etc. be subtracted from the already depressing sum of Black American wealth, achievement, etc., and what to do about it, will be addressed in a subsequent Yowl.

Simultaneously, addressed in particular, will be the problem of deserved anger among urban, likely mostly OBA youth, that militates against prospects for advance, and that too often leads to arrest, prison, sometimes death at the hands of fellow (OBA!) Blacks, as well as police.

Very likely, acknowledging the legitimacy of such anger is a useful first step.



Further, curative proposals respecting ameliorating the lives of many millions of OBAs—including what to be made of current talk of the exclusively OBA province of reparations!—, will be set forth.


E.g., Rap-hip-hop factor (impeding Black advance!)

In particular worthy of address is the now worldwide phenomenon of rap-hip-hop.


Born out of frustration and anger of urban OBA youth, The Wolf posits that, similar to the tempting, mirage allure of becoming a professional athlete, rap-hip-hop offers a seductive detour and escape from the unglamorous, day-to-day regimen characteristic of, and required (!!) to achieve security and relative content in today’s post-industrial world.

In glorifying thug-gangsta lifestyle, replete with pants-down-the-ass, strutting, gang-sign-flashing, middle-finger-to-convention bad-ass-ness, rap-hip-hop’s world-wide appeal to youth wanting to upset parents and protest conformity is obvious.

However, unlike White suburban youth affecting rap-hip-hop swagga, or youth in Paris, London, Tokyo, and Beijing affecting same in off-work hours, can unemployed, angry urban OBA youth really afford to come under rap-hip-hop’s influence?

Can Black Americans in general, whether OBA or NOBA, afford to have the stereotype of Blacks as criminally-prone and dangerous reinforced by the image projected in rap lyrics and the image projected by rappers on television and in music videos?


Much as the destructive influence of alcohol and drugs purposefully introduced in urban Black neighborhoods for profit (!!), degrading lyrics and glorification of thug-gangsta lifestyle promoted by rap-hip-hop and its much-admired, blinged-out-dissolute-often-violent rapper purveyors is but the latest poison visited upon and among young urban Black millions!!


Unlike White, Asian, Indian, African, and, likely, NOBA aficionados of rap-hip-hop worldwide, angry OBA urban youth, for whom rap-hip-hop is balm, cannot separate its destructive implications from the hum-drum of what is required to get ahead safely and securely in life.

For example, taking advantage of free schooling, daily getting up and going to a likely boring job.

Bill Cosby, an OBA now cast low, was certainly correct in his criticisms in this regard!


That the imagery, individualistic rebellious message, and effects/affects of rap-hip-hop are now embraced by corporations seeking to boost sales—by imputing “bad-ass” and “edge” to products!—, must be taken seriously to task.


Indeed. The image and example of a former thug-gangsta-rapper-drug-dealer-kingpin as a zenith of Black success to be emulated—namely, Jay-Z, entrepreneurial tycoon married-to-diva-icon-Beyonce’—…

Should this not be decried as the very worst example imaginable for Black urban youth?!


Again, however, topic for a subsequent Yowl.


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