JJ Thomas' latest on Amazon.com
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
Jamaican author JJ Thomas, has published his latest book, Black America! Why? on Amazon.com where it has been since August 22.
The Trelawny-born writer, who now resides in St Mary, is known locally for his first book Chat Jamaican which was published in Jamaica in 1984.
Since then, he has written several books that are yet to be published.
Black America! Why? is billed as a thought-provoking perspective on racism, and seems destined to be quite controversial.
Thomas spent two years in predominantly black Detroit, in Michigan, where he formed his opinion on the subjects being addressed in the book.
Detroit is famous for being a motor city and birthplace to one of the greatest record labels in music history, Motown.
But after two years assessing the existence of the black population, Thomas returned to Jamaica with a negative perception.
"I did a study on Black America and was not impressed with what I saw, so I decided to put pen to paper," Thomas told The Sunday Gleaner in an interview on Wednesday.
"I conducted a small survey and I'm just not impressed with Black America because they have not grasped opportunities out there. They have let other minority races push them out of their domain. They are very weak economically."
Thomas said the book, which highlights problems affecting Black America, comes down hard on them because their wounds are self-inflicted and at the same time they are quick to cry racism.
"They want white people to open doors for them and I don't believe that should be the situation," Thomas stated.
In one chapter, Thomas writes: From Mississippi to North Carolina and even to the plains of Georgia, Black Americans are crying foul and pointing fingers at a race of people they are bent on blaming for their social and economic ills, the White folks. But the White folks are not buying it. In fact, they are the first to tell you "bull só-, they are just trying to use us as a scapegoat and have refused to accept responsibility for their actions that have serious consequences on their daily lives.
In another chapter, the author bemoans: The erosion of Black America's identity is so far gone that no amount of re-education can replace lost ground. To call Black Americans 'Black' is no offence, but they have changed that to 'African Americans'. This is their evasive terminology, by a people still searching for a foothold in their country. What a sad situation!
Thomas believes the situations being addressed in his book is caused by Black Americans themselves.
There is no rhyme or reason why there should be a ghetto in America, there should never be. America is too rich, America is too powerful for any form of ghetto community to be in the United States of America, Thomas asserted.
Thomas hopes the book, which has 113 pages, will open eyes and elicit positive change in Black America.
"I'm hoping they will read this book and don't look at it in a negative way. It can be a positive instrument of change for Black America, however small it may be."
He believes President Barack Obama's presidency may be a source of inspiration, especially for young Black Americans and this could fuel some change in the long term.
The cover of the book is simple - a fluttering American flag beneath the title and author.
Black America! Why? is available for download as an e-book on Amazon.com. Hardcopies will be available at a later date.