R/WS


I was inspired to re-read “The Mis-Education of the Negro” by Carter G. Woodson in an effort to gain some understanding/perspective to what I was observing in the actions of those of African descent in the Diaspora, as well as the Motherland. Misogynous and self-destructive rap lyrics, debates on the viability if the “N” word among us, brutal acts of violence, genocide, exploitation, oppression etc. , are only some of the things we do to each other. Not that these things don’t happen in other communities, but I am not concerned about those other communities right now. I look at our communities around the world and the self-destructive behaviours which we indulge in and it breaks my heart. The question for me isn’t so much: how did we get here? It’s more: why are we still here and why do we always return here?

I was all set to do a post on chapters 8 and 9 of the book, “Professional Education Discouraged” and “Political Education Neglected”, and how they relate to how we as a people are mis-educated today and how we can re-educate ourselves on these points in an effort to begin to move from here. Then I started following the discussions involving our brother, Francis Holland and his ongoing conflict with DailyKos and My LeftWing. I never understood his obsession with the white liberal democratic blog site DailyKos and his being banned from there. He made it his personal crusade to demolish DK and now he is banned from another white liberal democratic blog site, My LeftWing. He was now on another crusade against them and was calling for support. 

Although most Black/Afro-bloggers counseled and advised Francis to not waste his energy engaged in this conflict, but to focus that energy on Black endeavours, I couldn’t understand why he refused to see that this was a more valuable use of his time and energy. The more I read, the more I meditated on it, the more I had to ask myself: “is this the manifestation, the living example of a “mis-educated Negro in the 21st Century”. The more I saw it in this way, the more I understood the roots of his obsession. Now, this is not a personal attack against Francis. I like and respect Francis and the work he is doing within the Afrosphere and Blackosphere. This is just my view from the outside, using this situation involving Francis and these white liberal blog sites as a backdrop, at what I believe drives a significant portion of the African-American psyche. So let me share what I see as 3 aspects that reflect our “mis-education” today: 1) The allegiance of the majority of Black America to the Democratic Party; 2) Our inability to strategize effectively while engaged in the “Art of War”; 3) The bitter fruits of our mis-education. Then I will present what I think we need to do to re-educate ourselves. 

The allegiance of the majority of Black America to the Democratic Party

“Any people who will vote the same way for three generations without thereby obtaining results ought to be ignored and disfranchised…. The Negro should use his vote rather than give it away to reward the dead for some favors done in the distant past.” Carter G. Woodson

These words by Woodson are so profound, however they are lost on the majority of Black America. DailyKos and My LeftWing are white/eurocentric based liberal websites which spew certain ideals of the Democratic Party and therefore attract those in the majority population who identify with those ideals. Whether these white liberal websites are attractive to African-Americans who hold some or most of the same ideals, isn’t the point. The issue is: why the obsession with wanting to be embraced by them? Why debase and demean ourselves to beg for them to give us a voice in their realm? This is what I see by Francis’s obsession. Regardless of whether what he says on their sites is true or not…. whether his challenging of their hypocrisy is noble or not…. whether his perspective brings an alternate but just as significant way of seeing the world or not…. his efforts on their sites is a waste of time and energy. They don’t want to hear it. They dismiss it. Historically and even more so today (DON’T be fooled by the white liberal media creation: “Obamamania”), the voice of the “Negro” has never mattered in any segment of White America, so why should it matter in the Whitosphere…. especially the white liberal segment of the Whitosphere. So they banned him from commenting on their space. Are we surprised? Did we expect anything different to occur?

Francis’s campaign against DailyKos and My LeftWing reminds me of the efforts of a jilted lover, who has now become a stalker…. and his former lover, is now his prey. He will do all that he can, use all his energy and resources to discredit and demonize his former lover. If he can’t have her, no-one else can! And Francis is not alone in his “mis-educated” allegiance and obsession to the white liberal cause. Recently I have seen 2 members of the Afrosphere Bloggers Association cancel their membership for no other reason than an admitted Black Republican was given the opportunity to join their collective! The program of “divide and conquer” is still alive and healthy within the Black/African community at large and with our Afrosphere in particular. Blue vs. Red; Bloods vs. Crips; Hutus vs. Tutsis; Africans vs. African-Americans; African-Americans vs. Afro-Caribbeans; Black Christians vs. Black Muslims; Black liberals vs. Black conservatives etc. 

Our inability to strategize effectively while engaged in the “Art of War”

“In general, whoever occupies the battleground first and awaits the enemy will be at ease; whoever occupies the battleground afterward and must race to the conflict will be fatigued. Thus one who excels at warfare compels men and is not compelled by other men. Sun-Tzu. The Art of War. 

The liberal Whitosphere is not our battleground. They own it. They control it. They manipulate it. They can allow and censure whichever voices they so desire. Are we still so “mis-educated” to believe that it is only through the white man and whatever system(s) he controls – such as the liberal whitosphere, that we can be effective in our struggles? That it is to them and through them alone, that our voices can only have any credibility and therefore needs to be heard…. and acknowledged? And if they do deny us that voice, if they censure and ban us, are we still so “mis-educated” to believe that it is noble to galvanize all our forces to take the fight to their battleground…. for an already lost cause! What is the point of a “mis-educated” strategy to “piss off white liberals” on their own battleground? What is so “radical” about wrapping oneself in the cloak of self-martyrdom? 

“The Negroes have always had sufficient reason to be radical, and it looks silly to see them taking up the cause of others who pretend that they are interested in the Negro when they merely mean to use the race as a means to an end.” Carter G. Woodson

What is truly “radical” is focusing our visions, efforts and energies on creating our own spaces, cells and collectives, to work together, regardless of politics, religion, ideology, gender, orientation, ethnicity, culture, etc., for our own progress! From these bases of operations which are in our control, we can launch our attacks, both offensive and defensive ones, against the system to struggle for pertinent and substantive victories. Naive? Far-fetched? Well look at the successes of the Afrosphere efforts in regards to Kenneth Foster and Shaquanda Cotton. These efforts prove that we have the skills, knowledge, abilities, wisdom to be powerful in our own right… through our own “Afrosphere”…. to bring the fight to those who would oppress and abuse us…. to make a real difference…. to “compel men”…. 

The bitter fruits of our mis-education

“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his own special benefit. His education makes it necessary.”

Self-delusion and self-destruction are the fruits of the mis-educated Negro. I observed how Francis deluded himself in believing that the 120 daily hits his “Truth about Kos” blog receives is an indication that whites, so-called progressives and Republicans, “are looking for information that they can print at their own blogs against Markos Moulitsas to buttress their belief that Markos Moultisas simply isn’t who he pretends to be.” He goes on to state that: “My “Truth About Kos” blog is providing leadership and information to those who want to discredit and reject this white supremacist blogger. One of the ways they are becoming aware of this information is because I post links at white blogs.  If they could completely prevent me from posting these links, then they could prevent me from disseminating the information I have discovered to white people. What stands out most to me in regards to these comments, are that all of these efforts are being done for the benefit of white people. (Interestingly enough, on Meet the Press on the Sunday of that same week, there was a debate between Markos and the Black former Congressman Harold Ford Jr., now Chairman of the Democratic Leadreship Council, on the direction of the Democratic Party. Markos had Ford sounding like a right wing Nazi sympathizer! lol! However, there was no mention of Markos’s CIA connection or any campaign(s) against his website.)    

I also observed how Francis’s obsession with his crusade against DailyKos and My LeftWing began to sow dissention and polarization within the Afrosphere. He went on to accuse another Black blogger who didn’t support his positions regarding DailyKos and My LeftWing, as defending “CIA-trained Markos Moulitsas” and subsequently refered to her as a “house slave”. This all lead to some calling for his banning in the Afrosphere also, while others declared that if he was banned, then they didn’t want to be a part of the Afrosphere. The seeds of self-destruction had been sown. Thankfully the Afrosphere weathered this storm…. this time. 

So how do we proceed from here today? How do we begin a successful process of re-education. Work and Patience! Let me humbly defer to the words of Carter G. Woodson on this matter, which he wrote in 1933. They are still applicable today:

“The Negro, whether in Africa or America, must be directed toward a serious examination of the fundamentals of education, religion, literature and philosophy as they have been expounded to him. He must be sufficiently enlightened to determine for himself whether these forces have come into his life to bless him or to bless his oppressor. After learning the facts in the case, the Negro must develop the power of execution to deal with these matters as do people of vision. Problems of great importance cannot be worked out in a day. Questions of great moment must be met with far-reaching plans.”                                      

Back in the days of antiquity, one of the most stressful jobs I would imagine, would be that of a messenger. If you returned from the battlefield with a message of victory, you would be hailed a hero and celebrated. If you were sent to an opposing kingdom with a message of goodwill, you would be treated as royalty and given a feast. However if you returned with a message of defeat, or brought a message of war, well your death was pretty much assured and it wouldn’t be pleasant. Hence the term: “Don’t kill the messenger!”

Jason Whitlock brings a message to the African-American community. It’s usually a message of the second type because it’s not popular. It’s not what most of us want to hear. So he is vilified.

Now I don’t regularly read the brother’s column, but I have read it a few times. I don’t agree with everything he says…. actually I agree with a lot of what he says, but hey… for me it’s not about agreeing… it’s about having a point of view. If it’s different from mine… all the better…. maybe I can learn something. I have seen him on Oprah and heard him a few times on a sports radio talk show sitting in as a guest host. The primary message which I get from him, is one of responsibility and accountability within the Black community, primarily when it comes to “our” sports heroes. He is sometimes harsh with his commentary. Yes, he is uncomfortably hard on Jesse and Al… almost to the point of being disrespectful, but there is a lot of truth in his message. During the Imus affair, one thing he said which struck a cord with me, and I am paraphrasing, is that we as a people cannot expect others to respect us more than we respect ourselves. Not a popular message when it is directed at the rappers, other entertainers and sports celebrities of our community. I have read articles where he argues eloquently (in my opinion) against demonizing Barry Bonds and Michael Vick and he supports the NAACP’s call to give Vick an opportunity to return to the NFL, after he pays whatever debt society dictates. Not a popular message to the “white” moralists. Although he acknowledges that racism is the root cause of some, maybe even most of our problems, like me he doesn’t see it as an “excuse” for our self-inflicted woes…. especially by our millionaire sports heroes. Even on the sports talk shows, the majority of the Black callers have an issue with his call for our highly paid athletes to behave better. To be responsible and accountable for their actions, because they are role models to the youth of our community, whether they want to be or not. “Whom much is given, much is expected.”  Not a popular message to our community at large.

Now our sports heroes have always had a special place in our hearts. Historically, every time they were able to beat a “white man” in a competition, overcome the odds whether in track and field, boxing, tennis, etc,…. they were striking a blow for us. They were our champions. Our Davids defeating the Goliaths of white supremacy on our behalf. They were an inspiration. Role models. Jesse Owens. Joe Johnson. Joe Louis. Muhammed Ali. Arthur Ashe. Not any more. Not with our present crop of athletes. Maybe back in the day we were more forgiving and/or accepting of their shortcomings. Times have changed. We have changed. Not to say that today there aren’t any African-American athletes who are positive role models, male and female. Unfortunately they don’t make the headlines, because they quietly go about their business…. and stay out of trouble…. doing the “right” thing. They should be featured and celebrated more…. no doubt. We need to take some blame for not publicly honouring them more. 

However I digress. Back to the messenger: Jason Whitlock. Through the Afrosphere I became aware of a column he did on the “Jena 6”. This led me to a post by my brother blogger, Field Negro and to the Whitlock’s column. I read both articles a number of times in an effort to understand what it was that Whitlock said that…. well…. proves that he has a “problem with Black folks.” What has earned him the unfortunate title as “the LaShawn Barber of the sports world.”? OUCH!!!!! (DAMN…. I gotta admit that I fell down laughing at that one! Cold.) He brings to light certain facts in regards to the “Jena 6” case, which leads him to the position that “much of the mainstream reporting on this story has been misleading, irresponsible and inflammatory.” He takes issue with the actions of all parties involved: the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the school board, the “noose-hanging” white students, the media, Al Sharpton, the community at large (both Black and White), the “Jena 6” and the parents: of both the white students and the “Jena 6”. He lays at all their feet…. their share of the blame which has lead to this travesty of justice. In his post Field states about Whitlock:

“And every fucking day he rips another black athlete or person who happens to be in the news, for not playing by America’s rules. Like who the fuck died and made him the Martha Stewart of race? On a certain level I almost respect Jason’s hustle. Because you and I both know that he can’t believe all the shit that he writes. But it’s working, Jason is getting more popular by the day, because he is just the latest in a long line of black folks who “Charlie” props up to say what he wants to say, but can’t, because it would be too politically incorrect. Jason can say it, because he is one of them.

Hmmmm. Ok. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I only wonder if there are any falsehoods in the facts of the situation which Whitlocks contends, regarding the individuals in the “Jena 6”? Not that it justifies what is happening to them, because it doesn’t. However, it gives another perspective which I wasn’t aware of. But in the long run, that doesn’t even matter. It’s the message that is the underlying issue. We now live in an age where you cannot kill the messenger, but you can certainly kill the message. Discredit the messenger and you can discount the message. The easiest way to discredit a Black person in our community, to nullify their voice, opinions and beliefs…. to KILL their message…. is to call them a tool of the “white man”…. a house negro of “Massa Charlie”.

Jason Whitlock is very lucky we aren’t living “back in the day“. Come to think of it… so am I.  

As a kid I loved the original Star Trek series, with Capt. Kirk, Spock and Lt. Uhuru (my first “crush” on a t.v star..lol). I later realized as an adult that some of the themes the show dealt with during that era was indeed ground-breaking. The one which was my favorite dealt with the issue of racial prejudice and I watched it again today. It was first broadcasted in 1969 and entitled: “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield“.  

  

The episode deals with bigotry based on the color of one’s skin. The character “Bele” on the left, is a chief officer who is hunting for “Lokai”, a political refugee, the character on the right. Although they both have half black and half white skin, Bele is black on the right side while Lokai is black on the left side. Their societal hierarchy is based on this difference, with Bele representing the dominant culture. Lokai describes in familiar detail, the prejuduce and oppression he and those who look like him endure in their society, while Bele justifies and minimizes this treatment of those whom he sees as inferiors. Bele uses familiar arguments such as “they are animals”, “they want changes to happen too quickly”, ” they want to destroy our society”, “they are criminals”, “we trying to help them but they are ungrateful”, etc. Very deep and still relevant for today much less for 1969.  After a series of events they arrive back to their home world to find that the racial hatred between the groups have completely destroyed their planet. Everyone is dead except them. Although they see the ultimate outcome of their racial bigotry, they blame each other for the destruction of their world and instead of attempting some form of reconciliation to preserve their lives, they return to the planet to continue their fight with each other. Their hate for each other is all they know. That is all they have left to live for…. the destruction of each other.

Sometimes I contemplate that as people of African descent, primarily in the diaspora, we are so caught up with “racial” issues. It dominates our life. It dominates our time. It dominates our energy. It dominates our focus. Some of us more than others. We really do need to find a way, individually and collectively, to rise above theses issues to be truly free. To free ourselves…. if not of hate…. then of mental, emotional, intellectual and spiritual slavery.  If we cannot accomplish this, I am afraid that we may end up like Bele and Lokai…. knowing nothing but the continuing struggle to destroy ourselves…. and seeing this as some sort of worthy cause.         

I just bought a new set of books and my reading list is getting crazy. My wife is starting to comment on when will I get time to read all these books I’ve been buying, especially with a baby on the way in August. I’ve been spending a lot of time blogging over at AfroSpear and have neglected my reading and posting on this site.

As you can see I have transformed the look and feel of this page. It’s almost like a cleansing. I am now committing some time and effort to get into my reading list and post here more often. Here is my planned reading list:

Religious

  1. The God Delusion.  Richard Dawkins
  2. Epicenter.  Joel C. Rosenberg
  3. The Jesus I Never Knew.  Philip Yancey

 Psychology

  1. Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion.  Robert Cialdini
  2. Social Intelligence.  Daniel Goldman

 Afrocentric

  1. The Bluest Eyes.  Toni Morrison
  2. A Long Way Home.  Ishmael Beah
  3. Slave.  Mende Nazer
  4. The Narrative of Sojourner Truth
  5. Infidel.  Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  6. An Ordinary Man.  Paul Rusesabagina
  7. The Assassination of the Black Male Image.  Earl O. Hutchinson
  8. The Slave Community.  John W. Blassingame.

What are you currently reading and what do you plan to read in the next while?

Asa.    

Over at AfroSpear, there is a ongoing discussion as to the definition of racism and the idea that it is a form of mental illness. This discussion is a part of a wider discourse which is currently going on in the AfroSphere. It is enlightening as there are differing perspectives being presented. Here are the AfroSpear links.

Racism vs. Extreme Color Arousal: Part One

Extreme Color-Aroused Emotion, Ideation and Behavior, Disorder (ECEIBD)

Lynching: A manifestation of E.C.E.I.B.D.