The Way WE Were . . .

Elephant approach from the front

Nature tends to provide the most beautiful examples of universal connectivity. Inter-connectivity as the way things should be. Ideally. There is nothing in nature that operates against the grain of natural laws. Even the mutations and abnormalities are factored into the grand scheme. Everything has its time, place, and purpose with the end goal of sustaining species and the ecosystems that hosts them.

Giants . .

Elephants are not only among the most majestic animals on earth, they are the strongest mammals on the planet. A single elephant is fully capable of uprooting a decades old tree simply by applying minimal might to it. The beauty of the elephant is that with all of the power it possesses, it is among the most peaceful animals on the planet with no interest in killing other animals, for food or folly.

Man. .

Man is the only creature on earth that operates in total disunion with nature. Most activities undertaken by man serve to evaporate, dissolve, or destroy all that nature presents as gifts to all of this planet’s occupants. Nature is the great provider. At the pinnacle of nature is the sun. Without the sun, there is no life on this planet. The original occupants of this planet grew to understand the connection between themselves and nature. They grew to acknowledge and appreciate nature and their place in it. Eventually, the veneration man had for nature evolved spiritual systems which featured the various tangible life-giving components of nature; the earth, the water, the air, the animals, the moon, the stars, the planets, and the sun.

Nothing GOoD last forever . .

As time went on and certain mutations and deviations of man lost their way, that appreciation and veneration man had for nature and the sun turned towards himself, not inwardly, but outwardly. Man began to worship himself, not as gods, but as godly. Man became disconnected, in many cases, living in places on the planet that seemed disconnected; dark, merciless, and mysterious places. Hostile environments where man’s links with nature were rife with whatever death nature could provide, often through a mix of depravity and depression. There were places on earth where man’s existence wasn’t the sun and nature’s abundance, but instead, cold caves and callous climates. The Caucasus Mountains come to mind.  In these places, genetically-mutated man mentally crafted mean and mysterious gods that behaved as monsters, taking and rarely providing. Gods to fear, devoid of love. These men eventually migrated to warmer places where nature was a friend and they conquered, possessing an evil devolved from an existence that was saturated with the mayhem and misery present in life in closer proximity to the earth’s northern pole. They replaced the veneration the original people had for the SUN with veneration and admiration for a SON. The son of a god that interacted with men in a spiteful manner, mannerisms of a monster that sought to punish and purge the planet of those who came up short fulfilling what was ordained as their purpose. Sacrifices were the rule of the day to pacify that angry father in the sky. Dad came to eventually look like his Roman-Greco children, quite unnaturally and in reverse. A son had totally replaced the SUN as the pinnacle of our existence.

Disconnection notice . .

Elephants in some of Africa’s most arid regions wander around as nomads in search of sustenance and the earth’s most precious commodity, water. Generally, larger animals can’t survive the harshness presented as months of scorching high heat and severely restricted precipitation; there isn’t enough water to sustain larger species of animals. Elephants are built for it, along with a few smaller animals that have found creative ways to adapt. Nature is both amazingly inventive and hostile. Elephants strategically and eventually come to locations in these dry places where they sense that there is water underground amidst the death that is the desert. The elephants use their tremendous strength to dig up the earth; large feet, strong, flexible trunks, and tusks as tools. They dig deep enough to expose the treasured hydration hidden beneath the hot sand. The elephants drink, all of them, the less dominant, the children, and the sick. As the elephants quench their massive thirsts, the smaller animals join in getting their fill. The elephants don’t hoard the water, they don’t attack the animals that come to drink, and they don’t dismay at the act of sharing what nature has provided for all. Nature provides for every creature on this planet. .

. .every animal connected.

Unlike the elephant, most men are no longer connected to that very tangible source venerated near our inception as original inhabitants here, the sun. NATURE is the sun’s temple. Our source is not only what nature provides in the way of subsistence for us, but also in the universal and so very natural inclination to consume only what we need to survive instinctively.

Elephants believe in no gods.

Neither capitalism, racism, or religion exist in nature. These are constructs a few men pieced together to serve themselves, to separate themselves.

Wise and intelligent creatures indeed.

 

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Unreciprocated . . .

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Unreciprocated . . .

Now that the media is done pummeling our brains with the patriotic, and saturating our psyches with stars and stripes, we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming, deprogramming. I managed to miss every single Olympic event, on purpose. I had no interest in the pageantry or the blind allegiance  involved, and its kind of tough for me to ignore the fact that America hates Black people in order to embrace the false notion of a unified nation where I should care about the U.S. dominating the Olympics. I’m still not certain why any  African would care., but that’s just me.

I did care about the success of our brothers and sisters in Brazil competing. From a distance, I cheered them on, and via social media, I saluted their athletic accomplishments. From what I could gather, Africans from America put in major work at the 2016 games; they did the damn thing! I found myself imagining what it would be like if Africans participated as Africans from Africa. I imagined what it would look like if all the Africans in America decided to play for home, our actual home. What would these games look like then? Would America still be the pride and glory of these games? I listened from afar as America’s media tried its best to contrive stories to discredit and defame it’s representatives of a darker hue; it wasn’t enough that they were winning gold medals. They were still Black. I listened as a good ol’ American White male swimmer reportedly carried on in Brazil like a spoiled, entitled child, only to have his actions pardoned and justified by the American media. White is still right. I sat at a bar full of Africans who chanted gleefully, “U.S.A, U.S.A., U.S.A.!!!” as the American athletes entered the coliseum at the beginning of the games. Did we all of a sudden gain equal footing with our oppressors here? Were the litany of lynchings here, past and present, of Africans, just a recurring nightmare of my own? Was racism eradicated along with its deeply engrained policies, procedures, and social positioning? Were we all of a sudden no longer last in this caste?

Africans for Africa . .

What if all of those gold, silver, and bronze medals African-Americans won were acknowledgement of the athletic prowess borne genetically of our beautiful continent? Africans work hard, train, prepare, and compete at world class levels to win awards for a country that doesn’t give a damn about their existence, a country trying to continuously wipe them out of existence. I don’t need to describe the myriad of ways in which genocide is being enacted. I don’t need to run down the list of demonic racist occurrences recently in which we’ve emotionally reacted. Black people dying, Black mothers crying . . American media, police, and politicians lying, and the collective ensuing sighing of complacent Whites tired of Blacks complaining about dying. And all these years, Black people have been trying. .trying to become part of the American fabric, trying to live out the American dream, and trying to get a piece of that American pie, no semblance of peace, just periods of quiet.

We pledge allegiance . .

We go hard for America. We abandoned our own culture for America, to have it replaced with one they felt would make us better slaves, I mean, better Americans, who just happened to be slaves. We fought in numerous unwarranted, unjustified, elitism, and capitalism-fueled wars to solidify our identities as blue-blooded Americans. We adopted and adapted to their education systems, allowing America to reprogram us into humans much unlike our true essence. We participate in their politics, and their policies proved a bit more than problematic for us, election after election, hope kept alive, in God we trust. We’ve tried. We dribble, toss, and catch pigskins that garner billions for owners and sponsors, but those Black bodies who enable these sports leagues to make riches, are treated like apolitical, asocial bitches, muted. We abide by uneven laws of justice to be unjustifiably locked up in prisons where there are just us. We gain employment per that integration package, just to become corporate stiffs forever chasing crumbs as compensation, calendar watching for next vacations. We’re in rat races we’re not set up to win, autonomous communities of us blown up and in the wind, no longer focused on our own independence again. Nope, we’re content to simply be American. Becoming embraced as fellow Americans seems to be our forever goal, as our athletes travel to exploited nations of our own, chasing gold.

The “African-American” athlete comes back to America a temporarily glorified pawn to be exploited for profits by companies owned by others. The African-American athlete amasses a bit of fame and a small fortune to become the fake symbolism that conveys to the struggling Black masses that all is well, that we’ve all made it. That is, until that athlete raises a right fist, or decides  to run down a list of transgressions this country has done to us. That gold medal African-American athlete is a shining star among forty-nine others and accompanying stripes until that African-American golden boy or girl flips the script and decides to acknowledge the Africans who gave birth to that prowess, but whom remain powerless. America will place that athlete on a pedestal until that athlete climbs back down and decides not to play impotent puppet. We tend to forget Muhammad Ali was a gold garnering American Olympic athlete, however, he became hated and scorned once America realized he was more about us than them. He could SEE, and spoke often about what he saw. One of America’s greatest heroes was hated by America until he was buried. A dead Black hero is a great American one.

I imagine it won’t be anytime soon, as many of us are still captivated and caught up in a red, white, and blue swoon, but at some juncture, we have to cease hemorrhaging our gifts and talents to others for their own benefit. That levee needs to be fixed, and those natural talents and gifts retained and utilized in a manner that enriches the people who produced those who provide that wealth of talent, that Black community often left behind. Our talent isn’t being wasted, it’s leaking out of our communities and into the coffers of those who continuously conspire against us. A gold medal ain’t a win for US, it’s a win for the U.S. No doubt, I LOVE seeing our athletes perform and dominate. I’m in awe of them, the beauty and perfection of our women, the power displayed by our men, but I can’t extend accolades to this country, not when I know it’s this country that records the win. They can keep their gold as far as I’m concerned.

“We prefer poverty in liberty to riches in slavery.” – Sekou Toure

Not ’til it’s OUR turn.

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Settling for the Symbolic . . .

settling for the symbolic image

Settling for the Symbolic

I remember in 2008 exactly how I felt watching the election results and watching Obama take the helm as the Commander in Chief of the United States. Even as an Afro-centered teacher of History, Political Science, Sociology, Financial, and Media Literacy, I got caught up in what the moment represented. I’ve always known that it doesn’t make much of a difference who the POTUS is, as America’s foreign and domestic policies tend not to change, and I teach this to my students. In general, America’s foreign policies are anchored in Manifest Destiny/Imperialism, and it’s domestic policies are firmly entrenched in exploiting the poor and people of color for profits. All foreign and domestic policies are children of America’s economic system, capitalism. Profits over people. The evil deeds required to bolster capitalism are generally carried out through America’s powerful media and it’s political system which provide Americans with the illusion of inclusion; we get to vote, so we therefore believe that it is us, the people, who elect our leaders. Nothing is further from the truth. Corporations, banking interests, and lobbyists select this country’s Presidents. We reside in a “corporatacracy”, not a democracy. Even firmly rooted in what I’ve long known about American politics and it’s elections, I still got caught up.

I bought the narrative of the bi-racial kid who came here and met the Chi-town sister of his dreams, who was by most accounts, already “first lady material”. I bought the background that included Obama being a community advocate and a liberal teacher of law at the very conservative University of Chicago. Mostly, I got caught up in the historical relevance, the first Black POTUS, a POTUS for us, the long awaited savior of Africans in America. I attended the inauguration on that cold, blustery day with some friends, moistened eyes, and that warm feeling of euphoria as we stood out among the throngs of thousands to greet the new Oval Office resident.

Cautious Optimism.

Again, as an Afro-centered teacher, I KNEW that this was all a show, but it was a great show, and as a human being, like most, I would rather be optimistic and HOPED that all I had come to know would be proven wrong under President Obama. I gambled against what I’d taught hundreds of Black students, that our freedom will not come through American politics or elected leaders. I’ll never second guess mySELF again in that arena. 2008 was the last year I voted for a POTUS, and it will probably be the last.

symbolism (noun) – the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities.

In 1964, we got the Civil Rights Act, a federal law that outlawed discrimination, a law that ushered in integration. In addition to losing our autonomy and self-sufficiency, we lost many an esteemed and honorable ancestor, fighting for the right to be treated as equal human beings here. Marches, dogs, high-powered hoses, beatings, and assassinations. The Civil Rights Movement was largely led and funded by others, European so-called liberals and Jews. The leading organization within the Civil Rights Movement was the NAACP, an organization founded, funded, and led by others, European so-called liberals and Jews. We invested a lot of blood, sweat, energy, and emotion into the Civil Rights Movement and the passing of that law in 1964. It has proven to be nothing short of symbolic. It represented the idea of freedom. Freedom to live, shop, work, and socialize among Whites. However, with it being symbolic in nature, that law never afforded us freedom to be treated as equal human beings. We bought the illusions though. An exceptional few as representative of the struggling whole, well-compensated athletes and entertainers, Black judges and politicians, Black CEOs, and Blacks being allowed to consume crazily, but not owning a single neighborhood in the U.S.A., not a single neighborhood in 50 states. Ownership is evidenced by owning and controlling the majority of the banks and major stores in our own communities, ownership of the police and politicians, ownership of schools and how our children are educated, and the right not to be re-gentrified every 3 or 4 decades. But the illusion feels good.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965

The year after the Civil Rights Act went into effect, we got the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which basically gave teeth to the 15th Amendment (Black Suffrage). It cleared the way for Africans in America to vote unimpeded. There have always and will always be built-in voting irregularities when it comes to suffrage for poor people and people of color. Most call it rigging, I simply call it part of the game, a default. We hear about them from time to time, but nothing is ever done to alleviate them. Anyway, Black people have been voting for alderman, for mayors, for governors, for senators, for representatives, for judges, and for Presidents since even before 1965, yet the status quo in this country has not shifted one iota. Somehow the rich have managed to become richer, and if you can believe it, the poor are actually becoming poorer, as we’ve witnessed, watching that “Black middle-class” evaporate over the last few years.

We voted for the greatest “hope merchant” to date. “Yes We Can!” But we didn’t. The last 8 years have proven to be a very psychologically impactful time for Africans in America. Our emotions ruled for the last 8 years as pretty pictures replaced potent policies as priorities. We pardoned the killing of Gaddafi and the drone bombings all over the Middle East and Africa. We pardoned the privatization of education, prisons, and many other public sectors, as unions were dissolved while political cronies got paid. We pardoned the bank and big business bailouts while millions watched their homes and jobs disappear. We pardoned trade agreements that saw jobs deported and GMOs and other toxic, dangerous foods and goods imported. We pardoned the padding of the Patriot Act which saw privacy and whistle-blowing become relics. We pardoned the obvious crooked alliances which saw a member of the Zionist lobby become the diminutive, heavy-handed mayor of the country’s Midwest hub, Chicago, campaigned for and supported by the POTUS. Most ominously, we pardoned the President as he stood impotently by while Black people continued to be literally lynched by law enforcement and those under the guise of. Crooked killer cops walked away with impunity, while the justifiably livid youth were labeled by the President as “criminals and thugs”. Not the bullying, state-sanctioned police who kill unarmed children, but the angry protesters, who I’m certain were just expecting more from the Black President of the U.S. We got less. We pardoned much that we held other POTUS’s fully responsible for, because we thought he was us, emotions overflowing. We’re so protective. “Obamanites” tend to dismiss his politics and claim that these things weren’t problems a Black president could fix for Black people, but they give him credit for a universal health plan without reading its pages, and love for reduced gas prices, which no President has control of, with the U.S. being an extreme minority producer of the fuel we consume. Our emotions get in the way. Obamanites also tend to dismiss the fact that he used his pen to sign bills into laws protecting gays and the very police officers killing Black people, but nothing in that federal cookie jar for Black people.

“Little Black boy and girl, you can be President too.”

It’s time to STOP telling our young Black men and women this. It’s time to stop using achievement of the Oval Office as the optimal standard to attain, that carrot to be captured. Since the building of the seat of this nation, the White House, by our enslaved ancestry in 1792, that domicile has represented nothing but the inhumane for Africans. Its represented policies that saw African nations on the continent colonized and “neo-colonized”. Its represented education policies that continue to see our children languishing in last with no identities. Its represented social and political policies that continue to see our communities suffer. Its represented economic policies that have seen us garner less than 1% of the wealth of this nation, no real wealth beyond what we can wear or drive. Its represented the assassinations of Black leaders here and abroad and the total eradication of Black organizations who simply sought to advocate for us. Its represented drug and crime policies that have seen profound disparities in the numbers of Black men and women who are disproportionately in cages and disenfranchised. Its advocated for legions of lobbyists with toxic interests. Its represented the impotent, disinterested body of government that has stood idly by as Black people are erased from existence. Its been that key body that’s made certain the last place trophy is reserved for the continuously enslaved. Nope, the White House never ended slavery, it simply rendered it more palatable to the population, easier to swallow. Same dire effects though. No freedom, and it’s even more dangerous cousin, the illusory version. We tell our kids they can and should be President because we don’t know any better, because this is part of our indoctrination here, the embracing of systems that have never served us, love for positions and politics that have only served to oppress us.

Head slave is STILL a position to be coveted.

Your son or daughter can be the next African in America to oversee that foot pressed firmly down upon our backs if they play their cards right. This is the epitome of blind patriotism. Extreme and profound loyalty to a country that has NEVER been loyal to us. Once the dust that is our rabid emotionalism settles, the facts will still be there. It’s time to stop telling our children to achieve academically so they can become the “head negro in charge”.

We gave it 2 terms, 8 years.

We so badly need leaders of us in our own communities. We so badly need advocates for us from among us. We so badly need leaders who understand the importance of group economics. We so badly need business and bank owners who look like us, provide for, and do for us. We need Black leaders who are unafraid and unashamed to help build for us here and to help bridge the gap with Africans on the continent and around the world. We need leaders who understand that knowledge of our history and ancestry is the key to moving forward. We need leaders who truly understand the depth of their innate gifts and talents and choose to lend these attributes to their own in a manner that edifies the collective.

Where’s OUR leader?

It’s funny, I often hear apologists assert that “Obama isn’t the President of Black People”. So I ask, beyond the obvious symbolism, what good is he to us then? Why send your brilliant son or daughter to an office where they are unable to help their own people?

Oftentimes, these questions answer themselves.

Oftentimes, that symbolic is toxic.

 

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Vote . . . .or Die.

vote or die pic

VOTE OR DIE

platitude (noun) – a remark or statement, especially one with moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.

Among the most popular platitudes utilized to justify acts we participate in that yield little or nothing for us is the statement, “I vote because our ancestors died for us to have that right”. This is one of those statements largely founded in emotion. It’s generally employed by Africans in America who can’t conjure up any other solid justification as to why we still partake in ritualistic political processes within this country that have borne no fruit for us. The baskets are still barren. It often serves as what amounts to civic responsibility for people who don’t totally understand the political process, but genuinely want to play a part. Voting regularly serves as social activism for the socially inactive.

Are we free yet?

Our ancestors died to be free. Our ancestors died to be treated as and afforded respect as human beings. Neither of these inherent rights have been gifted to Africans in this country. Our ancestors also fought and died for ideas. They died for the idea that assimilating and integrating with Whites would yield a measure of that respect. They embraced the idea that being able to eat with and among Whites was evidence of entitlement. They believed the idea that being allowed to attend schools with Whites would provide us with an education that would lend to liberation. Our ancestors were bitten by dogs and mowed down by high-powered hoses married to the idea that gaining the right to participate in American politics would somehow render us powerful, the idea that voting leads to potency. Our ancestors died for ideas that weren’t necessarily ideal. Their beliefs were rooted in those ideas.

idea (noun) – a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action.

Africans in these United States have never experienced any semblance of what true freedom looks like. We’ve never tasted it so we honestly don’t have an accurate concept of it. Most of our ancestors were brought here in chains. Today, with impunity, our loved ones are still slain, and the status quo remains unchanged.  We went from chains to sinister laws and ordinances, to debilitating segregation, to hardcore mis-education, to media manipulation, to poverty creation, to dehumanization, to criminalization, and straight into mass incarceration. During this entire trip to the present, we embraced ideas that were implanted into our minds as the tools to bring about freedom. Again, we in this country have truly never known freedom, so the idea of what freedom looks like isn’t a hard sell. We bought it again and again and again. We’re still buying it.

We own the illusion.

We abandoned autonomous power-wielding communities to live among people who hated us because we felt their grass was greener. We flocked into their schools to become the diluted, Euro-centered, and absolutely most prosecuted, school to prison pipeline entrenched. We were happily integrated and collectively forgot the power that comes from subsisting from something we’ve created. We parted ways with ownership of ourselves through entrepreneurship  and got acclimated to being owned through debt and wage peonage, from Fortune 500 corporations to Jewish-owned sports leagues. Black educators, Black police officers, and Black politicians fall into this same trick bag. We don’t own our schools, and education for our children is dictated and mandated by others. There are Black teachers who are great at imparting what they are directed to, but they aren’t necessarily educating our children to be empowered. Too many Black police officers exist solely to preserve the status quo, content to watch White police officers abuse other Blacks  with no consequences. I can count on five fingers or less the number of Black politicians who have ever fully advocated for and advanced a Black agenda while in office. Too many of them are being paid under-table wages to simply dull our pain. The idea being that by simply gaining employment working in systems and entities provided by others for their OWN interests, we’ll find our way off that plantation.

I utilize the concept of idea implantation as it played out in that very excellent sci-fi film, ‘Inception’. It involved Leonardo DiCaprio’s character being part of a crew who had the machinery and the skills to enter into the dreams of clients or victims to either steal secrets or plant ideas. The ideas they planted in people’s minds through gallivanting about their dreams had real-life, far-ranging consequences. Through planting an idea in a person’s mind, that person could awaken to see life through a more positive and productive lens. All from a single idea. On the other hand, a person, such as DiCaprio’s movie wife, could have an idea planted that would have her embrace a totally convoluted and twisted sense of reality. That idea led to her becoming totally confused, misled, and clueless in regards to real life. His wife mistook the dream for reality, jumped off a building to prove to him they were still dreaming, and killed herself.

The dream is killing us.

Black people are living in a false reality. We keep buying the dream. It’s often comforting to just stay in bed and avoid facing the rigors of what real life presents. Once that deceptive idea is planted, it becomes that much more difficult to see another path to existence, to freedom. Even the nightmare becomes a better alternative to awakening and facing a life that requires us to alter that false reality, to change the way we conduct business. Our present state bears witness.

We’re in the midst of yet another election that is unfurling to reinforce the very real impotency that comes through dropping votes in ballot boxes. Again, the idea was planted in the African in America decades ago that continues to lead us to believe that our participation in American politics will somehow yield salvation. We participate as blue-blooded Americans who have only met that title by birth. America has never granted us any real sense of belonging beyond the myriad of methods this country has used to exploit us economically through manipulation, fueled by a lack of right information. Our voting is a major part of that process. To start, America doesn’t have a democracy where average citizens get to choose their leaders. America is owned by corporations and it is run as one. America presents the illusion of a 2-party system that represents two sides of an ideological continuum, when in reality, politicians on both sides are funded and finagled by the exact same financiers. They host debates, run campaigns, place ads, and get folks all riled up and polarized just for the pre-selected candidate to sashay on into office once the smoke and dust has cleared, after the proletariat has had their opportunity to hit the polls with pseudo voting power. The U.S. has a built-in “cheat system” that allows both super delegates and an electoral college to help decide the eventual victor. Not to mention, the primaries are pretty much just popularity contests where both the illusory left and illusory right get to be heard. It is during the primaries where folks get emotionally lathered up to get behind candidates they feel represent their best interests. As in all previous decades, Black people did not vet, cultivate, or fund a single presidential candidate. We had candidates presented to us for us to decide viability. Many Black people decided on Clinton, who along with her husband, played key roles in the subjugation and incarceration of thousands of Black people the last decade or so. They both also played major roles in the extermination of some key Black leaders around the globe. But she’s a woman though. .ok. The other candidate Black folks got behind was a Jew named Bernie who happened to have participated in that aforementioned Civil Rights Movement  that set us back a few decades. Most don’t realize that the NAACP, the leading organization during the Civil Rights Movement, had a founding board of trustees who were mostly White/Jewish. For perspective, they financed much of the Middle Passage, they owned us during the chattel, they saw to it that we peacefully integrated (still hated and exploited), and they own us through athletics and other institutions such as the media, which somehow spends the majority of its airwaves denigrating Blacks. Our ancestors made honorable sacrifices, but there were no gains. Please feel free to challenge that one. Our collective wealth today, as a people, is exactly where it was in 1965. Mr. Sanders also pushes an agenda that includes both social and economic equality for all, but check this, no reparations for Black people. When questioned why, he claimed it’d be too “divisive”. Funny, reparations has been a power-yielding force for every other ethnicity oppressed by the U.S., but when it comes to Africans, it would only serve to divide? Africans ignored this slight and continued to press on for the guy believing he had a chance to win and upset the status quo in this country. The unfortunate truth is that Mr. Sanders never had a shot to win. These elections get more fun each decade. Sanders was just a figure utilized to galvanize Blacks and liberals, to get them excited and involved. Mission accomplished. On the other end, Trump, a guy who has in the past aligned himself with both Africans and the racist or elitist affluent, is a pawn to simply tap into and excite those “klannish” conservatives. Mission accomplished. The rug was pulled from under the liberals and Africans here who were ready to ride on into the Oval Office with Bernie. They were dropped off at Clinton. Trump markets himself as a total nut job who pontificates and regurgitates everything Ricky Joe Bobby wants to hear. He has no chance of being the leader of the free world. but the drama has unfolded in a tactical manner that has folks fearful of what he would do upon being elected. Question is, in regards to us, is there a place we can go that is lower than last place? What could Trump possibly do to us that isn’t already happening? Don’t worry, you won’t get to see it.

The “Pick n Roll”:

The pick and roll (also called screen and roll or shortened to screen roll, any of which may be hyphenated) in basketball is an offensive play in which a player sets a screen (pick) for a teammate handling the ball and then slips behind the defender (rolls) to accept a pass.

Wizards v/s Spurs 02/12/11

Wizards v/s Spurs 02/12/11

The picture above is a perfect illustration of the “pick n roll”. Booker would be Clinton and Trump would be Kirk Hinrich. Booker (Clinton) sets a beautiful screen while Hinrich (Trump) uses that screen to free himself from the opposition to then hit Booker (Clinton) with the ball as she strolls to the basket for the score. Election victory! First woman POTUS . .and full-fledged trumpeter of capitalism, militarism, elitism, and the continued oppression of that last place race. Bernie, Trump, and the rest of those blue-suited imposters were just role players. The actual pawns are the people who continue to put faith in rigged elections.  The power of that idea is evidenced by the fact that when the election is over and Clinton wins, people, including Africans here, will blame non-voters instead of the actual electoral machinery that, year after year, operates in the interests of those on top of that pyramid.

Here’s an idea.

Actually DO something. Instead of following the herd through these fake campaigns and debates, let’s focus on what we can do for WE. Let’s unify, organize, plan, and implement exactly what WE need for our OWN communities. Let’s account for and allocate our vast resources in a manner that edifies where we live. Let’s support those at the grassroots who have been and continue to advocate for our communities. Let’s fix what’s right outside of our doors right along with our neighbors in a way that fosters community. We may be able to affect some change through voting at the local level, but Chicago provides a clear example of local elections gone awry in regards to the disenfranchised residents of the city. Vet, cultivate, support, and FUND our OWN candidates, otherwise, we will simply elect evil over evil . .prompted by more evil (crooked pastors and politicians).

At the end of the day, no President of these United States will ever put into action an agenda that liberates African people in this country or anywhere. Never.

This is an idea that Marcus Mosiah Garvey and many other luminaries planted in our collective heads years ago. However, those ideas never seemed to have taken root.

Must be something in this soil.

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THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER . . .

ali_6

 

Sacrifice (noun) – A sacrifice is a loss or something you give up, usually for the sake of a better cause.

For Ali, that CAUSE was his people. His people were Africans worldwide and their descendants, along with the poor and shut out. The higher he rose in prominence, the more he used his platform to advocate for his people. Ali sacrificed his life, legacy, livelihood, and his legendary status for his people. He far exceeded the definition of what every MAN should be by leaps and bounds.

I see the title “G.O.A.T.” being thrown around and attached to many men who attain a certain level in sports, men who rise to the top of their respective games experiencing lots of success and the accolades and awards that come with that success. For me, Ali set the bar too high for most of them. There have been a few like Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (Chris Jackson), who gave up his NBA career in order to adhere to his own religious beliefs and his disdain for what America represents for African people. Craig Hodges quietly stood up and spoke out for our oppressed collective through correspondence to the Commander in Chief that eventually got him benched, permanently “blacklisted” and banned from the NBA. I’m certain there are a few more, but no one did it like Ali.

Ali was by far the best in the sport of boxing during his tenure. He was big, he was strong, he was fast, he was evasive, he could take a punch, and he was CONFIDENT. He was unshakeable. He proclaimed he was the GREATEST and meant every syllable, spoken with his chest. Ali was clearly the BEST. He won most of his fights before he ever stepped in the ring simply because his light was too bright for the opponents he faced. They couldn’t see him. He was literally a STAR. Ali was humble. Ali was a man who pledged his life to the teachings of men who empowered him with the knowledge and understanding of himself. Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X helped to turn a light on in Cassius Clay that would render him  an ascended version of himself, ALI, who would never return to being a mere mortal man. He became a global icon that represented what it meant to be FREE. Freedom was his essence. He spoke and did exactly what he wanted to do however he wanted and was both unfailing and unflinching when it came time to voicing the needs and concerns of his people in a way that made them clear. He made it clear that he wasn’t content to eat while his people starved, while they subsisted from crumbs allocated by a sick and sinister system, a government that kept his people in bondage, worldwide. Michael Jordan gave us 13 years of basketball bliss and was by far, the best to ever play the game, but he and Ali are not in the same universe.  The differences are a bit more than subtle.

In 2016, many of us have succumb to the patriotism that leads us to celebrate the Memorial Days, the Veteran’s Days, and the Independence Days. Ali was the only athlete on record, and one of a few Black men who stood and spoke to what lies dormant in many:

 “ . .why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years. .”

His positions and proclamations cost him dearly. He lost his championships, he lost his license to fight in the ring, he lost tons of money, and he lost his freedom. He lost his freedom, but he established his FREEDOM. He was the epitome. Ali was chastised by not only the U.S. government and Whites who hated him already, but he was also chastised and became the subject of scorn from many Black Americans who still clung tightly to the American dream, that dream that as long as they soldiered up and donned the red, white, and blue, they’d come home no longer oppressed based on hue. Sixteen years into the second millennium and the castes and conditions are still exactly the same for that collective.

Ali was a soldier for US, and was courageous enough to take those stands many men still won’t. He was both a pioneer and a beacon. He showed the way and mapped a path, although collectively we still haven’t garnered the strength, the stamina, or the fortitude to  follow his lead. A tough act to follow, but we’ll get there. If we all strive to be even half the human Ali was, we’ll end up in a very good place. We’ll be almost there. His life was a map for us. Be courageous, be brash, be bold, be conscious, be conscientious, be confident, be daring, BE YOU, BE FREE! . .UNAPOLOGETICALLY!!!

Heroes sacrifice. Ali was my HERO.

R.I.P.  .LOVE, RESPECT, and HONOR.

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One Size Fits All . . .

One Size Fits All 1

I was conversing with one of my friends yesterday evening about a prayer march that had taken place in Chicago earlier that day. I don’t have anything against prayer marches or gatherings because I understand they can be an individual or collective healing experience along with being  therapeutic activity for many. They can help foster peace of mind among the participants and victims. These marches can also raise awareness and broadcast the voices of the community letting it’s violent transgressors know that their acts of unfocused, misdirected aggression will not be tolerated. Prayer is a viable piece of the puzzle for some.

At the prayer rally, my guy mentioned to me that he saw a sign that read as follows, “Real Men Get On Their Knees”. Yeah, I realize this statement could be taken a number of ways, but we’ll keep it above board. What the statement suggest to me is that real men pray to gods. As a corollary, it also suggest that men who don’t, aren’t “real men”. I’ve seen various memes on social networks that suggest the same. It’s generally easy for me to ignore these toxic messages because what people post is always subject to their own perspectives, experiences, or beliefs. Apparently, a significant number of Black women believe that a Black man isn’t a “real man” unless he subscribes to the existence of or conversations with gods.

Is this healthy?

Black people are Christians, Muslims, Jews, African Orthodox, Catholic, Rastafarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus, Buddhists, Seventh Day Adventists, Humanists, and any number of other religions we were introduced to as direct or indirect result of forced or unforced cultural diffusion. As mostly natives  of West Africa, we did not subscribe to any of these religions prior to them being gifted to us as part of that Americanization/assimilation welcoming trick bag passed off as a gift bag. Christianity existed in pockets of East Africa for eons prior to the Middle Passage as the direct result of it being brought to the area by invaders from across the Red Sea. The same can be said for Islam, as Arabs delivered the religion to Africans from East Africa, through North Africa, and across to West Africa. According to a 2007 Study:

“Many scholars estimate that 15-30% of Africans imported as slaves were Muslim. The majority of the remaining practiced indigenous forms of worship. All were converted to Christianity. Most became Baptist although slaves from Louisiana became Catholic because of the French settlers in that area. Today 83% of African Americans are Christian, and only 1% identify themselves as Muslim.”

one size fits all 2

So Africans became most of these things AFTER colonization and enslavement. Neither colonization or enslavement are strictly limited to the physical. The African’s “operating system” had to be erased in order for that strong African man or woman to be suitable for forced labor. A new African had to be created, an African who saw the White man as no less than the messenger of a god, if not a god himself. That new African needed to be saddled with a healthy amount of fear, a fear of upsetting the White god and a fear of going to an imaginary place called hell. This new African had to come to believe that his/her forced servitude was ordained by a god and that their oppression was simply part of a grand plan, the sacrifice of suffering. The sadistic methods of our captors achieved great and long-lasting success. Today, 83% of Africans in America, as mentioned above, identify themselves as Christians. It took centuries in that oven of oppression to bake what exists today as the Black man and woman, cooked thoroughly through to the core, no longer identifying with Africa in many cases, more in common with the actual White racists. Stockholm Syndrome is us.

Reality is, we are not born with any of these attachments. We have to be indoctrinated into them which means, from birth, we have old and ancient beliefs installed into us which are not to be questioned. If grandma and granddad were Christians, and they made mom and dad Christians, then we, as children, were to automatically assume the same. As a result, our thinking remains the same, European operating system intact. Quality contextualization is that there were generations of us born on plantations who were terrified of the prospect of leaving them. The grandparents and parents instilled in the children an unhealthy fear that rendered them allergic to freedom. The plantation was home, master and family were custodial parents. They provided all basic needs, and there was nothing worthwhile beyond the threshold of the plantation’s gates. We were taught to feel “blessed” to be so fortunate, a misfortune fostered and cultivated through fear. However, there were always a few “rebel rousers” who didn’t quite adapt to master’s version of freedom or his wholesome hostility. SHANGO was ready to GO. There were always those who were scheming to get off those plantations, unafraid of the unknown, but fully aware that what existed as life for them wasn’t as it should be. The ability to read precipitated much of that rebelliousness, along with common sense, and an unyielding desire to be free. Evolution is inevitable, and eventually, more and more Africans began to rebel, wreaking havoc on the entire South, stories we seldom hear about. But imagine if we all simply adhered to what was told to us from previous generations and didn’t bother to do the legwork, asking those questions, quenching what comes natural as curiosity.

Most of our marches today are against the violent behaviors too many of our children have adopted due to societal sickness: poverty, disenfranchisement, poor mental and physical health exacerbated by food deserts and the lack of access, schools that disengage, negative, toxic, and degrading media, and politicians and public policies that craft the contrived reality that exist for many Black people in America. We also march against genocide and discrimination.

Do we discriminate against and divide amongst ourselves?

Not all Black people subscribe to religions which incorporate a belief in “sky daddies”. There are Africans who choose to not subscribe to any of them. They are known as agnostics or atheists. Agnostics doubt the existence of gods, and atheists simply do not believe in gods. I am an atheist who is a humanist in many aspects. I do not believe in gods and I strive to be the best possible human being I can, on purpose and with purpose. I believe NATURE (NTR) to be the higher and highest power. Nature is universal balance, it is sustaining, and it is the provider of all. Nature is tangible, I can see, hear, taste, feel, and embrace it and all it’s wonderment. Most importantly, nature features the SUN at it’s pinnacle. Without the SUN, there is no life. The most ancient spiritual systems subscribe to the notion of the SUN as a main principle. Many religions came on-board later and misconstrued the SUN to mean a SON, or they simply changed its meaning to suit their own cultural beliefs. Heru, an Egyptian principle or god, represents the SUN. I’ve done substantial research on the subject as a teacher of history, but I encourage others to do the same to see what you discover or uncover. One of the many reasons I cannot subscribe to the existence of gods or a God is because I’m quite certain a god of us would not be a spectator to what is offered as life for the vast majority of the world. While a relative few greedily prosper, the rest of the world suffers either physically, socially, or economically. Being in America gives us such a narrow view of the reality of so many. Life for the majority in the U.S. isn’t quite par either, it’s far from what one would consider paradise, an economy bolstered by the exploitation of poor people domestically and abroad. Black people in America remain the most religious group among all ethnicities, yet suffer the most from carefully constructed inequality. No, I can’t fathom praying to a god that would bear witness to what exist and have no reaction, and my lifespan does not allow me the privilege of waiting for a god’s return to fix our very real problems. Lastly, many religions, especially Christianity, socialize its participants to embrace individualism and prosperity as key tenets. They see themselves as “blessed and favored” based on material gains, possessions, and fortunate situations, while ignoring the plight of many when it comes time to give praise. I’ve often noticed how a god is acknowledged when “good” occurs, but not spoken of when “bad” happens, beyond praying that a god fixes it. No judgment, but if I see a person drowning or burning, it is me who will save that person. It will be me who dives into or fetches water . .unless they’d rather me just pray, and stay dry. What would I look like standing there praying for help? If someone callously kills a member of my family, the judgment and execution will come from me. I won’t have a prayer for that person. I will not ask a god to forgive that person. Praying after such egregious acts kind of leaves the impression that it’s ok to keep attacking, to keep killing, and to keep oppressing. Solely praying only opens the door for a person or people to continuously be preyed upon, there’s zero incentive for the antagonists to stop. If I’m your friend and someone walks up and punches you in the mouth, do you want me to pray or do you want me to muscle up? Here we are though.

Are we divided on too many fronts to solidify our families and communities?

I am 100% certain that as many African women or men are reading this, they are shuddering at the thought of a Black man who doesn’t look to the skies for answers and they are already conjuring up those adjectives; crazy, foolish, and confused. I’m actually very clear. My thoughts are completely lucid, and I work actively to evolve my thoughts through constant reading and research, through introspection, and continuously entertaining other perspectives, never settling for what I think I know. The sad part is, many of our people, especially some of our sisters, do not find suitable mates in Black men who don’t subscribe to religions or gods, as if a man is incomplete without these beliefs. They will not embark on a relationship with, and, as evidenced, are active in judging and ostracizing them as well for not accepting what they accept and perceive as direction.

Crazy thing is, I don’t judge or seek to ostracize religious Africans for believing as they do. I understand clearly why they believe and the roots of their beliefs. I come from a family that is 99% Christian, with that 1% probably containing just me and one cousin.  At the end of the day, we’re ALL Africans and that is the sole reason why we are oppressed, not because we’re Christians, not because we’re Islamic, or any other denomination. Malcolm said it best, keep your religious beliefs in the closet when it comes time for us to assemble for the common good, to grow as a collective. There is no place for any divisive energy in Black Nationalism, a philosophy we all should be adhering to in order to truly heal as a whole. I don’t see crucifixes when it’s time to fix this, not until someone asks that I drop to my knees to speak with a god to ask him/her to help us. From my vantage, we have all we need. It’s a matter of mental and spiritual elevation, organization, and re-allocation of our vast resources. Just a quick note, about a half-trillion of our dollars go into church collection baskets each year.

Are “free-thinkers” persecuted among Africans?

As an African male, I unfortunately have to say yes. I’ve seen and lived it. I’ve seen many a relationship or potential courting situation go south due to my refusal to acknowledge the existence of gods. I’ve lived it in Chicago, I’ve gone through it in D.C., and I’m feeling it here in Dallas. If you don’t outwardly profess to be a man who fears gods, you are stained immediately as an undesirable. There isn’t much room to move around Black social circles for the Black man who doesn’t mind challenging or questioning  established Black norms. Critical thought and curiosity that constantly questions and doesn’t reinforce ancient beliefs and practices is frowned upon. Optimism is knowing there are plenty of Black women walking the same path as myself. That doesn’t mean we’re “equally yolked” automatically, but I’m reasonably assured that the Afro-Centered sister isn’t a rare and magical unicorn. They are plenty, we “outcasts” just have to be patient. In the meantime, you best believe I won’t be unwelcoming of my African sisters to any political or social activism I partake in, or any personal relationship I can envision us in, based solely on what they believe in regards to gods. We cannot reach each other if we’re unwilling to teach each other. We will not grow if we, as men and women, no longer yearn to learn from one another, and we’ll never catch our collective stride, if we continue to fuel divide.

We are African before anything else.

ONE love, truly.

one size fits all 3

20 Dec 1969, San Francisco, California, USA — PANTHER POWER—BLACK PANTHERS, TEENAGERS AND CHILDREN ALIKE, GIVE THE PANTHER BLACK POWER SALUTE OUTSIDE THEIR “LIBERATION SCHOOL” IN THE FILLMORE DISTRICT OF SAN FRANCISCO. DECMEBER 20, 1969. UPI B/W PHOTOGRAPH. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

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Arrested Development . . .

Arrested Development Blog Pic

 

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”

 – The Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey –

 

The tallest trees we come across in our respective cities are oftentimes decades old and usually feature roots that span as long as the trees are tall, if not longer. Leaves get shaken off, branches get broken, trees get damaged by car accidents or lightning strikes them, but they go on to live long, healthy lives. As long as the roots are solid, healthy, and provide a rock of a foundation that continuously draws in nutrients, the tree can sustain those hits. However, if the tallest, widest, and strongest tree’s roots are removed or severely damaged, diseased, or distressed, over time, that tree will gradually sicken, wilt, and eventually  die. It may appear to be healthy for a period of time. Some leaves may still grow, some branches may remain intact, but inevitably, the manifestations of those missing or damaged roots will present themselves. Causes and effects.

A race’s history and culture are its ROOTS.

I’ve been fortunate, as an educator, to work in three very different school districts in three very different cities/regions. This vantage has allowed me to evolve a perspective that paints an intriguing picture. My career began in 1999 in the city I was raised, Chicago. I taught for 10 years in a high school that was roughly 99.9% Black students. The school featured a very family-like atmosphere and the majority of the teachers and staff reflected the demographic of the students. The school had its days of peace and its days of struggle, no new day was like the previous one. There were warring gangs, there were crew rivalries that exploded, and there was intermittent chaos as a default. As an educator, it was a great start, but definitely not for the faint of heart.

I left Chicago in 2008 to take an Assistant Principal gig in Washington, DC. I was out East for 4 years, all 4 years working within the District of Columbia’s Public School system. Totally different landscape. The school I worked in featured students from all over the world. There were African-Americans, Native Africans, Jamaicans, and many others of the Diaspora. The school also served our distant cousins of that same Diaspora, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, El Salvadorians, Panamanians, and other South and Central Americans. The school also featured a few White and Asian kids. For the most part, all of these groups of kids coexisted harmoniously, generally because most of them had grown up with each other in the same neighborhoods and the schools racial make-up was simply a reflection of the neighborhood’s. Amidst that diversity, the majority of the kids were African-American, and 99% of our in-school or out-of-school suspensions were African-American kids. Ninety-nine percent of our disruptions, disturbances, and fights were Black students.

Why are they so angry?

I returned to a homogenous population of Black students in Chicago in 2012 and then moved to Texas in 2015 where I began as a substitute teacher in a district where there was a healthy mix of Black, Hispanic, and White students. I use the term “healthy” very loosely, as what I’ve witnessed has made me sick. Texas’s schools don’t just set out to create patriotic Americans, they seek to create blindly proud Texans, while ignoring any pertinent cultural or factual links children should know in regards to their respective selves. I subbed at several schools in this particular district, and all of the schools were pretty much 3-flavored ice cream with a spattering of Asians. Again, I witness Black students totally disconnecting from the process and becoming sources of disruption. Again, I wander into in-school rooms kept fully operational by Black boy bodies. I subbed in classrooms where Black boys are coming off out-of-school suspensions. I witnessed two fights where our young women were angrily wrestling and wrangling the weaves from one another’s scalps.

Nine months here in Dallas and I get on with a school in South Dallas where the students somewhat mirror the make-up of the Chicago Public School I spent the most time in, seemingly about 90% Black. The composition of the faculty and staff here is pretty much the same everywhere I’ve worked, some White teachers, some Black teachers, and a few Hispanic teachers. Over the past few years though, I’ve noticed that teaching staffs in inner-city schools are becoming gradually more and more White like the dilution of coffee with dairy. The staffs in urban area schools are more and more not looking like the students. And with that, the impartation of instruction to Black and Brown students is becoming less and less culturally relevant. Contrasting backgrounds, contrasting histories, contrasting cultures, and that disparity with the socio-economic. Culture-shock for the alternatively certified instructor. Things that matter in matters of rapport. Lacking rapport that leads to the negative anecdotal and repeated insubordination reports. Reports that route Ritalin into Black children’s lives. Reports that lead to criminalization and arrests.

The elephant is the classroom.

At my Chicago school, we had students who were well-behaved, we had students who were wayward, and we had a mess of students who were trying to fit in, trying to be like those anointed cool for being fools. There was plenty disjointedness, but many of us managed to positively affect those 150 or so students we were charged with teaching daily. However, many of the teachers in the building simply babysat for teachers’ pay, unable to maintain any semblance of an educational atmosphere in their classrooms. Kids disengaged, very little learning occurring. Out in DC, I found that most of the students were fairly well-behaved, except for that one disconnected color, those who know so very little about their culture.  In Texas, 1/3 of that 3-flavored Neapolitan that is Black, Brown, and White, isn’t benefitting from what’s occurring in the schools. When I’m warned here in Dallas as a substitute teacher of a class’s unruliness beforehand, it inevitably winds up being a classroom of students who look like me in hue, blackish in face and flavor. Black students not favored by those who’d never have them or their parents as neighbors.

A killer constant.

I’ve worked in no less than a dozen schools in varying capacities in 3 totally separate regions of this country, and I’m always greeted with the same open-handed slap to the face upon entering many school buildings. It’s invariably my distant sons and daughters who are uninterested, unsettled, and uncontrollable in many of these schools. When I venture into the classrooms that have come unhinged, it’s little brown boys and girls. When I take a peak in the in-school suspension room, it’s at least half us, even if we’re only 20% of the student body. It’s us cussin’, runnin’, chasin’, and fightin’. It’s us coming to school with no books and no pens, spending the day bullshitting with friends. For many of ours, school has simply become a  structured stroll through a mall, featuring stores managed by workers who pass them for stopping through, window shopping, looking at the covers of books, rarely flipping through the pages. There are many issues, facets, and fronts that color the societal picture we see, but education is probably the most important. There are a plethora of other societal ills that lend to the Black child who comes to school unprepared mentally, physically, and spiritually to cope with being in a classroom. The media, especially the music our kids are targeted with, provides perpetually looping soundtracks that provide the perfect backdrop for the behaviors encouraged by it, toxic tunes as teleprompters telling our children who to be. The same society provides for the same school that hinders that same Black child from becoming more than a harped on statistic, a statistic “weaponized” as blanket commentary regarding the disenfranchised.

Only a fool would attribute this disconnect to Black genetics.

These schools aren’t broken. They are operating perfectly as well-oiled societal machinery tasked with keeping Blacks in last. It’s not that Black kids don’t like to learn, they just grow weary of learning about others, learning about White heroes and Black zeroes, losses . . learning what doesn’t enrich, empower them, or relate to their lives. You can’t feed a plant meat gravy and expect it to blossom. The teaching of the subjects of Math, English, Science, and Sociology were all initiated by ancients who looked like the kids who hate the same subjects now, simply because they are taught from a point of view that renders the Black child blind, liquid papers the mind. Our children lose sight of themselves while being assimilated to become someone else, everything else. Think about it. The most exceptional Black student, in most cases, goes on to graduate from high school, attend college, and then get a good job working for the dominant culture under socialization orders in order to spend his/her compensation enriching others, those dominant others. Our talented take their currency and gravitate towards residency among others while neglecting the ‘hood that birthed them, no owned grocery stores, few owned banks, no Afro-centered schools, no new opportunities. Nominally affluent lives condescending  and pointing at bootstraps, while giving the legions left behind a bad rap. “It’s their fault they didn’t succeed as I did…what’s wrong with THEM?” This talented among us know just enough to hold down a job, a house, and a car, but not quite enough to own their existence. The  illusion of progression, deluded introspection, self-destructive spending discretion, all buoyed by an installed American dream. The more access we get to Massa’s house, the freer we think we are, meanwhile the leash is getting shorter and that noose is getting tighter. When the affluent and elite among Black people are forbidden from expressing pro-Black sentiment, unless that sentiment sells CDs or concert tickets. That’s another subject though, but you get it.

Any education that does not empower is just indoctrination.

An example of an education that does not empower is one that certifies and trains children for jobs, while never revealing their innate creativity to craft one. An impotent education allows a group of people to continuously be the vanquished victims of gentrification at the whims of another.  An impotent education is one in which whole neighborhoods of people who possess the darkish hue suffer home devaluations because the stores, banks, and industrial investment in the neighborhood belong to others who remove these essentials when they flee.  An impotent education is one that features Africans lining up at machines every election cycle to choose which leaders will hand them that last place trophy at the end of their respective terms. An education that doesn’t enrich is one that sees a people allowing their neighborhoods to be saturated with houses of worship and not places that house employment opportunities. An education that is dictated by others is one in which vocational programming and arts is heavy-handedly stripped from the schools of Black children to make way for the not so covertly capitalistic college-readiness agendas and send offs that see some kids get sent to college and many others sent to San Quentin. Last I heard, even the “exceptional” Black parents in Black communities were waiting anxiously on letters from select-enrollment schools to see if their child was going to be welcomed  to attend a “quality” school or have their child-student subjected to the ubiquitously subpar. Literally a lottery to decide who wins and who loses. Racist under- and overtones. Some get jail, some get college, none get knowledge. . .of themselves.

It’s not our kids fault.

Disconnected and disengaged students in schools become wayward and disenchanted students who “graduate” to become inmates who populate prisons owned by the exact same folks who donate graciously to college-readiness corporatization. It’s not quite consolation that poor White children are affected by the same agendas because just like poor White children aren’t being shot by cops, poor White children aren’t being tracked and railroaded into jails either, us being 13% of the U.S. population, but around 35% of the U.S. prison population. Options consisting of maybe college, probably incarceration, or quite possibly a casket, but we don’t understand our children’s detachment, their depression.

When will we listen and heed?

Malcolm told us before he was silenced that we’d be fools to allow our known enemies to educate our children, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re not providing spaces for the African child to be properly nourished and cultivated. We’re allowing them to be programmed and assimilated. We’re not imparting to our children a glorious and empowering history, yet among us, their hatred of themselves remains a mystery. We’re not giving them the reigns to access the innate genius that lies within them from birth, but we’ve allowed Euro-centered and ill-conceived tests to determine their self-worth. Our students are simply data to be assessed, who convinced us this was best . . .practice? Practice for a life of less than, abbreviated life spans.

Experiments in behavior modification.

Musical instruments and vocational training stripped away curbing children’s natural inclination towards creation and the communication between themselves and this world, alternative modes of expression.  Our children are MUCH more than what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing as educators, community advocates, or spectators. We simply need to provide them with relevant, resonating, applicable, and emPOWERing instruction that speaks to who they are as Black human BEings, facilitate it as well-tooled educators, and allow our students to access the genius lying dormant within them. It’s really that simple. Again, the schools are not broken, they are working exactly as they were ill-designed, underfunded, and under-resourced to, and fully achieving the desired results.

“Do For Self!” – Mr. Garvey . . .

The following video sums it all up beautifully . .

‘Disrupting the Miseducation of African-American Youth’ – Kwame Shaka Opare

 

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Lies That Bind . . .

prince and michael jackson blog

I’m a child of 80’s music. We had the privilege of being heavily influenced by the great music our parents danced and loved to. We had the vantage of seeing both House and Hip Hop born during our childhood years, incredible inceptions. We came up as teens who listened to multiple genres of music up and down the radio dial that featured ARTISTS, professional entertainers who were technically sound singers, writers, composers, and gifted instrumentalists. We came up as adolescents who saw the transition from instruments to the heavily electronic and synthesized. We had the unfortunate vantage of watching our music “vibrate” lower and lower as the years went on. Lowered frequencies, minds manipulated.

Shifted Gears.

The times changed, and with it, so did the music. However, the change in music wasn’t so much a consequence of the changing times, it was more so the doings of profit machinery. The industry simply sought ways to trim the good fat and produce a leaner more profitable and palatable product that was lighter on their pockets while amassing great wealth for themselves. This isn’t something new, as the record industry has always been shady. It’s always been comprised of some wealthy Jews or White men looking to “commodify” the talents and gifts of young artists in a manner that exploited the naivety or the ignorance of the artists who simply wanted to do what they were born to, play music. The artists wanted to share their gifts and let the business-side take care of itself. The industry certainly took care of business as it enriched itself exponentially, while at the same time, consolidating, money flowing into fewer evil hands. The industry exploded as it aggressively sought out new talent. In an assembly line manner, record companies groomed, polished, and promoted their finds. They paid DJs they owned at radio stations they owned and made certain that every household eventually knew the names of their artists as they attached these pubic personas to every media product accessible to be consumed by waiting and anxious fans. A&Rs and record labels became the hunters assigned with the tasks of bringing in “fresh meat”. All that was required of the artists was that they signed on dotted lines.

Many of the best and most talented artists were chewed up and spit out by capitalist machinery only concerned with making money, not necessarily in nurturing artists beyond what it took to reel them in for the kill shot. That kill shot oftentimes revealed itself to the artists as the fact that they no longer owned the music they put their hearts and souls into. That kill shot often revealed itself to the artists as liberties being taken with their music to have it appeal to targeted audiences. That kill shot often manifested itself in the reality that while fame and fortune had been reaped, their very souls and the soundtracks of their lives had been raped and violated to pad the accounts of a very wealthy treacherous few, more than often, Jews. Please don’t scream anti-Semitic or accuse me of biased semantics here, simply do a quick Google search of the CEOs of the biggest record companies and managers of some of our greatest talent. From those who tried to command Ray Charles,  to Phylis Hyman’s handlers, to Aretha Franklin’s facilitators, to Whitney Houston’s herders, through some of the founders of Hip Hop’s Def Jam, the Interscopes and Iovines, the Universals with almost universal control, the Columbias, namesakes of the cruelty that was Columbus, the Warners, the Bertelsmanns, the Vivendis, those who gangster-wrapped up the NWAs, all the way up to the Michael Jacksons and Princes.

Matrix glitches.

Michael Jackson and Prince Roger Nelson were not the first immensely talented Black artists who came to understand the exploitive nature of the music industry and try to break free. Phyllis Hyman spoke fervently about it, as did Ray Charles. They spoke of ownership, masters, and copyrights. Michael Jackson is arguably the greatest entertainer who ever lived. Prince is arguably the OTHER greatest entertainer who ever lived. They both were worth billions to their respective “owners”, Sony and Warner. Both of these Black men not only spoke often about the wickedness within the music industry, they sought to free themselves from it. Through lawyers and litigation, they cleverly set themselves up to reclaim themselves and their tremendous worth from individuals who really only served as mafia-like middlemen who broker art between the artists and the fans. Middle-men who have the resources to produce, promote, record, and distribute on a grand scale. Middle-men who own radio and video plays. MJ and Prince were not only geniuses at their craft, but they were both very well-versed regarding the nature of the record industry and society that hosts it. They both recognized that technology was loosening the grip these record companies have on artists, as artists are beginning to take the process into their own hands and distribute their own music in cyber-space. Technology is also streamlining the other processes involved like producing and promoting. Internet sites and song streams are ruling and radio is becoming more of an elective class, you don’t really need it to pass.

Michael Jackson dropped dimes on Sony and Mattola, and Prince screamed on Warner. Mike was set to own his music and a huge catalog worth a fortune and Prince was set to gradually recover all of the copyrights of his music from Warner. They both stood to become very wealthy while taking huge chunks of cash out the record industry’s ass. Not only were they both set to own themselves and their music, but they both would of served as beacons who’d inspire other talented artists coming up behind them, encouraging them to blaze even wider trails.

The artists behind them.

The nature of war is such that there are multiple fronts. Many of our kids are innately talented and gifted musicians. Unfortunately, many of them will never gain access to the talent that lies within them because today’s public schools have been recalibrated to only produce compliant, certified, and well-trained employees who only know to consume, never tooled to produce anything, never equipped to create. Arts programming in public schools around the U.S., mostly in neighborhoods that host Black and Brown children, has all but evaporated; there are very few remaining. Many young and gifted musicians will never gain access to an instrument and therefore will never become who they were meant to, a Prince, or a King of Pop. Many of them that do gain that access will find that their musicianship has been subjugated to an underground of talented artists who are forced to compete with a mainstream of plastic processed performers  whose “talent” simply fits the mold of what can be rendered palatable to consumers who no longer require trained voices, talented instrumentation, a stage presence, or actual lyrics. Real artists tend to truly love the music and many are justifiably jaded by an industry they have witnessed eat too many. Many of these true artists do ok but never see the huge paydays of those who have signed on the dotted.

Michael and Prince were clearing a path for these artists and making a way for them to profit from the lovely music they create. The industry doesn’t nurture talent, it  synthesizes it, while contriving a demand for those who don’t demand much to consume it. The industry is the Matrix, nothing real about it, a mechanism of musician control.

What many don’t realize (because we’ve only been trained to see with our eyes) is that the EXACT same people who own the music industry, own the news mediums who report to music fans that the Princes and the MJs were drug addicts whose causes of death were related to their abuse of illicit substances. Two super-talented entertainers, two super bright Black men, two Black men with very strict diets and unmatched discipline, two Black men who could perform on stage for hours consecutively at 50 years of age, longer than many half their age, two Black men who appeared to be in impeccable shape. . were all of a sudden abusers of drugs that led to their ultimate demise?? When did we stop questioning? Yes, the ubiquitous and gratuitous stories put the causes of their deaths at drugs, but you have to dig for the information regarding the powerful moves they were making to not only benefit themselves, but those who came behind them, at the total expense of an industry who could care less about a Black life.

Would the media lie to you?

You decide which narrative regarding the deaths of our heroes you digest, but make certain you know what you’re eating, and who cooked it.

 

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Capitalist Revolutionary???

harriet blog pic

Trust me, I get it.

If someone placed you in a jail cell and starved you for an entire week, the first morsel of semi-toxic trash served to you on a plate afterwards would come off as a 5-course gourmet meal. The human being deprived of hydration for a lengthy amount of time would consume his/her own urination or perspiration as if it was a cold bottle of Dasani water. A child deprived of love for years would embrace the slightest, most distant gesture of half-assed affection from that indifferent parent.

Whose children are we?

This country “gifted” us the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the “right” to integrate and assimilate among folks who hated us and we celebrated as if we’d made it to the promised land. We lost ground economically, socially, and politically, and still haven’t found our way back to any semblance of autonomy, independence we had. We’re still very dependent on their schools, their jobs, their banks, their police, their Hollywood studios, their entertainment companies, their politics, and their food sources. We don’t own them. I guess they can file us on their taxes, as they tax us, dependents of the heads of household. Are there levels of freedom or is it absolute? They “gifted” us President Obama in 2008. Yes, they selected him for us to choose. He was not vetted or elected by us, although we gave him almost 100% of our ballots. That decision was rendered by the electoral college, the super delegates, and a host of corporate conglomerates, bankers and lobbyists. We celebrated as if the new brother in the White House would be ushering in a brand new day. He immediately went on to assassinate a son of Africa only seeking to free Africa from Western control. Yes, he, along with his then Secretary of State (your new President in 2017, Mrs. Clinton), went on to murder Libya’s president, Muammar Gaddafi, on live TV for the entire world to see. Our brother here in the good ol’ U.S.A. sent a message to our brother in Africa to let him know that America is still daddy. The same deadly message America has sent to countless African leaders over the past decades as a reminder of the punishment for attempting franchisement, for simply trying to be a free country, for trying not to be a Western colony. Our “swaggerific” brother in the Oval Office then went on to bail out numbers of banks and large companies that were failing as a direct result of their own crooked policies. He gave out billions of dollars, puppeted by the Federal Reserve account holders, to save companies, who according to the script that is capitalism, were supposed to be allowed to fail, free enterprise, under the guise that the economy was being salvaged from doom. These same “struggling” companies went on to give multi-million dollar bonuses to every board member in the room. He was simply paying the owners who financed his elevation to the throne. They’re all doing a LOT better than they were prior to the Black Prez. Meanwhile, the Black middle-class that never really existed, totally evaporated. Foreclosures, underwater mortgages, and lightening-fast neighborhood depreciation, fueled by being the wrong hue. Increasing Black unemployment, public school closings and privatized school beginnings, no wins for Black teachers or Black students. Between 2008 and today, we watched countless Black victims gunned down by state sanctioned officers with impunity with the U.S. Department of Justice feigning impotency. Just about all of these killer officers walked free while legions of Blacks walked and carried signs begging the President for a warranted response. We never got that meaningful response, as if we were never heard, so our angry children did what nature dictates when backs are against the wall, they stood tall, and were summarily back-handed by our brother in office who labeled them “criminals and thugs”. A nation media-trained to get angry at folks for getting angry, but never quite angry enough at the reason for the anger, Black people are forever in danger. We’re in the 8th year of President Obama’s tenure, yet we are collectively exactly where we were in 1965, manning the bottom of every measurable category of growth as an ethnicity, city to city throughout this country. Black poverty is a creation of this nation, just like the idea of a Negro or a N*gga, and little if anything was done the past 8 years to undo the status quo, poisonous politics and policies that continue to contribute to our woes. He reduced the disparity in crack/cocaine sentencing from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1 (Fair Sentencing Act of 2010) and we declared this a victory as if a punch to the nose is much better than a fist to the mouth.

More concessions, no progression.

Recently, news was released that one of our greatest ancestors was going to be emblazoned across a new 20 dollar bill. Again, many of us are celebrating as if this highly symbolic and empty gesture will be the straw that breaks our oppression’s back, as if placing our queen on fiat currency will displace everything we lack. Again, I totally get it. We want so much for everything to be ok. Many of us no longer see color and dismiss all disparities as simply a matter of class. Many of us want so bad what MLK visualized to be a contemporary reality; race, creed, and color no longer being gauges. Many of us feel like we’re the same Americans as the Americans who enslaved us and killed us for profit and false-proof of supremacy, many still wealthy from the legacies. Many of us feel like progression is Africans going to college and getting jobs while leaving the rest behind, the entire collective still in an economic bind. The educated exceptional and the perpetually disenfranchised, a classic and crafted divide. Many of us want so badly to believe that the exact same systems utilized to oppress and subjugate us, overnight became systems we can now employ to liberate ourselves. It was our sister Harriet who intimated, paraphrased, that many of us actually believe ourselves to be free. No cause to stand and fight, no desire to see freedom differently.

Harriet Tubman was a revolutionary cut from a cloth that is rare and almost impossible to find these days. She possessed the courage, the fortitude, the consciousness, the love, and the will to do EXACTLY what was necessary to free her people. No concessions. no elections, no pseudo-progression, FREEDOM OR BUST. She freed hundreds of Africans from bondage, and had many realized the true nature of freedom, they’d of been freed as well. Harriet Tubman would no doubt be incarcerated or assassinated if she was alive today, just as the U.S. saw fit to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi for simply trying to free Africa from Western bondage. Without a doubt, she’d of been on that same “Most Wanted List” America has placed Assata Shakur. But somehow, you believe that America truly wants to acknowledge Harriet Tubman for the vanguard she was for us. I’m sorry bleeding hearts, but it’s just more smoke, mirrors, and glitter to retard progress and arrest development. Why fight for freedom if we think we’re already free?

Today, freedom is a revolutionary African being placed on fiat currency.

In 2016, one of our greatest African queens is about to be utilized as a symbol for the very economic system that birthed the very same slavery she sought to free us from.

If progression is us continuously being fooled by the symbolic and the illusory, we’re making great strides.

. .until we awaken.

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PRO-fessionally Black . . .

Professionally Black Pic

“If you’re Black and you’re not thinking Black at this late day, then I’m sorry for you.” – El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X)

Afro-Centered

“Centered or focused on Africa or African peoples, especially in relation to historical or cultural influence.”

Pro-Black

” . .having a sense of pride for the black race and having the desire to help the race succeed even though society tries to hold it back . .”

Nothing about being centered in Blackness or being pro- Black people indicates an inclination towards being anti- anyone else. As a matter of fact, other races aren’t even considered in the equation. It’s unfortunate, but the individuals who consider themselves Afro-Centered or Pro-Black are relegated to the fringes of this society as some sort of ancient anomalies, antiquated and outdated. The individuals who consider themselves Afro-Centered or Pro-Black are ostracized and alienated by the very Black people to whom they dedicate much of their time, energy, and thoughts. They are often cast as angry, weird, or crazy. They are constantly ignored, debased, or discredited by other Blacks more centered in what presents itself as the dominant culture. The Afro-Centered individual is the minority among his/her own. They are often the loner, alone, or in the company of very few.

This isn’t commentary on the nature of African people. It’s commentary on the nature of the effects of America/Western society on African people. The entire world has accepted the general fallacy that “Black is bad”, including many Black people. The dominant default presents Black as inferior to all else, while White rules the top. For too many African-descended, this is a mindset that had to be programmed into us over the course of centuries, through the most oppressive, subjugating, savage, brutal, sinister, and covert methods and messaging. It doesn’t necessarily manifest in us consciously, its more involuntary and subconscious in nature. The centuries of brainwashing for us manifest in our day to day “normalized” activities. It’s in our communication with the world and one another, it’s in our thoughts, actions and inactions, it’s in our routines, rituals, and assimilation-fueled traditions/customs. Over time, our Black has become so diluted by White society, that many of us no longer know what it looks like or what it feels like to be Black. Reality is, most of us have never experienced life in an environment that nurtures the Black mind or spirit. It’s too cumbersome, painful, or arduous. It’s worlds easier to simply gravitate towards and assimilate with what presents itself as the dominant way. It’s a day to day, minute by minute pressure applied to us to accept what’s prominent and prevailing. To love and embrace it, even though it makes us sick.

In the desert that is this oppressive society, their ice has become colder to many of us, an oasis for us. The illusion is comforting while the reality is crippling.

Their languages, their customs, their clothes, their cultures, their foods, their entertainment, their heroes, their politics, their schools, their rules. Our existence is so saturated with White that our Black presents itself as an irritating itch. It’s a chore to claim, retain, and maintain one’s self in a society that dictates conformity as normalcy. In 2016, being Black and centered in that Blackness is going against the grain, it’s a strain. Its far less strenuous to simply pledge allegiance to the flag of Americanization and to ignore all that “Black stuff” from those “angry” Blacks calling for us to nationalize, begging us to simply open our eyes.

Sleep is better.

Our families socialize us to embrace and celebrate White religions and traditions. Our schools “educate” us to conform with this system and to seek the “American dream”, work for others ’til retirement, nothing about Black betterment. Pressure from  peers, our environments, and media mediums train us to consume to our own detriment while simultaneously enriching others who produce, production rooted in past exploitation that saw us working as peons. We volunteer to fight in wars where White reinforces White through the killings of other Blacks. We participate in elections and a political process as people programmed to purge our power to politicians who pander to us periodically in order to garner our votes, votes dissolved through electoral colleges and superior delegates. All of these things simply evidence that Black has lost faith in Black. Black is no longer credible, and those relative few voices calling for Black to reach within are simply cast out.

A brighter future.

Not a Whiter one. Many of our children have simply opted to disengage, disconnect, disassociate, and to express their disenchantment with what exist as Black life through displacing those that reflect their appearance, suicide via homicide, fueled by genocide, while the elders run and hide. Generations of Black before them have dropped the ball, many times kicking it out of bounds. Where were the programs and jobs to defray what exist as war zones? Where were the schools owned by us to teach us about us? Where was the community to serve and protect children, allowing them safe spaces to grow? Where were the activists to protect the minds of our young, gorging themselves on toxic media daily that convinces  them it’s cool as hell to be and act dumb as hell? What happened is that this society eliminated any semblance of what we had in regards to all of these things and then “gifted” us elections, laws, and policies that we accepted as being “for us”, when in reality, they were all more of the same, being done “to us”. We bought-in, we relaxed, we accepted compromises and concessions, we mistook stagnation for progression. What’s happening with our children is teaching us a very valuable lesson and many of us are heeding. I must acknowledge our gradual growth. Evolution always wins.

Being Pro-Black is not only natural, it’s necessary.

How can you be Black and not Pro-Black? How can you be Black and not seek to operate in the interests of your own people? How can you be Black and not value your own culture and customs, as varied and rich as they are? How can you be Black and not want your children taught to love themselves as Black? How can you be Black and gleefully continue to spend your money in a manner that enriches others while keeping your people impoverished? How can you be Black and still spend inordinate amounts of time and energy on programs, politics, policies, and entities that have historically worked against us? How can you be Black and not understand the need for us all to operate in the interests of Black people in a unified and organized manner with love as propulsion? We have more than enough within our ranks to be great, yet we have to get to a place where we ALL believe it. Yes, there is that table that consist of the race that is human, but it isn’t necessarily a good look for us to be sitting at that table if we are, as a collective, still eating off the plates of others, while at the same time, allowing ourselves to be fed crumbs by those same others.

Being Afro-Centered suggest only that you derive your power from within yourself as a Black individual. Your thoughts and your actions are driven by what already lies within you innately, inherently, by birth. Pro-Blackness involves you thinking and acting in a manner that is “for” you and yours, not necessarily to the detriment or destruction of anyone else.

All other groups are “centered” and “for” themselves and are faring well doing so. Who/What convinced us that it was weird, crazy, or angry to be passionate about who we are and our own survival?

Just something to ponder.

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