Fulbright Scholar and Lecturer Emeritus
Department of Africana Studies
California State University, Long Beach
The closing of Africana Studies at Cal State U. Long Beach reflects the ground Black consciousness has lost since the 1960s. At this point Black Studies sits on the bottom of the multi-cultural ladder after storming into White Supremacy American academia. Other ethnic studies departments are on the rise while Black Studies has been gradually diluted and polluted and now faces oblivion.
It's focus on Diaspora rather than connecting itself to the Hood, reduced its communal power and allowed itself to be a sitting duck for destruction. The focus on "other worlds" (Dr. Nathan Hare, father of Black Studies, then banned after founding Black Studies at San Francisco State College/University) or the turning away from the North American African community is reflected in the low attendance of black males on campuses nationwide, but the proliferation of their presence in the jail and prison population. Black sisters are turning from seeking mates in academia--yes, with their MAs, MBAs, PhDs, they are hooking up with brothers behind bars doing 25 to life!
For sure, we can't blame black studies for all the community ills, but the original mission was indeed to liberate our community by instilling black consciousness and love for self, family and community. Once black studies went to "other worlds" the little black brother was forced to struggle on his own, usually finding gang banging more useful than academia, only returning to a prison inspired self education.
While we find the destruction of black studies as the inevitable consequence of white racism and intellectual disconnectedness from community, we shall find our way out of this morass, after all, we have thousands of years of learning in our tradition, even under slavery and now under the American neo-slavery system. We suggest setting up Academy of da Corners in the hood nationwide. About the only good thing one can say about New York City is that conscious knowledge is available on the street. Would the NYPD stop and frisk brothers with books in their hands???????????
--Marvin X, Editor, Black Bird Press News & Review