Tuesday, September 28, 2021
From the Archives: Marvin X on How to stop killing in the Pan African hood and A Response by Rudolph Lewis
Tuesday, August 16, 2011Revised 9/26/21
How to Stop Killing in the Pan African Hood
El Muhajir/Marvin X
Marvin X, Black Bird Press Books and Magazines
We are talking about a condition in the hearts of men, an evil sore festering and stinking like rotten meat, to use that Langston Hughe's metaphor. It is a spiritual disease more prevalent than HIV, for it consumes whole countries, not only in Pan Africa, but it may be said to originate in Europe because lying, stealing and murder are the grand themes of this culture (See Diop on Northern Cradle culture and rituals, especially drama from the Greeks through Shakespeare. )
Africans throughout the Diaspora are victimized and suffer this malady equally with their colonial Mother. Dr. Nathan Hare said in his Foreword to my manual How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, whites suffer Addiction Type I and Pan Africans suffer Type II.
See how America and her European brothers butchered the butcher's sons in Iraq, or is this the democratic way of life the Euro-Americans desired to bring to sand nigguhs who may be the progenitors of human civilization along the Tigress and Euphrates? Did the cave dwellers and Crusaders have knowledge of this?
Moving forward, we must mention the classic butchery of millions by Belgium King Leopold in the Congo and how Africans have emulated his dismemberment of arms, hands and legs in the exploitation of precious minerals down to the colonialism of Africa in the present era, especially in the Congo where the scramble for precious metals and minerals continue as I write. North American Africans, et al., must consider the Congo makes it possible for them to talk on cell phones, alas, James Brown said, "Talking loud, saying nothing (See my Parable of Woman on Cell Phone, talking on the cell phone in her casket at her funeral).
Problem or Solution
As we continue, let us be clear that there are people in the world who have no desire whatsoever for solutions to any problem. Alas, what would police do if there were no crimes, or social workers to snatch children from drug addicted parents, or school teachers if Johnny learned to read, write and do critical thinking.)
FYI, I was in Philly hustling my poster poem against domestic violence near the Galleria, the downtown mall. People kept telling me I should go a few blocks to Family Court, so I finally did, but when people departed Family Court and I tried to approach them, the victims and victimizers were in such an agitated state I could not deal with them. And when the lawyers stopped to read my anti-domestic violence poem, they said it was a great poem but they couldn't use it in their practice because eventually they wouldn't have any clients.
The New York Solution
Let me end with my experience trying to sell my poem on the streets of New York.
You know one must first get the attention of New Yorkers who are trying to get on the subway or to whateverland. So I had to come up with a line to get their attention. I said, "Do you beat your wife?" Are you ready for the New York answer?
One man said, "No, I don't beat my wife, she beats me!" Another said, "Yes, I beat my wife and she likes it!" After a few more like this, I was through with New York and returned to Philly but not to Family Court. Philly is a little slower than NYC and they lie better, after all the City of Brotherly Love is the City of Lies as per brotherhood, freedom, justice and equality. One night I passed Ben Franklin's grave and threw a dime on it. The kind sister with me said, "Why didn't you spit on it?"
Back to Solution
The problem, excuse me, fuck the problem, the solution is most often purposely avoided, especially in the game of politricks. Por favor, you don't know how to stop the killing of 100 black men in Oakland, or the weekly slaughter in Chicago, New York, Philly, Portland, et al. Oh, you have no memory of chattel slavery when Africans were personal property? For sure, we did not go about destroying massa's property without compensation. Yes, even white men could kill a nigga without compensating the massa for lost of his property. (I have repeatedly told you to watch the History Channel's documentary Slave Catchers and Resisters, one of the most powerful documentaries I have seen on the monkey mind media.)
Solution solution solution
Those in power do not want solutions. Let me cut to the chase with a solution. When Mayor Ras Baraka took over Newark, NJ, the police killing of black men stopped. The police were directed to walk the hood and they did, with smiles as the Mayor's mother, Amina Baraka, said to me, "Marvin, I don't know what to think seeing the police smile at me."
FYI, in February, 2020, I was on a book tour of the east coast after speaking at Duke University. When I arrived in Newark, I was overwhelmed with the citizens telling me they have never felt so relieved from police pressure in their entire lives since Ras has been Mayor. Before I departed Newark, I went to City Hall and interviewed the Mayor and his brother, Amiri Baraka, Jr., his Chief of Staff.
Mayor Ras was blunt, "We simply will not tolerate the police murder of Black men." And the police killing of Black men was zero.
In my interview with the Mayor's brother, Chief of Staff, Amiri Baraka, Jr., he said, "Marvin, my brother has an elected position, but I do not. I don't need to be diplomatic. If the police get out of line I can chop heads. In truth, when my brother put a right wing officer in charge of a certain unit, I did not understand but eventually I did because my brother was saying to the right wing white supremacists, "You are in charge of your brothers, if they fuck up I'm coming to you. I appreciated my brother for his wisdom."
The Mayor said he tackled gang violence by giving the brothers security jobs but under the direction of the police. He also had them get their GED and apply for housing ownership. Many of the brothers had never received a check in their lives. Of course gang violence subsided once the social security of the hood was stabilized.
But in the media blitz and concomitant Black lives matter violence from coast to coast, little of the Newark solution of police containment made the news, only the full blown destruction of America except no destruction occurred in Newark, no anti police rallies, no destruction on the downtown area.
Did you hear about the Newark solution? No. You only heard about problems because there are those who benefit from problems. A sheriff at Santa Rita, Alameda County Jail, told a departing inmate, "Keep coming back, I got me a yacht, now I need to get one for my son so keep coming back!"
From Problem to Solution in Pan Africa
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to imagine the solution to violence in Pan Africa is to throw off the vestiges and residue of colonialism to become the New African Man and Woman. My Ancestor and Patron, Abdul Leroy James of West Oakland RIP, told me repeatedly as per violence in Oakland, "Marvin, they got to understand when they kill their brother they kill themselves, so now we have two dead flies. Marvin, why kill a dead fly when it's already dead?"
Although my Patron was a multi-millionaire from real estate investments, his family was not devoid of violence. His mother was terrified when the DEA invaded her house to seek her drug dealing grandchildren. On one occasion my Patron and I had to search his mother's house until we found a gun hidden by his nephew. We concluded that Black men need to do the same with their sons and nephews to take authority in our community. We cannot allow our children, sons and/or daughters to terrorize us and our elders. We must take authority. We cannot allow little snotty nose motherfuckers to control our community.
His remarks restrained me from homicide many times. Alas, what black man doesn't think of homicide during his daily round? Didn't Ice Cube tell us how happy he was to make it through the day without using his AK?
Yes, we made the mistake during the Crack era to buy dope from our children, a fatal mistake in intergenerational authority: adults buying drugs from children. I was never so happy to recover from my Crack addiction so that young people could no longer talk to me disrespectfully, although I deserved such since I came before them as a "punk bitch" dope fiend, and no adults should approach children in this manner.
The last time I make this mistake was after giving a lecture to students at Berkeley High School. It was an anti-drug lecture but a few days later I was in the hood buying drugs from the students in the class. Of course they busted me, "Teach, you was just in our class talking about Crack, what you doing here buying Crack from us?"
It was my last lecture on Crack until I recovered. On another occasion the Arab at the corner store had seen me on TV talking against drugs but coping outside his store. Yes, my contradictions inspired me to recover.
The supreme irony is that few white men are killed as black men journey through their daily round! Most of us in the hood don't encounter whites unless they are gentrifiers in the hood. And still we will give them a pass out of fear the consequences of attacking them will be far more severe than killing our black brother.
We restrain themselves when it comes to the real enemy, we will not dare touch a white woman jogging in the hood at three in the morning, although this is the most dangerous time in the life of a black dope fiend, i.e., tweeker's hours. A tweeker will do anything to get another hit during tweeker's hours! Better ax somebody.
Karen said beat your boss
A white woman focused me on the real enemy when I spoke on KPFA radio, Berkeley, promoting my book Confession of an Ex-Wife Beater. She called in a rage to tell me, "Beat your boss asshole, beat your boss!" She made so much sense to me I wrote a poem Beat Your Boss African. We know much of homicide, suicide and partner violence is misplaced aggression. Yes, the brother will kill another brother because he is too cowardly to kill the boss oppressing him. Also he will put himself in a situation that he knows is likely to get him killed because subconsciously he wants to die. He will fuck his best friend's wife, to put himself in a situation of homicide because he is too cowardly to commit suicide, but the homicide is a de facto suicide.
Violence and the Black Woman
He will subject his woman to all manner of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse because he is too cowardly to confront his boss who is pimping his ass with wage slavery and verbal abuse, calling him a nigga at every opportunity, so he comes home to subject his wife with misplaced aggression, no matter she is his lover, supporter, mother of his children, washer of his drawers, kisser of his ass, sucker of his dick, supplier of his insatiable need for pussy, et al. Better ax somebody! Alas, in the dirty south, he may even be aware the boss is fucking his wife and allows it so she can keep her job, thus never confronting the white man in a continuation of the slavery ritual when massa came into Mandingo's hut and Mandingo thought he wanted his woman but massa said, "No, I want you," and departed with Mandingo. What level of manhood is this and how does it translate into black on black homicide except as misplaced aggression or cowardice of the lowest level? You will kill your brother at the drop of a hat but restrain yourself from attacking your real enemy out of fear.
Addiction to White Supremacy Type II
We must first recognize how sick colonialism has made us throughout Pan Africa. Somehow we must bow down and ask forgiveness of our Higher Power, the ancestors, the living and the yet unborn. There must be a cleansing ritual performed until the mud and slime of Western culture is purged from our minds, bodies and souls. But our Pan African ritual must surely transcend the putrid death rituals of Boku Haram.
Yes, Boku Haram is right: the Western gods must be destroyed, crushed to earth, stomped into the dustbin of eternity, for they have blessed us with the Pan African stunted man and woman, drunk on ignorance, superstition, greed, lust and pure evil, allowing us to morph into beings worse than beasts in the field, committing atrocities more diabolical than the deeds of our colonial masters. We have Rwanda, yet he has the Maafa or genocide of the Middle Passage, centuries of chattel slavery that allowed him to accrue capital for the industrial revolution.
Moors in the Americas
Ironically, there are theories of certain intellectuals, addicted to a spurious mythological history that we never boarded the Good Ship Jesus under Captain John Hawkins who had a miraculous conversion aboard ship and penned the Christian classic Amazing Grace. These mostly Moorish Science mytho-historians claim there were enough Moors in the Americas to grow and pick all the necessary cotton, sugar cane, rice and perform the building of America and the Americas. There is no question we were here before Columbus and were integrated with the Aboriginals, alas, we were ourselves Aboriginals throughout the planet earth for that matter.
But I am not yet convinced that we were here in such numbers that the Maafa or Middle Passage and Triangular Trade was unnecessary. After all, why did the primordial "liberation theologist" Bishop Las Casas find it necessary to appeal to the Pope for Africans in the Americas, after the natives or aboriginals were dying like flies from slave labor and most especially from the diseases of the Europeans that were more devastating than their guns (See Race and Culture Contacts in the Modern World by Dr. E. Franklin Frazier).
If the Middle Passage and the Triangular Trade is fact rather than myth, there is no doubt Africa is paying for the great sin of shipping her sons and daughters into slavery. Has Africa asked forgiveness for her inequities, after all in any business transaction there are buyers and sellers. Yet while certain African royalty and upper class members enjoy the accumulated capital along with Europeans, African masses in the Motherland and throughout the Diaspora yet wail for apology and reparations , but the African "royals" and upper class pretend innocence from the concomitant crimes of the slave master and his children who are beneficiaries of centuries of capital accumulation evidenced by wealth disparities that has been estimated to take 240 years for North American Africans to equal the wealth white America enjoys today. Thus, America and Africa upper class members are equally guilty of crimes against humanity. And we don't ignore the Muslim Arab role in the enslavement of Africa, i.e., the East African leg of it.
When will Africa and the Arab nations give reparations to the African descendants lost in the wilderness of North America? Has Mother/Father Africa ever sent a symbolic ship or plane to bring us home? Most ironically, when Africans from the Diaspora return through the door of no return, we are chided by our brothers in the Motherland for being "black American slaves." Further, we were informed our blood is tainted with the white man's therefore we can never marry into pure blooded African royal families. Even though we return through the door of no return, we are yet Negroes, a tragic and toxic creation of the white man. This is a Pan African mental health crisis I tried to address in my book How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, A Pan African 12-Step Model for a Mental Health Peer Group, Marvin X, Black Bird Press, Oakland, CA.
These unresolved issues often lead to violence in the hood, especially when the Diaspora Africans meet of the streets of America, whether we are from Africa, Caribbean or from throughout the Americas. Let me share an incident that occurred when I was hustling my poster poems on the streets of New York. A young black male and female came pass me and I tried to sell them my poster poem. They replied to me in a most derogatory response, the male said, "We don't want that, we're not Black Americans!" Their accent suggested they were from Jamaica but no matter, they are the New Negroes or, more correctly, the new African Americans. If you thought you were African American, get over it. I use the term North American African to describe those of us in North America who are descendants of African victims of the "American slave system" (Ed Howard term, Afro-American Association, Oakland CA).
In truth, we know the "breaking in" of Africans into the American slave system occurred in the Caribbean, and those who survived were transported to North America and throughout the Americas, thus North American Africans are of Caribbean heritage as well. The recent treatment of Haitians on the US border should have been protested by North American Africans in defense of our brothers with a preeminent tradition of resistance to chattel slavery. Most North American Africans are abysmally ignorant of Haitian history. We don't know the reason Haiti is the poorest nation in the Americas is because they overthrew the shackles of slavery to become the first independent African nation in the Americas, yes, after defeating the Spanish, English and French, including the European military genius, Napoleon. This is the unforgivable cause of their suffering.
As per the present Pan African quagmire, especially in the Motherland, our people live slow death lives because corrupt, boastful, arrogant leaders control her nations, and shelter each other, covering their multiple sins, protecting themselves from people's justice that would rightfully hang them like Mussolini and his wife.
You think the violence in Africa, whether tribal or political (which are too often the same) is without rhyme or reason but we must come to the conclusion the greed of men is beyond season. We recently watched a documentary on South Africa under the rule of the African National Congress. It was an inexplicable example of how revolutionaries morph into reactionaries to the degree they will steal the entire wealth of their nation with absolutely no inhibition, no concern for the welfare of their suffering people without food, clean water, electricity, housing, land and lastly political power the revolutionaries vowed to deliver. And we wonder why violence is pervasive, domestic violence and rape full blown. And after the jailing of former president Zuma, political violence consumed the nation. And yet Zuma was no less guilty than the billionaire president who took power after Zuma, Ramaphosa, himself a billionaire.
Back to the Hood
And we cry about violence in the hoods of Chicago, New York, Philly, Portland, Oakland, Houston and elsewhere. What do you suppose America does with its trillion dollar annual defense budget supported by Democrats and Republicans? Three trillion spent in Afghanistan over twenty years! And most of the three trillion never left America but went to the military, corporate, university, technological complex President Eisenhower warned you about. Alas, the more things change the more they stay the same. So you bomb Afghanistan into the stone age, alas, it was already in the Stone Age when you dropped the first bomb.
James Baldwin said it best, "The murder of my child will not make your child safe! (Interview with Marvin X, New York City, December, 1968). "How can you believe in the Prince of Peace while you bomb the hell out of Vietnam?" "You don't believe in Jesus and Christianity, our condition proves it. Look at our condition. It's a miracle for a black father to raise a son under these conditions and I applaud every black father who does so. It's a wonder we all haven't gone stark raving mad!"
Ancestor Jimmy, "It is 2021 and I submit to you the world has indeed gone stark raving mad. And the supreme irony is the psychosis transcends money because the bloodsuckers of the poor already have 99% of the money.
Jimmy, we are dealing with pure evil." Listen to Sun Ra's UC Berkeley lectures, 1972, "You so evil the devil don't want you in hell!"
No matter North American African "negrocities"(Amiri Baraka term he told me not to steal--but he didn't tell me I couldn't define it: An inflammation of the Negroid gland at the base of the brain caused by bad habits, additionally Baraka told us in his play Black Mass,"Where the soul's print should be there is only a cellulose pouch of disgusting habits."
Still, like jack in the box, Pan Africa and most especially North American African must jump out of our negrocities, iniquities, and call forth the ineluctable divine energy within the bowels of our soul and step into the New African Day of light, breath and health. We cannot allow our children to devour our communities coast to coast, but children only mock and emulate the behavior of adults, so we cannot blame them, children are children. Adults must step to the front of the line, no matter how busy they are doing nothing, for they are surely doing nothing if the village is in chaos, security being the top priority of civilization. But North American African children, intoxicated with Pax Americana and its full blown addiction of white supremacist religiosity and esthetics, exist in the supreme mode of Pavlov's dogs, programmed until they are, as a young black man told me, "The black man is just a white man dipped in chocolate!"
Ancestor Malcolm X told you what the house negro said, "Boss is we sick?" Yes, massa sick and slave sick, except, Dr. Nathan Hare delineated addiction to white supremacy Type I and Type II. North American Africans suffer Type II. Thus the master and slave cannot attend the same recovery meeting. Not initially and perhaps only after both have experienced long term recovery that permits them to experience neural plasticity or a renewal of the brain cells by experiencing a healthy environment devoid of toxicity. FYI, to heal from my addiction to white supremacy and its plethora of side effects, including drug abuse, unresolved grief and trauma, I spent five years of solitude in the hills of Northern California, near Paradise, yes, the town destroyed by fire. The big house on the ten acre estate was destroyed but my one bedroom apartment was untouched.
The final solution to violence in Pan Africa is communal: everyone must become the central command, every man, woman and child must be about the business of either learning or teaching new values, new ways of thinking and acting that are not harmful to the human soul and human condition. The world is so full of wisdom it escapes us because our quest is for the trivial, the low things of life, not the things in the upper room, but those in the basement, in the gutter of our minds and hearts, that is where we dwell, that is our focus and this is why we suffer. Kobe gives his wife a four million dollar rock, but will it placate her soul, will material things correct a spiritual problem of faith and trust?
The West has a sordid history buying people as Pan Africa can attest, but everyone is not for sale, those of integrity will jump ship, will eat the whip and the gun, for persecution is worse than slaughter, Al Qur'an teaches.
No, physical weapons cannot solve the problem. Look at Israel, she has the all the modern weapons but she cannot defeat the spirit of a people determined to be free. So Pan Africa's children can and must be armed with a new consciousness. Fidel Castro said the new weapon is consciousness! Like Johnny Appleseed, we must go about spreading consciousness, teaching unconditional love and forgiveness, sharing knowledge and wealth with the poor and ignorant, the brokenhearted and oppressed. I am not trying to be sentimental, but we can and must flip the script as they say in the hood.
Like Jack, we must jump out the box of mental and physical oppression by taking a new look at reality, by stopping a moment to wonder at the pleasure in the sun, the trees, the sea and mountains, the glory of being alive each moment to share human love, being grateful we have a moment on this earth to whisper truth to children that they may rise and be a pleasure to the ancestors watching everywhere. Yes, we must transcend block man and block woman, the block within ourselves even, and reach forth into the realm of new possibilities, not allowing evil and her brothers and sisters to control the air and sun that comes each day blessing us with another moment to walk in the light, escaping the darkness of ignorance, greed lust and violence.
Black men, go into the hood and take the guns from your sons, yes the sons you abandoned, neglected and rejected, the sons who look like you although you deny this, the sons who walk with sad hearts, hardened because they long for you, for your love and guidance, for your wisdom and strength, after all, Mama did all she could to raise her manchild in the promised land.
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A Response to "Killing in the Pan Africa Hood"
Rudolph Lewis, Chickenbones.com
Marvin, there is great wisdom that should be heeded in your essay "How To Stop The Killing in the Pan African Hood." I am aware that a new set of values (though possessed by our enslaved ancestors but now abandoned under the "new world order") and a new perspective of our place in the world, of our past and future are earnestly needed in these dire times.
The most important of these new perspectives is couched in your paragraph that reads as follows:
Has Africa asked forgiveness of herself, yet she wails for apology from the slave masters' children. Has she given reparations to her descendants lost in the wilderness of North America? Has she ever sent a symbolic ship or plane to bring them home? So Pan Africa lives a slow death because she allows corrupt, boastful, arrogant leaders to control her nations, her leaders shelter each other, covering their multiple sins, protecting themselves from people's justice who would rightfully hang them like Mussolini and his wife.
In short, you suggest our critical sword should have a double edge—that is, the slave trade involved African nations and European nations collaborating for the purposes of wealth and power. They got rid of their "niggertrash." Many of those descendants of the tribal kings and chiefs who sold millions of slaves still play significant roles in the politics of today's African nations. And they will sell us again and their people again in the 21st century, if the World Bank and other internationalist (globalist), corporatist agencies offer the right price. (Check out Paul Kingsnorth's essay on South Africa and the ANCA Shattered Dream.)
In the contest for wealth and power, "black" and "white," however, are not real distinctions but illusions, a means for escapism or sidetracking those who wish to do the "good." I know "evil" has become a popular theme in the discussion of international politics and the resistance to corporate imperialism, especially from the bully pulpit of the presidency. So-called righteous men love to stand behind such symbolic bulwarks. I hope we do not become agents of such trite rhetoric—it indeed will lead us astray. It is necessary that we keep on the straight and narrow and keep both edges of our sword whetted sharp.
At no time must we sink back into mythologizing the world for the sake of political convenience, to hear merely the rhythm of our own voices. Beneath most Pan-African rhetoric (from the 19th century to the present), there is this underlying notion of Africa as paradise into which Satan (the white man) introduced evil. I recommend strongly that all Pan-Africanists and sympathizers and all other petty-bourgeois, pseudo-revolutionaries read the Malian Yambo Olouloguem's novel Bound to Violence. Or any non-romantic account of Africa before European trade began. Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart will provide some evidence even in the "wholeness" of tribal life, all was not well. Even though there was a sense of justice, and right and wrong. There were some practices or acts that were just horrid, unnecessary, and "evil."
If true be told, there was more evil in Africa than one could shake a stick at. The process of empire building in Africa by Africans themselves and the perennial struggles for power and the retention of power included the wholesale slaughter of tribes (genocide), butchery, debauchery of every sort (religious, political and social), cannibalism, incest, and so on—all these acts of evil existed before modern Europe stepped onto the soil of Africa or worked out its first deal for a cargo of slaves. The emperors, kings and queens, and chiefs—to whom we have become so inured (and want to imitate by dress, manners, and religion)—did not achieve those aristocratic titles by their sweetness and benevolence but by the same means we are familiar with today in those who strive to rule and conquer. That is, they did it the old-fashioned way—by violence, exploitation, and oppression..
The aberrations we see in Africa and at home are not new. This violence for wealth and power is just as old as the first time one brother killed another for his wife or his ass. This contest for dominance has always been bloody and this violence and evil were not invented by Europe or whites. We must do away with this myth—the white man alone as incarnate Devil. Otherwise, in a perverse way, we make Africans less than human—we make them into externally corrupted angels.
There is no sanctity in having a black skin or in Africanity. This type of mythologizing gives our leaders too much credit and too much room for collaboration with corporate power and a means of duping the masses of the poor and the black working classes. It is no longer sustainable that we ask or recommend that the masses of "Pan-Africa" to live vicariously by distant observation and/or proximity to power and wealth. That an elite should live in comfort and security while the great masses attend them hand and foot with all their hearts and souls is no longer acceptable if we truly have egalitarian goals for our society. .
That kind of barbaric nobility is no longer proper in a civilized world in which democracy and human rights have been given revitalized meanings in which every man is a king and queen, or at least be acknowledged with that kind of respect, integrity, and dignity.
Our critical sword should not only land on the heads of the great aberrations of society—the likes of a Idi Amin, a Mobutu, a Bokassa, or a Sgt. Doe or a Charles Taylor, but also those respectable heads of state like Mbeki, Obasanjo, and the other African leaders who smilingly welcomed Bush to Africa and are ever-ready to make their deals with globalization. Such African leaders with such narrow interests sold our ancestors into the Americas.
And not only those African leaders there, but also here at home, we should do some swinging at our black elected and appointed officials (city councilmen, legislators, cabinet secretaries), yes and also corporate and ecclesiastical functionaries, and other notable heads, such as the leaders of civil rights organizations like the NACCP, whose board is ruled by corporate executives or such flunkies and running dogs. They too must be made to pay for their sins of neglect and moral blindness.
If we lapse into the anti-white, anti-American, anti-Western rhetoric, we will sorely miss the point and provide more fuel for these black elites to further misdirect the energies of the masses of Pan-Africa along lines of escapism and support for the status quo.
If we are to make real changes within our communities some of our petty bourgeois aspirations must be abandoned. We can no longer naively defend black middle-class sellout politicians and preachers. We must recognize a real change in the face, rhetorical aspirations, and the present corporate ties that our leaders have established. It is fine to cite Walter Rodney's How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, as some Pan-Africanist Marxists tend to do. That is well indeed. I am far from a white apologist—a corner in which some may want to paint me. But I do not want to be a black apologist, either -- I was not taught that way.
The NAACP is headquartered here in Baltimore and they just had a conference and they had nothing to say about the 40% unemployment rate here among black males (18-35); the high murder rate (about 300 a year, mostly young black males); a 50% drop-out rate from high school; neighborhoods in which only 25% of adults have a high school diploma. Brothers and sisters are paraded to jails like our ancestors to Goree Island!!! Whatever the justification for their apprehension is inadequate and should cause some shame to those who run this city and those who support the powers to be—which here in a majority black city, means a black middle class and those who work government jobs or receive money from corporate elites.
Damn, brother, we have grown ass men on the corner selling single cigarettes for 35 cents a piece. What kind of enterprise is that? And it is not just a few. Is that any way to gain a livelihood? And our shit-head leaders are worrying about whether Bush or democratic presidential candidates come to their meeting. Ain't that a matter to be indignant and upset about? But it seems we are so spiritually sick we take it as a norm the misery and the downtrodden state of the poor (black and white). That the oppressed are overlooked and allowed to continue to sink into the abyss is a grand betrayal by our leaders. Murder and mayhem is not just coming from the bottom dregs of society. We have a general slavery and devastation in which silence and passivity is imposed by poverty, the gun, and prisons? With these reservations, I support heartily the sentiments contained in your plea for earnest black work, black renewal, and black progress.