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What Is Wrong With Black People\\\White People?
By Tarik Saeed, Violeta Honasan
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2013 Tarik Saeed
All rights reserved.
Scrutinizing and analyzing Black Leadership
Much has been, and is, going on in the way of attempting to solve the critical problems facing black people in America by their leadership. Since the days of Reconstruction, the Negro has been allowed to obtain some kind of education and openly accrue learning and, perhaps, some knowledge. Negro institutions of learning have been built specifically for him because, by and large, he was not accepted in the American (white) institutions of lower and higher learning. He was fired out of the canon of 310 years of chattel slavery into a competitive world of self-independence controlled by those who hated the sight of him and never had to think of him on any level other than that of a slave. Though the practice of slavery had been utilized in other countries, as well as America, it had been abolished as an institution framed and cloaked in law and statutes in recent times by Mexico (1829) and, later and lastly, by Brazil (1888). It is interesting to note, however, that in 1810, in Mexico, Father Hidalgo proclaimed the abolition of slavery.
Approximately three years later, in 1813, when José María Morelos became commander of the Mexican Revolution, he repeated Father Hidalgo's decree. However, in 1829, it was President Vicente Guerrero who officially signed the decree abolishing slavery in Mexico. President Vicente Guerrero's father was Mexican, but from his mother's bloodline, he inherited a mixture of Amerindian, Spanish, and African. The institution of slavery imposed on black people in America for 310 years did not vanish with the passing of legislation outlawing its practice. Releasing the slave from physical bondage was symbolic more than an actuality because the slave was yet not allowed to go where he wanted, do what he wanted, or even openly think what he wanted without repercussions and consequences from those who ignored law, without penalty, to hold the black man of America prey. To a critical degree, black people in America still suffer the same today. The wounds of the black man and woman in a physical sense can be considered healed if one does not consider the poisonous foods, drinks, and medicines consumed today. The psychological problems resulting from 310 years of diabolical and inhumane treatment unimaginable by most people of the earth is another matter altogether.
Those psychological wounds have been driven to a depth so deep that it is beyond the scholarship of the institutions of this world to even fathom, let alone correct or heal. As such, it is understandable that much of the world is perplexed when viewing the feeble efforts of black leaders who struggle to solve problems that would be considered simple by normal or accepted standards. I characterize the problems specifically afflicted on former slaves of America as being simple only from the standpoint of others who would consider it a blessing to be in the financial position of the blacks of America. They just would not be able to sleep much for being awake day and night, rejoicing, thinking, and planning what to do with all those hundreds of billions of dollars that black people of America spend, like a four-year-old child in a candy shop. These are problems that render the black man incapable of meaningful and recognizable progress for self and kind, not only from the realm of common sense, but also from an intellectual perspective. These are extremely complex problems that require a knowledge and approach different and deeper than the institutional knowledge that has been thrown at this 450-plus-year-old condition. Efforts to solve these problems continue today. We have: "The Covenant with Black America" by Tavis Smiley, and the "Millions More Movement" and its nine ministries by the convener, the Honorable Louis Farrakhan, and the many highly intelligent co-conveners. These are the two greatest attempts advanced in this critical hour of our sojourn in America.
With billions of dollars going out of America daily to finance war and American corporations relocating abroad, taking with them jobs for Americans and importing away the actual manufacturing grid that is needed to produce jobs, we can surely understand plenty of what to expect from a house budget that spends more than it earns. Looking forward, we see more war on the horizon.
We critically need a solution to the problems of black people, and soon! Taking a closer look at the two approaches before us to solve our problem of survival, our scrutiny should be intense and thorough if we fully consider the time and what must be done. Looking at the covenant with black America, I examine the statements of four participants for comparative analysis to arrive at a decision of which is best to achieve the aims and purposes of our people in the short and long term. To me, the greatest achievement of The Covenant is its outline of the problems facing black America. It is chock-full of verifiable facts that highlight, to a great degree, the external problems we face as black people in America today. If we consider the goal of the Covenant with Black America, as stated by its founder, Tavis Smiley—which is to make black America better and, by so doing, make America better—then we must apply critical analysis to the methodology promulgated by The Covenant to achieve the end goal.
The 2006 televised meeting in Houston, Texas sponsored by The Covenant titled "The State of Black America" Or "A Contract with Black America," will be examined using the statements of Dr. Cornel West, Mr. Harry Belafonte, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. I am sure that critical analysis cannot be done without offending positions taken by some, as evidenced by the negative reactions of a few to the critical analysis given by Minister Louis Farrakhan. Actually, the minister gave an analysis that was, in my opinion, interpreted by some as a criticism of the sincere and hard work done to produce the Covenant.
A question arises to ask: Will criticism received pertaining to our hard work and sincere efforts blind us to the nature of such criticism and the deep well of concern and love from which it sprang? To understand that a man dealing with serious health issues in Arizona made a decision to go to Houston to be part of a panel dealing with the serious mental, spiritual, psychological, and health issues of black people and immediately after his participation in Houston, had to leave to go to Chicago to address thousands later that evening at a free dinner—as a gift from him—concerning these same and similar issues, was sure to cause deep concern by those who knew of, and were concerned about his physical condition. The dinner was so beautiful and peaceful that it lasted late and finally the minister made his exit which was a relief to those who knew and worried over his condition at that time. The next day Minister Farrakhan addressed a live audience of nearly twenty thousand at "Saviours' Day and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, the world over via satellite! This should remove from anyone seeking an understanding, the thought of vanity and ego as a motivation for such commitment and sacrifice to go to Houston in the reality of such a grueling schedule, considering his physical condition at that time.
If we allow ourselves to attribute such a schedule on the part of a seventy-two years young man, not at that time, at his physical best as vanity or ego, then what can we offer up as evidence in support of our belief? There was no physical and financial gain for the minister in this endeavor. In fact, considering his health issues, we could call it a physical liability to incorporate the trip to Houston into his already-demanding schedule! Also, feeding thousands of black people later that same night at his own expense was no financial gain and far, far beyond the realm of ego and vanity for a man of his stature and background! So participants or those who viewed via television or later via DVD, or read the accounts of that meeting and may term the minister's comments as "negative criticism" would, or should, ask the question, what would be his gain? When one considers the risk-to-reward ratio surrounding Minister Farrakhan's itinerary that weekend and sum it up as vanity and ego while the risks to health were evident and the reward(s) cannot be easily identified, it would be tantamount to a foolish summation. It only adds up and makes perfect sense when one considers the extreme love the minister has for his people. His motivation originated out of extreme love for his people and their leadership! He sacrificed himself to go give the critical analysis that only he could give to prick the conscience of black leadership, to realize that you must consider the time and what must be done from a scriptural (God) perspective in order for our efforts to be successful. His gain was not to pontificate before black America and the world and would be hard to accurately gauge by anyone but God and his Christ!
Brother Harry Belafonte spoke about Dr. King, saying we need to think outside the box and, the next time we think inside the box, to make sure the box is ours. The Reverend Al Sharpton talked about what Dr. King called the "paralysis of analysis." He also stated that we don't need sound bites and that the Covenant must be tested to be deemed successful. Dr. Cornel West cast a light on the alleged hijacking of Mother Coretta Scott King's funeral by the presidents and Bishop T. D. Jakes. Dr. West spoke of the presidents, not by name and did not mention Jakes at all, but I mention him. Dr. West spoke on the dissing of Brother Harry Belafonte, who was originally invited to be on stage and participate in a big way only to later be uninvited on stage. Mr. Harry Belafonte's contributions, as well as history with Dr. King are widely known on behalf of Dr. King's family. There were others, including black leaders who were/are closer to our struggle as black people and others closer to Dr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King than were the presidents and Bishop T. D. Jakes, who were allegedly allowed to hijack her funeral.
In my opinion, Reverend Jakes could—and should—have offered his seat to anyone who had a much stronger connection to the civil rights movement and the uplifting of black people in the time or period in question and beyond. This leaves one to wonder why this was not done. Was this question ever put to Bishop Jakes, and if so, what was his reply? It leaves one to wonder if Bishop Jake's involvement was a payoff for answering President George W. Bush's call for Bishop Jakes to go to New Orleans and clean up his blunder of being insouciant and very late in responding to the critically distressed condition of post-Katrina New Orleans after Mayor Nagin's call for help to the Bush administration to get its ass down there and do something! Dr. Cornel West said to Reverend Al that he believed in sound bites, and Reverend Al Sharpton said OK, as long as you bite something after you have sounded!" Reverend Al was reflecting on black leadership's ability in the past to sound off but its little ability to be effective in putting any real bite behind the bark. He was also indirectly referring to the historical inability of Negro leadership to put any serious roaring back into the real sleeping lion of Judah. The minister excited the audience by reminding them that time must dictate our agenda, plus we must consult God and the scriptures above petitioning government, Republicans, and Democrats for justice, human, and civil rights. It was clear by the applause of those present that they prefer what the minister was advocating. After the minister spoke and made his exit from an excited and positively charged atmosphere in Houston, to speak again later that evening in Chicago, we got the panel's reaction to his words. Brother Harry Belafonte spoke carefully, with deep respect for the minister's words, but disagreed with him and God to let the house (America) burn!
Brother Harry desired to put the house fire out! He did not want to be counted among those who did not try and put the fire out. Considering all the approaches used, the beliefs and disbeliefs used by black people to solve this four-hundred-year-old problem with white people, the scriptures of the Bible clearly states that God will destroy the world (house, country, world system, present civilization, etc.) by fire. It also seems that Brother Harry put himself at odds with Dr. King's admonishment to think outside the box (sphere of Eurocentric psychological, educational, and religious influence), and if you are going to be in a box, make sure it's your own. He preferred to focus on Dr. King's admonition for us to become "firemen" and try to put the house fire (America) out! It is clear that Dr. King, at twenty-six years old, was not the same man mentally in his thinking at thirty-nine years old. We can see growth and maturity in the progression of his thinking. I take no delight in saying this, but we can see that there is little growth progression of the thinking of certain men who claim Dr. King as their mentor, who are in their fifties, sixties, and seventies, who cannot think beyond what Dr. King was thinking thirty-eight years ago! A thirty-nine-year-old man does not arrived where he is going mentally if he is growing! Dr. King was a man who was growing and would not have remained where he was thirty-eight years ago as a result. But we have men and women who are stuck back thirty-eight years ago, with their buckets of water and their fireman hats on, thinking they can put out a raging inferno (America) when we cannot douse the hatred we have for one another. Fact is, with this kind of thinking, we are extinguishing any moral flame we may have with those buckets of water and have no water left within them to douse America with! It is my opinion that we cannot act out of the idea that we, who call ourselves African American, are the moral consciousness of America.
At best, we can say that we are simply conscious people in America. Even that would be a stretch because far too many of us on all levels are not conscious enough at all. It would not be too much of a stretch to say that it is impossible to be conscious on a true moral and spiritual level while unconscious or semiconscious on a mental level. However, one can be conscious on a mental level and not conscious on the spiritual plane. We have not succeeded in transferring our consciousness to white America. We have not successfully organized, united, and utilized our own consciousness to elevate our own people and ourselves up one iota from the bottom rail on Jacob's ladder. We have been trying to integrate into and, at the same time, put out the fire of this burning house or box called America since the days of Reconstruction. When do we start thinking outside the box?
What justifies the thought of any black person or black leader to want to sacrifice another generation of black youth to waste their lives, attempting to successfully prick the consciousness of white America? Is it the Constitution? We have that answer from Mother Sojourner Truth in her critical and comparative analysis of that great document, when she compares it to a beautiful boll of cotton. Paraphrasing, she said it looked so beautiful, pristine, and white, but as she examined it closer, she discovered a weasel (weevil) in it! Sojourner Truth's incorrect use of the word weevil by substituting it with the word weasel is one of the most profound and correct word misuses ever recorded! The weevil is an insect of the beetle family, having an elongated head curving downward to form a snout then bearing jaws at the tip, making it very injurious, especially in its larvae state, to fruits, grains, nuts, living plants, and cotton.
A weasel is any of various small slender active carnivorous mammals related to minks that consume small birds, other small mammals, and vermin (mice and rats).
The use of weasel words is to use equivocal language, "to escape from or evade a situation or obligation," to out-weasel someone.
Weasel word: The weasel's reputed habit of sucking the contents out of an egg while leaving the shell superficially intact: A word used in order to evade or retreat from a direct or forthright statement or position.
This is what Sojourner Truth saw in her examination of the Constitution as it related to black people and people of color. Like the boll of cotton (Constitution), so lily white and pristine in its appearance, but yet, on closer scrutiny, one would discover the brown or black stain caused by weasel (weevil) activity that ran deep down within the cotton (Constitution) itself to expose the causative contaminant agent, the larvae (white racism).
Minister Farrakhan spoke of something being wrong with America and us (a weasel in us). I think Brother Cornel West brought us face-to-face with that weasel in his critique of the minister's admonishments. Cornel West spoke of The Covenant as a historical document and called for the need for "bold democratic vision." Without naming names, he spoke against the hijacking of Mrs. Coretta King's funeral on the part of her and Dr. King's family members, the presidents, and Bishop Jakes, whom were present on stage. He stated that he believed the minister was wrong in the do-for-self direction he wanted to take black people. He felt that the minister was, recently recognizing his own mortality, frustrated with the slow progress of black people. He considered the minister reminding the audience of past and present atrocities of the government, the Democratic Party, and whites in general a putdown and spoke to this effect: "We must love black people without putting others down!" He mentioned that he had an educational curriculum for high school students, college students, and grownups as well. He also characterized the minister's admonishment for blacks to collectively do-for-self, a "pipe dream." Wow! What a thought! I know of no other people in history or the present who did or would make such a statement or hold such a belief. I am not attacking this brilliant brother, but I will attack his errant statement that to do for self is a pipe dream. What would he teach the high school students, college students, and the grownups? I ask, is reminding a victimized people of the atrocities heaped upon them historically and extending to this very day "putting others down"?
Excerpted from What Is Wrong With Black People\\\White People? by Tarik Saeed. Copyright © 2013 by Tarik Saeed. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
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