One of the most disturbing aspects of the recent death of Sandra Bland is what it truly reveals about so-called Negro leadership. For those who may not know who Sandra Bland is, she is the courageous young lady who was recently ‘found’ dead in the Waller County Jail approximately a week ago. Ms. Bland had just returned to Prairie View A & M University from her hometown of Naperville, Illinois, intending to work for her alma mater. Unfortunately, that goal did not occur as she was found dead in a Waller County jail cell approximately ninety-six hours after her arrival.
The absence of a courageous unabashed response from so-called Negro leaders has led me to re-evaluate many of the ‘givens’ surrounding such individuals and ‘the movement’ in general. Quite possibly, the most significant re-evaluation revolves around one of my favorite Malcolm X quotes. Those who admire this Black Nationalist Titan in the same vein as I do will recall Malcolm’s admonishment/warning to Civil Rights Leaders pursuing integration that “only a fool would let his enemy teach his children.”
I have always envied Malcolm’s ability to make complex issues relatively simple for listeners. This quote is dripping with a bountiful unmistakable truth that has maintained relevancy decades after it was initially uttered. Brother Malcolm’s quote has forced me to consider the unthinkable, could it be that Negro leaders are the enemies that Malcolm is alluding to in his quote; I am hard-pressed to find any contradictory evidence to support so-called Negro leaders as they continue to operate out of a daily position of ridiculousness and irrelevancy that has wrapped itself around the alluded to figures like a comfy blanket that they are determined to never relinquish?
Now I am certain that many are aghast at the suggestion that contemporary Negro leaders are a major part of contemporary African-American problems and will react with ridiculous rhetorical charges such as I am blaming the victim. However, I believe that such ‘knee-jerk’ reactions flow from a larger tradition of protecting our own from any type of criticism, including constructive criticism. The truth of the matter is that those I am addressing today have earned this criticism via their display of poor leadership.
It did not take much time to realize that if those who loved or even cared for ‘Sandy’ waited for Negro leaders to lead the charge against the Waller County establishment, this case, as so many others, would have been ‘swept under the rug.’ Unfortunately, the Sandra Bland case, along with many others, has publicly displayed the reality that local, state, and national level Negro leaders do not have a clue as to the path toward Black liberation. I am often left considering that maybe that is not their goal at all. If such were their goal, even those as inefficient and inept as they have proven to be would have come up with a means of mobilizing some semblance of Black politico economic resources by this point. Sadly, not even their futility and ineptitude has cost them their position as so-called leaders.
Maybe, just maybe, it is time to re-evaluate Malcolm X’s timeless statement that “only a fool would let his enemy teach his children.” In the new millennium could it be that Negro leaders have now taken the place of our traditional oppressors and worked at a frenetic pace to ensure that the next generation of activist becomes beholden to Negro elites whose only power rests upon their exploitation of the Black masses. If you observe them closely, the alluded to Negro leadership routinely rushes to co-opt grassroots movements such as the one formed among both the alumni and current students on the Prairie View A&M University campus for their own selfish, let financially lucrative, purposes. In this case it was so-called Pastor Jamal Harrison Bryant.
The great Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton once remarked that “War is nothing but politics with bloodshed and politics is nothing but war without bloodshed.” It is time that African-Americans realized that they are actually at war. Unfortunately, one of their major enemies is Negro leaders. I fervently hope that we can disengage from the mesmerizing charismatic charlatan Negro leadership that not only consistently derails Black liberation movements, but also serves as a self-promotion opportunity for so-called Negro leaders.
We must stop being the fools that Malcolm told us we would be if we continue to allow our enemy, in this instance so-called Negro leaders, to infiltrate our movements and more importantly the minds of coming generations of African-American activists. There is consensual agreement among those of us seeking liberation from racial oppression that our children’s minds must be protected as Malcolm X was known to state, ‘by any means necessary.’
James Thomas Jones III, Ph. D.
©Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2015.
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