Tag Archives: Audre Lorde

An Unwise Choice: An Open Letter to Black Men About Umar Johnson from a Sister Who Loves You

I am most certainly disturbed and bewildered by Umar Johnson’s continuing relevance in the struggle to liberate Black America. I am confident that you agree with my summation that Mr. Johnson is the most polarizing figure Black America has seen since Clarence Thomas. To some he is a breath of fresh air, to many others, he is a traveling con man selling hope for a better tomorrow to the droves of oppressed confused black people. Make no mistake about it, you either immediately embrace or exert extreme caution when it comes to this verbal wizard who possesses an uncanny ability to mesmerize black men. Johnson’s siren call comes in the form of seductive rhetoric that taps into their innate urge to assume what they consider their rightful position as “head of household” if not an exiled African “King” in the North American wilderness.

As a black woman, I would be disingenuous if I did not relate that the seemingly unending support Umar Johnson has received from my brothers is simultaneously shocking and offensive. For myself and the vast majority of black women, Mr. Johnson’s incantations for a return to the good old days when black men ruled their homes and communities with an iron-fisted authority that no one dared to challenge are eerily similar to white racists calls for a return to the good old days when a woman knew her place, children were to be seen and not heard, and homosexuality was a sexual deviance on par with child molestation.

Although Mr. Johnson’s supporters will deny it, their manhood constructs are merely a dastardly inheritance of tyrannical patriarchal that they were bequeathed by their white male fathers. In every way, Umar Johnson’s expression of masculinity is nothing more than a minstrel show of white patriarchal constructs.

It is time that the black community divests from the draconian position that one’s gender is sufficient for the leadership of anything. My brothers fail to realize that they have picked up their oppressors tools and dedicated their lives to replicating his immoral pattern of oppression within their community. The irony that Umar Johnson’s male supporters fail to realize that their movements to ‘uplift’ the black community are a haphazardly constructed garment that is held together by the anger of black males that is demanding not only silence from dissenters but also an intrusion into the personal lives of those under their reign. It appears that when black males’ steep emotional investment in Umar Johnson combines with natural impulses to take their rightful place as “the head” of everything they encounter, reason and logic are suspended.

The fact that thousands of black men would champion the flawed, antiquated perspectives of Umar Johnson is frightening as it reveals their failure to understand the inherent dangers associated with patriarchy and toxic manhood constructs. I pray that those I honestly consider my brethren can divorce themselves from the seductive emotionalism of this charismatic charlatan known as Umar Johnson, return to their senses and understand what Audre Lorde meant when she admonished oppressed people seeking liberation that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” What Umar Johnson is doing is not dismantling white supremacy, he is attempting to build a black version of it that will oppress all of those within our midst who disagree with his irrationality and inconsistencies.

K.V.J.

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

 

Calling Black Lives Matter and All Black Protest Groups to A More Principled Position

Black Power to Black People, 
White Power to White People, 
Brown Power to Brown People, 
Yellow Power to Yellow People, 
Red Power to Red People. 
All Power to the People!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fred Hampton

There are not many things that make me cringe in pain; however the appearance of pervasive ignorance never fails to take me to that rare threshold. Today I cringed in a most unusual manner while bpp6watching footage of a ‘Black Lives Matter’ activist outside of the Democratic National Convention give directives to an assembly of activists. The cringe worthy portion of this activity is found in her request, or should I say demand, that whites retreat to the rear of the march because the pending march was to be led by Black protesters and Black protesters alone.

Although I instantly recognized what this young and apparently inexperienced activist was attempting to achieve by having a Black led March against a racial issue, I also recognized her voluminous ignorance regarding the multi-racial nature of prior activism during both the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Era. It has always amazed me how ignorance or a superficial understanding of prior struggles leads contemporary activists to re-write the tactics and strategies of prior protest movements.

The demand that whites assemble in the rear harkened my mind back to the Women’s Suffragist movement when white women, attempting to cater to prejudiced southern delegates, issued a similar ‘request’ to Black Women suffragists. It appears that some, certainly not all, members of today’s Black activist scene have chosen to ignore Audre Lorde’s admonishment that,

For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. Racism…is a real condition of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside (his and) herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears.

One thing is for certain, today’s Black activist must find a way to simultaneously avoid replicating the hatred emanating from other baldwingroups with divergent ideas for it will ultimately lead to them becoming that very entity that they so strongly loathe. The cost of doing such is one that none of us can afford to pay. Failure to recognize this danger means that we unfortunately become the very figures that noted social critic James Baldwin was considering when he stated, “People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.

Contemporary Black activists must always make certain that they do not become that which they fight so diligently fight against, because if they do, there is no doubt that their opponent has won by turning them into a mirror image of the hate, vengefulness, and irrationality that they possess. I have no doubt that today’s Black activists are able to find a medium between avoiding such an unfortunate position while also moving the Black agenda forward.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016