Of course, I am neither ignorant of nor arrogant enough to deny the significance of a New Year. This momentous occasion is in many ways an opportunity for each of us to reflect on the path that we have traveled and pledged our commitment to correct what we now consider previous errors or garner some increased understanding of prior motivations, intentions, successes, and failures. The dawning of a New Year is an occasion that must be celebrated as it provides another opportunity to get “it” correct.
Although many African-Americans vigorously resist any insinuation that Race remains the very pivot that their life chances and opportunities rest on, the American historical record denounces their viewpoint. To this very moment, Race, a socially constructed political expedient that has always benefited those who could be comfortably termed the opponents of Black America, remains the ultimate rallying call for whites and the supreme hurdle to persons of African descent. Despite the obvious impact that Race has had on America’s development as THE leading world power, it remains a truth that is never to be raised in the public sphere. Any insinuation that Race remains a major factor in the oppression of African-Americans renders one a voiceless intellectual pariah to be shunned by legitimate scholars and political thinkers. Even black intellectuals seeking to curry favor with white powerbrokers will publicly denounce the pernicious effects of Race on their people.
The feeble denunciations of the impact that Race has on this nation are easily silenced by an American historical record that drips with the blood, sweat, and tears of African-Americans. One of my favored articulations of the means that Americans, regardless of their race/ethnicity, will go to in their ridiculous denouncement of Race in America flows from the pen of W.E.B. DuBois. DuBois penned the following assertion as the opening paragraph of his classic text The Souls of Black Folk.
Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, “How does it feel to be a problem? they say, I know an excellent colored man in my town; or, I fought at Mechanicsville; or, Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil?” At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, “How does it feel to be a problem?” I answer seldom a word.
DuBois’ poignant words, written in 1903, prove that Race is not a recent development, it pre-dates the moment that drunk white colonists vowed to “not be the slaves of Britain” in some dark pub in Boston.
It is past time that African-Americans accept that Race is as American as baseball and Apple Pie. Failure to accept this basic reality prevents African-Americans from the basic understanding that Race impacts everything in this nation, including a daunting social order and politico-economic processes designed to extend the subjugation of Black America. Although difficult to accept, the prejudice and discrimination that flows from Race are found in school curriculums and popular culture images and expressed via the dastardly gaze of disapproval that black women shoot at black men that they know nothing about or the fallacious belief that more than a few black men hold that women of any other race/ethnicity make better wives than black women.
Hence, the most important question facing Black America is a relatively simple one of “How do we fight against a powerful system that whose existence hinges on our continued domination and disorganization?”
Let’s be honest about this issue, it is difficult to have a logical and productive argument that refutes a historical record that proves that the path to liberation for recent arrivals to this nation has been Nationalism. One of the most maddening aspects of Black America’s oppression is that the path to immediately ceasing our exploitation has been shared by a series of black leaders/prophets who have repeatedly taught that the only path to liberation is Black Nationalism.
Unfortunately for Black America, the introduction of Black Nationalism causes significant trepidations to arise in the souls of African-Americans. Experience has taught me that very few of our people understand what is meant by Black Nationalism. It is for this reason that we must teach our people that Black Nationalism is actually a very simple and logical concept. Brother Malcolm X termed Black Nationalism in the following manner. “The black man should be in charge of the economics, education, politics, and politicians that represent his community.”
It is the time that we focus our energies educating our people about politico-economic matters that promise extended rewards and benefits. For example, it is imperative that we demystify Nationalism and explain to our people that other groups have shown an amazing discipline in silently executing their nationalist plans. Consider for a moment that most large American cities have a China Town, Little Italy, German Village, Korea Town, and the list goes on and on. These are expressions of Nationalism by groups that understand that there is strength in numbers, meaning they pool and circulate their dollars, educate their own with a relevant education designed to increase their power, and grow their own politicians who do not forget for a single moment who put them into their political position and who holds the power to remove them at a moments notice.
At this moment, I am reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King’s poignant book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? for the following reason. We need to start this process of uplifting Black America somewhere.
From my perspective, everything hinges on education. It is only via a relevant education that is designed by those seeking to uplift Black America that we will be able to prevent the future development of African-Americans who have such little understanding of Race and the politico-economic collectivism needed to uplift the community. It is only ignorance regarding substantive politico-economic that explains such populations refusal to realize that white ethnic groups have used these means to uplift their kind while taking an oppositional position to similar efforts within their own community.
We can talk about many things surrounding our people, however, no real viable solutions will be offered, let alone attained, until we decide to illuminate our minds regarding the path we have traveled, the present situation that we are in, and the glorious possibilities for black liberation.
Happy New Year, Y’all. Let’s get busy with a relevant education that allows us to develop concrete plans that once executed will lead to the black man and woman “being in charge of the economics, education, politics, and politicians that represent his community.”
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
© Manhood, Race, and Culture 2018