Tag Archives: Black Power

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

 

BLACK REVOLUTIONARY WHERE ART THOU?: IS IT TIME FOR BLACK REVOLUTIONARIES TO CHANGE THEIR FOCUS FROM REVOLUTION TO REFORM?

I have found that on the average day that I will come across a self-proclaimed “Black Revolutionary.” I am confident that if you have had any exposure to the so-called conscious community that you have also had the misfortune to meet one of the alluded to armchair revolutionaries. You know the type, an individual who has by-passed any semblance of introspection or much-needed personal improvement in their rush to address and solve the cavernous problems facing Black America. From their perspective, the only obstacle to black liberation is the foolishness of their people who inexplicably refuse to adhere to their revolutionary rhetoric and unrealistic freedom plans.

Introspect I find it slightly humorous that I have concocted many ingenious means designed to avoid or elude the so-called Black Revolutionary. My avoidance of the self-appointed Black Revolutionary is borne of experience that for the vast majority of the so-called conscious community such discussions are intended to do little more than to busy their minds with a tapestry of foolishness that includes illogical conspiracy theories, falsification of a historical path that they have little understanding of beyond some “knowledge” that they have found on the internet, or the re-identification of persons of African descent for purposes that will never bear significant fruit. Particularly frustrating is the reality that few of the “superstars” of the conscious community have a full understanding of the multitude of interlocking factors surrounding either the path to a domestic revolution or the large issues that would result from a successful revolution.

The failure to consider the matters listed below displays Black Revolutionaries lack of understanding and planning for the world that they hope to create. Questions such as the following must be addressed by the black revolutionary class.

  • What will the new governmental structure be?
  • Who would head the new governmental structure?
  • What would we use for currency?
  • What would the educational system look like?
  • Who would control the modes and means of production?
  • Will we be a communalistic, Communist, Socialist, or Capitalist nation?
  • Will we continue the current system of representative democracy? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • What will be the role of women in this new “Black Land”?

 

Inexplicably, black revolutionaries are perplexed at the large issues that a successful revolution creates. Whenever I raise such questions to the amateur revolutionaries encamped all around me, their response is either a deafening silence or a continuation of verbal nonsense that they consider a suitable substitute for sound reasoning.

Although they will never admit the obvious, it is time for the Black Revolutionary abandons calls for a domestic revolution and turn their attention toward improving the politico-economic status of Black America within the existing system.

Of course, the insinuation that the efforts of today’s Black Revolutionary will be more productive if they were re-calibrated to assist Black America in “creating a nation within, but without a nation.” Nevertheless, Black Revolutionaries abandonment of what amounts to unachievable goals of overthrowing the U.S. government in favor of traditional avenues of group improvement: the pursuit of a relevant education, social civility, collectivist economics, and political solidarity; paths that other groups have traveled during their ascension in America. The above steps — education, political engagement, and economic collectivism — are not only a rational expression of “Black Power,” but also the most reliable antidote to the politico-economic powerlessness and social dysfunction that has shadowed Black America for far too long.

Unfortunately, contemporary Black Revolutionaries ownership of “Black Power” slogans has done little to increase their understanding of the political philosophy. The foremost consequence of this ineffectual use of “Black Power” imagery and concepts is that the political philosophy has lost much of its luster. In many ways, contemporary Black Revolutionaries ignorance regarding what “Black Power” politics are has led to them betraying a rich tradition of black political astuteness and the pursuit of tangible gains to improve the collective plight of Black America.

Black power is concerned with organizing the rage of black people.…Black power (1) deals with the obviously growing alienation of black people and their distrust of the institutions of this society; (2) works to create new values and to build a new sense of community and of belonging; and (3) works to establish legitimate new institutions that make participants, not recipients, out of a people traditionally excluded from the fundamentally racist processes of this country.

It appears that today’s Black Revolutionary has chosen to ignore Fred Hampton’s famous quote that “We understand that politics is nothing but war without bloodshed and war is nothing but politics with bloodshed.”

The so-called black revolutionaries apparent hesitation to replace rhetoric with an actual confrontation with their enemy in politics, education, and economics is an anomaly to prior expressions of “Black Power.” Consider for a moment the words of Charles V. Hamilton and Stokely Carmichael in their brilliant book, Black Power.

The concept of Black Power rests on a fundamental premise. Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks. By this, we mean group solidarity is necessary before a group can operate effectively from a bargaining position of strength in a pluralistic society. Traditionally, each new ethnic group in this society has found the route to social and political viability through the organization of its own institutions with which to represent its needs within the larger society . . . the American melting pot has not melted. Italians vote for Rubino over O’Brien; Irish for Murphy over Goldberg, etc.

There is little room to debate that Hamilton and Carmichael are calling for political organization and a major confrontation with American powerbrokers in the real world, not some fantasy world filled with Kings, Queens, God’s, Earth’s, Angels, Moors, Hebrews, and other superheroes.

The current class of black revolutionaries would benefit from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lamentations regarding Black Power. According to Dr. King,

{Black Power activists} must use every constructive means to amass economic and political power. This is the kind of legitimated power we need. We must work to build racial pride and refute the notion black is evil and ugly. But this must come through a program, not merely through a slogan…The words ‘black’ and ‘power’ together give the impression that we are talking about black domination rather than black equality.

Black Power is a call for the pooling of black financial resources to achieve economic security.… Through the pooling of such resources and the development of habits of thrift and techniques of wise investment, the Negro will be doing his share to grapple with his problem of economic deprivation. If Black Power means the development of this kind of strength within the Negro community, then it is a quest for basic, necessary, legitimate power.

It is past time for today’s Black Revolutionary to abandon the fantasy world that he/she has situated themselves in and muster the courage to fight their enemies in the real world where groups are fighting over limited politico-economic resources. In many ways, the hesitation, if not the outright resistance of the Black Revolutionary to fight others over limited resources says much about their seriousness, abilities, and belief in their abilities. Of all the things that such cowardice conveys, it will never be termed revolutionary. And for that reason, today’s Black Revolutionary should be ashamed.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

How Conspiracy Theories Continue to Work Against Black Liberation Efforts

I am confident that if you have been anywhere near a member of the so-called “conscious community” that you have noticed their propensity to engage in a medley of conspiracy theories. The alluded to individuals have an uncanny knack of weaving together events that on the surface have no connection whatsoever. The fact that their fanciful anti-intellectual creations are not supported by any evidence does little to dissuade them from propagating such foolishness to anyone within a one-hundred-mile radius. The typical conspiracy theorist spends incredible amounts of their time unraveling things that do not exist. Consider for a moment the recent Steven Stephens case. For most sane individuals it is a case of a mentally disturbed African-American male murdering an elderly black man for no apparent reason. These conclusions are significantly bolstered by the fact that Steven Stephens not only filmed the incident himself but also posted the crime and a subsequent recording of himself confessing to the crime on Facebook. Such a mountain of evidence is a mere molehill to your typical conspiracy theorist.

In a move that would be shocking to those with little exposure to the twists-and-turns that occur within the minds of conspiracy theorists, conspiracy theorists seized the Facebook postings and ran with it in their usual manner. According to such individuals, we were duped as the entire tape was a perfect ruse to divert us from something that had already occurred or was on the verge of happening. During a recent discussion with a self-styled conspiracy theorist, I questioned his perspective regarding the Steven Stephens shooting via the existence of a dead body, a grieving family, and a distraught police chief. His response, “they have all gotten paid off. I am telling you that this is an orchestrated event created to divert your attention from a yet to occur event.”

Probably the most disturbing thing about the constantly multiplying and increasingly elaborate conspiracy theories is that a major portion of the so-called “conscious community” cannot resist engaging them. Unfortunately for the sake of black liberation, the alluded to “mental masturbation” sessions are sufficient to keep conspiracy theorists busy for an entire lifetime. This busyness guarantees that vast segments of the so-called “conscious community” will never focus the bulk of their mental energy and physical activities toward the planning, creation, and execution of politico-economic liberation plans.

I am confident that we can agree that a better use of the mental energy expended upon conspiracy theories is for such individuals to turn their focus toward researching matters that could have a positive impact on the black liberation struggle. At this late date, we do not have the luxury of spending even a single moment investigating foolish nonsense conspiracy theories; those energies must be directed toward the development and execution of a plan to tangibly improve the lives of black men, women, and children. Anything else is yet another display of black cowardice, inefficiency, and ineptitude.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017.

WHY HASN’T BLACK POWER COLLECTIVIST ECONOMIC PLANS WORKED FOR BLACK AMERICA?

One of the most reliable indicators that a person has not only studied, but also comprehended the multi-faceted and incredibly complex issues that have faced persons of African descent from the moment that they arrived in the Jamestown colony is the understanding that of all the solutions presented after that moment, collectivist economics and political solidarity provides the best opportunity for liberation. Honestly, there is little room to argue against the belief that the “Black Power” strategies mentioned above have historically provided the greatest opportunity for “the liberation and salvation of the black nation.”

Although difficult to admit, when one considers the politico-economic marginalization rooted throughout Black America, it is apparent that “Black Power” politico-economic constructs have failed miserably. Considering this harsh reality, we must diligently seek to answer the following query; “Why has Black Power failed to uplift the black community?”

In light of the certain tendency for our people to deliberately derail important matters such as this one with diversionary minutiae, I think that it would be wise to define Black Power. Once again, by providing this definition, I am only seeking to avoid this discussion being intentionally sidetracked by unnecessary haranguing regarding alternative definitions of “Black Power” for no logical reason. To prevent such ‘mental masturbation,’ I have decided on the definition of Black Power that Charles V. Hamilton and Stokely Carmichael’s used in their brilliant book, Black Power. According to this duo,

The concept of Black Power rests on a fundamental premise. Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks. By this, we mean group solidarity is necessary before a group can operate effectively from a bargaining position of strength in a pluralistic society. Traditionally, each new ethnic group in this society has found the route to social and political viability through the organization of its own institutions with which to represent its needs within the larger society . . . the American melting pot has not melted. Italians vote for Rubino over O’Brien; Irish for Murphy over Goldberg, etc.

When stripped to its essential parts, Hamilton and Carmichael’s construct amounts to a call for politico-economic collectivism. From their perspective, politico-economic collectivism has been the path that “each new ethnic group in this society has (traveled) to social and political viability through the organization of its institutions with which to represent its needs within the larger society.” Considering the relative simplicity of this route to liberation, one must ask, “Why has Black Power not worked for African-Americans?”

The answer to the above query is fairly straightforward, yet woefully troubling and disconcerting. The answer is that during the past 60 years, the vast majority of African-Americans have failed to make either collectivist economics or political solidarity a fixture in their lives.

Considering that most reasonable-minded individuals agree that political activism is essential to the uplift of the black community, it appears that such a perspective has failed to inspire African-Americans who make up 13% of the nation to participate in the electoral process at a rate that exceeds their proportion of the American populace. Black political participation occurs at a blasé rate until a figure such as Barack Hussein Obama appears.

As political participation lags behind, many African-Americans have foolishly convinced themselves that the key to “the liberation and salvation of the black nation” is the generation of financial might. Unfortunately for Black America, it appears that their political inefficiencies are only exceeded by their understanding of economic collectivism.

As mentioned in a recent post on this site, one does not need to look any further than the embarrassing manner in which African-Americans fail to circulate the dollar within their community to understand a primary pillar in their economic struggles. It appears that for all of their adoration of Malcolm X the vast majority of African-Americans have failed to heed one of his most basic admonishments regarding economic foolishness. Malcolm charged his people with the following admonishment, “You run down your community when you don’t circulate your dollar amongst your own.” Consider the following data regarding the circulation of dollars.

  • It takes 6 hours for a dollar to exit the black community.
  • It takes 17 days for a dollar to exit the white community.
  • It takes 20 days for a dollar to exit the Jewish community.
  • It takes 30 days for a dollar to exit the Asian community.

In light of such economic inefficiency, it is unsurprising to find that of the 1.1 Trillion dollars of annual spending power that passes through the African-American community, a number that means that on average every man, woman, and child within the African-American community has in excess of $26,200 at their disposal on a yearly basis, a paltry 2% of those dollars are spent with black-owned businesses. One can only wonder where does all of that money go? The answer to the above query is equally daunting and astonishing. Studies indicate that African-Americans spend a significant portion of their dollars in the following areas.

  • Tobacco — $3.3 billion
  • Whiskey, Wine, and Beer — $3 billion
  • Non-alcoholic beverages — $2.8 billion
  • Leisure time spending — $3.1 billion
  • Toys, Games, and Pets — $3.5 billion
  • Telephone services — $18.6 billion
  • Random Gifts — $10 billion

There is little doubt that the political disengagement and economic foolishness listed above would banish any populace to socioeconomic marginality.

What makes Black America’s continuing politico-economic marginalization even more disconcerting is that it could have been eradicated if we only adhered to a few ground rules a litany of “race men” have provided. Considering that so many of our people have found comfort in the Church and guidance from scripture, I think it appropriate to relate that African-Americans have continually behaved as those described in Jeremiah 5:21, “Hear this now, O foolish people, Without understanding, Who have eyes and see not, And who have ears and hear not.”

One has to wonder when God will cease sending prophets to these woe-smitten people who have repeatedly proven that they have no desire to use either their eyes or ears to save their kind. It is too late in the game for our people to continue making the same politico-economic mistakes that they have always made. Unfortunately for our sake, it appears that they have yet to tire of banging their heads against an immovable wall.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

Malcolm X: Did His Ultimate Sacrifice Bring Any Tangible Gains to the Black Freedom Struggle?

There is quite possibly no greater frustration among those who have chosen to carry the huge banner of Black Nationalism than the witnessing of those whose cause that you continually champion making the same mistakes that guarantee a continuation of their oppression. Unfortunately, I realize that I have much company when I enter those private moments that invariably lead me to question if the arduous tasks and constant frustrations experienced while attempting to uplift a people who behave as if they do not mind the continuation of their politico-economic exploitation and social outcast status is even worth the Herculean effort? As mentioned above, I realize that I have much company when it comes to this type of thinking.

Although I realize that I have only given some of myself to the struggle, while there are others such as Brother Malcolm X who gave all, I believe that it is within reasonable bounds to wonder if the ultimate sacrifice of one’s life, such as Brother Malcolm, has made an iota difference in the historical struggle to uplift a stubborn Black America.

When reflecting upon the life, legacy, and untimely death of Malcolm X, I am reminded of his order to the black man that it is time for him to “Wake up, clean up and stand up.” Such a directive appears to be not only sensible, but also easily achievable by a people who have served as a reliable resource for other groups seeking to increase some combination of political power, economic might, and social status.

According to Malcolm X, the path out of this jungle of unconscionable exploitation for the black man and woman was a fairly rudimentary plan.

  • Starting black businesses so that the black dollar could be circulated among them.
  • Creating political solidarity sufficient to not only elect representatives to represent our interests, but also capable of “holding their feet to the fire” after they were elected.
  • Abandoning any vices retarding “the liberation and salvation of the black nation,” such as: alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, financial irresponsibility, political illiteracy, lack of an education, uncivilized behavior toward one another, and the destruction of the black family.

I am certain that you realize that none of the above ideas originated with Brother Malcolm. It is this reality that calls into question the legacy of not only Malcolm X, but also the many other leaders who have appeared in our community carrying a similar message, suspect.

So the question before us is a rather simple one. In a climate where it appears that the dial measuring the fortunes of African-Americans has remained stationary, did the contributions and sacrifices of Malcolm X matter at all?

Prior to answering this query, we should first take this opportunity to examine the present condition of Black America.

  • African-American children lag behind all others in educational achievement.
  • African-American children are being disproportionately raised in single-parent female headed households.
  • African-American communities remain a reliable path to financial improvement for any non-black group in the nation.
  • African-American wealth accumulation lags behind every other group, including newly arrived immigrant groups.
  • African-Americans, male and female, are incarcerated at a rate that far exceeds their proportion of the American populace.
  • African-American marriages are more likely than not to end in divorce.
  • African-American women far exceed their male counterparts in
    • Educational achievement
    • Income earned
    • Social Status
    • Political Activism
  • Understanding of African-American manhood constructs are nearly non-existent among black males and females.
  • There is a sizable population of African-American men who should be considered “unmarriageable.”

In light of the above list, we are once again faced with the query of did Malcolm X’s existence mean anything beyond being inspirational for a few African-Americans. If Brother Malcolm’s sacrifices meant something more, what tangible changes occurred as a result of his esteemed legacy?

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017