Critical thinking in the Black Independence Movement
“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving those who are doing the oppressing.” — Malcolm X
Wow! No surprise to my readers that I adore Malcolm and trust deeply in his wisdom. Thanks to modern technology, he is still delivering it to people all over the world.
Back to his point — this is what the media has done, to make Blacks, the people being oppressed, The Hated. Carter G. Woodson advised, “The educated Black is taught to admire the Greek and the Teuton, but to despise the African.” This is not a new phenomenon. Dr. Woodson published this in his work The Miseducation of the Negro in the 1930s, and Malcolm X simply reaffirmed it in the 1960s.
This lie has long and deep roots, said Dr. King, and given the realities our kids face today, it is a lie we can’t afford to believe in, to support, to reinforce, not for one more second. Three of our futures are dead at 13, 14 and 16 years old. I am challenged to think what my life would not have meant, what I would have missed, had I been shot dead at 13, 14 or 16. No driver’s license. No prom, and for two of them, no high school.
The media here barely spoke of them, but when they did, the 13-year-old was portrayed for the world in a gang-like stance already wearing an RIP t-shirt. Note to self: If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the oppressed.
The ideology of supremacy is insidious; it creeps into you, sneaks up on you, much like addiction to drugs or alcohol. So many Blacks are infected with it, and though many mouths speak revolutionary transformation, too many of those same people demonstrate consistently, through their action and inaction, their belief in the lie.
I found myself, not a big daytime television watcher, watching Oprah’s last show with her cast. I was struck when I noted that almost everyone, save perhaps two people, where White. Wait…what…really?
The same Oprah sent hundreds of Black men to Morehouse College and launched Black men who live to defy the lie. She built schools for girls in South Africa and gave them a safe haven in a place where rape is a daily threat, not only to every woman, but to every girl as well. Hold up, though — almost all of her staff was White. What does that say?
When I think daily, pray daily for the babies we’ve lost and for their loved ones, I am struck by how long we have been paying in the blood of our children. The slave narratives in the Library of Congress speak of our slave children being fed at a trough, the same type used for animals to eat.
Emmett Till was beaten to death, beaten so badly that his mother could not recognize him, at 14 years old. The men in sheets came for him in the middle of the night and stole him from his relative’s home to beat him to death for the charge of looking at a White woman down South. In 2011, our Emmetts are 13, 14 and 16, their lives, like his, senselessly taken from us.
I am tired of the rhetoric of change we have been fed for our pacification for more than 400 years, especially what we have been fed from other Black people who said they were leading us. I am tired of our futures being determined by a lie told a long time ago that has managed to rule the world from the time it was first whispered.
We have been given the wrong medicine (Letter from the Birmingham Jail), and as a result, as Dr. King said, the same problems plague us generation to generation while others thrive. We are not interested in a movement that further segregates people, nor a movement that fosters the kind of environment our babies are growing up in — one in which their very lives, our futures, lie dead in the streets.
Get conscious. Join the movement for Responsible Communications, and let’s get back to good. Our future depends on it — literally. Can you dig it?
Hear Lissa Jones’ radio show “Urban Agenda” on 89.9 KMOJ-FM Thursday nights at 6 pm, stream her live at www.kmojfm.com, or read web posts from Lissa at www.kmojfm.com. She welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.