During a conference call among Bring Back Black activists several months ago, Brother Ashiki Taylor made the observation that we were attempting to build a movement with a “volunteer army.” He went on to point out some of the pitfalls of this approach. However, he conceded that given our circumstances, we had little choice in the matter, and were obliged to do the best we can with what we have, and that — for the present at least — is to rely on our volunteers. We agreed to persevere anyway, against all odds, because the cause of our people is worth it. But what have we taken on for ourselves, and have we seriously considered the implications of doing so? Are our well-intentioned volunteers actually ready for the “prime-time” effort and commitment required for such a monumental task as helping our race to save itself from doom and destruction? Do we understand the nature of those who will surely oppose what we seek to do? What does it portend that none of the forces likely to oppose us will have to rely upon volunteers to do so as is our plight? How likely is it that our volunteers will be resolute enough to stand up to the well-paid, well trained, and well organized operatives which will be arrayed against us? Are they likely to “break-camp-and-run” at the first sign of serious and determined resistance? How would they respond to “shock-and-awe-caliber” retaliation? Unless we are willing to ask ourselves and each other these questions, and have them be answered honestly, we are in denial and our efforts doomed to fail even before we start.
From my vantage point as a prime-mover for our effort to Bring Back Black, I have evolved a particular perspective on our situation. I have no doubt that the folks who responded to Brother Jim Clingman’s call to gather in Cincinnati back on December 9, 2006 were absolutely sincere in their concern about the condition of Black people – in America and throughout the world. If not, they would have been unlikely, as Jim said, to “come on their own time and their own dime.” Everyone who came to Cincinnati, and all those who attended our follow-up meeting in Atlanta on April 20 & 21, 2007 were self-motivated, self-starters, and productive individuals in their own right. None were gripped by a dependency syndrome or laden with fear of White folks. Many were in mutually-supportive partnerships, others involved with relatively successful efforts with small groups of close associates or family. But virtually none of us were involved in collective efforts where large numbers of Black people worked together within an organizational structure. The only exceptions are those folks who are active members in their respective churches or mosques, in other words, the more religious among us. The rest of us are for the most part “strong individualists,” despite our claimed opposition to the term as used by Europeans to describe what they consider to be their most desirable trait.
Strategies and tactics such as those described in “Sixty-four Years to Make a Negro” and “The Infamous Willie Lynch Letter” has left us stripped of our natural human tendency to cleave to one another and engage in mutual aid and support. Nationalists and Pan-Africanists in particular take offense to being accused of this, but the objective facts bear me out. White supremacists and racists have succeeded in reducing Black folks to an unnatural status, and our conduct and behavior reflects our having acclimated ourselves to that status. Consequently, it is now easier for Blacks to resist working together than to engage in cooperative endeavors.
“Twelve-Step” programs associated with alcoholics and drug-addicted persons insist that the first step to recovery from an addiction is to recognize and accept the fact that one is an addict, and therefore, sick. Denial of this basic fact makes recovery impossible. Once the addict admits to being sick and agrees to accept treatment, hope for recovery surfaces and the healing process can begin. Black folks have been made sick by the insidious process that reduced us to enslavement, and only by admitting that sickness and agreeing to “treating” it can we hope to be restored to our original pre-enslavement condition, our natural condition.
The most debilitating effect of our dehumanizing enslavement experience is the minimizing of our instincts to do what is natural for human beings to do in given situations. It is natural for the male to protect “his” females and offspring. It is natural for humans to band together with other members of their “group” to protect and advance their collective interests. It is natural for humans and other species to join forces to protect their territory and their right to whatever resources are to be found there. All other groups (races) of human beings and most other living species evince these natural traits and actions, except the Black Race. This is not a natural phenomenon, but a maliciously contrived condition imposed upon us by White supremacists and racists for the purpose of gaining material and economic advantage. Contrary to popular belief among Black folks, Whites and Arabs did not enslave Blacks because they “hated” us; no emotion was involved at all, unless one considers greed to be an emotion (this writer does not). They were motivated by an all-consuming desire to secure and amass material things, especially those things which they valued highly. Had they been able to achieve their goals and objectives without going to the trouble and expense of enslaving an entire race of Black people they would have done so. Accordingly, had they been able to be as successful by enslaving some race other than ours with less cost and trouble, they would have readily done so. We were selected because there was more of an “upside” and less “downside” to victimizing our race than any of the other possibilities.
Black folks also have a tendency to act as though White folks always had unlimited money and opportunity to invest in taking over control of virtually the entire world. We use this presumption as an excuse for not doing what we need to and MUST do if we are to change our condition for the better. The White race started out with fewer resources to do what they did, than Black folks had to do what we needed to do. The fundamental difference is one of RESOLVE. White folks are resolute about whatever interests them; Black folks tend to be philosophical or rhetorical. White folks are never satisfied until they have obtained the object of their desires; Black folks satisfy ourselves by talking the thing to death! White folks practice achieving their goals and objectives “by ANY means necessary; Black folks are satisfied to quote Malcolm X in this critical regard. White folks prioritize what they want, then commit themselves and whatever resources they can muster to accomplishing what it is they desire. Black folks talk about all the wonderful things we need and want, but we’re all too busy to apply the effort and resources that would be required to gain them. We all have day jobs which presumably consume all our time and energy that might otherwise go toward the “Cause” of our Race; the result is that we have only rhetoric and ‘hot-air’ to devote to the uplift of our people. There is no one to blame for that situation but ourselves! There is no comfort-zone from which one can bring about revolutionary change. Someone has to give up something, and the more people willing to make whatever sacrifices are called for, the greater the potential for success. The reverse is also true: the fewer people willing to prioritize a Cause, the more certain it is to fail.
Jim Clingman’s call for Black Nationalists to come to Cincinnati on December 9, 2006 was rooted in our increasing dissatisfaction with the “leadership” being provided our people by the traditional integrationist and assimilationist spokespersons of national stature. Inherent in our response to that call was the presumption that WE could and would provide a better quality and greater quantity of relevant leadership for our people. Venus Williams, the tennis superstar was informed after a difficult match recently, that an expert commentator in the studio had suggested that she needed to “come-to-the-net” more often during the game, and by doing so she would fare much better. Venus’ response was that there is a world of difference between offering commentary from the comfort of the studio, and playing against an opponent on the court. Perhaps the position we Nationalists have enjoyed on the sidelines watching integrationists and assimilationists play the game of racial politics has reduced and conditioned us to the role of commentators about the game as it is being played by others, much like the tennis commentator’s status vis-à-vis Sister Williams. Perhaps we were too quick to condemn the assimilationists from our comfortable positions on the sidelines where we had no obligation to do anything ourselves. Perhaps we failed to consider what all might be involved in providing leadership ourselves as opposed to commentating on the leadership being provided by others. However, suffice to say: Ignorance is no excuse.
Whether I like it or not, there is plenty of reason to question whether Black Nationalists are “ready-for-prime-time” as far as the need for effective Black leadership is concerned. As our elders used to say: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating!” The Movement to Bring Back Black offers Nationalists an opportunity to step-up-to-the-plate and presents ourselves and our credentials as candidates to supplant what Brother Saadiq Mance refers to as “Pleadership” being engaged in by our assimilationist opposites. If for ANY reason we are not up to that task, it is better that we refrain from condemning the pleaders for doing the only thing they know how to do, and that is, plead for a better break for our people from the White supremacist powers-that-be. Being too busy doing our various “day-jobs’ cannot be used as an excuse. Integrationists have day jobs too, they get paid to plead for relief, and they are convinced that is the only hope for Black people in racist America. If we believe otherwise, it is our responsibility to make our own case and get the job done – ALL excuses aside!
We ALL have day jobs doing something; so what else is new?