African Americans: Sensible Response to White Supremacy.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) I keep hearing so-called Black activists talking about how the “White Supremacist” system is holding the Black man down. But can’t these so-called intellectuals see that if White Supremacy can hold the Black man down, that means that the White man is indeed supreme!!!? It’s directly analogous to a man going home and telling his family that he can’t feed them because “Willie won’t let him.” If Willie can prevent him from feeding his family, that means that Willie is the better man. Thus, every time we say, “the White man won’t let me,” we’re reinforcing the idea in our own minds that the White man is superior to us. It shouldn’t take Socrates to see that simple reality in that logic.
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While I understand that “the White man” has a system in place that is designed to give him the upper hand, all the whining in the world is not going to change that system. How long have we been whining so far, and what has it done for us? It hasn’t done us a damn bit of good, has it? No it hasn’t, and it never will.
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The fact is, we will never be able to out-whine, out-scream, or out-fight, the White man. The only way we’re going to overcome the denigrating effects of his system is to OUT-THINK him. So what we need to do is shut up and stop telegraphing our every thought; Turn off BET, MTV, and ESPN; and then start educating ourselves so we’ll have something of substance to bring to the table.
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And this is the perfect time to do that. The powers that be are currently embarked upon an agenda designed to dumb-down the entire poor and middle class segment of this society, because the fact is, we’re currently knee-deep in a not so covert class war. What the paleo-conservatives (social bigots) fail to realize, at least, at this point, is that the fiscal conservatives (corporatists) don’t care any more about them than they do Blacks, gays, or women. So while the corporatists are engaged in dumbing the rest of society down, if the Black community had the insight to start quietly embracing education and knowledge, that would serve to level the playing field that we’ve been traditionally complaining about – and what makes this the perfect plan is, knowledge is free. The only thing necessary to obtain it is to want it, and to have sense enough to respect it.


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But the root of the problem that we’ve traditionally had in the Black community is our attitude towards knowledge. As a direct result of our history of slavery, we’ve developed a sort of aversion to knowledge. We tend to equate the pursuit of knowledge with selling out. We see knowledge as part of the White man’s domain, so we look upon Black people of have a love of knowledge with disdain, because we see them as “trying to be White.”
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The reason for that is, during slavery the only Black people we knew who spoke proper English were “house niggas,” and many house niggas had a tendency to look down their noses at those of us who worked in the field. As a result of that experience, today, even highly intelligent Black people will often try to hide it, because over the years we’ve developed an attitude where many feel that we have a moral obligation to remain ignorant in order to prove our Blackness.
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That’s one of the weapons that’s being used against President Obama by many envious Black intellectuals. They’re trying to convince the Black community of the following:
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“I’m cool – see my long, wooly Afro, how cool I act, and how I can quote Lil’ Wayne when I’m on stage? I’m one of y’all. I just have enough intelligence to speak the White man’s language, so I’m keeping an eye on him for the people. But that Obama, he’s not like me. He don’t have no Afro, he don’t never quote Lil Wayne, and he’s obviously much too intelligent to be trusted.”
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People like those mentioned above, while posing as intellectuals themselves, are reinforcing a negative attitude towards knowledge that we desperately need to get past, and at the same time, promoting a negative stereotype of the Black male that even we embrace.
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Most of what we think we know about ourselves comes from the very same sources and stereotypes that informs White Americans about who we are. The problem with that is we’ve allowed ourselves to buy into a negative stereotype of ourselves that’s destroying the self-image of our youth, and our popular culture has not only embraced this negative stereotype as a romantically heroic image, but it’s embellishing upon it, and then we complain about being profiled – we’re profiling ourselves!
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So instead of benefitting from the luxury of defining ourselves in a positive light like every other culture in America, many Black people have quite literally embraced a form of gross ignorance regarding our own character. Thus, it is imperative that we take the time to stop just long enough to consider who we really are. Then once we become cognizant of the truth, warts and all, we should address our issues, and then teach our young people to embellish our assets.
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An excellent example of who we actually are was reflected around the turn of the 20th Century when you could find Black musicians sitting along the side of the road playing washboards, tubs, and anything they could put together that would make a sound. When people passed them by, including White musicians, they would simply smile, and sometimes even throw them a few pennies for the modest effort and industry that they displayed for even attempting to make real music with such crude instruments.
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These simple music-makers were looked upon as “quaint.” There was no hostility towards them at all, because they weren’t a threat. After all, they were no threat to the White musicians, since they could never hope to get any real instruction in music. Most of them couldn’t even read their names, so why should anyone ever worry about them learning to read music; and they had to struggle just to get through grade school, so what threat did they pose to White musicians who had access to the great music conservatories of the world?
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Well, little did the world know that in the very near future, those simple little ragtag musicians with their makeshift instruments would develop into some of the greatest musicians the world has ever known. They would contribute one of the most important and harmonically complex forms of music to the world in the history of all mankind.
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Few knew at the time that one day Universities, musicologists, and music conservatories all over the world would struggle to understand the complexity of their musical genius, and even fewer could have guessed that many of these “quaint” musicians would someday become world renowned, and synonymous with their respective instruments–Louis Armstrong, Jellyroll Morton, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane–just to mention a few.
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But what we’ve got to recognize and absorb as a community is that creativity is not restricted to just music. The reason that the creative genius of Black people has been reflected more in music than in business, science, or technology is because it was an area where we didn’t have to depend on the approval of others, and more importantly, we were rewarded in the community for its development. We’ve also got to recognize, as any scientist who studies cognition well knows, creativity is not stagnant–it has associative properties that allow it to be transferred from one endeavor to another. Thus, as Barack Obama is clearly demonstrating, Black people have much more to offer the world than a twelve bar blues.
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So today the Black community is in a similar situation as those early musicians were in their day, but this time we have the advantage of not having to sit on the side of the road. We have a supportive Black man in the White House, an economic environment that’s thirsting for innovation, creativity, and new ideas, and no one to hold us back. So all that’s left for us to do now is to recognize it’s a new day, shed all of the defensive excuses and bad habits that were a part of the old paradigm, and get to work.
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And our very first task should be to reassess and rid ourselves of the negative cultural mores that we’ve developed over the past hundred years or so. That involves discarding, and refusing to reward or romanticize the image of the Black man as urban predator. That is the very root of our problem. How can we possibly expect to raise a well adjusted generation of young people when their being sired by idiots running around in unlaced tennis shoes, wearing baseball caps sideways, and whose most heartfelt ambition is to be looked up to as a successful gangster? It can’t be done. So we’ve got to stop rewarding such behavior, and make that a community effort.
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When I was a kid my grandfather use to tell me, “All I want from this whole damn nation is a pretty little wife and a good foundation.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was relating the key to life to me in that one little limerick – the foundation of happiness and success starts with a solid family.
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So we need to start with our girls in order to get the attention of our young men. We’ve got to start teaching our young girls from birth that young men who assume the gangster image are bad news, and we’ve got to keep such images out of our homes. We must also create an environment where if BET wants to continue to enter our homes, its call sign will have to be changed to mean Black Excellence Television.
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In addition, we’ve got to demand more responsibility from our other community institutions. We’ve got to demand of our churches, that if they expect to take collection money out of our community on Sunday, they’d better be prepared to put some kind of service back into the community during the week. Our churches should be serving as low-cost child care facilities for working mothers during the week. They could then employ unemployed mothers, and at the same time hold classes in child rearing. The community should send the following message to our preachers -“Don’t just preach me a sermon, live me one.”
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And we should also encourage the promoters of these awards shows, like the NAACP Image Awards, to start placing more emphasis on honoring young scholars, educators, and the people in the community who are helping to move Black people forward, instead of the same old celebrities all the time. That isn’t to say that celebrities and entertainment shouldn’t be involved in the shows, but they should be the “help”, not the honorees. After all, if all our young people ever see the community honoring are singers, movies stars, and athletes, why should they aspire to be anything else?
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The only hope for the Black man is to make knowledge, the new soul of our culture, because God made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to think. Thus, it’s no longer enough to simply say “I’m Black and I’m proud.” It is long past time for us to start investing in our excellence, so we’ll have something to be proud of.
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The axiom that “Knowledge is power” is no myth. The truth of that assertion has been repeatedly proven throughout human history. For that reason, with very few exceptions, it has been the most knowledgeable who have ultimately prevailed. Thus, those who simply continue to advocate what’s been repeatedly tried and has failed miserably – attempting to whine, complain, and protest their way to equality – are on a fool’s errand. It’s time, therefore, to give the novel and completely obvious a try – the stability of excellence, and the strength of knowledge.

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Staff Writer; Eric L. Wattree