A Marshall Plan for the African Diaspora!

17 07 2012

Hello Bloggers! Thank you for visiting The Lumumba Afrika Report! Below is a response to a blog called The Wattree Chronicle. You can find the original post here. I suggest you read it and then submit any comments you have. However, please follow the established decorum policy as written on the About Me page. I have published my response below in its entirety.

Reply to The Wattreee Chronicle:

Greetings! I read your blog entry and I would like to respond with a line-by-line analysis and critique of your editorial on Cornel West, Tavis Smiley, and Barack Obama. I would like to explain my personal position about these matters and highlight places where we may agree, and point to areas of disagreement. I will preface this by saying that I refer to myself, and others of my “race” as African people, so I will do that here, except when I quote you or refer to information in your article when you use the term “Black”.

You say that it is not Barack Obama’s (BO) job to address “Black” issues. However, BO doesn’t have a problem addressing the issues of homosexuals, “Latinos”, Euro-Americans (whites), the financial sector, the health insurance industry, and the military-industrial complex. His supporters argued, during his first campaign for the presidency, that “he can’t say anything for African-Americans or else white people won’t vote for him.” Well this statement alone speaks to the implicit knowledge of the existence of persistent white supremacy as a functioning ideology. It was also argued that he was attempting to become the president for all US citizens, not just African-Americans. Well, I would like to ask rhetorically, aren’t Africans-Americans US citizens too? If so, why can’t he address our issues? It seems that this position is more of a tactic to neutralize any criticism from this constituency and absolve the President of any responsibility to answer our grievances whether historically or currently. This lays the foundation for the next President, especially if he or she is a Euro-American, not to do anything or even acknowledge the special circumstance of Africans in America. The next President can take the position that assumes if the “first Black President” doesn’t need to do anything to address your collective issues, why should the new non-African-American president do so? This is a dangerous precedent because for one thing, Africans in America are not immigrants. To quote Claud Anderson, we are “non-immigrants”. Which gives us a special status, not unlike the indigenous nations of people whose treaties with the USA have been illegally broken and they have been remanded to concentration camps called reservations. This is eerily similar to the concentration camps to which many African men and increasingly African women are being sent, which are called prisons. We as Africans still in America should consider these parallel phenomena.

Next you say that the Africans in America should stop “waiting for a messiah” and “it is the responsibility of the Black community to address Black issues.” That sounds good, but the problem with that is that no other ethnic group does this. Remember the Tea Party? How about the so-called Latino demonstrations in the last decade? The “Latinos” cannot write and pass the legislation themselves, can they? This position you take is a fantasy that is a veritable propaganda campaign to convince people of the “boot strap” theory of economic success which defies the very history of government action to intervene on the part of Euro-Americans at key points in the history of the socio-economic development of the USA. For example, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program was created during the Great Depression and was limited to Euro-American women whose husbands had deserted them. This case is interesting because it seems that when a community is economically deprived, the families break apart. Do you think we can apply this knowledge to analyze the situation of any other group in the USA? Secondly, even though we are not taught to think of it in this way, the wave of immigration from Europe in the late 19th century and the early part of the 20th century was a huge government program for Europeans only. It was a government supported initiative to increase the population of nominal white people in the USA. The government wanted to specifically dilute the large percentage of the population which were Africans. Where is the similar program like this for Africans from the continent? Oh yeah, I forgot, it was called slavery.

Moreover, you bemoan the fact that because we are adults now, and have a large (dispersed) consumer group that we should be doing things to “turn our community around” because “we have the resources to do the job”. Well, I agree with both points, but asking a person who is making $18,000 a year to start an economic program to “turn the community around” is beyond the ability of that person to do. Furthermore, if several people making a salary in the same range get together, they could still only barely make an impact unless there is a large institutional structure with several departments to direct and recruit membership by creating an economy of scale to even be effective. This is where I part with this “boot-strap” theory which, in my opinion, is essentially a “blame the victim” cop-out. The people who should be initiating this are the people who are continually let off of the hook in this equation, which is the wealthy class of Africans and the African leadership from the five spheres of influence. This is what Dr. Umar Johnson refers to as the SPREE–Status individuals (e.g. school superintendent, chief of police), Politicians, Religious leaders, Educational academics, and Entertainment professionals. These are the people with the financial capital, the influence, the intellect, (ostensibly) and the organizational ability to create these institutions into which Africans can invest a small portion of their consumer income for community building. It has happened before (e.g. Marcus Garvey), so why aren’t they doing it now? I know, we can point out that Garvey ultimately failed, but today there is no FBI program targeting Africans in America anymore to infiltrate and sabotage our institutions. We can do what we want without fear from the white man and institutional white supremacy stopping us, right? Oprah is a billionaire, and I don’t here a mumbling word from all of these “boot-strap” theorists and Obama defenders about the responsibility that she, Cosby, Johnson, and Jordan are avoiding. They could easily create a 25 to 50 million dollar endowment to start an African-American think-tank and investment fund to address the specific issues that concern the African community. They could employ the thousands of African university graduates from the USA, the Diaspora, and the African continent itself to develop programs, policy initiatives, remedies, recommendations, and strategies to address these issues. They could create a national credit union and find people with experience in finance and banking who are African and primarily market this opportunity to all African-Americans to invest in an interest bearing fund and open a savings or checking account for personal banking. This investment fund could be used to build business and projects which would yield a retirement stipend for its shareholders. It could go to invest in African communities in the USA and establish relationships with other Africans in the Diaspora and on the continent for the purposes of educational, cultural, and economic training and partnership programs. Exchange programs could be set up for African students to come to the USA or for Africans in the USA to go to Africa and to participate in language and cultural exchange programs.  University students could do study abroad programs, and a scholarship fund can be set up for African students to study in majors which are in need on the continent and within the community. Students accept the scholarship as a loan with the understanding that they must serve for a demonstrable minimum amount of time working on issues in the community to change the reality of Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora in order for the debt to be forgiven. Community learning centers and media distribution networks could be set-up and franchised to disseminate knowledge of our history and issues that are important to us as Africans.  These places could employ the thousands of teachers that are being laid-off and fired from public schools across the USA. Why don’t they do something like what I have just described? I am no millionaire, and I don’t have the caché of the African intelligentsia, nor the influence of the entertainment moguls to do this, but they do. And yet we continually blame the guy on the corner with a 40 ounce beer and sagging pants or the single mother with too many children for not “doing something” to change their communities, and no one calls out the big fish for doing the same thing—which is nothing at all!

Furthermore, the pathologies that afflict Africans in America are well documented and we know the cause. Yet this cause is taboo, and the critics of Africans’ plight in the USA say that to solve these ills, we should stop talking about the cause and take personal responsibility. This is laughable, because the perpetrators of the problems which were the beginning of our woes have never taken any responsibility. Radical new approaches like what I have laid out need to be taken, but they are not being done, why?

You say we should “fight for our piece of the pie”. Well, what if there is poison baked into the pastry? The basis for the foundation of the USA cannot be overlooked, and to say now that we should just seek to benefit from the centuries of organized criminality which resulted in our enslavement is severely misguided. No one has said that “we should wait for someone to come to our rescue and twist political arms”, that is what the financial elite and wealthy bankers on Wall Street do, but we should recognize that among many Africans in America, there is pervasive mis-education about the world and our history in the world. There is a lack of understanding about our fundamental circumstances in the USA, and an inability to talk honestly and frankly about our history in this country including analyzing the goals, strategies, and outcomes of the Civil Rights movement to come to a understanding of whether or not it accomplished what we sought. I would argue that it hasn’t or else we would not have our present predicament. In relation to this, I agree with your critique of the self-appointed leadership, but the reason they are there is because the Black Power/Liberation movements and the Civil Rights movement were co-opted, and crushed. Into the vacuum of leadership came the present bunch of buffoons, and there exists today no widespread grassroots organization into which ordinary Africans can seek membership. This is the negative outgrowth of the political assassinations and the misdirection of the Civil Rights movement into electoral politics, it was not due to the shortcomings and peccadilloes of African-Americans.

The tendency of refusing to vote is not only limited to the African community either. The average percentage of voters each election year is roughly 37% during a congressional only year and about 50-55% during a presidential election, the African population in the USA is 13%, so some others think voting is worthless too, not just us. Moreover, you speak of the empty churches that don’t open to employ people for babysitting jobs, and ridicule the preachers for absconding to the suburbs with the parishioners’ money, well, these churches actually operate under a government program called the Faith-based initiative (FBI), started by George W. Bush, (a former president of the USA) to actually control the organizing ability, political culture, and the actions of these churches, which explains why you see the activity you mentioned.

Additionally, in a few paragraphs in your piece, you made allusions to African-American behavior like “watching Kobe’s jump shot” and to paraphrase “parents allowing their children to watch hip hop videos that are instilling negative values”, well this may be a valid point, however, in order for this to be really understood deeply, we have to study the history and nature of the mass media and the propaganda apparatus themselves. Without doing such, we are really limited in knowing the full impact and function of things like professional sports and music videos. If we understand this, and the pervasive saturation of these media in our culture, it would be very difficult not to know why it has the impact it does. To put it bluntly, it produces this behavioral effect by design! Since we don’t have education programs to inform people of what the effects of the media are now and historically, especially concerning Africans and the depiction of us, there is no way we can criticize people for exhibiting the behavior they do after consuming these media, especially if we don’t understand the phenomena ourselves.

Again, I am no a fan of Tavis or Cornel, but to say that they should have “wait(ed)” until Obama was sworn in to criticize him is ridiculous. Let those two do whatever, they want. We know what they are. They are part of the Entertainment and Education classes of the African petit bourgeoisie, so to expect anything at all from them or Al, Jesse, and others is unrealistic. Their function is to either support the system, or to be the official critics, beyond which no criticism is allowed to be even heard. There are several more incisive critiques of Obama that have much more relevance, but they are being drowned out and ignored so that West and Smiley can give benign, unfocused criticism about something as unspecific as poverty. They haven’t addressed any of the issues that I have mentioned in this piece, and what I have said hardly scratches the surfaces of what could be pointed out as failings on the part of Obama and the Africans of exceptional accomplishments in America. And regarding your accusation of Tavis Smiley’s figurative demand for Obama to “kiss his ring”, Obama did go on his show on October 18, 2007. It is on YouTube for crissake’s! Why would you make such a large oversight?

I won’t readdress your criticism of Cornel West since I already stated what I think about him, but I find it ironic that in a post where you are basically defending Obama’s decision to ignore the African community for his own higher moral and intellectually superior reasons, you then criticize the major media for hyping Cornel West as an intellectual. Don’t you think the media has assisted in creating the image of Obama as the same kind of superior intellectual? Why would not the media be wrong about both men concerning their aptitude for the positions they hold? It seems that the brunt of your attack in the piece is directed at the most powerless in the entire equation—African people—and that you further use your energy to attack the supposed spokesmen for these people, Smiley and West, all the while defending the most privileged, aloof, and elitist of them all, another Ivy League graduate, Barack Hussein Obama himself!

Then confusingly in the twelfth paragraph, you say that the media are “dragging Black people through the mud”, but in the opening six paragraphs, you basically do the same thing. You say that the media are embracing West, and we should be skeptical of these media figures, and then immediately say that Africans should stop listening to people who “tell us what we want to hear” but listen to people who tell us what we “need to hear”. People are prepared to hear what they are prepared to hear. If they have been indoctrinated and mis-educated for decades, how are they supposed to know what they need to hear? It sounds like more blaming the victim to me, I think you should really start examining the history and structures of the United States’ indoctrination system from the media to education in order to understand why it is so easy for a person like Cornel West to be offered as an acceptable intellectual, and why people have the basic assumptions in the first place to accept what he is saying as profound, or at least to accept his image as an intellectual. If you study this history, I think you will find out why we are behaving in this manner. If you haven’t already seen the lecture or read her book, see or read “Post-Traumatic Slavery Syndrome” by Dr. Joy DeGruy.

Lastly, you say that Obama’s shortcomings are in failing to address the threat of the GOP. Why do you think he is doing that? He is a smart man isn’t he? Maybe his actions are done intentionally, and the real owners of the USA, the powers behind the throne, don’t want him to succeed in his articulated campaign agenda, so we have what amounts to political theater where we have the good cop / bad cop motif. You know the routine. It’s similar to the Charlie Brown and Lucy bit. It’s when Obama tries really hard to get things passed, but those nasty old Republicans just won’t let him do it. Darn! You sit back and watch and say something to the effect of:

I wish he had a majority in the house and senate, and then he could really make things happen.

Oh but wait, he did have  majorities. However, because he didn’t fulfill his campaign promises, the Democratic voters stayed home and the Tea Party crazies came out in droves to vote the way they always have voted—on a straight white nationalist ticket. So much for our friends the white liberals!

Finally, you said condescendingly that “race was the last war and this one is about class”. My friend, class has always been the war. I think it was Khalid Muhammad, who said it best: (to paraphase)

“Some people say it’s a class issue. Well, wherever the black-white dynamic exists, you’ll find the White is the upper class, and the Black is the lower class.”

Class isn’t just about a well-paying job and a nice house. It is about self—determination as a nation of people, and social wealth built up between members of that nation. It is about a group having their own holidays, folk-ways, mores, festivals, rights of passages, language, names, and world view. It is recognition by other nations that you are protected from ill-treatment because one belongs to a strong nation that can come to the aid of its people through defense systems. It is about having for each individual deferential privileges which are distinct from others who are not members or citizens of your nation. It is about commanding assumptions from others of possessing strength, character, moral values, and intellect that are deemed to be present without one having to disprove a negative. It is so much more the merely, having a degree and working in a multi-cultural, post-racial environment. Obama, West, and Smiley represent none of that.

Thanks for reading!

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5 responses

30 12 2014
Kushite Prince

“Oprah is a billionaire, and I don’t here a mumbling word from all of these “boot-strap” theorists and Obama defenders about the responsibility that she, Cosby, Johnson, and Jordan are avoiding. They could easily create a 25 to 50 million dollar endowment to start an African-American think-tank and investment fund to address the specific issues that concern the African community. They could employ the thousands of African university graduates from the USA, the Diaspora, and the African continent itself to develop programs, policy initiatives, remedies, recommendations, and strategies to address these issues. They could create a national credit union and find people with experience in finance and banking who are African and primarily market this opportunity to all African-Americans to invest in an interest bearing fund and open a savings or checking account for personal banking. This investment fund could be used to build business and projects which would yield a retirement stipend for its shareholders. It could go to invest in African communities in the USA and establish relationships with other Africans in the Diaspora and on the continent for the purposes of educational, cultural, and economic training and partnership programs.”
BINGO! You said a mouthful right there! I have said this many times about these black millionaires. The reality is they don’t really do anything for the black collective. Most of them have that mentality of “well I got mine,so you get yours”. It’s really shameful in my opinion. Speaking of Bill Cosby,I would love to hear your opinion on the Cosby sex scandal. Is this his karma for disrespecting black people in past statements? Or is he being set up by white power structure? Some believe this payback from when he tried to buy NBC years ago. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. Still trying to sort some things out about this issue. Although I do find it hard to believe that all these mostly white women claim he drugged them. Why now? Why did they wait so long to come forward? Just a little food for though.

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3 01 2015
Lumumba Afrika

Thanks for the reply and your agreement with my statement. I always hear a phony moralising with respect to the youth, and yet the most “powerful” and wealthy among us have done nothing collectively to economically or politically increase the material wealth and quality of Afrikans’ lives as a group. So much of their statements are hypocritical. Furthermore, the things they have done have been ineffective like when Cosby donated money to the Detroit school system. The problem is the design of the curriculum, not solely finances. It appears he has failed to see this because he bought into the Euro-centric self-serving image of the USA, and the place Afrikans have in the USA social order.

IMO, he is being set-up by the white power structure, however I don’t know why. It could be to manipulate the Afrikans to start turning on one another as we see more traitors and confused Afrikans get thrown out of their status positions to the delight of the white collective. Remember, whites are very vicious and sadistic, so it could just be entertainment for them to see a “high level” Black man get embarrassed and have his reputation destroyed within his social circles, not so much karmic retribution for his anti-Afrikan statements. Usually whites reward anti-Afrikaness.

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3 01 2015
Nubian Times

Dr. Amos Wilson spoke about “wealthy” Africans in America. He believed that it was clearly unreasonable to expect them to support any African liberation movement because these wealth Africans are totally vested in the white hegemonic system.

1:44:34

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4 01 2015
Kushite Prince

Wonderful video! Wilson knocks it out the park! A great breakdown about wealth.

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4 01 2015
Kushite Prince

Yeah I agree with you. I definitely think he’s being set up. I also think his son’s death was very fishy. They say his only son was robbed on the side of a road. But he had an expensive car that was not stolen. And he had hundreds of dollars in his pocket that was not taken by the thief. Hmmmmmmm…….some things just don’t add to me.

“, whites are very vicious and sadistic, so it could just be entertainment for them to see a “high level” Black man get embarrassed and have his reputation destroyed within his social circles, not so much karmic retribution for his anti-Afrikan statements. Usually whites reward anti-Afrikaness.”

This is very true. This is a possibility as well. Their viciousness can never be understated.

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