The Miseducation of Pro-Blackness Part 2

As Dr. King wrote in A Stride Toward Freedom:

“Our concern would not be to put the bus company out of business, but to put justice in business.”

Being pro-black it is not about destroying white people, but ensuring that the black collective is not fatally weathered by the wrath of white supremacy.

This ideal is commonly lost to non-blacks whose hierarchical placement has always been contingent on the subjugation of another faction. This proves that far too often individuals see the world as they are, and not for what it is.   powerblk

So when a conscious person says black power, and acts or speaks in allegiance with others of the black collective through supporting black businesses, attending or promoting the black university, or in an endless devotion to the principles of black nationalism, this is not running away from whites or other groups nor is it working to put them down. Rather these actions exist to run towards blackness and lift the black collective from the subjugation that has followed us for centuries. Due to the intense subjugation that has fomented the dominance and capital of other groups seeking to consummate whiteness, it is understandable that the same evil be expected of blacks. This expectation also reveals that these groups, although benefitting from racism, and appropriating racism to advance their collectives, fail to properly conceptualize the term.

blkpwrNon-black factions also fail to see the good in black pride. Instead the confident or proud black person is commonly labeled “racist,” “hateful,” or evil. Conscious blacks are made to feel guilty for being prideful, for remembering all that the global gaze begs them to forget.

On the flip side, blacks often find praise for forgetting their past and rejecting nationalism for a humanistic initiative by those who fail to see blacks as human. Consider how the “new black” term which surfaced a few years ago by producer/artist/entrepreneur Pharrell Williams and writer/actress Issa Rae, proved lucrative and even viral to blacks looking to covertly appease whites as a means to seemingly “get ahead.”

Yet to articulate a phrase like “black power” is to secure placement on a black list, where once again the term “black” is given a negative connotation. To the black nationalist, given their collective understanding of our racism environment, understand that placement on this list is a reflective of a positive action deemed negative by a collective threatened by black pride.

So when I say black power, I speak solely to conscious blacks and blacks on their journey to consciousness. Those who do not see Africa as a place.

I was told recently that my strive towards “Africa” was not in unison with the black diaspora but in rejection of whiteness. That Africa to me, a so-called “black American,” Africa is not unique to a country, tribe, or dish, but a metaphorical place that represents an escape from whiteness.      Depositphotos_3780361_s

I fail to see alleviating the physicality of Africa as a bad thing. Yes, the food, and the little things that those abducted from the continent would not know, are important components to Africa. But Africa is not a place, its a state of mind. There are plenty of indigenous Africans saving up at this moment, or applying to western schools to escape the embrace of the continent, due to misconstruing this embrace as a choke hold binding them to a disenfranchisement fictively believed to dissolve once their feet touch the western soil. The pro-black gaze understands that this soil is quicksand, not a step stool for upward mobility.

My blog has evoked a similar upset, as many have complained that my analysis on black male portrayal, notably the function of the black gay male in mainstream western culture is somehow an attack on sexual orientation as a whole. Sexual orientation has never really been a prime area of focus for those on a stride towards consciousness, as sexual orientation, like gender and socio-economic castes function to distract the black mind from blackness. To be pro-black is to eschew the art of deflection, mastered by white supremacists who benefit from the deterred gaze.  To be pro-black to is become immersed in functionality, not individuality.  Specifically, to be pro-black to devote your life to explicating how whites are yet again employing black bodies as agents against one another. In short, to be pro-black is to be inclusive. It is encompass sexual orientation, gender, socio-economic status, and education under the umbrella of blackness.

blkpowerMental liberation enables the conscious to see past the divisive attributes created by whites to foment black confusion. Blackness then becomes exposed as a construct to which the conscious can mold as they please.Many pro-blacks  see themselves as an empty canvass to be painted by their own brushes.  In reworking a black identity, the conscious black removes their collective self from their binary oppositional placement alongside white people. Their existence and ideology has nothing to do with whiteness, and everything to do with assembling the displaced pieces of the African diasporic puzzle.

Pro-blackness blackness does not crush everything  in its path to advance. True greatness, and blacks are the epitome of such greatness, does not need to strategically obliterate competition, simply because there is none.

All of Africa’s children will not find their way back to their mother, a mother who while still beautiful, is incessantly raped, bludgeoned, infiltrated, and colonialized just like her children. But physically being in Africa means nothing if your mind is sullied by a European mindset.

Africa in the metaphorical sense, is what the continent was in the centuries preceding the 15th century. It is with those who built the pyramids, the kings and queens of our past, our oral history encoded the whispers of the winds. Africa is in the sphinx, in David Walker’s Appeal, in the unpublished and unwritten slave narratives, in James Baldwin’s essays, in Toni Morrison novels, in conscious fashion, indie films, in Malcolm X, Dr. King and Fred Hampton speeches.

4eecfb549e19a3992b8cd4e771dbb4efI may never set my oversized feet on the continent, but that is neither here nor there. Africa to me is a place in my heart that pumps what W.E.B. Dubois referenced as “the hot dark blood of my ancestors.” Africa is a state of mind that allows me see melanin as not only redeeming but unifying.

Africa is not one place. Rather, Africa has a place within all her children scattered throughout the diaspora.

Black Power ❤

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Ten Ways to Protest Without a Picket Sign

Amidst a world where fatalities in our community are a daily occurrence and cultural appropriation is at an all time high, black culture is under attack. While the number of protests that have taken place over the past year raised awareness for the conflicts that consistently surround us, this post will show that there is more than one way to protest. In fact, this list will outline 10 ways to combat racial conflict.

I. Take control of the conversation: Disallow whites to take ownership over our stories 

It’s our history, so we can’t depend on white schools to teach it to us. It’s our worth, so we can’t expect those who robbed us of this to gift it back unscathed.

Thus any rendering of black history-contemporary or traditional should be issued by a black person (preferably a conscious black person). Contemporary history comes in the form of the news, an area where blackness is continually exploited to maintain stereotypes and obtain ratings.

White journalists in particular, often capitalize on the glamorizing of black stories when told by white people. This done in whites taking credit for bringing countless black injustices to the forefront. Two examples that hold hands across time are Henrietta Lacks and the contemporary tragedy of Kalief Browder.

Both stories proved commercially fruitful, in bringing both tragedy and injustice to the forefront. However, bringing this issue to the forefront failed to negate the seemingly inevitable unhappily ever after. Thus, it suggests that the white savior is only truly capable of saving him or her self, and we must tell out own stories so that the stories are not only told but heard.

II. Support our own businesses 

Most of us work extremely hard for our money. However, much of this hard-earned money circles right back into white establishments. What if this money stayed in the black community?

If you take a look at any black community, you will notice that the majority of area businesses are not operated by black people. These vendors never dwell where they make their dollar. In fact, they take their black dollars back to their own communities to spend.

Now, if we as a people solely supported those who look like us, those who merely exploit the black community for profit would go bankrupt. We must acknowledge the power in our purse and begin to act in our  best interest.

While I run the risk of coming off judgmental, I want to address the weave epidemic that plagues the black community. While the look works to qualify the natural beauty of black women, it is yet another business that exploits the black community.

You wouldn’t cover a golden crown with a bed sheet- so we as a group should refrain from covering our crowns of glory with hair from other ethnicities.

The hair you were born with was gifted to you for a reason. Please think twice about overtly praising the aesthetics of other ethnicities over your own at the expense of making non blacks rich in the process.
III. Think like a producer not a consumer 

While minimizing supporting businesses operated by non-blacks is an accessible revolutionary act, we as a people must take this a step further. Specifically, we must begin thinking more like producers and less like consumers. So, it should never be where can I get a (insert item or product here), it should be one of 2 things:

How can I create/produce my desired item?
What black owned producer can I support?

While freedom starts in the mind, a large portion of freedom is in the ability to produce all that we consume. Thus, if we as black people use it, we must make it!

IV. Do not glamorize interracial relationship or biracial children

Despite casual romantic encounters becoming the contemporary face of relationships, who you marry and reproduce  with is a huge decision. Contemporary culture glorifies interracial relationships, making them the face of a post- racial society. The off spring of interracial couples are becoming the contemporary face of blackness as believed to be the more beautiful, more intelligent medley of the formerly oppositional races.

I am here to say that black love is revolutionary. To choose a black partner and produce black children is to truly place black at the center. Choosing a non black partner while we as a race are under attack, weakens our stance. The gesture of going outside the race to marry and reproduce places the most central parts of your life as detached from blackness. Simply, black love is powerful in that it silently screams to the world that we are enough- that blackness is the beginning, middle and end for us as black people.

V. Use all acquired skills to uplift the black community 

Education, although a hefty investment of both time and money, is made worthwhile if used for communal rather than personal gain. What our most cherished pioneers have in common (Harriet Tubman, Paul Robeson, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., George Jackson and Angela Davis) is that they used their acquired skill set for the greater good of their people. I mean, what good is any knowledge bottled all in one head?

VI. Don’t concern ourselves with white comfort

Too many times I encounter blacks overly concerned with maintaining the comfort of whites around them. For example, some blacks will tip toe around issues central to the black experience or merely bite their tongue to avoid revealing too much passion towards cultural issues.

The comfort of blacks, on the other hand, is a seldomly considered component of both traditional and contemporary society. Thus, blacks should never be less black to ensure the complacency of non others. Be black. Be unapologetic. Be unapologetically black.*

VII. Make a daily commitment to uplift the race 

It can be as simple as complimenting a black woman on her appearance, or commending any black male or female for doing something well.  We as a community are amazing, so why be shy in informing someone that we know how excellent they are?

VIII. Stop using the n word but don’t lose patience with those who haven’t caught on 

The n-word is a term that traditionally dehumanized our ancestors. It was a term implemented to label the basest form of existence- an existence believed to be more in line with an animal than a human.

For these reasons, it is not revolutionary to be able to hear this word and not flinch, nor is colloquially tossing this word around lessening to its effect. The sole way to evolve from the term is to stop using it entirely.

Blacks largely underestimate their power in making things possible. Nothing is cool until a black person gets their hands on it. If we don’t use this term, it suddenly has an expiration date- if we do, the expiration date never comes.
IX. Patronize and popularize blacks who positively represent the culture

Bottom line: if black celebrities are not working to advance the race, they should not be supported. We as a culture cannot afford to be selfish, so if a member of our community is afforded the platform of celebrity and does not use this to positively uplift his or her people, they should not be regarded as allies solely on the basis of skin color.

For example, rapper Jay Z conveniently uses his blackness whenever he feels he is done wrong. These instances are not suggest that Jay Z aligns himself with the black experience, but to evoke passion from his fan base. This is an example of a black celebrity who exploits his own culture for personal gain. As a result, he should be categorized with most non-blacks and should not be trusted under any circumstances.
X. Place black at the center of all things

You may be a woman/man, a student, a parent, sibling, fortune 500 employee, etc but you must be black first. As faces of the revolution we must carry our blackness with pride. Despite the construct of blackness being initially cast upon us as something negative, blackness as a color and culture is something that we as black people must place at out communal center as our most cherished attribute.

Whether you decide to implement one of these suggestions, or all ten remember that black is beautiful. Also, be mindful that the revolution starts inward and works its way out. Thus, merely by  reading this post you have taken a step down revolutionary road…

One love.

* The phrase “unapologetically black” is taken from a colleague at work and thus is not a SB original phrase.