Friday, May 11, 2007

You can't choose my leaders

Malcolm X, Dr. King, Marcus Garvey, all names that are revered in the Black community, yet these men were reviled by the White establishment. Many who feared what these men represented celebrated when these leaders died. They partied like it was 1999, but in the case of Malcolm X and Dr. King, it was the 60s and all was peace, love and dropping out (a direct reaction to the Vietnam War). However, where was the love for Jimmy Hendrix? He did most of his grooving, doping and making his guitar wail in England. When he returned to his country, he came back "signed, sealed, delivered" as the official "mascot" of the English glitterati.

Roland Sheppard, in "The Assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X" wrote:

"I remember the mass media, reflecting their class hatred of Malcolm X, gloating and cheering his assassination. I remember the response to his death by the tens of thousands in Harlem, who for several days went to view his casket. I remember the eulogy by Ossie Davis that silenced the hyenas of the press when he said "He [Malcolm X] was our prince, our Black shining prince." In spite of all of the attacks by the mass media, Malcolm X has grown more and more popular as a martyred leader of his people and an uncompromising advocate of human rights and freedom."

In his movie, Farenheit 9/11, Michael Moore described the festivities at his church when Dr. King died. He described how appalled he felt that people he knew all his life could be so callous and racist.

Imagine this same celebratory atmosphere with the death of say... Ronald Reagan. After all, Reagan was not a hero to labor unions; he laid off striking air traffic controllers; he was not a hero to South Americans; he declared the contras were HIS heroes. These same contras would rape mothers while their children watched; these same Contras would mutilate, murder and brutally attack poor Nicaraguans for their political beliefs or just for extortion. Ronnie called these men heroes "the moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers." Reagan and his administration perpetuated the myth of the "welfare mother", this being understood to be the lazy, slothful, unmarried whore who was abusing the welfare system and taking money out of the pockets of rich White guys like him. Never mind that most people on welfare are White. This stereotype served to demonize and marginalize those who Reagan believed, and most White Americans believed, were the enemy.

Cut to Katrina and the slow or non-existent response to the majority Black population of New Orleans. Why in the world would you hurry to the aid of someone who is not a full-fledged American citizen, who is just a member of a group of people who abuse and use the "system" and do not contribute to your wealth in any significant way that you can imagine in your bigoted, racist bubble?

Of course, there is a long list of talented people of African ancestry who were reviled and detested by the White establishment. Namely, Paul Robeson, Muhammad Ali, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, etc. Most notably, the recently deceased James Brown was black-listed and could not find work because of his amazing commitment to self-reliance and rejection of any controls on his music and ideals.

What strikes me as interesting is that the people I have named above were the pull-themselves-up-by-their-bootstraps type. Yet, they were found to be undesirable, subversive, communist, rebellious or just the plain old oft-used defamatory "n-bomb".

You have to ask yourself, if people of such exceptional talent, brains and physical attributes are rejected, how do ordinary Black men and women stand a chance of "melting into the pot"? Lets face it, the White establishment does not really want that. They don't want Shaniqua next door. They want to keep her where they feel she belongs... in a housing project in the ghetto.

So don't tell me I should reject Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson because they are currently the latest Black leaders to be targeted for elimination. I just pray that no one decides, as many a crazy cracker has already decided, to take the decision out of my hands.

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