The Consequences of Separatism, an Ideal gone wrong

Update:

MSNBC’s Joy Reid to Rand Paul: ‘Take a Deep Breath Before You Talk About Race’

This was the message that Joy Reid sent to Rand Paul because he was talking about North Carolina new voting requirements.  She takes umbrage that white Paul would talk about something that according to some stats will affect 25% of Blacks who do not have ID.  So where did this information come from? After a little digging I was able to find the source.  The Stats were based on a Survey of 987 people done in 2006 by Brennan Center for Justice at NYU school of law. You can see the survey here.

Some of the sample questions are:

1) Do you have a current, unexpired government-issued ID with your picture on it, like a driver’s license or a military ID?

2) If yes, does this photo ID have both your current address AND your current name (as opposed to a maiden name) on it?

3) Do you have any of the following citizenship documents (U.S. birth certificate/U.S. passport/U.S. naturalization papers) in a place where you can quickly find it if you had to show it tomorrow?

4) If yes, does [that document] have your current name on it (as opposed to a maiden name)?

As you can tell by the questions the survey is geared to getting negative answers, unexpired id’s, current name and address, maiden names, etc.  So the issue is not the lack of ID but that some people do not update their ID’s as they move or get married or let their ID’s expired.  Reid also mentions that waiting in line is to onerous for some people and restricting early voting by one week will cause undue burden, as people might have to wait in long lines.  Is this the best argument, it is a civic duty if you find it that difficult…

The other issue was people who had been incarcerated because of “youthful mistakes”, maybe is time that we stop making it easier for those who keep committing these youthful mistakes and start teaching people of all ages that actions have consequences, whether you are young or old.

In my last post I mentioned the “Black Power” movement that immediately followed the Civil Rights movement.  Both movements had profound influence and effect on our Society and particularly the Black community, but the movements while they coincided towards the end of one, were diametrically opposing each other. The goals were similar, empowering the Black community which had been long oppressed, the way to achieve this was very different.

The Civil Rights movement as led by Dr. Martin Luther King was about achieving equality and assimilation into the larger American Society.  The Black Power movement was about separating the communities and attaining the equality but not assimilation. Instead, it was about demonstrating, embracing the differences, in a way it was Separate but Equal but from a Black perspective.  One was peaceful and was often the victim of violence, the other was willing to use violence to achieve its goals, by any means necessary.  Many of who had participated in the earlier movement, had joined the other due to their disillusion to the other movement.

While many think that the Black Power movement disappeared because of its anti-white, separatist tone the movement never did.  Its Marxist,  Socialist ideas and the feeling that White America had to pay for its past transgressions continue to live today, it is very much a part of the Black political structure.

Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the Black Movement was the Black Panther Party, which serve as a sort of armed wing of the movement.  it also was probably the most responsible for the dying of the movement.  But did is really die or did it just morphed and just became part of the  Black community psyche, at least in the Black Arts, Black Music, and the Inner Cities.

While the leaders of the Black Power movement embraced the idea “that power was the only thing respected in the world”, Dr. King before his death, said the slogan was “a cry for daily hurt and persistent pain” and he was opposed to what he saw some positives in the movement of attaining political and economic power for the Black Community he believe that its followers placed too much emphasis on the negative connotations: black separatism, retaliatory violence, isolationism, and a defeatist attitude.  Which made him argued that; “Black Power was a nihilistic philosophy born out of the conviction that the Negro can’t win” something he rejected vehemently.

Recently Don Lemmons CNN anchor, cause a stir in the Black community by unveiling his 5 things to do by the Black community.

  1. And number one, and probably the most important, just because you can have a baby, it doesn’t mean you should. Especially without planning for one or getting married first. More than 72 percent of children in the African-American community are born out-of-wedlock. That means absent fathers. And the studies show that lack of a male role model is an express train right to prison and the cycle continues. So, please, black folks, as I said if this doesn’t apply to you, I’m not talking to you. Pay attention to and think about what has been presented in recent history as acceptable behavior. Pay close attention to the hip-hop and rap culture that many of you embrace. A culture that glorifies everything I just mentioned, thug and reprehensible behavior, a culture that is making a lot of people rich, just not you. And it’s not going to. That said, though, the political right is not off the hook.
  2. Number two, finish school. You want to break the cycle of poverty? Stop telling kids they’re acting white because they go to school or they speak proper English. A high school dropout makes on average $19,000 a year, a high school graduate makes $28,000 a year, a college graduate makes $51,000 a year. Over the course of a career, a college grad will make nearly $1 million more than a high school graduate. That’s a lot of money.
  3. Now number three. Respect where you live. Start small by not dropping trash, littering in your own communities. I’ve lived in several predominantly white neighborhoods in my life, I rarely, if ever, witnessed people littering. I live in Harlem now, it’s an historically black neighborhood, every single day I see adults and children dropping their trash on the ground when a garbage can is just feet away. Just being honest here.
  4. Number four now is the n-word.  I understand poetic license, but consider this: I hosted a special on the n-word, suggesting that black people stop using it and that entertainers stop deluding yourselves or themselves and others that you’re somehow taking the word back. By promoting the use of that word when it’s not germane to the conversation, have you ever considered that you may be just perpetuating the stereotype the master intended acting like a nigger?A lot of African-Americans took offense to that, too. I wonder if I gave the right advice, I really did. But confirmation came the very next day on my way home when I exited the subway in 125th Street in Harlem. This little kid in a school uniform no older than seven years old, he was crying his eyes out as he walked down the sidewalk with his mother.I’m going to be honest here, she turned to me, and she said “I’m sick of you. You act like an old ass man, stop all that crying, nigger.” Is that taking the word back? Think about that.
  5. Here’s number five. Pull up your pants. Some people, a lot of them black, gave me flak for saying that recently on “The Wendy Williams Show.”  If you’re sagging, I mean — I think it’s your self-esteem that is sagging and who you are as a person it’s sagging. Young people need to be taught respect and there are rules. Sagging pants, whether Justin Bieber or No-name Derek around the way, walking around with your ass and your underwear showing is not OK. In fact, it comes from prison when they take away belts from the prisoners so that they can’t make a weapon. And then it evolved into which role a prisoner would have during male-on-male prison sex. The one with the really low pants is the submissive one. You get my point?

You can watch the video clip or read the transcript HERE:

As some of you might have imagined this list created quite a stir,  even those that agreed in part or with the whole list criticized him calling it overly simplistic and stereotypical, like 95.9 Magic out of Baltimore:

Although what Don Lemon listed rings true I personally do not think that wearing a suit and having a clean community will stop the problems in the black community. This over simplification of a complex issue is why I believe so many people believe that Trayvon deserved what he got. Until we get down to the root cause of the problems in the black community where going to keep spinning this wheel on how to solve a problem we do not understand.

Perhaps the most telling thing about that response is not the admission of a problem, but that they do no understand it or recognize the root cause of it.  Of course,  a black radio station that promotes all things  Black, would not say that the Culture that has evolved out the Black Power movement would blame itself or find itself at all responsible.

One of the most interesting responses to Don Lemmons list came from Russell Simmons.  Mr. Simmons who dresses as if he is going to the Country Club everyday, and has since his early days when he was just a struggling promoter before he hook-up with Rick Rubin in New York in the early 80’s.  I met Mr. Simmons at a couple of events when he was promoting a young rapper Kustis Blow before he hit is big with his younger brother,  who was part of the iconic rapping group RUN-DMC.  Simmons has become a multi-millionaire promoting what they termed as Black music, rapping and hip hop and his line of clothing which Lemmons’ list was an indirect attack on.

He wrote:

Dear Dom,

I got a chance to see what you said over the weekend about black America. At first I thought it was Fox News, but then I remembered you’re a CNN dude. I have nothing against Fox News, as Roger Ailes is my man, but the gospel you were preaching sounded like O’Reilly and Hannity were pulling your strings. Thank goodness my political director, Michael Skolnik, was on the show to stand up for African-Americans, because conservatives love when we blame ourselves for the conditions that have destroyed the fabric of the black community. I respect your courage on many other issues, but I can’t accept that you would single out black teenagers as the cause of their own demise because they don’t speak the King’s English or wear belts around their waistbands.

Right away he launch and attack by implying that Lemmon was being manipulated and used by 2 white correspondents. Bill O’Reailly and Sean Hannity, both who of Fox News, the Left’s boogeyman man.  He continued;

Hip-hop language and clothing styles are expressions of frustration with the status quo. Young people sagging their pants today is no different than young people rockin’ afros, dashikis or platform shoes in the ’60s and ’70s. And many of those rebellious youth grew up to be quite successful… bell bottom-wearing, pot-smoking, Barry Obama became the President of these United States of America and a long-hair, anti-war activist named John Kerry became Secretary of State defending our country in more creative ways than just using violence. They were knee-deep in a rebellious culture, and did anything but integrate into a world that they saw is filled with problems that needed fixing, filled with challenges, or in their mind, with problems that they could fix. And now they are fixing them.

This paragraph demonstrates not just of the historical context of that time but also of the problems that are rampant in the Black community.  He is ignoring that at that time the Black families were still a large component of the community, and those that dd become successful did it through education as most movement were actually part of college life.  Both of those things are sorely lacking in the community right.  Today’s non-conformists,  or rebellious youths,  don’t finish school, have kids out of wedlock, and are more likely to end in the justice system or dead.  Ignoring those differences is part of the reason why the Black community issues are so grave in places.

I want the black kids to grow up and be like you. I want them to know that their imagination is god inside of them and I want all kids, but especially black kids, to have the freedom to dream as well to create their own language. After all, without their jazz, blues, rock n’ roll and now their hip-hop, America wouldn’t even have a language of its own, much less a culture.”

This is how he closed his open letter, but what happens to those young people that dreamed big of becoming the next Jay-Z or the next Michael Jordan and only spoke a language they created if they fail at that.  They can’t leave the hood as they can’t communicate or function outside of their neighborhoods.  He also seems to forget that Black history is American history and such is its culture as hard as they try to separate the two, you would not one without the other, which was ultimately Dr. King’s point.

Don Lemmon responded to Russell Simmons with his own open letter, I can’t the video but it is worth a watch, here the link:

Don Lemmon obviously is taking the Dr. King’s approach to issues that linger in the Black community and others where poverty reigns, he wants everyone empowered to succeed in any community, not to be separate and unequal blame everyone but himself,  an approach that was taken by Simmons and other Lemmon detractors.

Mr. Simmons figured prominently recently because while launching his own Youtube channel, his company produced what was called the “Harriet Tubman” sex tape.  Mr. Simmons called it the funniest thing he had ever seen.  No I will not link to it, not because I don’t think he has the right to make, produce and market his business but because I thought it was very tasteless, extremely stereotypical and insulting to women of any color.  As I said that is Mr. Simmons right, but coming after the uproar after the George Zimmerman trial and days after the a rodeo clown was banned for life from performing at a State Fair because he wore a mask that resemble President Obama the hypocrisy is overwhelming.  Mr. Simmons felt compelled to write in the Huffington Post an article reaffirming the relationship that Blacks had with the Jewish community, after some in the Hip Hop community were directing their anger over the George Zimmerman verdict on Jews, who they mistakenly thought was of Jewish descent.

The same nihilistic, sexist, separatist  element that were present in the Black Power movement are very much alive and evident in the Hip Hop Culture.  Women are objectified, a live for the moment attitude persist.  So while the political structure has disappeared as such, they just moved to the Democratic Party which follows some of the same Marxist lite policies that were prevalent in the movement.

This Black Separatism that had been adopted by mostly the Arts community but also seeped into the consciousness of the community has prevented outside influences from assisting with its problems, it has also meant that anytime as someone such as Don Lemmon or Bill Cosby and many other Black Conservatives suggest assimilation and inclusion as part of the solution they have been marginalized, ridiculed and ostracized. It has also meant that finding a solution has taken a backseat to showing and demonstrating Black Pride and Solidarity, while dismissing everything else as acting White.

I want to close by saying that crime has declined overall,  virtually everywhere with the biggest drops in the Cities,  the problem is that the drop in overall crime has not been for the most part in the Black Communities, which have made the issues more evident.  To make matters worse the solutions being proposed do not address the issues most affecting the community.  For instance the Attorney General initiative to not prosecute certain drug offender violations,  which the Feds don’t prosecute anyway, States handle those but let say that it works, someone with several ounces of Marijuana for instance will not get prosecuted did that lower crime or just give that person an opportunity to commit other crimes to obtain said drugs.  It may lower the number of convictions but does that improve or help the community?

The same thing with the Presidents Executive Order — “White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans” you can read the Order here, but in a nutshell all it does is create another bureaucracy within the Department of Education to look for solutions to Black students under achievement.  Aside from proposing and implying that Black students are disproportionately discipline if fails to address any other issues. No mention of the many single family homes that consist of most of the underachieving students.

It will be difficult for the Black community to effectively deal with their issues, if it ignores how much the culture brought about the Black Power movement, and now being promoted by Hip Hop artist and their promoters contributes to their problems.  It also means that until the black community accepts its own complicity and  that of the Culture that they are so proud of,  its problems will persist, it not just Whitey this time.

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9 Comments

  1. Bori, You possess great knowledge of black history in America and have extraordinary insight into all of the POSSIBLE resolutions of his issue. You could become a valuable asset to any panel truly interested in helping to change things, especially within the black community. Here is what I see as the roadblock.

    Don Lemmons has nailed it. Others have similarly spoken so he is not alone. The roadblock is that those within the black community are not listening and they probably won’t.

    The truth is that no one who is white will ever be able to speak to them and get them to change. So far, no black person since MLK has been able to accomplish that either.

    When they say that it is all left up to blacks to change, then they resist at once without even hearing what is said by anyone. This will NEVER change until the current leaders are ALL replaced by responsible people like Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell and Don Lemmons.

    There are reasons, not valid, of course, why they continue to blame it all on whites and ignorantly expect them to do something. In doing so, they are admitting that they are incapable. They will never make any attempt to change. Here is why. They have no leaders.

    How on earth could y9u ever remove Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Ben Jealous and their like from their positions of p0wer? Please answer that. There will always be replacements for them unless they and their messages are permanently eliminated.

    • I was watching a documentary from Spain about life in Cuba. One guy that was interviewed was asked if the government opened up restrictions and because he had many family members in Miami, would he leave?

      He answered thus, paraphrasing; “I will never leave Cuba, yes things are hard and we have to barter to get eggs, but if I go to Miami I would have to get a job, pay for an apartment and my clothes and food” he paused then continued “here in Cuba we have everything we need to survive.”

      That is part of the issue we have nowadays, and if the present government is continued it is bound to get worse, we are giving incentives for not working, for being inresponsible and the leaders of the Black community are fighting tooth and nail to maintain that status quo.

      Dr. King wanted to empowered Blacks to do as well or as bad as anyone else, but today’s leaders just want to keep things as they are or get more freebies.

      But, there is light over the rainbow, as Cuba has shown us, it can’t last, at one point people see that just surviving is not good enough, and that is the best living of the government teat is ever going to get you. The government is Cuba has lifted most of its restrictions on private enterprises, what Cubans use to due in the Black Market they can now do freely.

      I am hoping that the same will happen here, anyone that remembers the Clinton years welfare reforms that led to mass lowering of the welfare rolls, and resulted in a boom to the economy, the same can and I hope will happen again, hopefully very soon.

      As for the current leaders, they are getting old and their power has waned, who will rise to take up the spots they leave behind, I don’t know.

      • Oh absolutely, they are part of the problem, but they do perpetuate the issues for their advantage.

        Take for instance the Harriet Tubman sex tape that Russell Simmons’ company made and was promoting, how many Black leaders have said anything about it?

        There has been furor over it, but it has mainly come from Black women, and not the most known ones at that. Compare to the rodeo clown and the difference is striking.

        Think about this, where have all the attention of the government and civil rights groups been directed to? Trying to protect, and help young black males. The Black Power movement was for males, Misogyny in the Black community is rampant.

        The whole Thug culture, its all about the male figures, women are only sex objects. How often are deadbeat dads really held accountable. The NAACP fought against laws that allowed the States to garnish checks of deadbeat dads. Black women though they bear the biggest burden in the community suffering because of the lack of attention to their plight are the most overlooked when solutions are sought. Here is some more information on the subject;
        http://madamenoire.com/291200/blackpowerisforblackmen-a-discussion-on-misogyny-in-the-black-community/

  2. I have a general question for Black people: Who are you? When Black people can answer this question with absolute conviction; there will no longer need to be any discussion about how we should respond to those who have oppressed our people. There is nothing wrong with self-defense. Even ants defend themselves. It’s a natural response to hostility or a threat. What bothers me about people who keep talking about assimilation is that it usually is given out of fear of being great and the lack of confidence to achieve it. People who aspire to greatness are not looking to form collaborations with their enemies; they believe themselves to be powerful enough to TAKE POWER and distribute a new wealth, philosophy, and make the “right” change that will improve their condition so that they can evolve as a people.

    This is what Black people must do.

    And there is nothing wrong with it.

  3. Thanks for the response, but you live in your own world at your own risk. This is a multicultural society, and whether you believe it or not I am not your enemy.

    The issue is not assimilation, but integration and cooperation. Their is nothing different between us but the tinge of our skins, seeking or taking Power by ignoring others will always leave you behind.

    If you want to go at it along, then don’t complain if your “enemies” are responsible for the failures that are bound to happen. You can’t be a warrior and a victim at the same time.

  4. Pingback: Justice For All

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