The Black Narrative: Fading Into the Darkness
No matter how you look at it, black people in America have endured some of the most virulent and vicious actions at the hands of whites. Whether it is the suffering that took place during slavery, or the atrocities and lynchings that were far too common during Jim Crow segregation, blacks have been constantly pressed against the wall of desperation and disquietude. While there was a period in which blacks were lulled to sleep under the illusion of equality, we quickly found out that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s greatest fear was now our reality — we had definitely integrated into a burning house.
As Michelle Alexander so convincingly alerted us, Jim Crow never ended; the rules simply changed. The mis-education of black youth, especially young black males, has served to turn the public education system into the ideal staging ground for the school to prison pipeline that continues to serve the high demand for inmates by the Private Prison Industrial Complex. If the extraction of black men from the inner city through this pernicious machination wasn’t enough, there has been an all-out assault on black men, and now black women, which could rival the lynchings that took place during the Jim Crow era.
Make no mistake about it, we are in some perilous times. Our men are being shot dead in the street, and our women are dying in police custody under mysterious circumstances, and even when their deaths can be explained, their arrests have been questionable. Blacks are rapidly approaching the point of no return; that point in our existence in which we will not be able to reverse the damage that has been done. There are some experts who estimate that if there is not a turn in the fortunes of the black collective, we will find ourselves in a place of complete irrelevance by 2038 and close to extinction by 2050.
The challenges that we face as a group of people are monumental, and it can be easy for us to become frenetic and unglued, living on the edge of hopelessness. As we gear up to fight on behalf of Samuel DuBose, a 43-year-old father who was shot in the head by Ray Tensing, a white police officer for the University of Cincinnati Police Department during a routine traffic stop for not having a front license plate, we are faced with the fact that we have no true foundation on which to stand and fight. We have no economic floor on which to build any type of infrastructure through which we can carry out any real actions, so our work is cut out for us.
As we still find ourselves reeling from the tragic death of Sandra Bland, a young black woman who died while in police custody in Waller Country, TX, we are faced with some tough decisions. We cannot continue with the status quo. The constant narrative that has characterized our journey cannot continue to be the way that our story is told. We have come to a point in which we must begin to write a new chapter in our journey. We must stop reacting from a platform of emotion, and we must begin to develop strategies that are focused on achieving specific agendas. We need to develop think tanks that are designed to engage all of our issues. Whites have more than 1200 think tanks that are devoted to ensuring that they maintain their position at the top of the socioeconomic ladder. At current, we have only one established think tank, and that is The Harvest Institute, which was founded by Dr. Claud Anderson.
Dr. Anderson has been the leader as far as proving a blueprint on how to lift blacks out of their current position through economic empowerment, which can only be accomplished by practicing black group economics on a vertical scale. Dr. Anderson has devoted a significant part of his life to fighting for the true liberation of our people, but he is now in his 80s, and while his heart and mind are willing, his body needs rest. It is time for younger men to pick up the torch, take his plan and put into action.
In addition to the economic elements of revolution, we also have to deal with the other components of elevation and empowerment, including the restoration of the black family nucleus, the holistic education of our youth and the reconditioning of the masses. There is a significant amount of work left to be done, and it will not be accomplished by marching and protesting. As I have said this before, without economic power to underwrite our protests, they are tantamount to a collective temper tantrum — nothing more.
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We must abandon the individualism in lieu of the unity that is the result of recognizing that we are one, and that as long as one of us remains involuntarily oppressed, none of us are truly free. In the past, we have been too vulnerable to the illusion of progress. This was most powerfully emphasized through integration. Before Dr. King was assassinated, he admitted to Harry Belafonte that he was fearful that although he was sure that blacks had won the right to integrate, we were most likely integrating into a burning house. It was when Dr. King’s thoughts shifted from social equality to economic empowerment that an elaborate plot to assassinate him was put in motion by the U.S. Government. (See Dr. King’s slaying Draws Jury Verdict, Court Decision: U.S. Government Agencies Found Guilty in Assassination of Dr. King)
We must do a better job of identifying what our real issues are, and then taking the necessary steps to address those issues. We are too easily distracted, and we have a proclivity to take on issues that have no intrinsic value in the process of advancing our cause. We must also do a better job of recognizing the machinations that are being used against us, and then effectively countering thing. We have the creativity and the knowledge available to develop strategies that will prove to be efficacious in countering the forces that are moving against us.
Personally, it is my belief that our greatest battle is being fought with the enemy within. There is an old African proverb that states, “If there is no enemy within, the enemy on the outside cannot hurt us.” It is the enemy within that makes us vulnerable to the external attacks of the enemy on the outside. Our gravitation toward individualism and perceived independence is an internal enemy. Our self-hatred and poor self-image is an enemy within. We must deal with those issues that cause us to be self-destructive in thought and behavior, and once we overcome that, we will be in a better position to engage the enemy on the outside. Until we deal with the enemy within, we will continue to fade into the darkness. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace, Ph.D.