Black People, Free In Name Only

Black People, Free In Name Only
Black people marching for freedom.

AFRICANGLOBE – When December 22, 2012 comes around, if I am fortunate to still be here that is, I will be 50. And I almost hate to say it albeit I must, the cadre of writers and intellectuals who happen to be of African descent living in America are insipid disappointments. Many unfortunately are poorly read, self absorbed and even oblivious to the observation that theirs is a banal and mammonistic existence of being free in name only. They tend to write for an assortment of publications including but not limited to “The Root,”, “The Grio,”Bossip”,Newsone“ and other websites and topically attend to address at the moment issues Ad nauseam that truly have limited if any benefit to the empowerment of our community.

The topical political locution of writers of such publications often is directed singularly on talking points that decussate between the protection of President Obama and the democratic party or intemperate attacks of all in opposition to the President or the democratic party, while ignoring addressing liberty and justice and intellectual empowerment for the collective masses rooted in objectivity and truth – which should be our singular goal.

For example, I would speculate that if you go across any mainstream, popular African American content dominated news site we at the moment would see an inordinate number of articles on Whitney Houston, Barack Obama, Jeremy Lin, Bobby Brown, something on the democratic party, Republicans in  Congress, the Tea party or some Rapper – most likely Drake, Jay-Z, kanye West, Niki Minaj or Lil Wayne. Maybe even a little Beyonce baby or a little on Black history month.

No where will the content discuss the implications of what is going on in Syria, the impact of the European sovereign debt crisis, or how globalism impacts us directly. As stated prior, we do talk of government and democracy but only insofar as it regards our blind allegiance to the democratic party and shield President Obama. Rarely will we dispassionately, examine the historical neglect that the democratic party, since 1964 from Mondale and Lyndon Johnson to Hubert Humphrey and John F. Kennedy has incessantly displayed toward us collectively. It is convenient for us for example to applaud what Lyndon Johns Did in 1965 while forgetting that he allowed the Dixiecrats to override the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party and said that he would not protect African Americans while exercising their right to register to vote. We venerate the democrats yet forget that no democrat voted for the 14th amendment and that then Senator John F. Kennedy – with an eye on the Democrat presidential nomination for 1960 – voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

In my purview, our actions or inaction is equal too and just as dangerous as the actions of an E.H Hurst (look him up) and we too are producing Herbert Lee’s each and every day by not engendering the desire for critical thinking and problem solving for the collective betterment of our people. I have no problems with people being supercritical of what I write for I agree with Malcolm X, “If you have no critics you’ll likely have no success.”

We have no idea of our place in the world or that our struggle is really in its infancy. I really do wish those under me could have experienced just one day of being born in segregated America, just one day of seeing national Guards on your street in front of your house with machine guns on jeeps telling you not to play in your own front yard the day Dr. King was murdered, or the day my mother and her sisters and brother went downtown in Memphis to vote, coming back home smiling with my uncle saying he was only spit upon one time. I wish they could now what it feels like to have grandparents with no formal education stress the importance of education and describing reading and knowledge itself as a revolutionary act: reminding us of what it had taken just to get to where we were then.

Our writer and presupposed quasi-scholars under those of my generation that many in the world who rule both the political and corporate spectrums prefer for the masses, especially African Americans and minorities live as we do: materialistic, wasteful and without a desire to hold education as the greatest good and equalizer of all. They abide by what was written by Michel Crozier , Samuel P. Huntington , and Joji Watanuki in 1975, sanctioned by the Trilateral Commission in their book “The Crisis of Democracy” the belief that American democracy is sick with “democratic distemperment” because of too much participation in democracy by groups like African Americans, women and other minorities.

What we have now is not democracy but rather the participation of the elite and in government. Real democracy includes all, the poor, the downtrodden, the share cropper and the lame. In America, this is not the reality although those with black kin and white mask would argue otherwise, just because a man of African descent is in the Whitehouse. And dont talk about Obama, or draw a picture of him like an ape, or fire Roland Martin, or any thing of this nature – us Black folks will come after you like you beat our momma. But never will we be as vehement about the fact that just 41% of Black men graduate from high school in the United States or that 69% of Black children in America cannot read at grade level by the 4th grade, or that only 11 percent of African American students are identified as proficient in math by high school compared to other groups, or that the net worth of Black families is $5677 compared to $113,149 for White families – all things which we can control. But dont talk about our president and please let us see Michael Jackson’s and Whitney Houston;s funeral and a picture of Blue Ivy.

Yes our writers, intellectuals, scholars and leaders have failed us, they do not represent us, for they for the most part are disconnected with our history and have no knowledge of liberty, for as it was once written, “Ipsa scientia potestas est….Knowledge itself is power.” A truism that we obviously have forgotten along the way seeing that we will write on end about the death of a Whitney Houston but mention not one word of the death of a Patricia Stephens Due that happened the same week. As Martin Luther King spoke so eloquently, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Yes, we as a people are Free, but in name only.


By: Torrance Stephens