While I understand human history is replete with protests of some kind and pleas for forms of justice, rarely without great dexterity, cunning and organization do winners emerge from such activities. However clear this reality may be, humanity yet surges forth, unfazed, and, like dope fiends, in need of the action (the fix), and belonging.
So far, black people’s primary response to injustices perpetrated by “the white supremacy system/culture” is remindful of Ivan Pavlov’s successful experiments of classical conditioning. In 1904, the Russian scientist, physiologist won the Noble Prize for his “concept of the conditioned reflex through a famous study with dogs.”
Pavlov put a plate of meat before a dog, rang a bell, waited a minute then let the dog have the plate of meat. After repeating this five hundred times, Pavlov presented an empty plate, rang a bell and waited a minute before giving the dog access to the empty plate. The dog reacted as though he had been given a plate of meat. The dog had become classically conditioned.
This writer submits that once we thoroughly understand that our behavior from the Trans-Atlantic African Slave Trade to the present has been a conditioning and reconditioning process designed to contain us in perpetual servitude and underdevelopment, only then can the mind contemplate liberation. What we now have is called “Freedom;” how do you like it?
So-called “Freedom” is now the empty plate! Brutality we have had since the plantations, from the “overseer” through the Red Shirts, KKK and others of the Black Codes, Jim Crow and Segregation. Posse Comitatus gave us murderous, property stealing sheriffs and deputies, and the beginning of mass incarceration. Today, law enforcement agencies across America wantonly kill black people within what white nationalists say is the law.
Black “leadership” – all appointed and otherwise chosen for us (including elected officials) – only offer the safe palliatives they are conditioned to extend, those softballs that downtown interests approve of.
So when it appears that spontaneity may create new leadership from the grassroots due to some unrighteous occurrence, all of a sudden here comes a rally, location, stage, microphones and so-called “legitimate local leadership” heretofore unseen, now on stage. National and local press and some national black leaders are magically present and poof, a march and rally is at hand.
Now the rank and file people have an opportunity to “blow off steam” marching, yelling slogans, standing for hours listening to speeches and feeling that they are participating in social change. There is always a white law enforcement presence, a reminder of who is in charge of the black community. Unseen is the off stage jockeying of so-called leaders wanting to speak and those wanting to be part of the begging entourage for the prearranged private meeting later, downtown.
We tend to pay no attention to the effects of our conditioning process – psychologists call it “cognitive dissonance” — because it is difficult to step outside of the bell’s range (as the bell of liberty rings in our ears, the meat of that liberty is yet ours to have!) to override conditioning with “consciencism.” The book Consciencism by Dr.Kwame Nkrumah, first President of liberated Ghana, West Africa. The book is a “philosophy and ideology for decolonisation.”
The summer is drawing to an end and the annual ritual is about over as many of the major national black organizations have descended on the downtown economic citadels of white America and paid obeisance by dropping millions of black dollars before leaving town. And the quid pro quo or tit-for-tat is what?
According to the Washington Post Data Base of Fatal Police Shootings “So far this year, 24 unarmed black men have been shot and killed by police – one every nine days.” There have been five of these shootings in Florida!
Protesting, marching and begging won’t get black people any more than the hole in a donut. National black organizations do not organize black people. If they did they would lose their funding. Lord, where are our Mother Emanuel churches, Morris Browns and Denmark Veseys?
Al Calloway is a longtime journalist who began his career with the Atlanta Inquirer during the early 1960s civil rights struggle. He may be reached at Al_Calloway@verizon.net