Avid readers of this space may recall that I twice wrote one sentence about the Trayvon Martin “murder.” I wrote: “Trayvon Martin was profiled, hunted and slain for being black and wearing a hoodie in the rain.” Although tempted, I instead wrote mostly about white nationalism, not wanting to further increase the din; so much had been written and said about the nefarious George Zimmerman case, including a final insult: the bogus trial.
My mind tends to focus on us, to try to see clearly what’s really stopping black people in America from getting off the Catch-22 treadmill that is a trap of the mind, body and spirit. A civil rights mentality, which took hold during the compromise with white liberals to not pursue human rights as a movement, killed much of the internationalization of black liberation.
Because Negro ministers, teachers and social workers who formed the bulk of civil rights leadership trumpeted “freedom” – that which an oppressor gives to the oppressed and therefore comes with conditions – which was the result of an erroneous analysis, black America from the1960s onward eschewed liberation. We have not recovered from that seminal strategic blunder.
All that is packed into what W. E. B. Du Bois called “the assimilation complex” which tells us why civil rights leaders thought human rights and liberation were too harsh for white “friends.” Liberation is not a thing asked for. Where denied, it is to be taken as an inalienable right! What is indeed complex for the Negro/African/Black mind is how to take what is rightfully ours to have.
Before Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe and to this very day, white nationalism has been America’s real law of the land. In what meaningful ways is today’s police brutality and killing of blacks different from the ruthlessness of America’s plantocracy during slavery? Only one way is very different and that is black people killing blacks.
Jesse Jackson will tell you that once while walking down the street alone he heard footsteps behind him and when he turned and saw it was a white man he felt relieved. Imagine that! We are so fearful of one another that we are comfortable with the very people who may want to annihilate us. That is what black-on-black crime has wrought.
So it’s double jeopardy: we are treated as the enemy within by rampant white nationalism and we are also faced with the enemy within that produces black-on-black killings and other crimes. However, our “group” response to both aspects of the same problem differentiates markedly. Outrage at black-on-black killings is too often muted or non-existent.
Neither aspect of black deaths by violence can be abated while mass inertia persists in black America. At the leadership level, too many opportunists such as poverty pimps, punk politicians and parasite preachers deal out the masses via downtown deals, acquiescence and avoidance.
Nowhere is there any real community organization. To date, Marcus Garvey is the last great mass organizer of black people both here and abroad. M. L. King Jr. and his SCLC organized events, not America’s black people. Jesse’s Rainbow Coalition did it even better and Al Sharpton is out to top that. White liberal money keeps the NAACP occupied with judicial scrapes and the Urban League tries to train a few blacks here and there.
Church is the “big” business in black neighborhoods and there is at least one on just about every block. In those same blocks, however, blacks are killed by police and one another, drugs proliferate, unemployment is high and too many kids lag in school. And, unless there is a meeting, the mostly fenced-in churches are empty and locked.
In the final analysis, it is you and I who allow us to be treated as the enemy within. We should have control of any and all spaces that we legally occupy. It takes organization for that to happen. People like Darren Wilson, the white policeman-killer of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, should not be in our communities. Neither should the two white officers who gunned down 23-year-old Kajieme Powell in the streets of nearby St. Louis.
Stop the madness. Organize! Organize! Organize!
Al Calloway is a longtime journalist who began his career with the Atlanta Inquirer during the early 1960s civil rights struggle. He is writing a book of essays. He may be reached at Al_Calloway@verizon.net