Ever since Republican Herman Cain, a self-described “black conservative,” remarked that two-thirds of black Democrats are “brainwashed,” the question of his own “Blackness” has been contrasted with that of President Barack Obama. Beyond the resentment of the brainwashing claim, this issue should prompt discourse and partisan introspection to determine if Blackness “politically exists” in either party.
Before its 1960s incarnation, “Black” was regarded as a derogatory description. But, during the Civil Rights/Black Power movements, we embraced being “black.” Understanding that white establishmentarian practices were self-serving and antithetical, Blackness not only signified color but, moreover, consciousness — among others, a consciousness that our common and collective self-interests should not be compromised to accommodate white interests; a consciousness that we are the first and last lines of defense against manmade inequalities; a self-determinative consciousness of “Black Nationalism” to rightly restore and advance what little remained of our tattered personhood and African-ness.
However, the admirable ideals of nationalism as espoused worldwide by others were co-opted and unfairly stigmatized as something impermissible and unintelligently odd for us, as if “being Black” and “being nationalistic” are intrinsically racist, as if “all was well” and then the Black Power Movement just illegitimately popped-out of nowhere without explainable need or historical context.
Webster’s favorably defines “nationalist” as “A member of a political party or group advocating national independence or strong national government,” while “Black Nationalist” is debased as “A member of a group of militant blacks who advocate separatism from whites.”
Coupled with this demonizing, Blackness never gained mainstream political traction, given that the brute force and psychological methods originally used to instill fear and obedience also distorted our sense of self-identity and self-relevance, causing us to yearn and politically validate our self-worth according to how far and fast we assimilate and gain acceptance.
But by no means did/does our assimilation constitute a mutual merger of two equally liberated people. Being a fragmented subculture, we integrated into their already existing nation of fully operational designs. We conformed to, we did not construct, the sovereign or nationalistic or ideological contours of the nation. Other than our labor and loyalty, we hobbled into the relationship without independently possessing anything that they didn't already own or control. Hence, no “bilateral agreement” of any sort was ever jointly signed.
While we are visible in both parties today, our presence should not be mistaken as “equal receptivity” of Euro-Americans to infuse Black/African mores or ideals into governance. Rather, our presence reflects our “full receptivity” to their practices of governance, including ambiguous wars that mock governing principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who is enshrined on the National Mall for placation.
That said, in an effort to prove we are just as “American” as they are, we adopted their ethos, ethics, traditions, belief systems and sociopolitical traits as our own. Black ideals and agendas that do not supplement their norms are routinely proscribed as racist, inconsequential and non-authoritative.
This partly explains why black Democrats accept President Barack Obama's “race-neutral” position to not openly support black agendas aimed at inequalities, even though we openly supported him as a bona fide constituency with 96 percent of black votes. Knowing that black-related agendas would rile both parties, we devised the face-saving retreat that: "Obama's not the president of Black America; he's the president of all Americans."
Unless the political legitimacy and authentic collectivity of Black self-interests are evolutionized with 21st century relevance and functionality, by mass default, men like Obama and Cain will personify a Siamese standard of a new “Say It Loud . . .”
Ezrah Aharone is an author and a founding member of the Center for
He may be reached at Ezrah@EzrahSpeaks.com