One of the most eloquent voices of the pains, passions, and dilemmas that was (and still is) The Black Experience in a western-dominated world, James Baldwin traveled the globe learning, growing, teaching, and seeking peace. His unfiltered/no nonsense analysis of societal ills to me only can be compared to the level of genius presented to us by Malcolm X (aka El Hajj Malik El Shabazz). Relevant then, and relevant now, we must continue to study the insights Baldwin provided us-and use them as out tools to create the brighter future he surely hoped we would already have by now. So in memory of The Great James Baldwin, on the anniversary of his passing, here are a few quotes and videos to soak up and apply going forward…
I saw a picture floating around on social media earlier today that got me to thinking. The picture showed several different examples of the Beautiful Black Couples that graced the television screen during the Eighties and Nineties. That along with a few other stories, and interactions, got me to thinking. Relationships, in general, are pretty bad nowadays. almost all of those images of Black Love are long gone. And today it is a far more popular trend for Black women to date White Men and for Black Men to chase so-called Mixed Girls and the lighter skinned variety of Latina. Take a moment to do a Google Image Search "Black On Black Love," and you will get mostly images from the past and abstract art. But do a Google Image Search for "Black Relationships" and you will be bombarded with mostly pictures of Us Arguing or in Interracial Pairings. SMH
Few want to admit or acknowledge it, but the majority of the problems I will attempt to speak on in this post go back to slavery and colonialism. And before you start shaking your head in disagreement, please consider that for any person or group of people to dominate or control another-they must be able to dominate and control their minds. Physical force can only go so far. So in order to be able to enslave millions of once-proud Africans, colonize their lands, control of all of the natural resources of said lands, and subject those people to varying degrees oppression and apartheid for the next 500+ years, one would have to systematically destroy certain elements of logical thinking and dehumanize them so that others will not step in on their behalf.
Whatever you want to call it, Willie Lynch Syndrome or Cognitive Dissonance, the fact remains that a dishonest picture was projected on US and to US so as to systematically maintain the system of Global White Supremacy. Even those with only the most basic understanding of the slave-breaking process know that families were broken apart and the strongest were savagely beaten and killed so as to instill deep-rooted fear in the other slaves. Both the men and women became tools for breeding, hard labor and perversion only. In order to justify these actions, myths had to be created in regard to how lazy, ignorant, and savage we were supposed to be. That Black Woman could not have raped, because she was so promiscuous and uncontrollably sexual in nature. that Black Man somehow deserved whatever cruel and inhumane treatment he got, because he had to have done something to make it warranted. Even after slavery was sort of abolished, laws would be put in place that would reinforce those standards for at least another 100 years. Sadly many of those attitudes still permeate how we view things today. #MikeBrown somehow deserved to be shot six times, somehow #TamirRice and #JohnCrawford did something to deserve being shot on sight, and #DanielHoltzclaw was able to get away with repeatedly raping at least 12 Black Women-before he finally did it to the wrong one. Even while on trial, the defense still focused their efforts to save his freedom by painting the picture of these Whorish, Drug-Addicted, Low Class Black Women. But let me not get off of the main point.
Today those same ideals run rampant like never before in the age of big media. It has always been happening; but now the tools to push that agenda cast so much wider of a net. From music to television and movies, the images of the irresponsible and slightly coonish Black Man and the angry-but fragile vindictive Black Woman is pushed on us Seven Days A Week and 24 Hours A Day. Ever wonder why we can make an infinite number of movies, songs and social media posts about killing each other and disrespecting each other; but make a comment against others and it will be immediately attacked. We can be a million punks, bitches and hoes-but rarely ever Kings and Queens. Movies and music with true substance can win awards and gain critical acclaim; but you won't see or hear about them on mainstream radio and television. How many movies and sitcoms show a happy Black Couple working together for the greater good? Meanwhile sneaky, conniving, angry and over the top Black characters dominate the airwaves and movie screens. Black women struggle to persevere, while the Black Man runs off because he wasn't man enough to handle the pressures of real life. And nowadays the storyline goes further to have her eventually fall into the arms of the sensitive, caring and patient "White Knight." Even the characterizations of successful and well to do Black Men usually still have some major character flaw that precludes them from having a full degree of humanity-while at the same time painting the picture that if a man doesn't have all of these shallow material gains to show off, then he is somehow inferior and not worthy of a Black Woman's Love and Commitment. What message does this convey to the Black Man or Woman that has been hurt or disappointed? Rather than learn the lessons required to go forward with our lives, we instead find ourselves blaming each other and no growth occurs. Before long it becomes "these n___as ain't shit," or "these b___hes ain't shit." as a result, most begin to either buy into the pathology of hurting others before we get hurt or closing ourselves off and looking to other races for what we have been programmed into thinking that we can't get from our own. slowly the Black Family Structure declines, fewer Black children are Born (and too many of those born are born into dysfunctional families), and begin to take on the very stereotypes that were once used to justify our oppression. today they don't even have to put much effort into propagating these myths, because we exceed their efforts in our own mindless behavior. Multiple generations blindly accept this as the norm, and subconsciously go out of their way to defend the very system that exploits us.
So HOW DO WE FIX IT???
Self discipline. We must have a code. We must stop supporting the media companies that profit off of this foolishness. Boycott the movies, television shows, and radio shows that put priority on the negative-with little if any regard for balance. Write complaints to these companies and post comments on social media, letting them know that we require them to do better OR ELSE! Demand that radio PROGRAM Directors balance out their playLISTS with more balance. Support those more positive artists and filmmakers. At the end of the day money is the key; and even those with the worst of intentions will adjust to what will keep money coming in. And let's be honest, most of those in positions of power truly think they are giving US what WE want. More importantly, let's take an honest and critical look at how we treat ourselves and each other. NEVER LET ANYONE ELSE DEFINE WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT'S BEST FOR YOU!!! That Black Woman you mistreat is someone's Daughter; and that Black Man is someone's Son. And WE ALL COME FROM THE SAME DIVINE ESSENCE; so let's begin to train our minds to treat each other as such. There is nothing more Beautiful and Powerful as The Children Of The Sun. We are the Fathers and Mothers of Civilization, and The Backbone of All things In Existence. Don't you think it's time for US to get back to acting according to Our True Nature??? The journey won't be an easy one; but the sake of future generations, don't you think fighting this battle is worth it??? P.E.A.C.E.
WRITER'S NOTE: Some will wish to point out the few, and I do mean few, examples of happy Black Families in TV & Movies. But be honest with yourself. They are so outnumbered in reference to those that push more negative narratives of Black Life. Part of Mental Enslavement is to make the minds of the oppressed just be thankful of what little they are allowed to have, and not question why more isn't being done.
THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY FREE BREAKFAST PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN...
In January 1969, The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense launched the FREE BREAKFAST PROGRAM For CHILDREN. As the Party's community survival programs, the BPP consulted with Nutritionists to determine exactly what should be included in a Proper Breakfast for community Youth; and utilized local Church contacts to facilitate certification from Health Department & Fire Marshall approval.
This was the first nationally organized breakfast program in the United States, either in the public or private sector." It marked not only the first program of its kind in the US, but indicated a sharp shift in the political direction of the Black Panther Party. For its first few years the Party had been focused on armed self-defense, and patrolling the police. The shift toward survival programs was meant to address the inadequacy of community based services in their neighborhoods, and seeing the need to connect more deeply and practically with the community.
The Free breakfast Program was based on a Socialist Revolutionary Platform to provide an alternative to the existing systems in place at that time. The prevailing idea was that all institutions in a society should be designed to serve the masses, not just the privileged classes of people.
The Free Breakfast Program was the centerpiece of The BPP’s “Survival Programs,” put in place to begin building a platform or example of what a new Post-Revolution American society would look like. It would also ensure that the masses were served, regardless of the tyranny to be handed down by the ruling class in the midst of the struggle for Independence.
According to the writings of Chairman Huey P. Newton: “All these programs satisfy the deep needs of the community but they are not solutions to our problems. That is why we call them survival programs, meaning survival pending revolution. We say that the survival program of the Black Panther Party is like the survival kit of a sailor stranded on a raft. It helps him to sustain himself until he can get completely out of that situation. So the survival programs are not answers or solutions, but they will help us to organize the community around a true analysis and understanding of their situation. When consciousness and understanding is raised to a high level then the community will seize the time and deliver themselves from the boot of their oppressors. If they have a need we will serve their needs and attempt to get them to understand the true reasons why they are in need in such an incredibly rich land." *Source - To Die for the People (Book of Essays) – Huey Newton*
This shift immediately raised the status of the BPP’s threat Level in the eyes of J. Edgar Hoover & The FBI. Hoover feared that the BPP would now gain a measure of legitimacy with individuals that would not normally support more militant organizations like The BPP.
In response to the threat, Public authorities made efforts to undermine BPP programs by requiring compliance with previously un-required state regulations.
These efforts-combined with the routine & often violent harassment of Panther Members, violent raids on BPP Offices, Infiltration of local chapters, assassination of leadership, and false imprisonment of others members & leaders would spell the demise of the Party programs. With the core leadership of The Party imprisoned or in exile, the weaknesses of the party were exploited and internal strife eventually brought the movement to an end.
The Black Panther Party’s Survival Programs, and most specifically the Free Breakfast Program, would later be copied by State & Local Governments-which led to the development of the current Head Start & Breakfast programs that our children enjoy today.
We at The WANDERING EYES BLOG salute the Black Panther Party for its Leadership & Intellectual Revolutionary Ideals. While most imagery of the Party centers around pictures of them posing with guns, there were many POWERFUL Intellectual & Calculated Political Paradigms put in place that stand to this day. I recommend that you do some reading & research on Huey P Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Fred Hampton, Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Elaine Brown, and Kathleen Cleaver. You WILL be inspired…