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.
Since the seventies, we’ve been locked in a battle for our minds, hearts, & souls. Probably longer than that; but shit got real in the sixties!!! What constitutes a Real Man? What exactly is a Strong Woman? What is life really all about, and what should we be striving for? Once upon a time it was that Brother that fought against the odds-no matter how tough the fight! Once upon a time, it was that sister that provided that spiritual & emotional support-no matter what! What happened to the times when we tried to model ourselves after Malcom, Huey, Angela, Assata, Ossie & Ruby, Heathcliff & Claire, Martin & Coretta??? Now we base our lives off comedians & staged so-called reality shows. If he works hard; but has scuffs on his shoes, he is somehow less than? If she’s been in a couple of bad relationships, then she’s somehow a hoe? Really???
Every time we as a people start to fight for a better existence, we take out eyes off of the wheel, and the very power structure we are supposed to be fighting takes over our tools in which we spread the message. From Movies, to Television, to Music, to Political Movements... We once had that One Bad Brother or Sister that stood for something & would not bend. Now we just have bad weaves, skinny jeans, and over the top comedy that satisfies every stereotype that has been used against us since the very moment that we arrived in this country. Our media spoke on life lessons, learning, and growth. Now it's all about that dramatic moment. What are we teaching our children??? When one of ours is lost, we're angry initially, but seek no real options to ensure that those who seek to harm us will at least thin twice before doing it again-but we will “turnup” on any one of our own that even slightly disrespects us. Smh. Our celebrities quietly bleach their skin-totally oblivious to the fact that many celebrities, of other races are doing all that they can to get thicker & darker. When will the madness end? More importantly, will that ending coincide with OUR Ending??? Time will Tell. Let US Control Our Lives, and the imagery that defines Our Lives; so that no one else can again define us as less than human or somehow prone to savagery. Remember the past, and learn the necessary lessons for our FUTURE-before it's too late.