Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm Not Angry...Just Conscious!...Thanks...

It feels good to be back. It has been quite a few days since my last blog. I happened to have a virus in my laptop. It took a little longer than I expected to get it repaired; I am not complaining as I understand that everyone is busy and doing the best they know how to do. Thanks Art! He does great work if anyone needs computer work or services, I will happily refer him.

Lately, I have spent a great deal of time reading, as I feel sometimes like I am on image sensory overload. I have to tune out in order to save myself. Most recently, my image consumption has been relegated to movies and documentaries. I have been unsuccessful in my effort to get through some of the movies. The stereotypes and negative imaging have been so hard to overlook. It saddens me to say that some of the productions I tried to view were vehicles to which Americans of African descent were paid handsomely to attach their names and faces. I can feed myself the excuses. They go something like this…

…“we have to eat.” “we don’t have the power to change things.” “it is just the way it is.” And on and on and on go the excuses. The bottom line is we have decided that we don’t have power and ultimately the responsibility to look out for our best interest as a people. It seems to me protecting our images would be very important. We went from peaceful citizens seeking equal rights to criminal, racial slur and expletive hurling, woman and self disrespecting people in the eyes and minds of the world community.

I am not angry, just conscious that we are presently collectively as a people a total mess; moving rapidly in the wrong direction. The objective should be to move forward and up. We are moving backwards and down. When one considers that we are now and have always been the identifiable bottom in this country, lowering the bottom is not a condition any of us can afford to relax through. So please don’t talk to me about how well educated and successful materially, a few of us are. Please. When have we ever been judged by our success stories? Furthermore, what has that to do with the masses?

When was it decided that it was to be open season of disrespect of American women of African descent? Why are prominent and popular American men of African descent so willingly lending their faces, names, and images to the assault? So I understand that the enslavers and their descendents rarely bother to see us as more than sex, buttocks, and breasts. When did the brothers decide to agree? Brothers, can you find the self respect to stand in opposition to these images and negative depictions of your women; understanding that when others seek to disrespect you they go after your mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters? Or are you powerless to stand? Would you rather “just live your lives” and marry (when you bother to marry at all) as many White, Hispanic, Asian, and other women as you can and leave us to fend for ourselves as usual? Do you “hate the ladies that make the babies”?

I quote Tupac with whom I had quite the abusive relationship through his music, before I introduced a consistency standard and quit him altogether. He was encouraging me to keep my head up and that things would get better in one song; while calling me a bitch and a ho in another. I am not angry, I just need the conscious men who refuse to sell out their dignity, self-respect, and people to stand out, speak out, act out, and come out from among our oppressors. Our survival is not contingent upon their acceptance of us. Our survival is contingent upon us loving, accepting, and respecting ourselves. Success is not how close we can be to our oppressors. We were closer than ever during slavery. Come out, look for yourself black men and see that your conscious women will allow you to lead and will follow you. We want to follow you. We just want to go in the right direction and be treated considerably and respectfully in the process.

It is a wicked white supremacist lie that informs us that we black women don’t need our men. It is a variation of that same lie that indicated we are subhuman and willing to have sex with anyone/everyone and cannot be raped as a result. I can’t stress that enough. Especially in a time when we are objectified and exploited sexually, routinely, as if we have been returned to the public auction block. Only now the auction block is the world-wide reaching media. I echo the words of Sojourner Truth, “ain’t I a woman, too?” I am not angry, just conscious that all around me there is a resounding NO! in response to my question. As such, my posture most days belies my presence in an extremely dehumanizing hostile environment.

Calling me or treating me like a bitch or a ho has made it to normal status; so much so that most young and mature women don’t know the difference between a compliment and blatant disrespect. God knows you won’t be able to recognize the difference if you expect to learn it from television or movies. It concerns me that I have to explain to my son that a white kid calling him “my nigga” is NOT the white kid trying to be “cool”, and that no my son should not “relax”, and yes he should address, correct and educate as to why it is an unacceptable practice; in the interest of self respect. I am teaching him now that life is not a popularity contest, nor is it for the faint of heart. I am challenging him now at fifteen, to decide to be a part of the solution.

This is what I deal with these days; despite so many courageously shedding blood and dying so those prominent aforementioned enslaved descendent men can show their appreciation by putting the word back into the mouths of mainstream America. This is the extreme disrespect that we have allowed on our watch of our ancestors, selves, and children so a very few buckdancing, bootlicking, self-loathing race traitors can make a lot of money. Yet one asks me why I am angry? When we treat out race traitors like royalty-to be admired and emulated- rather than with the swift severity befitting them. Like I said, I’m not angry, just conscious...thanks. How are you? What are you, conscious or no? What are you up to in your journey?

Where are the Farrakhans, Khallid Muhammads, Marcus Garveys, Paul Robesons and Ernie Chambers? Where are the Shirley Chisholms, Ida B Wells-Barnetts, Harriet Tubmans, Sojourner Truths, and Fannie Lou Hamers? Have we produced no more black men and women that will look our lying enemies in the eyes and call the truth what it is? Black men and women that can command respect, demand and create change?

What happened to the million or two million men that marched to Washington with Farrakhan? Why are they so quiet and invisible now? Have we “educated” away everyone’s testicular fortitude to speak the truth, in love, and let the chips fall where they may? Now that everyone has that “good job” is everyone afraid? Of what? Dying and suffering? People, death is a part of the life cycle; so embrace it and empower yourself to live more abundantly. Somewhere I read that one’s quality of life is directly proportionate to what they are willing to risk. I believe one can have it all when they are willing to risk it all. Considering the fact that everything you possess and do on this earth is temporal, what’s the deal? Or would you rather be a well-paid Judas in relation to our race and our ability to rise out of oppression? Is it really all about the Benjamins?

Sisters-the real deal is this: NO ONE CAN DISRESPECT US UNLESS WE ALLOW THEM. It really shouldn’t matter where you are, who you are with, or what is going on- disrespect is NEVER acceptable. We have got to stop training ourselves to miss the point. Listening to hip hop “just for the beat” and disregarding the lyrics is just that-training oneself to miss the point. Reserve the right to register your disdain by refusing to pay into the problem. The love of money is the root of all evil. We have the economic ability to shut down a lot of the disrespect that is heaped on our heads, regularly. We are just not utilizing our economic power to effect change. Don’t support, financially nor emotionally people and institutions that don’t support/respect you. Reject the guilt that everyone wants to serve you, in quadruple portions, when you need to withdraw support from someone that looks black; yet acts like a Klansman in relation to you. There are a lot of these brothers running around today.

Brothers, I am not male bashing. you all know it is true- hold yourselves and brothers accountable to act honorably and respectfully; create an attitude of disdain and disgrace for those that refuse and I will happily close my mouth on the topic as it will be a non-issue. Need I say that it would be in your best interest to do so? Again, we are not judged by our success stories.

Sisters, I strongly suggest you not take it personally, understanding that hating and disrespecting us is simply a by-product and expression of our men's total and complete self hatred. That fact notwithstanding, we shouldn’t nurture abusive relationships-physically, emotionally, or economically in the interest of self love, acceptance, and respect.

I have this thing about quotes, in case you haven’t noticed by now. I love little nuggets of wisdom that intrigue me, raise my consciousness and help me to realize the truth. The more I seek out these little pearls, the more I grow. Additionally, someone has already said something to address every pertinent issue of today. It has truly all been done before; more about that in a moment. (It is funny; I have so much to say that I can’t seem to type fast enough and my thoughts are all over the place-I will reel them in, promise!)

As it relates to quotes and irresponsible depictions of our people in movies and other forms of media, one of my favorite quotes that I think taps the nail on the head is by Paul Robeson who said this, “The artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery.” If you are aiding in the depictions of us as pimps, prostitutes, ignorant, lazy, criminal, etc. well I understand what you have chosen. We should all be mindful of the fact, however, that both conscious and unconscious choices are choices nonetheless and we are responsible for them.

It occurred to me that I had heard it again and again, growing up. Everyone wanted to go to college so that they could “get a good job”. Congratulations! We have been successful. Some of us have good jobs and most of us are totally dependent on others economically as a result. We cower and are afraid to offend even if we are being offended. I am just as guilty. I have done it and am now done with that oppression. I have decided to free myself. I urge everyone to stop waiting for external permission. I think at this point that it would be a great idea for us to reevaluate, re-group, and change directions. We are headed in the wrong direction people. While there is no shame in finding oneself going in the wrong direction; I think it a crying shame to continue to go in the wrong direction once you know it is wrong.

Along those same lines we have to support black owned businesses. ALL businesses fall short of the mark at times. We continue to patronize them. In fact, we have devoted our time and expertise to benefiting these enterprises. It is negligent to not support black owned businesses. This practice is how we have no economic power or clout. Volunteer and lend your time and skills to a small business that needs it in the black community. Check out Recycling Black Dollars has a listing of black owned businesses. You don’t even have to guess. NO MORE EXCUSES, THE TIME IS NOW! Consciously choose to seek out those that look like you to give your money to-emulate that behavior. ALL other nations do it. We refuse, regurgitate the lies about Black businesses, hate ourselves, and continue to move backwards as a result. At the very least, if you have chosen not to live in a black neighborhood, you should volunteer in one, I believe. We have quite a bit of ground to cover. We have not been as focused and diligent as others.

I am tuned in to the fact that whenever and wherever there is black enterprise; it seems like we can’t wait to sell out. Selling out to large corporations is what we seem to dream of. Which leaves us with nothing; we can’t control our images, our direction, our livelihoods, destinies, nothing. Ossie Davis said so wisely, “He, who controls the image, controls the man”. With this in mind are we happier enslaved than free? It seems to be the case. Consider if others will pay you forty million ($40,000,000.00) for something how much must it really be worth? Don’t we want to own anything? What if we devoted our energies to building institutions and increasing black ownership, rather than trying to make European-Americans accept us? I think they have been abundantly clear in the last several hundred years that they have no intention of accepting us. Not to mention that it is backwards to even want their acceptance. They should really hope that we will accept them, considering their long rich consistent exploitive history and present behavior. But then again, in reading I have come across their written musings that the nigger, nigra, colored, negro, afro-american, black, African-American is really a docile, childlike, forgiving of all atrocities, stupid creature. In their collective mind we require enslavement and white control as we are perpetual boys and girls despite chronological years. I reject that notion, what about you? I am not angry, just a little on edge because our words and behavior are grossly and consistently incongruent.

So, I have given up for the time being on movies, until we screen the latest offerings for the Pan African Film and Arts Festival. This happens February 7 thru the 18th in Los Angeles. Check out if you will be in Los Angeles and are interested to see real, positive depictions of yourself. In the interim, I have turned my attention to documentaries. Truth is better than fiction, folks. History is better than a delectable meal. My new favorite documentaries are “Chisholm ’72 Unbought and Unbossed”. If you have not seen this documentary, I suggest you do. You will then have a pretty good idea of how the present presidential election may turn out. Whether Obama is elected or not, we are a country steeped in “tradition” and “traditional practices” or racism and white supremacy; pick the terms that you can digest.

When you see how Mrs. Chisholm’s male counterparts behaved, you will have a better understanding of what it feels like to be a black woman in this nation right now. After viewing her documentary I had the distinct impression that she would have done well to have called it “Unbought, Unbossed, Unappreciated, Unprotected and Unsupported. I have really enjoyed as well, “Journey in Black-Louis Farrakhan”, “A Time for Burning”, and “Unforgivable Blackness -The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson”. All of these documentaries are available for your viewing pleasure at your local library. How is that for educational, entertaining, and economical? Check them out. You know, I am really not angry, just conscious that we are not honoring and respecting ourselves, our ancestors, and race. I respectfully submit to all, no would not ask me why I am angry if they were the least bit conscious. Let’s roll up our sleeves and go to work for ourselves. It is up to us! We are worth it!


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