“Repair the damaged, rejoin the separated, replenish the depleted, set right the wrong, strengthen the weak and weakened, and make flourish the fragile and undeveloped.” — Ancient Egypt, Serudj Ta
This one isn’t easy…
The African American image perpetrated as if truth is of dependent masses soaking up resources and not contributing to human progress. Instead of men we are given thugs and black-on-black crime. Instead of women we are given twerking and so-called “real lifestyles” of brown-skinned Barbie dolls who are as frightening in their physical “perfection” as they are in economic potential. In the media–as the medium or midwife of reality that it functions as–our men are delivered as castrated and our women are delivered as boobs-butts-money-baggers descending on India for hair.
Instead of nuclear and/
or strong families, we are given/shown what a friend called “mutilated families,” which still causes a shudder through my entire being.
This name-calling is such a dagger for me because it denies my dominion, personal power, sacred nature and wisdom pool, as if they are unaccessible to me and can never be mine. It is a dangerous judgment because the notion of something being mutilated contains within it the seed of irreversibility, and infers an inability to ever be whole again. It hurts me to my core that my brother would call our families this despicable term. One reason it hurts so bad is because it contains truth at the same time that it weakens my knees and renders a part of me hopeless.
I have therefore chosen another path — refusal to believe Black families are mutilated beyond repair. These are my families, after all, and I am intimately familiar with both the jagged-edged and intact examples. Therefore, to absolve myself of personal blame and responsibility and move to arm’s length the devastating effect misnaming can have on the ability to resolve the challenge-problem, I have created a new set of name-calls. The approaches below have had the effect of repairing my feeling insulted and have providing me with a dose of approbation for imaginatively rectifying disturbing media messages. Who I am and who we are is not a meme, trope or stereotype. Or a commodity.
So rather than settle on one-word names for where we are now, or where I think we are, I am offering How We can Call Our Spade Our Spade, and be at peace with it. “Coming to terms” in this way allows me freedom to think (Name and Praise) bigger, Push through, and Expand the horizon. As the HealMobile, my protocol and prescription, if you will, based on the the law of accurate naming, is to:
Call Our Spade Our Spade:
- Disembowel or “unpack the baggage” of the “N” word (allowing the youth to tear it up and defang it however they please)
- Distinguish mental slavery, cultural slavery, institutional slavery and chattel slavery
- Distinguish generational trauma as invasive, infectious, and invaluable to our growth as a symptomatic indicator of required healing
- Allow the youth to express themselves while appreciating their come-from, this means releasing judgment of artistic expression
- Being about and setting the example of free people — individuals, families, collectives. What does a thriving AA community in the USA look like? Greenwood? Rosewood? Harlem? Leimert Park?
- Identify and acknowledge the triumph of liberation theologies, philosophies and cultural borrowings that have soothed the savage beast of righteous anger within
- Recognize how mindsets like “soothe the savage beast” reflect AA’s complete socialization. We may choose to align with our cultural Americanization (the proclamation, We Are Americans) or not
- Global citizenship can restore what has been lost; our experiences are extremely valuable and marketable.
- Grow our gardens.
- Participate in non-religious empowerment groups such as the International Black Summit or similar self-empowerment groups.
Discussion: How We Insist “They” Call Our Spade
Perceived as being at “rock bottom,” we are the foundation and therein lies our access to prominence and dominion, spiritual and otherwise. “I See You” respect will not come from haters enmeshed in master-slavery. All dignity comes from Spirit/God/Jesus/Allah/Big Worldmaker/Universe/Source of All Sources/Force/One Love/InnerSpace, etc. People do not respect you because you want them to, they respect you because you demonstrate worthiness of it.
Some of us will continue to spend an inordinate amount of time interacting with “slave master’s” children. Please don’t think this is name-calling, or a reverse-racist put-down. It is a reflection of how hurt the people are by the continued social abuse. The abuse is perpetrated by recent European and Asian immigrants and as well as by those who are indeed descendant of slaveholders.
In addition, we do not ignore how the slave mentality has infected both light-skinned and dark-skinned humans, in-group and beyond the group. We don’t often mention our free African forebears who also owned slaves; this narrative is a more recent revelation for many and a less prevalent though valid reflection of the period. Those of Black background possessing this mindset may therefore be as culpable as the “racists” representatives of institutions that commodify Black people. I’ll include here the “West Indian” immigrants of the 1900-1960s, who many perceived as acting “better” than stateside Blacks. But I digress.
There are people who are expert at “speaking truth to power;” at maneuvering the integration landscape and so-called post-racial climate of unease. That is their role and purpose. The Al Sharptons, Jesse Jacksons, and others who progressives dislike for interacting with “the enemy” will persevere and persist because they fulfill a function many of our people occupy. This is the mind-scape of, “We need jobs! We built this country to its greatness and will continue to do so!” This space is sometimes derisively viewed as giving up power. In her book, Jill Nelson called it Volunteer Slavery. Others, ever wanting to help rebuild American preeminence abroad (as subtly instructed to by international news), are said to occupy the mental space of, “Massa, we sick?” In this, progressives perceive “integrationists” as unwittingly facilitating victimization and exploitation of economically poor brown and black people around the world.
Knowing this; knowing constructive relationships with Euramericans are strained and will foreseeably remain strained (yes I speak for myself), none of us wish to be an instrument of confusion and cloaking. The next step must be much more simple and much more direct.
I speak as an aging Baby Boomer when I say this group has taken on the next step — leadership of healing our communities— and is therefore uniquely suited to craft a higher level of interaction with our desperately-needing-a-new-name enemy. We do the work within ourselves and continue to nurse and empower at home. We cannot expect these efforts to be recognized except by our own. Therefore, next steps for those who do not live with us and think unkind things about us may include such actions/advice as the following.
(Let’s Dance and We’ll Lead…)
How THEY Can Call Our Spade: (That is, react positively to Calling Our Spade Our Spade. Not in a special order; off the cuff!)
- Demonstrate commitment to change by co-creating Truth and Reconciliation Regional and National Commissions
- Pay for restitution of Africamerican genealogy and other-shore “homeland” reconnection and investment techniques
- Call for a moratorium on debt; support debt, mortgage, and school loan freedom of those who can prove they are descended from chattel slaves
- Invest in holistic healing institutions within poor communities, and in Africamerican holistic leadership of same
- Cease daily news reporting on —thrashing of— our communities for 25 years
- Fund on-the-gound media organizations controlled by and messaging to people they serve, with paid subscriptions required by others
- Admit there is a problem —okay, challenge— and quit lying to themselves about solving it without us
- Pay for homeschooling and eliminate public schooling, except for supporting those institutions that demonstrate excellence
- Release political prisoners; pay reparations and fund the education of their families; restore all AA convict voting rights and eliminate death penalty
- Sponsor Truth and Reconciliation in publishing to co-write the American Enslavement –> Jim Crow and backlash narratives
- Require all teenagers and young adults to attend the Landmark Forum or similar self-improvement groups
- Require everyone to see Michael Moore’s movie, “Where To Invade Next”
I believe taking these steps will result in the restoration of humanity in all of the people, marked by trust of The All (trust that all will be well), honor and esteem of human capital, and submission to the collaboratively sharing natural and human resources for the benefit of everyone.