40 Years in the Wilderness
MOVEMENT TO BRING BACK BLACK NATIONALIST
Black Leadership Coalition
As a practice I tend to avoid criticizing positions taken by others on issues important enough to them that they would take the time and effort to write about, after all, each of us is the result of our own individual life experiences, and seldom do we know what experiential factors forged the views and opinions of another. However, it is legitimate to offer an alternative view of a subject based on one’s own perspective gained from experience and observation. As an avowed Black Nationalist and Pan-Africanist I tend to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy from a somewhat different perspective than that of the author of the article to be discussed here.
Recently, Mr. Dedrick Muhammad wrote a piece for the Institute for Policy Studies on the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King titled “40 Years Later: The Unrealized American Dream.” While the article was articulately written, in this writer’s opinion it addressed Dr. King’s life and work as though his sole, or at least primary goal was to “bridge the gap between African-Americans and Whites.” This does Dr. King and Black people a disservice in that it would have one believe that everything we do is prompted by assessing our situation in juxtaposition to that of white people. It is as though we have no existence except in relationship to Whites. If that premise were true of us, then Black folks would indeed need to “get a life!” Black folks need to have a standard for living that is culturally appropriate for us as a collective, irrespective of how that standard might compare to that of Whites. In using White folks as the “gold-standard” by which we judge ourselves, we demonstrate a desire to be “imitation white people” in that we seek to be as much like them as is possible! Our religious experience in America helped to forge that mentality by encouraging us throughout our childhood to try to be “…more and more like (white) Jesus,” and the subsequent striving carried over to all other areas of our lives, economics included.
The dilemma facing Blacks vis-à-vis Whites is not simply due to economic differences (which are in the realm of effects), but in the power-relationship between the two races, which is causative. In other words, our inferior economic condition is caused by our lack of power relative to Whites. If reflecting back over the past forty years has any utility at all, it is to assess what we failed to do that we should have done in order to alter our power relationship with Whites in our favor. An example of something we did wrong was our failure to make a practical adjustment to our goal during the Montgomery bus boycott; at the point it had been proven that the bus company could not survive without black ridership, the goal should have been changed from seeking to get the right to ride in the front of white-owned buses, to securing financial means to buy the bus company! That would have given Blacks power to control the bus company, and as a result, to decide who would be allowed to sit where!!
The American government is not going to “give” equal power to Blacks; it doesn’t work that way in real life; if you can’t take what you want or think you deserve, you will be forced to settle for what those in power are willing to give. The government and economic “powers-that-be” will make concessions to non-empowered groups, but only to the extent the latter are organized sufficiently as to wield influence with the former. Blacks have failed to organize ourselves into such a force that would have to be reckoned with, and thus we have the dilemma we face today. If Blacks don’t want to survive for another forty years and still be faced with the same predicament, we will have to change our goals and objectives, and organize ourselves in a manner and to an extent that will empower us to eradicate the power-imbalance between the races. As this is written, there is scant evidence to suggest that we are likely to face up to and accept this challenge.
Simply allowing more wealth to accumulate in the hands of selected Blacks will not change the power relationship referred to; that is proven by the fact that the quality of life for Blacks collectively has not been improved significantly by the substantial growth in the number of individual Blacks who have become multi-millionaires (and more) in the same forty-year period under discussion. My colleague Jim Clingman eloquently addressed this matter in an article titled: “The Conundrum of Consciousness and Capital.” With over $800 Billion dollars passing through Black folks hands in a recent year alone, we have more than enough capital to do anything we valued enough to put an effort into; what is clearly lacking is a consciousness about our “Blackness” and its importance, that would motivate and propel us forward and upward.
But help is on the way: The “Movement to Bring Back Black” is underway throughout America, and the NATIONALIST Black Leadership Coalition (NBLC) has been brought into existence to serve as the vanguard organization to lead the charge to self-sufficiency, Self-reliance, self-determination, and ultimately, NATIONhood! We will soon have our own President Of Black America (and I ain’t talking about Barack Obama!); watch the sparks fly then!
Have you the reader joined yet!?