Denial is quite simply the evasion of reality. Denial can be personal or communal, for sometimes an entire nation can be in denial about its abominations, for they are too painful to make adjustments in the collective psyche and the personal reality, for to do so would incriminate the mythology and ritual of said society, and thus the normal daily round would be disrupted and dysfunctional, for painful adjustments would be in order, and as long as we can avoid the painful the better, after all, the status quo can be maintained.
America has lived in grand denial. In the words of Baldwin , white supremacy has caused this nation to believe in rationalizations so fantastic it approaches the pathological. Racism has survived among slaves and masters and the descendants of slaves and masters far too long without any meaningful degree of reconciliation or compensation, even apology is long overdue. Other colonial societies such as the French and Australia recently apologized for colonialism, but not America , the chief colonizer of the modern world.
She is mainly guilty of domestic colonialism, having enslaved the Native Americans, and then kidnapped millions of Africans who were brought to these shores for eternal servitude. After emancipation, America promised the freed Africans a few acres and a mule, but never delivered. She promised freedom after her slaves provided 200,000 troops who were decisive in the Civil War, but disarmed them and returned them to virtual slavery called Reconstruction, which was short-lived and essentially put the freed slaves in neo-servitude, at the whim of terrorists known as Klu Klux Klan.
White America benefited from four centuries of slavery and neo-slavery. The neo slaves fought in her imperial wars against fascism abroad but were subjected to fascism upon returning home. A few slaves benefited from slavery, even having slaves themselves, yet in the end found themselves facing the glass ceiling, especially when they refused to be running dogs for imperialism now called globalism.
General Colin Powell is the most recent example. America duped him and made a fool of him before the world when he gave his fabricated United Nation's speech to justify the invasion of Iraq . He was replaced with a more pliant Negress in the person of Condi Rice. We are urged to recognize racial progress in her shameful role as Secretary of State. We have achieved equality, for have we not placed ourselves (African Americans) in the position to be charged with war crimes, having justified the slaughter of a million Iraqi men, women and children in the unprovoked occupation and destruction of the jewel of Arabic culture and civilization?
But in our grand denial, blacks as well as whites will attempt to convince the world this point of view is left wing poppycock, the thoughts of a disgruntled segment of the black Americans who have failed to enjoy the benefits of capitalism, now globalism--no matter the disparities in birth and death, education, wage parity, incarceration, housing, health care, homicide and suicide, in every aspect of Americana.
To mention race is to open a can of worms best left unopened because it makes Americans nervous, uneasy, and disturbed mentally if not physically. White Americans are made to feel guilty, thus etiquette demands no mention of race in civil discourse or casual conversation because we are all too sensitive and the endgame might be violence of the worse kind.
And so we are mostly silent on the subject until this ugly monster of ours its head as it inevitably does from time to time, then after the most brief discussion, all sides are urged to sweep it under the carpet until the next round. Thus this racial drama continues ad infinitum without any real resolution and certainly no reconciliation. We may have a plethora of interracial marriages with the resultant biracial children, yet nothing has been solved except for a kind of donâ€™t ask donâ€™t talk racial harmony, along with the children growing up in racial confusion called the tragic mulatto syndrome, whereby they try as best they can to choose sides in this racial drama without end.
Clearly, Barak Obama is caught between the racism of his preacher and white grandmother. His endgame will be of great interest to the world at large, and even if he doesnâ€™t become president of the US , he will have a role to play in racial politics globally. Obviously, his persona is bigger than America , having an African father and a Muslim middle name (Hussein) than has endeared him to the Islamic world, no matter the outcome of the presidential election.
With his now classic speech on race, putting himself in league with Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Compromise and Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream, Obama, much to his dismay, has now become a Race Man, in the classic sense of that term whose definition escapes all but those of historical consciousness, which is most of us, black and white except that we must now realize there is only the human race, except for those in league with me who claim membership in the Divine Race.
America's Grand Denial can only be overcome by recovery from our racist white supremacy heritage, beginning by accepting the scientific definition of the human race (or Divine, if you agree with my spiritual notion), then entering a program of detoxification, recovery and discovery.
Detoxification includes deprogramming our white supremacy values of domination and exploitation, including patriarchal authority and capitalist greed that has lead us to the present economy is nothing more than pimping by gunboat diplomacy. You sell me your labor and natural resources at the cheapest price or I will take them at gunpoint, under the guise of bringing you democracy” an advance from the naked colonial era of spreading Christianity.
Recovery is discarding the Grand Denial that there is a problem or that the problem has been remedied, therefore stop making whites the villain and blacks the victim, in fact, forget the entire matter although blacks already suffer acute amnesia to the degree that they are a danger to themselves and others.
And who would tell a Jew to forget the Holocaust? And does not the Jew remind the world at every turn what the Germans did to them? We have a thousand times more right to tell the world what happened to us than any Jew, for our suffering lasted four centuries, not four or five years. For their four or five years (1939-1945) the Jews were given a state while we have not acquired one acre for four centuries (1619-2008) of slave labor and government sanctioned terror that even Hitler emulated with his destruction of the Jews.
In order to recover from the addiction to white supremacy, America must make a searching and fearless moral inventory; she must admit to God the exact nature of her wrongs; be ready to have God remove her defects of character (being saved by the grace of Jesus Christ has not and will not solve Americaâ€™s white supremacy addictionâ€”the white Christian mythology allowed us to be burned on the cross or lynching tree, yes, strangely similar to Jesus). Rev. James Cone suggests America can only recover from the addiction to white supremacy by coming to an understanding of the relationship of the cross and the lynching tree. Listen to Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit and ponder the life of Jesus Christ.
You have had Jesus in your midst for over four hundred years and crucified him on a daily basis, even unto this present hour. America must examine her census, her graveyards in the south and north, the bills of sale, the prison inmates, the mental hospital patients gone mad as a result of white supremacy addiction then make a list of all the Africans harmed, the Native Americans, the poor whites treated worse than you treated niggers then make amends to such people, including reparations in the form of land and sovereignty. Discovery for America in general will be when she accepts the radicalization of her culture to bring it in harmony with the global village, which involves the dismantling of institutions that perpetuate domination and exploitation of her citizens and other peace loving peoples throughout the world. If America persists in her Grand Denial, then she must prepare for her self destruction, for it shall come at the hands of the man in the mirror, not from any external forces. --Dr. M
Dr. M is the author of How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, A Pan African 13 Step Model, Black Bird Press, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley CA , $19.95.
How To Stop The Killing in the Pan African Hood
By Marvin X
"The reactionaries will never put down their butcher knives, they will never turn into Buddha heads."—Mao
We are talking about a condition in the hearts of men, an evil sore festering and stinking like rotten meat, to use that Langston Hughes metaphor. It is a spiritual disease more prevalent than HIV, for it consumes whole countries, not only Pan Africa, but it may be said to originate in Europe because lying and murder is the great theme of this culture, and Africa and Africans throughout the Diaspora are victimized and suffer this malady equally with their colonial Mother. See how Europe butchered the butcher's sons in Iraq, or is this the democratic way of life she is bringing to the sand nigguhs?
The problem is how to throw off the vestiges of colonialism to become the New Man and New Woman. Of course, we must first recognize how sick colonialism has made us throughout Pan Africa. Somehow we must bow down and ask forgiveness of our Higher Power, the ancestors, the living and the yet unborn. There must be a cleansing ritual performed until the mud and slime of Western culture is purged from our minds, bodies and souls. The Western gods must be destroyed, crushed to the earth and stomped into eternity, for they have blessed us with ignorance, superstition, greed, lust and pure evil, allowing us to become worse than beasts in the field, committing the worse atrocities, yea, even worse than all the teaching of our colonial masters.
No doubt Africa is paying for the great sin of sending her sons and daughters into slavery. Has Africa asked forgiveness of herself, yet she wails for apology from the slave master's children. Has she given reparations to her descendants lost in the wilderness of North America? Has she ever sent a symbolic ship or plane to bring them home? So Pan Africa lives a slow death because she allows corrupt, boastful, arrogant leaders to control her nations, her leaders shelter each other, covering their multiple sins, protecting themselves from people's justice that would rightfully hang them like Mussolini and his wife.
Like jack in the box, Pan Africa must jump out of her iniquities, she must call forth the divine energy within the bowels of her soul and step into the New Day of light, breath and health. She cannot allow her children to devour her from coast to coast, sea to sea, from America to Africa, but children only mock the behavior of adults, so we cannot blame them, children are children, so adults must step to the front of the line, no matter how busy they are doing nothing, for they are surely doing nothing if the village is in chaos, security being the top priority of civilization.
Everyone must become the central command, every man and woman must be about the business of teaching new values, new ways of thinking and acting that are not harmful to the human soul and the human condition. The world is so full of wisdom it escapes us because our quest is for the trivial, the low things of life, not the things in the upper room, but those in the basement, in the gutter of our minds and hearts, that is where we dwell, that is our focus and this is why we suffer.
Kobe gives his wife a four million dollar rock, but will it placate her soul, will material things correct a spiritual problem of faith and trust? The West has a sordid history buying people as Pan Africa can attest, but everyone is not for sale, those of integrity will jump ship, will eat the whip and the gun, for persecution is worse than slaughter, the Qur'an teaches. No, physical weapons cannot solve the problem. Look at Israel, she has the all the modern weapons but she cannot defeat the spirit of a people determined to be free. So Pan Africa's children can and must be armed with a new consciousness. Even Fidel Castro has said the new weapon is consciousness!
Like Johnny Appleseed, we must go about spreading consciousness, teaching unconditional love and forgiveness, sharing knowledge and wealth with the poor and ignorant, the brokenhearted and oppressed. I am not trying to be sentimental, but we can and must flip the script as they say in the hood. Again, like Jack, we must jump out the box of mental and physical oppression by taking a new look at reality, by stopping a moment to wonder at the pleasure in the sun, the trees, the sea and mountains, the glory of being alive each moment to share human love, being grateful we have a moment on this earth to whisper truth to children that they may rise and be a pleasure to the ancestors watching everywhere.
Yes, we must transcend block man and block woman, the block within ourselves even, and reach forth into the realm of new possibilities, not allowing evil and her brothers and sisters to control the air and sun that comes each day blessing us with another moment to walk in the light, escaping the darkness of ignorance, greed, lust and violence.
Black men, go into the hood and take the guns from your sons, yes the sons you abandoned, neglected and rejected, the sons who look like you although you deny this, the sons who walk with sad hearts, hardened because they long for you, for your love and guidance, for your wisdom and strength, after all, Mama did all she could to raise her manchild in the promised land. * * * * *
A Response to "Killing in the Pan Africa Hood"
By Rudolph Lewis
Marvin, there is great wisdom that should be heeded in your essay "How To Stop the Killing in the Pan African Hood." I am aware that a new set of values (though possessed by our enslaved ancestors but now abandoned under the "new world order") and a new perspective of our place in the world, of our past and future are earnestly needed in these dire times. The most important of these new perspectives is couched in your paragraph that reads as follows: Has Africa asked forgiveness of herself, yet she wails for apology from the slave masters' children. Has she given reparations to her descendants lost in the wilderness of North America? Has she ever sent a symbolic ship or plane to bring them home? So Pan Africa lives a slow death because she allows corrupt, boastful, arrogant leaders to control her nations, her leaders shelter each other, covering their multiple sins, protecting themselves from people's justice that would rightfully hang them like Mussolini and his wife.
In short, you suggest our critical sword should have a double edge—that is, the slave trade involved African nations and European nations collaborating for the purposes of wealth and power. They got rid of their "niggertrash." Many of those descendants of the tribal kings and chiefs who sold millions of slaves still play significant roles in the politics of today's African nations. And they will sell us again and their people again in the 21st century, if the World Bank and other internationalist (globalist), corporatist agencies offer the right price. (Check out Paul Kingsnorth's essay on South Africa and the ANCA Shattered Dream.)
In the contest for wealth and power, "black" and "white," however, are not real distinctions but illusions, a means for escapism or sidetracking those who wish to do the "good." I know "evil" has become a popular theme in the discussion of international politics and the resistance to corporate imperialism, especially from the bully pulpit of the presidency. So-called righteous men love to stand behind such symbolic bulwarks. I hope we do not become agents of such trite rhetoric—it indeed will lead us astray. It is necessary that we keep on the straight and narrow and keep both edges of our sword whetted sharp. At no time must we sink back into mythologizing the world for the sake of political convenience, to hear merely the rhythm of our own voices.
Beneath most Pan-African rhetoric (from the 19th century to the present), there is this underlying notion of Africa as paradise into which Satan (the white man) introduced evil. I recommend strongly that all Pan-Africanists and sympathizers and all other petty-bourgeois, pseudo-revolutionaries read the Malian Yambo Olouloguem's novel Bound to Violence. Or any non-romantic account of Africa before European trade began. Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart will provide some evidence even in the "wholeness" of tribal life, all was not well.
Even though there was a sense of justice, and right and wrong. There were some practices or acts that were just horrid, unnecessary, and "evil." If true be told, there was more evil in Africa than one could shake a stick at. The process of empire building in Africa by Africans themselves and the perennial struggles for power and the retention of power included the wholesale slaughter of tribes (genocide), butchery, debauchery of every sort (religious, political and social), cannibalism, incest, and so on—all these acts of evil existed before modern Europe stepped onto the soil of Africa or worked out its first deal for a cargo of slaves. The emperors, kings and queens, and chiefs—to whom we have become so inured (and want to imitate by dress, manners, and religion)—did not achieve those aristocratic titles by their sweetness and benevolence but by the same means we are familiar with today in those who strive to rule and conquer. That is, they did it the old-fashioned way—by violence, exploitation, and oppression.. The aberrations we see in Africa and at home are not new. This violence for wealth and power is just as old as the first time one brother killed another for his wife or his ass. This contest for dominance has always been bloody and this violence and evil were not invented by Europe or whites. We must do away with this myth—the white man alone as incarnate Devil. Otherwise, in a perverse way, we make Africans less than human—we make them into externally corrupted angels. There is no sanctity in having a black skin or in Africanity.
This type of mythologizing gives our leaders too much credit and too much room for collaboration with corporate power and a means of duping the masses of the poor and the black working classes. It is no longer sustainable that we ask or recommend that the masses of "Pan-Africa" live vicariously by distant observation and/or proximity to power and wealth. That an elite should live in comfort and security while the great masses attend them hand and foot with all their hearts and souls is no longer acceptable if we truly have egalitarian goals for our society.
That kind of barbaric nobility is no longer proper in a civilized world in which democracy and human rights have been given revitalized meanings in which every man is a king and queen, or at least be acknowledged with that kind of respect, integrity, and dignity. Our critical sword should not only land on the heads of the great aberrations of society—the likes of a Idi Amin, a Mobutu, a Bokassa, or a Sgt. Doe or a Charles Taylor, but also those respectable heads of state like Mbeki, Obasanjo, and the other African leaders who smilingly welcomed Bush to Africa and are ever-ready to make their deals with globalization.
Such African leaders with such narrow interests sold our ancestors into the Americas. And not only those African leaders there, but also here at home, we should do some swinging at our black elected and appointed officials (city councilmen, legislators, cabinet secretaries), yes and also corporate and ecclesiastical functionaries, and other notable heads, such as the leaders of civil rights organizations like the NACCP, whose board is ruled by corporate executives or such flunkies and running dogs. They too must be made to pay for their sins of neglect and moral blindness. If we lapse into the anti-white, anti-American, anti-Western rhetoric, we will sorely miss the point and provide more fuel for these black elites to further misdirect the energies of the masses of Pan-Africa along lines of escapism and support for the status quo.
If we are to make real changes within our communities some of our petty bourgeois aspirations must be abandoned. We can no longer naively defend black middle-class sellout politicians and preachers. We must recognize a real change in the face, rhetorical aspirations, and the present corporate ties that our leaders have established. It is fine to cite Walter Rodney's How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, as some Pan-Africanist Marxists tend to do. That is well indeed. I am far from a white apologist—a corner in which some may want to paint me. But I do not want to be a black apologist, either -- I was not taught that way. The NAACP is headquartered here in Baltimore and they just had a conference and they had nothing to say about the 40% unemployment rate here among black males (18-35); the high murder rate (about 300 a year, mostly young black males); a 50% drop-out rate from high school; neighborhoods in which only 25% of adults have a high school diploma. Brothers and sisters are paraded to jails like our ancestors to Goree Island!!! Whatever the justification for their apprehension is inadequate and should cause some shame to those who run this city and those who support the powers to be—which here in a majority black city, means a black middle class and those who work government jobs or receive money from corporate elites
Damn, brother, we have grown ass men on the corner selling single cigarettes for 35 cents a piece. What kind of enterprise is that? And it is not just a few. Is that any way to gain a livelihood? And our shit-head leaders are worrying about whether Bush or democratic presidential candidates come to their meeting. Ain't that a matter to be indignant and upset about? But it seems we are so spiritually sick we take it as a norm the misery and the downtrodden state of the poor (black and white). That the oppressed are overlooked and allowed to continue to sink into the abyss is a grand betrayal by our leaders. Murder and mayhem is not just coming from the bottom dregs of society. We have a general slavery and devastation in which silence and passivity is imposed by poverty, the gun, and prisons?
With these reservations, I support heartily the sentiments contained in your plea for earnest black work, black renewal, and black progress. http://www.nathanielturner.com/