Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Discourse on Black Power

The other day I had a conversation with a friend of mine from high school (who happens to be Hispanic). I had told him about the blog and we had a discussion about the purpose and content. He wished me luck, but was concerned about the blog being specifically made for Black people, saying that it seemed exclusionary or separatist.  I compiled my responses to his questions and comments into one post.

Being Black, and seeing the condition we're in, I feel an obligation to work on improving our condition. I was nurtured into thinking this way, and naturally drawn into it. My mother taught me about the danger I was in as a Black man in this country, as well as how to read and learn about my history. I took that and ran with it (since the age of 7). I study and appreciate all cultures worldwide, but I make it a point to study my own. No one says anything when Asians release a video game or movie strictly about Asian history and culture, or when whites release a TV show with only white actors, or if they release a video game with all white characters. They are dealing with subjects related to their culture.

BMD is the same thing.

Although the bigger issue is class, each minority group has its own problems that are unique to that group with respect to its history in this country, or wherever they may be. No one is more qualified to talk about your problems and how they affect you than you are. Stokely Charmichael speaks on this in his book Black Power : The Politics of Liberation. You can't have a partnership with anyone else until you are secure and independent yourself. On an individual level, a person who can't help themselves can't help anyone else either. They have to have some level of independence. Otherwise, that partnership would become either parasitic on the individual's part, or predatory on their partner's part. If both parties are independent, prey/predator and parasitic relationships are less likely. And the same applies to any type of relationship. It is the same on a group level. Black people can't work with other races until they are able to function on their own. So yes, working with other races is, or will become, necessary because the real problems are social and economic class conflict (which goes above race and gender). But we can't have successful partnerships or ally relations until we get own out sh*t together.

Another example (in wake of the immigration issue): I work with Asian and Hispanic immigrants. Many of them speak their own language when talking to each other. The Hispanic guys also play the Latin station on the radio from time to time. They are doing what they're supposed to do, holding on to their original culture. Would it be right for me to tell them (when it is not work related) "Hey, you guys need to speak in English because I can't understand what you're saying" or "You guys need to change the station because I can't understand what the people on the radio are saying." Or "I just don't like Latin music." I can either A) Be parasitic and constantly ask them what is being said, B) Listen to the station without knowing what's being said, and appreciate the music for how I am able to see it. C) Listen to the music, not understanding it, and wishing someone would change the station, D) Be predatory and force them to change the station, or E) Learn Spanish so that I could understand what's being said both in their conversation, and on the radio.

Black Power, in it's original sense, doesn't mean having power OVER anyone else. It's about being in control of yourself and your environment. If you look at the content of the blogs, the things that I'm talking about are something everybody should know; the stuff that isn't culture specific. I'm discussing different avenues that we can us to get economic, political, and social power. Even then the content that is culture specific isn't or shouldn't be offensive.  If it is, you can't please everybody. You can either learn about it so you can understand in the future, or leave it alone.

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