Hymn to the Sun
Homage to thee, O Ra, at thy tremendous rising!
Thou risest! Thou shinest! the heavens are rolled aside!
Thou art the King of Gods, thou art the All-comprising,
From thee we come, in thee are deified.
Thy priests go forth at dawn; they wash their hearts with laughter;
Divine winds move in music across thy golden strings.
At Sunset they embrace thee, as every cloudy rafter
Flames with reflected color from thy wings.
Thou sailest over the zenith, and thy heart rejoices;
Thy Morning Boat and Evening Boat with fair winds meet together;
Before thy face the goddess Maat exalts her fateful Feather,
And at thy name the halls of Anu ring with voices.
O Thou Perfect! Thou Eternal! Thou Only One!
Great Hawk that fliest with the flying Sun!
Between the Turquoise Sycamores that risest, young for ever,
Thine image flashing on the bright celestial river.
Thy rays are on all faces; Thou art inscrutable.
Age after age thy life renews its eager prime.
Time whirls its dust beneath thee; thou art immutable,
Maker of Time, thyself beyond all Time.
Thou passest through the portals that close behind the night,
Gladdening the souls of them that lay in sorrow.
The True of Word, the Quiet Heart, arise to drink thy light;
Thou art To-day and Yesterday; Thou art To-morrow!
Homage to thee, O Ra, who wakest life from slumber!
Thou risest! Thou shinest! Thou radiant face appears!
Millions of years have passed, --we cannot count their number,--
Millions of years shall come. Thou art above the years!
The first requirement for membership in the First Poet's Church of the Latter Day Egyptian Revisionists is completing the course in the manual How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, 13 Steps.
Potential members must attend meetings of the Pan African Mental Health Peer Group to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy before regular church attendance, unless otherwise approved.
Manifesto of the First Poet's Church of the Latter Day Egyptian Revisionists
By Marvin X
The Manifesto of the First Poet's Church of the Latter Day Egyptian Revisionists is a precription for the continuation of the Black Arts Movement, a performance/academic/activist project to inspire the Cultural Revolution in the Republic of North American Africans, with implications for the rest of humanity that apparently follows closely every cultural move of North American Africans.
We can't fart without the world copying our fart. So perhaps we should be flattered except for the fact that often imitation becomes exploitation and we become victims of our own creations, e.g., "Lord, look what they did to my song."
Nevertheless, we shall strive forward with our cultural revolution to transform the negative aspects of our lives into the positive, to reconnect our community, parents with children, males with females, brother to brother and sister to sister, yes, even enemies must reconcile in the spirit of recovery, healing and liberation of the entire community. This is the challenge of the new millennium and we shall not move forward without meeting it. Either we are brave warriors willing to face the jihad within ourselves and our community, or we're cowards prepared to tread water until we become extinct, a forgotten people, relics of a glorious past but no future except a multicultural chasm where we exist on the last rung of the ladder, simply because we refuse to transcend our differences for the greater good, thus succumbing to a low intensity war determined to destroy us politically, economically, morally and culturally
The Spiritual, Performance and Educational Arm of the Cultural Revolution
As Fidel Castro has said, our weapon is consciousness, yes, it is the only weapon we have that can defeat the forces allied against us. Consciousness is an awareness of our traditions and our mission. Our tradition is a freedom loving people, not political, economic and cultural slaves to others. We reject the slave tradition of clowning and buffoonery so evident in African American artistic expression, especially movies and rap (now called yap, for rap derived from the tradition of revolutionary spoken word: H. Rap Brown, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Last Poets, Baraka, Sonia, Askia, Haki, X, and yes, Malcolm, Martin, Kwame Toure, Fannie Lou, Queen Mother Moore, Angela). If one is not aspiring to be in the tradition of Paul Robeson, i.e., the artistic freedom fighter, then one has no right to claim membership in the Black Arts Movement, and is therefore merely a whore for capitalist pimps, ready to wear any clown suit, do any shuffle, say any jingle and rhyme, put on any make up and dance for the master's American bandstand, manifesting the cultural hate personified by the likes of Michael Jackson and others too numerous to mention.
No people with consciousness would allow themselves to be paraded on BET, MTV and elsewhere as naked whores, pseudo gangstas and wannabe pimps. Although we are about artistic freedom and freedom of speech, we reject phony black bourgeoisie culture police who are themselves guilty of a profane and obscene lifestyle of conspicuous consumption, yet we demand African American artists get in harmony with our tradition and mission to use our creativity to help liberate the deaf, dumb and blind, not take them deeper into the devil's den of iniquity.
Will Speak Truth to Power
We will perform works that liberate not desecrate. Rappers have given us graphic descriptions of our psychosocial condition, now we must come with solutions. If you hate yo daddy and mama, show me how you turned hate into love, show me how you sought reconciliation and unconditional love. Otherwise, you are simply yapping nursery rhymes, snibbling like snotty nose babies too pitiful to wake up and release your lips from your mother's breasts, you ungrateful bastards! Grow up, did mama tell you life was a bowl of cherries—you are lucky to have a mother and father—think of all the children who are products of foster care.
We were not brought to America to create families, but to be mules, donkeys and horses, and have our families utterly destroyed for capitalism and slavery. And we can only overcome America's plan for us by putting on the armor of God and standing tall together, defying America's hope for our continued subservience and debauchery.
Poets and spoken word artists have an obligation to speak truth to power, not submit gleefully, yapping nonsense around the world to make a dollar and make mockery of the elders, calling them "broke heroes," although the so-called broke heroes are the reason you are among the newly rich because of their sacrifice and unconditional love for your punk asses.
The American Educational System Is An Abysmal Failure
Since the American educational system has failed to teach Johnny and Johnnymae how to read, write and most of all, think. We shall see it as a priority to teach basic skills. How can we have a drama class in which students are unable to read the script. I have taught such classes on the college and university level, so I know the degree of the problem. Don't try to cover ignorance and mental retardation as a result of America's public school miseducation.
We will train students with talent in the arts: drama, dance, music, creative writing, nonfiction, poetry and spoken word, for these are serious crafts that take discipline and training, not a jack in the box game of jingles and rhymes produced because one can memorize words that are full of sound and fury signifying nothing, although audiences are enraptured by the nothingness and babble, rewarding the jester with money at poetry Slams/Scams, deluding the person that he/she is a poet and spoken word master because of his/her natural talent as a product of the ancient African oral tradition.
Racism is the abomination of the new world, but Elijah Muhammad used racism and black supremacy as an anti-toxin to white supremacy. The Black Arts Movement did the same. Whites were often banned from attending performances and certainly from performing in productions. Harold Cruse noted how this marked a radical departure from traditional Negro theatre (see Crisis of the Negro Intellectual). Thus BAM was of, for, and by Black people, if only for a moment, time enough to get “ourselves” together. This moment was necessary to raise a people from the dead, who were full of fear after being terrorized for centuries by white supremacy.
Why is this so difficult to understand, perhaps because there are those in denial about the ravages of white supremacy on African American minds, to say nothing about what it has done to delusional white minds. Why should victims of liars and murderers want them in our presence? How can we recover with them in our midst? Can the rape victim recover with the rapist in her bed?
Even today, American racism and capitalism/imperialism is the scorn of the earth, blood sucking the poor in the name of global free trade, caring nothing for the rights of poor nations to economic parity. You consume the world’s energy for the greedy privilege of driving SUVs and having a television in every room, left on 24/7. You have no intentions of dealing with the root causes of terrorism: poverty, ignorance, and disease. Until you do so, you will become a prisoner in your own land, afraid of those outside your borders and those within whom you’ve equally mistreated, abused and falsely accused of being criminals, unworthy to share in the fruits of their labor and that of their ancestors, while white descendants enjoy the surplus capital from centuries of slave labor.
Our primary concern was then and is now ourselves. You are dangerous to our health, mental, physical, and spiritual, unless you have radicalized your consciousness, or shall we say become blackenized, certainly all vestiges of white supremacy must be processed out of your consciousness. Those whites who have worked on themselves we welcome as allies, brothers and sisters in revolution.
It is not the nature of Africans or African Americans to hate and exclude. We can be nationalists and internationalists without hating and excluding. But we do have the human right to do for self as others do, whites, Latinos, Asians, gays, lesbians, and others of every race, sex and creed.
We must not be afraid to become economically self-sufficient. We were in better economic shape under segregation, yes, when we were Negroes, now we’re black and don’t have a decent restaurant or hotel in any American city.
We have thousands of religious houses where the people receive their dose of opium as a form of social control to delay the day of our liberation, where people are taught fairy tales and nursery rhymes about a sky god who died on the cross for our sins, sins? What have African Americans done but be loyal slaves, down to this present moment we are dying in Iraq defending liars and murderers.
Finally, racism is a component of capitalism. We cannot be capitalists because we have no capital! We hardly have one black bank in America. Where are our African American global markets? We might sell a few raps songs in Europe and Asia, but do we sell a blackmobile, trucks, socks, toilet paper, matches?
Although black studies derived from the efforts of black revolutionary students, with the demise of the liberation struggle, radical instructors and scholars were removed and replaced with academically "qualified" collaborators and trusted colonial servants, unconcerned with the original mission of black studies: to uplift the community. As a result, for every one brother going to college, four go to prison. For the most part, black studies is a sham, a place for tenured Negroes to keep a job for life unless they rock the boat by teaching radical ideas found to be politically incorrect by their academic masters.
Black Studies began in revolution, but has succumb to reaction and irrelevance with respect to providing a leadership role in uplifting the community. Where is a truly radical black studies department? Where in America is one black radical college or university?
Please don't mention the Negro colleges and universities, mainly outhouses for training house slaves who escape the hood into corporate America and never look back. Of course the white colleges and universities do the same. Isn't it interesting that Dr. Ben couldn't find a black academic institution to donate his thirty thousand volume library? He gave it to the Nation of Islam, which is very ironic in light of his history of anti-Islamic pronouncements.
As a consequence of the above, we must step to the front line of community education; it must become an institution for the training of radical scholars and social activists who will fulfill the original mission of black studies by attacking illiteracy, joblessness, economic empowerment, addictions, mental and physical health issues and spiritual poverty caused by excessive religiosity. Academic subjects will be considered for their relevance to life issues as we confront America's low intensity war on a daily basis.
The Arabic word nisa has two meanings depending on syllable stress. One meaning is woman, another meaning is to forget. Long ago, Warith Din Muhammad gave a lecture on how men forget women. More recently, Amina Baraka exhorted me and her husband, Amiri, not to forget women, to respect them always, especially for their contribution to our liberation struggle: "Remember the women of history, remember Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, remember Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Queen Mother Moore, remember Ella Collins," Amina cried.
We must address problems in male/female relations since such problems directly impact healthy family and community development. Mrs. Baraka was addressing two poets, both having the artistic sensibility and insensitivity to become emotionally detached from women, children and men in our quest for creativity, thinking a poem is more important than the human being. (Of course Amiri Baraka is qualified to speak for himself, but since I know him, I'm taking the liberty to place him in the boat with me, other poets and artists in general.)
If men of intelligence can be so detached, imagine the behavior of men with lesser intelligence. Perhaps this is why the divorce courts and the anger management programs are full. Men just don't get it and some have no intention to "get it." It will take generations before the patriarchal mentality subsides, if then, although great strides have been made in male/female equality. Now we are in danger of women getting revenge after coming into power situations. They want to oppress. Go before a female judge with a domestic violence case.
But the socialization of males and females must be examined to explore better, healthier methods of interpersonal relations. How can women who love talking endlessly, communicate with men who will go silent when approached on critical matters? "Do you hear me, man," the woman says, "Then why don't you say something?" In the TS Eliot poem the women say, "That is not what I meant, that is not what I meant at all. . . ."
Male education must involve manhood rites that allow them to explore male psychology and female psychology, and the same for women. So often we come together not knowing a damn thing about each other, until it is too late, two or three children later, several ass whippings later.
Men must learn to understand and treat females as equal but different human beings. The idea is not to make men more feminine, but to understand their natural selves and gain a more precise understanding of the opposite sex. Mythologically speaking, understand the function of the sky god and the earth mother goddess. One is the protector, one the nurturer. Today the situation is such that the woman needs protection from the protector!
And the man feels his nurturer is somehow his enemy, the very person he sleeps with he is terrified of, and often the woman feels the same. What kind of horror story is this?
Moving from myth to nature, roosters will not become hens, bulls will not become cows, so stop trying to reverse nature, although it is urgent that we understand the nature of human psychology, understand different functions of each sex, responsibilities, desires, drives and dreams. Often men are indeed lost in the stars, while women are usually forced to stay grounded in reality. As Joseph Campbell explains, men must be taught they are approaching manhood. Women know they are approaching womanhood at the first cycle—they can see, feel, touch, smell womanhood, but men need a ritual: they must come out of the sky and go into the bush to be terrified into the reality of manhood.
Men must at least listen to the dreams of women, even if we reject their dreams, and women must do the same—ultimately a compromise can and must be found. It shall never be again, "Your way or no way," although men will attempt to maintain male privilege until the sky falls—look up, brother, the sky is falling!
And women, in their new found aggression and power positions, will push their agenda at every turn, forcing men to react violently, "Bitch, I don't want to hear nothing you got to say. Shut the fuck up." But she's not going to shut up and she ain't going away—you may leave her for another woman but strangely it will be the same woman with another name. A woman is a woman is a woman is a woman, stupid!
So before there can be unity, there must be understanding. The main thing is not to oppress each other, especially since we're both freshly out of slavery. Men often feel the double-edged sword of oppression from the black woman and the white man. And women feel the same sword blade from the white man and the black man. If we, males and females, would recognize we're not enemies but friends and lovers, sailing in the same love boat, we'll be at least halfway free!
When women are at the top of their game, they have the unique ability to get anything they want from men, sometimes with the glance of an eye, a stride, a smile, the tone of her voice can totally disarm a man. Call it feminine charm or whatever, but women have been successful throughout the ages. With her newfound power, do not forget her ancient secrets that worked for thousands of years, giving her the ability to be a helpmate to great men and tearing down great men when in rage and frustration.
Consider the Children
These twisted male/female relationships have profound implications for the children. When the male departs from the jungle to the forest, the child, especially the male child, is soon out of control, usually by age 15. He is in absolute rebellion against his mother's agenda, although her agenda is often bisexual because she is forced to don the persona of the female/male. The young man's hatred is directed at the female side of the mask, although he harbors a distinct hatred for his missing father as well. So consider his rage, just as his hormones are kicking in. Again, the need for manhood training. But even with females, there is a need and desire for father's love that she will search for in fatherless young men or dirty old men!
Likewise, with young males, the hatred is transferred to girlfriends whom they verbally and physically abuse. This hatred is expressed in the poetic language of rap songs. Healing such shattered young lives is the task of mental health specialists such as Dr. Nathan Hare's Black Reconstruction mental health group sessions that he is calling to be established across America. In the interim, hip hop youth use poetry, sometimes unconsciously, for peer counseling, and this is all good. The University of Poetry must address such stress and strains in the personality of males and females, urging them to use poetry as a healing tool in their lives, let poetry be a bridge for reconciliation rather than a vehicle to only express pain and rage between the sexes and the generations.
If we were against gay and lesbian poets, there would be little poetry to read, since the arts seem to be the home of many gay people. Imagine a world without Langston Hughes or James Baldwin, or Audre Lorde and June Jordan. So my attitude is what does sex have to do with being a poet—nothing! A poet must understand human sexuality in general. A poet stuck on being gay is not a poet, for what happens when he or she must put on the persona of a man or woman, or a tree for that matter. A poet must transcend all sexuality in order to understand the universal human spirit that is, yes, beyond a particular sexual orientation. Gays and lesbians might sometimes have a more sensitive spirit, but every poet, whether gay or straight, must have a sensitive spirit.
Did Baldwin write as a gay or as a writer of the human condition? After my 1968 interview with him, I remarked to Ed Bullins, “He talked like a man.” Ed said, “He damn sho did.” Alas, Baldwin wrote the script for Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X. If he had been trapped in his gayness, how could he have written a script about a hero who symbolized black manhood? When people questioned whether he was qualified to write the script because of his gayness, Baldwin said, “Hey, I pay my rent, I write what I want to write.”
In the video version of my play One Day In The Life, a gay actor portrays my son. If he had not transcended his gayness, he wouldn’t have been in my play. So he was in my play because he was a great actor. At the audition for my play in New York, a gay brother tried out for the part but couldn’t transcend his sexuality. My daughter was casting director, and when I told her to let the guy read the part again, she said, “No, Daddy, no. Let me handle this. He got to go!”
So we have no time to condemn people for their sexual orientation. We might thereby condemn the goose laying the golden egg. We could use another Baldwin or Langston right about now to help free us from this precipice.
But I say to those who passed legislation permitting sex between consenting adults, and in California one of them was then Assemblyman Willie L. Brown, if gays can be with gays and lesbians with lesbians, then men who love prostitutes should be allowed to be with their sex workers in peace, not sneaking around in the alley like a broke dick dog, arrested and cars seized. Yes, legalize prostitution. Lakum dinu kum waliya din: to you your way and to me mine.
Sobriety for some people is possible, but not for all. Harm reduction is the model we favor, just don’t kill yourself, make an all out effort not to self destruct on drugs, if you insist on using them, try to maintain a level of functionality. Some people have been on dope for decades, working everyday and taking care of their families, they just happen to love dope and have no intention of giving it up.
Drugs should probably be legalized, especially when so many people are hooked on legal drugs. Look at the “high” and mighty Rush Limbaugh! And many people have absolutely no intention of ever giving up marijuana or even cocaine for that matter. Decriminalizing drugs would take great pressure off the legal and penal systems, especially if we treat drug abuse as a mental health issue.
We should consider the medicinal value of such drugs that have been used as such for centuries. In other words, certain illegal drugs should be integrated into the catalogue of therapeutic medicines. Some people are better off on certain drugs, even illegal drugs. They have better personalities on drugs than they do when clean and sober—they are clean and sober assholes, disgusting to be around. We should rush them their old drugs if it alters their wretched clean and sober personalities that are often fowl, evil, arrogant and abusive, the dry drunkards.
Yes, we know drugs were only the symptom, not the problem. They have issues in the deep structure of their minds that even drugs cannot remedy. Like an actor putting on makeup, they medicate themselves to face the world, sadly, the world can see underneath the makeup.
Poets and other artists are especially inclined to seek the euphoric state of mind induced by drugs, especially in the emptiness of their hotel suites after the applause is over, the last hurrah. We know the best high is the natural high, we know the body produces the chemicals to make us high, if we would only do the natural thing to release these chemicals. But like the common people, we go for the punk high, high on the cheap, although it can be very expensive, costing our very lives, affecting our families and friends in our selfishness and eagerness to self-destruct. The Ken Burns documentary on jazz artists was so tragic to see our great artists self destructing one after the other. As great as she was, we wonder how greater Billie Holiday would have been without drugs.
And Charlie Parker, Miles, Coltrane, et al.
Art requires a high state of discipline, so young artists, poets, must come to the conclusion that a clear mind is the best tool for success. If one must indulge, try harm reduction. This is what I do. I can do without drugs, but if I want to drink alcohol I do so. But I get high writing as I’m doing right now. I get high seeing my children, woman (when she acts right, whatever that means), visiting the mountains, rivers, creeks, oceans.
Nothing is all bad, even drugs, nor is anything all good, except God. So get with the Most High and stay high forever.
Poets and Mental Health
It is a truism that there is a thin line between creativity and insanity. Poets walk the razor’s edge of being in this world and hearing voices from another world, the world of creation, myth making, and word magic. My first Arabic name was Nazzam, organizer or systematizer, which is what poets do, create a system of myth with their body of work.
Often we are amazed at our creative productions, for what is the source of these words
that seem to spring from a well deep in the human consciousness, or perhaps the collective consciousness of humanity as Jung suggested. For sure the poet’s mythology is but an extension of universal myth with the addition of his unique and original creations, stemming from his personal and communal life. He cannot claim total originality because his basic language is his Mother Tongue, the language of his people, thus his essential myths belong to his tribe, his nation, and he cannot escape this reality, no matter how deep he transcends into mystic shamanism.
In this sense, the poet is never, for all his individuality, an individual, but he is the collective voice of his people. Yes, he speaks for the living, the dead and the yet unborn; he speaks for the blind, the deaf and dumb; he speaks for the fearful, the speechless, the trembling and even the bold, the brave and the strong. If and when he is on point, the people will tell him so. In this sense, the poet is a mirror reflecting truth and beauty that the people already know, but they feel good to know that he knows and can speak about it, spit it out, make it plain, put it in stone.
Now when it goes to stone, sometimes the people are shaken, because they know the poet has gone down the hall of eternity and now they are spooked, for who knows what lies down the halls of eternity? This is why the poet must tell the truth, for no one wants lies sketched on the walls of eternity. And then too, who wants the truth inscribed in the halls and on the walls of eternity, if and when it happens to be the bitter truth, the ugly truth, the low down dirty truth. My family was horrified when I told the truth about them in my autobiography, even though some of the truth was already in the street. So what, they said, at least it wasn’t in stone.
Often the poet is bewildered by his words because he can be overwhelmed—so smart he outsmarts himself, thus, perhaps, they are not his words but the voice of God speaking through him. I said long ago, “I am the pen, Allah is the ink.” Yes, often the pen breaks down, we indeed trick ourselves, contradict our words in every way—and the people love to see us in contradiction, although they love us in righteousness as well, sometimes they will help us energetically no matter what route we choose, out of love.
In the dope house, I was given honor and respect no matter how much and how hard I tried to remain incognito because I knew I was a walking contradiction. But the people knew who I was and treated me as a hero, even though I was walking in shame. Even Huey Newton told me, “Don’t beat yaself, Jackmon,” as we sat smoking crack in West Oakland. I read that during slavery the people knew the leaders, the priests, the warriors, the griots, and they bowed down to them, gave them their propers.
We cannot hide from the people, they know who we are. I caught a woman in the dope house without any dope. She didn’t know me, but she said she saw me when I walked in and wondered what the fuck is this nigguh doing in the dope house. And after I rapped to her, she left with me, again, even though I didn’t have any dope. And we kicked it together for a minute. She tried to help me recover, although she was an alcoholic herself, and eventually lost her life in the game (peace be upon her). But as they say, game recognizes game!
In spite of all the above, we occasionally find ourselves in the mental ward. Yes, as my beloved brother Askari X titled his first album, we find ourselves a “Ward of the State.”
Yes, and I quote him, “A motherfuckin ward of the state.” I just want to say, Askari X is the most powerful Islamic poet I’ve ever heard. He became my son for awhile and I saw him come back from total insanity to a modicum of sanity, then back again to the outer limits, but in his good moments, I observed his genius mind in the studio recording entire albums from recall, doing retakes with perfect recall, a manifestation of the powerful African oral tradition. The present crop of rappers are far from the cream of the crop, wait til the real deal hollyfields step to the front of the line, and don’t expect to see them on BET or Def Poetry Jam, stay tuned to the black underground BAM station in your area.
During my stay in the mental hospital, I had the companionship of many poetic and artistic brothers and sisters. Clearly, some of our disabilities are shared by the general population, but poets were in abundance during my stay, point of information.
So all of us, poets and non-poets, might benefit from Dr. Nathan Hare’s prescription to establish peer mental health group sessions throughout this wretched land. Dr. Hare says we need not have present a professional mental health worker, but we can meet in the manner of AA, CA, NA, as peers to process our mental health issues. It is crystal clear to me that poets are doing this unconsciously in their open mikes and spoken word events, but we need to do it consciously so we are aware of the crisis and therefore take our poems more seriously because of their therapeutic nature and move beyond simple-minded applause into discussion, resolution, and conscious healing. Church!
Poets especially need Dr. Hare’s mental health group titled Black Reconstruction, alluding to the post slavery period of our African American sojourn, also the title of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois’s classic study of the post slavery period by the same name BLACK RECONSTRUCTION. Poets need Black Reconstruction because we think we are so clever with our poetic pronouncements that we, sometimes, totally escape the reality called life, with all its implications and requirements for using common sense, rather than poetic sense which is often nothing but nonsense of the highest order. Somebody help me, Church!
Addiction and Liberation
Chemical and sexual addictions were the plague of our movement and partly caused its failure, in spite of our achievements which were significant when we stop beating ourselves and consider our accomplishments, as Amina Baraka constantly reminds us.
But after our daily round in a cloud of marijuana, accompanied by a plate of cocaine powder and a bottle of expensive brandy, observed by the hip hop generation, our children, they followed our example to the extent they now tell us at a rap concert, “We ain’t comin on stage less you get some Hennesy and bitches up in this motherfuckin dressin room."
Consequently, we must at least use the harm reduction model when and if total abstinence is not possible. If you must drink, cut the dosage. If you want sex with groupies, practice safe sex. There’s a right way to even do wrong. Don’t do wrong too long!
Since our politicians have been derelict in their duty to establish political institutes for the training of the next generation of political scientists, the University of Poetry will hold classes in political education.
While Elijah said, "No politician of this world can save you," it is also true that relevant and socially committed politicians can be helpful when held accountable to the community. It is indeed sad to see Christian ministers such as Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton stumble and fumble with liberation theology in the political area, while our trained politicians seem to hide and duck challenging the power structure.
Imagine, one black woman, Barbara Lee, challenged the war hawks in the Bush house. One black woman, Cynthia McKinney, questioned the Bush devils on 9/11. If and when poets are required to step into the political area, we shall do so without fear.
Amiri Baraka brought over ten thousand people together at the National Black Assembly. Perhaps it is time to call another assembly, but a trained cadre of conscious and politically aware artists can and must move history forward. Those dead head rappers and poets must fall in line or fall into the dustbin of ancient history, taking their bling bling and slam/scams with them.
In The Beginning Was The Word
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and belongs to God. Those who play with the word are playing with God and He don't like ugly. The word is sacred, the word is holy, so be about the business of spreading truth not nonsense, lies, and frivolity for the sake of applause and a few pennies thrown from the master's table. Either get with Moses or go down as one of Pharaoh's magicians.
The Bible tells us the people were destroyed for lack of knowledge. Although we are in the Information Age, our community suffers from information starvation, with little relevant news from commercial or community newspapers (often community papers are either a hip hop rag sheet or a bourgeoisie perpetuation of the world of make believe and pseudo high society, so eloquently delineated by sociologist E. Franklin Frazier four decades ago in his classic Black Bourgeoisie.
Baraka asks, "Where are the black radical newspapers and magazines? Where are the freedom journals representing the aspirations of a people forty million strong, a people who are the 16th richest nation in the world?"
We Must Train Fearless Journalists
If these publications don't exist-and they don't-then the time has arrived to create them. We must train journalist dedicated to community service rather than objectivity.
Either the police beat Rodney King's ass or they didn't-there is nothing to be objective about. Either the police shot Diallo 41 times or they didn't-don't hide behind objectivity to eat a meal at Pharaoh's table. We must train fearless journalists, informed of world events so they can inform a community steeped in darkness of international affairs.
Additionally, we must train our community how to locate alternative news sources such as Al Jazeerah, Al Arabiyah, Pacifica News, NPR, and BBC, the most listened to news service on the planet—few Negroes tune in to the BBC unless they're outside this country.
If you don't listen to Amy Goodman's Democracy Now, one is simply out of the information loop. And where is our Amy Goodman? Oprah?
Where is our African American emergency information hotline? We know we cannot rely on governmental sources of information, nor can we depend on government bootlickers NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and CNN, agents of misinformation and white racist propaganda.
Baraka has told us to stop thinking like Americans. Americans own ABC, CBS, NBC, et al, we don't—we were too stupid to keep BET. Nevertheless, we can create news sources in the Digital Age, improve and support TBWT and others. We can and must create the necessary radical journals, magazines, and newspapers that reflect the tradition of Freedom's Journal, Garvey's Negro World and Elijah's Muhammad Speaks.
Our publications need not be slick like Ebony, Essence, Vibe—content will make them slick. Remember how eagerly we sought copies of the Crusader by Robert Williams, a little hand sized newsletter that was earthshaking in calling for radical change.
Poets And the Religious Experience
The great mythologist Joseph Campbell taught that religion(s) prevent us from having the religious experience. Religion is basically a code of conduct for the masses, an opiate to keep them under control. I once asked Minister Farakhan why do religions, all religions, make slaves of believers? He simply said we must somehow move to the point that religion is a liberating force rather than an enslaver.
I have written elsewhere (Religion and Revolution) that religion is a road to God, God being the Mountain, so religion is a path up the mountain. Most people need religion because they fear going up the mountain alone, they want someone to hold their hand, to guide them, fearful, they refuse to stand alone and face God butt naked. So religious leaders baby sit them while they read kindergarten books about God, rather than plow up the mountain like a warrior after his enemy, although God is their friend, alas, God is themselves. Martin Luther King, Jr. went up to the mountaintop of himself and saw God in himself and needed to see no more. His work was finished. Somebody get a healing.
The priest, the preacher, the imam does not detour from the holy books, only the poet is fearless enough to go beyond the book into the dark abyss of mystical joy and searching. The priest/preacher/imam is locked in traditional myth and ritual, but the poet kicks down the door of tradition to make himself one with the Divine. By definition, he must transcend the common rites and rituals to experience the metaphysical, the mystical intercourse with God; in his fearlessness, in his search for something new, something extraordinary, he may "walk through the muck and mire of hell," but if he is a true believer, a shaman, he will "come out clean as white fish and black as coal" (quote from James Sweeney, foreword to In the Crazy House Called America by Marvin X).
We must teach spirituality but not religion. Spirituality is being one with God, being God, expressing godliness in all that we do. We are not apart from God, hence there is nothing to learn except to know who we really are. We are in God/ God is in us. There is no separation, no sin, we cannot get out of our God skin, except when we refuse to recognize what we are wearing. We have on an expensive fur coat, but we don't want to recognize it, so the thief comes and steals it off our back and we stand naked in the snow. Of course Jesus taught us sometimes it is better to give the thief your coat and your cloak, for God is still within, closer than our jugular vein, closer than all the blood flowing from head to toe, closer than close, if we recognize.
And we better recognize, in other words, make salat, prayer, as in salute, recognize. But our every move should be salat, not five times a day but all day, every step we step with God consciousness, every move we move in harmony with the Divine flow of the universe. We flow with the flow, whom shall we fear, fear is the counter flow, going against the Divine, against ourselves, the very essence of our being, our godliness or goodness. God is myself, whom shall I fear.
The man told you the only thing to fear is fear itself. Someone asked me why don't I go lead the people. I asked them, "Why don't you go lead the people." You won't do it because you are afraid, shaking in your boots, so you want someone else to do what you should be doing. To hell with you. Lead yourself, stupid! Enough men and women have died for you, die for yourself, or rather, live for yourself and others will follow your example. Just like you're watching me, somebody is watching you, so don't ask me to bear your burden. They say I fought battles I didn't have to fight, so now it's your turn, the ball is in your court, the baton is in your hand, run with it and don't look back. Keep the faith until you win the race!
All religions make slaves of believers, robots who recite myth and enact rituals unto death, thus creating the present situation of savage murder and self annihilation throughout the world in order to fulfill religious precepts, whether Christian White Supremacy or Muslim Fundamentalism. But often ignorance, poverty, and disease take the religious fanatic beyond tradition into the absurd because of hopelessness under authoritarian and fascist oppression, pseudo democracies and barbaric theocracies.
Under such conditions, the oppressed have the human and divine right to overthrow the oppressor by any means necessary, including self-annihilation, to hell with this life, persecution is worse than slaughter, better we perish than suffer oppression for one minute, one day, and we have suffered four hundred years. Why do we even bring slave children into the world, better to abort them than allow them to be fuel for the fires of oppression, to be tricks for the blood suckers of the poor, to go about their daily round deaf, dumb and blind, yes, blind in this world and blind in the hereafter. Wake up and see God, look in the mirror.
Perhaps the poet's insanity can bring about sanity to a world full of religions but devoid of persons enjoying the religious experience. Yes, the power of the poet is such that he can make you cry like you're at your mother's funeral. As a young man I did a production of Baraka’s Dutchman at Fresno State University. I needed a wig for Ethna X. Wyatt (now Hurriyah, queen of Black Arts West Theatre and Black House, San Francisco) to perform the role of the white woman Lula. So I got a local pimp to loan me a wig belonging to one of his sex workers.
The pimp came to the production and when he saw Lula stab Clay to death it rocked his world so much that he gave up pimping and joined the Nation of Islam, later became an Imam under Warith Din Muhammad, even made his haj to Mecca, such is the power of drama. And if the poet cannot move you in this fashion, to this degree, then he is not a poet and most certainly not a shaman, thus you are right to return to the authority of your priest/preacher/imam, and live happily ever after, deaf, dumb and blind to your divinity and eternity.
Poet As Shaman
The poet as shaman is a visionary who sees with his third eye, his spiritual eye. A people who don’t support their poets and other artists will get no prophecy and see no visions, Baraka said long ago. But the poet as shaman is in this world but not of this world. He is simultaneously in harmony with nature and beyond nature. He is in harmony with the trees, rivers, oceans, mountains, valleys, sun, moon, and stars. He is in harmony with the bees, birds, dogs, cows, and horses, even the flies. He knows and understands the flies. When flies bug him in the house, he knows they are telling him to let them out, so he opens the door for them to exit rather than kill them with the swatter.
He demands freedom for himself and all human beings, men and women. He must be free to think, to imagine the impossible, to create new thoughts, new configurations of society that are healthy and wholesome rather than destructive and demoralizing, inhibiting self development and transformation. For example, is the concept of marriage functional in the new age? Fifty per cent of the marriages end in divorce, pretty sad odds. Maybe we need to take a look at the concept and consider a reconfiguration that will make relationships more lasting and not full of sorrow, pain, and suffering, but happiness and joy.
We must look at the system of justice and envision a better way. Why should millions be imprisoned for petty crimes while the filthy rich plunder the world beyond the arm of justice. How shall the world disarm and arrest such global criminals for polluting the environment and pimping the poor unto death in the name of free trade, free slavery?
So it is the duty of the poet /shaman to think of ways out of this morass of suffering and injustice. He must conjure words that liberate the human spirit, inspire people to dream the impossible, to unite for the common good rather than selfish desires. The poet/shaman must force people to give up their fears, doubts and inferior complexes created by the social oppression of centuries. He must make the people feel good about themselves because he has given them knowledge, wisdom, and the appreciation of beauty and truth.
Music and Poetry
Sun Ra said, “Marvin, don’t you know armies march to music?” Of course they do, and music can kill, music can heal. When my driver suffered a mental breakdown, Sun Ra sent the brother an album and he got better. Music is therapy, and for black people it is truly their only therapist, they refuse any other doctor, maybe except doctor feel-good, as Aretha sang.
Music was an essential part of the BAM, coast to coast. Baraka had Sun Ra, the Aylers, Archie Shepp, Pharaoh Sanders, Milford Graves, Don Pullins. On the West Coast we had Dewey Redman, Raphael Donald Garrett, Monte Waters, BJ, Earl Davis, Oliver Johnson, and later Bobby Hutcherson, Sun Ra, Juju with Babatunde Lea and Plunky. In Chicago they had the Art Ensemble and Phil Corans Afro-Arts Theatre.
Today I am blessed to perform with Destiny (harp), Tarika (violin) and Tacuma (djembe and other instruments), and I detest performing without them. Yes, their “new age” sounds are healing for me, if no one else. Physician heal thyself.
We know music affects our central nervous system, calming us down or hyping us into a stupor. The culture police worry about the affect of lyrics on youth, but some youth informed me they pay no attention to the lyrics, only the beat, so perhaps the culture police should turn their attention away from the so-called disgusting lyrics and consider the beats and their effect on the mentality of youth. It’s the beats that have them bobbing and weaving like palm trees in the wind.
So I want music that can soothe the wild beast and transform the beast into a soldier for the cultural revolution. The BAM, revolution also had Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and My Favorite Things, Eric Dolphy’s Round Midnight, Mile’s Kind of Blue, and Nina talking plenty shit, but music, not techno music, live music that brought us alive and made us challenge the evil powers. Today the music is fostering the state of Yakubism, perpetuating violence and negative thinking, instead of healing sounds that liberate us mentally and physically. See the great Sufi master Hazrat Khan on music and sound.
We know there are only so many rhythms and each one has a different effect on the heart or central nervous system. Vudun, Santeria, Condomble all have rhythms to call forth the gods or spirits, each with a different purpose for each devotee, who only responds to a particular god’s rhythm or drum beat. But we’re dancing to beats about which we know nothing, except they make us feel good, meanwhile they are destroying our central nervous system, causing us to have a mental breakdown, yes, as we go down funky!
Ain’t it funky now. I didn’t say James Brown wasn’t healing!
The poet must integrate his healing words with healing music, and don’t forget the dancer who can translate our poetry into body language to help make the poem plain. Work that magic Raynetta Rayzetta! Elijah said, “I am only after the plainest way to get truth to my people. Poetry is a science.” So we want to make it so plain a fool can understand, the blind can see and the deaf can hear.
Poetics of Yakubism
The poetry genre “rap” must be examined from the reference point of the Muslim myth of Yakub, the mad scientist who created the white man through genetic engineering. (See Elijah Muhammad’s Message to the Black Man and Amiri Baraka’s play A BLACK MASS.) Yakub discovered the magnetic attraction of playing with two pieces of steel.
Hip Hop youth are fond of playing with steel, especially the gangsta rappers and their devotees. They repeatedly rap about gun violence, apparently have a fixation with weapons of steel, thus we call them Yakub’s children. Now the previous generation played with knives, so we were Yakubites as well. But our guns were mainly for hunting animals. Today’s Yakubites hunt each other. Often it is not about dope or sex, simply boredom, as some youth told me, “Man, when we bored, we put on our bulletproof vests, get our uzis and ride through the hood shootin nigguhs.” Are we not worse than the KKK? At least they don’t shoot each other!
Cars reflect the Yakub syndrome. Youth drive at high speed through city streets, killing innocent people while doing donuts and other tricks with their steel toys. And Yakub’s children can be seen playing in the streets while 2,000 pounds of steel is coming at them.
And they refuse to move as if the steel can stop on a dime. The children will walk right into the steel, fearless in the face of certain death, and will curse you for blowing your horn to warn them to get their ignut asses out of the street.
Of course, we must look at the teachers of Yakub’s children, America, the number one gun merchant of the world, who also supplies guns to Yakub’s children in the hoods of America, along with dope to destabilize the community. Gangsta rap adds fuel to the fire, with lyrics and videos praising violence, if only verbal violence, against brothers and sisters, reducing women to sex objects and parading them in prostitute garb.
In ancient times, the Yakubites were banned from the holy land, exiled in the hills and caves of Europa. As punishment for playing with steel, we may need to banish the modern Yakubites, unless they are willing to enter recovery and become civilized, renouncing urban savagery, whether poetic or real.
Poetics and Psycholinguistics
We are speaking here of the relationship between the mind and language. Sometimes words have us in such a tizzy we can’t think straight. We are so confused about the word nigguh we can’t engage in civil conversation about the term. And the irony is that no matter what we think about it, the term is now in worldwide usage with the multi-cultural hip hop generation. The word nigguh is literally making billions of dollars, yet the nigguhs are often mortally afraid of the term, as they are afraid of themselves, generally.
True, its origin conjures the most despicable aspects of American history and culture, yet language is in constant flux, taking on new meanings or connotations, so it is culturally lagging to remain fixated on the denotation of a word that has been transformed into something positive rather than negative. Get over it, nigguh ain’t going nowhere soon, unless we stop speaking English. It is one of the most powerful words in American English with multiple meanings, depending on tone, stress and speaker. It can get you killed or get you in bed with your lover. It is a word that comes from the depths of slavery but its current usage indicates the slave’s language is superior to the master’s.
For all his effort to make it a term of debasement, it is now a term of love and appreciation, as in “You my nigguh.” And this can be said between two white persons, Latinos, Asians, or whomever. Negro speech is but another aspect of our culture that is co-opted by world culture, over which we have absolutely no control. Do we control Blues, Jazz, or Rap for that matter? And now poetry is being pimped by slams and def jams. We understand there is a poetry war in Los Angeles between the conscious poets and the dead head slam poets.
While we believe in freedom of speech, we must push for poetry that moves history forward, not treading water in the personal, but reaching out to arouse political consciousness in a people who amble about like dead men walking. Imagine, there is no black representation in the California State legislature above Bakersfield. This is a pitiful situation that reflects the apolitical nature of the times and poets must break the spell with word magic.
On another point, I maintain there are no profane or obscene words, only profane and obscene actions. Saying motherfucker is in no way equal to being a mother fucker. Words are the tool of poets, writers, so just as Picasso would not limit himself to certain colors, no poet is going to limit his language except in context. Words only have relevance in context.
If we are writing for polite society, we might use Miller Lite language. But if we are describing or recreating language of the hood, we use Old English 800 terminology, some ass kicking shit.
Writers/poets must have freedom of speech. We cannot be held hostage to the culture police whether they are phony black bourgeoisie, religious or radical purists, all of whom can be found using the most vile language when it suits them, usually in anger and rage. A friend who abhors the term bitch, recently informed me she called her son a bitch in anger and rage at his juvenile behavior. So the culture police are at the very least hypocritical, and most certainly ignorant of the complex function of language, or is it simply denial, again context: it’s proper and improper depending on the moment.
Baraka jammed me one night in New York for using profanity in the presence of his wife, who quite frequently uses profanity, especially in describing and communicating with her husband. But I was horrified that the motherfucker who taught me how to say motherfucker had flipped on me and was telling me to shut up. Yes, this is the man whose poetics freed us psycholinguistically during the 60s. What poet or playwright wasn’t influenced by The Dutchman? Perhaps Baraka has become conservative, but again, words are valid in context, and even now when he wants to say motherfucker he doesn’t hesitate to include it in a poem or in conversation.
I find it very strange when the culture police tell me not to use certain language because children are present, yet, the children use more gutter language that myself, Baraka and Shakespeare together. Yes, the old bard was raw when the occasion called for it.
Now if we want to talk about a new language, it would be the language of silence, yes, don’t read my lips, but read my mind. I can read yours. I know what you’re thinking, so be silent. Why is it necessary to yap endlessly day and night, especially when you have no idea what you’re saying, you’re simply masturbating at the mouth. Words are extensions of our mind, so let’s go to the deep structure and read minds. You don’t need to call me on the phone because I already know what you’re thinking, and you know what’s on my mind. Silencia por favor.
Sex is the gasoline that fuels the poetic engine. After climax, the poet can get up and write all nite. He is energized, although he may never get enough, a delusion of his addictive personality. He is addicted to beauty and truth, often both of them come in the form of the opposite sex.
But normal sex is not good enough. The worse thing in the world to tell the poet is to be normal. “Why don’t you act like normal people?” The last thing on earth he wants to be is normal. Now if you want a normal motherfucker, get yo square ass away from the poet person. He is the natural born freak. He wants more and a variety thereof. If you think he will ever be satisfied with only you, you are dumber than the dumbest mule let out of Georgia. Not only does he love beauty and truth, but the more beauty and truth the better.
Even if you are the most beautiful woman in the world, the poet looks at you thinking it would be even more beautiful if there were two of you taking care of me. Church!
No one should ever approach the poet with the idea he should do anything normal, for he dwells in the abnormal, the different, just to be different. He is sexually insatiable, just to be insatiable, simply because in your simple mindedness you think he should be satisfied.
He purposely must fuck with you, go beyond your normal thoughts, so that you never consider him on such a lowly plain—in his warped mind.
And yet, there comes a woman who takes him beyond sex into the love zone, although in the deep structure of his mind, he is in love with poetry. Poetry is his lover, just as Duke Ellington said, “Music is my mistress.”
Believe it or not, he is ultimately asexual, caring nothing for sex, especially if it interferes with his creativity. Was it Emerson who said, “I would write on the lentils of a door post.”?
His sheets are full of ink from pens he left uncapped after falling asleep writing in bed. He is funky, refusing to bathe after writing for days. And he is the supreme distant lover, never, ever, never, ever there. Look into his eyes, but he is not there, his mind is lost in a poem, while his lover chats endlessly about their relationship and what a commitment means to her, as if he gives a fuck about what she’s running off at the mouth about in her utter seriousness that means absolutely nothing to him. He is lost in poetic dreamland, where he lives 24/7 and most likely where he will die, graciously. It doesn’t matter if you have been with him four years or thirty-four years, the net result is the same, so you either love the man ya wit or get yo ass on—whatever ya do, don’t think ya gonna change baby boy cause it ain’t that kinna party. Love him for what he is and where he is: in the poetic dreamland where he lives and where his heart is at in peace, and where no one but God can penetrate. Church! So now you know, poets are crazy motherfuckers.
The Poetics of Love
Love is the grand theme of poetry, all other themes pale in comparison because love is at the heart and soul of every poet. Of course love of the opposite sex is often a metaphor for Divine love. And what is hate except a heart crying out for love, so love is the question and the answer, the problem and the solution. How often do we hear young poets crying in their poems about what love has or hasn’t done to them, and old poets as well, so poets must go deep down into the sea of love and write from there the poems of eternity, even political poems are rooted in love of justice, truth and peace, but love is the motivator, love for a new day beyond the white night of oppression and human misery, love, even when love is impossible the thought is ever present to have the experience, the joy.
Now of course poets sometimes find themselves full of love, so full they take it for granted, after picking all the lilies in the field, and the lilies seem to come a poet’s way with each poem recited. Want to win the soul of a beautiful woman, read her a poem that touches her heart strings and she will melt into your arms, even break into tears at the beauty of your words, and even you will be shocked at the power of poetry, so try not to abuse these divine words that spring from the fountain of eternity like a well placed before you by God Himself, so never think you are self sufficient, this idea is the stuff of classic tragedy, Shakespeare’s dramas are full of men and women who thought too much of themselves, beyond themselves, so they fell into disgrace and shame. And they wondered what happened to love.
Finally, we are here for all brothers and sisters who can't learn anywhere else, who might be teachable with the spoken word. We know they can learn, perhaps the failure has been methodology, insincere teachers and administrators. We want the University of Poetry to be a place students are taught with love, patience and understanding. We know Johnny and Johnnymae can learn. Johnny sells dope, thus he's a salesman. He weighs and measures dope, so he knows math. He cooks dope, so he is a chemist. He packages dope, so he deals with marketing and promotion. Johnny can learn. He has look outs, so he deals with security. He keeps the count right on pain of death, so he knows bookkeeping. Johnny can learn. He has a baby and a baby mama, so he deals with responsibility. Johnny can learn. Let's teach him at the University of Poetry.
Finally, let's make one thing perfectly clear: the First Poet's Church of the Latter Day Egyptian Revisionists is not about freedom, rather discipline, discipline, discipline, in the spirit of our dearly departed master teacher Sun Ra, mystic, musician, philosopher, poet, mythologist, ritualist of the Black Arts Movement. Long live Master Teacher Sun Ra!
HOW TO RECOVER
FROM THE ADDICTION TO
A Pan African
FOR AFRICANS, EUROPEANS, ASIANS, LATINOS & OTHERS
Foreword by Dr. Nathan Hare
HOW TO RECOVER
FROM THE ADDICTION
A Pan African
Copyright 2008 by Marian M. Jackmon Foundation
All Rights Reserved
BLACK BIRD PRESS
1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley CA 94702
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Marvin obtained his PhD in Negrology from the University of Hell, USA. Says James W. Sweeney, “Marvin walked through the muck and mire of hell and came out clean as white fish and black as coal.”
Dr. Marvin, (aka Marvin X, Marvin Ellis Jackmon, Nazzam Al Fitnah Sudan, El Muhajir, Otis Black, Elijah Muhammad) was born May 29, 1944 in Fowler, CA. He grew up in Fresno and Oakland, CA. Attended Merritt College and San Francisco State University where he received a BA and MA in English. He has taught English, African American Literature, Drama, Creative writing, journalism , radio and television writing and technical writing at San Francisco State University, Fresno State University, University of California Berkeley and San Diego, University of Nevada, Reno, Mills College, Laney College and Kings River Community College.
Marvin received writing fellowships from Columbia University and the National Endowment for the Arts. He received planning grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Nevada Humanities Committee.
He is one of the founders of the Black Arts Movement and considered the father of Muslim American literature. His volume of poetry Fly To Allah is the seminal work of modern Muslim American literature. He has been called the USA’s Rumi. His papers were recently acquired by the University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft library.
Dr. Marvin’s first play Flowers for the Trashman was produced by the drama department at San Francisco State University, 1965, and later at his own Black Arts West Theatre, co-founded with playwright Ed Bullins and Ethna Wyatt (Hurriyah) 1966. Eldridge Cleaver, Marvin, Ed Bullins and Ethna founded the political/cultural center in San Francisco known as Black House, 1967. Marvin later joined Ed Bullins at the New Lafayette Theatre in Harlem, NY, 1968. In Harlem he worked with Amiri Baraka, Sun Ra, Askia Toure, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, the Last Poets and others in establishing the Black Arts Movement. He served as contributing editor to Black Theatre magazine, Black Dialogue, Soulbook, Journal of Black Poetry and Muhammad Speaks. Also contributed to Negro Digest/Black World and Black Scholar magazine. He has written for the San Francisco Bay View and Oakland Post newspapers.
More recently, his play One Day In The Life, a docudrama of addiction and recovery, 1997, became the longest running African American drama in Northern California. He established Recovery Theatre to use drama as a therapeutic tool in recovery from drugs, domestic violence and other issues. Recovery Theatre received support from Mayor Willie L. Brown’s office, the San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Family Fund, Vanguard Foundation, Marin County Board of Supervisors and the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.
In 1980, he produced the National Conference of Black Men, Oakland Auditorium. In 2001 he produced the Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness at San Francisco State University, and 2004 the San Francisco Black Radical Book Fair at his Recovery Theatre in the Tenderloin district.
His books include Love and War, poems, 1995, Somethin Proper, autobiography, 1998, In the Crazy House Called America, essays, 2002, Wish I Could Tell You The Truth, essays, 2005, Land of My Daughters, poems, 2005, and Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality, essays on consciousness, 2007.
For more information by and about Dr. Marvin, please search Google and the following: http://www.marvinxwrites.blogspot.com, www.nathanielturner.com,www.aalbc.com, www.youtube.com.
We thank Dr. Nathan Hare for suggesting using the 12-step model to organize community mental health peer group sessions. Thanks to Suzzette Celeste, MSW, MPA, who along with Dr. Hare, facilitated Black Reconstruction, the pilot model of the mental health peer group sessions at our Recovery Theatre in San Francisco. Thanks to my daughter, Muhammida El Muhajir, for suggesting expanding my original essay into book form. Thanks to Ptah Allah-El (Tracy Mitchell) for suggesting the sections on detox and discovery. And finally, thank you Hurriyah Asar for your hospitality enabling me to write this manuscript.
To the following for making my Beyond Religion, Toward Spirituality book tour a success: Muhammida El Muhajir, Nisa Ra, Suzzette Celeste, Travion Cotton, Paulette Johnson, Phil Johnson, Amira Jackmon, Sonia Sanchez, Mr. and Mrs. Amiri Baraka, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Bullins, Askia Toure, Tony Vander Meer, Dana Rondel, Miles McAfee, Viola Plummer, Baba Lumumba, Dalani and Songhay, Sankofa Books, Wash. DC, Sam Anderson, Schomburg Library, Harlem NY, Robb at the University of Penn, Robbin’s Book Store, Philly, Lamont B. Steptoe, Rudolph Lewis; Wake Up, WBAI, NYC, Ariel Fernandez, Justin ‘Soul One‘ Bedford, Fahizah Alim, Jabari Moketsi and Linda Fletcher.
Foreword by Dr. Nathan Hare
Detoxification from White Supremacy
Step 1: We are not powerless over self-hatred, racism white supremacy thinking but our lives have become unmanageable.
Step 2: We have come to believe that a power within ourselves can restore us to sanity.
Step 3: We have made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.
Step 4:We shall make a searching and fearless moral inventory.
Step 5: Admitted to God within and without the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step 6: We are entirely ready to have God remove defects of character.
Step 7: We humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings.
Step 8: Make a list of all Africans and others we have harmed.
Step 9: Make direct amends to such people.
Step 10: Continue to take personal inventory.
Step 11: Seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God.
Step 12: Carry the message to the Pan African world and other humans in the global community.
Step 13: Discover Pan African consciousness and join the cultural revolution.
Call him Dr. M, as I do, though I’ve known him by other names in other places and, like Diogenes, who went around holding up a lantern to the faces of the people he would meet in the streets of ancient Athens looking for an honest man, I have come to the realization that we as a people have been waiting and looking for somebody like Dr. M to come along for more than half a century, ever since America was stunned by The Mark of Oppression (the Jim Crow era book by two white liberal psychiatrists whose findings had brought them to the heartfelt conclusion that the race of people called “Negroes” was “crushed.”
In only four years after their epitaph was written, Negroes (now called “blacks,” “Blacks,” “Afro-Americans,” “African-Americans,” or as Dr. M sometimes calls them “American Africans”) had exploded in Montgomery with passive resistance. In four more years the “sit-in movement” broke out among the youth, followed like a one-two punch by the so-called “freedom riders” (roving bands of individuals who boarded and defied the segregation of interstate vehicles and included a future student of mine on spring break from Howard University by the name of Stokely Carmichael). Then came “Black Power,” in the context of which I first heard of a man who had metamorphosed from the slave-name Marvin Jackmon into a prominent “North American African poet” who went by the name of Marvin X (the X connoting “the unknown”).
While, despite the fact that I have known him through the intervening years, I cannot unravel every single quality of the brother, I can testify that Dr. M is a brand new Marvin, a Dr. Marvin, a social doctor, if you will, with a gift and a mission for a new black movement. I know this to be true because, aside from my Ph.D. and years of experience in the practice of clinical psychology, I specialized in the study of social movements for a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Chicago . But more than that, I have watched a dedicated Dr. M, up close and clinically, going about his fearless work in the mean streets of San Francisco . Over a period of many months, on many a dark and dreary sometimes rainy Wednesday night, I served as a consultant in clinical psychology to Dr. M’s “Black Reconstruction Group” (the pilot to his twelve-step model now unveiled in this important book on “How to Recover from Addiction to White Supremacy.” In the Recovery Theatre’s pilot groups, I sat with diverse and ad hoc coteries of men and women gathered impromptu in the austere basement of a Catholic church, St. Boniface, located in the heart of The Tenderloin, the highest crime district in San Francisco , just down a few blocks from the famous Glide Memorial Methodist Church . Many a night I marveled at the ease with which Dr. M and his talented co-facilitator, Suzette Celeste brought out trickles of lost and unleashed hope and inspiration in the minds of destitute and degraded street people as well as in the confused and empty psyches of invited members of the black bourgeoisie who, still trying to be unbroken, had come where not many “bourgies” would dare to tread.
On many an appointed night I stood by silently looking on while Dr. M and his collaborators sauntered out into the shadowy mysteries of dilapidated streets to solicit and harness hapless homeless men and a woman or two and bring them in to meet as equals with the anxious representatives of the black bourgeoisie who had dared to cross momentarily back over their tentative territorial and social boundaries. This of course is not recommended for the feeble or the fainthearted; because, until the revolution comes, or the proletariat triumphs, there will be difficulties and perils in chance encounters of the social classes. So I must hasten to explain that a security conscious Dr. M was operating within a safety net of collaborators competent in the martial arts; like Geoffrey Grier, who has been an international martial arts competitor and is a son of a black psychiatrist, Dr. William Grier, coauthor with Dr. Price Cobb of the late 1960s blockbuster, Black Rage.
At the moment when the oppressed have had enough, their rage will explode -- Fanon had warned us in The Wretched of the Earth -- and it is at that moment, at the very point of mental and spiritual coagulation and defeat, when they will come together and rise. Frantz Fanon went on to tell of a category of reconstruction groups called “’djemaas’ (village assemblies) of northern Africa or in the meetings of western Africa , tradition demands that the quarrels which occur in a village should be settled in public. It is communal self-criticism, of course, and with a note of humor, because everybody is relaxed, and because in the last resort we all want the same things. But the more the intellectual imbibes the atmosphere of the people, the more completely he abandons the habits of calculation, of unwonted silence, of mental reservations, and shakes the spirit of concealment. And it is true that already at that level we can say that it spreads its own light and its own reason.”
However, psychiatric authority for a self-help peer group focus on individual feelings (or addiction) in relation to white supremacy became available anew in the late 1960s, when Jeffrey Grier’s father, Dr. William H. Grier, and his collaborator, Dr. Price M. Cobbs, published Black Rage. Dr. Grier has also consulted with Dr. M and his Recovery Theatre around the time of the pilot trial run of the first “Black Reconstruction Groups.” According to Grier and Cobbs, in the “Introduction to the Paperback Edition” of Black Rage, “The most important aspect of therapy with blacks, we are convinced, is that racist mistreatment must be echoed and underlined as a fact, an unfortunate fact, but a most important fact – a part of reality. Dissatisfaction with such mistreatment is to be expected, and one’s resentment should be of appropriate dimensions” among black warriors who would exact retribution. “Psychiatry for such warriors,” Grier and Cobbs went on to explain, should aim to “keep them fit for the duty at hand and healthy enough to enjoy the victories” that are likely to emerge.
Fitness for duty is a pleasant but likely side effect of Dr. M’s “Black Reconstruction Groups” working to free the minds of persons addicted to white supremacy. This no doubt is no doubt why they do not limit themselves in their group sessions to expressions of resentment of racist mistreatment and dissatisfaction but also calmly allow its hidden effects, which often remain unconscious in the way in which the relentless karate chops of white supremacy have killed our dreams on a daily basis and shattered our ability to love, to feel loved, to love ourselves and therefore one another. I listened with much satisfaction as Dr. M and his assemblies delved into the depths of fractured feelings and emotions of the brokenhearted in order to help them come to terms with betrayal, jealousy and rage, in their moving endeavors to learn to love again.
And so it is that you will find many a reference to love in How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy. This includes, for instance, “Women Who Love” and the motivations of the men who love them.
Dr. M’s own fitness for duty is complex, unique and variegated. According to James W. Sweeney, "Marvin walked through the muck and mire of hell and came out clean as white fish and black as coal." Marvin can boast of “a Ph.D. in Negrology,” as he puts it,” the study of nigguhs” issued by the University of Hardknocks’s College of Hell), based on twelve years of research , independent study , and practicum in San Francisco's Tenderloin and other unlettered social laboratories throughout the United States. There may still be hope, if it pleases you, for Dr. M to join the white man’s system of miseducation and mental health care, when we consider that psychologists, including one of my mentors, the late Dr. Carlton Goodlett, at first were “grandfathered” in when the licensure of psychologists was started in the state of California . Later came the oral exam (conversational, not dental), followed in time by an essay exam, before the boom in “standardized “ multiple choice tests for which workshops were offered to prepare you for a fee, causing excellent practitioners, especially black ones, to be blocked from licensure until they found out and forked over whopping workshop fees .
There is also a burgeoning market opening up in “clinical sociology” and “sociological practice” still cutting out its slice of the marketplace and finding its way in matters of licensure and credentialing in the field of sociology. But here it may be important to say that the self-help peer group does not require a sociological or a mental health professional, any more than the primordial AA groups from which the mental health profession has profited and learned. Dr. M is a social “doctor” (which etymologically means “teacher”) grappling with a social problem, white supremacy and its punishing residue in the minds of oppressed black individuals and white oppressors who have chosen to reject and come to places where their fathers lied. Oppressors pure and simple, who accept white supremacy, must be dealt with in a later context, as you will not very well be able to keep them in a Black Reconstruction or White Supremacy Destruction Group (or White Supremacy Deconstruction, if you will).
Much in the manner of Hegel in his essay on “Master and Slave,” Marvin senses that the oppressor distorts his own mind as well as the mind of the oppressed. Hence Type I and Type II White Supremacy Addiction. White sociologists and the late black psychologist, Bobby Wright, converged in their findings of pathological personality traits (“the authoritarian personality” and “the racial psychopathic personality,” as Bobby put it). But if Hegel was correct in his notion that the oppressor cannot free the slave, that the slave must force the oppressor’s hand, then it is Type II White Supremacy Addiction which if not more resistant to cure, must occupy our primary focus. Type II White Supremacy may be seen as a kind of “niggeritis” or “Negrofication” growing out of an over-identification with the master, who is white. As in any disorder severity of symptoms may vary from mild to moderate or severe. As Frantz Fanon put it when he spoke for the brother with jungle fever in Black Skin, White Mask: “I wish to be regarded as white. If I can be loved by the white woman who is loved by the white man, then I am white like the white man; I am a full human being.” In the twisted mental convolution of a brother in black skin behind a white mask, Fanon observed a “Negro dependency complex” independently chronicled in my own Black Anglo Saxons (black individuals with white minds in black bodies). They struggle to look, think, talk and walk white by day, then go to sleep at night and dream that they will wake up white. They refuse to realize that no matter what they may ever do they will never get out of the black race alive.
On the other hand, you are going to be seeing “nouveau blacks” and lesser Afrocentrics -- who faithfully and unquestionably follow twelve-month years and endeavor even to blackenize the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ -- jumping up to question Dr. M’s re-africanization of the “Twelve Steps” model for “using the Eurocentric twelve steps,” but they forget that the very effort to be practical and collective is the original African way. In any event, we must build on whites as whites have built on us, taking the best of the West and leaving the rest alone. But Dr. M has expressly and creatively added a thirteenth step; for his goal is not just recovery but discovery, his goal is not just to change the individual but to change the individual to get ready to change the world.
Meanwhile there is one thing on which we can all agree: in any serious attempt to solve the bitter mental ravages of white supremacy, we must face the unadulterated fact that we are limited when we look to the institutionalized “profession” and their professional “providers.” This of course is not to say that the institutionalized professionals cannot be helpful. Dr. M is quick to point out that a self-help peer group cannot cure all the diverse neuroses and psychoses that afflict us. Indeed he goes so far as to suggest that some of us “may need to be committed.”
The late Queen Mother Moore (who loved to boast that she had “gone as far as the fourth grade, and stayed in school too long to learn anything”) delighted in going around deconstructing our “slave mentalities” and saying somebody needs to “do some surgery on these Negro minds” – in which Queen Mother had diagnosed a chronic condition she called “oppression psychoneurosis.” Queen Mother Moore was basically joking, that is, laughing to keep from crying, but it is no joke that mental health professionals, operating under the medical model, think nothing of seeing a person suffering from a psychosocial problem and not only treating the victim instead of the problem but – much in the manner of any addict or drug pusher– use or apply chemicals and sometimes chemical abuse to deal with the inability of the “patient” to feel good in a bad place and thrive, to try to “have heart” in a heartless world. Many people are unaware to this very day that the practice once was rampant for psychiatrists to treat a person with chronic mental maladies by subjecting them to lobotomies cutting off a portion of their brains. Shock treatment was another method – you’re shocked by life, let’s shock your brain, Senator Eagleton (who later ran for the vice-presidency in the 1970s on the ticket with George McGovern).
It should never have been any surprise that the mental health profession would be of only partial help in reconstructing the psychic consequences of centuries of prolonged brainwashing and subjugation (this is not to mention “Sicko” and what we know of the crippling new effects of “managed care” on the medical profession). Many mental health experts, the overwhelming majority of them white, have long suggested that the “medical model” may be inappropriate in the treatment of the psychological, not to mention, sociological components of mental illness.
But you don’t have to be a mental health professional or a sociologist to know that we can no longer restrict our search for healing to professional shrinks, raring back in executive chairs and carpeted suites stocked with “psychometric instruments” standardized on the white middle class, far removed from the realities of the concrete social milieu of afflicted and homeless black “subjects” living lives of hardship and subjugation, with no assurance of available treatment.
Even when they are “insured they are limited to the care and treatment some insurance clerk is willing to “authorize.” In matters of mental health, this typically will include a few sessions of “fifty minute hours” of “talk therapy” before leaving with a prescription or chemical palliative to dull agony and the pain but not the punishment of life on the skids in a sick society.
The hour is up and time is running out, black people, but white supremacy is not. We are living now in the final and highest stage of racism and white supremacy. We’ve let our struggle slip back while sitting in classrooms and conferences crooning about “afrocentricity” and ancient African glories that have gone forever.
We have come now to a crossroads. We have lost control of our children’s minds, our future. We have lost their respect, and appear to be on a collision course to a war of words between the black generations, in which hip-hop youth disparage and mock our language, our music and our humanity with a creativity and a rime and a rhythm we can’t fathom, let alone equal in our pitifully fruitless endeavors to eliminate the “n-word” and box with the black-on-black random violence of dissocialized youth who have concluded that adults and their leaders cannot or will not fight the power. Who knows but it may be that Dr. M’s movement of recovery from addiction to and from white supremacy is offering us a final and effective chance to begin to “sit down together,” to get together and get our heads together.
--- Dr. Nathan Hare
Toward A Pan African Mental Health Peer Group
A few years ago, I called upon Dr. Nathan Hare, our esteemed sociologist and clinical psychologist, and author of the classic The Black Anglo-Saxons, to establish a mental health group we decided to call Black Reconstruction. Along with Dr. Hare, the group was facilitated by social worker, Suzzette Celeste, MSW, MPA. The group took place at my Recovery Theatre in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. Before the group sessions were disbanded for several reasons, including logistics and promotion, we discovered a few things. One, the group should have been divided into the severely mentally ill and the functionally mentally ill, although the dual diagnosed (those with mental and drug problems) could attend either session, for many times the drug addict and mentally ill are indivisible personalities. Two, Dr. Hare concluded such mental health peer group sessions should be established in every community nationwide. And I add worldwide. A mental health worker need not be present, but following the 12-step model of AA, let the peers facilitate the session, since there are simply not enough mental health workers to serve the population of mentally disabled persons. The US Surgeon General estimated 20% of Americans are mentally ill. Three, although the Pan African community suffers the brunt of mental disorders caused by oppression, “situational disorders” as Dr. Franz Fanon called them, when whites attended, we saw they too suffer and could participate since much of oppression does not discriminate --and more importantly, the colonizer is as mentally ill, if not more so, than the colonized. The victimizer with his boot on the neck of the oppressed is sick with the idea of domination. So, yes, racism has affected more blacks than whites, but middle and lower class whites are an exploited economic class as well. Capitalism and imperialism do not discriminate--all workers are exploited and they are programmed into the virus of consumerism wherein their paltry wages acquire the cheap goods of a materialistic society. Half the goods they acquire are not needed, but the workers and their children are programmed by persistent advertising, often of a subliminal nature. And there is only a matter of degree between the exploited white worker and the black worker. For sure, blacks and women lack wage parity. Yes, a white worker with a prison record can get a job quicker than a black worker with no police record, but once on the job, the white worker is exploited none the less and suffers mental trauma as well. His white skin does not save him from wage slavery and the resultant psycho-social diseases, including drug abuse, partner violence and child abuse, emotional if not physical. Nevertheless, our main focus is healing the Pan African community, those descendants of slavery and colonialism throughout Africa, Europe and the Americas. This book should also have relevance to the Muslim world, Arabs in particular, who suffer as well the ravages of colonialism and neo-colonialism. Yes, Muslims and Arabs suffer from the trauma of white supremacy as the West devours their oil fields and other resources, and permits reactionary regimes to flourish in spite of their anti-democratic behavior.
The ravages of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism (including domestic colonialism) necessitate the formation of Pan African mental health peer groups throughout Pan Africa, whether on the continent, Europe, Caribbean and the Americas, especially North America. Let us all come together in small groups for peer healing sessions.
Radical Pan African mental health peer groups can be a powerful antidote to help heal the lingering, traumatic effects of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. We can see throughout Pan Africa that even when we advance politically and economically, the scourge of cultural imperialism causes mental retardation of a kind that produces stunted men and women who might otherwise continue the radical freedom agenda, but yet (and often in the name of revolution) continue reactionary behavior and practices no different from their former masters. We label such behavior white supremacy, even if it is now black face white supremacy. In the Caribbean they call it, “Black men with white hearts.” Indeed, such behavior is a disease of the heart, of the spirit, and thus no amount of political/economic liberation will suffice--we cannot live on bread alone, but our wretched mental condition stifles real progress toward that divine state of mind wherein we are free of tribal, ethnic, religious and cultural hatred, strife, desires of domination, exploitation, greed and lust for power, i.e., white supremacy.
The advantages and positives of Western civilization do not outweigh the sordid and vile behavior we have inculcated and practice with each other, and thus the time has come to make radical changes as we advance into the new millennium, personal changes in our spiritual consciousness that will transform our political, economic and social behavior. Yes, we are in the era of high technology, but our behavior is often of a bestial nature, for we have lost the civility and serenity of the natural order, even the animals display personalities more at peace than we so-called evolved human beings. As we became urbanized, we are no longer cognizant of natural love for each other and the planet we share with animals and plants. Many city children have never touched an animal, a cow, horse or chicken, a duck, a bird. We may teach gender equality, but we see in the animal kingdom there is leadership based on gender, sometimes the male but often the female. So as we evolve we might need to refer to the animals for wisdom and knowledge of how configure society that decreases psycho-social destabilization that has brought us to the present need for this discussion of how to remedy the most pressing political, economic, social, and spiritual issue of our time: white supremacy.
Contrary to President Bush, oil is not America’s number one addiction, rather it is the disease of racism or white supremacy which pervades and poisons every fabric of American and western society. White supremacy also affects African, Asian and Latin culture, thus it is a global phenomena, administered through the economic institution of capitalism and imperialism. It is not purely economic but cultural as well. The virus of white supremacy is spread through cultural imperialism, or the imposition of western culture upon the subject peoples, and of course western culture is by the nature of power relationships, the superior or dominant culture, all other cultures being inferior and relegated to the lower rung on the ladder of civilization. The culture of white supremacy has the self-endowed duty to civilize all other cultures, especially those it has colonized or recently allowed to step up to the more modern stage of neo-colonialism, wherein such cultures exercise a modicum of independence but yet remain shackled to the master culture, economically and psychologically. For the most part they remain enslaved to the western free market system which at best enables them to become wage slaves and consumers of crass materialism and partakers of reactionary spirituality or more precisely religiosity, wherein the myth-rituals of western civilization maintains it grip on their psyche and physicality: their minds and bodies become captives of the western model of reality and the metaphysical. The people subjected to white supremacy allow themselves no opportunity for original thinking, or thinking out of the box, for they have never seized the opportunity to consider another world view or national view, only the views of the Mother country (the white supremacy global rulers) have relevance. The people have been totally brainwashed into the addiction of white supremacy, to the extent that they wear clothing with corporate brand names, advertising their acceptance of economic and cultural imperialism. It never occurs to them to wear clothing with their names or indigenous brands, except for the hip hop generation of entrepreneurs such as Michael Jordan, Kali, Sean John, Russell Simmons and others. Even after the 60s naming rituals, most African Americans continue calling themselves by European names, although they try a little originality, now and then, especially in the southern area or dirty south. Recently Bill Cosby suggested they were wrong to exercise this degree of originality, disclosing his own ignorance rather than theirs. Why do they not have the human and divine right to name themselves, why should they continue disclosing their slavery heritage--why can’t they think out of the box of cultural imperialism, break the chains after centuries of putrid degradation.
The western ideal is the creation of cogs in the wheel of capitalism, to produce a population of wage slaves for life who, after being trained through mis-education, will dutifully report to work and retire broke with a combination of illnesses that prepare them for the grave at the earliest possible date after retirement. The wage slaves barely achieve a living wage thus they are often unable to maintain health insurance or the wherewithal to ever consider and certainly not to achieve economic independence.
The minority workers never achieve economic parity with their white brothers and rarely break through the glass ceiling to become the boss or CEOs of their corporations, for after all, white supremacy is a family affair, and the African proverb says, “One white dog will not bite another white dog.” Yes, the old boys club protect their own, of late allowing the entry of their women, although they too lack parity with their brothers and fathers, although they have surpassed minorities in their pseudo claim of minority status, thereby becoming the greatest beneficiaries of affirmative action, after which their brothers and fathers have done all in their powers to eliminate the affirmative action agenda.
After calling for black power in the 60s, black men, for the most part, never achieved such power but fell behind white and black women educationally, economically and politically. And one might say they fell behind psychologically and spiritually, for today they exhibit great mental damage and evidence of retardation in self image and self realization, while black women advance on every level except having their man as an equal partner or even as unequal partner, for the black woman seems to be forced into a go-it-alone policy or seek men outside her ethnic circle, for her man exhibits traits of arrested development, considering himself some kind of pimp, gangster or romance idol, but certainly not the spiritual and economic equal of his woman. While she acquires advance degrees, he is more than often caught riding dirty and endures jail and prison rather than experiencing the joy of life with his natural mate. He returns from prison to sometimes infect her with HIV/AIDS and other prison acquired diseases, and even if he is lucky enough to enter college, he often turns homosexual or seeks a mate out of his ethnic group, thus becoming a diminishing possibility for creating the next generation of his people.
Please do not think I am pessimistic, for I am not. I am a revolutionary, thus I am confident we shall win no matter how dire the circumstances appear. We come to this day from centuries of oppression, white supremacy and the resultant degradation, psychological trauma and economic exploitation wherein we as slave workers produced the surplus capital of the western world. Yes, we have been and still are the donkeys and mules of the world, but through the process of decolonization which is first and foremost a mental process, then a physical reality, we shall arrive back through the door of no return. It is a process we can overcome by taking the twelve steps that have proven so successful in drug recovery, for after all, the colonized and the colonizer both suffer from the addiction of white supremacy, a drug more powerful than heroin, meth, crack and alcohol combined.
White supremacy is a drug so pervasive even when we think we are cured, the ravages and residue appear, affecting our thinking and behavior, our social relations and interaction in the home, on the job, at religious worship and social and cultural events. In short, this drug is sometimes tasteless, colorless, yet cunning and vile. We think we are cured, yet a slip of the tongue proves the illness has reappeared, often suddenly without the slightest indication.
We could go on forever discoursing on the ravages of white supremacy. But our objective here is to give the tools of recovery, twelve steps we can take personally and collectively in peer group sessions in the home, on the street corner, at the barber and beauty shops, in the church or social clubs, bars, schools and colleges, in jails, prisons and the workplace. If we do not get a grip on this addiction, the ultimate alternative is violent revolution, something no one in their right mind would want to imagine, let alone enact. But there comes a point in the course of human events when enough is enough, and I dare say we are rapidly reaching that point in our human relations across this planet. We are either going to learn how to exist together as equal human beings, or divine beings in human form, or we will find the earth a place of utter destruction and warfare between ethnic, cultural and economic groups--yes, class struggle may indeed by the next world struggle, the poor against the rich, the haves against the have not’s.
This can indeed be a wonderful world, but the ruling powers and the ruled must be prepared to achieve parity in the form of economic justice and cultural respect. White privilege or white supremacy must be eradicated from the face of the earth at the earliest possible date for the peace of the world. Such reactionary and die hard thinking must be eliminated from human discourse and interaction, and this must occur on the institutional and personal level. All forms of domination must be destroyed in human interaction, international relations and personal relations, including male/female relations.
Women of intelligence will not be under the rule and domination of ignorant men nor men of intelligence, but desire to be equals in all matters that require equal planning and action. They can certainly be equally as useful in the eradication of white supremacy, for do not women encourage men to acquire for them the material goods produced by white supremacy economic institutions? How long would white supremacy stores and malls survive without goods bought at the encouragement of women? Do not women demand men go to work at wage slave jobs to pay their pussy bill, to feed their children. What if women demanded men boycott work until white power institutions fall or democratize.
White Supremacy Defined
White supremacy can be any form of domination, whether stemming from religious mythology and ritual, or cultural mythology and ritual, such as tribal and caste relations. White supremacy is finally a class phenomena, the rich against the poor, thus the process of recovery must include a redistribution of global wealth, for there is no doubt that the rich became rich by exploiting the poor, not by any natural inheritance or superior intelligence. White power was achieved by military power, by war, the use of guns and the spread of diseases throughout the world, by a subtle and not so subtle spread of religious propaganda that taught the cultural superiority of the oppressor and the inferiority of the oppressed. Even language was used as an instrument of oppression, for the white supremacist forced the subject people into speaking and thus thinking in his language, thinking like him, forcing the subject people into psychological trauma of the most subtle kind, for language is logic, thus the people find it a most difficult task to think out of the box, even the concept of freedom becomes only possible inside the box, for freedom is difficult to imagine outside the box, by the very nature of the linguistic challenge. Ask African Americans does freedom mean independence, sovereignty, self-determination, or does freedom mean a good job, the right to vote, the right to die in wars for the spread of imperialism or white supremacy. Do we not have rights as cultural beings to conceive and configure a society to our benefit and satisfaction, yes, a society perhaps totally separate from this white supremacy nation. Why must we be subjected to the wrath of America’s enemies, to whom we have not injured or harmed in any way. If anything, America has demonstrated she is the enemy of African Americans. Certainly her treatment of African citizens during Katrina is but the most recent example. The abuse and neglect Africans suffered during that hurricane amounts to terrorism of the most wretched kind, and who can deny we deserve a better society. If a wife had a husband who abused her like American white supremacy abuses African Americans, the wife would file for divorce and it would be granted immediately, especially when the wife catalogued the long chain of mistreatment. Should not North American Africans take America to the world court, should we not file suit that we have been wronged by the ravages of white supremacy, economically exploited, miss-educated, spiritually duped by religious mythology and ritual? Or shall we reason together, reconcile our profound differences, try the simple twelve steps before this nation and this world is torn asunder.
Willingly or unwillingly, the world powers must recover from their addiction to white supremacy or the peace loving peoples of the world must forcefully dismantle this organization of global terror and the myriad institutions that support, maintain and benefit from it. We can come together as peers and reason together or we can meet on the battlefield and clash like wild beasts, but recover we must, and it must happen sooner than later. The choice is yours and your children. The right way is clearly distinct from error. And finally, recovery is the mission of the people, for if and when the people recover their mental and spiritual equilibrium, white supremacy must and will be defeated. As Fidel Castro has told us, the weapon of today is consciousness. I must add that it is spiritual consciousness, the mighty power to be in this world but not of this world that shall save humanity from destruction. It is the power to overcome all illusions such as white supremacy, black supremacy, yellow supremacy or any other form of domination, political or personal, religious or sexual. The time has arrived for spiritual beings in human form to free themselves from the mental and physical bondage of reactionary forces from whatever source they may derive. Let us declare ourselves free in the name of our Higher Power, the Creator, Sustainer and Maker of us all. As Marcus Garvey taught us, the Pan African world has one aim, one God, one destiny, the liberation of our lands and people. We begin this journey by coming together in unity to heal each other, to learn love and respect for ourselves and others. Evil, hatred, injustice, domination and exploitation cannot survive in the face of love, truth, justice and righteousness.
Peace unto you,
1 May 2007
Beaufort, South Carolina
Detoxing White Supremacy
Prior to our attempt at recovery from the effects of the addiction to white supremacy, we need to consider detoxification, to rid the body and mind from the toxicity of decades under the influence of racist ideology and institutions that have rendered us into a state of drunkenness and denial. Many of us are convinced we have no problem with racism and/or white supremacy. Some say we love everyone, but would not be pleased with our son or daughter marrying out of the ethnic group. There are those of us who think Africans or Caribbean blacks or Mexicans are taking all the jobs, all the housing, although many of the jobs we would not consider doing, much of the housing being occupied by Latinos we consider too ghetto to live in. So we suffer clouded thinking or stinking thinking as they say in the drug recovery community.
In short, we need to detox to clear our minds in preparation for the recovery process. Detox may involve some form of isolation and meditation, any method that would separate us from society, including friends and family that have been the cause of our psychosis, that break with reality that has our life confounded and delusional. We may need a radical dietary change as many of the foods have a negative bio-chemical effect on our thinking and hence actions. It could be the white sugar, white flour, hormone fed beef and chicken, mercury filled fish, genetically altered fruits and vegetables that we need to eliminate from our diet so we can think with a better chemical balance, especially as it affects our central nervous system. Perhaps we should spend a week or two or three in retreat from the stress of daily life so we can ponder the ill effects of our thinking on social interaction, so we can relax and seriously consider the recovery program that awaits us. Some may want to fast and/or pray while in the detox stage, but hard thinking is in order before peer group interaction. For sure there will be denial, arrogance and superior attitudes, even feelings of inferiority may be expressed, so let’s do some preparation and self thought before we expose ourselves to group thought, then perhaps we can enter the group with more confidence and seriousness. Let us prepare to rid our minds of thoughts that engender hatred in the family, in the community, nation and global village. We must consider not only the humanity of each other but our divinity. As my poem What If says, “What if God is the brother you hate, the sister you hate, the mother and father you hate, the dope fiend you hate, the Mexican you hate, the African you hate, the Jamaican you hate, the so-called Negro you hate, the white man you hate, what if what if what if….”
Finally, detoxing from white supremacy should prepare us to consider the economic system that has brought so much pain and suffering to the world, especially to the majority that has not benefited from the blessings of the so-called free market system that seeks cheap labor and the production of cheap goods for the consumer driven economy. We should detox from the desire to possess things upon things for no other reason than greed and selfishness. We should consider that most of the world has no electricity or clean drinking water. The citizens of America should consider why they are only 4% of the population yet consume 25% of the world’s energy. Consider what feelings of anger this might engender in the poor and dispossessed around the world, and why they may want to attack America who cares nothing about them except as sources of cheap labor, cheap natural resources and markets to expand capitalist or imperialist domination, otherwise known as white supremacy.
TOWARD A PAN AFRICAN 12-STEP MENTAL HEALTH PEER GROUP
The following Pan African 12-Step Model is not to be taken as an alternative to the global democratic socialist revolution. Some form of market economy is necessary whereby people can buy and sell with a degree of freedom, but also with discipline so that human greed can be checked. The capitalist free market with the overriding desire for cheap labor, cheap resources, often obtained at the price of unprovoked wars, is totally unacceptable. We do not want capitalist slaves nor socialist slaves, but spiritually conscious human beings who work for living wages and fair prices for their natural resources and consumer goods.
The 12-steps are merely the beginning of the process toward a radical transformation of the global village. They are the initial steps toward freeing the human spirit from the insanity of materialism and spiritual or religious backwardness. While Christian and Muslim religious fundamentalism may sound good, it does not appear to contain the necessary steps that will take us forward into the new millennium but rather backward into dogmatism, primitivism, sectarianism and other forms of reaction rather than radical progress toward a bright future for human civilization. To fight the forces of reaction will take radical thinking and action, and this can only come about when people have grappled with the social-psycho pathology of oppression, when they have taken inventory of the traumatic effect of exploitation on their psyche, why they need to stay medicated with legal and illegal drugs, to remain addicted to religiosity, to follow any false prophet for profit who arrives on the scene with dramatic techniques surpassing Shakespeare. Ultimately, we must dismantle the political-economic systems that have us at war throughout the world, and replace them with systems that can allow the human spirit to explore the infinite possibilities of the universe. Will this take revolution, we only know that the reactionaries will never put down their butcher knives, they will never turn into Buddha heads, as Mao taught, so after detox and recovery, we must be prepared for discovery, the stage wherein we see the absolute necessity of cultural revolution, the complete revamping of the present social, economic, and political institutions that are driving us toward world war, that have us at each others throats within nations, ethnic groups, communities and families. Cultural revolution is simply brining into reality a new way of life that is radical, vital and healing. The present situation, spearheaded by the military/petrochemical/pharmaceutical complex, is the death of life, for it kills while it feeds and heals, and we can configure a better way than more food and yet more sickness and death. Cultural revolution involves insuring clean thoughts and clean drinking water for starters. Clean thoughts is anathema to the cultural imperialists, to a wicked society that sells filthy magazines, films and books throughout the world. And clean water would decrease diseases the petrochemical/pharmaceutical industry profits from--and who would want to deprive such merchants of their profits in the free market economy? So detox, recover and discover.
Pan Africa unite, peoples of the world unite. Take these twelve steps and begin the journey toward a new life, for we know that when we do the right thing surely the Most High is with us, for the Creator is those foot prints in the sand when we were no longer walking and could not carry ourselves. Thus, if we stay on the right path, we shall arrive at the destination the ancestors sang about and danced in praise of around the village fire.
We admit we are not powerless over self hatred, racism and white supremacy thinking, but our lives have become unmanageable, partly because we live in denial and fear. Fear is the residue of slavery, the torture, rape, murder, the mores of submission and passivity whipped into our ancestors and elders and transmitted through DNA to the present generation who live in fear of white authority, especially the police who are the modern day slave catchers. But fear remains as the single most element that prolongs white supremacy. We fear each other, we fear success, we fear to do for self or to attempt self sufficiency on the economic level—for how shall we live without a paycheck from the white man, how shall we make it?
We fear associating with a black radical brother or sister, after all, the white man is watching us always, he has spies tracking our every move, we are certain of it, thus we cannot go to a black business, a conscious happening for fear of being reported. We fear the woman and man we love, for surely they will betray us, it is only a matter of time, they are going to cross us, so we cannot trust them ever, no matter how much they say they love us and no matter how much we love them. We cannot unite with the brotherhood because we fear something is surely to go wrong, money will be stolen, our wife or girlfriend will run off with another brother. Thus the drama of fear is constant. Each time we leave the house we fear not making it back home alive, for we live in a war zone and if the police don’t catch us riding dirty, another brother will try to take us out for some ignorant reason, something petty, maybe a twenty dollar dope or gambling debt. We must detox and recover from fear. The only thing to fear is fear itself. Release the fear because it has made our lives unmanageable.
If truth be told, we are not powerless over anything, but have the power within ourselves to overcome any force in the universe that is not in harmony with the Higher Power without and within ourselves. We are only powerless when we deny who we are and do not recognize we exist in harmony with the universal spirit of peace, justice and mercy. White supremacy is an illusion in the minds of those who believe it and those who accept the scam. Nothing has power over you except when you allow it to have such power. Thus, we should not blame the president, congress, corporations or any other institutions because it is we who allow them to carry on business, and if we did not give them the power they would disappear overnight like a bad dream, but we support white supremacy by supporting its institutions, working its jobs, buying its goods, attending its houses of worship, then get angry because we feel useless, helpless, depressed, confused, etc. Yet we have allowed ourselves to be deceived, used and abused, for we have given power to those who despitefully use and abuse us. What can the wicked husband do to the good wife that she doesn’t allow him to do? She has the power to separate and divorce him. She has the power to flee in the night. Should we then blame the wicked husband or blame her for allowing wickedness to consume her life? Thus, the problem with you is not white supremacy, the problem with you is you! You continue buying a bogus bag of goods and then when you get home you wonder why the food in the bag is no good, rotten fruit fit for the garbage can.
So yes, we need to admit our lives are unmanageable, but only because we refuse to exercise the God given power to manage ourselves, but allow other forces to take over our existence: we become slaves to racism because of our refusal to stand up and face it toe to toe. We have forgotten the faith of our ancestors who were determined to be free by any means necessary. We accept injustice on the job, at the church, in the home because we are cowardly beings not worthy of the name human and certainly not of the name divine, though that is our essence, divinity. After all the blood we shed in Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas, why are we yet today victims of white supremacy exploitation, pimped downtown and uptown by blood sucking merchants who refuse to employ us, yet we are the reason for their existence. If we boycotted them one week they would be out of business, yet we want to blame them for exploiting us, no, blame ourselves, and thank them for teaching us a valuable lesson: don’t allow ourselves to be pimped, yes, refuse to be nappy headed hos. Refusing to be called a ho is one matter, but to act like a nappy headed ho is quite another. Don’t say you are against white supremacy when you buy the goods of white supremacy. No matter how high gas prices get, you have no intention to protest, but you will kill your brother if he jumps in front of you in the gas station line, yet you won’t protest or boycott Shell, Exxon, and Mobile when they report their multi billion dollar quarterly earnings. So you are either ignorant or simply in denial that you support white supremacy, just as you are constantly reacting to white supremacy police when they kill a brother in the hood, but while brothers are killing each other nightly in the hood with guns and bullets bought from white supremacy gun sellers, you don’t protest. You refuse to organize peace patrols in your community, but are satisfied to attend funeral after funeral of neighborhood children, even your own sons and daughters. Come out of your slumber, come out of your sloth, you can and must manage your existence, you can and must erase white supremacy thinking from your heart and mind. Go somewhere and sit down to think seriously how you can configure a beautiful life for yourself and your family. Think about resisting the devil so he will flee from you. Think about putting on the armor of God or your Higher Power under whatever name.
We have come to believe that a power within ourselves, for we are within God and God is within us, can restore us to sanity, freedom and self-determination, independence and nationhood as a Pan African people, as spiritually conscious human beings.
Nothing can help us until we are ready to help ourselves. Even God tells us we must take the first step, then He will take ten. I was recently called upon to give refuge to a young man who was about to get killed by rival thugs in the hood. His family members were certain he was about to lose his life on the streets, but at first the young man didn’t want to leave the hood, even after he came close to death after his rivals almost killed him in a car chase. He still wanted to stay in the hood and “be a man.” But finally I convinced him to leave town with me. I told him if he would only take the first step, God would do the rest. He said he had no money, but I told him to take the first step, that money would come to him. Finally he departed with me to my writing retreat in the country. After a few days his uncles arrived with money for him. Of course he wanted to know why they had not been there before now, but I told him better late than never. As I was about to leave on an east coast book tour, I suggested he come with me, especially since he had never been out of Berkeley. I thought it would be an educational journey for him, so he agreed and we made arrangements for him to join me on the rode. Soon we were flying across country, although when the plane hit turbulence he nearly jumped out of his seat. I told him turbulence is like life, for life sometimes has turbulence but we must ride it out, be calm, don’t get excited and it will soon pass. Finally we arrived on the east coast and the tour began in Philly, then Newark, Brooklyn, Boston before he had to return to the west coast for a court date. But in a matter of days he had received a new lease on life, had visited the University of Penn, Amina and Amiri Baraka’s house, Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, radio stations in New York, New York City Hall, and in Boston he met playwright Ed Bullins and poet Askia Toure, legendary founders of the Black Arts Movement. In fact, he videoed the tour for a coming documentary on the Black Arts Movement. He got to see, for the first time, Brooklyn, Harlem and downtown Manhattan. All this happened because he took one step, because he said yes to life and no to death. Surely, he will never be the same, only because he took the first step. And so it is. We must call upon that power within us to restore us to sanity, to cast away our fears, the inferiority complex we have allowed to master our soul as a result of believing the white supremacy hype. We must call upon the power within and the Higher Power without, call it God, Allah, Jesus, Jah, whatever, whomever, just know we must tune into the source of spiritual power to overcome our addiction to white supremacy that has us disunited, hateful, selfish, greedy, with hearts full of evil and murder. In such a state of mind, how can we be successful in life, certainly we are in no condition to love or to be loved. We are a wretched wretch and of no good to ourselves or anyone else. In such a mental state, we cannot think of freedom, justice, self-determination, independence. All we can envision is staying inside the box of white supremacy, like the bird who wouldn’t leave the cage even with the door wide open. Even though we are blood brothers and sisters, we cannot envision Pan African unity, for we are full of hatred for our African brothers and sisters, and those from the Caribbean and North, Central and South America. If they are not from my tribe, hate them, not from my island, hate them, not from the east or west coast, hate them, not from the dirty south, hate them. Who taught us to think like this? White supremacy! So we call upon the Higher Power to heal our sick minds and hearts, the power within and the power without. Let us imagine a swim in the mighty sea of unity, no matter how difficult the water. With a little faith we may find that we can, like Jesus, walk on water, the water of unity, trust and love of self and kind. How can we say we love everybody yet hate self and kind. You love Europeans but you hate Africans, want nothing to do with Africans, yet you are African, your mother is African. Do you hate your mother, your sisters, your brothers. Something is wrong with the picture you have drawn and you need a healing. Like Jack, you need to jump out of the box of white supremacy. At least think about your behavior, your mental challenges. Personally, we are not prejudice, for my family is a virtual united nations. I have family members married to Europeans, Latinos, Africans and others. I have nieces and nephews from interracial marriage, even a grandson, so how can I hate those with my family blood flowing in their veins? As my favorite song (Nature Boy) says, the greatest thing you will ever do is learn to love and be loved in return. We are for a Pan African nation, but there may be some Pan Africans we will ostracize and there may be Europeans and others will accept as brothers and sisters because they have gone through the process of decolonization and healed themselves of white supremacy thinking and actions.
We have made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand it: that God is a power within ourselves. Yes, this is the message to ourselves, yes, that is the magic word, yes, to allow the grace and mercy of the Higher Power within and without to take over our lives, finally and forever, to come up from the no zone, no as in negro, no as in zero, no as in nothing, no more no but yes to the Creator, yes to the Master Teacher, yes to all that is good, holy and righteous, yes to harmony within and without, harmony with all that exists, to all that was before and all that is yet to come, yes.
Elijah taught we are hard to lead in the right direction, easy to lead in the wrong direction, but we finally decide to submit to the right way, for we have been wrong too long--for some of us, everything we have ever done in our lives was wrong, nothing was right, a lifetime of wrong and mistakes that caused us to experience failure after failure after failure. But no more, it’s over now, the long days journey into night is over. Now we see the bright sun of today shining and we bask in the glory of the sunlight, we are one with the sun, finally, we can dance and sing hallelujah, al hamdulilah. We are reconnected with the ocean of truth, the great water of righteousness.
The tide is turning because we are turning the tide, yes, we are turning the tide for we are willing soldiers of the Most High, He is within us and we are within Him, and all is well, finally and forever. We are finally flowing in the flow of the river of spiritual consciousness, we are united in time and space with all humanity that is for freedom, justice and equality. The nightmare of white supremacy is over, its moment in our lives is a sad dream we believed was real but it was fiction because we are of the Most High and nothing is superior to the Most High, and we pledge our life and death are for the Most High, we worship nothing but the Most High, no one can dominate us except the Most High: we are in Him and He is in us, nothing else exists. The Pan African family is the first family of humanity, and the first shall be last and forever, so let us rejoice in this knowledge and wisdom. To be the first and last requires respectful thoughts and actions, actions of unity and peace, nothing else is acceptable to the Most High. All negativity in the family must cease immediately because it is not of the Most High and cannot be redeemed in the temple of holiness. Fly into the winds Pan Africa, fly into the winds of the Most High and be as one with the winds, yes, even that whirlwind Garvey told you about that was sure to come and has come, let us rejoice. Say again, we are within the Higher Power and the Higher Power is within us. Say again, the tide is turning because we are turning the tide. Ache. Amen. Amin.
We shall make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. We examine our self-hatred and explore why Africans hate Africans, hate North American Africans, hate Caribbean Africans, but love Europeans and everything they are about: politically, culturally, economically, sexually, morally and spiritually. Dr. Nathan Hare called us Black Anglo-Saxons. Dr. Franz Fanon said we had black skins but white masks.
And as per Europeans, they too must make a fearless moral inventory to explore why their actions are contrary to the will of God.
Baldwin told us the greatness of a writer depends upon how deeply he is prepared to go down into his soul to discover truth. Many have told me they could never reveal the things I reveal about myself in my writings, but I counter them with Baldwin’s admonition and encourage budding writers to go deeper, yes, go where wise men fear to tread, go into the depths of that self we have allowed to remain hidden for so long, yes, take a moral inventory of that self to see what is actually there, what has remained hidden, what things we deny even exist, for only then can we come upon the mountain of truth and see the valley of reality below. We can never stand tall until we face all the truth about ourselves, as Sun Ra taught, the low down dirty truth, that is what we want to examine, the plain truth is not good enough, rather, we want the low down funky truth. Cornel West says everybody wants to hide the funk, tame the funk, disguise the funk, but we are only enabled and empowered when the funk comes through. And JB said, “Ain’t it funky now.” And so it is the funk we want to examine in our lives, that deep structure substance rather than the Miller Lite surface structure material, bypass the façade that hides the real man in the mirror even from himself. So let us go down into the dungeon of self and see what lies there and let us accept the truth of ourselves once and for all times, our failings, shortcomings, or as Baraka calls them, our negrocities. But in our search of self, praise the positive, and let no one convince us the glass is half empty when we know the power of redemption, the glory of transformation. Did not Garvey tell us, “Up ye mighty race, ye can accomplish what ye will.” So let us examine the self, the personal self and the communal self, the political self that includes Pan Africa of the continent and Diaspora. Perhaps we shall begin the awesome task of unraveling the conundrum that has allowed us to repeat the cycle of birth and death, like a black Sisyphus who never reached the mountain top with that rock. The unity of the black psyche and the unity of Pan Africa will take much healing, but now is the time for we can slip backward, unless we call forth that ineluctable energy Jan Carew talked about and practice eternal vigilance. The forces of white supremacy show no slacking, the new colonialists are busy from Africa to the neighborhoods of America, reclaiming land and resources, destabilizing communities and nations, but they can be checked with the tools called unity and consciousness. There is land and resources aplenty but some want it all, like the kid with all the toys who doesn’t want to share, thus he must be whipped into sharing his wealth and playing fairly, and so it is with the forces of white supremacy, they must be humbled into submission by any means necessary, but we want to do it the right way so that we do not repeat the cycle of birth and death, for righteousness transcends the cycle of birth and death as it weaves its way toward eternal life. We must stop for all times the generational amnesia that affects us every thirty years whereby we seem to have forgotten all that the previous generation achieved for our benefit, thus we dance backward, like Michael Jackson, we do the Moonwalk into reactionary behavior rather than continue the revolutionary strides of the elders and ancestors. So yes, let us take a fearless moral inventory of our accomplishments and failings, and let us the consider the wiles of white supremacy, especially its technological advances. Have we not participated in the invention of technology, then let us share equally in the benefit thereof. In this Information Age, ignorance is unacceptable, innocence as well. There is no reason for Pan Africa to be duped by white supremacy into tribal and ethnic strife, religious strife, just as there is no justification for black gangs in the hoods of America to be psyched out by colors such as red and blue, the evidence of a kindergarten mentality, or even pre-school where children are taught colors.
The roots of African psychological dysfunction go deep into the history of that vast land, perhaps beginning in the Nile valley cultures as Chancellor Williams wrote about so eloquently in The Destruction of African Civilization. Today we can see similar or perhaps the lingering results of the divided loyalties in those of African and Arab mixture in the troubled Sudan, especially in the Darfur region, although it is probably a combination of ethnic strife and political-economic agendas, especially the struggle for oil and the tension it has created between Europe and Asia. In other regions of African, Somalia for example, we see the West now using proxy armies to do what it couldn’t do when Black Hawk Down forced the US to retreat. The West has heightened religious tensions by using Christian Ethiopia against Muslim Somalia, thus continuing its centuries old tactics of divide and rule. In west Africa ethnic armies have fought each other for blood diamonds, gold, oil and other valuable resources. Brothers have chopped hands, arms and legs of other brothers and sisters for white supremacy, employed child soldiers, some ten years old, recruited young girls for war and sex, all in the name of leaders carrying out the western agenda. It will now take a generation to undo the trauma of Rwanda, Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, not to mention the mess in Zimbabwe, wherein the former revolutionary leader has apparently turned reactionary, belatedly instituting land reform twenty years after the revolution, and South African seems headed down the same path. Of course, revolutions take time, but land is the basis of revolution, so how and why can we delay instituting the essential factor of the people’s struggle?
Reconciliation will be difficult after so much blood and terror, but Africa must unite. The African Union must somehow be a reflection of the people rather than the new club of presidents for life who will do nothing to harm another member of the club. But finally it will be a grass roots effort that will bring justice and peace to Africa, and this will occur when the people take inventory of events and decide enough is enough, enough of strife, corruption and greed, enough of backwardness and ignorance. It will indeed take a people of higher consciousness, of spiritual maturity and a sense of Pan African brotherhood and sisterhood, a sense of the higher calling of the human spirit that is wise enough to respond to the request from the Most High for peace, justice and mercy. Kwame Nkrumah had the vision of a United States of Africa, but it will be future generations who will make his dream a reality, at least Ghana took heed to Nkrumah’s call to end ethnic and tribal strife. The Pan African world would be wise to heed Nkrumah as well.
People of the Caribbean
Mrs. Amina Baraka informed me that we, North American Africans, are Caribbean people, for the Triangular Trade brought Africans to the Caribbean islands for the “breaking in” and then we were shipped to the mainland of the Americas for eternal servitude.
Today the Caribbean is a place of much reactionary thinking and behavior, in spite of producing some of the greatest Pan African minds, such as George Padmore, Marcus Garvey, Dr. Walter Rodney, Jan Carew, Kwame Toure, Bob Marley, and a host of others. Perhaps it is the simply the geo-politics of island society that makes people have proscribed and provincial minds, thinking their island is the greatest, leading to narrow mindedness typical of colonized and neo-colonized people. It is indeed past time for the Caribbean people to examine themselves, take inventory of the past, present and future, and make a decision to jump out of the box like Jack and prepare for a new day inspired by their great intellectual history and the potential of a Pan African world exercising functional unity.
It is not enough for Pan Africans to gather in Brooklyn and Harlem from throughout the Diaspora but continue that old colonial psychology of division and pseudo superiority, because if truth be told, no Pan African is free until all are free.
The North American African has endured great suffering in the land of his birth, and he has made great advances that other Africans have benefited, thus they should be humble and respectful of our struggle with the forces of white supremacy. Other Africans should not come here from other wretched lands with such an air of superiority, although the whole world is told the so-called negro is nothing and he can be the donkey ride to success if one sets up shop in the ghetto, so there are Pan Africans, Arabs, Jews, Asians and others who do just that and are successful, while the North American African seems unwilling to take stock of himself, his resources and potential to be successful as well. The latest demographics of college and university enrollment suggests the North American African is no longer taking advantage of higher education, at least in comparison to his Pan African brothers and sisters from the continent and Caribbean. It is time to look at the man in the mirror, discard that cool pose and get real because, yes, it’s hard out here for a pimp and it will be getting harder. No society can advance when a large population of its males are confined in jail and prison. It is a destabilizing factor in the social and economic progress of the group. So yes, North American Africans need to take a fearless moral inventory of ourselves. And as the song Wake Up, Everybody told us long ago, and apparently we have forgotten the lyrics, “Teachers got to teach a new way, preachers got to preach a new way….”
White People and the Other White People
And so we come to the white man, the principle agent of white supremacy, although we have tried to demonstrate that white supremacy cannot stand without disciples or partners in crime. We can go back to the slave trade, for example, as Dr. Walter Rodney taught us: the African upper class collaborated with European enslavers. The African upper class benefited by corrupting institutions such as the political, judicial, military, economic and social to enjoy the fruits of the slave trade. The African upper class accumulated great wealth, as did the European slavers. Thus, we cannot consider white supremacy without understanding the black side of it. But we must look squarely at the Europeans as the chief victimizers of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. There are no African nations whose wealth compares with that of European and American imperialism or so-called globalism. But still the sad truth is only a minority of Europeans reap most of the benefits of the white supremacy world economic hegemony. Yes, many whites benefit from white privilege, but the majority, say 85%, are as deaf, dumb and blind as the so-called Negro, but are deluded into thinking they are superior, and many whites have thought this way since slavery and post-slavery when they were pitted against the freed Africans in the economy. The white supremacy rulers have used poor whites and working class whites to delude whites into thinking the blacks are the cause of their misery and economic exploitation, just as capitalism is presently using immigrant labor to suggest they are the cause of middle and lower class white economic woes, while in fact it is the white supremacy global bandits who are outsourcing for cheap labor. Even educated and highly skilled white workers are having their jobs outsourced to India and China. Why should or world the capitalist bandits pay an American MBA $150,000 per year when it can outsource the position to an Indian MBA for $14,000 per year? And so white Americans need to take a fearless moral inventory of themselves and their relation to the Pan African world and other peoples around the globe whom they must begin to interact with on a more level playing field, to whom they must become culturally sensitive which will necessitate dismantling the archaic psychology of white supremacy. It is an idea, concept, philosophy, religion that must be eradicated from the brains of white people and others, simply because it is pathological, and those who harbor such notions are a danger to themselves and others. We suggest the formation of White Supremacy Recovery Groups similar to what we are proscribing for Pan African people. Come together as peers and attempt to enter the new millennium with new thoughts, actions and behavior. One must give up old thoughts before one can entertain new ones. Force yourself out of your comfort zone of ignorance and reaction, face reality and perhaps you can qualify to enter eternity.
In the new world on the horizon there is no room for hatred, prejudice, racism, domination, exploitation in any form by anyone, white, black, yellow or brown, man or woman. All false assumptions must be corrected, all retrograde myths and rituals must not be allowed to persist, only good and righteousness is acceptable in the new millennium. All ethnic groups have the human right to their cultural expressions, except when such expressions damage others. White people have the right to remain white as long as their whiteness causes no harm to others with whom they interact.
Whites have a right to their symbols and signs just as other ethnic groups, including religious and gender groups, simply don’t permit such symbols and signs to damage the psyche of others. We do not expect political correctness to prevail throughout the land because some political correctness would erase humor from discourse, and we are for humor as therapy, if nothing else, but humor should not be hurtful but rather a release from the stress of life. So let us take that fearless moral inventory of the words we say and perhaps we shall discover silence is the best medicine, for as Dad used to tell us, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”
The White Woman
Before we proceed to a discussion of the Other White People, let us attempt to deconstruct the great symbol of White Supremacy, the white woman, or as Dr. Nathan Hare calls her, “the white man in drag.” Nevertheless, she is the highest symbol of his culture, after all, through her womb she makes it possible for white supremacy to continue, thus she was taboo to Africans, touching a string of her pretty blond hair or even looking at her directly was cause for torture and death to untold thousands of Africans, Emmet Till’s death being the most brazen modern example of what used to happen when one disrespected the queen of western civilization.
After millennia as the queen mother of civilization, as a result of slavery when she became primarily a breeder and worker, the black woman only regained regal status for a brief moment during the 1960s when she was again referred to as queen, though only in a few cases truly treated as such, but even today when she is making great strides to achieve queenly status, often on her own merit, yes, without the help and support of her king, she has been reduced to bitch and ho by the gangster genre of Hip Hop culture that takes its queue from pimp culture which originates from the culture of white supremacy.
But the white woman appears to have lost much of her queenly status, for the lowest Negro or African can have a white woman today without penalty of death. Ironically, it is often said the black woman and the white man were the only free persons in America, for she and the white man could be sexual mates and she could breed him untold children without recrimination from white society. On the other hand, the black man mating with a white woman was again, possible cause for death. When segregation laws ended during the 60s, the white woman rushed to embrace the arms of the black man, even ignoring the call for black power with the addendum for whites to return to their communities to educate their brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, to disavow white supremacy (something they never did to any meaningful degree and which is partly the reason we are at the present precipice). We are told black power was initiated by black women to get liberal white women out of the southern civil rights movement since they were known to be sleeping with the brothers. The white woman ignored the call of black women to claim as many black men as she could, producing a generation of interracial children who were and are often confused (tragic mulatto syndrome) about their allegiance to either ethnic group. Ultimately, many white woman discarded the white man and black man for another woman and today enjoys lesbian culture, since apparently both men failed her. Those white women bold enough to partner with the black man do so with great abhorrence from black women who feel she is stealing their biological partner and natural mate, and this is a most serious matter since eligible black men are few in number, especially to mate with highly educated black women who find themselves successful in every area except a mate from their ethnic group. In this war with the white woman over the black man’s sperm, the black woman, in desperation and denial, tries to mimic the white woman as much as possible, donning blond hair and continuing the tradition of bleaching cream throughout Pan Africa, from Jamaica to South Africa. The large size African women are now starving themselves to look like the half-white Beyonce.
The endgame is perhaps toward the nonracial society where all will declare “what does color have to do with it,” but color has a lot to do with the Pan African family remaining strong and resisting the forces of white supremacy, for Elijah Muhammad taught us the white woman is the last weapon in the white man’s arsenal against the Black Nation. Yet a strange thing is happening on the way to the black nation, for the black woman is desperately seeking mates outside her group (of course she and the white man always had a thing in secret, from the founding fathers on down) since her black man is so infatuated with the white supremacy ideal, if he is interested in women at all (homosexuality is taking its toll in the black community, diminishing the stock of eligible men, along with prison, drugs, homicide/suicide and economics). In the process, there is a weird psycho drama in progress, for as the black woman seeks to achieve the white ideal, the white woman seeks to blacken herself to obtain that mighty black man of her dreams, the man of supposed if not real sexual power and strength, even if he lacks the political and economic power of her father and brothers. She is intelligent enough to know white supremacy will soon be in the dustbin of history, thus those white women who are not lesbian seek to graft themselves onto the black nation by sexual cohabitation, and also by discarding prejudice and white supremacy thinking, even going so far as to declare themselves members of the African family and noting for all concerned that they will never have anything to do with a white man ever again, but more importantly, the white woman is attempting to stand on the side of truth and justice, as we saw with Senator Barbara Boxer in the Condi Rice confirmation hearings, while Condi dug herself deeper into the grave of white supremacy, becoming its representative around the world as Secretary of State. And so it is: the white woman is becoming blacker and the black woman is becoming whiter. Of course on the spiritual level color certainly does not matter, only the heart. The real problem is without question the class nature of human relationships. Are you with the oppressor class or the oppressed, are you part of the problem or part of the solution? Take a fearless inventory of yourself. Search for lingering feelings of hatred, envy, jealousy and other diseases of the heart.
The Other White People
And so we arrive at the phenomena of the Other White people. Such is the gracious gift of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. It has produced a Pan African people in love with all things European: women, clothing, religion, education (what people in their right minds would send their children to the enemy to become educated, especially without a revolutionary agenda) political philosophy, social habits, dietary preferences, sexual mores, etc. This is what the process of white supremacy produces in those who are subjugated to it: a comic-tragic man and woman who ultimately are a danger to themselves and others, because they are essentially out of their minds, delusional, schizophrenic, psychotic and neurotic.
The Other White People are an enigma to themselves, a conundrum of major proportions, transcending Shakespeare’s Othello in tragic dimension, for their tragic flaw is lack of self knowledge, at least Othello know who he was but was unable to perceive his enemy, Iago. The Other White People know not themselves nor their enemy, in fact, they love their enemy but hate themselves. The more they imitate the enemy the more he imitates them, as they try to become whiter, the enemy desires to be blacker. This can be seen in literature with the new urban genre of filth lit and fantasy chick lit. It is seen in music that once belonged to blacks but now belongs to whites--attend any jazz and/or blues concert and see who’s in attendance: white people. What hope is there for a people who abandon their classic art? Yes, the hip hop culture was created by blacks but the conscious element has given way to the crass commercialism of gansta and pimp rap. I suppose we should applaud the black youth for creating a billion dollar industry from hip hop music and fashion but does it enhance the black self image or denigrate it? And so we advance as we retreat, progress as we regress, like Sisyphus, the more we climb up the mountain, the more we descend, a nightmare drama that never ends. Why can’t we ever land on solid ground? Well, Fanon and Hare teach that the only way the oppressed man and woman can regain their mental equilibrium is through the process of revolution, the destruction of whatever ideology and institutions are a hindrance to their cultural transformation. Like a rat in a maze, we can advance but the endgame is that we are yet caught in the maze, in the box of white supremacy, thus it is pseudo progress, an illusion that blinds us to the reality that we are yet captured peoples. But for the most part, the maze is a mental apparatus, as it only exists in our minds, for who can hold down the mighty Pan African except himself. Othello was not deceived by Iago but by himself, for was he not a thousand times greater than Iago? Thus, he allowed himself to be tricked by the devil, reduced to a pitiful specimen of a man, able to then kill the woman he loved and himself. The Other White People do the same, for the man is a giant who is loved by the world, as the poet Paradise says in his poem, “They love everything about me but me.” This shame and hurt of not being loved has forced The Other White People into a situation from which there is no escape except in love of self, only then can such people be restored to sanity and take authority over their genius.
And therefore we recommend daily attendance at a Pan African mental health peer group session to begin the process of regaining their sanity, and this will involve detox, recovery, and the final step of discovery when they realize the need to join the cultural revolution that will bring forth a new way of life absent the mental aberrations of the white supremacy society in all its vicissitudes. Those in the discovery mode will find the cultural revolution will draw a clear line of distinction between those who are for and those against white supremacy, for those in favor of the status quo will oppose conscious culture in favor of reactionary culture, bourgeoisie culture of the Miller Lite variety, expressions that have no intention of getting our minds and bodies out of the box of white supremacy. The simple criterion is, in the words of Sonia Sanchez, “Will it free us?” Yes, will it free us, will it take us to a higher level of consciousness, will cultural expression help us make that fearless moral inventory that will enable us to see the road forward rather than the road backward or even keep us treading water until we drown. The arts are at the pinnacle of the cultural revolution, the poetry, drama, novels, music, paintings, sculpture, films, play a pivotal role in shaping consciousness, radical consciousness that ignites forward motion like the wind in a prairie fire, strong enough to devour everything in its path that is dry, withered and able to be ignited by a single spark, the spark of truth, beauty, justice and righteousness.
There may be the need for linguistic transcendence, to move beyond language that has the mark of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. As per English, Elijah told us it would not be allowed to be spoken in the new world. And the great African writer Ngugi wa Thiango has called for the return to literature in native languages, for we cannot imagine the power of expression in our original languages. There is power in such expression that only those who have made the return can describe. We recently observed a Yoruba ritual celebrating the goddess Oshun, done completely in Yoruba by North American Africans at the Olatunji African Village in Sheldon, South Carolina. It was an indescribable demonstration of people transcending their slave heritage and domestic colonial past to return to their linguistic roots for spiritual liberation. We saw the beauty of language and dance in their ritual to the goddess of the sea. Imagine if the majority of North American Africans were able to have such linguistic ability, there would simply be no room in our psyche for white supremacy. Expressions in English such as bitch, ho and motherfucker reveal our psycholinguistic bondage and only a complete transcendence of English will take us to the higher consciousness so needed for our spiritual maturation. Cherry picking, nitpicking and deleting words here and there will not suffice, but what is needed is the elimination of the language given to us as an essential tool of our enslavement. Give the white supremacy language back to the oppressor, in fact, return to him every aspect of his culture that has made you a diminished human being, or spiritual being in human form. Yes, better to speak Yoruba, Hausa, Arabic, Swahili or any language that will put us closer to our cultural heritage, for far too much white supremacy is language based, language is the carrier and an essential tool in the process of domination and dehumanizaton. We can use English as a tool of international commerce, but we need to transcend it in our sacred services and social interaction. Yoruba and Arabic are just two languages readily available for North American Africans to help heal our psycho-linguistic trauma, although Arabic may be somewhat tainted by the Muslim role in the slave trade (but what tribes, what peoples weren’t involved) and the Muslim quest to spread itself by force and designate others as infidels, surprisingly similar to how the Christians designate Muslims and others as heathens. But so much of our history and culture is in Arabic, even our literature from Africa’s Timbuku and Hausland to the Romance of Antar in Arabia to Muslim slave narratives in the Americas. Indeed, North American Africans have been declared the founding fathers of Muslim American literature, superseding Arabs, South Asians and others. Certainly during the 1960s cultural revolution, the writings of Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X deeply influenced the writers/activists such as Amiri Baraka, Askia Muhammad Toure, Yusef Iman, Sonia Sanchez, the Last Poets, Marvin X and others.
Toward An Inventory of Religion
Fundamental Muslims and Christians must both take a fearless moral inventory to begin eradicating retrograde and reactionary ideas and practices from their religions. Murder in the name of any religion, including so-called Christian just wars and Muslim jihads, is unacceptable and must be prevented at all costs. When the concept of God that is supposed to unite humanity becomes a major source of division, it is time for a reexamination of the concept. We know that we will never eliminate religion because its myths and rituals are the glue that welds societies but we can expect the believers to attempt to reach the highest possible level of spiritual consciousness, rather than remain steeped in dogmatism, narrow mindedness and ignorance.
Beyond Religion, Toward Spirituality
Many have given up traditional religions in favor of spirituality or the religion of the heart. People of consciousness can see that many of those who attend houses of worship are some of the worse devils on the planet, guilty of the slaughter of innocents, the perpetuation of racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. But we don’t want to throw the baby out with the wash water because religion can be beautiful, especially when its power to dominate and enslave is removed and what remains is simple fellowship in celebration of the Creator. One sister recently described religion as for followers, spirituality for leaders, or more precisely, for the self-directed who don’t need intercessors of any kind but speak directly with God and are indivisible from God, thus they are not helpless but empowered because they are in God and God is in them. Too often religion is out there rather than inside the believer. God is wherever you are and you are wherever God is, and the Spirit is everywhere, in all things. But many churches have nothing to do with Mary’s baby and many masjids have nothing to do with the teachings of Muhammad, rather they are for the egotism and glorification of the minister and the imam, along with the economic exploitation of the believers. Many houses of worship exist in the midst of poverty, homicidal and drug infested neighborhoods but have no program to address the issues. While the homeless and the hungry sits on their steps, the church and temple doors are closed six days out of the week, and only a few churches would dare consider keeping their doors open 24/7 to allow the homeless to sleep in the pews. The church and the masjid needs a healing, needs to recover from selfish white supremacy behavior. Yes, take inventory, ask yourselves are you doing what Jesus would do, are you doing what Muhammad would do?
Finally, Muslims and Christians must get rid of their paternalistic and racist attitude toward Africans, North American Africans in particular. North American Africans come from a long tradition of Islam therefore Arabs and South Asians need not be our master teachers of theology. We have an African Islamic tradition and a tradition in the Americas, from the Muslims explorers and scholars during the Ghana, Mali and Shongay empires of West Africa to the Muslim slave narrators and blues musicians of the Mississippi Delta, and the Muslim resisters to slavery in the Caribbean and Brazil, especial the Hausa revolts. And in recent times we have developed indigenous scholars who can interpret the Qur’an, Hadith and Sharia. We have our own mystical tradition with Noble Drew Ali, Master Fard Muhammad and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. And as we look at world events, we can clearly see Arab Muslims are no example to follow, except for Hamas and Hezbollah, who are determined to fight oppression by any means necessary, for as the Qur‘an says, persecution is worse than slaughter. For the most part, Sunni Muslims, especially Arabs in the Sudan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf states, are agents of reaction and collaboration with white supremacy, therefore they are in urgent need of recovery, hence no model to follow.
So let us all, Africans, Arabs, Asians, Europeans, Native Americans and Latinos, take inventory of ourselves and begin, however painfully, the transformation into the new man and woman that time requires of us. Many of us can proudly see that we have produced children of consciousness, technically advanced, spiritually aware, economically independent and politically astute. We can save the present generation we are so concerned about losing, but let them see us saving ourselves, correcting our mistakes, contradictions, reconciling with those children, husbands and wives we abandoned and neglected for no good reason other than our white supremacy dominated mentality that suggests the panacea for difficult family relations is abandonment, separation and divorce, but not having solved any of the problems, we enter new relationships with the old baggage, we encounter the same person we left, only they have a different name. Perhaps we should return to the marriage for life tradition, making it a community responsibility that marriages work, not in the interest of individuals, but in the interest of the community. It is a great human tragedy to see the children of divorce, the children in foster care and the children of Africa without either parent due to the scourge of disease, especially HIV/AIDS.
Let youth see elders reconciling in the Pan African community throughout the Diaspora. Pan Africans and all peace loving peoples of the world, return to your higher self, return to your own kind in the name of love, return to your families and neighborhoods for that very necessary mental and physical reconstruction; with your economic success, return to your villages with clean water, medicine, education promoting healthy relationships transcending patriarchal domination. Recovery works, discovery works, if you work it!
Admit to the God within and without, the Higher Power, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs: the evil thoughts we harbor, the desire to harm other brothers and sisters of African descent for no reason, or to harm any human being for any reason. Often, without knowing anything about another African or another human, when we see that person our immediate reaction is hatred, jealousy, envy, so we must process our issues because such is the awesome power of white supremacy thinking that we are often totally unconscious of how we are programmed to think and behave like jungle savages or shall we say urban savages, for the jungle savage may have admirable qualities we might need to emulate such as love, sense of family and community, harmony with nature and the Higher Power.
O, Higher Power please forgive me for I knew not what I was doing on so many occasions in my life, and then I ask forgiveness for the times when I knew exactly what I was doing but proceeded as if there were no consequences, but surely for every action in the universe there is an equal and corresponding reaction. So forgive me for all that I have done contrary to righteousness, truth, peace, freedom, justice and equality. Forgive me for the times when my heart was full of hatred and malice for I knew not that hatred and malice were enemies that destroy from within and thus are the cause of much cancer and other diseases. Forgive me for not feeding the hungry child, the hungry man and woman I passed along the street when my pockets were full of money, surely it would not have been too much for me to hand them a quarter or a dollar and continue on my way, but instead I was arrogant and proud, as if I had been born with a silver spoon in my mouth when I was not, and even now I am only a paycheck away from joining the homeless and the hungry, so forgive me Higher Power, Jesus, Allah, Mother Goddess, Jah, Damballah, Ancestors, when I did not feed the hungry, care for the poor, attend the sick and diseased, for I did not feed You, did not care for You, but was wicked and out of my mind, for surely the poor are Your angels that represent You on this earthly plane, surely the hungry and homeless are your saints sent to help us understand the trials and tribulations of life. Forgive me for not having compassion in my daily round, for speaking rudely to people when all they needed was a kind word to help them through the day. Forgive me not visiting the sick and wounded from the battlefields of white supremacy around the world and in the hood, surely the wounded and disabled will come to understand that they cannot kill and not be killed, that they cannot wound others and not be wounded themselves, that they cannot destroy families and not have their families destroyed as well, so give them understanding, Higher Power, let them see the light that they may themselves ask forgiveness of You for their deeds and death dealing actions.
Wife Beaters and Cheaters
Let us forgive the wife beaters and cheaters, the killers of the dreams in the hood, the dope dealers and alcohol sellers who destroy lives and families for profit, the gamblers who don’t know when to quit until all is lost, even their property and families. And let us pray we come to understand there can be no peace without until there is peace within. Yes, the heart is the macrocosm, the world the microcosm. And so it is, Ashe, Amen, Amin.
My Life As Example
It seems only right that I should use my own life as an example of this 5th step, since I have harmed so many persons throughout my life, and even now have thoughts of suicide and homicide, especially when I am in the city and under stress from the daily round. Yes, I often have thoughts of hatred, jealousy, envy upon encountering another African, so let this be my confession that will perhaps be helpful to others in processing the poisonous mental thoughts that will ultimately destroy us or cause us to suffer terrible diseases that will lead many to an early grave because mental thoughts have a way of affecting our physical condition and so often we don’t have a clue, we think it was a virus that caused an inflammation but it was in fact the virus of white supremacy thinking and behavior. Now I hope it is clear we are only using white supremacy as a generic term for evil in the world, and although the dominant power is western capitalism and imperialism or globalism, we know white supremacy can appear in black face, in the face of Arabs, Latinos, Asians and any other persons who have digested the values of domination and exploitation current in the world.
Married at 18
Probably, the first wrong thing I did was getting married at age 18 because my girlfriend was pregnant and I thought it was the right thing to do. Certainly, abortion wasn’t an option as I did not believe in it then nor do I now. But not long after another girlfriend got pregnant and I encouraged her to get an abortion. I regret it to this day, for as I say in a poem, it might have been a prophet come to save this world, or at the very least a genius to make needed contributions to society. The second girl was the one my mother said I should have married, but I had already married the first, and soon I had two sons by this marriage which ended after the second son was born. So I apologize to my first wife and sons (one deceased, may he rest in peace), and I apologize to the girlfriend (now deceased) for making her get an abortion.
Women Who Love
I apologize to all the women who loved me while I physically, verbally and emotionally abused them. How would I have liked it if they had done the same to me? I apologize to my father in law for beating his daughter. He said, “If my granddaughters didn’t love you so much, I would have killed you long ago.” And today I feel the same about any man who would think about hitting one of my daughters. Men who commit violence against women are cowards of the worse sort, for why don’t they beat their boss, as one lady on a call in radio talk show suggested, “Why don’t you beat your boss, asshole?” Indeed, is it not the boss who is causing all the stress many workers are under who then stress out their families rather than attack the real enemy, the man who is exploiting them with wage slavery, the white supremacy capitalists and imperialists? No, we rather misplace our anger and aggression on our women and children, thus the entire family are victims of white supremacy economics and the resulting psychological trauma. Yet, not one white man has been killed in the hood, not one white man has been killed from America to Africa. If so, it would be all over the news and designated a hate crime. But when we beat our wives and girlfriends is it not a hate crime? Yes, you hate your wife and girlfriend because you hate yourself. I apologize.
As a teenager I was guilty of gang rape every Sunday at the movie theatre. It was how we boys enjoyed ourselves, having no sense our actions were a violation of women. During intermission we also made it a habit of beating up Latinos in the bathroom, which today would be considered hate crimes, but we thought it something to do for fun. Today the script has flipped: Chicanos are beating up and in some cases killing North American Africans for no reason other than their ethnicity. They too need to cease their actions and seek healing with their African brothers, for much of their behavior is motivated by white supremacy gangs, including members of the California Correctional Officers union, another gang that has more power than prison wardens over inmates and in the political area, being the most powerful union in the state of California. Officers have been found guilty of instigating ethnic turmoil in the prisons which has spilled over into the general society, although immigration has put new pressures on employment and housing in the ghettoes throughout California and nationwide. African/Latino citizens have not been brought together in any meaningful way to address the new demographics. I apologize.
Nation of Islam Professor
As a member of the Nation of Islam, I prevented white students from enrolling in my classes while lecturing at Fresno State College, now University, during 1969, but was barred from teaching by Governor Ronald Reagan when he learned I had refused to fight in Vietnam. So I apologize for my racist actions and call upon the State of California to apologize to me and my community for denying my right to teach, especially since Fresno State College had Mormon teachers who also discriminated at the time. My racist views softened by the 80s and in my last teaching job at Kings River Community College, I had a 97% student retention rate, and most of my students were white and Chicano.
As a distributor of drugs, I apologize to the people who lost their lives taking the drugs I supplied them throughout Northern California, heroin being the drug in question. I know people died because one dealer said people came to him seeking the drugs that killed their buddies. And the sad truth is that I distributed drugs after coming into knowledge of self, while Malcolm X did his drug dealing before joining the Nation of Islam and gaining knowledge of self. But throughout the world we see revolutionaries and reactionaries, Muslims and Christians, socialists, communists and capitalists, dealing drugs for their political and religious agendas. Muslims in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon and elsewhere deal drugs to support their revolution, and in Latin America Christians and Marxists deal drugs to support their resistance. The United States of America is known to have supported the Contras in Nicaragua who sold Crack to Black Americans to buy guns to fight the Sandinistas. And so we wonder how we can free the people while at the same time killing them with drugs. Seems that there might be a lot of apologies in order on this matter. I apologize.
I apologize for all the white people, those in the south and those in the north of the United States, for their centuries of white supremacy actions against innocent North American African children, adults and elders, whom they treated with hatred, contempt and scorn, and even today hold such feelings when the Africans have done nothing to earn their bitterness except try to be loyal citizens who have fought in every war since the American revolution to defend this do good, rotten, corrupt and hateful society against all its enemies, although her worse enemy is herself, yes, the man in the mirror. I apologize for all the lynching’s, beatings and torture of Africans in jails and prisons throughout this land, which occurred because those in power were under the spell of white supremacy thinking and harbor within them a sick desire to dominate and exploit those under their care. We ask them to confess their sins and ask for mercy.
I apologize to lower class white people, so-called white trash or trailer house trash, who have been duped into thinking they are superior to blacks but are often treated worse than blacks by upper class whites. The poor whites need a healing and understanding that they can only end their class oppression by uniting with the blacks rather than continuing their ignorant racist behavior for the benefit of the upper class white supremacy rulers. Lower class whites suffer wage slavery and the outsourcing of jobs just as black workers, or for that matter, even middle class white workers. For them to maintain racist attitudes that blacks want their jobs or that white power will ever come to them in their ignorant condition is poppycock. White power or white supremacy is strictly a ruling class family affair. Lower class whites do not and never will control the economic reigns or the political reigns, for such power is securely in the hands of the most intelligent devils on the planet, with the exception of George Bush, a mentally retarded person who made it to the presidency through family connections. Even his mother decried his entry into politics. I apologize.
I apologize for the black bourgeoisie who have the wherewithal to improve life in the hood but are in the mode of positive apathy, for they have the positives but are apathetic and willing to do nothing until their child, wife, husband, brother, sister is affected by racism, then they are suddenly militant and ready to lead the race to freedom. I apologize for those living in their mansions and gated estates and are protected from the world outside until their mansions turn into hell holes because there is no love inside only the persistent desire for material possessions which, in the words of Dr. Nathan Hare, fail to satisfy the social angst and shattered cultural strivings. I apologize.
I apologize for being a Crack head for twelve years and thus did not appreciate watching my children, especially my daughters, grow into young men and women. When I came up from the fog and smoke of Crack dins, they had passed from puberty to young adulthood, but I was too busy in Crack alleyways to take a break to check on them, support them or even call them. I apologize for the burden I put on their mothers, but thank God they taught my children the discipline to become successful members of society. I apologize.
I apologize for Africa having so much human potential and natural resources yet is only slowly entering the modern world, although it is no secret why Africa is poor and Europe/America rich, for we understand why and how Europe/America underdeveloped Africa as the late Dr. Walter Rodney explained. And even today, Europe/America is making yet another attempt at colonizing Africa’s vast natural resources, and when Europe/America is not the villain, the Chinese are competing for oil and other resources, additionally dumping cheap, imitation goods on the continent. We apologize for Europe/America and China and pray they come to an understanding that Africa is for Africans, those and home and those abroad, and we especially want those abroad to invest their knowledge and expertise in the reconstruction of our Motherland. I apologize.
Pan African Professors
I apologize to the academic African scholars and professors whom I have vilified and scorned for not being as radical and revolutionary as I believed they should, for after all, white supremacy institutions are not about to allow a radical Pan African ideology and philosophy to flourish within its institutional framework, this will only happen when Pan Africans establish independent institutions that are supported by the people, not by the state and corporations who are beneficiaries of white supremacy.
I apologize to the political and religious leaders whom I have attacked in my writings because they have been incapable of leading our people to the promised land but keep us inside the box of white supremacy with their million people marches up the mountain then down again in the Sisyphusian tradition. Somehow they must grasp the concept that we are a nation within a nation and anything less than national sovereignty is not an option. Too hell with a black president in the white house, we need a black president in the black house. Only then shall we reach the full potential of our national genius. Those who claim we have no alternative but to suffer the American nightmare are guilty of slothful thinking and bankrupt ideology that makes us the enemy of the world along with the white supremacy American bandits with whom we do not share the same destiny, (how can the robbed have the same destiny as the robbers?) for our destiny is to rise from oppression while their destiny is to be relieved of their post as oppressors and placed in some form of restraint from aggression and domination, including disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, and this must occur whether the white left or right parties are in power, for they are birds of a feather and in the same family of white supremacy conspirators. Those who collaborate with them are just as guilty as the conspirators, for the collaborators enjoy crumbs from the table and never bring the bacon home to the starving masses who are left stranded holding empty dreams election after election. I apologize.
I apologize for the religious leaders who perform their role as pharaoh’s magicians, working slavery mythology and secret spells to hoodwink and bamboozle the masses into accepting wage slavery and pie in the sky religiosity, and even many of the so-called New Thought spiritual leaders are only a step above the magicians because their mysticism is devoid of political realities and fails to address the core issue of white supremacy but instead have the people in yoga meditation to achieve levitation as a way of avoiding the ultimate confrontation with the bandits of white supremacy. When the spiritual leaders sermonize in the manner of Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey and Gabriel Prosser, they will earn my respect. Until then, I apologize.
Lonely Men and Women
I apologize for the lonely men and women throughout the world who cannot find partners worthy enough to marry or maintain a serious relationship, especially the women who have qualified themselves academically and economically while the potential men lag behind in both areas. It does not bode well for the future of the Pan African nation in particular, especially North American Africans, whose men far too often choose the criminal life because few options are available, but the result is a burgeoning prison population of young African American males, decreasing the availability of mates for young Black women. The solution is for the males to transfer the energy they put into criminality into legitimate enterprises, especially entrepreneurship. A little thinking is required because if they can sell drugs they can sell anything, they can package, distribute and promote items needed by their community. I apologize.
Grieving Mothers and Fathers
I apologize to all the grieving mothers and fathers throughout the world who have lost children to violence for any reason. Our hearts reach out to them in love and healing for we too have lost a child and know the pain and suffering than lingers for years. It is sad the victimizers do not understand when they kill a person they kill a family and the killer himself is a dead man walking for he shall eventually meet with the God of justice, such is the karma of the universe. I apologize.
The Good Children
I apologize to all the good children of the world who do the right things, struggle against all odds, overcome obstacles to arrive at the door of success, who avoid criminal behavior, teenage pregnancy, to graduate high school and college, and strive to stay on the right path, to believe in the Higher Power within themselves and without. W e salute and encourage them to reach out to their brothers and sisters in the hood who are without hope, inspiration and direction, to be their mentors and guides, to hug them with unconditional love and understanding that they too can put on the armor of God and walk in the light for eternity. I apologize.
We are entirely ready to have God, Higher Power, He, She, It, remove all these defects of character.
In the mode of total submission, we turn to our Higher Power, the Creative Force in the universe, and declare that we are ready to remove our defects of character. No one can change until they are ready to change, until they have decided it is time for a change, usually not until they hit rock bottom and have been totally defeated by the forces of life. Our character defects will ultimately defeat us and when combined with outside forces, leave us in a state of bewilderment with nowhere to go except further down into the pit of nothingness and dread. And so we turn to the Great One, the Ancestors, the Spirit, Mother Goddess, Allah, Jesus, asking for an end to our misery caused by an oppressive society, from which we cannot be liberated except through collective action, for our condition is not personal but political, the result of organized forces operating to keep us on the lowest rung of the ladder of economic and spiritual development. The God of Freedom and Justice does not accept the oppression and exploitation of the people, and He remains ready to lift them out of their condition when they are ready to help themselves. So we declare our readiness for change, taking this essential step in the transformation of the soul.
Once we are ready, we walk into the world of infinite possibilities, wherein the healing of our internal and external condition can move forward expeditiously. We refuse to passively accept any second class status or any disrespectful actions from anyone. We flow in the flow of the Creator’s Love, and thus we can begin to unite with the brotherhood and sisterhood of the Pan African nation and the global village. As conscious Pan Africans, we give up tribal and provincial thinking, that colonial narrow mindedness taught by white supremacy education. We give up ethnic strife, the reactionary notion that people from one part of Pan Africa are superior to another, continental Africans are better than North American Africans or Caribbean Africans, or people from one part of the hood are badder than those across the street, or east coast people are better than west coast people or dirty south people. None of the above thinking has to do with the problem at hand which is our wretchedness in consequence of white supremacy, rather, the depth of our thinking reveals how well we have accepted the divisive nature of white supremacy.
We must openly declare we release such demonic thinking that is detrimental to our personal and collective development.
We declare we are ready to work toward the end of disunity in the Pan African family, that we see a divided Pan Africa cannot withstand the forces of white supremacy which are even better able to exploit because of new technology and upgraded imperialism now called globalism, wherein the gang of eight and others attempt to control the world’s economic planning. It is indeed a defect of character to not have a functional African Union, meaning something beyond a presidents for life club that are running dogs for imperialism in Africa. Yes, Pan Africa, ask the God of our Motherland, the God of our Ancestors, the God of Garvey, Nkrumah, Lumumba and Sekou Toure, to help us in this critical hour, and be ready to accept the blessings when they shower upon us like a tropical rain, and let us not be arrogant and proud but humble and submissive, knowing that only eternal vigilance will insure the freedom of the Pan African nation. Lack of unity is our greatest defect, even on the local level it is most difficult to work with the various groups who consider themselves Pan African or black nationalist, yet the imperialists who despise each other can come together for mutual benefit, that is, the exploitation of you and yours. Even a slight degree of ideological difference is cause for one Pan African not to work with another, or one group not to agree to functional unity. As a result, far too many Pan African and nationalist events merely preach to the choir, for there is too much inside negativity to attract a wider audience. Often the elders refuse to interact with youth, or youth leaders refuse to seek the wisdom of elders. Yet elders yearn to give up knowledge and youth desire wisdom, so we need healing sessions to iron out the mental hang-ups and ego trips for the greater good of our community and the Pan African nation.
So ask your Higher Power to raise your consciousness beyond pettiness and infantile thinking, support local activists, promote local leadership and budding intellectuals--think globally, act locally. We must develop local leadership that has been through the fire of revolution. It is myopic to think we can advance by constantly bringing in national or even international leaders who come for the moment then depart, yet no local leaders are developed but treated with contempt and derision. This is a form of self hate, a serious defect in thinking that must be addressed and eradicated. Ask God to help you, and be ready to accept divine assistance.
We humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings.
O, Higher Power, we come before you with open mind and heart, ready to accept the blessing to help us move toward perfection of character. We know the defects we harbor and we are now ready to have them removed. Please show us your mercy and forgiveness for our ignorance and recalcitrance. Yes, Elijah told us we are easy to lead in the wrong direction and hard to lead in the right direction, so help us, Holy One, Divine One, Great Spirit, come into our lives with your helping and healing hands full of mercy and forgiveness. At this moment exercise your power to raise us by degrees to perfection. The days of ignorance have been long and hard so we ask that you give us the strength to overcome all negative thoughts that breed weakness, passivity and fear in the face of danger, give us the strength to unify within ourselves, our families and community so that we can face the challenges now and on the horizon, surely there is no challenge we cannot meet with your divine assistance. We know we are in You and You are in us, so help us flow in the flow of your love that empowers us with resistance to evil, hatred, jealousy, and envy. Remove the defect of fear that paralyzes us so that we cannot see success when it is like a bright sun shining in the sky. Remove from us the desire to hurt, maim or kill another brother or sister for any reason, for in our perfection of character there is no room for fear, hatred, jealousy, envy, or the desire to hurt, maim or kill anything, not even a fly or gnat, roach or bee. We are in harmony with you, O Giver of Life, thus we do not desire to take life except in self defense. We know it is wrong to be aggressive and fight with those who have not fought with us, so we ask that you give us the understanding not to engage in wars when we have not been attacked or provoked. Surely peace is the essence of Your character and therefore peace is the essence of our character, for we are one with You, we are indivisible from you, we exist in you as you exist in us.
Make a list of all the Africans we have harmed because of our self-hatred, jealousy, envy, racism, white supremacy thinking, capitalist greed, lust for power, and become willing to make amends to them all, all the Africans and other people we robbed, cheated, and left half-dead on the roadside in our quest to satisfy our addiction to white supremacy.
Oh, Higher Power, I am guilty of stealing from my father, Owendell Jackmon (deceased), while I was a dope fiend. I stole from my woman, Marsha Satterfield (deceased) because of my addiction and self hatred. I stole from my friend Mark Berry (deceased) after he arranged for me to make thousands of dollars. I deprived my mother and children of my support and love while I was a dope fiend and addicted as well to selfishness and greed. I deprived my nation of important archival materials because I was too busy on dope to claim my belongings when my mother sold her property, thus the Pan African nation was denied information and materials relating to the cultural revolution of the 1960s, including interviews with James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, Haki Madhubuti, Milford Graves, Sun Ra, Barbara Ann Teer, Sonia Sanchez, Abdias do Nacimento, Ron Dellums, Edward Braithwaite, and others.
I pray all the above will accept my apology. Perhaps the persons I interviewed who are surviving will allow me to make amends by recording them again for the historical record that belongs to the Pan African nation.
I ask my first wife, Patricia, and my sons, Marvin and Darrel (deceased) to forgive me because I abandoned them in my youthful ignorance and selfishness, thinking the revolution was more important than them while I should have tried to achieve a balance rather than making them sacrificial lambs, after all, is not the revolution for family, the reconstruction of family, the security of family. Was not slavery and is not today’s white supremacy about the destruction of the African family ? Family is the revolution, there is no other objective, no reason, no mission higher than saving the family. And so we can make amends by continuing the revolutionary mission of healing our families, unifying them and teaching them radical consciousness for the present and the future.
I ask my former wife, Barbara Hall, mother of my daughters Nefertiti and Amira, to forgive me for interrupting her education when I encouraged her to join me during my exile in Mexico City after I refused to fight in the Vietnam war for American imperialism and white supremacy. I pray that she will forgive me for abandoning her and my daughters when my polygamous fantasy failed. Thirty-five years later my daughters have feelings of anger about my treatment of them and their mother, but I pray my recent actions at reconciliation will be accepted and the anger will subside.
I ask my former wife, Nisa Ra, to forgive me for treating her so harshly, including bouts of domestic violence, especially after she blessed me with our daughter, Muhammida. I am thankful that I can say I have made amends to her and our reconciliation has been successful. Today, I would say we are the best of friends and enjoy supporting our daughter so that she can be the best that she can be in spite of this oppressive western society.
I ask forgiveness of the public who often suffered my “theatre of assault” as one of my actors, J.B. Saunders, used to describe my street hustling. The public deserves better and
my arrogance and rudeness was uncalled for and in the future I will make amends to the public by treating them with more kindness and respect.
As director of Recovery Theatre, I sometimes treated my actors very harshly
because of my stressed out mental state. I ask the following to forgive me: Geoffrey Grier, Otis Lloyd, Ayodele Nzinga, Suzzette Celeste, J. B. Saunders, Elliot Bey, Pinky, Van, Raynetta Rayzetta. After I moved out of the city to the country, I am certain they will admit my mental health improved and I appreciate their patience.
Hopefully we can do a project in the future to make amends for my past behavior.
I ask the forgiveness of my friend, Suzzette Celeste, who showed me unconditional love and loaned me money. I often subjected her to verbal, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect, and I have begun to make amends, including getting her nephew out of harm’s way by taking him on my east coast book tour and exposing him to another world, the world of infinite possibilities, also by helping her brother, Phil, discover his spiritual consciousness by exposing him to works of Rumi.
We shall make direct amends to such people in the hood, in Africa, North America, the Caribbean, Europe, Central and South America, or wherever, except when to do so would injure them or others.
We can make amends to Pan Africa by urging the African Union to become a viable and vital organization for the liberation of our Motherland, rather than a club for presidents for life and running dogs for the new colonialists, America and China. We can make amends by not supporting reactionary African governments and political leaders whether they are in Africa, Harlem or Jamaica. When we support reaction we do indeed injure the people under the domination of oppressive regimes, especially when we help spread propaganda in support of dastardly rulers who should be taken before the firing squad. All too often we support reactionary leaders because we have a romantic and idealistic view of them simply because they are African, thus we condemn the imperialists and globalists but not their running dogs who are equally as dangerous for they fetch the bird after it has been shot. So we apologize to the people of Africa for our ignorance and compliance with rulers who have been ruthless in suppressing opposition that only sought a voice in the government that represents the people and not a select group, ethnic or religious.
We can make amends by urging the Pan African Union of the Diaspora to become more than a collection of tenured intellectuals. We strongly suggest it subject itself to the 12 Step Recovery from the Addiction to White Supremacy process because we know if anyone is in a crisis it is intellectuals who are so often above and beyond the people, when it is the people who make the motion of history. Intellectuals are often more damaged by their white supremacy educations than are the people steeped in raw ignorance. For as Mao taught, when the black board is clean and blank the most beautiful inscriptions can be written, but when it is cluttered with a potpourri of information or misinformation, little can be added except more confusion that will confuse and harm the people.
The truth is that we cannot sit down together without working on our mental health issues as a result of white supremacy, for there are subtle issues of psychosis and neurosis often buried in the deep structure of our consciousness that must be processed before any meaningful unity can be achieved. We see so many movement people with attitudes that need to be corrected for they are not holistic and are prone to do damage in the political arena. There are many Pan Africans I would not walk around the block with until they subject themselves to a mental health treatment program, whether 12 Step or 50 Step. And we are not talking about something that can happen overnight but involves a radical personality change that is thorough and lasting, beyond donning African attire and dining on vegetarian food or innumerable trips to the Motherland to be crowned king or queen of some village in the hinterland.
Some of us may be damaged irreparably and constitutionally unable to heal so perhaps we should not expect to be overly optimistic about recovering from the addiction to white supremacy. Let us first and foremost make amends to ourselves for the wrongs we have done to ourselves, for surely we have been our own worse enemy, we have been a danger to ourselves as well as others throughout Pan Africa. So apologize to yourself for being a fool, accept the truth of your behavior and mistreatment of self as well as others.
As North American Africans, we admit we were brainwashed by white supremacy education and media that made us believe in the Tarzan and Jane stories, believe in the savagery of our African brothers and sisters. And we pray they will forgive us for any pain we may have caused them because of our ignorance. And we pray Africans do not think North American Africans are all CIA agents for imperialism, although a former classmate of mine admitted that he and his wife spied for the USA while stationed in Africa as part of the diplomatic corps. With apparent acumen, the Africans called him “An American slave.” The American slave’s job as cultural attaché was to arrange events then report who attended and their response. His wife confessed that her role was to destabilize African governments who did not vote with the USA at the United Nations after receiving grants and loans from America. She noted that guns weren’t necessary, only the withholding of funds was enough to make some governments fall.
But American slaves have a history of spying on each other, from slavery through the black liberation movement of the 60s, and we can’t imagine what is going on in the hood since 9/11, especially since Baraka has told us, “In the end the Negro will be the terrorist,” and more recently Black Muslims are the target for recruitment by so-called Muslim fundamentalist, especially Black Muslims in prison. Aside from spying on organizations such as the Nation of Islam and Black Panthers during the 60s, black agents were assigned to individuals and to take notes on the Negro Mood, ironically the name of a book by Lerone Bennett. Should not these agents confess and make amends for their white supremacy duties? Like the white man did the scouts that were rounded up after they led him to the Indians, the black spies were not trusted or treated any better. One black FBI agent informed me after writing the report on the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., he was threatened with death if he revealed the results of his findings. Indeed, Africans have been willing and unwilling agents of white supremacy throughout Pan Africa and the world. It is time to make amends for our nefarious behavior, to come clean with yourselves and your people who have only wanted freedom, justice and equality. Yet you have obstructed them at every turn for a mess of pottage. Remove your white mask unless to do so would harm others.
Continue to take personal inventory. So let us travel deeper down the road of self. Let us go into the town called illusions of the mind, those transitory feelings of negativity that swell up in our thinking to blind us to the divine plane of existence.
There is no reason for hatred of any kind, it is not a divine attitude but emanating from the animal plane, from the lower self, not from the well of spiritual maturity but from a juvenile mentality that has not developed the bigger self that flows in the flow of pure water, but it contains mud and salts from the river bed. It is a defect of character we must attack and crush out of existence for it is not the road to success but failure. There is nothing to hate but hate itself, to root it out of our consciousness once and for all times since we are getting nowhere with such reactionary feelings.
We are greater than hate, greater than envy and jealousy, greed and selfishness. These are the feelings of minor actors, not major players, not the stars on prime time. So we must continue the personal inventory to search out such defects and cast them out of our mental apparatus. They are a danger to ourselves and others, for we are bigger than hatred, jealousy, envy, greed and selfishness. They are the result of small mindedness, immature character traits that we have allowed to rule our being and thus our being is stuck on stupid, like having super glue on our behinds, for there is little forward motion or even backward motion for that matter, but for sure we are not advancing on the spiritual plane for such feelings are a roadblock and hindrance to the elevation of self, the perfection of self into the realm of divine which is our sole purpose: to stay in the upper room, not in the dungeon, but the upper room of our Father’s house where there are indeed many mansions and our cup runneth over with goodness and mercy even in the presence of our enemies, for with the armor of divinity we shall make our enemies a footstool, they shall become our bootblack and willing servant. And we shall be amazed at the turn of events because we thought they were such giants with so much power over us, consuming our mental and sometimes physical being, yet we matured to realize from the inventory of self that we are the superman and superwoman when we check out the positive inventory of ourselves and the infinite possibilities within that give us no time for kindergarten thinking.
Why should we hate our black brother or white brother. He can do nothing about his blackness or whiteness. He can do nothing about the tribe or island he is from, or because he is from the west coast or east coast, or wears colors such as red and blue.
Let us move beyond animal thinking for we can only remain paralyzed in this condition and of no use to the Creator of the universe who seeks to have us on His team, the winning team that receives the championship trophy time after time. So either get on the winning team or be content to remain with the losers who shall drown in bitterness and grief because of their small mindedness, their refusal to have the vision that will enable them to be successful and flow in the flow, in the current of the universe that says yes to those who join the choral chant, “Yes.”
Yes, I love you black brother and sister, yes I love you white brother and sister, and I will kill you softly with my love, I will kill all the negative feelings I have for you and that you have for me because such feelings disqualify both of us for prime time, with the result that we must remain in the green room until we are ready for the grand appearance in the drama called life.
Did our African brothers and sisters ever bother to send a ship for us to return home after five hundred years, did we ever send them a message requesting to come home after five hundred years in the wilderness of North America? But shall we not return to our homeland, and shall not our brothers and sisters welcome us back through the door of no return, where we both shall shed tears of grief and happiness.
Can we not take inventory to realize how much time has elapsed since we last saw each other and shall we waste time on the past that can be spent talking about the future, how we can contribute to building the wealth in the great continent of Africa, one of the richest continents in the world but it needs all of her children to share in the reconstruction, even those in the wilderness who have such an abysmal case of amnesia that they hesitate to call their brother brother and sister sister, but have a lingering sense of shame and fear of each other, caused by those who continue to profit from divide and conquer, whether they are white or black, for it took two to tango in the beginning and it still takes two, thus there are those still benefiting on the white side of slavery and colonialism and on the black side as well, let us have no illusions but take inventory of actions that individuals play in the ancient drama that has been going on too long and has divided a people too long. Remember that country tune, “How Long Has This Been Goin On?” Too long, too long!
Let us realize we are suffering a spiritual disease of the heart, for things happen in our lives that affect our consciousness that we are totally unaware of, yet the force is like a tsunami sweeping our being into submission until we recognize the truth of what is happening inside of us, and quite simply, we have been disconnected from our true selves far too long, so long that some of us may be constitutionally unable to reconnect because the feeling is gone, so long gone that it will indeed take a miracle to rekindle the natural love that should flow between brothers and sisters, but how can you claim to love the world but hate your own brothers and sisters. And if and when we look around today, we see too many people in African dress and décor in their homes, yet their behavior is still European and their lives are nothing but a race for materialism, not that we should not enjoy the good life, after all, Dr. Hare tells us the revolution was to have something, for surely we had nothing before the revolution, but yet let us not lose focus on the essence of our journey which is spiritual, for how much joy do material things bring? Material things cannot heal a disease of the spirit, of the heart. We can accumulate material things until the cows come home, yet there is no satisfaction for the spirit is yet hungry and lacks a cool drink of water. Take inventory: how many dresses, shoes, coats, cars, homes does one need to be happy, for we have this conspicuous consumption yet are not happy; we yet harbor feelings of emptiness, of loneliness, of dread and terribleness; hatred, jealousy, envy and greed abound.
Perhaps we should cease want and desire, then we can begin to live life in the fullness of its spiritual essence, for this addiction to things and things is surely driving us mad and in the end we may need to be committed for the peer group will not suffice to cure the psychosis we have developed. When we really take inventory, we may find ourselves so far gone, so addicted to the white supremacy world that our denial has us singing that tune by Diana Ross, “If there’s a cure for this, I don’t want it….”
Seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God. Prayer is conversation with the Higher Power, or intercourse with God, for God hears those who praise Him: Our Lord, to Thee is due all praise. There is power and energy in prayer for it is simply tuning into the life force of the universe, just as we plug into the wall socket for electricity, we plug into the divine when we want spiritual power, and prayer and meditation is the method--as though the breath of life is not spiritual power. As far as I’m concerned, we should stay in a state of prayer as we go about our daily round, although there are those who like prayer at prescribed times, but pray, for as Hammer rapped, “You got to pray just to make it today.” Prayer is simply to acknowledge the Creator and thank Him for the breath of life, thank Him for the beauty of life, thank Him for the intelligence and wisdom we are blessed with, thank Him for all the trials and tribulations we survived, thank Him that we have the consciousness to desire unity with our brothers and sisters in America, Africa and the Diaspora, thank him that in spite of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism we yet have African and spiritual consciousness and we are determined to make the cultural revolution a success; thank Him for keeping us on the straight path to national liberation and Pan African liberation.
So let us pray and meditate on the glory of life and the bounteous blessing of our being that has infinite possibilities if we exercise the mind God gave us, a most divine mind because the world is full of divinity and we are determined to flow with the flow, to swim past the ugly and hurtful things of life into the current of wonder and joy that is pleasing, pleasurable and righteous, for surely after difficulty comes ease.
Pray to your Higher Power, by whatever name and be saved, yes, saved from white supremacy, saved from ignorance, hatred, jealousy, envy and narrow-mindedness; saved from greed and selfishness, saved from sectarianism, dogmatism and provincialism, saved from homophobia and xenophobia, saved from the patriarchy and matriarchy, saved.
Sit by the water in silence and meditate in the name of your Lord by whatever name, for we know the Creator is the Creator by any name, the life force is the life force by any name, the Divine is Divine by any name. We know there are billions of monotheists and billions of polytheists, all of them contain the good, the bad and the ugly, and we pray they shall all come into the knowledge they are all divine, every one of them, none is to be hated, envied and despised but respected and accepted into the family of divine. We pray all believers come to understand the divinity of us all, that we are all children of the Creator and we are thus all part of creation and share all the good of the Creator.
We must come to respect all the myths and rituals, for none is superior to another, not one, but are from the Divine mind and for the celebration of our Creator.
Let us move through earnest prayer and meditation toward the brotherhood and sisterhood of Pan Africa and the global village.
Let us pray and meditate we are soon healed from the barbarism and savagery of military force as a solution to world problems, that we banish all weapons of mass destruction from every nation, including America, Russia, India and China.
In our prayer and meditation, let us ask ourselves what would the Higher Power do in every situation that we face in our daily round, what would God do, Jesus do, Allah do, Jah do, Damballah do, Ancestors do? Surely the right way is clearly distinct from error.
We must pray and meditate on the beautiful children of today with bright eyes and vacant minds waiting to be filled with good thoughts so that they may continue down the path of righteousness and success. And have no doubt, if we guide them right they will do right and be a blessing to us all, the ancestors, the living and the yet unborn.
Pray for the youth who have gone astray because they lack right guidance and healing love, some have never had a chance to hear the truth of their divinity, thus they grovel on the animal plane but can be saved and raised to the divine when they see examples of righteous men and women instead of walking contradictions to everything the Divine is about.
And finally, let Pan Africans come to understand through prayer and meditation that their essence is not their Africanity but their spirituality. And let others know as well that their essence is not their humanity but their divinity, for we are all spiritual beings in human form. We are in God and God is in us, there is absolute indivisibility.
All is God
God is All
God is the people
God is the cow
God is the horse
God is the tree
God is the river
God is the fish
God is the child
God is the youth
God is the old people
God is the poor
God is the rich
God is the hungry
God is the sick
God is the dope fiend
God is the alcoholic
God is the sinner
No God but God
What if what if what if
There is no God but God
What if God is the captive you won’t liberate
The child you won’t love
The mama you hate
The daddy you hate
What if there is No God but God
What if God is the fear
You won’t release
God is the pain you won’t release
God is the love you won’t release
God is the tears you won’t cry
God is the lies you tell
God is the mountain you won’t climb
God is the success you won’t try
God is the beauty you don’t see
God is time
Running out the hourglass
God is the body you refuse to heal
God is the mind you refuse to feed
What if what if what if
What if God is ready when you ain’t ready
What if God is ready when you get ready
What if what if what if
What if there is no God but God
What if God is the forgiveness you won’t give
What if God is the denial you drown in like a hog in slop
What if what if what if
What if God is the peace in your house
The love in your life
The joy on your face
The happiness in your heart
The thankfulness of your smile
What if there is NO God but God
What if my life and my death are all for God
Not for woman, not for man
Not over a woman, not over a man
Life and death are all for God
What if what if what if
What if I grieve for nothing
Because God is everything
Whatever God wants I want
Whatever God don’t want I don’t want
Whatever God has I have
Whatever God don’t have I don’t want
What if what if what if
There is No God but God.
The universe is God, thus we all flow in the flow of the great divine ocean called life: man, woman, animals, plants and ancestors. We should therefore harm no one and nothing, except in self defense.
Through prayer and meditation we must come to curb wants and desires for they are the cause of negative energy that often leads to violence and great mental stress that brings about disease and death. Yes, we must remain in this world but not of this world, for the things of this world are illusions, ephemeral and transitory, bringing about much grief and suffering. It is better to obtain desirelessness or Nirvana, the state in which we are not moved by the constant want, need and desire for things, but our desire is to remain in the grace and mercy of the beloved Kingdom of God, where all things are possible yet few are desirable for we are in the Divine state of mind, thus nothing else is needed, we are with the Most High, the Supreme, the Loving, Life Giver, the Beginning and the End. Let us praise dance, let us sing and shout to the Most High.
Our search is complete but it was never necessary. Yes, we have been praying when God has already answered. We have suffered when joy was in our midst, but we knew it not in our search for things of this world, trinkets of cloth, rocks and stones; plastic, metal and wood idols, sex and money, the one billion two hundred million illusions of the monkey mind that Guru Bawa taught us about.
Carry the message to the Pan African world and other humans in the global village.
We hope you understand the message is one of personal and communal healing from the ravages and residue of slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism and domestic colonialism. It is time to reason together as peers, not as superiors and inferiors, leaders and the led, but as peers, for we all are victims of white supremacy, the oppressed as well as the oppressor, although we need to meet with him at a later hour or farther on up the road. At this time we are primarily concerned with the oppressed and how we can use the 12 Step model as a tool in recovering from the addiction to white supremacy in its vicissitudes, the various forms it masks while dominating and exploiting the world, but the Pan African world in particular, the institutional and psychological ways it entraps the oppressed and forces them into stunted men and women, thus inclined to love their wretched state of mind and condition, willing to accept it passively without protest. We want these persons suffering this grave addiction to come together in peer groups throughout Pan Africa and seek healing for themselves and their comrades. It will not be an overnight process for it involves much searching into the self beyond the façade of centuries and decades, beyond the surface structure and masks we wear in our daily round to hide the pain and suffering of self hatred that is the residue of slavery and colonialism. And for other oppressed peoples, the process is the same, for colonialism and imperialism is the same everywhere the serpent’s head has appeared, whether in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. The result is a people steeped in ignorance, poverty and disease. The first step to remedy this situation is detox to break the spell of white supremacy. We must let brothers and sisters know that they must be deprogrammed of white supremacy, and it must be done aggressively and with much determination otherwise relapse is likely, thus the torture and terror will persist because white supremacy is cunning and subtle, and it infects the mind with a virus so powerful that only the antidote of truth will suffice to remedy the disease or addiction. So the message to our brothers and sisters everywhere is to detox, recover and discover the revolutionary man and woman inside their souls that has been beaten down through the years, left on the roadside, robbed by the forces of oppression, yes, this man and woman, wherever they are, must jump out of the box like jack and recover their mental equilibrium and spiritual sensibility. Wherever you are in Pan Africa, wherever you are in the global village, gather around the fire, gather in the barber and beauty shops, the pool halls and beer clubs, the churches and mosques and ponder the above 12 Steps, consider your testimonies and come to a consensus for action to eradicate ignorance, poverty and disease that is the direct or indirect result of white supremacy. This is not to blame others for our condition, but to heal our mental apparatus that has broken down through the years and disabled us from achieving the necessary progress in improving our situation, strengthening family, community, national and international unity. Once we unite with self we can unite with others, but our primary focus is self and kind. Once we unite with self we can unite with others in the global village, especially those with common problems of ignorance, poverty and disease, those suffering reactionary religiosity and thus seeking spirituality or the religion of the heart that is beyond sects and cults that ultimately take us to a Jonestown state of mind, wherein we are psyched into suicide by belief in a messiah who has come to save us all, when we must be brave enough to think for ourselves and save ourselves from wretchedness in consequence of white supremacy that has us in ignorance, poverty and disease. You need no leaders except peer leaders who are willing to facilitate the meeting in a democratic manner, putting in check those personalities who want to dominate the meeting.
Discover Pan African consciousness and join the cultural revolution. This section is primarily for those who missed the African cultural revolution of the 1960s, whether in Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean. Those who did not participate in the liberation struggle or whose parents did not participate, or who participated but did not pass on the legacy to their children, should consider this section of prime importance because even after completing detox and recovery, if we were without a certain degree of Pan African consciousness, then one needs this section to enter the new reality of self, to discover who that self is, the substance and makeup of the conscious African man and woman. For it is one thing to detox and recover, but quite another thing to join the struggle for liberation. We have found in drug recovery that many persons will recover but go no further in their consciousness, thus they have a new addiction called recovery, one could say it is their religion since it now consumes their entire lives which consist of attending meetings, but as per joining the liberation movement they are most often negative and see no need to become social activists, even though Dr. Fanon and Dr. Hare tell us the only way the oppressed man and woman can regain their mental equilibrium is by joining the revolution or liberation of their people from the scourge of white supremacy, colonialism, imperialism or whatever form of domination and exploitation is in vogue.
For sure, discovering who we are as Pan African people will involve an intensive study of history, social philosophy, political and economic analysis and a perusal of the creative literature and the arts, especially the Black Arts Movement of the 60s which was a revolutionary movement in the arts that changed the academic curriculum and made ethnic literature a new genre. Thus we cannot understand the literature of today without a grounding in the 60s writings of the Black Arts Movement, or even what preceded it, including the 19th century black radical tradition, and especially the slave narratives. Only in this manner can we arrive at the African consciousness of today, although we have not mentioned the African writers and those of the Caribbean, for they especially contributed to the concept of Pan Africanism. Clearly, the person in discovery must be willing to obtain a revolutionary education, and in this manner a course or courses in black studies might be helpful, since many of the black studies professors claim to be Pan Africanists. As for ourselves, we are revolutionary nationalists, then Pan Africanist.
We envision some form of national sovereignty for North American Africans, of course this will involve a connection with the Continent and Diaspora, but our primary focus is North American Africans. There are other views on this matter and interested persons should entertain them all.
In discovering the new African man and woman, we are concerned that traditional values need upgrading, for we have said that white supremacy can very well be alive in black face, it can be just as dominating and exploiting as the white face of it. Thus we are against any form of reactionary African cultural values and practices, no matter what tribal origin or religious affiliation.
We are especially concerned with violence against women throughout Pan Africa, especially in North America but it is a pandemic throughout the world and we say it is the residue of white supremacy including the patriarchal domination of women and it must be eliminated in the process of recovering from the addiction to white supremacy.
Discovery is a necessary step in joining the cultural revolution, but what is the nature of the new culture, surely not the same old reactionary values from pre-colonial and colonial times. African women are on the move and cannot be treated as chattel property. Men must get a healing on this point at the earliest, for the condition of women denotes the cultural condition of a people, thus we know the people are advancing when the women advance. But we say to the women, do not become a European manikin or imitation North American African video whores, remain true to your traditions, especially when they are progressive and revolutionary. Blond hair and bleaching cream must go, along with starving yourselves to look like runway models to impress your man because he is suffering the addiction to white supremacy standards of beauty. Go back through the 12 Steps and take a fearless moral inventory of your values.
We have discussed the fact that imperialism is not just economic, but it is cultural as well, for white supremacy understands the value of culture in the domination of a people, thus we know the people are being bombarded with European values at every turn, and in our acceptance of the brainwashing we insist our men and women join the cultural exploitation of imperialism. The result is the look of imitation white women and men in black face, that old minstrel or coon show look that created American theatre in the 19th century. The denigration of a people can only be counter attacked by our cultural revolution which brings forth radical images we want projected and accepted by the people in the process of creating new cultural values for the new African man and woman.
We can reverse the linguistic crisis in the culture of North American Africans by reverting to the 60s practice of calling and treating our women as queens and referring to the men as kings, and thus immediately negate the bitch/ho/pimp language in vogue today. Address yourselves as queens and kings and the matter is solved--no need for debates and conferences on why we are calling each other dogs, bitches, hos and pimps. Just make sure we go beyond language into behavior modification, because one contradiction of the 60s was calling our women queens but beating their asses like they were indeed bitches and hos and we were pimps. In our 12 Step meetings, let us make amends to the women for our contradictions that obviously youth have emulated.
Those in discovery must search their souls for new methods and means of addressing the myriad problems in our culture that are holding back the revolution. Of course the focus should be on youth because they are the vanguard of revolution, but finally, revolution is a family affair, for it is only when the entire village is involved that the motion of history begins to advance. The cultural revolution is a family affair, after all, it was family that was destroyed by slavery and colonialism, and thus the cultural revolution must be about the reconciliation, reconstruction and reconfiguration of family.
And finally, we hope the persons in this phase will discover their bliss as Joseph Campbell calls our life mission, which is beyond marriage, sex, money, church, revolution even, but in searching the soul we come to find the reason we are that unique person, that spiritual being in human form, only then can we make a sincere contribution to the Pan African cultural revolution because we have found our purpose and destiny.