That title is what Malcolm X said during his speech at the Ford the night somebody firebombed his house. He delivered this speech after his second conversion, when he had come to the realization that while the white man was still a threat to black people, not every single white person was necessarily a devil by default. Some white people, he decided, could be partners in the greater cause for justice. The problem was (and frankly, still is) being able to spot the enemies from the allies.
I use that quote as title for this post because what genre writer Will Shetterly has done to the legacy of Malcolm X would not surprise him in the least.
I'm really glad I'm a paper person, and I'm really glad I have a working knowledge of black history. It's because of this that when I see someone forwarding a selectively edited version of a profoundly complex man in order to promote a simplistic world view, I'm able to dip into the filing cabinet and make with the full disclosure. (For the record, my knowledge of my people's history is not by any stretch complete, and education about this topic will continue throughout this lifetime.)
Some of you who read this site will have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, or why. Sorry. I will provide full linky context in the next missive. (Faire is great, but the thing is it takes away three months of your
life. During it I pay minimal attention to anything I don't need to. I
catch up when I get back. I'm back.) The short version is there's another tribal fight going on about the topic of race in genre, but this time someone, in an act of monumental cluelessness, decided to invoke a corrupted, cuddly version of Malcolm X as foundation for his perspective.
Those of you who know what I'm talking about, note that I haven't read through everything yet. I'm jumping back and forth between Tempest's site, Buckell's, Shetterly's and various emails, of which there are a LOT. With hope, I'll work my way through all of it by the time I get to the third missive, and by then I'll be more coherent.
Until then? I am pissed, and I shall type. I'll spot and fix the typos later.
Will Shetterly, the problem with quoting just the convenient bits found on Wiki (*pfft*) is you'll run into someone who perhaps knows just a little bit more about the big picture behind the topic than you appear to. Some of those people, such as Moiself, have the actual words of the man here in the house, which we will use in an attempt to Further Your Education. From what I've read so far, others who actually know you have attempted to do so already and seem to be failing, but what the hell. I don't know you, just your work. But since you brought up Malcolm and seem to have missed vast chunks of nuance when it comes to Malcolm, I'm going to go through that door.
I'm attempting this not because I am shocked, shocked by the It's Not Race But Class argument. That one's so tediously common it should be familiar to anyone who's been paying even marginal attention to the activist world. I'm attempting this because I see this tired position held forth within the context of yet another discussion about the very real problem of race in genre, among threads where folks seem to think there are maybe five black genre writers out there - with one of those five dead, and one of them inactive. So I figure if knowledge of who else is out there in the tribe is scant, not a stretch to assume knowledge of the scope of Malcolm's legacy, which has nothing to do with genre, is minimal. It is offensive to me to see him used as Shetterly is attempting to use him. So much for my week of trying to decompress from show, clean the house and chill.
Convenient it may be to take the binary approach of either/or when dealing with prickly issues, it rarely works. What you said was Some people divide the world into black and white so they can decide who they can ignore. I divide the world into the rich and the poor, so I can't ignore anyone. My first thought is, well, that's mighty white of you. My next is wondering if you noticed just how sloppily you set the frame. You have set issues of race apart from issues of class. I suppose it's fine for anyone to draw a rigid line around what matters and what doesn't according to their world view, but it's disingenuous to then claim one is not ignoring everything that's outside of that pretty framed box.
The binary approach of either/or rarely works when you're not talking about math. If it did, my reaction to another issue roiling elsewhere in the geek sphere would be to dismiss the concerns of all of the women freaking out over the manga interpretation of one of the few black female characters in superdude comics because I couldn't help but notice how *long* it took the rest of them to notice that the creators also whitewashed her, and make that problem part of the conversation. If binary worked, I would dismiss the comments of women justifiably pissed off about another issue of upset going on right now because some of them are inappropriately comparing a cheesecake statue to the the black civil rights movement . (I feel you. Also, yes. Turning the hoses on black people fighting for the right to vote, live where they choose, have access to equal schooling, sit wherever the hell they like to on the bus and walk down the street without fear of making the wrong type of eye contact and being dragged off into the woods and killed and *is not equal* to a comic book company licensing yet another cheesecake statue. It's not. Stop making those comparisons, please. You're just pissing us off.)
2009 Update! Added two years later (though this linked entry was written three months after the post you're reading...hit me later that it's related) Ladies and gentlemen, the despicable, unconstitutional Pedro Guzman debacle! End 2009 Update. I lied. Here's another quick hit from back then, added mainly because of the picture. Okay NOW this ends the 2009 update. Oh, wait. I forgot about this one, which links within to a different collection of Guzman stories. Okay. Done, now. Though it would be "funny" if down the road I just come back to this post and load it up with more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more inks to news stories about racial realities in the USA as they emerge, because they will. Okay yes! That would be HILARIOUS. I will update this post at random down the road as I remember to or until it becomes unwieldy, adding some "more" as needed to this paragraph only. Oo! First current-day international entry, courtesy of Wales! You'll want to click on that one. That's a good one.
Anywho, I have never in my life understood this need for either/or when approaching these topics. When we're talking about issues of race, class, and gender, it is - to use a phrase you, Shetterly, might be familiar with - All One Thing.
There used to be signs posted in stores throughout Europe and America reading "No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs." When I was a kid in Cleveland (1980s) it was known that if you were black you got your ass out of Little Italy before the sun set, which sucked because there was this fantastic movie arthouse there that ran indy stuff nobody else did at the time. Yes, sunset clauses up in the North! There was an African exchange student from Case Western Reserve who didn't know this rule, and he was beaten to death. Last week in Louisiana, nooses were hung on a tree at a school when black students decided to sit under it, because only white students sat under it. A couple of years ago white shopkeepers wouldn't let Oprah into their store, and I'm pretty sure Oprah has almost as much money as god. Last month a sofa was delivered to a woman with the label "nigger brown" on it. The story is Colin Powell didn't run for president in part because his wife, based on information from the Secret Service, was convinced somebody would try to take him out because at the time it was thought that he had a good chance at getting the nomination. Earlier this month, CBS News turned off comments for stories about Barack Obama on its website because of the level of racial invective those stories attracted. Two months ago the Cherokee Nation had a special election where there was one question on the ballot: do we kick out the blacks? More than 70 percent of the electorate turned out for this single-issue election and, 3-to-1, they voted yes get rid of the Freedmen. Attacks against Condoleeza Rice are as much based on her race as they are on the fucked-up policies she promotes as part of her job. Two days ago, I am the only black person in line at a store in The Grove, which is a mall over in one of the hipster zones here in town. I am the only person from whom the clerk asked to see an id when I handed over the card. (I took back my card and left.) When I check my public email addy (the one up there on the siderail), at least twice weekly I find a note from someone calling me a nigger or a nigger bitch or sometimes a nigger cunt bitch and a couple of times there were detailed descriptions of my inevitable lynching. What that means is every single one of that type of note is coming from a genre fan.*** These notes are coming from my tribe. Most of those are in response to an essay I wrote a year ago, but this spring I started to get them from people who did not like *one negative element* I wrote about a movie that's coming out soon, which is the main reason I no longer talk about that movie on this site. While my brain can accept that of course a racist or two might be among this creator's fanbase, racists are everywhere after all, my *heart* can't take the idea that racists like his work.
If I ever manage to get one of the books published, god knows what's going to happen. You don't have to think about this. I do. So you go on congratulating yourself about not being able to ignore anybody, and don't spend a lick of time thinking about how very many people you shat upon by basically telling them that their concerns are so illegitimate/minor they are not even worthy of being part of your higher plane world view. As a white male insisting that only class issues exist, it is very easy for you to ignore that race issues are still very much part of the fabric of the current American landscape. We should all be so lucky.
Anywho. Crash course in Malcolm X, and why your corrupted editing of his words does not support your position. (Note to those of you who know even more about this than me - and I'm eying you, o Minister of Information - yes I am being REALLY shorthand, here.)
Malcolm converted twice. The first was to the Nation of Islam during his youth. The tenants of this sect (and now I get in trouble with some of the black people) are in part based on racial hatred of white people and the need to defend yourself from the very real impact of white hatred at all costs. While (and now I get in trouble with some of the white people) lots of good has come out of the Nation, it is a unique American interpretation of Islam, a direct result of America's "strange fruit" history of racial viciousness against blacks. Failure to understand this (and now I get in trouble with some of the Muslims) is why Muslims from elsewhere and the Nation are often not in sync, even though they share the same version of god. (Apologies for linking to a story that's behind a firewall, but that's the one that comes immediately to mind. Over the years there have been several stories of the type I linked to all over the place.) Failure to understand what the Nation of Islam was in response to is why it's so easy for the barely-informed to go around saying Malcolm X transcended beyond concerns of race later in life.
Malcolm's second conversion, which hit during adulthood, was to Sunni Islam. This is one of the mainstream Islamic groups, and to him it was a revelation. At no point after his second conversion did Malcolm X deny the reality or insidious affect of racism in the United States or the world sphere. A man who says, post-second conversion, "with racism plaguing America like an incurable cancer, the so-called "Christian" white American heart should be more receptive to a proven solution to such a destructive problem," is not a man who now viewed the world through a color blind lens. (Nor, in case you didn't notice, is it a man who seems to believe your version of god has any particular legitimacy.) A man who says, post-second conversion, Actually, there's no such thing as an upper-class Negro, because he catches the same hell as the other class Negro. All of them catch the same hell, which is one of the things that's good about this racist system -- it makes us all one, is not a man who has been struck colorblind.
What the hajj did for Malcolm was open his eyes to a reality that he was completely unaware of up until then, that all white people are not by default the enemy. What he said, later was I did many things as a Muslim that I'm sorry for now. I was a zombie then - like all Muslims - I was hypnotized, pointed in a certain direction and told to march. Well, I guess a man's entitled to make a fool of himself if he's ready to pay the cost. It cost me 12 years. For clarity, when he's saying "Muslim" he's saying "Nation of Islam." Because of the way America is, and *especially* during the time he came up, it was shocking to him to realize that some white people are not, as he liked to say, devils. His life experience up to that point did not give him reason to recognize this fact.
It was because of is second religious conversion that Malcolm X came to repudiate his specific hatred toward a specific race. However, he never did turn a blind eye to the reality of racism. He said directly, and more than once, that race is not a Negro problem, nor an American problem. This is a world problem, a problem of humanity. This is not a statement of Race Is Not A Problem. This is a statement of absolute awareness about the role race plays throughout the entire human world.
Now, once his version of god opened his eyes again, Malcolm tried to do create a pan-African organization in the United States with the explicit purpose of fighting racism, economic injustice and linking the fight for those things in America with the battle for those very same things throughout the diaspora. At its core, the movement Malcolm X tried to start was still very much centered on black self-empowerment (a motivation shared by the Nation of Islam), which is one of the reasons he forbid accepting money from white people to fund the organization. A person who has been struck completely colorblind would not then turn around and refuse to take needed money from white people. But unlike before, his rhetoric skewed less toward hate whites just because in favor of emphasizing that it was all right to establish collaborative relationships with other ethnic groups in order to reach the ultimate goal of creating a just world. But even while on this new path, Malcolm X never lost the warrior knowledge that at times one must fight. Take this transcription of a telegram he sent to MLK in 1964 after his second conversion: We have been witnessing with great concern the vicious attacks of the white races against our poor defenseless people there in St. Augustine. If the Federal Government will not send troops to your aid, just say the word and we will immediately dispatch some our brothers there to organize self defense units among our people and the Ku Klux Klan will then receive a taste of its own medicine. The day of turning the other cheek to those brute beasts is over. Those are the threats of a man who had indeed transcended himself, but not the way you seem to be assuming. (King declined the offer.)
How dare you take the legacy and work of Malcolm X and try to make it fit into your nice, cuddly, Acceptable To White People version you need in order to justify yourself. Either you are unaware of, or willfully ignoring, Malcolm's post-second conversion words such as this: In order to enslave a people and keep them subjugated, their right to self-defense must be denied. They must be constantly terrorized, brutalized, and murdered. These tactics of suppression have been developed to a new high by vicious racists whom the United States government seems unwilling or incapable of dealing with in terms of the law of this land. If you are not broad-minded enough to accept the complex whole of one of *my* heroes, then please do me the favor of keeping your hands off of him.
Okay I don't have a transition for this one because I'm typing from fury and lack the time for Rewrite And Graceful Editing, but I this Malcolm bit is one of the ones I keep handy. It fits. I wonder if you know of this one. I say again that I'm not a racist, I don't believe in any form of segregation or anything like that. I'm for the brotherhood of everybody, but I don't believe in forcing brotherhood upon people who don't want it. Long as we practice brotherhood among ourselves, and then others who want to practice brotherhood with us, we practice it with them also, we're for that. But I don't think that we should run around trying to love somebody who doesn't love us.
What he said.
Below is what we would today call the mission statement for the OAAU. This is the speech he was going to deliver the day he was assassinated. As you will see, Malcolm had no problem recognizing both race and class as being a problem in America and the world. His intellect and emotional honesty were vast enough to encompass both. His courage was in trying to bring this new vision into being, knowing full well that his personal history would make this a very difficult fight and put him in danger. In order for those who might not know the big picture to put on their critical thinking caps and make up their own minds, I think it's useful to have the whole of what he was attempting to do/become to be out there, in his own words. Not filtered versions. The whole of it.
I also have the *full version* of the document you, Shetterly, took convenient snips from, which I will eventually find and type in. (Assuming, of course, I don't get slammed for copyright violations of some kind... Worth the risk!)
We, Afro-Americans, people who originated in Africa and now reside in America, speak out against the slavery and oppression inflicted upon us by this racist power structure. We offer to downtrodden Afro-American people courses of action that will conquer oppression, relieve suffering, and convert meaningless struggle into meaningful action.
Confident that our purpose will be achieved, we Afro-Americans from all walks of life make the following known:
Having stated our determination, confidence, and resolve, the Organization of Afro-American Unity is hereby established on the 15th day of February, 1965, in the city of New York.
Upon this establishment, the Afro-American people will launch a cultural revolution which will provide the means for restoring our identity that we might rejoin our brothers and sisters on the African continent, culturally, psychologically, economically, and share with them the sweet fruits of freedom from oppression and independence of racist governments.
1. The Organization of Afro-American Unity welcomes all persons of African origin to come together and dedicate their ideas, skills, and lives to free our people from oppression.
2. Branches of the Organization of Afro-American Unity may be established by people of African descent wherever they may be and whatever their ideology -- as long as they be descendants of Africa and dedicated to our one goal: freedom from oppression.
3. The basic program of the Organization of Afro-American Unity which is now being presented can and will be modified by the membership, taking into consideration national, regional, and local conditions that require flexible treatment.
4. The Organization of Afro-American Unity encourages active participation of each member since we feel that each and every Afro-American has something to contribute to our freedom. Thus each member will be encouraged to participate in the committee of his or her choice.
5. Understanding the differences that have been created amongst us by our oppressors in order to keep us divided, the Organization of Afro-American Unity strives to ignore or submerge these artificial divisions by focusing our activities and our loyalties upon our one goal: freedom from oppression.
BASIC AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
We assert that we Afro-Americans have the right to direct and control our lives, our history, and our future rather than to have our destinies determined by American racists, we are determined to rediscover our true African culture, which was crushed and hidden for over four hundred years in order to enslave us and keep us enslaved up to today...
We, Afro-Americans -- enslaved, oppressed, and denied by a society that proclaims itself the citadel of democracy, are determined to rediscover our history, promote the talents that are suppressed by our racist enslavers, renew the culture that was crushed by a slave government and thereby -- to again become a free people.
Sincerely believing that the future of Afro-Americans is dependent upon our ability to unite our ideas, skills, organizations, and institutions...
We, the Organization of Afro-American Unity pledge to join hands and hearts with all people of African origin in a grand alliance by forgetting all the differences that the power structure has created to keep us divided and enslaved. We further pledge to strengthen our common bond and strive toward one goal: freedom from oppression.
THE BASIC UNITY PROGRAM
The program of the Organization of Afro-American Unity shall evolve from five strategic points which are deemed basic and fundamental to our grand alliance. Through our committees we shall proceed in the following general areas.
In order to enslave the African it was necessary for our enslavers to completely sever our communications with the African continent and the Africans that remained there. In order to free ourselves from the oppression of our enslavers then, it is absolutely necessary for the Afro-American to restore communications with Africa.
The Organization of Afro-American Unity will accomplish this goal by means of independent national and international newspapers, publishing ventures, personal contacts, and other available communications media.
We, Afro-Americans, must also communicate to one another the truths about American slavery and the terrible effects it has upon our people. We must study the modern system of slavery in order to free ourselves from it. We must search out all the bare and ugly facts without shame for we are still victims, still slaves -- still oppressed. Our only shame is believing falsehood and not seeking the truth.
We must learn all that we can about ourselves. We will have to know the whole story of how we were kidnapped from Africa; how our ancestors were brutalized, dehumanized, and murdered; and how we are continually kept in a state of slavery for the profit of a system conceived in slavery, built by slaves and dedicated to keeping us enslaved in order to maintain itself.
We must begin to reeducate ourselves and become alert listeners in order to learn as much as we can about the progress of our motherland -- Africa. We must correct in our minds the distorted image that our enslaver has portrayed to us of Africa that he might discourage us from reestablishing communications with her and thus obtain freedom from oppression.
In order to keep the Afro-American enslaved, it was necessary to limit our thinking to the shores of America -- to prevent us from identifying our problems with the problems of other peoples of African origin. This made us consider ourselves an isolated minority without allies anywhere.
The Organization of Afro-American Unity will develop in the Afro-American people a keen awareness of our relationship with the world at large and clarify our roles, rights, and responsibilities as human beings. We can accomplish this goal by becoming well-informed concerning world affairs and understanding that our struggle is part of a larger world struggle of oppressed peoples against all forms of oppression. We must change the thinking of the Afro-American by liberating our minds through the study of philosophies and psychologies, cultures and languages that did not come from our racist oppressors. Provisions are being made for the study of languages such as Swahili, Hausa, and Arabic. These studies will give our people access to ideas and history of mankind at large and thus increase our mental scope.
We can learn much about Africa by reading informative books and by listening to the experiences of those who have traveled there, but many of us can travel to the land of our choice and experience for ourselves. The Organization of Afro-American Unity will encourage the Afro-American to travel to Africa, the Caribbean, and to other places where our culture has not been completely crushed by brutality and ruthlessness.
After enslaving us, the slave masters developed a racist educational system which justified to its posterity the evil deeds that had been committed against the African people and their descendants. Too often the slave himself participates so completely in this system that he justifies having been enslaved and oppressed.
The Organization of Afro-American Unity will devise original educational methods and procedures which will liberate the minds of our children from the vicious lies and distortions that are fed to us from the cradle to keep us mentally enslaved. We encourage Afro-Americans themselves to establish experimental institutes and educational workshops, liberation schools, and child-care centers in the Afro-American communities.
We will influence the choice of textbooks and equipment used by our children in the public schools while at the same time encouraging qualified Afro-Americans to write and publish the text books needed to liberate our minds. Until we completely control our own educational institutions, we must supplement the formal training of our children by educating them at home.
IV. Economic security
After the Emancipation Proclamation, when the system of slavery changed from chattel slavery to wage slavery, it was realized that the Afro-American constituted the largest homogeneous ethnic group with a common origin and common group experience in the United States and, if allowed to exercise economic or political freedom, would in a short period of time own this country. Therefore racists in this government developed techniques that would keep the Afro-American people economically dependent upon the slave masters -- economically slaves -- twentieth-century slaves.
The Organization of Afro-American Unity will take measures to free our people from economic slavery. One way of accomplishing this will be to maintain a technician pool: that is, a bank of technicians. In the same manner that blood banks have been established to furnish blood to those who need it at the time it is needed, we must establish a technician bank. We must do this so that the newly independent nations of Africa can turn to us who are their Afro-American brothers for the technicians they will need now and in the future. Thereby we will be developing an open market for the many skills we possess and at the same time we will be supplying Africa with the skills she can best use. This project will therefore be one of mutual cooperation and mutual benefit.
In order to enslave a people and keep them subjugated, their right to self-defense must be denied. They must be constantly terrorized, brutalized, and murdered. These tactics of suppression have been developed to a new high by vicious racists whom the United States government seems unwilling or incapable of dealing with in terms of the law of this land. Before the emancipation it was the Black man who suffered humiliation, torture, castration, and murder. Recently our women and children, more and more, are becoming the victims of savage racists whose appetite for blood increases daily and whose deeds of depravity seem to be openly encouraged by all law enforcement agencies. Over five thousand Afro-Americans have been lynched since the Emancipation Proclamation and not one murderer has been brought to justice!
The Organization of Afro-American Unity, being aware of the increased violence being visited upon the Afro-American and of the open sanction of this violence and murder by the police departments throughout this country and the federal agencies -- do affirm our right and obligation to defend ourselves in order to survive as a people.
We encourage the Afro-Americans to defend themselves against the wanton attacks of racist aggressors whose sole aim is to deny us the guarantees of the United Nations Charter of Human Rights and of the Constitution of the United States.
The Organization of Afro-American Unity will take those private steps that are necessary to insure the survival of the Afro-American people in the face of racist aggression and the defense of our women and children. We are within our rights to see to it that the Afro-American people who fulfill their obligations to the United States government (we pay taxes and serve in the armed forces of this country like American citizens do) also exact from this government the obligations that it owes us as a people, or exact these obligations ourselves. Needless to say, among this number we include protection of certain inalienable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In areas where the United States government has shown itself unable and/or unwilling to bring to justice the racist oppressors, murderers, who kill innocent children and adults, the Organization of Afro-American Unity advocates that the Afro-American people insure ourselves that justice is done -- whatever the price and by any means necessary.
We Afro-Americans feel receptive toward all peoples of goodwill. We are not opposed to multiethnic associations in any walk of life. In fact, we have had experiences which enable us to understand how unfortunate it is that human beings have been set apart or aside from each other because of characteristics known as "racial" characteristics.
However Afro-Americans did not create the prejudiced background and atmosphere in which we live. And we must face the facts. A "racial" society does exist in stark reality, and not with equality for Black people; so we who are nonwhite must meet the problems inherited from centuries of inequalities and deal with the present situations as rationally as we are able.
The exclusive ethnic quality of our unity is necessary for self-preservation. We say this because our experiences backed up by history show that African culture and Afro-American culture not be accurately recognized and reported and cannot be respectably expressed nor be secure in its survival if we remain the divided, and therefore the helpless, victims of an oppressive society.
We appreciate the fact that when the people involved have real equality and justice, ethnic intermingling can be beneficial to all. We must denounce, however, all people who are oppressive through their policies or actions and who are lacking in justice in their dealings with other people, whether the injustices proceed from power, class, or "race." We must be unified in order to be protected from abuse or misuse.
We consider the word "integration" a misleading, false term. It carries with it certain implications to which Afro-Americans cannot subscribe. This terminology has been applied to the current regulation projects which are supposed]y "acceptable" to some classes of society. This very "acceptable" implies some inherent superiority or inferiority instead of acknowledging the true source of the inequalities involved.
We have observed that the usage of the term "integration" was designated and promoted by those persons who expect to continue a (nicer) type of ethnic discrimination and who intend to maintain social and economic control of all human contacts by means of imagery, classifications, quotas, and manipulations based on color, national origin, or "racial" background and characteristics.
Careful evaluation of recent experiences shows that "integration" actually describes the process by which a white society is (remains) set in a position to use, whenever it chooses to use and however it chooses to use, the best talents of nonwhite people. This power-web continues to build a society wherein the best contributions of Afro-Americans, in fact of all nonwhite people, would continue to be absorbed without note or exploited to benefit a fortunate few while the masses of both white and nonwhite people would remain unequal and un-benefited.
We are aware that many of us lack sufficient training and are deprived and unprepared as a result of oppression, discrimination, and the resulting discouragement, despair, and resignation. But when we are not qualified, and where we are unprepared, we must help each other and work out plans for bettering our own conditions as Afro-Americans. Then our assertions toward full opportunity can be made on the basis of equality as opposed to the calculated tokens of "integration." Therefore, we must reject this term as one used by all persons who intend to mislead Afro-Americans.
Another term, "negro," is erroneously used and is degrading in the eyes of informed and self-respecting persons of African heritage. It denotes stereotyped and debased traits of character and classifies a whole segment of humanity on the basis of false information. From all intelligent viewpoints, it is a badge of slavery and helps to prolong and perpetuate oppression and discrimination.
Persons who recognize the emotional thrust and plain show of disrespect in the Southerner's use of "nigra" and the general use of "nigger" must also realize that all three words are essentially the same. The other two. "nigra" and "nigger" are blunt and undeceptive. The one representing respectability, "negro," is merely the same substance in a polished package and spelled with a capital letter. This refinement is added so that a degrading terminology can be legitimately used in general literature and "polite" conversation without embarrassment.
The term "negro" developed from a word in the Spanish language which is actually an adjective (describing word) meaning "black," that is, the color black. In plain English, if someone said or was called a "black" or a "dark," even a young child would very naturally question: "a black what?" or "a dark what?" because adjectives do not name, they describe. Please take note that in order to make use of this mechanism, a word was transferred from another language and deceptively changed in function from an adjective to a noun, which is a naming word. Its application in the nominative (naming) sense was intentionally used to portray persons in a position of objects or "things." It stamps the article as being "all alike and all the same." It denotes: a "darkie," a slave, a subhuman, an ex-slave, a "negro."
Afro-Americans must re-analyze and particularly question our own use of this term, keeping in mind all the facts. In light of the historical meanings and current implications, all intelligent and informed Afro-Americans and Africans continue to reject its use in the noun form as well as a proper adjective. Its usage shall continue to be considered as unenlightened and objectionable or deliberately offensive whether in speech or writing.
We accept the use of Afro-American, African, and Black man in reference to persons of African heritage. To every other part of mankind goes this measure of just respect. We do not desire more nor shall we accept less.
Afro-Americans, like all other people, have human rights which are inalienable. This is, these human rights cannot be legally or justly transferred to another. Our human rights belong to us, as to all people, through God, not through the wishes nor according to the whims of other men.
We must consider that fact and other reasons why a proclamation of "Emancipation" should not be revered as a document of liberation. Any previous acceptance of and faith in such a document was based on sentiment, not on reality. This is a serious matter which we Afro-Americans must continue to reevaluate.
The original root-meaning of the word emancipation is: "To deliver up or make over as property by means of a formal act from a purchaser." We must take note and remember that human beings cannot be justly bought or sold nor can their human rights be legally or justly taken away.
Slavery was, and still is, a criminal institution, that is: crime en masse. No matter what form it takes. subtle rules and policies, apartheid, etc., slavery and oppression of human rights stand as major crimes against God and humanity. Therefore, to relegate or change the state of such criminal deeds by means of vague legislation and noble euphemisms gives an honor to horrible commitments that is totally inappropriate.
Full implications and concomitant harvests were generally misunderstood by our fore parents and are still misunderstood or avoided by some Afro-Americans today. However, the facts remain; and we, as enlightened Afro-Americans, will not praise and encourage any belief in emancipation. Afro-Americans everywhere must realize that to retain faith in such an idea means acceptance of being property and, therefore, less than a human being. This matter is a crucial one that Afro-Americans must continue to reexamine.
The time is past due for us to internationalize the problems of Afro-Americans. We have been too slow in recognizing the link in the fate of Africans with the fate of Afro-Americans. We have been too unknowing to understand and too misdirected to ask our African brothers and sisters to help us mend the chain of our heritage.
Our African relatives who are in a majority in their own country have found it very difficult to gain independence from a minority. It is that much more difficult for Afro-Americans who are a minority away from the motherland and still oppressed by those who encourage the crushing of our African identity.
We can appreciate the material progress and recognize the opportunities available in the highly industrialized and affluent American society. Yet, we who are nonwhite face daily miseries resulting directly or indirectly from a systematic discrimination against us because of our God-given colors. These factors cause us to remember that our being born in America was an act of fate stemming from the separation of our fore parents from Africa; not by choice, but by force.
We have for many years been divided among ourselves through deceptions and misunderstandings created by our enslavers, but we do here and now express our desires and intent to draw closer and be restored in knowledge and spirit through renewed relations and kinships with the African peoples. We further realize that our human rights, so long suppressed, are the rights of all mankind everywhere.
In light of all of our experiences and knowledge of the past, we, as Afro-Americans, declare recognition, sympathy, and admiration for all peoples and nations who are striving, as we are, toward self-realization and complete freedom from oppression.
The civil rights bill is a similarly misleading, misinterpreted document of legislation. The premise of its design and application is not respectable in the eyes of men who recognize what personal freedom involves and entails. Afro-Americans must answer this question for themselves: What makes this special bill necessary?
The only document that is in order and deserved with regard to the acts perpetuated through slavery and oppression prolonged to this day is a Declaration of condemnation. And the only legislation worthy of consideration or endorsement by Afro-Americans, the victims of these tragic institutions, is a Proclamation of Restitution. We Afro-Americans must keep these facts ever in mind.
We must continue to internationalize our philosophies and contacts toward assuming full human rights which include all the civil rights appertaining thereto. With complete understanding of our heritage as Afro-Americans, we must not do less.
Thus ends part the first. More, later.
*** And I will repeat what I think I have in the past, *most* of those types of notes are coming from fans of Buffy and Firefly. The next group is manga fans. I know this because the idiots tell me so.