Sunday, October 16, 2005

I just got back from the Millions More Movement and if I were a white supremacist...

...I would be terrified. Why? I'll list the reasons then elaborate on them.

1. 2.1 million people came out to the rally at the Mall in Washington DC on Saturday, October 15, not the "100,100" reported by some white media after their undercount of the Million Man March in 1995, still seem unable to count people. There were as many Blackfolk on Constitution between 4th and 11th street as were on the Mall. Keep in mind that unlike the Million Man March where vendors AND marchers were allowed on the Mall, the Vendors were confined to Constitution Avenue and were invisible to the cameras as well as many participants.

2. The variety of groups/people who participated in the mobilization was simply awesome. Indigenous people, Latin@s, Asians, NAACP, Members of Congress, Christian and Muslim clergy, actors, entertainers and so many more were present. Jesse Jackson showed up, as did Al Sharpton. Chuck D, Russell Simmons, P. Diddy and so many others were there on the Mall. If I were a white supremacist I would say, "The Blackfolk are really coming together across, cultural, religious, political and regional lines, what can we do to disrupt it?"

3. The international message given by Minister Farrakhan shows that the Millions More Movement is indeed a global movement and will not be confined to the borders of the United States. Prime Minister P. J. Patterson of Jamaica spoke to the crowd, as did Ricardo Alarcon, the Speaker of the Cuban National Assembly.. Minister Louis Farrakhan has always possessed a worldview in the struggle of Blackpeople and it is reflected in the outreach that he made with the Jamaican and Cuban representatives as well as broadcasting the mobilization in parts of Africa and the so-called "Middle East".

4. White media simply cannot be trusted, and at long last Blackpeople realize that. Katrina and the Millions More Movement clearly show that the white media in all of its form simply cannot be trusted in reporting events in the African community. What is so refreshing is that *now* Blackfolk are saying this and relying increasingly on alternative sources for unmediated and uncompromised views of Afrika and Afrikans. The Black Commentator, The Final Call, blogs like these and internet forums are just a few of the sources of information that are far more reliable than traditional white bread press. George Curry, editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service said yesterday that, "...he was proud to be a journalist but shamed of his profession." Truer words were never spoken, and the white press --- print and broadcast --- have lost major credibility in the Afrikan community.

5. Reparations was a key theme of the entire mobilization. While continuing education about the press for reparations will always be needed, it will be the core theme of the Millions More Movement and was mentioned, not only in the speech by Minister Farrakhan but by dozens of speakers who came to the podium. Reparations is a unifying force in the Afrikan world and it has finally taken its rightful place as the central theme of their struggle. Reparations activists and scholars were critical in making sure that this key demand was central to the mobilization. Dr. Conrad Worrill of the National Black United Front and a member of the steering committee worked long and hard to guarantee the rightful place of reparations in the struggle for Afrikan justice.

So, if I were a white supremacist, I would be afraid. I would be afraid that Black folk are truly organizing themselves into a Movement that will be historical. I would be afraid that my racist newspapers are not being read by Blackpeople as frequently. I would be afraid that Minister Louis Farrakhan has more credibility with Afrikan people than any other super slave I've tried to prop up. I would be afraid of all the young Afrikan people that showed up for the mobilization rather than go to the homecomings and parties that distract them from the important work of rebuilding the Blackworld.

Yes, if I were a white supremacist I would be terrified of the Millions More Movement...

more later...

Monday, October 03, 2005

"Demanding an Apology": Reparations, Impotence and Strategies for Dealing with White Supremacy.

I get a little tired of Black leaders "demanding an apology" immediately after racist remarks are made by white supremacists like Bill Bennett did last week. His recommendation that aborting Black babies could reduce the crime rate, was immediately met by Black leaders "demanding and apology" for his words.

So what if Bennett does apologize? So what? He says I'm sorry, like Trent Lott did a couple of years ago when he gave infamous praise to now deceased white supremacist Strom Thurmond. Nothing happened. Oh, sure Lott lost his job as Senate Majority leader, but nothing really happened to change anything. It's like the "demand for an apology" is the end game and for me it reeks with as a hollow victory in the struggle against white supremacy.

And what if Bennett doesn't apologize for his remarks? We can do nothing about it. Bennett ignores Black leadership and they can only harangue him. He won't get invited to the next annual gathering of the NAACP, but again, as Miles Davis said, "So What?" In my opinion I think "demanding an apology" and nothing else is a sign of political impotence and does not force the offender to actually do something about the offense. Increasingly, I feel that the reparations movement must address this issue; corporations such as Lehman Brothers, Wachovia and JP Morgan have apologized for their slaveholding past, but have done little to atone for their crimes.

This is one reason why reparations for enslavement must be firmly anchored in atonement and forgiveness as Roy Brooks says in his brilliant book by the same name. Civil rights leadership can learn lessons on justice from reparations activists who want both. It is not enough to "demand an apology" from someone for a crime against humanity, but one must make also demand atonement for that crime.

We'll see what Bennett does (not much I suspect), and hopefully we'll see Black leaders doing more than just "demanding an apology" from the next white supremacist who uses coded language for genocide against Afrikan babies.