For those 25 +, do you remember the Damon Wayans Jail Character on In Living Color? You know, the one who talked like "The manifestation of the calibration jumped on the expose of my testicles"? Subtly, that had two effects:
1. It devalued the positive, life changing experience that many black men go through during their time in jail by reducing the idea of those brothers to a unintelligible sounding fool
2. It continued the devaluation of consciousness in general
Subsequently, you started to see images in other movies and television shows that showed the conscious brother as the lame outcast (Menace II Society) or as the chauvinist pig (A Different World). While this might seem slight, the fact that intelligence has been maligned among black men, plays a large role in how our children are easily led in the wrong direction, hard to lead in the right direction, and glorify ignorance and uncivilization (Pimps and Gangstas). It's important that we perpetuate the image of knowledge and awareness being beneficial and "cool", if you will. If a kid perceives you as lame, It's not likely that he'll take you as a role model. In my estimation, the Gods and Earths have done a good job of popularizing knowledge and consciousness, b.u.t. even that can get misconstrued when everyone and their brother calls themselves "God" with no thought of the responsibility inherent in that claim. Kids, take note: Being God is more work than fun (b.u.t. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world).
On another note, If you don't know anything about the immigration debate and the subsequent rallies, protests and marches over the past two weeks, then you probably fall in 1 of 2 categories:
1) A person who doesn't watch anything other than BET and VH1 Soul
2) A person who doesn't care about anything that doesn't have "Black" in it
Either way, you're in a bad space. This issue has become the hot-button issue in politics across the board. News articles across the country are speaking of the "Sleeping Giant" that has awaken due to this issue. Additionally, unlike most issues in this countries, this one can't be neatly divided and defined by race, gender or political persuasion. Republicans (Those courting the Hispanic vote vs. Those representing paranoid white conservative districts) are just as torn as Democrats (Those looking for a leg up in this fall's elections vs. Unions paranoid about the legalization of millions of non-unionized workers). As if that ain't enough, many so-called African Americans are up in arms, saying that the immigrants are "taking our jobs and not speaking English".
You weren't doing those jobs anyway! Ask a black man to work on a farm, and he'll accuse you of trying to put him back in slavery (As if we really got out). Thinking that we're in competition with each other obscures the larger point that we are both suffering under global capitalism and social oppression, and would do better to come together than to separate ourselves and our struggles from a larger goal. We have more things in common than different. When we start see ing ourselves as different (7th degree in the 1-14), then chaos and destruction will soon follow. This issue, as well as the recent Abramoff scandal involving Native nations ("Tribes" is a derogatory term) underscores a deeper concept that many of us are missing: This is their land. Let me write it again:
This is their land.
The 5th degree in the 1-14 states: Why did we take Jerusalem from the devil? How long ago? When I look at the recent mobilization of the Native Nations as well as the so-called Latin@, it's obvious to see that they are striving to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. About a year ago, I was listening to a NPR segment regarding a Mexican Charter School where the students were being taught their original languages and didn't speak English in the school. When they interviewed the principal, he basically said that they were preparing the future generations to take back Atzlan (The original name for most of the area that are now the west/southwest parts of the country). At that point, I didn't think too much of it, b.u.t. now with the benefit of seeing the rallies as well as the recent Black/Brown problems in the California prisons and school, I now see the bigger picture.
Two nights ago, on the Bev Smith Show, Chris Moore interviewed a representative of a large Latino group in Las Vegas and commented on reported fears from whites on the border areas and in cali that Mexicans are essentially attempting a political and economic Reconquista of all the areas that were lost in the Mexican-American War.
The representative said "Well, that's basically true".
You add that with the Natives who are constantly fighting for sovereignty and economic development here and in Canada, and you get a certified movement. Another thing that stands out in this whole thing is the involvement of the youth. Thousands of kids walked out of school and joined the protests waving Mexican flags. Having assisted in the coordination of a student walkout here in Power Born (Pittsburgh) years ago, I knowledge the potential power of youth becoming organized for a common cause. So-called African Americans need to see civil rights beyond Jesse Jackson, Voting for Ray Nagin, and Affirmative Action, and acknowledge that you either change or die. When we all come together with common goals in mind, it's much more likely that we'll be victorious. We are all original people and the fight is a collective fight.