Amun-Ra : Fight the Power!

Discussion in 'Amun-Ra' started by Amun-Ra, Apr 12, 2001.

  1. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    One does not easily go against the grain in the black community without risking serious repercussions and penalties, including being excommunicated from blackness.

    Within the African-American community, often ones 'blackness' is not based on ones blood connections but on ones adherence to popular group thought. This form of tribalism turns the African-American community into a monolithic presence that thwarts progress by painting individuals into a 'black' corner where only opinions supportive of the status quo are allowed.

    Curiously, it is a form of Orwellian thought policing that comes to the surface after the fact when those who have stepped across the undrawn lines of the "black monolith" are publicly castigated for having the nerve to think differently. These unwritten rules, which are subject to change without notice, can best be described as popular ideas of "how to be black." Unfortunately, there is no written rulebook and those who break these unwritten rules are often excommunicated from "blackness" without prior notice.

    What it means is that you or I cannot speak our minds without the fear of being disparaged, not because we are right, but because we had the nerve to say something that goes against the party line of the "black monolith." The power of groupthink is not to be underestimated. For instance, only in the black community do people shudder when something terrible happens and say silently to themselves, "I hope it wasn't a black man."

    When the bombing in Oklahoma City occurred, white people weren't whispering to themselves about the skin color of the perpetrator; they had a variety of opinion and they voiced them-right and wrong. However, in the black community there was an underlying fear that it would be a "black man" and that some how all black people would suffer as a result.

    That blacks have been unfairly cast as villains is not the issue. The issue is that as long as we cast our selves as a monolithic presence we will bring the same judgment upon the group rather than alleviating such direct focus. That there is strength in numbers is certainly true to a degree, but there is no strength in a wrong answer and no amount of addition will ever change it.

    Today it seems that blackness is more a series popular stances espoused by popular figures rather than a state of mind or of being. This form of tribalism does not allow us to apply fair critique to our own no matter, how insipid, vapid or just plain stupid some of the things are they do. It is in our interest to criticize and question those who claim to represent us as well as those policies and processes that affect us.

    A commonness of skin color often leads us to make assumptions about the black community that are not only incorrect but help to perpetuate stereotypes within the black community itself. Religion and politics are two topics of conversation that most avoid, but in this case, they are appropriate to use as examples. To many in the African American community, a black Republican seems to be an oxymoron, for it is assumed that all African Americans are Democrats. Of course, it is not true, but the fact remains that a black Republican is thought of as an aberration in the African American community, and is in fact often treated as a traitor to the community. The same can be said of atheists and agnostics within the black community.

    Often, the culture of "blackness" does not reward individualism outside "accepted" group norms, as witnessed by the sometimes acrimonious debate between black scholars regarding affirmative action. Blacks taking an anti-affirmative action stand are regularly labeled as Uncle Toms, Oreos and traitors without a thorough and reasoned investigation.

    Race and racism turn any discussion of stereotypes into a sensitive subject in the African American community. However, many African Americans would be surprised to know that they use many of the same stereotypes to characterize each other that would be considered offensive if used by whites. The use of these stereotypes by African Americans is used in an almost unconscious manner to establish standards of behavior for other African Americans.

    At first glance this setting of standards seems relatively harmless, but when it is considered that to hold individuals to a single standard restricts all and may be even more harmful, for it makes artificial barriers with the sole criterion based on looking the same and thus reinforces the "black monolith."

    That any black man or woman is able to think beyond the moment, articulate complex ideas beyond sports and sex comes as a surprise to many Americans, especially African Americans. Many people of African descent can't dance, sing or play dominos either and they may also be affluent, Republican and have never tasted a chittlin' in their life. Neither are all black folks afraid of the dark, criminally oriented or Baptist.

    For everything, there is a season. There is a time when black people will need to be united as one to fend off oppression. There is a time when if we are not united, then being divided, we will fall. But, there is also a time we every African American must stand as an individual.

    It is past time for African Americans to allow themselves to be judged solely as a monolithic presence, where the action of one is interpreted across the group, where everyone is painted with the same brush and where having a different opinion is looked upon as blasphemy and treason. It is time we celebrated our own diversity in the black community and use it to build better bridges to prosperity, faster highways to freedom and sturdy thoroughfares to self-reliance.

    For everything, there is a season and the season for breaking free of the "black monolith is now. Fight the Power!
     
  2. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Precisely the point!

    There is no need for closed doors or behind the scenes,what needs to be said, needs to be said. As I pointed out, there is a time for solidarity. However, when an individual is not free to speak their mind because of internal repercussions, then there is no freedom at all.

    When another black man or woman can shout down another black man or woman by playing the internal "race" card, that is not discussion, that is censorship. Whether or not those views are worthy of hearing is another matter. Because we have the right to free speech does not mean we have the right to insist that our views be respected.

    However, as intellectual beings it is important to examine the evidence and make pronouncements on that and that alone and avoid ad hominem attacks simply because we disagree. In the simplest sense, if Nichole Brown had been black and O. J.unknown, there probably wouldn't have been a trial, but just because he is O.J. Simpson there was bound to be some action taken against him and that is the price of celebrity and especially black celebrity.

    Although the ideas of individuality and oneness are not a contradiction, they are separate and distinct entities with each having their own dynamic. What is good for the group is not always good for the one and vice versa, so in effect to say they are comparable is to toss a red herring into the fray.

    However, when it all comes down, the simple fact of the matter is people have differing opinions and ideas and we should have respect for that, and before we castigate anyone we should be sure that we are not railing against them because they went against perceived protocols but, instead, because their arguments are inadequate. That is all.

    Justice Thomas and I are definitely not on the same page. However, my feelings about Mr. Thomas have little to do with his politics, but more to do with his body of work in the law. I cannot kick him out the black community because I don't particularly like his reading of the law, but, on the other hand I have every right to dissect his decisions and challenge them in fact.

    By the way, I spotted several typos in my piece and a missed negation that may have changed the meaning of an entire sentence. We may actually be in agreement. I wont repost with the correction, but you can probably see it.

    This is good stuff we got going here. It is pleasing and interesting to stir the pot and get someone to come up and stir it with me. As you can probably tell, I enjoy this stuff. I consider it good clean fun. Hopefully, between this start we can raise a few more opinions from the others, both pro and con. That's why I write this stuff. If no one reacts, then I have failed. Let's keep this one going and bring some more in with us.

    Peace/Ra
     
  3. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Exactly my point

    You have made my point for me. Although, I have no particular like for Justice Thomas to resort to taking him out of the race or calling him a name is unfair to him, as I know nothing about him personally to make such a call. However, his work is available to any who want to look at it and it is on that basis I fervently disagree with Justice Thomas. I disagree because his work has indicated that he is a hypocrite, that is not the shiniest apple in the barrel and that he has a short sense of African American history. He has not escaped my barbs in the past and he will not in the future, barring some unforeseen change. In my opinion, he was unqualified for the job. If Bush wanted a black conservative for that position, there were at least seven others he could have chosen from who are all brighter, have a good sense of history and are stellar lawyers, but they also would have been their own person and I suspect that is why they weren't chosen. Anyhow, although I personally don't care for Justice Thomas (I admit to calling him Uncle Thomas) from an intellectual standpoint I must admit to his right to be whom he chooses to be, but that doesn't mean that I have to respect his opinion and of course the inverse applies to me.

    Keep it coming,

    Ra
     
  4. Thandiwe

    Thandiwe Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thanks!

    Peace and Love Amun-Ra,

    Thanks for bringing me here. I wasn't sure if this was up for discussion. But I see that there is a chance to discuss this things you laid out. I'll be back, I just starting reading (I had to print it out to absorb it properly). I do see some points but also some things I don't necessarily agree with. :)

    Thanks again, I 've been looking for some interesting conversation, as of late.
     
  5. Thandiwe

    Thandiwe Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Okay, now i want in

    I have a different spin on this.

    you say it is not easy to go against the grain in the black community. I say it is harder to go against the grain of the real power in this country. This statement leads me in several areas.

    I don't not necessarily get look upon as being different by black folx, we do have commonalities. I also consider myself somewhat of an nonconformist. but those rules are still part of the greater society. i find more opposition and excommunication for the white society at large. as we do.

    going agains the grain of black community. it seems that those people separated themselves from us. i'm speaking of the "clarences". these are the ones who try to distance themselves from our common history. even they received help and seem to think that because they made it, they shouldn't help the fellow brothers and sisters. we become the "them" to them first. some believing that affirmative and such didn't help them, those programs rose the ashes from civil rights movements. I said ashes because the civil rights movement did die off, hopefully the flames are still kindling. but when we do divide ourselves we become unless powerful agains the power structure. those republicans and other "excomunicated/self-excommunicated" black folx only still get what white folx will allow. if somethings racial was to happen they would be running back to the black community, looking for a lawsuit. but while things are golden for them, it seems that those of us further behind are not a part of them.

    you mentioned the oklahoma bombing. i didn't think for a minute, "i hope it wasn't a black person". those aren't the kinds of crimes we commit. both white folx and black folx are "monolithic" when it comes to crimes. we, on a whole commit certain crimes and whites the same. interesting enough, the white people were thinking and have me thinking, it was probably some foreigners, and iraqi or arabians or someone like that. then to come to find out it was a white man. we also know that if you heard the ray Johnson got shot in uptown, that it was most likely a black man. i think the media helps to shape our thinking, dictates and the way it is portrayed. those sterotypes you say we also place upon ourselves. since blacks are mostly only seen or heard when it comes to crime, sports, entertainment is usually the only time we receive footage on TV. so if it ain't sports or entertainment, then we know the other. it is also unfortunate that now two of those ingredients are being mixed. sports and crime, murder more specifically. :( actually, it has also become an entertainment, in this day and age of technology. we are constantly put on display.

    when other black people distance themselves from us, not wanting to be like us, or like them, he loses himself. he is no longer part of our community and his thoughts and action don't benefit us all as a whole. his takes his stuff and moves as far as possible. becoming white like them, or at least him think so. he agrees with the way of the majority white politicians, colleagues, and thinking about himself only. in the end, things will not be right until we do our own parts individually to bring something to the table collectively.

    you say break the black monolith. i'm not saying we should all think alike, do the same things, dress alike and such, that is all superficial. we should be free to be individuals but also think spiritually.
     
  6. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    All good points!

    You are correct. The hole point of this exercise is that black people are diverse and in many areas and therefore, there is no pat rules of blackness. True, a commonality exists and that part is inescapable, but it is also true that those who do not buy into main streme thinking in the black community are ostracized.

    Sure the white community does the same thing, but I am not concerned about the white community and their hangups because I am not familiar enough with them to speak about them except in broad generalities, but in the black community we have a double standard of behavior.

    Recently, Will Smith, one of my favorite people came out and criticized (I can't remember the excat incident) another balck person for their role in a particular event that he thought was an embarassment to black people. It was just a little more than a few onths later when Will was on the other side of that criticism as Spike Lee lambasted Smith for doing "The Legend of Bagger Vance."

    I like Spike Lee too, but who appointed he or Will Smith as the Negro Thoght Police? Personally, I don't know if the Bagger Vance Role was a good for Will Smith, but neither am I sure than "She's Got to Have It" was a good movie for African American women. My point is, when it comes to personal behavior, I have no right to set standards for anyone other than myself.

    Perhaps, it is because I am peeved about stereotypes. I hate stereotypes all there is usually some element of truth in the perception although not the reality. Anyway, it makes a good discussion point but I doubt if I or anyone else will ever change it as you said it is on both sides of the fence.

    Ra
     
  7. Thandiwe

    Thandiwe Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    But I totally agree with your last statement.

    I'll be back. I keep losing my connection.

    Peace and Love!


    Until next time...

    Thandi
     
  8. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I'm running on E

    I guess it peeves me that myself or anyone would need to adhere to any established guidelines of commmunity behavior. Of course, I personally see the need for solidarity, but there is a point when break out of the box thinking is required. I realize that pioneers or leaders are always the first to be brutalized. I still recall that Martin, Malcolm, Stokely and many others were not welcome with their ideas, but after awhile the more conservative generation relented and saw the way. I am thinking that we have another generation that has been used to the old ways and is not ready to change. Don't know, but it seems like it. Who knows? I guess I'm tired of the older generation and I'm looking for the young lions to come out with something new. By the way, I am part of that old generation and I think we are out of date. Or, I'm just ready for change.

    Ra
     
  9. Thandiwe

    Thandiwe Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Where is the Revolution...

    Peace and Love Ra,

    I'm ready for change too. I don't know what you mean about being oldschool. I'm in my middle 30s. So I pretty much missed the "revolution". However, i feel it has died down, or let's hope just kindling. Actually I will say, it's kindling.

    I'm not into marching and chanting. I want us to start making some progress and not just standing, marching and not going anywhere. Besides, I'm in MN and I'm not acclimated to this ****. In fact, it's snowing and cold today, halfway through April (shame ain't it).

    I am looking for more people who want to rebuild the look of the revolution and get the ball rolling. I'm not looking for someone to come and be the one and only leader, but to give guidance. I looking for people who can, want,and will contribute for the whole of us all, not just themselves.

    Where are all my black people, calling all black people...
     
  10. nexis5

    nexis5 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    addiction

    Thanks for the invite Thandiwe, where's the convo?
     
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