By Dr. Umar Johnson, School Psychologist & Political Scientist,
Founder of National Movement to Save Black Boys
Nationwide — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had only been buried for little more than a year when the Stonewall Riots during the summer of 1969 erupted in New York City, formally ushering in the Gay Rights Movement, and thereby effectively shifting the nation’s attention from Black rights to Gay rights. With the militant political agenda of the Black Liberation Army and Black Panther Party, the United States Power Structure needed to find a relevant social issue that could effectively challenge and replace the Black agenda on television and in the newspaper. For more than a decade, the Black civil rights movement had commanded the attention of the American public, and thereby the attention of the government. In order for White Privilege to remain safe from a complete revolutionary overhaul of it’s power relationship to the Black underclass, a new minority issue would need to be “created” that did not posit the elimination of racism as it’s core goal. With the FBI orchestrated murders of the Black Agenda’s leading charismatic organizers in Malcolm X and Dr.King, the movement was left without a courageous symbolic messiah that could simultaneously command the attention of the mainstream media and the federal legislature. The assassination of the late 20th Century’s dynamic duo of Black Leadership, Malcolm and Martin, left a void that was to be filled with younger Black militant leaders who were in many respects more uncompromising than their legendary predecessors.
In addition to sexual orientation, since multiple strategies and options are always more desirable that just one towards doing away with an undesirable group of people, White Racism has also effectively employed the White Women’s movement as an additional “minority” issue that could be used to wrestle attention away from the priorities of Afrikan-Americans in the States. The government’s usage of the White Women’s Agenda, as a distraction from the Black rights initiative, dates back to the years of American slavery, when in 1850 the First National (White) Women’s Convention took place in Massachusetts, the exact same year that the Fugitive Slave Bill was enacted by Congress. When Black leaders of the Abolitionist struggle attempted to raise awareness against this new and most powerful legal mandate, which threatened to make every northern Black freeman a slave, the majority of America’s newspapers remained unsympathetic and callous towards the Abolitionists, and instead chose to print only on the women’s rights cause as their primary social justice concern at the time. Even the Great Frederick Douglass had to take a stand against the attempts by White women to equate their struggle with the struggle for the emancipation of the only enslaved population in world history to be considered less than human. When Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton suggested that Douglass delay his fight for the right of free Black men to vote, until White women had the same, Douglass as Black America’s leading freedom fighter at the time, exclaimed that the racism and violence against Blacks in America made their cause more pressing than that of White women, all of whom had husbands who could cast a vote in their honor. President Obama also did his part to placate the White women’s agenda while ignoring the pressing issues of an embattled Black minority by fighting for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Interestingly, this law amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but doesn’t, in any way, focus upon the primary objective of the ’64 Civil Rights Bill which was to bring equality to Blacks.
Rather than focus on the disproportionate and disgraceful unemployment levels of Black men, women and children, which are significantly higher than the national average, instead the 1st Black president, as all of his predecessors have done, ignored the Black agenda in deference to a “convenient” minority issue, the pay rate of privileged White females. The fact that half of the Black men in most major American cities are unemployed was of no concern to the 44th President of the United States. Unfortunately, the Feminist wing of the White Women’s Rights Movement has its greatest source of support from an unlikely ally, young Black college educated females. Benefitting from a racist political-economic strategy that intentionally mis-educates and under employs Black men, while simultaneously providing slightly more opportunity for Black women, many college-educated Black women have been able to improve their academic and financial standings in American society, unfortunately while also suffering the brainwash of the American Social Order by falling for the Illusion of Inclusion Argument against Black men, which chiefly posits that Black males have the same opportunity as anyone else, and therefore are in their current educational-economic situation because they choose to be. Although most Black women recognize the institutionally racist American policies that strip Black males of their right to fix their lives after paying their debts to society, a growing contingency of “liberated” Black women expose no concern for the plight of their Brothers. In fact, some younger-generation Black women will use the fact that Black women out-earn their counterparts as justification for their belief in the superiority of Black women over Black men. This is in direct contradiction to traditional Afrikan culture which firmly posits the equality of Men and Women. In fact, the central focus of Afrikan society is the family itself, thereby arranging a successful life path for the children. Traditional Afrikan culture is based upon the harmony between feminine and masculine energy in the community, with neither being more important than the other. Such a treatise has been totally lost on the minds of 21st century college-educated Afrikan-Americans of both genders.
If having the government ignore the rights of the descendants of the very Afrikan people who built this country, and who also paved the way for its current world super power status isn’t enough, in preference to the concerns of White LGBT’s and White women, added to this equation is the final piece of this Trinity of Deception, and that would be the Latino Rights Movement. Whereas some Afrikan-Americans can clearly see the contradiction of having the Black Rights Struggle integrated with privileged White women and gay movements, the U.S government needed to find a non-white minority agenda issue towards which it could redirect it’s resources away from Afrikan-Americans. The most effective weapon to date has been to use America’s largest non-white minority group to draw attention away from the Black agenda. Giving more attention to the Latino rights struggle has been constantly defended by the United States government due to the growing size of this constituency. In 2003, the United States Census Bureau boldly proclaimed that Latino’s were the largest non-White minority group in the country, surpassing Afrikan-Americans with a population of just under 40 million, and expected to triple by 2050. However, what this statistic doesn’t include is the process by which Latino’s were “made” the largest non-white minority group in the United States. Government strategies to hold steady the growth of the Black population, while allowing the Latino population to explode include: a) keeping Afrikan & Afrikan-Caribbean immigration rates as low as possible, b) encouraging and financing multiple birth control, sterilization & abortion methods for Black women of nearly all ages, c) instigating record-breaking Black male fratricide rates via the CIA’s inner-city drug trade, d) engineering one of the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world for Black children, e) and structuring the highest Black criminal and mental institutionalization rates in recent history. Without question, Latino didn’t merely “out birth” Blacks, but they received some unintended assistance from the U.S government on their way to becoming “minority group numero uno.”
Still further, the propaganda from American media and governmental spokespersons constantly attempts to draw a parallel between the Latino struggle and the Black struggle for rights in this country. This is done to hypnotize politically uneducated Blacks into thinking that they actually have something in common with Latino immigrants, both legal and illegal, in this country. This has been an especially effective strategy as the new public conversation on race and civil rights has straightjacketed Black leadership into always including the Latino plight whenever they discuss the plight of Afrikan-Americans. In fact, most Black leaders and scholars are afraid to discuss Black issues without including their so-called Latino brothers and sisters. However, the reverse is rarely true, as Latino leadership hardly ever includes the issues of Afrikan-Americans in any meaningful way. In no place is this disproportionate favoritism shown more towards Latinos, to the detriment of Blacks, than in the field of public education. In fact, most non-white educational legislation since the ’64 Civil Rights Bill has focused to a very large and concentrated degree on Latino children to the exclusion of Afrikan-American children. During 1963, even before public schools were desegregated for Blacks, Latino children began receiving bilingual education. It was in 1970, while Black parents were still fighting to have their children bused into white schools, that the government declared Latino children couldn’t be denied education for not being able to speak English. Even in 1974, Congress passed the Equal Educational Opportunity Act, which single-handedly made Spanish an official language in public school. So while the U.S government was working to make schooling more convenient and accessible for Latino children, it was preparing to deal Black youth their worse setback since Jim Crow when during the following year in 1975, it formally gave birth to the first federal special education law, via the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) which saw the re-segregation of Black children away from White children with rates not witnessed since the pre-Brown V Board Supreme Court ruling of 1954.
Using the “learning disability” and “emotional disturbance” as their weapons of choice, the school-to-prison pipeline would be thoroughly laid out with the legalization of mis-education for Black children, via classification by one of these “invisible” learning disabilities. However, the law was circumvented not to include non-English speaking youth as targets for special services, thereby keeping millions of Latino children from being “drafted” into the same world of low expectations via special education that their Afrikan-American classmates had to face. In 1975, the Voting Rights Act was extended to include provisions for Latinos, a group that was suspiciously absent from front line protests for civil rights, and who struggled not to be included or identified with Afrikan-Americans in any meaningful way during the 1960s. Requiring language assistance at voting booths, this federal revision of a law intended for Blacks, has done Afrikan-Americans much harm as currently many candidates seeking office strategically ignore Black voters in preference to Latino voters who increasingly have agendas that are also anti-Afrikan in nature. So we see clearly how many rights that Blacks have fought for over the years have benefitted Latinos, but can we even name one right that Latinos achieved that has subsequently been extended to Afrikan-Americans? The answer is “no.” In fact, fearing that they would be connected with Blacks politically, Mexicans fought during the 1930’s to be classified as “White” on the US Census, a revocation that was later re-instated in the 1940s by the U.S government amidst Mexican protests. It must be mentioned that there are Afrikan-Mexicans, Afrikan-Cubans and Afrikan-Puerto Ricans, amongst others, who are not ashamed of their genetic kinship to Afrikan-Americans via the transatlantic slave trade. The early West Afrikan slave trade saw both Cuba and Puerto Rico as two of the main port markets for enslaved Afrikans into the “new world.” Biologically there is very little difference between Afrikan-Americans and Afrikan-Latinos, except for the fact that the latter has shed their attachment to their Afrikan roots as a strategy for acceptance and advancement into the mainstream of U.S society.
This article doesn’t seek to deny any of the three above-mentioned groups the right to fight for right or protest against wrong. Nor does it seek to deny the fact that Latino-American children face their own unique challenges in America’s public education system. Still further, the author does not see a need for negative relations between any of the above mentioned groups, as respect should never be lost despite any differences that may exist. Each culture in this country has a right to seek redress against government-sanctioned discrimination. However, this article does seek to clarify, unapologetically, that the United States government, in an effort to ensure that the majority of Afrikan-Americans in this country will never receive the opportunity for the advancement that they have earned, and very well deserve, has used other minority groups, chiefly White Gays, White Women and Latinos as a convenient distraction and replacement group whenever the Black cry for justice needs to be drowned out of the media, and out of the halls of Congress. Still further, all three of these groups have been willing to be used, without reservation, as a weapon of white racism against the Black population. For anyone to suggest that Afrikan-Americans are on equal parity with these three groups is to admit ignorance regarding the indisputable central role that Blacks have played in the making and shaping of America since it’s inception. It was not Latinos, Gays or White women who built America from the ground up without pay, Afrikan-Americans did that. It was not Latinos, Gays or White Women who had to prove that they were, in fact, human beings, not monkeys or gorillas, Afrikan-Americans had to do that. Although Latinos and Gays have had their share of bouts with police terrorism in this country, neither of them has had to sustain a nationwide systemic campaign of police genocide, not merely repression, which was initiated in the 16th century and continues to this day. White Gays and White Women both benefit from white privilege; despite whatever challenges that exist for them in this country, they can both claim to not ever having been dehumanized, enslaved or having their status subjugated in deference to the status of Blacks. A white man, gay or straight, exercises a status of respect and power in America, which supersedes every member of the Black family in this country. The same can be stated for the White woman; as the only person who supersedes her in privilege is her husband, father and White male neighbors. Black people are not fighting for the right to have sex, or for cultural approval, but for the right to EXIST. Black people are fighting for the right to LIVE and BREATHE. This fight for life should never be considered equal with struggles for sex and culture.
The greatest evil in America is White Supremacy, neither sexism nor sexuality can compete with it. White Supremacy has enslaved and exterminated millions of Afrikan-Americans, can either the Feminist or Homosexual movement state that the same statistic is true for them? Of course, they cannot. As for the Latinos, they largely spring from a culture that is still intact, with identifiable homelands to which they can return whenever they choose, and have only had to endure the pangs of Americanization for a few decades, not centuries, as is the case for the so-called Afrikan-American. The Latino, if he or she so chooses, can “quit” America, and return immediately to the land of their birth. After all, they willingly chose to come here and work, while Afrikan-Americans were forced to do so for free. Unlike the Black man and woman in America, Latinos have not had to suffer the debilitating disease of “psychological homelessness.” Psychological homelessness is defined as a form of cultural depression that leaves one feeling lonely and isolated in a cold world due to the fact that the only land mass that one feels comfortable calling home is the one controlled by the descendants of their ancestors’ slave masters. The fact that the Latino can speak a language other than English affords them a privilege that is foreign to the Afrikan-American, the privilege of communicating with one’s kinsmen outside of the tongue used by the American majority. In public school, certain schools have been reserved across the country for non-English speaking students, not a single public school exists for the Black boy or girl, save those that appear to be so due to the White and Latino flight from certain urban centers that has thereby left the school exclusively Black by circumstance, and not by intentional social-academic design; where White racist teachers and a White racist curriculum serve as the ball and chain that binds Black children to another generation of mis-education. If one assumes by reading this article that the author is deploring the rights of the triple-minority, or expressing dissatisfaction at their neglect of Black women, Black gays and the Black community that has helped their movements to flourish, nothing could be further from the truth. As I conclude, the true dissatisfaction is with my own people, Afrikan-Americans, whose religious immaturity, constantly reinforced every Sunday from the pulpit, reminds them that they have to be the shepherd for all of humanity’s sheep, and not merely themselves. Afrikan-Americans are the only “minority” group in the United States who devote as much attention to the struggles of other people as they do to themselves. This is precisely one of the reasons why this group hasn’t realized more progress since the close the 1960s civil rights movement, the last effective and sustained Black mass protest movement against the government for justice.
Because of our low racial self-esteem, and psychological insecurities that demand we be accepted by all other cultures, even when those other cultures are actively working against the best interest of our community, we have become the laughingstock within an American society that is preparing more now then ever, to make a permanent underclass of the entire Black population. You can often find more Black women fighting for the feminist agenda than you can fight against racism. You can also find more Black gays and lesbians fighting for the LGBT platform than you can struggle against racism. Surprisingly, the same is true for the Black community as a whole, where many Black folk would rather take up the campaign for illegal aliens, animal rights, the environment or some other issue that doesn’t require them to focus upon their own people’s condition. In fact, it is not the Latino, Gay or Whit Female who most strongly argues for the multicultural agenda, but rather it is the Black community itself, with its “colorblind” politics, “colorblind” religion, and “colorblind” economic habits, that is most responsible for the neglect shown to it by other cultures, movements and the government itself. The Black agenda has been totally placated by the multicultural agenda despite the fact that, at last check, the color Black was not now, nor has it ever been, included amongst the colors in the popular rainbow. Seeking coalitions with Latinos whom the federal government is now using to replace Blacks in the labor market, and drive Afrikan-American unemployment rates even higher, is a recipe for political suicide. While seeking coalitions with feminists and homosexual groups whose only agenda is themselves would also be an error of the gravest kind. Black leadership has failed its constituency by constantly looking for an unsympathetic shoulder to cry on, rather than build an uncompromising political-economic agenda for its people that includes access to capital, redistribution of wealth, and unpaid reparations for the Afrikan dehumanization process, otherwise known as American slavery. Fighting for civil rights is no longer effective when other minority groups can be used to argue against the accusations of Blacks. Rather, a human rights platform against political-economic genocide, that calls on the international community to investigate America’s treatment of its most entrenched minority group, is what the current hour demands.
If the Black man and woman are to save themselves, and their children, they must rebirth an uncompromising Black agenda, that doesn’t seek to include all non-white peoples, or marginalized groups, but rather a Black Power agenda that only seeks to speak for the Black condition, the Black reality and the Black future. Neither Chinese, Arabs, Native Americans nor East Indians are interested in Black people, excepting the exploitation of your dollar by their merchants in the ghettoes of America. Added to this list is the Latino, who has climbed so quickly politically that working with Blacks, at this time, in their opinion, would represent a step backwards. The feminist and the homosexual have so far surpassed the Black community in their fight for their share of the American Dream that they also look down upon the self-hating Afrikan with contempt. The only question that has to be answered is how long will the Black community allow the ineffective religious and political rhetoric to continue to straightjacket itself as it is marched blindly towards racial extinction. The “Unapologetically Afrikan Movement” affirms that Black people should be proud and self-determined. It affirms that Black people should seek no coalition with any group whose members aren’t willing to die for the Black man or woman. It affirms that we fight for ourselves, and only for ourselves, as we have been the cannon fodder in the movements of too many other minority groups, none of whom have appropriately returned the favor. The new rallying cry for Black people in the 21st century must be “Love Thyself First!”
Dr. Umar Johnson is a School Psychologist, Educator and Political Scientist. He is author of the book “Psycho-Academic Holocaust: The Special Education and ADHD Wars Against Black Boys.” A kinsman to Frederick Douglass and former Minister of Education for the Marcus Garvey Movement, he is the founder of the National Movement to Save Black Boys (NMSBB). As one of the most requested Afrikan-American Scholars and Orators in the country he is a regular guest on television and radio shows throughout the world. He is currently raising funds to acquire the HBCU St.Paul’s College in Virginia to one day soon be re-opened as the Frederick Douglass & Marcus Garvey RBG International Leadership Academic for Black Boys; which will be America’s first ever residential academy for Afrikan-American male children based on the principles of entrepreneurship and Pan-Afrikanism. He can be reached at www.GoFundMe.Com/DrUmar or www.DrUmarJohnson.com
Dr. Umar Johnson