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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Carter G. Woodson (Black History)


Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

"Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience. I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn’t want brotherhood with me. Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering”

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History as a Weapon:

Carter G. Woodson, who laid the foundation for Black History Month, stated "when you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions". According to Woodson, not only would this man know his "proper place", but he would stay in it. One did not need to send this man to the back door for he would willingly seek it; if there was no back door then he would eagerly make one. Woodson knew that it was the shadow of racism that was responsible for this mental condition. And, with history as a weapon, he sought to make war with it.

Racism has for the past few centuries sought to blast black people to the nether realms of humanity. Author Neely Fuller stated it best: "Until you understand white supremacy, everything else will confuse you". Racism is an institution that seeks to control one's thoughts, actions and way of life. It does this best not through shackles and guns, but through the conquering of one's mind. And it has had powerful soldiers who serve as its torchbearers.

And yes, they are more influential than some white-hooded man with a swastika. They include scientist George Cuvier, anthropologist and founder of geology, paleontology and modern comparative anatomy, who described African women as "more like an ape"; medical doctor Robert Bennett Bean who found "a deficiency in the Negro brain". They are also writers like Alexis de Tocqueville, who saw blacks as an "intermediate between men and the brutes", and Rudyard Kipling, who poetically described blacks as "half devil and half child" and philosophers like David Hume, who described blacks as "naturally inferior". They are U.S. diplomat Clifton R. Breckinridge, who described blacks as "the most insatiate brute that exists in human form" and Constitution framer Thomas Jefferson who described blacks as "inferior to the whites in ... both body and mind" contending "orangutans prefer having sex with black women". Their ranks boast psychologist Arthur Jensen who declared, "Whites are more intelligent than Negroes" and Nobel Prize winner William Shockley who not only believed that black "intelligence is naturally ... low", but also suggested our mass sterilization. They are comprised of president Richard Nixon, who believed blacks to be "genetically inferior", Christian missionary Albert Schweitzer who stated, "the Negro is a child" and William K. Coors, owner of Adolph Coors Brewing Co., who stated that blacks "lack the intellectual capacity to succeed", declaring slavery a fortunate event for African people. In their number are even American idols like John Wayne who proudly stated, "I believe in white supremacy".

Witness their titles: scientist, doctor, writer, philosopher, diplomat, founding father, psychologist, Nobel Prize winner, president, Christian missionary, business mogul, and American idol. These are not unlearned men who suffer from a lack of schooling. But more importantly they are people who hold power in their hands. They can mold thought, beliefs, laws and institutions (from schools to the media) to their liking. And even worse still, they have.

The toll that centuries of such mental abuse can have on the mind is near inconceivable. And there is not one of us, no matter how strong of mind, who can say we have not been affected by this terrible onslaught. Every time we scoff doubtfully at the possibility of black achievement, this is evident. Every time we degrade and try to hide our natural physical features at an attempt to conform to some mythical beauty standard, this is evident. Each time we insult each other with hurtful words borrowed from those who would oppress us, this is evident. Each time our youth thinks that pimps, thugs or other figments of a wayward imagination are somehow an expression of "blackness" or "realness", this is evident. Each time we choose not to try for fear we cannot possibly succeed, this is evident. One of the most important tools racism has at its disposal is the mind of its victim. In this way, he or she becomes a tool of self-hate without even being aware of it. It is often asked, "Can black people be racist?" The answer is, "yes". And whom have we been more racist against, than each other?

This is where history and Carter G. Woodson's gift makes its importance.

Black people must know that brutes did not institute what may have been the world's first monarchy in ancient Nubia. "Inferior" men and women did not design the great Her-em-Akhet (sphinx) or raise the pyramids. "Ape-like" women did not create queens such as Tiye, Makedda and Nzingah. "Less intelligent" blacks did not build the stone cities of great Zimbabwe or construct palaces in Axum. "Childlike" Africans did not raise Ghana, spawn empires like Mali, and carve out nations like Songhai, Hausa or Buganda. "Naturally inferior" men and women did not give rulers and warriors to Carthage or Islamic Spain. "Deficient brains" did not produce a St. Maurice, an Alexander Pushkin, an Alexandre Dumas, a Harriet Tubman, a Touissant L'Overture, an Ida B. Wells, a Charles Drew, a Duke Ellington, a Zora Neale Hurston, a Booker T. Washington, a WEB DuBois, a Marcus Garvey, an Elijah Muhammad, a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Malcolm X, a Fannie Lou Hamer, a Cheikh Anta Diop and countless more.

They certainly could not have produced a Heru, an Oshun or conceived something as vast as Jok. They could not have moved the Greek bard Homer to call them "faultless men" with whom even his own gods sought the pleasure of dining. They did not hail from the very continent from which all of humanity traces its roots.

For all these reasons and so much more, Black History Month is important. The legacy left to us by Woodson must be picked up and used to forever destroy the shadow of white supremacy and self hate which has threatened so often to swallow us all.

1 comment:

Gail said...

You are the best. This is truth. I love your blog.