Where We Messed Up… (I, Too by Langston Hughes)

This may be considered blasphemy by some of you, but I have to say it.

I believe that during the Civil Rights Movement, Black folks made a grave mistake which cost us the lives of many of our leaders–as well as severely hampered the success potential of the movement. When the conscience of the nation began to chip away at the national value called “White supremacy”–the media launched an attack on the Civil Rights Movement by characterizing Black people as impatient, ungrateful and everything else they’ve traditionally called us. The repulsive actions of American leaders, law enforcement, and citizens turned many against the existing system and support for the movement grew so America had no choice but to support the movement. This is where the nation’s leaders learned to use the media as propaganda to influence the masses.

There were two approaches to the Civil Rights Movement. One philosophy assumed that most of White America were good people, or deep inside them was a good person who just needed to hear the demands of Black people in order to make the right decision. This side of the movement sought to appeal to the conscience of the nation. It sat in, it gave speeches appealing to the “Christian values” that White folks held dear, it talked of fairness and doing what was right. On the other side, we called it like it was:  An evil, violent (or apathetic) people who cared less about the plight of the Black man in America or our suffering. This group understood that America would never do right by the Black man until he was forced to do so by law or gunpoint. It didn’t ask of anything of White America; it demanded equality and gave consequences if those demands were not met. It did not pander to the arrogant notion racists Whites projected that they were good people who were trying to do right; it pointed out the hypocrisy of a nation that claimed to be God-fearing but did nothing that God instructed them to do within their own religions–as well as its own Constitution. The Black Church stood on one side, with its “nonviolent” policy. The Nation of Islam, the Black Panther Party, and Black Nationalists stood on the other with a policy of self-defense-if-needed. Guess who received the media coverage? Guess who was painted with a “terrorist” brush?

Well, since the non-violent regime was covered more in the media, it also received the most money and the most prestige. Black people forever came to support that approach (even in current times)–which encouraged patience, discouraged outrage, demanded that Black people use an unfair/ineffective “legal/justice” system to get things done. This is why today, the Black man has made very small amounts of progress and can be all but ignored by today’s leaders and even made to feel guilty about demanding justice! When White America is offended and wronged, they are allowed to express outrage and demand immediate relief. Yet when Black America is offended and wronged, even Black leaders themselves will caution Black people not to rush to judgment or action. They will tell the Black man to calm himself down and let our already corrupt police departments to police themselves, investigate themselves, and find out “what happened”. (As if everyone doesn’t know “what happened”)  If you ever wanted to know why, in 2016, Black people are still discriminated against and never get justice from our leadership and by our criminal justice systems–look no further than how we have accepted rules favorable to those who commit these wrongs. The very people who commit crimes against Black people have written the rules about how you will react to those wrongs. This alone explains the impotence of Black leadership as well as any Civil Rights actions we undertake now. It started with “I Have a Dream“–paying no attention to “Ballot or the Bullet“, and is reflected today in today’s pussified NAACP and Al Sharpton demanding Black calm in the light of children killed by police.

This was reflected in poetry as well. If you look at the poetry of a Langston Hughes versus a Sonia Sanchez, you’ll see why you can name the poetry of one and why you couldn’t name one poetry of the other. I guarantee you never read Sonia Sanchez in school if you attended a Black public school–and I guarantee you never read either if you attended a predominantly White school.

Here is Langston Hughes’ “I, Too (Sing America)”. Following is Sonia Sanchez’s “Malcolm”, which I have memorized. In a future article, I’ll explain the differences of philosophy a little further. Thank you for visiting my blog.

Never forget...

Never forget…

 

I, Too

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

when company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.

Tomorrow,

I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”

Then.

Besides,

They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed–

I, too, am America.

–Langston Hughes

do not speak to me of

martyrdom,

of men who die to be remembered

on some parish day.

I don’t believe in dying

though, I too shall die

And violets like castanets

will echo me.

yet this man,

this dreamer

thick-lipped with words

will never speak again

and in each winter

when the cold air cracks

with frost I’ll breathe

his breath and mourn

my gunfilled nights.

He was the sun that tagged

the western sky and

melted tiger-scholars

while they searched for stripes.

he said, “fuck you, white

man. we have been

curled too long. nothing

is sacred, not your

white face nor any

land that separates

until some voices

squat with spasms.”

Do not speak to me of living,

life is obscene with crowds

of white on black.

Death is my pulse.

what might have been

is not for him/or me

but could have been

floods the womb until I drown.

“Malcolm”

–by Sonia Sanchez

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Filed under Message to the Black Man, Message to the White Man, Poetry, Politics

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