by H. Lewis Smith
“Wake up everybody, no more sleeping in bed, no more BACKWARD thinking, time for thinking ahead…Wake up ALL the teachers, TIME to teach a new way. …When you teach the children, teach them the very best you can. The world won’t get no better—if we just let it be…WE got to change it—JUST YOU AND ME.”
Harold Melvin and the BlueNotes
Although celebration of Juneteenth for 2011 has come and gone, it was June 19, 1865—two years after the true emancipation, that slaves in Texas learned of their freedom and were removed from the clear and visible bondage. A vast majority of Americans actually believe that after that last portion of slaves were released from enslavement in 1865, that slavery ended. However, slavery continued subtly and on a smaller scale, uninterrupted. Legal emancipation was effectively adjoined by the Thirteenth Amendment, but that did not inhibit the southern planters from re-enslaving countless thousands of African Americans.
Instead of resorting to the crude, old-fashioned antebellum slavery, a more sophisticated scheme was adopted. It was referred to as peonage, or debt bondage. A full federal ban on peonage-based slavery was not passed until 1948, but this new form of slavery persisted across much of the South well into the 1960s.
Two forms of slavery exist: physical and mental. Enslaved African Americans were subjected to both, but mental enslavement is the ULTIMATE worst—and one they were NEVER freed from. This fact should NOT be taken lightly. The mind of the enslaved African American was tinkered and toyed with, corrosively manipulated, abused and misused. One of the greatest powers in the world is the power to define reality and make others accept it, even when it’s to their disadvantage. This is what has happened to the Black African American race.
As a group, we were railroaded and stripped of our identity having been replaced with an inferior image. Our roots to African heritage are being ignored. Black history is based not on slavery, but royalty, based on some of the first architectural and engineering systems, government systems and to understand this helps us to flow into our purpose for today.
One present day example of a lack of identity is the Hip–hop culture searching for themselves, don’t recognize who they are so they relate to gangsta type, self-destructive images, they have brought into a lie as to who they are supposed to be. We need to address the lie and remove the deception and present an image of who and what they can truly be, without selling their souls in the process.
An entire generation of young black people has grown up under the same negative influences as their enslaved predecessors. However, rather than being manipulated at the hands of white slave masters, the mind control process was resumed by black rappers and black businessmen such as Russell Simmons, BET’s former owner Robert Johnson, and other key black-community influencers. In other words, they sold out Black America for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver.
A Supreme Intelligence known to some as God, made you—and though you were re-programmed by a racist society to feel lesser than what you are—learn to be comfortable with your god-like qualities (features, eyes, lips, nose, skin-color, etc.). You are a child of the universe, no less than the stars and the trees, you are no lesser than anyone else and no better, you have a right to be here, be grateful and learn how to thank the Supreme Intelligence for who you are. For self-empowerment and greater insight into your ancient lineage visit:
Malcolm X once said that “the worst thing racism did was to make us hate ourselves.” The continued usage of the word n**ger/n**ga provides us with no greater example of this self-hatred! White supremacy is not a bunch of ignorant rednecks who hate blacks. It is a SYSTEM, a RELIGION that’s used to eliminate the threat of white genetic annihilation and in the process subjecting Black African Americans to a massive psychological and physical trauma; an uninterrupted process from the 17th century on into this 21st century.
It’s high time to stop transferring a legacy of ignorance from one generation to the next. It’s now time to awaken the intellect and potential that lives within African-American current and future generations. The only way to achieve this feat is by ensuring the freedom and uplifting of a diminished mindset; and the only way to achieve true freedom is by relinquishing the hold to any remnants of the past—and that INCLUDES the n-word.
A healing or re-emergence/re-integration process should have been implemented to help black Americans effectively cope with entering society under the guise of freedmen. The program should have addressed all aspects of slavery, provided psychological services to help blacks overcome and cope with the torturous past, and resources (ie, employment, shelter, education) to assist in establishing them as stable members of society. A number of Black psychologists can and do attest to the validity and need of a healing process that never occurred.
Rather than blindly passing the proverbial and metaphorical n-word torch, the black community should consider perceiving the n-word in different ways to determine for themselves the ideal use and implications or impact of the word:
• Use the N-word only when describing it in its historical context. Its history permanently disables its use as a “term of endearment.”
• Seek knowledge and empowerment through continual self-education. Respect is rightfully given only by actions– NOT by telling people they ought to respect others.
• Take note of how the n-word is marketed through music, songs, videos, and films – and how its use compares to other derogatory racial slurs. Are other racial slurs used? QUESTION why the n-word is the only racial slur marketed globally. Could it be because blacks are the only race who will deal with being degraded and ridiculed publicly?
With freedom, education and independence comes accountability and responsibility. The components are not inseparable but are two sides to the same token. Black African Americans have a responsibility and obligation to the memories of the sacred ancestors to be respectful and appreciative of their struggles, sacrifices, hardships, blood, sweat and tears. Their sacrifices have enabled contemporary Black African Americans, and all other Americans as well, to live the life experienced today. As such, rather than continuing to infuse mentalities of inferiority and status quo into future generations, which only leads to the continual demise of the collective black community, Blacks must begin to teach and show (live by example) future generations a new way of thinking.
H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. (www.theunitedvoices.com); a writer for the New England Informer Online, and author of “Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word”. Follow H. Lewis Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thescoop1
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