“I freed a thousand slaves—I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”—Harriet Tubman
“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance.”—Frantz Fanon
The euphemistic mountaintop of freedom is actually not a mountaintop at all. It is a plateau. For each succeeding generation must struggle to scale the heights of indifference and apathy in order to bring to fruition one more forward step in the amazingly persistent evolution of humanity. Nevertheless, humankind is constantly shadowed by the ever-present danger of losing our grip and falling backwards into an abyss of stagnation and extinction.
In this year of 2012, everyday ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people in this nation, and indeed worldwide, face extraordinary challenges and perils. Black America, in particular, finds itself under merciless political assault by those who make dubious claim to enhancing the centuries-long struggle for economic, political, and social justice.
The hypocrisy, greed, and callousness of the relatively small ‘Black elite’ towards the everyday struggling people of Black America is unrivaled. The twin evils of greed, i.e., ME-ism and militarism are presented as good, or at the very least, somehow acceptable today. The historic sacrifices by Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X [el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz], Martin Luther King, Jr., etc., on behalf of the collective good of Black America and humanity as a whole, are plundered, disfigured, and distorted for the benefit of the cynical greedy few. The vast majority of this ‘Black elite’ and Black intelligentsia are, in the words of Malcolm X, among “those who want to continue the system of exploitation.” They are traitors not only to Black America collectively, but to humanity as a whole. Notwithstanding their obfuscated rhetoric, they are about joining the system—not totally and fundamentally changing it for the collective good of everyone.
Today, the actual rates of poverty, unemployment, and mass incarceration, etc., within Black America have skyrocketed virtually off the charts, even as the corporate-stream media seek to distract and numb Black America by highlighting the life-tyles of the small Black elite. The treachery of this is self-evident. However, despite these deliberate novocaine-like distractions, Black America is beginning to slowly reawaken to its true history and present peril.
Black America must, and will ultimately, reawaken to the fact that its survival is, as with people of all colors, to be found within we the everyday people—ourselves! No systemic so-called “leader” of any color or gender will ever place the collective political and economic needs of everyday people above the interests and greed of the blood-sucking corporate elite. Only everyday people, ourselves, will do this collectively.
We must free ourselves collectively from the de facto slavery of this corrupt and hypocritical U.S. political system, even as we remember the even more relevant words of Harriet Tubman, when she said, “I freed a thousand slaves—I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
This has been, and will continue to be, a long and protracted struggle. And it is time to reawaken and reach up for yet another plateau in this, humanity’s struggle. The road is rough, but it must be traveled. We can do this together. Each one, teach one! Each one, reach one!
Onward then, my sisters and brothers! Onward!
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board Member, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil / political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil / Lehrer News Hour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book.) Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.