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Why is dissent by people of color less powerful than that we remember?

Why are African-American youth being so easily distracted, excluded and destroyed in American society when their own culture has for generations taught so powerfully how to surmount any obstacle?

The roots of the problem present some irony. Originally, African-Americans had to develop a powerful ethic of back-to-back unity in order to survive and progress through American society; this ethic was learned quickly and reinforced from slavery and all the way through Jim Crow. Without this unity, African-Americans would never have been able to build up, eventually, the resistance and civil rights efforts that ended Jim Crow.

Due to Human nature, there had to be a downside to this practice, and in part it led to the practice of a kind of 'schoolboy' secrecy: even the most upstanding African-American wouldn't turn in the worst Black criminal to the White police. To do so would often mean being killed or at least ostracized, considering the cost of being captured by an especially vindictive and racist legal system, even for Blacks known to be innocent.

While on one hand, the intense loyalty of Black people toward each other allowed them to build a movement that would enable them to battle racism. On the other hand, it helped inadvertently to ingrain upon some young Black males a belief that they did no wrong in their criminal behavior against anyone, because they still received the support and even, often enough, the friendship of the Black community.

Fast-forwarding to the present, with the decimation of the family structure combined with the incredibly pollutive, consumer-driven popular culture assaulting the Black community via the Big Media, whole neighborhoods are being bred into communities of relative sociopaths. Reinforcement for callous, dangerous and destructive behavior has created legions of people who are no longer connected to the true African-American culture of resistance and achievement but that honestly believe that the worst, most socially depraved behavior is correct.

Bill Cosby was widely condemned in the African-American community and media for twice criticizing part of his community for the behaviors of what I still do not believe to be the majority of African-Americans. However, because of many destructive forces in American life, particularly in the lives of Black Americans, the deculturalized element - that is, 'ghetto people' or those who identify with ghetto life rather than try to surmount it - is becoming a dangerous and detractive plurality. This is not to say that the White community hasn't always had this problem, i.e. - the stereotype 'trailer trash' on the daily talk shows right alongside 'ghetto trash'.

The result of all of this is a generation of African Americans with virtually none of the ethic of resistance or connection with the history of dissent and direct action of Black Americans even merely thirty years past.

The motivation for what has in fact been a concentrated effort on the part of the Big Media and false left leadership, as well as the government's masters, has been to cripple and destroy the Nation's greatest stronghold and breeding ground for resistance and effective civil rights activism: the Black community.

After the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, the FBI devised the sinister COINTELPRO (counter-intelligence program). Its purpose was to decimate the civil-rights leadership of African-Americans (focused mainly on the Black Panther movement) and Native Americans (similarly focused on the leaders of the American Indian Movement, such as miraculous survivor, now political prisoner Leonard Peltier and countless Native leaders murdered by FBI agents and collaborator Natives). This program resulted in the decimation of hundreds of up-and-coming civil-rights leaders in each community, many of the same caliber as King and Malcolm X.

Thus, people of color have often been reduced to stumbling in darkness under the false and usurpational psuedoleadership of race traitors. Present examples are Jesse Jackson (suspected by many of involvement in King's death), Louis Farrakhan (who narrowly avoided assassination at the hands of Malcolm X's daughter, who like many others believes Farrakhan to be involved in the death of her father).

Like African-Americans, Native Americans have been marginalized and excluded. Also like African-Americans, Native Americans have tried their best to preserve and connect their culture to the mainstream in a manner that preserves their true voice and represents them to the rest of society on their own terms. For example, in a newfound tradition in Native cinema, the First Peoples are showing a resistance to the destruction of their culture that is proving to have a great crossover appeal in American popular culture.

Certainly there has long been a tradition of African American film, going all the way back to the Black retort to 'Birth of a Nation' through 'Roots' to 'Boys in the Hood' and 'Malcolm X'. Black filmmakers have a powerful catalogue of works despite the negative effects of exploitive efforts such as 'Barbershop', the current crop of films by gangsta rappers and the old 'Blaxploitation' films. (Remember 'Blacula'?)

The African-American culture - the REAL African-American culture so brilliantly created in the refiner's fire of slavery, Jim Crow and the Harlem Renaissance and since - is powerful and rich and deep.

The Media-generated replacement that is being perpetrated so widely and loudly in its place is one of the greatest destructive weapons America's corporate masters have developed yet in their conspiracy to lop the heads off the leadership of American dissent. Nipping rebellion in the bud is easier than one may expect: just repackage it and market it as suicidal angst and a base paean to the flesh.

Simply Americanize it!

The Alienist

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The following comments are for "The Destruction of Dissent"
by The Alienist

Pound those nails!
As usual, Alienist,
you have taken we readers to a place we might not have expected to go. This is thought-provoking. As a cynical American, I have come to expect our government to turn any well-organized resistance against itself in a variety of creative ways.

In all fairness, though, the sixties were scary times. There was a great deal of uncertainty about safety, law and order, and even an overthrow. The news had no need to be sensationalized back in that day, because it was scary as hell, even when understated. In context of the Jim Crow South, which wasn't exactly racing to a 180 degree turnabout, the idea of a militant black group scared the shit out of white society. It was as if they realized collectively that they had pushed too hard, too often, for too long.

Anyway, you did a great job with your position, as always. I have researched quite a bit about black Americans and can only complement you on your thorough knowledge of the subject matter.

( Posted by: brickhouse [Member] On: September 17, 2004 )

kudos alienist
wow, and I thought I was the only person who felt this way. Have you ever read the book "don't believe the hype", by farai chideya? You'd love it and it would add to your already indepth research on the subject, a great write, which few will probably read, because most could care less and have no qualms about letting that type of destruction continue within the black community, and before I have to duck remember people I said most., thanks alienist I enjoyed it....Bob:)

( Posted by: poetryman [Member] On: September 17, 2004 )

I really enjoyed reading this, it covered so much ground in so little time.

There are people fighting this ineer destructive force wich you describe. There are quite a few famous people from the 'ghetto' community who make me sick, making the young black and white people look up to them, when all they are doing is treading all over the black community and giving nothing back that is positive (50 Cent).

There are immensly important black figureheads out there, unfortunately, if they are not accepted as being pallatable by white middle american audiences they are not given a very strong voice on any level.

It just seems an endless circle.

This is a great editorial Mr. Furnish (Sir). It rmeinded me of 'To Sir With Love' by E R Braithwaite.

Alex :-)

( Posted by: londongrey [Member] On: September 18, 2004 )

dissent revisited
Another thing is your mention of how black dissent has become Americanized. We have a way of doing that, don't we? When you look out the window and see the young guys wearing their caps backward; or you hear the white guys listening to their hip hop, it makes you wonder if that is really a bad thing; white folks wallowing in black culture. After all, the only way to water down dissent is to shift the parameters.

( Posted by: brickhouse [Member] On: September 18, 2004 )

deep observation brick, very eye opening

( Posted by: poetryman [Member] On: September 18, 2004 )

politics of dissent
Lilia summed it up in her comments above. Just wanted to tell you that I know what your talking about too, and it pisses me off seeing all this going on and then having to deal with morons who haven't got a clue. Morons who spit out their ignorant racist venom with no understanding of the fact that they too are just players in a grand game of political & cultural manipulations.

( Posted by: DieBaronHobskewward [Member] On: September 18, 2004 )

Thanks for your positive feedback...
...and I can tell you that what enabled me to write this editorial was my experience as an inner city schoolteacher and a student of African American culture and history.
I consider the study of African American history to be central to learning labor history (the history of the Working Class), because their struggles are generally coincident with the struggles that the Workers across the board must truly face, even though they are often unaware of it.

( Posted by: The Alienist [Member] On: September 18, 2004 )

I was thinking about this more and more since I last posted.

I think it draws an odd comparison when looking at the UK's racial past and the USA's.

In the 50's we had HMS Windrush, bringing over hundreds of Jamaicans and West Indians. Yet, if history books can be believed, there were no overt signs of racism, in fact, almost the opposite, there were even many mixed relationships and marriages. Yet over time things have steadily worsened, partly thanks to the influence of Jamaican gang culture coming over via the US.

Part of the problem in the UK has been the barriers placed by whatever group, to an almost insular level. My dad grew up in Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan, and he has always thought it odd that in these countries they are, or were in his day, relaxed about cultural exchange, yet in the UK there seems to be a tightening of social rules. There are the obvious stereotypes, but is this the same in the US?

Does this insular, I need to use the word 'air' of certain groups, contribute towards misunderstanding and in some cases hatred? I suppose it does. It's very frustrating that there seems to be this relic of our forbears shutting down progress.

Alienist it would be interesting to see your viewpoint on this.

Alex :-)

( Posted by: londongrey [Member] On: September 18, 2004 )

At times...
...what you need to realize is that the criminal minority of a group will generally be the loudest, and with the amplification of racism, they will become the most visible and actively observed. Thus, such a segment of a given national population will become in many ways the de facto representative of an entire group of people. I'm particularly saddened that this has happened to Jamaicans, for whom I have a great deal of affection. I feel they have a great deal in common with my mother's people, the Irish (especially the Greens of the North), and this is one more reason why they're so much like us: we were criminalized everywhere we went, too, and at times even for good reason. One movie to watch that will explain this is 'Gangs of New York'.

( Posted by: the alienist [Member] On: September 18, 2004 )

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