Monday, April 19, 2010
My Dear Editor:
Let me address the criticism to my article “Unhealthy Rhetoric”, and separate the genuine from the bigoted hate mail. Eddie Griffin is a nice guy compared to what most African-Americans are saying in secret. Most see the Tea Party as the new KKK. I see it as a cover from Racism.
Now let’s not be “intellectually lazy” as one critic accuse of me. The word “Racism” should not be confused with bigoted racial hatred. The latter is an outgrowth of the former. Racism is an ideology that precedes the outward emotional demonstration of racial hatred.
Who has the power to define, anyway? Who has the power to define what Racism truly is?
The black intelligentsia specifically defined Racism as “the ideology of white supremacy practiced by class suppression along racial lines.” For us, this is not a debatable concept. It is simply the definition we put forth to the United Nations in 1964, when “We Charged Genocide” against the United States for the second time in history- the first being submitted in the 1950s by Paul Robeson and company, and later amended by Malcolm X and the black intelligentsia, of which Eddie Griffin was an original party.
Some Fort Worth Weekly critics accuse me of being a “racist” because I described what I saw as “unhealthy rhetoric” in the Tea Party movement and at its rallies. This accusation of my being a racist is a throwback to the Mike Wallace interview of Malcolm X around 1964. Wallace accused Malcolm X of being a “black racist”. Malcolm, on the other hand, pointed out that Racism was a political ideology like other “ism” (Nazism, communism, socialism, totalitarianism). The ideology was founded long ago on the premise of white supremacy and the myth of the “White man’s burden”, as the sole conveyor of civilization.
A person cannot change the word to change the reality of race relationships. Calling a black man a racist, Malcolm X pointed out, was like calling the victimized the victimizer. No so, only a few Negroes would subscribe to the ideology of white supremacy. And, in those, would be found a “racist” in black skin.
That the United Nation rejected our definition because, as they said, any race can oppress another race, and technically be called “racism”. White supremacy was more evident under the “apartheid” system in South Africa.
Nevertheless, the definition and meaning of the word stuck with those of us who believed in the validity of Malcolm X’s argument. Webster dictionary was no authority either, seeing that it defined “Negro” as “something dead”. And, we refused to let others put words in our mouths, as was customary for slave owners to put words in the mouth of the slave. For the first time in history, we spoke for ourselves and defined our own reality, as we saw it.
One of the Seven Principals of Liberation was Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Meaning no disrespect, it would be inappropriate for someone to tell me what to see and what to say. I saw in the Tea Party movement is what I saw. And, I am not the only one.
[See also “Brutal Political Debate Once Again Widens A Cultural Divide” by Elisabeth Ivy, Star-Telegram, April 19, 2010; and “Remember, Some People Take Battle Cries Seriously” by Kathleen Parker, Star-Telegram, April 18, 2010]