I’ve been meaning to write this for a long while now and it’s finally come to a head after an article I read and debate I had about Dr. Umar Johnson, a well known figure in the push for education reform. Along with Dr. Johnson’s information on the disparities and inequalities in the American education system comes a host of rumors, fraud allegations, and angry people who disagree with his strong opinions.
Anyone who stands in front of a microphone and professes their truth must know that the spotlight shines on not just your words, but every part of your being. In an age of celebrity spectacle, listeners want to know about one’s personal life, beliefs, opinions, economic status, and any and everything they feel they are entitled to. But are they?
I wrestle with this notion simply because the general public want privacy and yet seek to expose those that give the information they may need. No one man has all solutions to the fallacies we are surrounded by, but is it right to expose the dirt on someone that isn’t relevant to the message they are attempting to get across? I think not.
I have my issues, some of which you have seen in past blog posts, videos, or by knowing me personally. I won’t run from them nor will I divert attention from them because my struggles (past or present) make me who I am. But I would rather the masses hear my faults from me and make a determination about my character rather than someone who either has no clue or holds a one sided view. There’s 3 sides to every story, and while the people harmed may profess an altercation to be grander than what it is, the person who caused the harm will minimize the situation to prove a contrasting point; and then the truth may or may not surface.
I speak from my experience in being involved in the Black community as an activist and poet, and in this realm there are those who will expire all means to destroy the credibility of another person publicly. Those standing in the public eye are well aware or should be aware that this is the case. It’s not fair, and it’s spiritually and mentally draining to have your personal business blasted on a mass scale. But honestly, I think having your personal life exposed does 2 things; 1. It gives understanding followers a history of your background, and instead of taking it for face value, most people with discernment can understand through your past why you were given the task or gifts you were given. 2. It also gives the people that despise you something to talk about. Since destroying you is their focus, gossip keeps your name spoken and in the hearts of those awaiting your downfall. Think about it this way, to gossip takes more than one person, so you know that at least 2 or more people are speaking of you at any given time. So embrace the rumors, clear them up or clarify as needed.
The people doing the exposing should also ask themselves 2 questions; 1. Is the information I’m exposing a set back or a move towards progression for the movement I am a part of? Anyone can justify wrongdoing by proclaiming its for a greater good, and as The Honorable Bill Cooper says, no one wakes up in the morning and sets out to do evil, they literally do not perceive what they’re doing is wrong. Asking yourself how your information affects those around you shows that you’re about the movement without showcasing a biased agenda.
2. Is the information you’re exposing relevant to the message the exposed person is giving or what they stand for? When we use our imagination one can find so many ways to connect dots that have no relevance to one another. For instance, in the article I read about Dr. Johnson, the author exposed that he has 2 open child support without any mention of the circumstances that led to court involvement. I’ll leave my perception on child support to the side (for now…) but what does that have to do with the need for an education system that engages young Black boys? Yes one can say that apples and oranges are both fruits that grow from trees, but again the relevance to one another are very remote and distinctly different.
There is no such thing as a perfect anything, except Love, and even that is tainted by our perceptions of what we think Love is. In an age where so many people are breaking their silence and spreading messages of injustices and solutions to them, it would be difficult to hear someone speak out that doesn’t have a few spots on their past or even present that are not proud of. That in no way means that we should condone someone’s dirty deeds, or their use of their persona to bring mischief into them, but how can any man expose another for things they have done when we all have fallen short or dropped the ball in various areas of our lives. People have a habit of judging a man not by his heart or the message delivered, but from the dirt we can expose about them, which can easily be concluded as wrong and immoral. We look for perfection in those that possess the bravery to stand in front of the masses and yet we are not perfect ourselves. Most people lack discernment and understanding and yet we seek this in the leaders we watch and follow. Is it because they are doing something you never did, or have courage that you never had?
With that being said, how easy was it to turn away from the known fact that Dr. Martin Luther King was an adulterer? How quickly did we forget that Hillary Clinton knew about the of smuggling weapons through Libya, into Syria, and into the hands of known terrorists? We knew and saw so many contradictions surrounding people in leadership positions and yet those facts are swept under the rug and emptied from the American mind.
I doubt this nation will ever get to a point where tabloid bullet points don’t make us salivate. But before discrediting the leader, we should first self-scrutinize, and then lead ourselves.
Dr. Umar Johnson is one man with a checkered past and arguably present, but the information he gives can be used to build institutions and programs that will outlive the gossip, rumors, or even dirty facts about the man himself. Now his opinions are very questionable and anyone has the right to disagree with them, but I encourage you not to look at the man, which is human flesh, understand the gift within the man, which is divine.
10.10.15. For those that either missed the occasion or have been in hiding for the past few months, this catchy set of numbers was the date for the Nation of Islam led “Justice or Else” Rally held on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington DC. Black, brown, red, and yellow people came from all over the nation to demand justice for the inequalities and hypocrisy in America today, and it was also the mark of the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March which was a significant milestone and achievement in the Black American community. Aside from all this, 10.10.15 was also an opportunity for people from various walks of life to hear the “infamous Farrakhan” address the masses without any media filters or sound bites adding to or taking away from his words of wisdom.
The sun was beaming that day and a slight breeze circulated the energy emanating from all that were in attendance. From the back of the crowd all the way to the podium placed at the steps of the capitol building you could feel the pride exuding from smiling faces, and of course there were others with looks of concern. One could see that the question being whispered under everyone’s breath was “Ok, what is the else?”
The Fruit of Islam Security team did an excellent job, making sure their presence was felt everywhere on the grounds and the gracefulness and hospitality of the Nation of Islam’s women was by far one of the best I had ever witnessed, especially given the magnitude of the event . There were no extreme incidents that I can recall or heard of, and over all it was a major success for the Nation of Islam, bringing people together from across the country that would have never crossed paths under other circumstances.
I remember being in the company of men who attended the Million Man March in 1995 and over hearing them vividly depict the euphoric solidarity and brotherhood between the men who attended the march 20 years ago. Men of all shades of Black left empowered and united. They left with a self determined plan of action to take back to their communities and got to work implementing programs and solutions to turn things around in their respective homes. I also recall how they said it took only a matter of months for the solidarity to crumble, and for plans to foil into a heap of nothingness in their wastebaskets .
On 10.10.15, that heap of nothingness began to form minutes after the call to disperse. We left with no plan of action to combat the injustice we face currently besides the resurface of an economic boycott against Christmas. We left disconnected with no signs of unity and comradery other than The Minister asking us to embrace someone we didn’t know after his speech. But after our embrace, we left back to our discontented Black and brown individuality, still in fear of being killed at a “routine” traffic stop, or never making it out of the circumstances we call our homes. We just left. …
After all the hype that engulfed the “Justice or Else” Rally, after all the social media selfies taken around D.C., and after the overwhelming disappointment for the lack of news media coverage, we as a people still don’t know what the “Else” is after nearly one month from dispersing from the State Capitol grounds. Or could it be that we weren’t ready to receive what the “Else” could be?
After a medley of different speakers, leaders, and faces of influence, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered a powerful speech, laced with provocative words and prophesy. Speaking on the state of America, the state of Black America, the future of Black America, and what to do about the events that are soon to come.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan made some damaging remarks about the scheming and plotting of the American government, it’s political and religious leaders, and America’s lack of empathy for the condition of the impoverished, despite America touting itself as a leading nation on the world stage. But even with the plethora of information that circulates our information networks to back up what was given in The Minister’s speech, what will we do with all this information? What will we do after the dots are outlined and connected?
Do we continue to buckle under the tyranny that has trampled our will for so long, or is it time now to push back against a decaying way of life? Do we continue this effort towards complete freedom as a non-violent struggle, or do we strap on the boots and arm ourselves against the raging machine called the American government? No leader will willingly admit that the answer is no one has the answer. But history tells us that every empire that has ever risen to greatness by inhumanity, has fallen by the collective hands of humanity with a solidified idea. Whether led by a religious mantra spitting general, or a charismatic outspoken dictator, history has shown us that when a collective people rally behind an idea that makes sense to them, the collective people can tip the scales of justice to favor the oppressed.
Neither the oppressed nor the oppressor can predict the spark that ignites the flame of revolution, but once it’s set ablaze the side with less to lose will most likely be victorious. An oppressed people sometimes see their condition as hopeless and look at their surroundings in despair, but remember that there is more strength in fighting for a life as opposed to fighting for a way of life, and when you are dissatisfied with your current condition, everything that you come across could potentially be preparation for what is to come.
So are you ready for the “else?” Not many were on 10.10.15. We left inspired, but not prepared. We left informed, but not engaged. Some left angry, but not determined. Most left as individuals, even though we came to be unified. In the end, we’re all very much dissatisfied, but it’s imperative that we determine what satisfaction looks like as a collective, then move from there.
In so much as there are men of deceit, there are also men of valor and honor. So much as there are men of war and hate, there are also men of love and peace. In so much as there are men, who build and dwell in the web of lies, there also be men, who envision a world beyond the veil of darkness, and search for the beauty in truth, even despite not having tasted the bittersweet nectar of truth’s glory while they exist.
I appeal to the latter of these men.
I call on the presence and wisdom of my beloved elders, to speak through me their visions of life and liberty, of love and regeneration. I call on those eternal men, who’s blood still flow and beat the drums of eternal hearts, those men to whom we look towards and stare in their captured gazes for guidance in times of turmoil and strife. Those men, who gave us pillars to lean on in times of lack, whose words give us food for strength and dignity. For their fight, like ours, is not with the physical flesh and blood or bone and muscle, but against the unseen vices of evil council and evil deeds, evil thoughts and evil hierarchy. Their struggle, like ours, is against greed and tyranny, against the pitting of man against man, man against nature, man against the knowledge of himself. I call on the remembrance of those men, who spoke truth to power, and whose truth will ring the bell of freedom that chimes and sways in each and every one of us to this day.
It is now time for today’s Men of Valor and Virtue, to carve his presence in the mantle of eternity; living in the moment will not grant anyone everlasting life. The mediums we choose to use now to express our thoughts and visions, need to be mediums of safekeeping, stored and incorruptible. For the time is come when we shall know the meaning of “he who controls the press…” Press and history is a tool and a weapon, a brick and a gun. They can be used to build connections, as well as destroy the existence of nations.
Men, we have been reduced to nothing but our word. Our word is all that we own. From these words we will shall plant seeds that will bear fruit past the existence that we’ve been granted. From these words we are to utter truths, even when our voices quiver and our hands sweat, or when our stomach rumbles from hunger and our muscles clench for the blow, we shall give our truth until our last breath is taken.
The People have asked questions to the rulers of nations to find out they are accountable to no thing. The rules that the common man submit to are not the rules that govern the governors. The lot of us understand this and yet, the lot of us have no idea where to find shelter, since the very ones that govern provide the shelter for the governed. How have we fallen into this condition? We search for some one or thing outside of ourselves to blame, when the answer is clearly found from within.
We, the people, have given up our own powerful might. We have relinquished our right to freedom by allowing someone, assumed to operate in common interests, to determine the definition of what freedom should appear to be. No one should define the freedom of a being other than the being itself, whether that being be a sole person, a group of people, a neighborhood, or a nation.
We, as an entire race of human beings, have allowed ourselves to be defined by men with no internal moral compass, thus, the definitions these men conceive and the laws they create, govern and define only the carnal nature of man, disregarding the notion that man is equally spiritual.
Those of you, who have chosen to navigate this world spiritually, who have tasted the funk of persecution with pure hearts, who have lost the strength of your voices by desperately crying out for justice for yourselves and your neighbor and yet, sought no revenge, who have stayed the course of righteousness no matter how far you have strayed into the entrenching wilderness; because you’ve quieted yourselves and harkened your ear to The Voice above all others, you will enter into Peace because you have sought after it diligently.
Those of you who have chosen to follow the voices of spectacle, who have not looked down at your feet to witness the blood and tears that stain the rungs of your ladder, who hold tightly your grasp on the treasures that is in man’s heart, who rejoice only at the loss of an enemy and and cry only at your own losses; you too will find your peace.
I speak not of deities or dogma. Nor do I site religion, or claim to be anyone but a man, with a platform to speak my truth. In the end, like all things, it is the being who decides its own direction.
Listen for your truth. Then follow only it.
My heart danced violently inside my chest as I pulled up to strobe light hues of blue. Frantically searching for answers to forgotten questions I found him, limp from the 78 bullets that extinguished his premature luminance. I cried out, but guilty hands offer no protection and served me evil stares.
That’s a question we should be asking ourselves. It’s painful, and it provokes images in American minds of Black people lying in streets, or viral videos of unarmed Blacks being murdered or choked out by police and left for dead. We also have the unspoken cases of numerous Black women being beaten and murdered or vigilante groups shooting Blacks with no remorse or repercussion.
It’s a question that is not thoughtfully nor honestly considered because if we took the few seconds to ask ourselves “Do Black lives matter?” instead of hash tagging it freely to social media posts, we would unequivocally conclude that no, Black lives don’t matter much at all.
Black lives don’t matter whether in Africa or in America and they haven’t since the ruthless beginning of the British owned American Empire. In order to fully grasp this concept one can not view individual incidences of police misconduct, but you must begin to look at the brutality in its entirety and at the perpetrators of the abuse as one entity; one institution, or one imperialistic and supremacist force.
From it’s beginnings it wasn’t just Black lives that didn’t matter to this unruly institution, but poor white lives and Native American lives didn’t matter either. This mental disease has spread as the American Empire has spread, so now Iranian lives don’t matter, Palestinian lives don’t mean a thing, Africans lives are wiped out by the millions and we can see evidence of this epidemic in all darker skinned nations around the world. But I digress…
Black lives do not matter to a specific and very small portion of the world’s population who are blinded by the frailty of the U.S. dollar and imperialistic dreams. But unfortunately this population creates policy in this country. The economic system of Capitalism at its core is designed to separate and exploit the masses of people in all races that are subjected to its force, while exponentially increasing the wealth of a few, which primarily happen to be white and Jewish elites. Capitalism is not and never will be an inclusive institution and its practitioners do not have self imposed morals. It’s inhumane, and cold to those who sweat under its tyranny. Now, because we live in a society where information is disseminated within seconds, one can easily see the effects of how this economic system is brutally enforced in America and around the world.
Wars on those relegated to poverty, rumors of wars against darker skinned nations, mass incarceration and alarming violence rates in the U.S. are just a few indications of how the American Empire really feels about a Black life.
Time and time again the world is given blatant evidence that a Black person standing up for his or her rights will end with them laying down in their own blood. The police departments across America are not at all concerned with how much you think you know about the law because the American laws simply don’t apply to Black or brown people. Police are insurance agents for the protection of State property. They are not here to protect and serve the middle class, working poor or poverty stricken. They serve an entity called “The State,” in which this State is controlled by corporations and power elites who consider human life as disposable, if that life doesn’t serve the interests of the State.
Its imperative that Black people understand that they have very little rights in America because they are not considered American citizens. They are depicted as a liability to the State, a burden to the country, or at best a necessary evil to the American way of life.
This conception does not include the incarcerated, who are viewed as commodities rather than liabilities, but still equally disposable. As a commodity you are property, which means you are bought and sold, harshly worked or taken out swiftly with no repercussion awarded to the murderous hand that delivered the fatal blow. To a capitalist mind, these lives are only worth the profit they can produce. No healthcare, no SSI, no labor unions. These men and women have no voice, no rights, and are often only remembered by those who are forgotten and suffering on the outside of the prison system.
Black lives don’t matter because on the US economic ladder they proudly hold their grips on the bottom rungs because they think they have advanced. Despite the minimal “progress” that’s been made through Civil Rights and politics, Black leaders left behind no agenda, no land, no resources for the masses of Blacks to own or bargain with, which shows that begging and taking beatings for an oppressive people to accept you as equal does not increase anything but your tolerance for more pain, which is exactly what Blacks in America have received by the hand that feeds them. From other Blacks they’ve been given pacifiers, tokens, and barricades in which they can express their frustration.
Despite the overwhelming display of intelligence by Black people in a culturally irrelevant education system, we are still told that the economic gap is due to lack of education without consideration to the billions of dollars that flow through Black churches every Sunday, or any of the other parasites that bleed Black economic development. We all can agree that Black students are historically malnourished by the American Education System, but when a spiritually oriented people are spiritually and historically deprived it creates a population of consumers awaiting a savior that looks like the creators of the condition they are in, which is literally insane. Black people, its time to define what wealth, education, and spirituality look like to you instead of carbon copying the ideas given to you.
Not all people feel that Black lives aren’t worth a damn. Eventually there will come a time when we as a human race will realize the only qualifications you need to be brutalized by the State is no access to wealth, a protest sign, or a revolutionist’s mentality. That’s it. But for Black people living in America your status, gender, affiliations, career, or demeanor doesn’t matter and it hasn’t for a long time, we’ve just been one or all of three things. 1. ) Made too comfortable by tokens and infatuations of equality to see what has taken place around us, 2.) Too docile to stand up and say I’ve had enough, or 3.) Too narrow minded and tolerant to see the big picture as it relates to the entire race of Black people and not just your own phenomenology.
I ask…. What will the masses of Black people do in increasing discomfort or when the discomfort becomes unbearable? Will we stay in the pot of water until its boiling and too late? Or will Black people get out of the water and find the culprit who turned up the heat? Learn from the mistakes of the boiled frogs of our past and then ask yourself, if black lives do matter, how much do they matter you?
Gang injunctions are a serious issue in CA, disproportionately locking up men and women of color in unprecedented numbers. My hope is through this spoken word piece more people will be aware of this overreach in civil liberties, and that justice will prevail for the men and women who are unjustly sitting in California jails awaiting trials at this very moment. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/EndGangInjunctions
At times I wonder what this world is bringing forth.
Living in hell
Or are we inching towards a heaven?
I don’t have the answers but i feel the pains increasing
And its hurts;
But victories can never come first.
There’s a struggle in preparation,
And in these times we’re facing something bigger than any one man.
See we must understand that
Leadership is dead without collectives,
So look at your perspective,
And find those who your mind aligns with….