"We declare our right on this earth...to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary."
-- Malcolm X [source: here]
I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X almost 30 years ago. My, how time flies, and how little changes. Anderson Cooper this week has been focusing on a CNN study which is a variation of a study by Mamie and Kenneth Clark from the 1940s identifying the degrees to which white supremacist/anti-Black and anti-Brown racism finds its way into the hearts and minds and attitudes and actions of U.S. citizens white and of color. Here is a video from a more recent study using dolls:
The Clark's study was used to make a case for desegregating primary and secondary schools. The U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous decision, Brown vs. Board of Education was delivered on May 17, 1956, fifty-four years ago this week.
What CNN will not likely tell you is how systems of oppression work, how white supremacy is deliberately manufactured and sold, how and where and in what ways it is bolstered, fed and fostered, in a country that was built on land soaked in the blood of 75 to 90 million American Indians by the blood, sweat, and tears of enslaved West Africans. One wonders, really, given the ecocidal failures of white Western companies like BP and other major oil corporations, what it will take for these corporate heads to be held fully to account and what that would even mean, given the levels of human, non-human animal, and environmental destruction.
One wonders how it comes to pass that white men on Wall Street pay each other millions in bonuses to run companies into that bloody, poisoned ground, then rehire each other to continue to do abominable work. Can someone name for me ten or one hundred (or however many corrupt Wall Street and banking and loan institution executives there are in the U.S.) Black women or men who get so rich by working so poorly?
Where does our rage go when millions of non-rich people have lost or are losing their homes, and in response to the reality that many people in the U.S. will never have safe and secure housing and will never be able to get a loan in the first place even from morally bankrupt banks? Where does our rage go when these corrupt white executives are allowed to keep their many homes, for summering and wintering, falling and springing back, leaving each empty for months at a time while others are homeless or packed into ghettos?
Where, please tell me, is the outwardly expressed, organised rage over straight white men pimping and raping women of all colors with impunity?
--over wealthy white men with corporate media on their side (and in their stock portfolios) promoting themselves as the heroes, the brains behind any good idea that isn't really any good at all, such as getting this country back on the right track by strengthening straight white male supremacy.
--over older white men in universities being tenured more than any other demographic while bemoaning the plight of the few white men who don't get into their first choice college, ignoring those who got in for utterly unethical reasons including because their grandfathers once attended and have since contributed to the college's endowment?
--over rich white men receiving medals of honor for orchestrating and ordering the slaughter of Iraqi and Afghan citizens?
--over rich white men being praised for donating money to "good causes" that, if examined closely, will only promote more destruction of Indigenous societies on continents like Africa?
Why is praise also being given to "selfless" white U.S. Christians for "adopting" Haitian children whose parents still live in poverty in Haiti? Why, one wonders, don't those well-meaning, upper middle class people take a bit of the money they will spend on that child and give it to the Haitian parents to raise their own child? The money would do a lot to support the entire family, to allow that whole family to remain whole. The answer is that doing so would preserve, rather than destroy, Black families and Black communities; support for communities of color has never been the agenda of the white members of my beloved country.
From the bloody start, the U.S. project has been for straight white men to rape and sexually dominate all women and destroy people of color--women and men. There's more sexual and wage slavery now than ever before. But do we really want to know about it? And will corporate media allow us to know it, to see it as such, rather than what Fox News tells you these misogynist-racist mass murders are: "defending and promoting democracy globally"? In response to this outright lie that the U.S. is promoting democracy anywhere, instead of a "Hallelujah" can we have a collective "Bullshit!" Because what the U.S. is promoting is corporate-sponsored, militarily-backed white het male supremacy. It won't be called this. It will be called promoting free speech by making sure that rich white straight men get richer by pimping pictures of exploiting girls and women around the world. It will be called liberating a country from an oppressive dictator. It will be called fighting the war on drugs, when the U.S. has interests in Afghanistan because it is a source of opiates and poppies, in one form or another, will put us all to sleep. What we, the good privileged citizens of the greatest country ever, are in fact doing is committing genocide, gynocide, and ecocide. The evidence is all around you, if you're willing to see what's actually going on and not be misled by morning talk show hosts and a very unfree press. When Time and CNN are conspiring to lie to us, you'd better be sure you're not getting the truth about much.
The media did and still will tell you the problem religion is Islam. The media did and still will tell you the thieving, diseased, dirty, immoral people are Black women and men, the poor, Mexican immigrants, and homosexuals threatening the moral fabric. The truth, however is that the slave-picked cotton cloth of Amerikkkan society was and still is cross-woven into face-masking white sheets and lynching rope. The media will not even mention American Indians, hoping they will all die off, making the manifestation of a destined project of genocidal slaughter something that can, finally, be located in the past. Finally, then, contemporary whites can say, with less guilt, "That didn't happen while I was alive, so why are we still talking about it?"
Malcolm X knew what was going on in the U.S., and what the it truly stood for. He knew that it stood for whiteness standing on the bodies of people of color in order to have its leader's heads rise up and be seen as strong and wise and proud. A white head on a dark body. The bald eagle is a fitting symbol. The wings, after all, allow flight; the body allows the symbol to soar. Malcolm called for those wings to serve another mind, another system of thought, another course of action toward another vision, one not seen through white eyes, nor invented and governed by a white man's mind.
Malcolm was prepared to lead racially oppressed people to use any means necessary to achieve for Black people what has not yet been achieved in this terribly racist society. In the U.S., however, no outspoken leader is allowed to use any or all means necessary, unless they are working for military and corporate interests, working to maintain and promote the ideologies and institutions imbued with white het male supremacy. Any and all means necessary are being used to rape and sexually enslave women and girls, and traffic them internationally. Any and all means necessary are being used to commit genocide and ecocide globally. These supposedly "moral endeavors" are being expressed, organised, and led by U.S. and other Western and Christian (not Muslim) straight white men.
Remember Malcolm X and what he stood for. Be clear about what is happening right now and what you will and will not stand for.
Some of my womanist and feminist sisters have also blogged about Malcolm X today. Here are some of those links:
Womanist Musings, here.
La Reyna's Journal, here.