By Gloria Dulan-Wilson
I recently wrote a piece that appeared in one of my personal emails about a quote from the great Frederick Douglass. It was sent to me by Jimi Holloway, the Empresario, who gives those great parties in New York City. And it was sooooo true. I sent it out online, and got some very positive responses; then I got some very ascerbic ones. This one, that I'm responding to from Kamm Howard, really was out of line as far as I'm concerned. So the following is my response to him:
You know my brother, I do believe in giving credit where credit is due. And I also believe that charity and love begin at home, amongst us -we who call ourselves Black people. But we have the irritating habit of being our own worst critics. We are amazing in that regard.
Your statement about President Barack Hussein Obama is not only offensive, it's totally erroneous! Where do you come off saying the Brother has no race ( I assume by that you mean "Black") consciousness? It shows that you have no understanding of what Black consciousness is in the truest sense of the word.
Not only is he an exemplar of the statement quoted from Frederick Douglass, but you by your own words of criticism, have proven Douglass' point. I couldn't have done it or argued it better myself. Thank you! As the late Johnnie Cochran said, let me refresh your recollection:
"Though the colored (Black) man is no longer subject to barter and sale, he is
surrounded by an adverse settlement which fetters(ties up/hampers) all his movements. In his downward course he meets with no resistance, but his course upward is resented and resisted at every step of his progress. If he comes in ignorance, rags and wretchedness he conforms to the popular belief of his character, and in that character he is welcome; but if he shall come as a gentleman, a scholar and a statesman, he is hailed as a contradiction to the national faith concerning his race, and his coming is resented as impudence. In one case he may provoke contempt and derision, but in the other he is an affront to
pride and provokes malice.” Frederick Douglass, September 25, 1883
You stated, and I quote, "Barac Obama in this context, he is no Frederick Douglass. He does not possess a race consciousness in no shape, form or fashion..." And you're absolutely right (by the way you misspelled his name).
Barack Obama is not Frederick Douglass. He is most definitely his own man. He has not tried or pretended to be Frederick August Washington Bailey (a/k/a Douglass), but his wit, wisdom, courage, vision do most definitely match his. And while Mr. Douglass was taking his life in his hands through the promulgation of freedom and later integration and equality for former slaves; don't you ever think that Barack Obama is taking any less of a risk as the first BLACK President of the United States, trying to bring about just for all in a system that was/is build on injustice, inequality and lies. And don't you think for one moment that he does not know that his life is on the line.
These are the people who have murdered and martyred four heroes in the 60's two white and two Black (and those are the one who at the time were considered leaders). In case you don't recall: El Hajj Malik el Shabazz better known as Brother Malcolm X; Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States; Robert Kennedy, candidate for the Presidency of the US.
It's interesting. We act like Obama is our own personal poverty program. We act as if he is the president of the Black portion of the United States - not the entire US. Sorry, my brother, that dog won't hunt: he has to handle the entire pie, not just one slice. And if it's a cherry pie, he gets to deal with the pits right along with the fruit and the crust - if you catch my drift.
It's like being the head of a poverty program in the Black community - it's really an interesting phenomena: the whites are afraid they are going to do too much, be too successful, and make things work too well. The Blacks thought things weren't moving fast enough. Yes, now they have received affordable housing, free down payments and closing costs, but now they need you to walk on the moon, cater to them all day and night, hold their hands and take their kids to school. Or, the big question was "how come they got this and we didn't?" If it was the (ethnicity), they'd have this. If I were (ethnicity) they wouldn't say, or do, or have that - whatever that is.
And, yes, I totally believe that we deserve all the reparations, compensation, genuflecting, and groveling we can make the caucasians come up with for having put us through 400+ years of hell. But that's them - not Obama. Don't get it twisted.
At some point we have to learn to sit back, relax, enjoy this little victory, while we strategize our next moves and goals. Perhaps if we take a few steps back, we can actually see that this brother has made a tremendous difference for Black people, despite Blue Dog Dems; Tea Baggers, Rep-ugh-blicans, and negroes who don't love themselves or him.
And speaking of comparisons - I doubt very seriously, if given the chance, you could have done half of what the brother did, with as much grace, wisdom, bravery, and pure machoism as he has. I doubt seriously whether or not most of his critics have the character to take the hits and still deal with the situation, running an entire country, married to one of the most beautiful sisters on the planet, raising two beautiful daughters, deal with mother-in-law issues, and look that handsome.
But, don't get me wrong. I understand your angst. I understand the umbrage we take at having to continue to put up with the crap that's spewed out via the meanstream media day in and day out. I can understand the need to see some speed in terms of the amelioration of the problems in the Black community. He has addressed that, and continues to address that daily. I am not going to post it here, because you can get the info on other Blogs - including the BlackList, BlackAmericasWeb, and other websites.
What I'd like to do is offer some suggestions that others are doing that will actually work for us, if we work them. Like the great Marcus Garvey and Elijah Muhammad, we have to DO FOR SELF (individually and collectively) Like the Japanese, develop systems of quality control that is taught across the board to adults and youth alike, so that we surpass these crappy standards that permeate the country.
Develop a community based neighborhood restoration program, if you happen to live in or near run down, dilapidated, blighted areas, where the homes have been neglected, but can be brought to life with some sweat equity. Draw straws, or lots,or whatever, and decide which worthy family deserves the home, help them to rebuild it and move in.
Now, I'm recommending this as opposed to HUD, which went over to the dark side under the Bush administration and has not found its way back to where the humans live. You can put your municipality on notice that you are willing to do the work, for the building; no more boarding up and leaving ghosts in your community. Do your own extreme home makeover.
Do some joint teach ins with your local church, so our youth begin to learn more their Black history and their role in the future of America.
Get some of your skilled craftsmen to teach these youth a marketable trade.
Make a log of gratitude. It appears we have forgotten how to give thanks - and I'm not talking about the holiday, either.
Start a Black United Fund in your areas, where people can pool their resources via a credit union type program, and in turn use the funds to take care of essential needs.
Start a real community garden, that rivals the overpriced vegetables in the supermarkets. And wean your kids away from fast foods (and if not your kids, the neighbor's kids, or the school kids). Obesity is on the rise thanks to the fact that we've either forgotten how, or are too lazy to cook nutritional food.
Start a vintage Black books club and get the adults and kids to read classic Black authors, Black Power, by Dr. Charles V. Hamilton & Stokely Carmichael; Black Like Me; any and all books by J.A. Rogers; The Philosophies and Opinions of Marcus Garvey; the MisEducation of the Negro - Carter G. Woodson; anything by W.E.B duBois.
If you start now, by the time the primary rolls around in 2012, you'll have a whole host of reasons to make sure that Obama is re-elected, and you and your compatriots will have added greatly to the expansion of Black empowerment in your community.
Stay Blessed &
This is the onerous letter I received From: Kamm Howard on October 4, 2011 3:36 PM
Use this great FREDERICK DOUGLASS QUOTE the next time someone says something ugly about President Barack OBAMA
"Great quote and yes Frederick Douglass should be read often. However, he should be read in the context of being an integrationist who possessed a high degree of race consciousness. (Perhaps the highest degree of race consciousness that one could possess as an integrationist.) He was brilliant and his untiring work on behalf of Afrikan people, in particular to getting Ol' Abe to admit Afrikans into the Union Army for the purpose of freeing themselves, is the utltimate example of woriking the system for true freedom. For this, he must also be held as a champion of militant action on behalf of Afrikans in America.
If we look at Barac Obama in this context, he is no Frederick Douglass. He does not possess a race consciousness in no shape, form or fashion. Our gains in this country has only occurred in times when race concsciousness was the highest among the masses and the leadership. Garveyism, the New Negro are examples. The last race-conscious movement was the Black consciousness movement of the 60's and 70's. It was that time that we developed the highest degree of independence and as a result, received the greatest exertion of violent repression since enslavement by the American governmetnt - COINTELPRO and shortly thereafter, drug/chemical warfare - (that has resulted in the massive degradation of Afrikan culture and mass incarceration)
The masses have been on a downward trajectory since then. And the majority of our leaders are saying abandon race-first consciousness - strive to be a good American., (assimilate). To do so is certain death, as we see. Our salvation lies not in the salvation of America. If any one is looking, that is up in the air right now. Our salvation lies in a mass-movement fed by an Afrikan-cnetered consciousness - a 21st Century race-consciousness. See Afrikan-centered Consciousness Vs. New World Order or Blueprint for Black Power, both by Dr. Amos Wilson.
President Obama has asserted this alternative view on numerous occasions. "There is no Black America; there's just the United States of America." Aside from being the ultimate in self-delusion, this quote promotes ethnic cleansing which is a form of genocide under international law. (Ethbnic cleasening also consist of any program geared to forced assimilation or in the case of the President, decalring that we must assimilate in order to get any benefit from this country)
We have to be clear in our comparisons. Other wise we will raise one to a height he doesn't deserve, while at the same time lower one from the rightfully earned position of Sheps (Revered Ancestor). Mr. Douglass is a mighty Afrikan Sheps. Mr. Obama, history will show otherwise, although I'm sure he will be decalred a great American. A Luta Continua - The Struggle Continues, Kamm Howard NCOBRA,
"Power concedes nothing without a demand." Fredrick Douglass www.ncobra.org
Blackisbackcoalition.org Black consciousness is back; radical Black thought is back. Focused Black action is back. Black is Back!"
Now you see why I made the comments I did in my preliminary statement/response to him.
Now the following is my response to Jimi Holloway's quote from Frederick Douglass:
Hey Jimi - Wow!!
Thanks so much for this quote. Frederick Douglass is a personal hero of mine, having attended Douglass Sr. High School in Oklahoma City, which was named for him, while he was still living. I do try to re-read his book "My Bondage and My Freedom" every so often. But I have entirely missed this wonderful truism.
I am going to personally circulate it to friends and foes alike. This is a wonderful wake up call and a means by which we can deal with the continuous crap that emanates from the meanstream media, and mentally deficient, self effacing negroes at the same time. Thanx GDW
Subject: FREDERICK DOUGLASS QUOTE CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO OBAMA
114 years ago, Frederick Douglass provided the explanation for why people
are so hard on President Obama. The quote below is worth remembering next
time we are invited to pile on.
Though the colored (Black) man is no longer subject to barter and sale, he is
surrounded by an adverse settlement which fetters(ties up/hampers) all his movements. In his downward course he meets with no resistance, but his course upward is resented and resisted at every step of his progress. If he comes in ignorance, rags
and wretchedness he conforms to the popular belief of his character, and
in that character he is welcome; but if he shall come as a gentleman, a
scholar and a statesman, he is hailed as a contradiction to the national faith
concerning his race, and his coming is resented as impudence. In one case
he may provoke contempt and derision, but in the other he is an affront to
pride and provokes malice.” Frederick Douglass September 25, 1883
My subsequent message to my friends and readers:
I just received this quote from my great friend the Empresario, Jimi Holloway. Check it out, memorize it, put it on your wall, license plate, where ever. Frederick Douglass was/is deep!
And, if you want to see how truly deep we are and have been for quite some time, get a copy of any of Frederick Douglass' writing or speeches and prepare to be blown away. And I absolutely suggest you read his book "My Bondage and My Freedom." There is nothing like clarity and wisdom in the midst of confusion and lies to put you on the right path. And after you read it, don't stop there - share it with your friends, family, especially you kids - they are never too young or too old to learn. Also note, that white folks are reading our stuff - you see them on the subways, buses - they're reading Langston Hughes, Stokeley Carmichael, Frederick Douglass, and others. What are we reading? Some trash urban garbage that keeps our mindset in the lower levels of development. They are learning the lessons that were meant for us. Time to change that equation.
Stay Blessed &