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]
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In spite of its historic logic, one problem with the historic definition of "racism" is that it is too narrow, ideological and diffuse to help us in our analysis of much of what we see going on today.
Many whites are joining the Tea Party movement as a reaction against the election of a Black President. I believe their motive for joining the movement is aroused by the ideation, emotion and behavior they experience when they perceive President Barack Obama's skin color. If this is so, does it mean that those in the Tea Party movement are "racist"?
Maybe not. Unless we can convince the press that Tea Partiers are "practicing class suppression along racial lines" then we can't use your 1964 UN definition to convince the press that blind visceral hatred of Blacks regardless of class equals "racism". And, in America, if you don't fit the definition of "racist" then you are alright, and don't have a problem, even if you hate black people because the color of their skin simply unnerves you.
We've gotten as far as we're going to get and taught all that we can with the political and ideological definitions of racism. Now, we need to look at color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior of individuals and refer them to psychiatrists as necessary.
Is a billionaire white man who desperately wants to marry a generic Black woman--any Black woman--necessarily "racist"? Even though the result of their divorce would be to improve the economic status of his white wife?
Is a billionaire Cablanasian golfer who desperately wants to marry a white woman to be defined as a "racist," even though their divorce would improve the white woman's class status when she gets half of his wealth?
The definition provided by UN 1964 simply doesn't offer any insight into cases like this, because it focuses on societal patterns rather than individual psychiatric issues. Both perspectives are necessary. We can't cure cancer until we have demographic information about its prevalence and causes. We also can't cure cancer without looking with great particularity and specificity at individuals who have cancer right now and seeing what can be done to eradicate it from those individuals, one by one.
Just as there is no single societal cure for cancer, there is no hope for addressing color aroused ideation, emotion and behavior in individuals unless we begin to screen for, diagnose and treat this psychiatric illness in individuals who have the disorder.
Francis L. Holland