A Poem for Raashanai (My Girl)- Death By Parental Abuse

I wept today for my girl. Well, she wasn’t my girl, but then she was, because she was all of ours. And before she was ours, she was God’s who gave her to us. She was not really unique, but then she was. She was nobody, but everybody. Every girl is her twin. She’s just like everybody’s else’s..girl. She just wanted love and to play and to be cared for and nurtured and maybe have girls of her own someday like other girls, like every girl, like every woman who was ever a girl, someone’s girl. But I lost my girl, she went away. Well, they took her away. I guess we SENT her away. My girl, your girl, our girl. She’s gone and I can’t see her exactly but then I do. She’s STILL my girl and your girl and all those other girls we got and they need the same thing and her spirit tells me if you don’t want to lose your girl, you have to take care of your girl. Cause if you want your own girl, you got to have a girl and care for her so she becomes the woman who has the girl. I miss my girl. Today and every day. I wept and will weep more for my girl. My girl was my life, she is my life, she is all life. At least she went to the one who is also all life. I see my girl everyday, cause her face shows up on the faces of all these girls. Maybe I can love THEM, maybe I can care for them and they can become women who have girls and boys who grow up to be men and women who love girls (and boys too!) And I bet some of those girls will be just like my girl, Raashanai.

In Defense of Defense of the People

The necessity and right of a people to defend itself and its interests is already established within the learned base of experiential knowledge of all people throughout time and is not subject to a particular character of people and is therefore similarly necessary and right for Afrikans collectively. This is neither a call to rioting nor vigilantism, but collective self-defense and only a leadership tending to cowardice, ignorance, or purchased by those who make the community victim, would continue to completely ignore its necessity and the need for its implementation in some form in the face of the present circumstances and with the stated intent of protecting Afrikan lives, property, and institutions.

And collective self defense, for the uninitiated is NOT a bunch of people walking around with guns. Nor does “collective” mean simply more than one person or a set of individuals in the same place and time, THAT does not make a collective. A collective must have collective training, collective leadership, collective operating procedures, collective coordination, collective financing and a collective agenda.

Similarly, collective self-defense would not center around guns. Certainly guns are tools that must and would be part of its arsenal, but a true collective-defense mechanism would and should have the widest possible array of training and tools in avoiding and defusing personal confrontation and managing communal disputes peaceably, since the primary goal would and must be preventing the need or perceived need for the external law enforcement structures of the neocolonial power to enter our communities with a license to kill.

Sorry. I’m not into “Kingism.”

I’m sorry. I’m just not into “Kingism.” Wrong guy. I don’t have a “dream”, although I do dream. For my people and for humanity I have a VISION. I am not asleep but AWAKE. And VISIONS require visionary leadership, which in turn implies ACTION towards the building of institutions and structures to carry out the vision.

And by the way in saying I am not into “Kingism”, I am not casting aspersion at King himself, because HE was an activist, doing real work. Most of these people claiming his legacy are doing nothing or at least nothing that really relates to moving forward the real agenda for the people he died for.

Sorry. I am not a “humanist.”

I attempt in all my interactions with other human beings to be humane. If I am able and it is warranted, I try to be humanitarian. This is the charge of God as well as central to my own political and ideological commitments. In my estimation, none of that has to do with Eurocentric “humanism” or “humanist” philosophy which I believe to be an ideological ruse. Eurocentric humanist philosophy, besides being rooted in essentialism and Platonism, argues that there are these things known as “human rights,” which we presumably acquire as a function of our biological humanity. That is a fine IDEA. But it has no foundation in REALITY. In Eurocentric REALITY, rights are extended and maintained and withdrawn, as the case may be, as a result of the exercise of power. They do not exist as a functions of our biology but as functions of our social power, individual and collective, to compel them from society. Those who have relatively less power in this matrix, find their “rights” minimal, fleeting in duration, and severely limited in scope. Therefore the pronouncement of humanism in the context of social injustice is tantamount to a surrender to the status quo. Every social justice worker must strive to be humane and humanitarian, for this is central to their political success at achieving justice. But they must, in so doing, avoid Eurocentric liberal “humanism” which says in effect, we are all equal as humans when it is not that way anywhere in the Eurocentric world and when that world is ideologically oriented to prevent exactly the kind of non-humanist political interventions that would bring about social justice.

For example, take the “right to life.” Certainly as Jefferson said in his Eurocentric humanism, we have the right to life as the foundation for all the others. Yet, police brutality destroys that life in practice. All the arguments about the physical humanity of Afrikans will make no difference in that situation. What will is the creation and maintenance of countervailing collective power that will stop or at least severely discourage the forces arrayed against the idea of Afrikan life from taking it. When those forces are securely established, universally recognized, and effective, THEN we may speak intelligent of an Afrikan “right to life” in Babylon.

The Afrikan Kentucky Derby

I would describe Afrikan political reality globally and domestically now as a bit like a Kentucky Derby entry gone wrong. As you may know, the Kentucky Derby is a famous horse race run at Churchill Downs once a year. On that day they actually run several races. The current leadership, so called, is a lot like the owner of one of the horses in the competition. The people are the horse. So they enter us in the Derby. The starting gun goes off. First problem, it actually shoots us (the horse). And so we stumble and fall in pain and suffering, but they manage to get us upright by singing and cajoling and telling us to believe in a dead dream and we struggle against all odds to make our way around the track. Now of course, what should happen is that we should be taken off that track entirely and have our wounds tended to and ourselves prepared for retirement fro the sport. But the leaders persist because the Derby is the system. So the jockey rides us, and we trudge on. The race was over long ago, as it is one of the quickest in the sport. The odds of us finishing at odd are slim and there is no victory to be gained by doing so anyway. Even if we crawl across the finish line, we will probably be dead when we do and there will be no band of roses waiting for us, just a glue factory or a butcher. It’s time to get off the same beaten track, dump the jockey, and check in with the doctor. I have a different prescription.

Time for a Change in Leadership

We need to replace the historical 60’s era Afrikan leadership whose primary objective was towards integrationism and assimilation within external cultural realities. The reason? That latter orientation impedes them from truly believing in or advocating much in the direction of self-determination. Each step towards kujichagulia is for them either (a) a waste, since they don’t believe in the potential of their own people to provide for themselves or (b) a danger, because if the people UNDERSTOOD that they could do for themselves, their own legitimacy as guardians and managers of the people on behalf of the system would be undermined. These leaders and their organizations should and must be systematically replaced with a group of younger warriors, technically, physically, and intellectually trained to be future-oriented leaders focused on the construction and maintenance of our own cultural and social realities and institutions outside of Eurocentrism.

Disturbing The Peace

The most blatant lie told to Afrikan people is the notion that those who defend themselves are breaching the peace, and therefore “violent.” Yet, precisely the opposite is factually the case. The one who attacks Afrikan people, their homes, and their institutions is himself or herself or themselves breaching the peace. Any actions by Afrikans collectively to restore themselves can never be violent or breaching of the peace, but restorative thereof.

Seeking to restore justice when there is an injustice that has been committed or that is ongoing is never a breach of the peace, for where there is injustice there is no peace to be broken, certainly not for those who are victimized by it. There is only a status quo reality imposed by the unjust power which people of conscience must challenge.

Serious Times

It’s time to get serious. There is nothing more serious than the taking of the lives of Afrikan men, women and children and if we don’t get serious about THAT, whether that death comes from us or from external forces, then there is no reason to get serious or claim to be about anything else and those who oppress us know that.

The Up and Down Sides of Discernment

One of the blessings and curses of spiritual life is the power of discernment. It allows you sometimes to really see the essence of a person you interact with. Sometimes you want so badly for that person to be the potential for who they could be rather than what you see, but inevitably circumstances will force you back to what you actually see and perceive and you have to deal with that. And sometimes it’s the other way around where you accept the truth about the other person, but you realize it’s you that is the problem. That you just can’t deal with certain aspects of who they are, despite whatever other redeeming and endearing qualities you see in them. In the interest of preserving whatever level of relationship you CAN have, you have to let go of the one you can’t. Maya Angelou said it and I still struggle with that lesson she taught. When someone introduces themselves to you, believe them, meaning of course, when you learn about the essential character of a person (good and bad) and how they operate and interact with others, you should accept that and your task then is to decide whether you can afford to engage them as they are. I would add the corollary. When you put on your nametag, believe yourself. That is, accept who you are and what you can and cannot deal with and don’t get into situations with people who violate your boundaries. My error is I often engage people based on the potential that I see in them and that I hope they see in themselves. Sometimes it works, but often I end up deeply disappointed as they end up just being them And I end up getting unnecessary irritated, in a sense “setting myself up for irritation” because I chose to live in the realm of hope rather than reality.  I will learn this lesson, I know, no matter how long it takes, because I seem to be unable to move past it. That’s a signal that I must master it to grow.