America Won't Solve the Immigration 'Problem'
Several months ago when walking past the Department of Transportation building in Washington, D.C., a flyer pasted on a window immediately grabbed my attention.
"Native Americans," the flyer reminded passersby, "have been fighting illegal immigration since 1492."
Speaking of immigration, those forces in this country demanding that what they consider 12 million illegal immigrants be sent back from whence they came, will fail basically for the same reason that those European Americans who waited to send enslaved Africans back home failed in the 1800s.
Powerful economic forces, then and now, had no intention of deflating their profits by letting go of all that cheap (and in the case of the enslaved African, free) labor. No wonder it is said, history repeats itself.
Public intellectual/entertainer, Michael Eric Dyson, Ph.D., was in top form at what seemed like his 500th book signing. He is a one-man book-of-the-month-club.
The man whom Jay Z fondly calls "a Hip Hop intellectual" had his audience smiling and laughing with glee as he rattled off anecdote after anecdote from his newest book, "You Know What I Mean," often using popular Hip Hop words to spice up his presentation. Dyson, a passionate defender of Hip Hop, including its Gangsta Rap element, was scornful of those who criticize the antics of numerous Hip Hoppers, accusing them of having wrongfully attacked them.
"Now (the critics) expect a genre and generation that they dissed to bow down at their feet, but the dynamics have changed. The kids (italics mine) are grown and successful." One relevant point that Dyson made in his presentation was that Hip Hoppers, including Gangsta Rappers, are not the only ones doing things demeaning to Black people in general and Black women in particular.
He lashed out at those Black ministers who deny women a more visible, well-deserved role in the hierarchy of their Black churches, and at those Black middle-class professionals who look down on low-income Black youths with attitudes bordering on contempt. I would include those Blacks on every class level who still say things such as "that girl is dark, but pretty" and "the man with the good hair" and those who use Black as an epithet (i.e. "You Black S.O.B.")
Has anyone out there ever heard a White person use White as an epithet? This kind of psychological infection needs public intellectuals such as Dyson and others to come up with concrete ways to combat it. It is too serious to be treated flippantly.
In a recent Newsweek article on Vice-President Dick Cheney by its premier political reporter, Evan Thomas, he includes the following: "Cheney is a long-practiced and reportedly sophisticated consumer of intelligence, by most accounts not easily fooled or panicked. So why was he duped by the likes of Curveball, the agent who sold U.S. intelligence the false report that Iraq was moving mobile biowarfare labs …? Perhaps it's impossible to know what goes on in the mind of a man who, on the morning of September 11, ordered U.S. fighters to shoot down multiple civilian airliners instead, the passengers brought down one of them, United Flight 93 …"
Some of us don't believe passengers brought that plane down. Common sense tells us that in the very crowded northeast corridor of this country, it is extremely hard to believe that that plane just happened to be brought down in a large empty field with nobody around. We believe that plane was traced and then shot down when it was over empty spaces just as, according to Thomas, Cheney ordered.
Anyone seriously interested in helping our people to maximize their potential, both as individuals and as a group of people, must be guided by the detailed organizing principles offered by Chancellor Williams in his brilliant, thought-provoking book, "The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great issues of the Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D." In the chapter, "The Shape of Thing to Come: A Master Plan," Williams explains what he means by race organization.
"Race Organization here means a nationwide organization of Blacks-only. But it means much more: the organization should be structured through all elements of the Black population, and on an active membership so vast that it would go far beyond the accepted scientific criteria for determining the wishes of a whole people. In other words, the first objective would be to have a representative scheme of organization that would, beyond all doubt, be the voice of Black America; and to keep this an actual fact by periodic polls as crucial issues affecting the race as a group arises. No such organization ever existed among us; hence, no real unity exists among us. Far from being a "separatist" movement, as these terms are generally understood, the organization would be cooperative in the fullest and most humane meaning of that word."
A. Peter Bailey is the former editor of "Blacklash," the publication for Malcolm X's Organization for Afro-American Unity, and Ebony magazine.