The Cultural Continuum
by Larry D. Crawford
If "paranoia is the sudden realization that everything is connected," then as conscious warrior scholars we must study everything. And, if Arthur Schomberg who taught John Henrik Clarke who taught Marimba Ani is correct in arguing that in order to understand what happened to Afrikans we must first understand the fundamental nature of European culture and its carriers, then we must study everything manifest by and connected to the European. You can understand the state of the oppressed only through a serious study of the history of the oppressor. (And there is no one better qualified to critique the oppressor than the oppressed.) Only armed with this knowledge will those attacked know better than to seek the validation of their attacker through his approval of their analysis and/or conclusions.
This makes sense especially as we attempt to forge new, but ancient, direction into the life of our community. Without understanding, we are lost. This lack of understanding typically shows itself among students of revolution who believe that killing off Europeans will solve their problems. Even though theoretically that may be a good start, at this point in our time it is highly questionable as the immediate solution.
If all people of color, or just plain ol’ Black folk (Afrikans) for that matter, woke up and decided to remove white folk from the planet, got out their oozies, 9's, machetes, plastique, ak’s, etc., went to work, and by the end of that day left no European alive, the problem would not go away. Why? Because we would not have changed the way we think and most of us think out of our European mind. Until that has changed, a so-called race war would do little but have us in charge of disrespecting our own brothers and sisters, killing each other, reaching the highest highs and going to all the other unnatural extremes that Europeans naturally do. Experience should have already taught us, before the revolution, that freedom must be defined as a process and not an end. It is a never ending battle.
Following this line of reasoning, if the mind behind Mel Gibson’s statement in Conspiracy Theory correctly thought that "a good conspiracy is an unprovable one," then we are lost, for that fact would make it impossible for us to understand what was, and continues to be, systematically done to us. If this were indeed true we could never uncover the cultural conspiracy of white supremacy. Conspiracy is never absolutely proven. We will never know if Hoover or Nixon or Bilderberger or Rhodes or Rockefeller or Bush lied about anything or everything because we can’t get into their minds. However, we can know our "truth," what we believe as a result of our study of European culture and its carriers. Our historical politics are what makes a true believer or disbeliever, not Steve Cokely’s analytical brilliance or the Conscious Rasta’s impeccable research. They cannot help us if we refuse to think for ourselves and of ourselves as Afrikans.
I have. And, I am a true believer, but through the mind of a cultural historian. I say cultural conspiracy because Europeans, subconsciously and consciously, as a historical people, continue to act against us even while their leading villains come and go. Irrefutable evidence of conscious intent can be found anytime and everywhere we can be found together with them after they fully extended themselves beyond their caves, regardless of who was in charge of the invasion, oppression or massacre. If any given individual mentioned as a threat to us in Frontline disappeared tomorrow morning, (s)he would be replaced before tomorrow noon. That is in no way to say that who the players of the game are, are not important. It only means that, for me, their names are less important than the driving, cultural force.
For these reasons, I contend that it should not be necessary to discuss the truth because a European cultural conspiracy against people of color has already been proven and could only be further unveiled with additional evidence. In fact, if we understand the interrelatedness of politics and "truth," we know that truth is political and in the hands of politically shrewd power brokers. And, if we know Europeans, we know that they are politicians to the core. No action is taken or statement made without political intent.
The European mind is a political one and for this reason constantly aware of the political effect of words and images as they are used for the purposes of manipulation. By "political" I mean to indicate an ego that consistently experiences people as others; as representatives of interests defined differently and, therefore, as conflicting with this "ego." The individual is concerned, therefore, with the way in which his verbal expression and the image he projects can influence the behavior of those to whom he relates...
But some of us are too afraid to question anything. We have internalized a miseducation that has trained us to believe the European, not think as Afrikans. Some of us require proof.
A recent, near perfect example of this menticidal tendency is the number of Blacks who question the "accusations" of CIA involvement in the presence and spread of drugs throughout our communities. To even ask or dialogue about whether or not government and private agencies fully participate speaks to a successful diseducation -- an active lost consciousness that systematically seeks acceptance and integration through a highly selective historical ignorance: ignorance of the causes of events like the Opium Wars; ignorance of white supremacy’s insatiable need for the menticide and genocide of people of color; ignorance of the purpose of the secret societies of European males; ignorance of who they are, of who we are; ignorance of being at war.
A major problem making the study of our heritage so difficult yet necessary is the widespread misinterpretation of the history and priorities of the people who have contained and molded us over the last 500 years or so in this western cultural wasteland. Any credible student of the Afrikan will look at the oppressor rather than the oppressed for the causes of the conditions of the oppressed.
Think about this. If European culture is insanity then at the fundamental level that humans define and perceive reality we, as Afrikans and people of color, have a very serious problem. If a cultural minority becomes the power majority and, this minority, through military, media and religious might force the majority cultures to adopt its culture as their own, then insanity becomes the norm and is redefined as sanity. Accepting another’s reality as your reality makes their reality yours. If the global majority is right then Europeans are wrong, how dare they stand in judgment? If the vast majority of people on the planet eat insects (high in protein content) as a regular, daily part of their diet (which is true) but westerners don’t, who is the oddball?
Unfortunately, as is the case with western cultural imperialism, if the insane can convince the sane that insanity is sanity, then the sane majority become insane and insanity becomes universal and comes to be seen as sanity. Those individuals or groups who dare to hold on to their original sanity become universally depicted as the truly insane (backward), and those who are carriers of the original insanity become universally depicted as the truly sane (modern). Indeed, Europeans are a minority. They currently represent less than ten percent of the world’s population and their numbers are steadily shrinking to an estimated 3% by the year 2073.
Can we cipher why it is so important for them that we not study traditional European society. You are correctly taught to study the problem. But the problem has always been us in this cultural context. Keeping the object of investigation nonEuropean misdirects our focus away from them and, therefore, from why many of us have become what they are. Not only that, but as warrior scholars, "to be always answering questions and mounting defenses about things you thought were obvious keeps you from doing your work." Viewed in this way, it seems only reasonable that a discussion comparing traditional European society and u.s. culture as European culture with relevant bits and pieces of the Afrikan experience on this planet would help us determine just how far off course we are from our move toward a healthy mental consciousness and empowerment.
As we begin our discussion, let us make sure we are clear on a basic understanding among Afrikan centered thinkers. While variation existed between different groups in traditional European society (in areas such as dress, language, diet, temperament and level of technological development), at the core great similarity in mentality significantly distinguished them from other cultures and made them one. And, while variation existed between different groups in traditional Afrikan society (in areas such as dress, language, diet, temperament and level of technological development), at the core, great similarity in mentality significantly distinguished them from other cultures and made them one. So when I talk of traditional Afrikan and traditional European societies I speak of that respective core mentality.
Further, we need to bear in mind when we speak of traditional Afrikan society that we have moved beyond Egypt to the people that colonized Egypt and made it what it was. Not that anything is wrong with claiming Egypt because its phenomenal greatness is ours, not the European Arabs who later invaded it and still trade and keep Africans as slaves. It simply is not our original cultural starting point. Many of us claim it primarily because Europeans and their intellectualizing negro clones recognize it as the cradle and apex of human civilization (as evident by their repeated but failed efforts to coopt it and make it historically European) because it could be classified as literate and multiracial (i.e., part white) according to European definitions. It makes no difference that their own drive for white supremacy "forced" them to annex and whiten it, we, its children, still require the validation of Europeans first to accept it for what it was. Even in its greatness, though, Egypt was Ethiopia in decline.
We are locating the traditional Afrikan part of our discussion in the values and practices of the people from which society and civilization sprang, the people who first militarily, agriculturally, culturally and spiritually colonized Europe, Asia, the Americas and what remained of Afrika -- the Nubians or Cushite Ethiopians and their ancestors. They colonized by implanting knowledge and then harvesting their fair share of the benefits, not through lies, terrorism and oppressive military occupation.
These people were the first people. During Egypt’s first (and many later) dynasties, the heads of state, the first military leaders as well as the forebearers of the Afrikan mystery system were all Ethiopian. Egypt was its colony. It is from this relationship that wars divided one land into "The Two Lands" and back into one again and on and on until invaders from what we now call the North used these and other divisions to take over and exploit the motherland and its indigenous inhabitants. But the origins of Afrikan and world civilization is not our focus here, traditional European culture is. And by culture we mean everything manmade, material and nonmaterial, designed to ensure the survival of a people, of a way of life, of a deliberate history. Madhubuti uses Laura Thompson’s definition to fit us in the Western cultural context. "[Culture] is primarily a problem-solving device instituted by a human community to cope with its basic practical problems." We are one of the "basic practical problems" of the European community.
Clearly, the impact of European culture on our day to day lives, truths, realities and very being remains concealed from most of us because of our misguided beliefs of what traditional European society was like. And even as beautiful and humane as we have come to patriotically know it was, we still believe it to be nothing like the u.s. is beyond being an enormous sea of milky white skin, contaminated here and there with black and brown fungus patches.
It is mind boggling how so many of us are of the impression that the u.s. is not New Europe. We assume that somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean the culture changed to the degree that this nation became unique and relatively distinct from the European cultural family. This belief, along with the loyalty that allowed them to be validated in the first place, has even led mainstream Black scholars to argue that "we" in the u.s. are either absolutely no longer Afrikan or that what Afrikanisms remaining are negligible. Many others, Afrikan scholars to the bone, tend to agree with one of our most consistently dedicated warriors.
America, in fact, is nothing but Europe. The white people in America are not Americans but in fact Europeans. When we call them Americans we allow them to escape; we define them incorrectly. We should call them Europeans and understand that they never belonged in America, that they took that continent from somebody else. When you call them Americans you forget that they were Europeans, because you give them in fact the theory of native origin, that they came out of America. Where did Americans come from? They came from America -- that is, somebody you call American. But if you say they are Europeans (which is what they are), then the question arises as to where they came from -- Europe.
And that is the purpose of the remainder of this essay. I intend to demonstrate that this is indeed true, to demonstrate that the u.s., although the preeminent global superpower, is nothing more than Europe’s culturally connected right hand (or the other way around, it really doesn’t make a difference), that the u.s. is simply an extension, a cultural continuum.
Europeans were unique. You could even say they were special. When it came to an appreciation for their children, whose quality of life should be considered the most important indicator of your civilization because of their long-term dependent and vulnerable status, no one surpassed them. Let’s look at a short list of behaviors demonstrating this unrivaled love and affection.
They frequently kidnapped and sold their own children into indentured servitude in the u.s. colonies, a crime considered only a misdemeanor. Can you spell misdemeanor? A slap on the hand, a small fine, the freedom to commit the act again and again and again without a deterring penalty. (That’s like charging a brother who beat a sister into the hospital with excessive affection instead of treason). What kind of people would voluntarily sell their own kids to each other to increase the amount of things they had or, simply, to take them off their hands. Oh, by the way, whatever defenseless, drunk or otherwise incapacitated, adult males and females that could be rounded up were sold into indenturetude also.
One should never forget the cottage industry of wetnursing, that is breast-feeding and caring for other people's newborn offspring for many years thereafter in what were affectionately called "baby barns." It was one of the largest, most profitable businesses in that society. The following statement should suffice.
[T]here is widespread evidence that infant deaths often caused little if any regret or sorrow. Instead, parents often expressed relief at the deaths of children...dead and even dying infants were often simply discarded like refuse and were frequently noticed "lying in the gutters or rotting on the dung-heaps"...Large numbers of legitimate infants whose parents were still living were abandoned outside churches or foundling homes. Some scholars suggest that as many as half of the children abandoned in parts of France during the eighteenth century were abandoned by intact families. Additional indifference and neglect is evident in the large numbers of infants sent off to wet nurses, despite the well-known fact that such children faced much higher probabilities of death. Indeed, wet-nursing became a high cottage industry...as families, especially the poor, sent away infants so that the mother would not be tied down by nursing and child care responsibilities...In truth, these homes were baby barns, crowded with infants. Parents seldom, if ever visited. Deaths were often covered up so that payments could still be collected. But staggering numbers of these babies were never seen again. Nor, it seems, were they missed.
Don’t you remember that blockbuster movie where they shared that experience with us? Me neither.
When Gingrich recently suggested reintroducing orphanages to get a handle on the "dysfunctional" child problem, no one pointed out that they had never gone anywhere. In an anti-family society, state control of the children is normative. As if genetically encoded culturally, such societies produce generation after generation of disconnected, antagonistic, broken families and unloved kids who are uncontrollable in private homes. State intervention is logical and necessary. Should we be surprised when, following the lead of the European, many descendants of those who came in slave ships have their children and elders committed to homes only to be surprised at the "shocking" reports of gross mistreatment in these places? "For those who don’t know history, everything is new."
If literature reflects historical reality, which it does, then many of our lessons about the conditions of traditional European children can be readily found in the works of Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo and other "fictions" of that period. These writers point out the pervasiveness and brutality of homelessness for European children. The pathetic begging of an orphaned child for "more porridge, please" is a literary classic. They also disclose the dirt on the prison system, the exploitation of women on the streets and in the home, and give us insight into the workings of European patriarchy where the male owned and controlled everything.
Speaking of dirt, the media portrayal of Europeans as clean is sorely lacking in any kind of historical truth. Filth dominated their personal hygiene and physical environment. As a very small example of this, fleas were the carriers of the so-called Black Plague that devastated Europe’s population many times. They tried everything including drinking "the pus out of the buboes of the dying and dead" to solve their afflictions but, of course, to no avail. Fleas were as much a part of their being as their own skin. In fact, for many, fleas provided a sort of second skin or set of skins where, as one moved closer through the multiple layers of clothes worn by everyone able (remember, it is cold there), you would invariably find larger and larger populations of their extended family of fleas.
...[T]hey still allowed their houses to run with rats and their bodies and beds with fleas. Fleas were so common that they were regarded almost affectionately as a constant companion to man -- certainly fleas and lice, if not man’s best friends, might be considered his closest friends -- and those who were lucky enough to have the best and warmest clothes often had the most fleas.
Other peoples were quite aware of the filth Europeans carried as a natural part of their being. And, they were shunned accordingly.
...[O]ne of the reasons they were barred from the Holy Land in the first place, by Saladin, was that every time those flea-bitten, unwashed Europeans went to the Holy Land they spread fleas and ticks and lice.
...Arabs and Turks regarded Westerners as filthy in their habits...They never wash, for, at their birth, ugly men in black garments pour water over their heads, and this ablution, accompanied by strange gestures, frees them from all obligation of washing for the rest of their lives.
The extent of filth and disease in traditional European society is truly incredible. The degree to which the European church went to condemn washing and bathing will be an even greater surprise. You must read Terence McLaughlin’s Dirt. There is no way you cannot understand European culture then or now without seeing it through the eyes of one of their own.
Such "dirt" extended itself into the European sexual appetite. Part One of Richard Poe’s Black Spark, White Fire: Did African Explorers Civilize Ancient Europe? makes note of many of these presumably primitive and extinct behaviors like "engaging in ritual sexual intercourse with a horse" and public performances of "intercourse with their mothers and sisters." These immoral and repulsive excessive extremes are still unquestionably evident throughout Western culture today but are something that will have to wait for discussion tomorrow because of the its enormity.
Turning now back to the children, we need to interpret European culture in terms of the Children’s Crusades at the beginning of the thirteenth century,
when the Europeans marched more than 100 thousand children across Europe, half of them froze to death during the preceding winter, and when they got to the warm waters of the Mediterranean, in the spring, they sold the other half to the infidel Arab. they were supposed to have been fighting,
Sounds a lot like the story of the pied piper. Seems to be a pattern in thought there.
Emporer Frederick II is another prime example of European’s misinterpretating themselves as god. Using a control group of children, he dismissed the fact that "humans" are social creatures, that we need the contact of others to thrive.
[H]e bade foster mothers and nurses to suckle the children, to bathe and wash them, but in no way to prattle with them or to speak to them, for he wanted to learn whether they would speak the Hebrew language, which was the oldest, or Greek, or Latin, or Arabic, or perhaps the language of their parents, of whom they had been born. But he laboured in vain, because the children all died.
No love. Oh. I’m sorry. That was before a European consensus on scientific morality. We wouldn’t want to confuse the issue of morality with cultural history. I wonder how that confusion applies to "Baby X", the child born in this century who was denied a sexual identification by "its" psychologist parents trying to see if "it" would naturally take to being male, female or Greek?
Of course, I guess, the treatment of children in their families wasn’t all bad. During economic booms, in fact, they were treated to the spoils of privilege. Socrates spoke about how spoiled European children were characteristic of his time in "European" society. It is something they, and those among us who see the necessity of aping them, take great pride in, for it is an indicator of privilege and liberalness. In pointing out white kids having tantrums on store floors my mother explained to us what not to be like. She understood Europeans and in understanding them knew that you spoil kids who will grow up to be spoiled by society, but you don’t spoil kids who will grow up into a society that will do everything in its power to kill them. Black children should be warned about the European. They must be made strong. Yet look who’s having copycat tantrums in public today. It is one of the most discouraging things for an Afrikan warrior to see an Afrikan child acting with utter disrespect of his or her native culture. Struggle makes children strong. Pacifying them is not preparation for battle. It is preparing them for institutionalization.
The same people who sold, dismembered, kicked out, raped, pornographed, beat and starved their own offspring have the nerve to accuse our sisters of lacking any nurturant ability because to keep their children from experiencing slavery, they tossed or took their babies over the sides of the slave ships or smothered them at birth on the plantations. Can you imagine the will and strength and pain it takes to save a most loved one by taking his or her life? The presence of homeless children in our community was unheard of until we came to accept European values as our own and before crack took our women and our men became marginalized in the labor market. The propaganda of Afrikan women as nonhuman flies in the face of the fact that the orphan, prostitute and homelessness originated on the European continent.
That there were proportionately as many single, female-headed families in traditional European society as there are in the u.s. today is a glaring fact. However, the statistics showing that the rate of increase for white single female-headed families has surpassed that of black single female-headed families and, in fact, a reversal has occurred for the latter group has somehow been accidently overlooked by the media.
Moreover, we can’t overlook the treatment of single mothers and their children in traditional European society. The two most widely known examples of such treatment are of little girls by the name of Anna and Isabelle. The worse case scenario was Anna who
was discovered at the age of six. She had been born illegitimate, and her grandfather had insisted that she be hidden from the world in an attic room. Anna received a bare minimum of physical care and attention and had virtually no opportunities for social interaction. When she was found she could not talk, walk, keep herself clean, or feed herself...[She] died four-and-a-half years later...reach[ing] the level of socialization of a child only two or three years old.
Also being illegitimate, Isabelle’s only advantage was that her mother was imprisoned in her "dark room" with her mother. How can you define a child as illegal?
Incarceration is another point of interest. There is no evidence of prisons or jails in traditional Afrikan societies where hundreds of thousands of people lived? They are not found in societies built on a culture where people believe their action is their word and their word is Maat. There is an excess of evidence of the humane conditions in traditional Afrikan society that speaks to the absence of a need for incarceration.
Traditionally, African society was so remarkably nonviolent and crime-free that there was not even a (West) African word for "jail." Indeed, this peace and general harmony of African societies amazed and awed early Euro-Arabic travellers south of the Sahara.
...Africans built a number of civilizations lasting over 100 years without a network of jails and without a word in their vocabulary that meant "jail."
In the confusion thrown at us from Eurocentric scholars and pretenders to knowledge, always have in the forefront of your mind that traditional Afrikan society must always be interpreted separate from post-invasion and post-cultural infusion Afrika. What could be considered "Afrikan" changed with the cultural pollution of others.
Debtor’s prisons were as popular in Europe yesterday as they will soon be in the u.s. Going unnoticed is the parallel movement of dismantling of bankruptcy laws and rising debt among private citizens. This will dramatically increase the flood of Blacks into the prison-industrial complex. Yes, it will affect white folk also, but Blacks disproportionately. Anyway, they are fully aware that you have casualties in every war. Nonetheless, if history repeats itself, this may work to their advantage in ways other than free slave labor. During their colonial wars of expansion, "the British knocked one year to five years off an Irish prisoner’s sentence, depending on how many Tasmanians he killed."
Dabbling in the dead had a significant following also. Dr. Frankenstein, fictional or not, was not an oddity. Grave robbing was normative. No wonder they have no respect for the places of deceased people of color. They have no respect for their own. Many of us socialized in the West are unaware that Afrikans wanted their deceased buried as close to them as they were when they lived, not in somebody else’s cross-town cemetery.
The homicide rate in mid-17th century England was twice what it is today in the u.s. A related historical tidbit dredged up from even further back in their history is of criminal law in Roman society. Juvenile crime was widespread enough to warrant the separation of adult and juvenile offenders.
Compare this with traditional Afrikan society where community was the focus as reflected in the proverbs. Where elders were respected and did not fear walking down their own street; where they enjoyed cultivating the land, their minds and the youth until it was time to embrace the ancestors. Where everybody looked out for your welfare as in its watered down version in the rural black south after slavery. Where when you messed up in school Uncle Jim, Cousin Bobo, Aunt Irene, Bigmom, Papa and every and any adult in your community who had an inclination to and got wind of it got a piece of your behind before you got home to face Mom and later, as if for desert, Dad.
Disrespect and the baser desires have become normalized in our community now, too. During family tv time, we allow our children to be entertained by either violence, sex, excessive consumption or all three laced with a pinch of gratuitous cursing. Everybody’s a bitch today, and proud of it. This was not the case where we came from and if you go to the Continent the next time you’re on vacation, instead of trying to find that black nation hidden somewhere in the Europe you think you came from, you will discover the same still applies throughout its rural areas, where European culture has had the least staying power. People, naturally, do not curse there. People do not naturally curse. We have come to accept that money, power, sex, drugs, narcissism and conspicuous consumption will form the foundation for the normal aspirations of our youth, no matter what we do so we blame them for "their" deviant behavior.
Don’t blame the children. They belong to us. They are our responsibility. They "have an enormous capacity to adapt to insanity." It’s as if we are knowingly and willfully participating in the normalization of the abnormal among our children. We, as parents, guardians, big brothers and sisters alone, are responsible for allowing these foreign values to be passed on as our own. It is no wonder they can be sold the idea of genocide, suicide, menticide, infanticide, gamicide and fratricide but not truth, justice, righteousness, self-love and community empowerment which were the foundation of ancient Afrikan culture.
Still in doubt? Do your own research. Compare the traditional art of these two different cultures. As I was instructed, one way to begin to visualize a way of life is to look at how the people depict themselves. Art directly tells you of the conditions and speaks to the mentality because a people's art reflects their interests, priorities and beliefs. Go to the art museums exhibiting traditional Afrikan art and you will find pictures and carvings full of family life, children, women, pregnant women and men. Go to similar museums with traditional European art on display and you will find mostly men. And when you see the women they are in a hierarchical format, as in family pictures, where the father is at the top, or in sexually explicit poses (don’t be confused by the human body is beautiful propaganda because that is not the focus of the males "studying" the model or picture).
Need more? Compare the traditional language of these two different cultures. It also directly tells you of the conditions and speaks to a people’s mentality, because language also reflects their interests, priorities and beliefs, it names, gives meaning to, their things and practices. In no Afrikan language group do you find words like prostitute, stepchild, orphan, homeless child. Neither will you find words denigrating women, like prostitute, bitch, wench, harlot, slut, hooker, trollop whore, strumpet, tart, where we originally come from.
They had no orphanages because no one discarded children. They had no homes for the aged because no one discarded their mother, father, or grandparents. What Westerners would later call social agencies were built into the society itself. They also had no psychiatrists of the European type.
The word prostitute is especially politically significant because of the way it is used by members of the religious community. The assumption is that it is a practice natural to human civilization. If everything in your society has a name, which it does, then prostitute is not a quality of traditional Afrikan society. And this has a lot to do with the nature of the community and perceptions of family structure. A woman would never have to sell herself to feed her children. So when the man, woman or whatever behind the pulpit screams about the sinfulness of the oldest profession in the world, you stand up and ask, "Who’s world!?"
After the caves, they slept in one room "huts" like many primitive people did. However, they also slept with their pigs, cows, dogs and sheep (sometimes literally so for males since their science has shown that the vagina of the sheep is closer to that of human females than any other animal). Also, living in one large room, adults could not have been invisible to their children or other live-in adults during sexual intercourse. The important point though, in speaking of a mentality, is that medical care was provided for the animals before the wife and kids. They were more important property.
No wonder the children ran to embrace the horrors of the industrial factories. No wonder they suffered the pain that eventully, when they became too much competition for adult labor, forced european courts to create the child labor laws. Understand, laws are a function of the presence and awareness of undesirable behavior. They are not altruistic. No one gets up and makes a law for no reason. Furthermore, the explanation of moving from rural areas to urban centers seething with discord, apathy and normlessness is not good enough as a universal explanation or truth. There were massive rural to urban migrations in Afrikan civilizations but they were not accompanied by the same degradation and chaos.
Don’t be upset. It’s only natural. It fits their priority of things where the needs of business are more important than those of family. Business doesn’t need the family ties that bind when it wants you on the other side of the planet, right now. Like a pimp, it needs the prostitute completely dependent on him. He needs her to truly believe that he is her only friend in the world so he can control her mind and movement. Family undermines this control. Rural communal life undermines these interests.
You can see this in the historical decline of the Western family. Europeans, and others adapting to their insanity, have moved from small communities to extended families to nuclear families to individuals. Even though African Americans still have proportionately more extended families than any other racial-ethnic group in this country, we are becoming increasingly handicapped in our steady attempt to ape European family forms. We remain unable to see who this move toward family dissolution in our community serves. You must have the anomie (normlessness) of congested urban areas of societies where extreme individualism dominates to perpetuate this.
And, who benefits from divisions between the two groups of people who create families among the disempowered? What happens to the community if the idea and presence of family is destroyed because the men and women cannot get along because of the lies they have been fed about each other and their menticide has forced them to accept as their reality? If you have no couples, you have no families. If you have no families, you have no community. If you have no community, you have no nation. If you have no nation, you die as a people. A mentality of individualism and ignorance among the disunited and powerless only serves the interest of those who have nearly perfected the art of divide and conquer. Among a group where the women have historically contributed a larger portion of the family income pie than any other group of women and, where from the end of slavery to 1980, these women had a larger proportion of their group employed than any other group of women, individualism and ignorance can be devastating. There is no doubt that in the European, capitalistic mind, peace is not profitable, only antagonism is.
Now, let’s bring this up to date so a cultural continuum can more clearly be seen. Let’s take a mental trip. Imagine a place where disrespect and violence are the way of the world. Where individuals measure each other's humanity by their material possessions. Where people are considered to be in a state of perpetual war over material possessions as in the so-called "dark" ages.
Imagine a world where over 5,000 land mines are planted each year and for every dollar spent on the education of each school-age child whose job it is to learn, 25 are spent on every soldier whose job it is to kill. This is a place where a woman calmly walks out of a McDonald's to her car, gets a sawed-off shotgun and returns to blow another woman's face off because she lit a cigarette near her children in a no smoking area; where a man or men can murder and maim several youth on a subway or in select neighborhoods and get off with simple weapons charges or never be found out simply because of the public fear or apathy about the color of the skin of the victims; here serial and mass murder psychosis is apparently biologically passed from adults planning victim by victim murders to commando kids in schoolyards; where Little B, no matter how wrong, is portrayed as a born to kill superpredator but numerous European kids playing school yard pranks with real bullets are simply misguided wayward sons. And do not patriotically limit yourself to Amerika. As Garvey, and too many others to name, told us, become global. Study Pan-Afrikanism. Europe is full of european minds who also view us as a "basic practical problem."
Imagine a society that devotes most of its time, energy and currency to devices and ideas that are specifically designed to hurt or kill others of its own kind and any other living, or for that matter, nonliving thing. Where more and more kids are battering or murdering their parents. Where more and more kids are found dead because they discovered an unsecured gun in their homes or on the street. Where more and more parents are murdering their born and unborn, where children hold no value.
Can you imagine a place where the inhabitants kill each other for sport? Where they socialize their offspring, the ones who are born to carry their society and species forward in time, to kill or maim each other for fun and in order to get some emotional content out of their cold, barren lives. Imagine cities that house hundreds of thousands of gangmembers roaming the streets in search of fresh blood.
Not surprisingly, women are exhibiting increased drug abuse, moving from property to violent crimes, accelerating their use of what I call the great equalizer, handguns, and creating independent gangs that not only no longer answer to male heads or gangs but also wage war on them and often win. Approximately one in six gangmembers is now female, claiming over 15,000 of the 100,000 Chicago gangmembers and 25,000 of L.A.’s 150,000. And I fear these new female gangbangers more than any Crip, Blood or Blackstone Ranger because they are new and have something to prove. That sweet, gentle, cuddly, soft, helpless nonsense doesn’t apply here. And, the criminal system's perception of women and violence has changed accordingly. Black women have become the new target. With an incarceration rate increase of 200% from 1985-1995, compared with a 130% for Black men over the same period of time, the ancestors’ wisdom comes shining through in their understanding that "if they come and get your men at night, they will be back in the morning for your women."
Let’s take a couple more trips with our imagination because I don’t think we’ve got a good enough picture yet. Lets do a little more sightseeing in that imaginary place where more citizens between the ages of 10 and 19 are killed by firearms than all natural diseases combined. It has become natural for kids to carry guns to school, with over 270,000 being brought in, on average, daily. Where in some school districts campus guards are authorized to tote 12 gauge shotguns to control our children.
Let’s go get an even higher education at those remaining historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) where over 70 percent of the gun related killings on all college campuses occur. These are schools where fights between dorms overshadow the brutality of hazing and big city gangs organize in their midsts, although at a slower pace than neo-nazis and skinheads infiltrate the military and position themselves around cities with large Black populations. Yet here, also, there is what one could call good news. HBCUs are only a small fraction of the institutions of higher education that are preparing tomorrow’s leadership where over half of the students binge drink.
But, let’s be fair. Every society known to man contains some elements of violence. People have always killed, lied to, cheated and stole from other people. I am not going to get into a discussion of the ideal Afrikan society because the ancients were human, too. Even the most spiritual error, no matter how few times or small the infraction. But, as demonstrated throughout this article, what distinguishes western society from others is not the presence of these and similarly destructive phenomena, but their magnitude, pervasiveness and rate of increase.
Read their history. Pick any European nation. Before every major war of western involvement, there was either massive impoverishment or a major economic depression was in full swing. There has never been a time in the history of the west when they have not been not actively preparing for and/or engaging in war against others and/or among themselves. And, more importantly, every encounter Europeans have had with nonEuropeans has resulted in a violent confrontation. Leonard Jeffries could not have chosen better words than "death, destruction and domination" to describe their behavior. "Can it be an accident that the only people who have built an entire culture based on the dominance of others are also the only ones who are Caucasian?"
And now that you’ve thought about it, just how does war bring about profit to capitalists? When you disproportionately send previously unemployed, underemployed and underpaid people of color to foreign front lines to be killed, you reduce their (angry) numbers at the same time as you eliminate your competition for work over here, since western disagreements are almost always settled in other peoples back yards. When you win a war and place yourself in charge of the materials and technology used in rebuilding what you destroyed, you create jobs for your own. When you drop a bomb, crash a jet, launch a missle or shoot a bullet, do you go pick it up and glue it back together so it can be used again? No. You make more and more and more and more. The same applies to bodybags, medical equipment, clothes, shovels, gas masks, flags, bandanas, fatigues, drugs, food, stamps, envelopes, clips and the, too numerous to count, other things of war. And, scholars, let us not be naive enough to see as different the war in Bosnia and the one in Chicago, that in Korea and L.A., Somalia and Miami. War is war. Bloodmoney is bloodmoney.
In such a culture, it is not hard to imagine a new handgun being produced every 20 seconds by the 922 u.s. gun manufacturers alone. That given, simple math tells us that this adds up to 3 handguns made every minute, 180 every hour, 4,320 every day, 30,240 every week, nearly 130,000 every month, and over one and a half million each year. However, we miss the point by focusing solely on these statistics.
They don’t tell us about the 250 million legal handguns already in circulation or the untold number of illegal ones brought onto these shores through underground markets or as prizes by veterans of Europe’s wars on the world. It does not speak to assault weapons, shotguns, rifles, grenade launchers, bazookas, attack helicopters, tanks or hand-held surface to surface missiles, etc., etc., readily available in stores and homes.
And last, but not least, this legal handgun market in no way speaks to the thousands of individuals who know, or millions who can easily learn, how to make weapons. Guns, whether produced in factories or basements, are made by people using relatively simple technology like the kind illustrated in The Anarchist’s Cookbook. What one man can make another can replicate. Years ago when the inmates of Lorton Reformatory needed to upgrade their military arsenals they simply took govenment issue pens and invented very, very effective projectile hurling weapons affectionately called "zip guns." Indeed, necessity will always be the mother of invention.
All this may lead one to question, the viability and feasibility of gun buy-back programs, especially since these efforts are specifically concentrated in neighborhoods where we are most concentrated. Ignoring the seemingly altruistic nature of such a noble idea, within the larger picture, this effort toward reducing violence in our community has an extremely limited impact. In fact, we won’t even mention the guns bought back in places like Houston that are repackaged by police departments and shipped to other cities like L.A. for resale on the open market. Just compare the very limited number of weapons returned through gun buy-back programs last year with the enormous number of new handguns manufactured over the same time period or just those circulated among whites at gun shows. Negroes, don’t talk to me about gun buy-back solutions.
What have we become? We cannot change unless we know what we’ve grown into, what we’ve become, and where it all came from. The dirt that has accumulated in our souls must be removed. As history demonstrates, band-aids that hide, and drugs that suppress the irritant, have not and will not work. To be effective, the solution must fit the disease not the symptoms; an antidote must be injected that fits the poison.
We must look at the psychopathology of everyday life and must recognize we cannot have it both ways. We cannot talk about a people who have enslaved us, who discriminate against us, who insult us, who do all manner of other things against us, and then use them as models of normality.
In other words,
the only hope for the world is that Africans and other peoples, including Europeans, make themselves as positively different from the past and current European proclivities and other oppressive peoples as is humanely possible.
Larry D. Crawford has been an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Morehouse College since 1991, and has been recognized for his dedication to students and community alike. He serves as the advisor to numerous student organizations at Morehouse College as well as other institutions in the Atlanta University Center.