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Open Letter to Kwame Zulu Shabazz (F)

Open Letter to Kwame Zulu Shabazz (F)

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Published by Denise McVea

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Published by: Denise McVea on Mar 19, 2013
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The Auris Project, Inc.
Because the right information can change the world.
The Mis-Education of Kwame Zulu Shabazz
An Open Letter to a Black Nationalist
Dear Professor Shabazz:I noticed that you blocked me from your Facebook page in the middle of adiscussion about the plight of Africans and the African diaspora. You have a robustforum on Facebook, where Black people from all over the world convene to debate anddiscuss a wide range of social and historical issues related to Africa. The forum has manypositives, not the least being a wide array of historical and contemporary sources onAfrica and the Black experience.But increasingly, the forum has become disturbingly anti-intellectual in nature. You have repeatedly argued that the White race as a whole is unceasingly malevolent,and that every awful thing that happens to Black people can be traced to Whiteoppression, bigotry and violence. I have pushed back on that notion, my primaryconviction being that Black people would be better served by focusing on self-improvement and self-determination. I believe that we have persistent social pathologiesin our communities that we continue to perpetrate on ourselves. I believe that we willnever solve them by solely focusing our energies on the historical and contemporarymisdeeds of members of the White race. This is not the first time you have blocked me from your forum. A few weeksafter signing on more than a year ago, you kicked me off after I disagreed with you aboutone thing or another. To your credit, you thought better of it and invited me back. In thetime since then, I have been careful to disagree with you in a respectful and thoughtfulway, certainly as it related to your wholesale denunciation of White people, but also as itrelated to your tendency to absolve African leadership of any responsibility for thecurrent plight of Africans.I decided to write this open letter because not only did you block me this time,but you also blocked the people who agreed with me. That is unacceptable behavior fromanyone who pretends to be an intellectual looking for solutions. What that singular actiontells me is that you have managed to purge whatever democratic tendencies you mighthave had a year ago. It tells me that you are no longer really interested in findingsolutions. You do not want a free exchange of ideas where people are allowed to disagreeand whereby the exchange of information and experiences leads to heightened awarenessand epiphany. You do not want to learn anything from the thousands of people whoaccess your forum. You are not interested in knowing if or how your worldview isflawed. You want to be the only word and you want to be the last word.
  You want to be king.On the one hand, you say you are an advocate for race consciousness, a staunchproponent of African Americans developing pride in their Black African heritage. Yousay your goal is to encourage an understanding of what it means to be Black inAmerica. The problem for you, though, is that what you choose to share about beingBlack in America has very little resemblance to the life that you actually lead in America.Kwame Zulu Shabazz’s
America is a violently repressive Dystopiawhereby White America has complete and unrestrained control of the Black Americanexperience. Kwame Zulu Shabazzs
America is quite different. In your
 America, you gladly rake in the untold privileges that come to Harvard graduates whochoose to live out their careers in the sometimes rarified circles of American academia.White America
oppressed you, but not in the way you think. It has oppressedyou because it has given you a doctoral degree from one of its finest universities withoutever requiring you to demonstrate critical thinking. You should be howling in outrageabout that, but of course, you had no idea that it had happened. Your obtuseness, yourrabid racism and your intolerance of opposing views… surely those are the results of your unsatisfactory American education, fueled by your distinctly American vanity.In other words, if you have been harmed by White America, it is because WhiteAmerica has placed you in a position of influence on behalf of your people withoutgiving you the skills necessary to be of any use to us. That is the slyest of oppressions,my dear, the act of sending someone out to do the devils work while the victim remainsconvinced that he is on a mission from God.We need people of influence who are true world citizens, people who arehumanists who come from a place of love for all of God’s children. We need people whounderstand the true complexities of power and oppression. Black people suffered whenWhite people did not speak up in large enough numbers against racial hatred and tyranny.My promise to my people (broadly defined as “people”) is that I won’t make that samemistake.And I will say this: If you can only articulate oppression in terms of race, thenwhat you have to say is no more valuable to the world at large than the ravings of the KuKlux Klan or the Neo-Nazis. The impoverishment of social perspectives built on theconstruct of race has been obvious for some time now. A person who still forms histhought on that false premise really has nothing useful to say and should be quiet.Black Americans are as diverse as the stars that dot our universe. There is no“Black community”, just as there is no “White community”. The African Diaspora is sovast and complicated it is a mystery unto itself. It will take persistent collaborativediscipline to even begin to fully understand it, if that is even possible. It should be talkedabout only in wonder and definitive statements should be used sparingly. By constantly
talking about it through the prism of racial strife, you rob it of its ability to be appreciatedsimply for what it is. You refuse to allow people just to fall into the wonder of it. Yousully it with your obsessions. This is a seminal moment in time, not just for Africans and the Diaspora, but forthe entire world. The history of Africa is so immense, so incredibly rich and vibrant thatwe are just now scratching the surface of it. Like children awaking from a long nap, weas humans are discovering how Africa came to be the mother of the human race and weare maturing in our appreciation and respect for the one who made us possible. Wecannot afford people in positions of influence thwarting that awakening with xenophobia.We cannot afford people who purport to speak for us silencing any of our voices. Wecannot afford “intellectuals” picking and choosing information with a single viewpoint inmind. We cannot throw off one oppressor for another. You should be quiet. You are doing Africans and African Americans a grave disservice by yourinsistence that they need only blame White people for their struggles. The Blackunderclass in America grows every day, and the pathologies that affect them becomemore and more intransigent in every new generation. The chasm between the Blackmiddle class and the Black underclass has grown to such an extent that the currentphenomenon in poor Black neighborhoods can be dubbed “Black flight”. That means thatthe simple gift of role modeling is unavailable to the most vulnerable among us. But onthis note, from your cozy house in a nice neighborhood, you are silent. The violentpathologies that afflict some of the most underdeveloped areas of Africa - thedemonization of homosexuals, the impunity surrounding rapes of women, the huntingand killing of children as witches - are things that should be of major concern to anyonepurporting to be a voice for Africans. But on these notes, as well, you are often silent.If you are only interested in telling part of the story, then you should commit fullyto your reticence and you should be quiet.Also, I wanted to address another point. Before you blocked me from yourFacebook, you accused me of being someone who has an irrational love of White people. You inferred that my love of White people made me somehow a traitor to my race, muchin the same way that White bigots routinely taunted evolved White people with snarls of “nigger lover” to shut them up. You even counted my Facebook friends and noted that atleast a third of the people on my Facebook were White while you bragged that you havenever even let a White person into your house.And like your counterparts on the other end of your imaginary racial spectrum,you told only part of the story. You failed to note for your audience that in addition toWhite and Black friends, I also have hundreds of Hispanic friends, Asian friends, Arabfriends, Native American friends, and friends from just about every corner of the globe. Ilook at my Facebook page and I practically grin with happiness seeing all of thosebeautiful faces. I have strong disagreements with some of them, but every one of them

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