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Perhaps, the question "what does it mean to be black?" is a case closed for those who champion Pan Africanism or a “melanated-people-of-the-world" fellowship.
However, people still ask: "How does a person know whether he or she is black?" "When can someone's black identity be revoked?" Or, "are black people free to renounce their blackness?"
The idea of "blackness" is not clear for many black people. In other words, does it refer to genes, phenotype, blood type, melanin, geography, or culture? Or, is there a scale of significance? Does one factor precede the rest?
It seems that black people do agree that black identity has something to do with Africa. Unfortunately, that's not enough.
Do you know what black politics is? Is it reverse racism? Is it a conspiracy to take over the world? Or, is it just a hustle for black politicians, sellouts, and Uncle Toms?
The backlash from white and black Americans to the election of Barack Obama, the first black president of the USA, exposed an urgent need for white and black Americans to better understand what black politics is.
On the one hand, too many white people do not understand the agenda of the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) in the Age of Obama. Many believe the propaganda that frames the BLM as a racist hate group and a terrorist organization. In fact, the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and 1970s was portrayed as criminals wielding guns and plundering their own communities. Yes, this is a gross misconception of black politics. An outright lie. Pure nonsense.
On the other hand, many black people are blind to the black political significance of Barack Obama's election and cannot comprehend his actions as an African-American president of the USA. Not only do many black people charge Obama for doing nothing to help African Americans, they say he's not black enough. Meanwhile, we can’t even recognize or appreciate the artistic forms of black politics in Spike Lee's controversial film Chiraq, which calls attention to gun violence in poor black neighborhoods, or Beyonce's Super Bowl performance and "Formation" song and video, which boldly displays the plight and quandaries of our invisible black lives, concerns, and frustrations in America. Mr. Lee and Queen Bey are now being accused of exploiting the black community. Also, some black people have recently thrown notable civil rights gladiator John Lewis under the bus for endorsing Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie Sanders and for saying, “I never saw him [Bernie Sanders]. I never met him.” Yes, I'm afraid to say that this might be the fault of black-on-black player-hating, or the effects of the "post traumatic slave syndrome," or, I hope, a misunderstanding of black politics.
Whatever the case, we need to talk about black politics. Right now.
A lot of African Americans think that economic independence will solve black people’s main problems. Black people don’t need to seek more money. In fact, the buying power of African Americans is approximately 1.1 trillion dollars.
We need to do more politics.
I hear over and over, "black people should support black businesses only." This gospel of economic racial uplift has its roots in the freedom-fighting strategies of Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, the Nation of Islam, and others who understandably uphold economic independence as the engine of social progress and the guarantor of political power (even if it's bought) in America. And the romanticized Black Wall Street, in Greenwood, Oklahoma is a reminder of the kingdom that awaits those who commit to black economic independence.
I don't deny the importance and the advantages of incorporating and supporting black-owned businesses in order to put more money in people’s pockets, in divested black communities for housing and educational and health resources. Nor do I oppose a black political community.
The fate of human civilization rests in the ballot box.
Malcolm X bluntly articulated this to the American public in his "Ballot or the Bullet" speech, in 1964. He warned that the Jim Crow terrorism and voter suppression that African Americans faced during the Civil Rights era will eventually ignite an inextinguishable revolutionary fire. Every person scorched by the political, economic, and social flares of racism will eventually "catch hell" and fight fire with fire.
I often hear people say the reason they don't vote is because: "I don't like to get involved with politics," or, "politicians are corrupt."
Politics isn't something we can choose to do or not. Nor is it the root of all evil. To the contrary, politics is an inherent part of our existence. Human life is political. Our bodies are political. A good example of this is the pro-choice and pro-life debate. When is it right or wrong for a woman to have an abortion, if at all? Who decides? Another example is China's one-child policy, which stipulates when families can have one or two kids, in order to prevent overpopulation.
As you can see, long before exiting our mothers' wombs, we were all political objects as ova (egg cells), sperm cells, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses.
Welcome to my weekly Voting Matters blog. This blog is about the significance of voting in American politics. In this first post, I will talk about what voting is and what it is supposed to do.
Some people believe that voting is just a tally of "yays" and "nays." And, the group with the most supporters enjoys all the spoils. Don't be fooled. Voting is more complicated than that and involves a lot more work, especially in American politics. In fact, the head count is just the tip of the iceberg.
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