by Taki S. Raton
“The youth now coming up, especially those just emerging into manhood, are fearfully delinquent in that which constitutes decency, civility, politeness, and even good manners – all of those traits are the prerequisites of a good and wholesome state of society.
Moral and literary traits are totally neglected by the young people…What a fearful state of society is this, and yet there appears to be no influences at work, neither temporal, moral nor religious – either in the church or out of the church brought particularly to bear upon it to remedy the evil.
That a fault lies somewhere there is no doubt. The parents and leaders in society have greatly neglected their duties. A call should be made out to them in the name of virtue and morality, to look well to the character of the young people.”
These comments could have easily and agreeably been made today or yesterday – and again even tomorrow.
But indeed they were spoken, according to author Victor Ullman, 162 years ago in 1849 by Martin Robinson Delany – journalist, physician, writer, the first African American field officer in the United States Army and, most notably, the first proponent of American Black nationalism. Ullman noted these remarks in his 1971 work, “Martin R. Delany – The Beginning of Black Nationalism.”
On January 13 of this year, I wrote the story for MCJ “Mayfair Mall and our children – Too late for a summit?”
This effort reported on the Sunday, January 2 disturbance at Mayfair Mall’s where a large group of African American teens stormed through the Boston Store breaking merchandise and tipping over clothes racks.
An alleged attempted robbery and a reported gunshot were also under investigation. Nine teenagers were arrested by Wauwatosa police and the mall was placed under strict curfew.
In that particular article, the then County Supervisor Candidate Cavalier Johnson called on Milwaukee community leaders for a “summit” to address youth issues following the Mayfair incident.
I do not recall if there ever was this summit. But now eight months later with insurmountable numbers of Black-on-Black homicides, still declining academic achievement trends and numerous accounts of flash mob disturbances at State Fair, Riverwest, the BP convenience store rampage incidents, and violent flash mobs in Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City, St. Paul, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, and most recently the Sunday August 14 account where 30 teens ran through a Maryland 7-Eleven mart, we are indeed in a bad place right now with our children.
Summit or no summit, this writer, others in the Milwaukee area, a significant number of African American concerned stakeholders around the country – to include Chicago based Black Star Project founder Phillip Jackson – and even Daniel Patrick Moynihan who when 46 years ago he predicted his “Tangle of Pathology” that behavior like this would be happening with our young people, have been like Delany, sounding the bullhorn about our youth for a long time.
In my December 30 MCJ December 30 article “Message to the Black Man: Your race is dying!”
I noted that our communities, our families, our children, indeed our race has been in serious trouble ever since the plantation and Black people appear to be clueless as to how to solve our own problems, particularly the socialization, behavior, and academic performance of our own children.
We continually seek solutions and favor from others in the mainstream and outside of our race who are far removed from the unique intricacies of a Black reality.
If we do not take care of our own, what do you expect for white people and America’s mainstream to do for us?
Well, a response is coming our way on Saturday, September 3. The National Socialist Movement is planning a “In Defense of White America Rally” reportedly in West Allis. The time and location are not available at this writing’s preparation.
Described as “America’s Renowned White Civil Rights Organization,” the National Socialist Movement has called upon “concerned American citizens and various other patriot groups” to “mobilize in the Milwaukee area for a rally in Defense of White America.”
This response, according to public material, is specifically targeted towards the recent wave of “Black flash mob violence” in Milwaukee and in cities around the country.
Event informational literature cites that flash mob “racial violence is becoming an epidemic, which could certainly lead to increased racial tensions and violence around the nation.”
This writer shared these same sentiments Tuesday, July 5 on Earl Ingram’s 1290 afternoon broadcast. The actions of the National Socialist Movement comes as no surprise.
In my coverage of flash mobs locally and nationally, research also includes a canvas of White web sites such as the “White Reference” page. This blog is “designed for the dissemination of news of interest to the White Nationalist community as well as other interested in such information.
This includes reports of crime and oppression against White people worldwide, as well as accounts of White Resistance.” They are not pleased with the behavior of Black youth in Milwaukee or nationally, and that is putting it mildly.
My point for including this work is purely reasonable. If our youth is raising all this havoc around the country, it would be predictably responsible to investigate what the thinking and response would be in the affected communities.
Anti-protest rallies against the scheduled White American defense gathering include MICAH (Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope), a group called the Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement and a local African American youth collective known as the LUV Brigade.
My focus in this writing is exclusively directed to our community, the African American LUV Brigade. Stay away from this September 3rd rally! Both MICAH and the Wisconsin Bail Out people are sending false messages about the rally sponsorship. This is not in the words of MICAH’s literature a rally of “tyranny and divisive rhetoric that seeks to poison the thought of our population.”
This is not a rally as contextualized in the inflammatory language of the Bail Out folk who promote on their flyer that “Nazi scum are coming to West Allis on Sept. 3. They want to spread their poison to divide working and poor people.”
I have a sense that our people are being drawn into someone else’s agenda to promote only their interest and their vision, and because of our past we sometimes become easy prey. I studied quite extensively the language that was used in the Black e-chat rooms of “In The Footsteps of Our Ancestors” is discussing strategies for the September 3 anti-rally and I became very concerned. My concern was first and foremost about the safety and welfare of our people participating in what could turn out to be a very volatile situation.
Lets first work with reported information; and this is not to take any positions for or against the planned Socialist rally. As I carefully reviewed the wording of both the Nationalist Socialist Movement and the White Reference group, there was no mention of “KKK” or “Neo-Nazi” membership. My conclusion, therefore, is that it is not the KKK or Neo-Nazi’s who are coming into the Milwaukee area to march. And there are no reported identifiable alliances or affiliations in the literature shared.
Secondly, they are not coming here to protest against “Black people” or to present themselves as being “anti-Black.” They are actually very clear about their intent. This is a rally against the flash mobbing and the public behavior of our youth. They position:
“The media reports black youths engaging in these actions. Therefore, this problem rests solidly at the feet of the black community and its leaders … (who) remain silent as hundreds of blacks beat white women and children in public places. The black community and its leaders may have fallen short in addressing this nationwide problem.”
There of course is more. But the point is made. This therefore is an issue about the behavior of our children. Now, let’s be very clear about my decision to include these remarks from this White nationalist group.
They did not say anything different then the words of Martin R. Delany. Nor have they said anything above, apart or beyond the words of Carter G. Woodson, Dr. Claude Anderson, Bill Cosby, or Eric Grimes and Butch Slaughter (authors of the book, “Why Our Children Hate Us”), Dr. E. Franklin Frazier, Elijah Muhammad, or Phillip Jackson.
And I am not going to take up print space and quote any of these esteemed Black figures in this writing as I have documented their position on our children and of our collective responsibility to them, to our community, to our culture and to the qualitative future of our race over and over again in past writings.
I will, however, briefly cite a few observations from Nannie Helen Burroughs who around the early 1900’s wrote a piece titled “The 12 Things The Negro Must Do For Himself” that is quite mindfully appropriate herein. Among the 12 are: The Negro must stop expecting God and White folk to do for him what he can do for himself; The Negro must keep himself, his children, and his home clean and make the surroundings in which he lives comfortable and attractive; The Negro must highly resolve to wipe out mass ignorance; The Negro must improve his conduct in public places.
Just a little quick exploration into the “mass ignorance” note, Burroughs adds that that the “leaders of the race must teach and inspire the masses to become eager and determined to improve (the masses) mentally, morally and spiritually to meet the basic requirements of good citizenship.” She says clearly that “Social integration is a relationship attained as a result of the cultivation of kindred social ideals, interest and standards.”
In other words, only from our families, our communities and from our culture would source the teaching in multicultural pluralistic America of what is called “Common Values.” Our children are taught on a community based institutionalized scale (with) none of these virtues from us adults in the home, in school, in the church, or in our communities – none.
We used to adhere to such values as advanced by Burroughs when we were so-called “segregated” or back in the days of “Old School.” This writer, for an example–as many of us, was raised in this manner. But what continues to bother me and become more and more frightening is that as our children are “acting out” – and have been for nearly over a year in this area and around the country – we lost these values the decades following integration. Our local and national leadership today is publically saying absolutely nothing. We are hearing no utterances from a collective pulpit. And we are hearing nothing from Black elected officials in an organized unified front in any of our cities, not even from the highest level in our nation’s capital.
We are hearing no voices from Black professionals who are in the educational, social developmental arena who work with Black children and youth. Where are your voices? Why are you not trying to save our children? At what point did we lose the virtues, teachings and practices of Nannie Helen Bourroughs? Why are we leaving, abandoning if not even actually “pushing” our youth and our children into to the hands of angry White males? Why are you therefore surprised or angered at a White male protest rally against the behavior of our children?
So despite the accusations in the Black “In The Footsteps of Our Ancestors,” chat room, you would be very much incorrect and irresponsible to either plan, support, or engage in any kind of so-called “White anti-rally” assuming an alleged charge on such unwarranted heated topics as oppression, racism, poverty, hatred, past injustices, equal justice or the like. This isn’t that kind of party. Again, the White Nationalist group is clear about their purpose and intent on September 3.
And just as an aside, no Black person anywhere in this country would have either the right to march against the Ku Klux Klan anyway – even if they were sponsoring or participating in a rally. We in today’s setting (are) not worthy.
The number is 63,139. According to Molefi K. Asante and Mark T. Mattson in their 1992 work “Historical and Cultural Atlas of African Americans” from which I often quote and of which I cite in my last MCJ writing (July 28), between 1890 and 1900, the Klan lynched 1,700 persons. Between 1900 and 1910, 921 persons were killed by the KKK; 840 people were murdered from 1910 to 1920, and 400 between 1920 and 1930.
That would be a total of 3,861 people killed at the hands of the KKK over the 40 years between 1890 and 1930. It took 40 years for the Ku Klux Klan to murder 3,861 people. However, in just a little over nine (9) years according to Chicago based Black Star Project founder Phillip Jackson, 67,000 Black people were killed by Black people between 2001 and 2010. That is precisely 63,139 more Black folk killed by Black folk then were killed by the KKK in the 40 years between 1890 and 1930. Check my past articles for a deeper analysis. Jackson’s are not the only stats. And his numbers are conservative.
And just recently in the June 2011 “Milwaukee Today: An Occasional Report of the NAACP” by R.L. McNeely, David Pate and Lisa Ann Johnson, it is listed in the Executive Summary that today in
2011, “More African American men in the nation are in prison, in jail, on parole, or on probation than were enslaved in 1850.”
We have dropped the ball – Black parents, Black community, Black churches, Black schooling, Black leadership, Black stakeholders, and Black community. As a result of integration, we gave up all of our control, power and influence of raising, grooming and teaching our children and building our community up to others. We have, therefore, left our children with nothing of their glorious prideful own to grow into. Mayfair, Riverwest, flash mobs, and convenience store rampages resultantly would very well be quite predictable.
As noted in my latest “State Fair” writing, in a multicultural pluralistic society such as America, it is the duty, purpose and responsibility of a people – of one’s culture – to teach, train and inculcate their respective membership with their collective best. Culture is additionally a system of social control defining, shaping and directing the standards of behavior of its membership, particularly it’s young.
And it is totally the responsibility of one’s people to provide the cultural tools, instruction, and paths of Higher Order model attainment for their own respective membership, and in particular again, for their children. This duty is not the responsibility of other people or of another group. Oppression occurs not because someone else is strong. Oppression exists because the oppressed have been weakened.
It is not the responsibility of public schooling or of any other institutions outside of the primary culture in question to model proper behavior or preferred societal expectations in its membership. Such is exclusively the responsibility of one’s culture and this preparation must be done prior to the entering of individual ethno-members into the mainstream arena. This is the only place were “equality” starts, with your preparation. No one else can actually give you “equality.”
In other very clear words, it is not the responsibility of White people to teach our children, prepare our children, groom our children, cultivate our children or mold our children in the way in which they should go. This is totally the responsibility of African American culture and we have failed miserably in our duties. This failure is now negatively, embarrassingly and violently impacting locally and nationally on others outside of our communities.
Black folk should stay away from any anti-rally on September 3. Instead of marching, shouting, styling and profiling, we need to get to work and clean up our own house. This is our responsibility first to ourselves, to our African ancestry, to our families and children, to our Black communities as we are a part of a larger “culture” of communities, to our future as a people and to the larger mainstream society of which we are a part. There are those of us who know what to do. There are those of us who can fix this.
We will close citing passages from two poems by Haki Madhubuti in Liberation Narratives. First from his poem “Too Many of our Young are Dying” as he mentions: “When our children do not share their young pain, it is a sign of our closed ears and punctured hearts. Do not misread the silences in their eyes. They are seeking sunshine from us–immediately.”
And from “Destiny” we are reminded in his last verse: “Take hold, do the necessary, the possible, the correctly simple. Take hold. Talk of missions & interpret destiny. Put land and selfhood on the minds of our people. Do the expected. Do what all people do – reverse destruction, capture tomorrows.”
Taki S. Raton is a school consultant in the African Centered curriculum paradigm and former founder and principal of Blyden Delany Academy in Milwaukee. He is a writer and lecturer on the national stage recounting African World historiography, urban community issues with emphasis on education and the social development of Black youth and co-founder of the Kingdom Institute for Black Men’s Studies detailing African American male concerns. He can be reached for presentations and consultant arrangements at [email protected]