By: Howard Eagle
I found your recent article ( https://www.tocsinmag.com/post/plantation-politics ), which appeared in Tocsin Magazine concerning "Plantation Politics," to be most intriguing (to say the very least).
First and foremost, it's impossible not to notice the frequency with which you employed the nebulous term "we" (well over 35 times). WE are at a point at which WE can no longer conveniently throw critically important terms around in abstract, generalized fashion, especially when sadly, such terms have little or no practical, realistic existence or validity. Thus, it is beyond time for us to name names --- relative to the "we" that we so casually and abstractly refer to (when it's convenient). For the most part, here in modern-day slave-town U.S.A. --- there is not much of a "we", especially and particularly as it relates to the Black community (if there even is such a thing). Instead, Black and/or "integrated" clicks and silos have become legendary (while at the same time, rhetoric about so-called "unity" is conveniently spewed by opportunistic pundits and lackeys, like poisonous venom).
Indeed "plantation politics" IS a thing here in modern-day slave-town U.S.A. . However the nature, essence, and functioning of the 21st-century phenomenon is much, much more intricate, pervasive, and vile than that which is posited via your editorial. Let us break down SOME of the ideas that you presented:
The whole idea and concept of so-called “Plantation Paradigms” is as abstract as it can possibly be. I think I understand what you mean, e.g., it is the same concept as Dr. Joy DeGruy so eloquently describes and discusses via her work regarding "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome," but so what? To identify, name, or label a historic problem and issue --- does NOT solve it. Generalized, nebulous (to say the very least) assertions such as the following, also do NOT represent practical solutions, e.g, "True liberation, exaltation, and transformation of our people will only happen when we liberate ourselves from these paradigms. Liberation from plantation paradigms is something that we can only do for ourselves. This is because we control our minds. The Apostle Paul charged us to renew our minds due to the wickedness and toxins of the world, which we face." SO WHAT??? WHAT DOES THAT INFORM US TO DO (IN A PRACTICAL SENSE --- TOGETHER)??? My question is rhetorical. The answer clearly is --- "nothing." There is no doubt about the fact that ONE of, but NOT " 'the' issue that we refuse to face in our community is black-on-black antagonism." This particular issue is easy to "face" --- just call a well-advertised meeting at your church. Advertise it as an opportunity for "our [so-called] community [to] face black-on-black antagonism." Enlist the politicians among your parishioners, and others to support the effort, and watch the people pour in. Sometimes, we present issues and problems as if they are so complex that we don't know how to solve them, which frequently is NOT the case at all. Instead, frequently, it is much easier to just spew abstract, generalized rhetoric, as opposed to implementing practical ACTIONS. You claimed that: "Locally, our oppressors have learned if they just drop an ounce of blood in the water that elements of the black community will circle like sharks and finish off the kill." Unless you are willing to name names relative to our local "oppressors" and specific situations in which they have "dropped an ounce of blood in the water that elements of the black community [have] circled like sharks and finished off the kill" --- then such nebulous, abstract, generalized statements represent nothing more, nor less, than super-hyper rhetoric --- period. God knows we've heard more than enough of that --- so again --- name names and specific situations. Are you sure that you want to "objectively look at the issues surrounding community leaders, the Mayor, Police Chief, Attorney General, School Superintendent???" It's possible that they "all were deliberate targets of those who perpetrate racism and control tactics in our community." It's possible that "they all were systematically targeted," but the idea that the reason why they were --- is supposedly, because "of their capacity to bring forth transformative change in our community" is bogus. Not one of them has a solid record of clear, serious efforts to so-called "bring forth transformative change" that is geared to benefit the BLACK community. In fact, we can easily construct a completely legitimate, irrefutable argument that each of them (to some degree and extent) sold the Black community down the old, proverbial, political drain --- period. Again, your assertions that "oppressive elements in all cases launched overt and covert attacks, and in all cases, blacks who are in bondage to plantation paradigms and praxis attempted to finish the kill" --- represent nothing more or less than generalized, unsubstantiated, super-hyper rhetoric --- unless of course, you're able and willing to name names (relative to both "oppressive elements," as well as "blacks who are in bondage to plantation paradigms and praxis"). IF you really "believe in FAITH that all who have been attacked will prevail and thrive in the end" --- then in addition to the very, very, very short list that you put forth --- there are surely thousands upon thousands, especially and particularly within the Black community, who "will [SURELY] prevail and thrive." Let's see if your prediction comes true. Since there are elements who are part of your very, very, very short list, whom I could NEVER see myself ever supporting (unless they literally get down on their knees publicly, and beg the Black community for forgiveness), and since politically, it's conceivable that I MAY end up working against some of them, and since you have said that you "will do all within the scope of [your] power to assist and fight in their struggle for victory" --- then it's quite possible that you and I MAY end up in direct opposition to one another. I'll tell you this publicly --- if you "do all within the scope of [your] power to assist and fight in their struggle for victory" --- without insisting that they repent publicly for the dastardly deeds, if not crimes, that they committed against the Black community --- I am unequivocally convinced that the God of Justice will NOT be pleased with you. It's real easy to claim that you are "not excusing any behaviors, decisions, or outcomes that were not proper," but if you know such realities exist, and if your support does NOT hinge on insisting on repentance and atonement --- then you ARE "excusing behaviors that were not proper." This is one of those cases in which, as the Late Brother Malik El Shabazz was fond of saying --- is a matter of either 'this' or 'that' --- it can't be both. THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND --- period. It's also easy, and frequently convenient to spew super-hyper rhetoric relative to --- "we as a people in our community must stop attacking individuals over attacking the institutions and structures that are the root problem and the real enemy to our people." There is of course a fundamental contradiction and deadly-serious problem when you ask our people to so-called "stop attacking individuals [who are in fact in charge of the very] institutions and structures that are the root problem," and who are in fact NOT really attempting in any serious, acceptable manners to change those institutions, but work night and day to FOOL the people that they are --- while enriching themselves, their families, and sometimes their pastors --- and while at the same time the Black masses continue to struggle and suffer from some of the nation's most notable oppression (https://wblk.com/rochester-ny-deemed-2nd-worst-place-for-african-americans-to-live-in-the-entire-u-s/ ). Those slavish days are long gone: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/07/education/edlife/black-america-and-the-class-divide.html . Please cite for us that passage about "the least of these." With regard to Daniel Prude's murder --- you "don’t believe the focus should have ever been to perform a public revolt against the Mayor, Police Chief, and Attorney General who are black figures???" WHAT???!!!..... WHAT???!!! Argue with the facts:
"...turn us against our own and deflect attention from the racist structures and institutions that facilitate oppressive behaviors toward our community"??? You're kidding --- right??? It's almost 2022, and you really expect Black folks to automatically support black faces, just because they are black, and to accept them as our so-called "own" --- when they are clearly acting as buffers and collaborators with the very same "structures and institutions that facilitate oppressive behaviors toward our community"??? Again I ask, are you kidding??? That's an insulting idea. We are way beyond the point at which we understand clearly that: https://quotefancy.com/quote/944470/Zora-Neale-Hurston-All-my-skinfolk-ain-t-kinfolk I have to be completely honest and direct with you regarding your rhetoric about so-called --- "our city school district [being] in an abyss of dysfunction since the late 1970s, so now we want to crucify a Superintendent twelve months into a job of trying to fix a forty-year issue." Your statement is: 1) historically inaccurate; 2) It does NOT describe what's currently happening in the decrepit Rochester City School District; 3) I have very, very little tolerance for such simplistically-foolish rhetoric regarding one of the most serious issues and problems that the MASSES of black folks in Rochester, and throughout this racist state and nation face. I'm NOT going to debate this with you. I'll simply say that if you think the ineffective Superintendent is so great, you should work to get her hired in the Webster, NY School District --- period. I agree that "we must learn as a community the real source of our oppression over allowing our oppressors to lead us," and this includes knowing when those who supposedly represent us have sold us down the political drain, and calling it out as soon as we know, and moving to get rid of them as soon as we can --- because in some ways they are worse than "our oppressors." In some countries, they would face execution for traitorous behavior. Again, for you to continue declaring "that locally there are forces behind curtains that work to hinder our progress" --- means nothing --- unless you're going to name names. Otherwise, it's just super-hyper, generalized, non-useful rhetoric --- period. "...some will focus on the individual micro aspects of [your] statements based upon their desire for individual battles that lead to individual self-glory" --- WHAT???!!! ..... WHAT???!!! What in the world does that mean??? Can you give us an example??? You wrote that you are "not advocating for any party or candidate." And then you wrote --- "blacks in America refuse to even consider leaving the Democratic Plantation because it’s what we have been accustomed to or trained to do. Does it look like we will have some clear choices between a vote for the plantation or a vote for a new day?" You also employed George Bush's language, e.g., "Some Democrats practice the soft-racism of low expectations because they feel we need programs, hand-outs, and big government oversight because we don’t have the capacity to provide for ourselves." This was the same George Bush who championed the "Faith-Based-Initiative Project, which helped many Black churches double their physical sizes, and also helped their fiscal conditions --- remember??? Do I detect a contradiction??? I'm certain that I do. By the way --- before you get it twisted, I believe that BLACK PEOPLE really do need to THINK. THE MASSES OF OUR PEOPLE ARE NOT OK. We were NOT OK before the coming of Trump, e.g., under Obama. We would NOT have been OK with the coming of Hillary or Sanders. We are NOT OK with the coming of Biden and Harris etc... Whether or not we will EVER be OK does NOT depend on who is in the WHITE House. Instead, it depends more on whether or not we're going to stop shucking, jiving, and conniving, and get serious about organizing ourselves, and developing real, concrete, broad-based unity, which necessarily begins with completely committed, capable, COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP. No one will, in fact, no one can save us --- but US --- period. WE NEED A MOVEMENT!!! ALL ELSE IS MERELY SUPER-HYPER RHETORIC AND NOISE. http://atlantablackstar.com/2016/04/24/time-for-third-independent-political-party/ You claim that "We must stop voting for a party and vote for individuals that support our progress and agenda." "OUR AGENDA" --- WHICH AGENDA IS THAT??? Do you KNOW (specifically) who you should be delivering this sermon to??? >>> "We can’t continue to do the work of the “massa." In order to drive home the point that, had you decided to run for political office --- you "would have a social-political dilemma similar to what the Rev. Dr. Vernon Johns faced in Montgomery, Alabama in the pre-civil rights era," I'm curious as to why it apparently didn't occur to you to use the example of the social-political dilemma, similar to what Minister Clifford Florence faced in Rochester, New York in the far-post-civil rights era of 2021??? Why are so many of us ALWAYS looking way down South somewhere for an example of something that's playing out right before our eyes ---right here in modern-day-slave-town U.S.A.??? Since you believe that we need to "stay focused upon the struggle of structural and institutional racism that impacts us and those who are the high-ranking opposers of our progress" --- tell it to the RCSD Superintendent, whom you seem to have so much confidence in (among others) >>> https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/greenrochester/pages/1/attachments/original/1614048303/REAL_Racial_Equity_Action_Plan_11-25-19-compiled.pdf?161404830