H Rap Brown’s Negro Press, Militant Black Reformists, And Dilution Of Black Power ::: Highlighting Chapter Twelve Of “Die Nigger Die!”

H Rap Brown closes his autobiography, “Die Nigger Die!” with chapter twelve. Much of this chapter seems to be in accord with chapter eleven’s reprinting of his letters from jail. He opens with a list of people he considers to be dedicated revolutionaries.

 

This is a fitting set of prefatory remarks, as much of this chapter details H. Rap Brown’s notions of what it means to be Black and revolutionary.

 

We are the greatest victims of colonial rule. We are exposed to this country’s strongest institutions every day. We find that what is called “education” is not education at all. What it is, is white nationalist propaganda. Black people are made to hate themselves.

“Die Nigger Die!”, H. Rap Brown, pg. 136

 

This observation serves as a call to arms for US Blacks to serve as a vanguard against a Whyte nationalist global capitalism. He frames US Blacks as those most capable of understanding this threat due to their proximity to that trauma. He also makes clear his stance on US education as a system of socialization that inculcates Whyte nationalist ideals.

 

The negro press is no better. They wait for white folks to tell them what to say. The tactic of media is to make you an enemy of the people. Enemies of the people are always vulnerable. They reason Malcolm could be killed and Black folks didn’t revolt is that the press had made Malcolm an enemy of the people. More negroes were scared of Malcolm than whites.

pg. 137

 

Negroes believe anything the press says.

pg. 137

 

Once again, H. Rap Brown takes this time to address Black-owned or operated media outlets, what he dubs, that “negro press”. While in this chapter he does not mention any names, he does, however, blame negro media for responses to Malcolm X’s murder that may not have been as vitriolic as H. Rap would have expected. This leads to a major theme in this chapter vis-a-vis Whyte propaganda, or Whyte influence over Black spaces.

 

Anything you don’t control can be used as a weapon against you. Education is used as a weapon against us. News media is used as a weapon against us. Athletics. We dominate in athletics, but we don’t control them. Therefore the negro athlete is used as a weapon against us. This country realizes that the athlete has an image in our community. So they get some ol’ bootlicking, shuffling, money-mad negro, who can run or jump, and they tell him, “Go control your people. If we can’t control athletes, we can sure cripple ’em.'” Brothers ought to break him up so bad, until he’ll to die to get well. The same thing goes for entertainers. Teach them that if they can’t say the right thing, then don’t say nothing.

pg. 137

 

Pointing out how US Blacks lack control in markets where they are able to develop brand names(“an image in our community”) demands more words. I do wish he had spent more time with that discussion. He does offer his solution to a problem that apparently extends even into my era.

 

Another thing that is used effectively against Blacks is the court system. There is no justice in this country for Black people. Justice is a joke, and it stinks of hypocrisy. Lyndon Johnson is Hitler’s illegitimate child and J. Edgar Hoover is his half-sister. Justice means “just-us-white-folks.” there is no redress of grievance for Blacks in this country. When the government becomes the lawbreaker, people must become law enforcers.

pg. 137

 

Concentration camps have been established and maintained throughout this country. They were established as a result of the McCarran Act of 1950. There is a book called Concentration Camps, U.S.A. that’s written by Charles R. Allen–who is white. (I say this because it usually bridges the credibility gap; you don’t believe what Black folks say but you believe white folks.) It is in your interest that you read it, because your not knowing what’s going to happen doesn’t make it any the less true.

pg. 138

 

Birth control, as it’s practiced by governmental programs dealing with the masses of poor, can’t be called anything else but an attempt at genocide. Birth control should be an individual decision. It should not be forced by a government.

pg. 138

 

H. Rap Brown establishes a thesis for this country’s justice system, prison system, and obsession with population control. He then addresses those that might not believe USA could indeed exact genocidal measures against a group of people based on racial stratification.

 

Some of you are probably saying america wouldn’t do that kind of thing. Negroes like to believe that they are something special to this country. Well, let’s examine america’s history. The American Indian–total genocide. And “the man” shows it to you on t.v. The Japanese–america dropped the bomb on Japan and not on Germany, not because they didn’t have the bomb, but because the Japanese are yellow.

When this country fought Germany, the German-Americans were not put concentration camps; however, when they fought Japan, Japanese-Americans were put into concentration camps, in this country. The Vietnamese and Latin Americans–america says that she’s in their countries to stop communist aggression. America has never moved to stop communist aggression in white countries by utilizing anti-personnel bombs and napalm; in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, she uses RADIO FREE EUROPE; never weapons of destruction. It is important to note here that all the countries with people of color are the ones militarily attacked by america. So why should we be immune to her racism? We experience it every day. We were brought here to do work, there is no more work. Machines do the jobs we used to do. The Attorney General made a statement a few weeks ago; it was interesting in this respect; he said, “Within 20 years the entire population of this country will be a leisure class, with the exception of ten percent of that population, because of automation and cybernation.” Then when we look to see who they are training for those jobs, we find that they are training whites.

pg 139

 

We have not made any progress since we have been in this country. We are still slaves! Concessions are not to be confused with progress. Whites have made concessions only out of political necessity. This country only loosens its hold on Black people to get a better grip.

pg. 139

 

Everything must relate to the struggle as a political form. Culture must be political. Nationalism alone is not a political doctrine. Nationalism has to be a part of a political doctrine. Without vanguard political direction cultural movements bring economic and/or political liberalism, not revolution. We must move to define the difference between political nationalism and cultural nationalism. We must move from Black awareness to revolutionary motion. “To be Black is necessary but not sufficient.” Every negro is a potential traitor; and every Black man is only a potential revolutionary–with emphasis on potential. To be Black is not to be revolutionary. When you begin to stress culture without politics, people can become so hooked up in the beauty of themselves that they have no desire to fight. It becomes ego-gratifying just to be Black.

pg. 141

 

Here, H. Rap Brown works to disassociate simply claiming “Blackness” as being a fighter against oppression. In fact, he goes more distant than most are willing to by stating that these slogans of negro identity tend to only reinforce reformist postures and are self-serving.

 

Write me a novel about how to infiltrate the FBI and destroy it. Write me poems that say more than that you are Black and beautiful. Perform dances with guns to legitimize guns as weapon of struggle. If you examine any country that has undergone successful revolution, you will find that the cultural revolution has never come before actual armed confrontation, never before a contest for power was waged.

pg. 141

 

In those above two passages, H. Rap Brown implores those that claim to a radical posture to employ their talents in manners that objectively work towards literal revolution. As throughout this book, H. Rap Brown defines his stance on revolution as “actual armed confrontation”.

 

The concept of Black Power…has been diluted and prostituted to the point where even the most conservative negroes are now for Black Power.

pg. 142

 

I would love to see which of my contemporaries in activist space would dare put this on a tee-shirt and charge $29.99 plus shipping & handling…no social media uploads for this one, I am sure!

 

At this stage of struggle the greatest danger comes from within. It has become profitable, fashionable and even necessary to be Black. In that order. Militancy is second to Blackness. However, to be militant is not to be revolutionary. Upon close examination, I find the thrust of most militancy is toward reform, not revolution. A militant in this case is one who never stops talking. Militants will bust their balls, campaigning to get some cracker elected. Black militants grow naturals to appear on t.v. as cops shooting blacks for this country. There is not one negro on t.v. that has a politically meaningful role: I Spy is the logical extension of The Lone Ranger; my man is just Tonto. In Mission Impossible, the brother is a humaniod, a professional mechanic for the CIA. All of these shows play against Black people; they might help individuals but never the masses.

[…]

Black militants talk about revolution while seriously programming white people for money. This is the new hustle. Niggers running around with naturals on their heads and nothing on their minds. Some of the biggest and prettiest naturals belong to the police. Black militant disc-jockies, militantly trying to convince white people they got “blue-eyed soul.” Militant negro magazines advising Blacks on which white man to vote for.

pg. 142-143

 

As his closing statement, H. Rap Brown pens for eternity:

 

The question of violence has been cleared up. This country was born of violence. Violence is as american as cherry pie. Black people have always been violent, but our violence has always been directed toward each other. If nonviolence is to be practiced, then it should be practiced in our community and end there. Violence is a necessary part of revolutionary struggle. Nonviolence as it is advocated by negroes is merely a preparation for genocide.

pg. 144

YOU READ ALL THAT? MUST HAVE BEEN WORTH IT.

As you already know, OWL's Asylum is 100% funded by readers like you. In order to help cut hosting and research costs down a little, please donate a few bucks, or more, but definitely, every dollar goes a long way. Just as long as this essay you just read!!!