H. Rap Brown’s Black America ::: Highlighting Chapter One Of ‘Die Nigger Die’

In this book’s introduction, Ekwueme Michael Thelwell discusses H. Rap Brown’s ascension into his role as Islamic Imam, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. That writing explains in words and thoughts ascribed to Imam Al-Amin why this work still uses his nome de guerre, H. Rap Brown. It would seem to be those hopes of Imam Al-Amin to preserve his thoughts under that identity at that age and time, while also separating his more recent political stances and ideas. In this piece, and any subsequent pieces discussing chapters from “Die Nigger Die!”, I will be applying a similar approach.

 

In his autobiography, “Die Nigger Die!”, H. Rap Brown we read these words in its first chapter:

 

America recognized long ago what negroes now examine in disbelief: every Black birth in america is political. With each new birth comes a potential challenge to the existing order.
Each new generation brings forth untested militancy.

“Die Nigger Die!”, H. Rap Brown, pg 1

 

I highlight this passage because it reinforces my own beliefs that US Blacks will never be completely accepted as full-blooded national citizens. Every generation born poor will be met with aggressive state violence and criminalization or “toxification”. Each generation of US Blacks born in more privileged tax brackets and social environments will be left chasing “Firsts” and fighting for Civil Rights more about inclusion in exploitative markets than actual civility. To borrow from certain lore, there is this Yakubian Theory of trajection at work. While I do not view Whyte Supremacy as this ontologically divine(or satanic), omniscient or omnipresent force, there is an objective reality of human history to be considered. If I am allowed to borrow from yet another body of myths, Herod would be hard pressed to keep up with number of bodies piled up from murders by police of Blacks from Kennedy to Obama.

 

Speaking of Obama, my next quote from H. Rap describes how class in Black America is codified similarly to how Whyte America codifies all of its inhabitants: along a color/nationality spectrum.

 

He writes:

Race prejudice in america becomes color prejudice in negro america. That which is cultural prejudice by whites against Blacks becomes class prejudice in negro america. To distinguish themselves, negroes assign class distinctions. Here we find the instituting and substituting of parallel values. Negroes assume that what is good for white america is good for negro america.

pg 7

 

He continues along this trajectory:

 

As they get more “educated,” their religion gets more like the white man’s religion as if their heaven will be segregated too. “Education” even extends down to the naming of the children. The more “educated” the negro becomes, the more European names he picks for his children…In other words, values are assigned to names. Names must now be more than functional.

pg 9

While there is a clear difference between Donald Joseph and Barrack Hussein, it must be also noted there is a difference between Jermaine and Barrack in this particular discussion. There are societal perks for Blacks that can claim ties to nations or have obvious signs that they are not descendents of US Slaves. There are such creative naming traditions in communities of Blacks that are less influenced by Whyte hegemony that almost immediately class a Black person that other Blacks, immigrant or privileged class, attempt to disassociate themselves from.

 

H. Rap also extends his discussion on intraracial US Black classifications into socio-political and economic space with this addressing:

 

When the white folks he works with ask him what he thinks about “the riot,” he says it’s hurting the cause and all sorts of bull like that. But that night after work, he breaks records getting home to watch it on t.v., cheering like a muthafucka the whole time.

pg 9

 

It has to be noted here that this description could apply not only to late 1960s US Black America when it was written, but even to Obama Era USA.

 

Black america has existed ever since the first slave despised the injustice that was done to him and did not seek to accommodate himself to that injustice.

pg 11

 

This is a part of what might be considered his conceptual framework(I’m always calling something a conceptual framework, ain’t I?) for simplistically defining socio-economic stratas of US Blacks. In this chapter, he divides USA into Whyte America, Negro America, and Black America. I will immediately admit this is an unpolished study. I do appreciate him for at least tackling in a popular voice those coarse dynamics that envelope and define US Black America.

YOU READ ALL THAT? MUST HAVE BEEN WORTH IT.

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