So often we get our principles confused with our public display of propriety. Where some stand alone in their displays of courage and loyaly, we often overlook their contributions to allow those that would never save us to save face. There is a grace to the proper word, and the forgiving glance;there is a more valued glory to the look that need not words to kindle eternal gratitude and a remembering heart. During our moments of breathing we can place an appraisal on expectations that far outweighs reasonable perfection given the default rules of such.
To be of service to any group of humans can be a daunting task. To be a comrade, a fighter alongside those that have chosen or have been enscripted in some sort of fashion to form the blocking hands and attacking fists, the sneaking eyes and encouraging tongue of a group, is a life of obligations and sacrifice. And yet, neither of these is the summit that is being a Friend of The People.
I rose from my slumbering angle half an hour ago with the thought of Malcolm and Martin wrestling for my Asylum, escuse me, Our Asylum’s attention like a teenage crooner outside his romantic interests second story window. I don’t believe in Harry Potter, but I do believe there is a vitality of personality in all things. The discomforts of war and warlike conditions often force us to choose which lifeforms will be respected as such. The feeding lioness and her hungry cubs are more objectifying than the Western educated chauvinist pig in a stripper’s den. The passing of wartime into peace can often afford us self-righteous creeds that don’t exactly match the objective realities they are supposedly designed to guide us through. That all being written, I don’t want to neglect Our Asylum any fruitful ventures of thought that I might have had to overlook in worse conditions, nor do I want to become a moralizing prick that has forgotten the ways of the walk.
How easy is it for us to call Omowale an ex-con(and all the stigmas that implies) that was a horrible father and possibly even more horrible husband? How easy is it for us to point at Dr. King, Jr. and call him a womanizer and unfaithful to Corretta’s bed? Now, how many of us reading(and writing) this piece can say they walked out of a prison and built Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam, taught Brother Louie how to be Minister Louis Farrakahn, won the respect and honor of revolutionaries of Fidel’s caliber, and inspired the Black Panther Party? How many can say they died being a Friend of the People? How many of us have our sock and t-shirt drawer organized let alone have organized a successful boycott of the one means of transportation within a citywide area for working Black women, organized a March on Washington before it was ever done and during a time when Whites would pull your wig back because of it? How many reading this(and writing this) have ever faced a dog down for more than selfish reasons? What about a water hose on full blast? Yeah, me neither…
Is this how we treat our friends? By backbiting them? Slandering them? Digging through crates and garbage cans for information to defame their character? Is this how we treat our friends? Is this how we want the people, especially our children, to treat Friends of the People? If we treat Friends of Ours that have taken bullets in front of their children, who else will be willing to sign up for that job? “Would you take a bullet for your homie?” Don’t you people know how to treat your friends? Did they brainwash that out of you, too? No, wonder why we don’t have any.
I would sincerely hope that we don’t afford our children the misconceptions of Western analysis and progress. That limb that you are about to chop off for the sake of a seeming “growth”–or as Marable might put it with his writing arse,unfreeze a “stage of development”– is the same limb you will need to hold on to if you fall. Better yet, who the hell is allowing you to cut branches from Our Afkan Tree any damn way? There is nothing perfect without perfection in a dynamic such as life. We Afkan have a serious reality to face and that is that we are a people. Sure, forced through the labors of a raped mother and murdered father, sold by our own family to the enemies of the house of Our ancestors–we still are all we know. I can only speak and mumble a few words of Akan, Kiswahili, and Yoruba. But I can walk through the hoods of any Afkan neighborhood nationwide and reach out to my own kind. With all of my legal issues and urban traumas, I can walk on any college campus and hold my own intellectually. Our good friend Malcolm taught us that. Although I don’t believe in a personal godhead, I know how to sup amongst the Baptists, and give a good word to the homeless and the poor. Our good friend Dr. King taught us that.
My socio-political hypocrisies, or Saul Alinsky’s “political schizophrenia”, provides me with enough good sense to know when to cover my friend’s nakedness while photographing the nakedness of my enemies for proper propaganda. My intellectual pursuits as an adult didn’t begin on the quad of academia, it began in the alleys of St. Louis where I was taught by a partner of sorts somewhat older than me that no matter the dispute, we agree with each other in public, and hash our disagreements out when we are alone. No matter how western my logic might unravel, I never forgot my Afkanese. And one thing the Afkan knows for sure, good friends are a damn struggle to find. So, Afkans, treat your friends good…
“They accuse us of what they themselves are guilty of. This is what the criminal always does. They’ll bomb you, then accuse you of bombing yourself. They’ll crush your skull, then accuse you of attacking him. This is what the racists have always done–the criminal, the one who has criminal processes developed to a science. Their practice is criminal action. And then use the press to make you victim–look like the victim is the criminal, and the criminal is the victim. This is how they do it.” – Malcolm X, Feb. 16, 1965
“There are all too many people who, in some great period of social change, fail to achieve the new mental outlooks that the new situation demands. There is nothing more tragic than to sleep through a revolution. There can be no gainsaying of the fact that a great revolution is taking place in our world today. It is a social revolution, sweeping away the old order of colonialism.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., June 1965