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By Anthony Asadullah Samad

The African American Diaspora went through a lot in 2005. Legends of our 20th Century legacy and culture, like Rosa Parks, Ossie Davis, John Johnson and Richard Pryor, came and went. Tests of our resolve like the poverty politics of Hurricane Katrina, the beating of Minister Tony Muhammad, the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams and the "call to unity" of the Millions More Movement, found Blacks all over the board as to how we face individual and collective challenges to our personal humanity and our collective dignity, as well as how African Americans progress in the New World Order Paradigm (American unilateralism).

Black advocacy has never been weaker as continuing efforts to use outdated activism to attack the now invisible modus operandi of the new "Jim Crow," Colorblindness, is compounded by reoccurring questions as to "Who speaks for us?" has us in, what the Temptations once said a "ball of confusion."

...African Americans often find themselves engaged in generic pursuits, so esoteric that most cannot grasp the concept in anything beyond a symbolic stance. Of course, the work of achieving black unity goes way beyond symbolism.
    How do we move from premise, to promise, to the pragmatism of achieving-not just a unified front, but-a unified purpose? Given what we know to be underlining motives and agendas that will not be forsaken for the purpose of so-called, "black unity," how do African Americans create a "unity paradigm" that works for the highly stratified "black diaspora?" I mean, it's time for us to move [beyond] the rhetoric.
...Blacks are more divided now than at any point in their history. There are more strands of religious beliefs (non-demominationalism being the fastest growing of organized religion), the point being that Blacks can't agree on the best way to reach God, much less serve God. African American political beliefs are just as twisted. Blacks are still in the pockets of the Democratic Party, and are getting literally nothing (beyond individual concessions) in return, while its becoming more and more obvious that Blacks don't even believe what democrats say they believe anymore (partly, because the Democratic Party doesn't know what it believes). Blacks are more socially conservative than they've ever been, splitting on abortion, same sex marriage, and even the death penalty (as we found out around the Tookie Williams issue).
    They say talking religion and politics are the quickest way to start war. Well, the black community has long been at war with itself, largely over its shifting beliefs and its shifting politics.
Shifting beliefs include the shift away from the traditional family unit (the new "traditional" black family is now a single parent or a mixed family, couple with children from prior relationships), and shifts away from the traditional male-female relationship (same sex and bi-sexual relationships representing the biggest shift in African American sexual politics since the master-slave sexual politics of slavery). This further convolutes what African Americans say they "believe." The shifting politics are centered egalitarian pursuits of equality that, in essence, force Blacks to accept race-neutrality in order to achieve some semblance of equality, by assimilating America's cultural beliefs, partaking in "American dream" material benefits," namely work (job), wealth (land/home) and culturalization (Euro-scholarship). .
    The wealth and education divide among African Americans is greater than it's ever been-since slavery. Blacks who are doing well, are doing real well, and Blacks that are not have become a part of that self-fulfilling prophesy called "the permanent underclass." Much of the "black on black" conflict that we see in black communities nationwide is class conflict, the have-nots attacking the haves, or the wanna haves (those who have the desire and ambition to leave their deprivation behind). This creates frustration on both sides, not exactly condusive to unity.
Then there's the agendas mentioned earlier. The three most prominent agendas that work against black unity [are]:
    [1] profiteering (pursuit of fortune), [2] notoriety (desire to be famous), and
    [3]self-hatred (anti-black, intra-racial sentiments).
    {{{AKA The CON-Feed Trifecta! Wink }}}
  • Those who put money before unity (whether its at the street level [gangs/drugs] or so-called businessmen "getting theirs") will not put their economic interest at risk for collective interest and thus, will limit their involvement to tokenism.

  • Those who want to be famous will do anything (and say anything) to be famous, thus neutralizing themselves in the unity movement. You can't say you're for black unity or black dignity while degrading the race in music and film, or saying what the white man can't say (the rise of the black conservative) to undermine black equality.

  • Then there are those who, no matter what you do, will not trust Blacks enough to pursue an interest agenda. You have rich Blacks distrust of poor Blacks (and vice versa), educated Blacks that devalue uneducated Blacks (and vice versa), nationalist Blacks distrusting integrationist Blacks (an argument that goes back 100 years to the DuBois-Washington conflict), then throw in religion, politics, lifestyles, and you have what we have in the black community today, a total, directionless, mess.
      In 2006, African Americans have to give some real serious thought as to whether black unity can be achieved, and if so, how can black unity be achieved. That's our charge, and it's a big one, but necessary to advance any notion of black progress, and the achievement of black equality.
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    The only way Black unity can be achieved is by a predominate number of Blacks making a concious decision to be unified and literally act on that decision. Dis-unity is the primary reason for Blacks being the lowest on the totem pole in America and throughout the world and unity is the only thing that will move us from that position, especially, in rates that will make tangible differences.
    quote:
    Dis-unity is the primary reason for Blacks being the lowest on the totem pole...
    I don't agree with that and the term "UNITY" gets more vague with every use.

    Dis-unity would seem to be a function of our situation. So, I see that idea as one suggesting False Causation.

    The central question is:
    How do African Americans create a "unity paradigm" that works for the highly stratified "black diaspora?"

    To merely say "We are not unified and that's what causes or allows our problems to continue" doesn't answer the important question here. Neither does it say what Unity Is and What Unity Looks Like.

    What the hell is a "decision to be unified"?
    What type of decision would or rather could that be? To be unified about what in particular?

    Like I said, the term UNITY is more and more vague with every use. How can a defined UNITY come from an idea that's so vague and hardly ventures to be specific about anything?

    There's been plenty of WE NEED TO [Be Unified] but way too like HOW DO WE [Become/Act Unified]. The latter is definitely much more specific, real and responsible. The former is little more than RHETORIC, as the author suggested.

    IMO, saying the former is really useless. It doesn't even begin to help us to be UNIFIED. Addressing the latter does, specifically because it establishes a process for "making a concious decision to be unified" and a considers an actual structure or set of arrangements by which we can "literally act on that decision."
    How do African Americans create a "unity paradigm" that works for the highly stratified "black diaspora?"---Nmaginate

    The group I am referencing is that group that is of unknown African ancestry.

    That group may be expanded to include any other person of African ancestry who a citizen of, or resident in, the United States.

    And I guess I should add all those involved should be speaking to the best needs for African America, as indicated in your initial phrase of the quote. Having said that...

    A 'unity paradigm' has to be understood to not require unanimity. Major socio-political change is historically proven to need only a lesser percentage of the overall population to be successful. Witness the Civil Rights Movement, although its success has not yet been completed.

    The simple answer to how to move beyond the rhetoric is going to be to make an aggregate out of many positive actions, some large, some small.

    Ultimately agreeing among those who otherwise might disagree is the path to concensus, unity.


    PEACE

    Jim Chester
    We would first HAVE to make a conscious decision to be Unified, we would then have to ACT ON THAT UNITY, politically, socially, and economically.

    One example (among millions) of making a decision to unify and acting on it would be, for example, for African Americans to attend historically Black colleges and universities across America, which would financially empower historically Black colleges and universities while educating masses of Black people in this country, establish a base of employment and business opportunities with the massive expansion this would create; teaching jobs, administrative jobs, general labor, building construction contracts, suppliers and services contracts, etc.-------just one example of an area of unification that would benefit the masses . . . the same or similar senarios could be found in almost any other area that is needed for progressiveness of Black people here and throughout the world, for that matter . . .

    Now, you tell me/us what it is that you propose (or an example of) . . .
    First, you have to appreciate the probolems that the mass attendance of HBCU's has, the way you seem to suggest it. It's something that's not exactly feasible, financially or geographically, no matter how much I support the idea. So, what are the incentives to make this happen and to get more African-Americans to go to already struggling HBCU's?

    Me, I'm in favor of a permanent, "unified" Black Congress of sorts that purposely sets out to house the whole spectrum of Black ideas, philosophies and ideologies under one roof for the purpose of tackling those political, social and economic interests.

    To be clear... YOU are the one calling for UNITY and lamenting the apparent Dis-Unity without respect to the reality of why HBCU's aren't the focus of UNITY. There are some practical issues involved. And in order to be responsible in YOUR call for UNITY those issues and how to get around them have to be considered. And I'm saying that even while I think it's an excellent idea. But you and I both know the numbers you envision (though not disclosed) aren't going to come JUST BECAUSE.

    There could or should be a "unified effort" to prevent and reintegrate ex-con's back into society in order for them to be productive members of society and, more importantly, the Black Community. This is crucial because the amount of brothers going to prison. But I'm not naive or ignorant (as in ignoring) [1] the actual services out there that indeed try to do this and [2] the overall lack of [surplus] resources available for this venture, human and financial.
    quote:
    Originally posted by Nmaginate:
    Then there's the agendas mentioned earlier. The three most prominent agendas that work against black unity [are]:
      [1] profiteering (pursuit of fortune), [2] notoriety (desire to be famous), and
      [3]self-hatred (anti-black, intra-racial sentiments).
      {{{AKA The CON-Feed Trifecta! Wink }}}
  • Those who put money before unity (whether its at the street level [gangs/drugs] or so-called businessmen "getting theirs") will not put their economic interest at risk for collective interest and thus, will limit their involvement to tokenism.

  • Those who want to be famous will do anything (and say anything) to be famous, thus neutralizing themselves in the unity movement. You can't say you're for black unity or black dignity while degrading the race in music and film, or saying what the white man can't say (the rise of the black conservative) to undermine black equality.

  • Then there are those who, no matter what you do, will not trust Blacks enough to pursue an interest agenda. You have rich Blacks distrust of poor Blacks (and vice versa), educated Blacks that devalue uneducated Blacks (and vice versa), nationalist Blacks distrusting integrationist Blacks (an argument that goes back 100 years to the DuBois-Washington conflict), then throw in religion, politics, lifestyles, and you have what we have in the black community today, a total, directionless, mess.


  • NOW THIS IS KEY RIGHT HERE. I'm glad that you posted this, Nmag. Wink

    Now these are things which harm Black Unity in America more than anything else (I would also add those who view quick monetary gain through illegal activity as "acceptable" to the dis-unity list).

    For Black Unity to be achieved, we also need more communal ethic with Black Businesses. Many Black Businesses operate just like White Businesses and just do business with whoever the highest bidder is (so in the end, it doesn't help out the Community). We need for Black business to seek to do business within the Community, and we need more economic involvement within the Community.

    We need Black Businesses that award scholarship money to inner-city schools, businesses that feed the hungry and pay for homeless shelters and provide jobs in such places. We need for them to be involved in charity work and be involved in international work in Africa.

    I also think that our businesses should operate with more economic democracy. Less managerial tyranny and more worker ownership/involvement. Our businesses should treat workers like what they really are: assets and constituents of the company, not "wage slaves" and just "hired help".
    quote:
    Originally posted by Nmaginate:
    First, you have to appreciate the probolems that the mass attendance of HBCU's has, the way you seem to suggest it. It's something that's not exactly feasible, financially or geographically, no matter how much I support the idea. So, what are the incentives to make this happen and to get more African-Americans to go to already struggling HBCU's?

    Me, I'm in favor of a permanent, "unified" Black Congress of sorts that purposely sets out to house the whole spectrum of Black ideas, philosophies and ideologies under one roof for the purpose of tackling those political, social and economic interests.

    To be clear... YOU are the one calling for UNITY and lamenting the apparent Dis-Unity without respect to the reality of why HBCU's aren't the focus of UNITY. There are some practical issues involved. And in order to be responsible in YOUR call for UNITY those issues and how to get around them have to be considered. And I'm saying that even while I think it's an excellent idea. But you and I both know the numbers you envision (though not disclosed) aren't going to come JUST BECAUSE.

    There could or should be a "unified effort" to prevent and reintegrate ex-con's back into society in order for them to be productive members of society and, more importantly, the Black Community. This is crucial because the amount of brothers going to prison. But I'm not naive or ignorant (as in ignoring) [1] the actual services out there that indeed try to do this and [2] the overall lack of [surplus] resources available for this venture, human and financial.


    And with that said, instead of being "Democrats" or "Republicans" or "Independents" or "Libertarians", I think we should create our own parties that address OUR (the Black Community's) particular needs. None of these other parties arddress our needs, and we need to stop giving them our support.

    Now we can do fusion voting (belonging to these other parties, but support the main parties if need-be), but I think we need to have less membership within them en masse.


    I'm all for the creation/growth of a "Black Workers' Party" or a "National Black Congress Party" or "Black Liberty Party".
    quote:
    We need Black Businesses that award scholarship money to inner-city schools
    I was thinking Black Businesses could partner with HBCU's and sponsor scholarships for current and prospective students who would agree to both attend an HBCU and commit to working for either that particular company or those in the UNITY Network.... or, since you brought it up, to work in inner-city schools or communities.

    Still, all this implicates quite a bit of capital resources which don't seem to be readily available though significant efforts can be made it seems. And, to reiterate, there are organizations out there doing the very things people tend to pretend are not happening. Organizations/Businesses sponsor scholarships all the time. It would seem SUNNUBIAN (and I) would be asking for more - more in total and more in direct focus on benefitting HBCU's.

    I'd say this should be on any and every Black National Agenda. (Great idea SUN~!!!) tfro
    _____________________________________________
    quote:
    Originally posted by Nmaginate:
    First, you have to appreciate the probolems that the mass attendance of HBCU's has, the way you seem to suggest it. It's something that's not exactly feasible, financially or geographically, no matter how much I support the idea. So, what are the incentives to make this happen and to get more African-Americans to go to already struggling HBCU's?"
    _____________________________________________

    I only used HBCU's as an example, however, being unified through self determination would make it feasable, the actual support by attending alone is what would fund an initial stage of expansion, and of course, I'm sure that all 39+million African American cannot or will not attend, the point would be that unified support is what would fuel and strenghten our HBCU's to greatness the same as it has any other great universities in America, or anywhere in the world, for that matter . . .
    ---------------------------------------
    -----------------------------------------


    ______________________________________________
    "Me, I'm in favor of a permanent, "unified" Black Congress of sorts that purposely sets out to house the whole spectrum of Black ideas, philosophies and ideologies under one roof for the purpose of tackling those political, social and economic interests."
    ___________________________________________

    This would be perfect and should be an initial approach, but in order to do this Black people will have to 'unify' to make this happen, have to make a conscious decision to come together in the first place and actually act in union to 'tackle' the problems that we have socially, economically and politically.
    I would go as far as to say that this SHOULD be the first step towards the unification that is needed to make a difference in the problems that plague African America and the diaspora.
    --------------------------------------------
    --------------------------------------------


    ______________________________________________
    "To be clear... YOU are the one calling for UNITY and lamenting the apparent Dis-Unity without respect to the reality of why HBCU's aren't the focus of UNITY. There are some practical issues involved. And in order to be responsible in YOUR call for UNITY those issues and how to get around them have to be considered. And I'm saying that even while I think it's an excellent idea. But you and I both know the numbers you envision (though not disclosed) aren't going to come JUST BECAUSE."
    ________________________________________________

    Again, I only used the HBCU's as an example, but the inference set in the senario would fit nearly any example, or area of need or lack in African America, for example, in your ideal of a 'Black Congress of sorts' ---it does not exist because of the dis-unity among African America and will only come to be through the unification of African America.
    --------------------------------------------
    --------------------------------------------

    ______________________________________________
    "There could or should be a "unified effort" to prevent and reintegrate ex-con's back into society in order for them to be productive members of society and, more importantly, the Black Community. This is crucial because the amount of brothers going to prison. But I'm not naive or ignorant (as in ignoring) [1] the actual services out there that indeed try to do this and [2] the overall lack of [surplus] resources available for this venture, human and financial.

    ______________________________________________

    I couldn't agree more, but then that brings us back to that 'unity' thing, wherein the whole of African America (preferable under the umbrella of your African American Congress of sorts) has to come together (unity) to vote, build political bases, raise the funds that it would take to challange the present laws, discriminate sentencing laws, abuses of power, wrongful convictions, unconstitutional charges and prosecutions, and racist practices that cause this to come about in the first place, (unity) come together in plan to police, control, and protect our own communities to assure true justice in arrests and incarcerations in the first place, for example.
    SUNNUBIAN, we've had several discussions here about that African-American Congress... In my view, the first order of business would be to Coordinate Organizations, etc. with Similar Functions. And COORDINATION is the whole idea of UNITY as I see it. The fundamental philosophy would be that We're All In This Together with the fundamental assumption being that We All Want What's Best For The Black Community.

    For this to happen, IMO, it will take a Phil Jackson like statesperson who can keep the parties involved focused on the mission which, simply, would be aligning people according to their area of expertise, talent and interest into Task Forces to tackle the particular issue in their area of [most] concern. To do that, it may only mean supporting existing organizations. It may also mean establishing new ones or drawing off the wealth of experience and knowledge from across the country.

    The thing to all this is that somebody just has to get it started and act on that vision and keep the spirit alive until it comes to fruition. Essentially, I agree with JWC and think, too often, people feel like there has to be a mass buy-in before something can begin. Things start small:
    quote:
    A 'unity paradigm' has to be understood to not require unanimity. Major socio-political change is historically proven to need only a lesser percentage of the overall population to be successful.
    quote:
    Originally posted by Nmaginate:
    quote:
    We need Black Businesses that award scholarship money to inner-city schools
    I was thinking Black Businesses could partner with HBCU's and sponsor scholarships for current and prospective students who would agree to both attend an HBCU and commit to working for either that particular company or those in the UNITY Network.... or, since you brought it up, to work in inner-city schools or communities.

    Still, all this implicates quite a bit of capital resources which don't seem to be readily available though significant efforts can be made it seems. And, to reiterate, there are organizations out there doing the very things people tend to pretend are not happening. Organizations/Businesses sponsor scholarships all the time. It would seem SUNNUBIAN (and I) would be asking for more - more in total and more in direct focus on benefitting HBCU's.

    I'd say this should be on any and every Black National Agenda. (Great idea SUN~!!!) tfro


    Great idea! yeah

    I didn't even quite think of that.

    Now, the money could, in part, come from federal grants, but alot of it would have to come probably from our own tax money and out of business profits.

    I wouldn't mind tax money going into something that actually helps US. tfro
    How do you create a Unity paradigm?

    How about a statement of purpose and principles?

    The original colonies had constitutional conventions and hashed out a unifying document.

    E Pluribus Unum - From Many One.

    Newt Gingtrich had the Contract With America.

    If somebody can put together a million man march, can't someone put together a black "constitutional convention"? The purpose of which would be to articulate collective goals and preferred methods and strategies to achieve them. It seems like you would need to do something like this before you could have something like a Black Congress.
    quote:
    Originally posted by HonestBrother:
    How do you create a Unity paradigm?

    How about a statement of purpose and principles?

    The original colonies had constitutional conventions and hashed out a unifying document.

    E Pluribus Unum - From Many One.

    Newt Gingtrich had the Contract With America.

    If somebody can put together a million man march, can't someone put together a black "constitutional convention"? The purpose of which would be to articulate collective goals and preferred methods and strategies to achieve them. It seems like you would need to do something like this before you could have something like a Black Congress.


    I guess we might need to.
    I think that actions are motivated by emotions, when not motivated directly by instinct without thought. Some emotions thus produce an instinctive reaction, such as fear producing the action resultant of fight or flight. Unity is an action and hence requires a prerequisite emotion to motivate towards the instinctive reaction to the emotion.

    There is nothing that creates unity more than a shared enemy. This is why this nation always embarks upon a campaign of demonizing an entity in order to first make it out as a threat/enemy and hence use the fear generated by the campaign to promote unity for an attack. Unlike the government, black folks really do not have to INVENT or embellish an enemy, we have 300 plus years of empirical evidence that should make us damn scared.

    What keeps black folks from unifying is that we cannot see the forest due to the trees. In other words, we are not seeing the big picture of what is and has and is happening to black people the world over to put two and two together. Moreover, we see other black folks as being different and hence we do not link their suffering as part of the global black plight that is the consequence of white supremacy. Therefore, the problems of Africa or Haiti are not black problems resulting from the legacy or contemporary white manipulation or reaction; rather, they are seen as African and Haitian issues....and many of us look down upon them as inferior and not victims of the same external forces that we are in America.

    Black unity will require not following the trend of America to be ahistorical, which removes the evidence that reveals an enemy. We also must start seeing other black folks around the world as "black like us" and hence see their suffering as our suffering....which will add urgency to the need for black unity to rise from under the foot of white supremacy.
    quote:
    Originally posted by Empty Purnata:

    quote:
    Originally posted by HonestBrother:
    How do you create a Unity paradigm?

    How about a statement of purpose and principles?

    The original colonies had constitutional conventions and hashed out a unifying document.

    E Pluribus Unum - From Many One.

    Newt Gingtrich had the Contract With America.

    If somebody can put together a million man march, can't someone put together a black "constitutional convention"? The purpose of which would be to articulate collective goals and preferred methods and strategies to achieve them. It seems like you would need to do something like this before you could have something like a Black Congress.


    I guess we might need to.


    Why don't the people on this thread and at this site endeavor to create a statement of purpose AND a strategy/platform/roadmap for a unified approach. Why not? First, it would be a great exercise for us. Second, it might become a valuable template/example for others to look to. Third, if not us - who? If not now - when?
    bsm
    quote:
    Originally posted by MBM:
    Why don't the people on this thread and at this site endeavor to create a statement of purpose AND a strategy/platform/roadmap for a unified approach. Why not? First, it would be a great exercise for us. Second, it might become a valuable template/example for others to look to. Third, if not us - who? If not now - when?
    bsm


    I'm game.
    Last edited {1}
    quote:
    Originally posted by Noah The African:
    I think that actions are motivated by emotions, when not motivated directly by instinct without thought. Some emotions thus produce an instinctive reaction, such as fear producing the action resultant of fight or flight. Unity is an action and hence requires a prerequisite emotion to motivate towards the instinctive reaction to the emotion.

    There is nothing that creates unity more than a shared enemy. This is why this nation always embarks upon a campaign of demonizing an entity in order to first make it out as a threat/enemy and hence use the fear generated by the campaign to promote unity for an attack. Unlike the government, black folks really do not have to INVENT or embellish an enemy, we have 300 plus years of empirical evidence that should make us damn scared.

    What keeps black folks from unifying is that we cannot see the forest due to the trees. In other words, we are not seeing the big picture of what is and has and is happening to black people the world over to put two and two together. Moreover, we see other black folks as being different and hence we do not link their suffering as part of the global black plight that is the consequence of white supremacy. Therefore, the problems of Africa or Haiti are not black problems resulting from the legacy or contemporary white manipulation or reaction; rather, they are seen as African and Haitian issues....and many of us look down upon them as inferior and not victims of the same external forces that we are in America.

    Black unity will require not following the trend of America to be ahistorical, which removes the evidence that reveals an enemy. We also must start seeing other black folks around the world as "black like us" and hence see their suffering as our suffering....which will add urgency to the need for black unity to rise from under the foot of white supremacy.


    Great post Noah! We don't allow ourselves to see other black people as being "black like us" and vice versa. Often times the majority of our people are suffering from the sames types of issues and don't even know it because there is a certain amount of disconnect. Some of the disconnect is external and some is internal. If we overcome the internal disconnect, we can definitely overcome the external disconnects.

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