The Revolution Was Televised And We’re Too Focused On Its Re-runs: Black America’s New Fight


I understand that this magazine is for the purpose of art, literature, music and culture. We’ve in the past focused on very superficial and entertaining aspects of the culture aspect but the issue of race relations is something that I’ve thought about in depth, and while it may seem out of place and written more academically than the past pieces I think that it is no less relevant to all of our interests and to us in general.

We mobilized, we militarized, we fought the revolution and here’s a news update for the afro-punks, neo-black panthers and the NAACP, it’s over. We won. “Won” is hyperbolic and meant to enrage, incite, and get you to pay attention. We won the revolution: the bloody battle to free us from the laws that bound us, from a documented and legally binding means to perpetuate a cycle of racial inequality. The establishment didn’t fold, we didn’t beat them into submission, they adapted and did what a ruling body has always done best, capitalized off of the wants of the people and appease in a way that would have no real detriment to the overall governing and profiteering of those that are in a position of wealth and profit. Those that once used our bodies, changed our given names to nigger, and objectified us in a devastatingly literal way did not lay bruised in the streets with white flags. They sat moved the pieces abandoning a system that was as useless to them as it was oppressive to us. Their reasoning wasn’t “We’ve changed our opinions and apologize. You are our equals and we needed this fight to realize.”

What does this mean? How does a beaten foe differ from an adjusted governing body? The benefits are the same: the laws have changed, the people have changed, and things aren’t perfect, but they are progressively becoming better. In spite of the changes, the improvement of the governing system and society is not universal. The quality of life has improved for the class of the general African American. We have moved in a short but violent period: from alien to savage, from savage to slave, from slave to tool, tool to subhuman, subhuman to disliked and now human who is equal but separated by subconscious and historical context. If there is no dramatic switch or catastrophe things will improve to the point of total societal equality. In terms of majority opinion of an archetype of a black person on equal economic footing in comparison to the hypothetical caucasian; the American black is not considered genetically different or socially different. Based on hiring practices, the middle class economically equal black still makes less than the white counter-point and is hired less, promoted less, and given fewer opportunities. This truth of these arguments only invalidates the point of this paper if you misconstrue the modern reasons behind them. The majority sees us as an equal, but they still see a them and an us.

There are a few factors behind the business practices that favor a white male over the black counterpoint (Black women share the problems of the black male, but there are far too many variables to create an articulate and structured argument that focuses on black America and women in America). The white male has been the majority of the western capitalist world for centuries, and these centuries begat family, friends, and other relationships that now influence the people who are hired. It’s not a direct attack on blacks but a natural gravitation towards helping those with whom you feel a connection. In our generation this group of friends will and has included increasing numbers of blacks. We’ve worked, struggled and many have managed to break through tradition to become neighbors, friends, and even recognized family (we’ve been literal brothers and sisters for years but surprisingly birth based upon rape, human property and imperialism don’t develop into family).

Nepotism decreases with time (or increases depending on how you’re interpretation of the practice) but a related issue is perceived difference and a sense of discomfort. Studies done on names that sound more “black” compared to more traditionally white names show that whites are disproportionally hired. This, like nepotism, will decrease as we become intertwined and part of the same culture and society. For anecdotal evidence look at the election of a man named Barrack, names like these cause initial separation and distance between black and white, but they do not mean their hatred or even bigotry. Most of those that are hiring feel a subconscious/involuntary kinship with those that share common histories. It’s a sign of an appreciation or preference of the familiar and not as active malice against the different.

The final point of difference in hiring practice for this article (there are an infinite amount of sociological, historical, and philosophical aspects that can be analyzed.) is the education level of blacks as a whole and the locations that they received these educations. Historically black colleges are steeped in positive history and were needed to establish a cult of learning in a group that originally just wanted to survive. These institutions have given rise to many figures of great importance/influence on the black community and the general life of Americans of any race. My home is in the district of Lincoln University, if you are unfamiliar with the name, it was the first African American university to grant accredited degrees to its students. To conserve time and relevance here is a list of notable alumni that establishes the importance of the University.

Now for the blasphemies argument against the relevance that these colleges hold today. Black Universities and in relation black fraternities were necessary and we’d be much worse off if it weren’t for the opportunities given by the innovators among our ancestors. They aren’t wrong now, and we shouldn’t ignore them, but they are separatist institutions. Many have used these place’s opportunities to improve their lives. Education is brought to those that would not have been given the chances of other because of their socio-economic status. The problem is the magnitude of their past benefits causes a fixation on our history, it’s perpetuated instead of expanded upon. They stand ground where they once broke it, instead of blazing trails they’re running on a treadmill. These institutions and frats are living in the time of revolution. Black Universities should celebrate their alumni and their part in the fight for equality.

Now, if we are to respect and revere these historical landmarks, and see them as a necessity, why should we rid ourselves of them? Wouldn’t that make us Uncle Toms on the same level as those chain emails about ending black scholarships, black history month, and affirmative action? I don’t want to destroy or dismantle any of these things, but I’m not Marcus Garvey, Booker T. Washington, or W. E. B. Du Bois. These people had great philosophies and practiced them to the best they could (Garvey screwed up the whole philosophy thing with the back to Africa movement) and their best brought us to our position now. That position is a different one than it was in the past, assimilation is a terrible idea because its connotation and philosophy is bigoted regardless of its initial benefits. If you gain acceptance through appeasement then you are always going to be seen as the friend who is only in the group because he brings the beer. If you move towards separatist philosophy then you are noble, respect your culture, and at this point have more in common with a white segregationist than anyone else. Separate and equal in law has no ability to be equal, but in society it’s worse. If 14% of the population tries to become its own society based on historical difference it’s going destroy itself or at least flounder and die.

The goal of recognizing one’s history should be to see what we’ve done, how it worked in context, and to use its pluses and minuses to establish a new philosophy to pragmatically improve life. So how do we as blacks in America use our historical institutions and struggles? We stop seeing them as “black universities” and start using them to improve the lives of all those whose historical, economic and social standing have given them a lesser chance. The majority of these people will be colored, in some way a minority, not because of blacks being the majority of impoverished people (Black people are disproportionally low income, but the majority of poor are white.) The number of minorities will be because those who will initially go to these institutions are those that have been going: then those who are also ostracized by race, then eventually those who are socially and fiscally impoverished. The battle should be to keep history alive as an influence and a base, not as a template and rule.

he fight that needs to occur, the new revolution, isn’t about color, it will just affect it. The battle that we need to fight is one that we’ve been trying to win for longer than race. Poverty and the perpetuation of it is the most damning and detrimental element of race relations we face today. It’s easy to link corporations as evil and politicians as corrupt. Corporations have no feelings. They aren’t evil. They don’t want to keep you poor and they don’t want to make you rich. It’s a matter of facts, figures and what works for them. Battling them in debate or violence does as much as battling the ground or energy, it doesn’t feel your attacks and may shift or contort but won’t decrease.

Politicians are corrupt because there is no other way to be in that position. I’m not a fan of this rhetorical technique but let’s look at the etymology of the word. It’s basically rooted in the idea of the city or of the civilization. They are the representation of us, the populace. This does not mean that they are working in the best interest of the people. They are a representation of a group of people, now I want you to look into the idea of group mentality: how easily it is swayed, how malicious it can become with even a slight change. Now we’ve elected someone to represent this group and placed them into another group of representatives that all have the same problems that face any group. They are easily swayed by acute disruptions, which stops change. They also have a gang mentality, which in a macabre almost tragic comedic way, imitates the process of street gangs. Consider the election as initiation. Then consider the money as drugs. If you don’t get involved with it, you are passing up money that your peers are all getting, and if you don’t participate in the activities of the group then you are ostracized, your bills or qualms are ignored violence is perpetrated against you either metaphorically in the case of politicians or literally in the terms of street gangs.

Think of this revolution as bloodless. We need to start working towards bringing more education and less police to the areas that we’ve forgotten or ignored. This means that we need to lower the punishment for non-violent drug crimes. Decriminalization and a transition of those forces towards efforts against trafficking through the process of embargo would help to decrease the amount of drugs in the area. If we focus less on busting users and more on the areas that are being ravaged by production we would fare better overall. The decriminalization will cause a community wide trust of public figures and government figures. I will cause the same mood change in law enforcement and government agencies that are currently in a perpetual gun battle with the community. Once the trust is improved then you can begin to really build education and community services. This is where we would benefit from the intervention of historical colleges and organization of colored people.

This is not the war on terror, this is not the war on drugs, this is not a war at all, it’s a revolution. You can take your Tzars, your generals, and your suspension of habeas corpus and you can place them back in their oil drums. We need our revolutionaries. Those that want change. Those who will fight for change through any means available. You can speak against “internet slacktivism” if you’d like, but how do you think that a person up for election reacts to visible examples of their constituents opinions. The internet is a magnificently visual tool to support and act.

Corporations will act accordingly, as mentioned they are not evil, they are just inanimate and the people who run them are inanimate when contained by their walls. So you do not destroy. You move, just like energy or dirt, you transfer. When the economy goes down, everything goes down. The bloom and burst economics may seem to keep things going and make a quick dollar but we can shift this with generations and common sense. The more successful we become as a nation the more there is to be made. If the poor become educated and cease to be poor then they spend, and they develop things to spend on. This boosts the economy and brings a rush of money to all of us. The entrepreneurs and business men tend to use the risks they’ve taken as reasons for their right to wealth. Well take the higher percentage of taxes and the regulations so the money can be used to create better programs to improve the lower class living conditions. It may take time but in a few years or decades everyone will be better off financially and quality of living. You and your peers holding 5 million is going to gain interest at a rate less than inflation when money cod programs could have untold of positive gains on the wealth of the nation.

Drugs, Poverty, Education, Taxes, Police presence, Social Consciousness these are the new attributes of the revolution. We were televised, documented and we have glorious memories of the past and wish to continue this fight, because racism is still there by practical definition. The thing is that the stigma and racial problems that we face today aren’t because of oppression by some mythical Man. There is no want or need to keep the black man down. It is a by-product of keeping the poor man down. The amount of impoverished blacks in relation to population size is why the negativity exists towards the race. It’s why so many say that they have no problem with blacks just the ones who act “ghetto”. It’s why Chris Rock talks of Niggas vs. Black People. You work on that system and the problems that surround it and eventually we can end the subconscious racial actions that plague us now. The majority don’t think that they’re better, they don’t think of us as different in an abstract sense. The problem is that they feel that we are different because we all become associated to our perceived lowest common denominator and our culture becomes associated and everything gets a hint of that. Unlike other minorities we’ve had a very long history here that caused the first revolution, and that need to be addressed in a very different way in our war of 1812.

– Cameron Patton

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