Is Blak Peeple Stoopid?
Min. Paul Scott
When I first heard Nobel Prize winner, Dr. James Watson's comments about African people being intellectually inferior to other folks I was outraged! I immediately jumped up, ran to my lap top and got ready to organize a boycott, uprising or a million man march through dude's living room. But then I thought about BET's game show "Take the Cake" and went back to playing Madden 2007...
For those who no longer watch BET, let's put it this way, while white folk's game shows are asking questions like "which continent has the largest amount of natural resources just waiting for us to finish exploiting."
"Take the Cake" trivia goes somethin' like this:
For $1,000 what Civil Rights leader whose initials are MLK once said "I Have a Dream?"
"Was it Dr. Dre, T.I. or Dr. Martin Luther the King?"
The question of black inferiority has been an issue since before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Many a white enslaver posed the question "if Black folks weren't intellectually challenged, how did we so easily trick them into getting on those slave ships?"
Now this would be fine and dandy if it wasn't for names from African history like Imhotep, cities like Timbuktu and those big triangle-like things in the middle of the desert known as pyramids.
So were our enslaved ancestors a little slow or were they victims of a foreign imperialist culture to which they were not accustomed?
Although, some folks point to the fact that lacking the resources of warmer climates the European had to develop devious ways to obtain resources, does that make white folks inherently evil or just products of their environment doing what they had to do to survive ?
While it is easy to look at our present media portrayals and want to give Ol' James a high five for his excellent analysis of the obvious, it just shows a lack of historical research backed by a system of institutionalized and globally accepted white supremacy.
During the early 90's, this statement would have been met with an onslaught from our top Afrocentric scholars challenging this theory in bookstores and in college lecture halls across the country. Unfortunately, Drs John Henrik Clarke, Amos Wilson and Asa Hilliard have gone on to the ancestors leaving behind a black intelligentsia more skilled at deciphering rap lyrics and arguing the social ramifications of saggin' pants than historical scholarship.
Plus, this ain't 1992 and the lectures that used to pack student union rooms are now attended by four or five brothers and sisters with dashikis and afro picks quoting Curtis Mayfield and eating bean pies.
While one may be quick to point the finger at Hip Hop.....
(Wait a minute, I forgot my point)
Oh yeah....but Hip Hop can not be totally to blame. Just think back to the late 80's when many of us picked up The Autobiography of Malcolm X for the first time courtesy of a Public Enemy song.
What is most frustrating is the failure of the younger Hip Hop Generation to maximize their opportunities to effect change given technological advances.
As many people question how much more effective the Garvey Movement would have been with the internet and Kinkos, one can also ask how much more effective the "edutainement" of the Stop the Violence and Blackwatch Movements would have been in the late 80's with youtube and myspace. I mean, if a whole nation can learn to "crank dat soldier boy" off of youtube...We'll you get the point.
Back in tha day we use to have sayings like "Knowledge is Power" but today's anti-illiteracy anthem is called "Read a ******* book." Now I understand the concept but if we don't tell our youth which books to read they are still left in the dark.
I can imagine my 12 year old daughter trying to justify reading Superhead's new book by sayin'
"Daddy, the man on BET did tell me to read a ***** book, so technically..."
Also, our T-Shirts used to have slogans that said "Warning: Educated Black Man." Today the most popular shirts have a gold toothed Pillsbury dough boy shootin' dice.
So while the rest of the world is moving forward many of us seem stuck on stupid.
Contrary to what you see on the Maury Povich Show, when those scientists talk about DNA they are referring to stuff like genetic engineering and evolutionary theory not who Shaquana's baby's daddy is.
So what do we do to make knowledge fashionable, again?
I am starting a new "Books or Bullets:The Choice is Yours" movement: http://www.booksorbullets.com/
This is an aggressive attempt to prove once again that knowledge does really reign supreme. We will use every venue from barbershops to bus stops to raise the consciousness of our people.
Although some may believe that Black folks have achieved Freedom in this country, as Dr. Amos Wilson would say
"the oppressed feel that they are the most free when they are the most oppressed."
So we must not equate the ability to act ig'nant on TV with economic, social and political equality.
Or to borrow from Chuck D "Freedom does not mean "free to be dumb."