Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Puttin' Black History on the Auction Block

Puttin' Black History on the Auction Block

Min. Paul Scott

"The only someone we are shown in history is mygrandfather was picking cotton Picking cotton don’t move me" -Malcolm X

The crowd gathered around as Massa Charlie paraded the slave's around the auction block. Seems like that day they were having a special sale on the most talented slaves. Some of them buck danced for the crowd some told jokes, the slaves that got the biggest laughs sold for the highest price. The only one that wasn't sold that day was the rebellious one, Cinque, who escaped while the crowd was busy enjoying Uncle Remus play hambone on his knee. No, we aren't talkin'about Jamestown VA in the 1600's, we are talking about Harlem 2007...

Black History Month used to be a time for Black folks to shine. A time to flip tha finger at white America and tell them "If it wasn't for a BLACK MAN inventing the traffic light, just think of how high your car insurance would be..YEAH!!!" It was a time to show white folks that the so called "savages" that they kidnaped from Africa were, indeed worthy of using the same toilet as them. But now instead of looking up to the accomplishments of Garret Morgan, in 2007, we are more interested inTyrone 'T-Boogie" Johnson, the first Black man to put florescent spinnin' rims on a 74 Cutless Supreme.

Back in tha day, Black culture, itself used to besomething to be admired and celebrated, as Deacon JohnSmith could not wait to see his Lil Aisha perform her African dance at the annual church Black history program but every since Sis. Anna Mae's son told his Sunday School class that he saw Lil Aisha aka MissThixxx in the Playa Pimp video "Strippers Make My Toes Curl", the good Deacon is ashamed to show his face in church...

While the younger generation does bare someresponsibility for the current condition of Blackculture, the lion's share of the blame must fall onthe older generation.Many of our young people just don't know because no one has taught them their true history. And I'm not talking about that "jump down pick a bale of cotton"type history that is taught in school. Is it really Lil Rasheed's fault that he and his rap group "The Tar Babies" recorded a funky remix of"Zip-a -dee- do- da" when the old folks were too busy trying to catch up with the Van Morrison's to tell him.."Now, that is just wrong!" Or is it really Tanitia's fault for taking a role in the Hip Hop version ofGone With the Wind when the only version of Black History she was given came courtesy of a value meal bag from Mickey Dee's?"

The problem is the lack of value we have placed on Black History and the historical disrespect of BlackCulture. To most white folks African people had no real history until they were brought to America. Never mind all that "hogwash" about the pyramid builders, rulers of ancient empires, true people of the Bible etc. All of that was just written off by European scholars as nonsense and this philosophy is still reflected in the American public educational system, today. Before segregation you had Black teachers who may not have been experts on ancient African history but they were dedicated to instilling African values in young Black children. However, after integration you had white teachers who would not know Hannibal from Carthage from Hannibal from "Silence of the Lambs" teaching Black children/ future Black educators Black history. So even with our higher level of education in the 21st century, our knowledge of history has not advanced beyond the plantation. And yet we wonder why Black children drop out of school at alarming rates.

The Black preachers have not been much help either,as they have been more interested in producing"sanctified slaves" then giving their congregations an Afrocentric Theology that would prepare them to live in a European dominated society that would never fail to remind them that they were divinely cursed to be their flunkies.

Perhaps most dangerous, if not most relevant, today has been the white exploitation/commercialization ofBlack culture. While Hip Hop as a pseudo culture may have come out of an authentically Black experience, Hip Hop as a "business" has mostly been the brainchild of white entertainment lawyers, accountants and marketing executives. So, while many Black youth feel that they are "reppin' the 'hood" when they embrace commercial Hip Hop and transform themselves into niggaz and bitches , they are really the victim ofwhite corporate marketing schemes.

Also, disturbing are the nonBlack companies who use Black History Month as a marketing tool to getBlack folks to get off of some of their hard earned dollars every February. So Black History does not come courtesy of our Black scholars but courtesy of some white, pimply faced entry level marketing intern at Denny’s who needed a project for college credit.

So, today Black culture is basically worthless and Black Culture is just a hollow shell of what it is supposed to be . No matter what Black History Month issupposed to be in theory, in practice, it has yet to even convince thousands of Black children that they ain't niggaz. That is why I have launched a hostile take over of Black History Month called the Books or Bullets Campaign.

Now I know the haters are going to come with their slings and arrows, frying pans and whatever yellin"How Dare You!"But if this causes one Black child to change their perception of who he or she is; so be it!

To borrow that line from line "The Lion King, "You are much more than you have become."
It's time that someone let's them know....

Min. Paul Scott Paul Scott's blog is He can be reached a t(919) 451-8283