The Dark Side of Black History:
Time to Tell on COINTEL
Min. Paul Scott
CIA, FBI, all they tell us is lies
When I say it they get alarmed
Cuz, I'm louder than a bomb...
I was going about my normal morning routine. I had just finished my OJ and was in the mirror shaving while, simultaneously, jamming to the song that was blasting from my clock radio. It was then that something happened that made me want to use my electric razor to slit my wrists. Right after Webbie went off, the DJ played a Black History Month commercial sponsored by the FBI.
Since it was a Hip Hop radio station I thought surely, I must have heard it wrong. Maybe F.B.I. meant Free Brothers Incarcerated or at least Funky Beats Inc. But nope, it was the same Federal Bureau of Investigation that never had any love for Black folks talking about how much they appreciate Black History.
How in the world is a black radio station gonna pump a commercial during Black History Month sponsored by an agency that either spied on or tried to assassinate the very people whom we are celebrating ?
Or maybe that question is rhetorical based on the fact that most of their under 30 year old listeners probably wouldn't know J. Edgar Hoover from Jay Z.
Every Black History Month we get a rosie view of the Civil Rights /Black Power Era. A bunch of Black folks got together and started praying, marching and singing until they finally showed the white power structure the error of their ways. After that, toilets were desegregated, schools were integrated and Black folks got the right to vote.
Also, the leaders of the movement, with the rare exception of a few who, unfortunately were killed by some poor misguided souls, went on to head nonprofit organizations or became college professors. And they all lived happily ever after...
What is rarley talked about is the well orchestrated, diabolical way that federal agencies along with their local and state cohorts developed programs to destroy anyone who dared to challenge the powers that be...
If you went to the dictionary and looked up "oxymoron" one of the examples they would use is the FBI and Black History. The organization under its director, J. Edgar Hoover, conducted campaigns to destroy Black leadership dating as far back as the early 20th century with the surveillance of Marcus Garvey and WEB Dubois.
Later, the FBI formed something called COINTELPRO (counter intelligence program) in which they led a vicious campaign against many activists of all races under the guise of preventing the Communist infiltration of America. The program was especially vicious against Civil Rights and Black Power activists of the 60's and early 70's, as one of the stated goals of the program was to prevent the rise of a Black messiah who could electrify and unite the Black community.
COINTELPRO was instrumental in implementing programs to destroy Black leaders, as well as their movements, ranging from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, Kwame Ture (Stokley Carmichael), Malcolm X to the Black Panther Party. Even the wife of Dr. King, Coretta Scott King , was spied on for years after Dr. King's assassination.
While some my say that talking about the evils of the FBI is dwelling on the past, it is crucial, need to know information for a generation whose members are caught in "the trap" but don't know how they got there nor how to get out.
One of the things that we do not do in the Black community is connect the dots. We have not been effective in showing our children how the past is connected to the present in very real and substantive ways. So the young rappers of today don't understand how the drug dealin' and gang bangin' of today is tied to the COINTELPRO program of yesterday. They do not understand that the societal issues of the absence of Black leadership, drugs in the Black community and the high incarceration rates of Black males are not by accident but are part of a well designed program that was meant to produce the very conditions in which we find ourselves in 2008.
Do we really believe that the same agency that wiped out the Black Panther Party in just a few years can't stop drugs from coming into tha 'hood, if they really wanted to ?
It is sad that 99% of the kids who are reppin' the "stop snitching" movement have no real understanding of the role that paid informants played in causing the deaths of leaders such as Malcolm X and Fred Hampton Sr.
So, without this knowledge of history, it is possible to have FBI Black History commercials being played in heavy rotation without one person even sayin'
Why don't we teach our young people this dark side of Black history ? Is it that we don't think that it is important or is it that COINTELPRO had such a devistating effect on the older generation that even today they are terrified to even mention the attrocity.
At some point we have to start giving our children this information in order to give them the historic context in which to change their patterns of behavior. We have to replace their Hip Hop magazines with books like "Racial Matters" and "The FBI File on Black America" by Kenneth O'Reilly. We must replace their gun totin', booty shakin' videos with videos like "The FBI's Secret War On Black America." And we must replace their Souljah Boy CD's with lectures by our Black leaders like Dhoruba Bin Wahad and the late Kwame Ture who knew first hand the evils of COINTELPRO and had the courage to reveal the truth.
I doubt if the "dope boys" and "trap boys" would continue their current activities if they really knew that the FBI, SWAT and the other "Alphabet Boys" that they rap about really have spelled D.E.A.T.H. for the Black community.