The Good Ole Brotha's Club:
The Manipulation of the Black Mind
A few years ago, a movie came out called Barbershop that enraged many of the Civil Rights folks. In the film, Cedric the Entertainer's character, "Eddie" went on a tirade and started busting up many myths plaguing the black community such as how Rosa Parks was the first woman to stand up or sit down for Civil Rights and the belief that all black folks thought that OJ Simpson was innocent. Although the scene ticked off some Civil Rights leaders, to me, the moral of the story was very clear; all black folks don't think alike.
I thought about that movie, last week ,while listening to a popular nationally syndicated black radio commentator urging his listeners to bombard Fox and CNN with emails demanding that he and a couple of other guys get more airtime. Sadly, the short list of names that he gave were already the ones that serve as the "go to people" when it comes to interpreting black thought to the masses.
While many black folks complain about a "Good Ol' Boys" Club made up of white males with the same political ideology who have a monopoly on politics, economics and anything else that they wish to control, there also exists a "Good Ol' Brotha's" Club in the black community. This network is made up of a few black intellectuals and civil rights leaders who speak for all black folks.
Historically, white America has believed that all black people have the same collective ideology so they have never really needed more than one official spokesperson.
This goes back to the late 1800's with Booker T Washington, who was considered by many to be the first national black leader. Washington gained national prominence after he delivered his "Atlanta Compromise " speech during the Atlanta Cotton Exposition in 1895.
What was dangerous about Washington leadership was the creation of the Tuskegee Machine which was used to silence and in some cases crush any who were in opposition to his position.
In the introduction to Booker T Washington's "Up From Slavery," Louis R. Harlan described Washington's Tuskegee Machine as "a network of his supporters and lieutenants in every avenue of black life." He goes on to say that Washington controlled "the editorial policies of nearly all of the black weeklies through subsidies and in a few cases, outright ownership."
So you have the seeds planted of the shaping of black thought over a century today that continues with the Good Ol' Brotha's Club and their domination of the press; both black and white.
It must be noted that when one speaks of the "black press" it is not to be misinterpreted to mean those local media outlets that are allowing the grassroots to express their thoughts but the national press that for decades has served as the only "legitimate" voice of black America.
In his book "Black Bourgeoisie, " E. Franklin Frazier says this about the black press in 1957.
"Although, the Negro press declares itself to be the spokesman for the Negro group as a whole it represents, essentially, the interests and the outlook of the black bourgeoisie."
In that chapter, he refers to Ebony and Jet as part of this elite group, two magazines that are still shaping black thought in the 21st century.
As far as the white press, they just need one of the Good Ol' Brothas to measure the temperament of the black community after some provocative action on the part of white America. They just need to be warned when the natives are restless and what it will take to simmer them back down.
Now, I don't mean to knock the next man's hustle, as the members of the Good Ol' Brotha's Club have worked hard to get where they are. WEB DuBois faced this same delima when addressing the power of Booker T Washington in "The Souls of Black Folk" but came to the conclusion that
"the hushing of criticism of honest opponents is a dangerous thing."
It must be noted that what black people need is not spokesmen but master teachers to supply the black masses with information.
This is what has always frightened those in power, not an emotional people but a well informed people.
As much as members of the Good Ol' Brotha's Network claim that they are the most enlightened and "baddest brothers on the block," as Grandma used to say when I got too big for my britches, "as bad as you may think you are, there is always somebody else badder."
There are many scholars in the black community who are experts in their respective fields and although you may hear them online on Internet radio networks such as Harambee.com or LIBradio.com, they will never be allowed to rival the platform given the Good Ol' Brothas.
As comedian, Katt Williams would say , a Chrysler 300 looks just like a Rolls Royce Phantom until a Phantom pulls up beside it.
It must be noted that the best of us have always been the ones that will bring life changing information to the masses of black people or in other words the bravest among us tell black folks what white folks don't want us to know.
We need to establish more diversity of thought in the black community not for the benefit of white America but to elevate the consciousness of black people.
Even if it means crashing the next Good Ol' Brotha's party.
Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots Fired.com http://www.nowarningshotsfired.com
He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 firstname.lastname@example.org