Glenn "X" Beck:
How the Right Revitalized Black Nationalism
Someday, a museum will be built in Washington DC to honor those who participated in the Black Power Movement. Of course, there will be a picture of Marcus Garvey and a bust of Malcolm X but holding center stage will be a giant statue of the person most responsible for the propagation of Black Nationalism in the 21st century, Glenn "X" Beck.
The media attention that Glenn Beck and the rest of the Right Wingers at Fox News have given Black Power advocates in recent weeks has done more to spread the tenets of Black Nationalism than any time in recent history.
Until recently, the image of black male machismo was limited to gangsta rappers who had run-ins with the law and athletes who signed multi million dollar contracts. However, last week's extensive coverage of New Black Panther Party chairman, Malik Zulu Shabazz, even eclipsed the camera time of basketball superstar, LeBron James. This has sparked a renewed interest in Black Nationalism.
There have always been two competing ideologies facing Africans in America; Integration-ism (Civil Rights Movement) and Black Nationalism, the former receiving the lion's share of attention from the media and in history books.
The roots of the rivalry between Black Nationalists and Civil Rights leaders can be traced back to the abolitionist movement of the 19th century involving Martin Delany and abolitionists such as Fredrick Douglas. According to Lerone Bennet in his book "Before the Mayflower," Douglas once said "I thank God for making me a man ,simply, but Delaney always thanks Him for making him a Black man." Delany also coined the phrase "Africa for the Africans" which was later adopted by Marcus Garvey,
In 1918, Garvey established his UNIA and ACL (Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League) in America. Also during this period, WEB Dubois and his friends in the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) opposed Garvey's Pan-African-ism. According to Dr. Tony Martin in his book, "Race First" Dubois once wrote in regards to Garvey, "he is either a lunatic or a traitor." This prompted Garvey to reply in third person, " Garvey has no such speculation about Dubois. He is positive that he is a traitor."
Perhaps, the two most popular icons of the dual ideologies were Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X. Their legacies have long divided the black community with one group siding with King's "beloved community" and the other subscribing to Malcolm X's ministry of separatism. This debate continues in the black community today.
Media pundants have always found themselves in precarious positions when covering Black Nationalists. Although, Mike Wallace's 1959 expose' on the Nation of Islam, "The Hate that Hate Produced" was intended to warn mainstream America about it's so-called "gospel of hate," it resulted in making Malcolm X a household name. Fifty years later, during the 2008 election, Fox News used Rev. Jeremiah Wright as the epitome of "black racism" even though most Americans outside of the black church and Chicago had barely heard of him.
So we see the Fox Network taking a calculated risk with the attack on Howard educated attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz; demonizing him but at the same time destroying the myth that Black Nationalists are a bunch of illiterate, uneducated street thugs.
It must be noted that it has never been the "militancy" of the Black Nationalist movement that has frightened the white staus quo but the Black Consciousness/Afrocentric Movement that it spawned.
Let's be real. There are still some historical facts that white folks in power don't want the masses of black people to know. So the idea that "militants" such as Wright and Shabazz may be sending out subliminal messages that are inaudible to the non-melanated ear that will make black folks turn off Tyler Perry's "House of Payne" and pick up black history books may have some merit. Contrary to popular belief, just because Bill O'Reilly and others may have learned to decipher Hip Hop lyrics does not mean that they have a total understanding of the Black experience. At most, the Right Wing knowledge of Afrocentricity is limited to talking points that come courtesy of the great Conservative "group think" which are repeated, ad nauseam.
So, the fear that giving Black Nationalists air time may infect moderate Civil Rights leaders with a severe case of radicalism and also produce a new generation of converts preaching a doctrine of black empowerment, may be realized in the very near future. Just because Black Nationalism is not a hit at lily white country clubs does not mean that it is not resonating well in barbershops in the 'hood.
Matter of fact, we can see the results already.
Recently, the otherwise mild mannered head of the NAACP, Ben Jealous sounded as if someone had spiked his latte with Red Bull during his recent convention speech when he called some members of the Tea Party racists.
Even in Hip Hop, Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X is quickly becoming a viral Internet sensation with his YouTube Hip Hop version of Tim Wise's article, "What if the Tea Party was Black."
Also, there are movements forming such as the Militant Mind Militia that are arming the Black community with Afro-centric information to fight against the right wing racist propaganda.
So, although Glenn Beck has recently began promoting himself and the Right Wing as the rightful heirs of Martin Luther King's dream, in reality, he has more in common with Malcolm X in spreading the message of Black Nationalism. Who knows. maybe even black Republicans will get the message.
Don't be surprised if you turn on the TV one night and see Republican Party chairman, Michael Steele, sporting an Afro and dashiki, singing, "Say it loud. I'm Black and I'm proud!"
Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots Fired.com He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or firstname.lastname@example.org