Saturday, September 25, 2010

Historically Black Coonin'

Historically Black Coonin':
Institutionalizing Lower Learning

Paul Scott

Dr. Carter G. DuBois was exhausted after pouring all of his energy into an hour long lecture on the colonization of Africa. Out of breath and with sweat pouring down his face, he asked his college freshman class if there were any questions. Nonchalantly smackin' bubble gum, scantily dressed, Lakesia Jackson raised her hand and asked, "Yeah, Doc, can you teach us how to "dougie?" This prompted the rest of the class to break into an impromptu dance routine, transforming Dubois' World History 101 class into a scene from BET's "106 and Park..."

The recent education edition of Ebony magazine featured a picture well dressed Morehouse students standing behind a brotha in a bandanna with his pants saggin' . While the article dealt with the issue of dress codes on black college campuses, the symbolism and deeper meaning of the picture was clear; our future black leaders have become followers of a pop culture that has historically portrayed black people as "coons," "Sambos" and "jungle bunnies."

Once upon a time ,Historically Black Colleges and Universities were the homes of future great politicians, scientists and educators; people who would make a life long commitment to uplifting the race. Unfortunately, the highest aspiration of some students in 2010 is to become the next Nicki Minaj or Waka Flocka Flame. What happened? When did HBCU start standing for "Historically Black Coonin' and Underachievement?"

There was a period in our history when education was honored by black folks. According to WEB DuBois in his book, "Black Reconstruction," the very feeling of inferiority which slavery forced upon them fathered an intense desire to rise out of their condition by means of education."

However, almost 150 years out of slavery, the obtainment of knowledge is no longer seen as a privilege of the more fortunate, only a reason to party for four (or more) years and then get a job.

While many old heads will argue that this is a new phenomenon, as early as 1957, Dr. E. Franklin Frazier wrote in his book, "Black Bourgeoisie" that after World War I the attitude of black college students started to change, as many began to rebel against the "puritanical attitudes" of the northern missionaries who founded the early colleges. They began to see a college degree as merely , " the chief means of achieving social and economic mobility." Herein lies the genesis of our jacked up priorities.

Some argue that during the Civil Rights movement too much attention was placed on integration, giving young African Americans the false impression that educational integration , in and of itself, was the key to social equality. So, instead of honoring our African traditions, they started to want to "be like white folks."

This is not to say that we have not had our shining moments when being black and intelligent was fashionable, as one can point to the Black Power era of the late 60's and early 70's and also the Black consciousness era of the late 80's early 90's, however, it must be noted in the same manner that pop culture turned black revolutionaries into pimps in the 70's, by the mid 90's it had transformed Afro-centric scholars into gangsta rappers.

This is the trend that continues today, as many students have embraced "street culture" as a form of rebellion, producing a generation of "rebels without a clue." In his essay, "The Black Child," Dr. Bobby Wright challenges the false idea held by many African Americans of the Hip Hop generation who believe "white s do not control the streets in the black Community nor the behavior of Blacks on those streets." According to Dr. Wright "whites have more control or at least as much control over those in the streets than over those in universities."

Though often misunderstood, the purpose of WEB DuBois' idea of a talented tenth was never to create a group of elitist, stuck up gangsta snobs, but a group of enlightened African Americans who have as their mission statement the upliftment of those who did not have the opportunity to obtain a higher level of education.

This is what is so disappointing about the attitude on so many college campuses; they have failed in their mission to uplift the downtrodden.

The best example of the problem is the strange relationship between HBCU's and Hip Hop. Every year thousands upon thousands of dollars are paid to Hip Hop artists who promote Black on Black violence, drug dealin' and are living caricatures of historical black negative stereotypes during Homecoming season. Last year, students on the campuses of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University protested the use of student funds going towards funding the mental genocide (mentacide) of young black people. Unfortunately, a year later, we still see black universities bank rolling negative behavior.

While the focus of this article is historically black colleges and universities, in truth, it is just a symptom of a larger problem. Black folks in general have lost respect for knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Every school year in every city in America, we are bombarded with numerous stories about the achievement gap between black students and their peers, which gives our children the false impression that they are intellectually inferior to their white counterparts.

It must be noted that the problem of the "dumbing down" of African Americans cannot be just limited to the youth. We are living in a society where grown black folks have made shows such as "The House of Payne" and "Meet the Browns" the most successful in cable TV history, while programs that could enlighten black people struggle to find an audience.

In order to reverse this trend, it is time for those who know better to step up and HBCU's can play a vital role.

Students and administrators on college campuses must get their priorities straight. It is no secret that many HBCU's are located in the middle of the 'hood so it makes no sense to have that many smart black folks gathered in one place and yet have black folks struggling for survival right outside of their gates. HBCU's must not only develop the minds of black young people on campus but must develop ways to heal the 'hoods that surround them. Also, while many universities train their students to become economists and business leaders, why are black businesses in their cities struggling to make ends meet, especially black bookstores?

Lastly, HBCU's must make better use of student funds for hosting programs for not only the students but for the local black community. It is a shame that the same student government association that can find $20,000 dollars to bring Young Jeezy on campus for one night to rap about "Thug Motivation" cannot find the resources to bring in Afro-centric scholars, researchers and historians to campus to hold workshops to motivate the students to be strong black men and women.

So, black students, the choice is yours, are you going to take a stand or continue to watch your people being destroyed for lack of knowledge ?

As Dr. Carter G Woodson wrote in the "Mis Education of the Negro," " No people can go forward when the majority of those who know better have chosen to go backward."

Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots For more information on the Intelligence Over Ignorance lecture series on Race, Rap Religion and Revolution contact (919) 451-8283 or

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

D'Souza's Dumb New Catch Phrase

D'Souza's Dumb New Catch Phase

Paul Scott

Since the 2008, election. President Barack Obama has been called a whole lot of things; Socialist, illegal name it. However, this week, thanks to an article by Dinesh D'Souza, the right wing has been bestowed with a new catch phrase; "anti-colonialist."

In its September 27th issue, Forbes Magazine is running D'Souza's article, "How Obama Thinks" that alleges the policies of the Obama Administration are influenced by his father's anti-colonialist ideology.

In the article, D'Souza does get one thing right, most Americans don't know jack about anti-colonialism or anything else about Africa that did not come from an old Tarzan movie. This has allowed slicksters like D'Souza to spread their propaganda, unchallenged.

Perhaps more disturbing than the launch of a new smear campaign against Obama, which was immediately parroted by Newt Gingrich and Glenn Beck, is the misrepresentation of African anti-colonialism.

What D'Souza seeks to do is divorce the African struggle against European Imperialism from the struggle for civil rights in America. The attempts to unite the struggle of African people and Africans in America can be traced back to the forerunners of Pan African thought such as Martin Delaney and Marcus Garvey. Also, anyone with even a basic understanding of the works of Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) and Malcolm X would know that the Civil Rights/Black Power Movement benefited from the anti-colonialism struggles in Africa and vice versa. Also, writers such as Walter Rodney and Basil Davidson have done outstanding work on European Imperialism.

But the Tea Baggers have never prided themselves as being the brightest light bulbs on the Christmas tree, have they? Just because one is able to name ever driver on the NASCAR circuit does not make him a Rhodes Scholar.

Trying to separate the African American struggle for equality from the African struggle against European Imperialism would be like trying to separate American Jews from the Holocaust.

But I suppose when ignorance is bliss, anything is possible.

Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or
TRUTH Minsta Paul Scotts Responds to Dinesh D'Souza's September 27 Forbes Magazine article "How Obama Thinks"

Sunday, September 5, 2010

9/11 and the Pimpin' of Patriotism

9/11 and the Pimpin' of Patriotism

Paul Scott

Following World War I, an evil dictator by the name of Adolf Hitler was able to manipulate the citizens of Germany by constantly yelling "remember Versailles !" Nine years after the attack on the World Trade Center , right wingers are still trying to manipulate the citizens of America by yelling "remember 9/11 !"

Just as Hitler was able to enrage the Germans by blaming the Treaty of Versailles for their condition, the Conservatives have used the events of September 11 2001, to create a hatred and contempt among their crowd for anything that does not coincide with their collective vision of America.

Although, the attack on the World Trade Center was a horrible tragedy, what is equally tragic is the use of the event to promote a political agenda. It is shameful that over the last nine years the Republicans have pimped the memory of the victims of 9/11 like a cheap two dollar whore. They have constantly used the tragedy to promote fear and attack anyone who is "different," not only Muslims, but Latinos, African Americans and anyone else who does not kneel at the altar of Ronald Reagan.

What is especially disturbing is the way they use religious symbolism to promote intolerance, almost like the line from the Chris Rock movie, "Head of State, "God bless America and nobody else." The conversations in this country that are passing as religious dialogue are really discussions over political power. However, this is to be expected since the debate is being led by those whose religious ideology is solely based on the "Book of Beck."

In a theological sense, there is not much difference between the three major western religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as they all come from the same root. Writers from Sir Godfrey Higgins and Albert Churchward to Dr. Yosef ben Jochannan and John G. Jackson have published numerous works explaining this in detail. However, the political aspect of religion is another story and has sparked some of the more passionate disputes. Many of the debates have revolved around Christianity and Islam.

Although most people trace the battle between the cross and the crescent back to the Crusades, scholars have suggested that the Crusades were not based on proselytizing religious ideology but land acquisition and other secular motives.

According to historian Dr. John Henrik Clarke, the real reason behind the Crusades was to divert the attention of a European people who had become disillusioned with the Church and fed up with Feudalism to a search for a mythical holy grail.

Although, many people claim that Islam is a religion of war and Christianity a religion of peace according to "The Two Babylons" by Rev. Alexander Hislop, the cross (or the "X" symbol of Christ) with the inscription "conquer by this" was revealed in a vision by Constantine as he marched into battle against Maxentius.

In modern times, religious wars have gone high tech with the warmongers on Fox News and Clear Channel using their bully pulpits to preach a doctrine of racial hatred.

If you listen to the right wing spin, they celebrate the false idea that the tragedy of 9/11 was a unifying event that brought us all together as one big happy American family. Apparently, the irony of a slaughter of innocents being necessary to have a country live up to its democratic ideals escapes them.

The truth is that the aftermath of the World Trade attack brought us closer to Fascism than any time in recent history. Many of the non-Republicans who lined up behind the policies of George Bush did so out of fear of the Patriot Act and the potential retaliation of those under the hypnotic spell of blind patriotism more so than an overnight epiphany commanding them to tow the Republican Party line.

Even in the outspoken world of Hip Hop, which artist Chuck D once called " the black CNN", most rappers refused to report on the policies of the Bush Administration except for a few Hip Hoppers like Paris, KRS and Immortal Technique and to a lesser, yet, more commercial degree, the Black Eyed Peas.

Since the 2008 election, the right wing paranoia propaganda machine has shifted into overdrive, as one of their favorite strategies is to discredit President Barack Obama by calling him a closet Muslim in a Christian country; even though history teaches us that the "Founding Fathers," themselves, were Deists and many right wing preachers would consider the omission of some parts of the Thomas Jefferson Bible, heresy.

The most recent hot topic is the controversy surrounding the planned building of a mosque/cultural center close to Ground Zero. While there are many people who are genuinely hurt over the proposed mosque many of the right wing media talking heads are merely crying crocodile tears. The most meaningful dialogue should take place between those most affected by 9/11; the families of the victims and those who are planning the mosque. I am sure a meeting between those two parties would be more productive than right wing theatrics. Although CNN might cover such an event, Fox would probably preempt it with clips of Ted Nugent performing Cat Scratch Fever if the meeting proved to be too civil.

If we are to move forward as a nation, we can no longer believe the propaganda of the right wing but must encourage Americans to think beyond Tea Party talking points and make their own informed decisions based on facts not fear. We must see that ignorance is the real enemy.

In his last performance, comedian George Carlin talked about how it is in the best interest of the media moguls and those in power to discourage critical thinking. He said that the American Dream is so named because you have to be asleep to believe it.

It is time for the American people to wake up and decide if they want the Freedom or der Fuehrer.

Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots For information on the Intelligence Over Ignorance lecture series on Race, Rap, Revolution and Religion contact (919) 451-8283 or