Author: AfroFogey

A Negroe's Negro. Lover of elitism and the Aristocratic hater of snobbery and the bougie. The AfroFogey

Rid Yourself of the White Man

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By the title you might expect some sort of radical text, saying some like we should go back to Africa or kill the cracka off in a glorious revolution. Maybe some black panther like rhetoric that simultaneously condemns whites and seeks their help and embrace of our cause; well, those whites who are “down for the people” anyway.  I mean none of that of course, nor do I mean one should rid themselves of the intangible parts of our culture that may have started with whites like the sax (or any of the instruments used to create the Blues,  Gospel, and Jazz), the English language or ( if you believe they gave It to us) the Christian religion. No culture is without outside influences and purity spirals are unhealthy for any culture, movement, and organization.

That said, I certainly am against embracing much of white culture and especially current mainstream white culture. I’d dissuade one from engaging the former because I am an anti-assimilationist, and the latter because it’s crass,  godless, materialistic and vulgar ( like our current culture). We need to support and foster our own institutions, and outlooks on the world in order to be a spiritually and culturally prosperous race. If we don’t do that, our very identity will always be insecure and we will continue to exhibit the forms of self-hatred and self-destructiveness that are so common among us.

What I mean is rid yourself of the white man as an excuse, as one to emulate, as one to oppose and as one to seek love, respect or any validation from. Be neither his enemy nor his follower. Imagine your own path.  Be secure in yourself as a black man with his own ways, mores, values, and culture developed in our over 400 years in this land now called the United States. Celebrate your achievements, unify with your brethren, follow your betters and lead your lessers. Create a way of life directed at self-determination for the black race, instead of one dedicated to receiving favor or fairness from whites. Act and behave as a confident person from a confident culture. That is the only way to build on our traditions and maintain our identity( what little we have left of it)

A Sense of Place: The Beauty in Small Churches

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In no place do I feel more closer to God and my ancestors, both the Christian and those who followed Africa’s religions of various forms, than I do at a rural Negro church. It was there that, these two great paths towards God mingled and gave us many of the practices we have in the Black Church today and our culture at large. The ring shout, catching the holy ghost, the great Black American Gospel music that is derived from Negro Spirituals, that swing you hear in your favorite Jazz composition (the basis of and feeling you get from Jazz),  down on to the style of oratory made famous by too many Black preachers to name.

So if you’re in need affirmation, a way to rekindle your connection to community (which is harder and harder to maintain in this age) visit these churches or even the remains of one, its metaphysical impact can be great if you are open to it. God bless you.

 Ring Shout!

Ring Shouters, 1930 Courtesy Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Ring Shouters, 1930

Winter in (Black) America

Few had the insight into that peculiar experience that is the Black American experience that Gil Scott Heron possessed. He died May 2011 and the social networks were abuzz with people who likely heard none of his music, and if they did, understood little of it. Mr. Scott knew the Blues and understood Jazz, which means he knew what it meant to be Black. His music and life was almost a perfect analogy of post 1960’s Black America.

While Mr. Scott’s and my political differences make it unlikely we were looking at this from the same perspective, it is clear he also saw an intractable decline on the horizon in America especially in Black America. This “Winter” the brother speaks about, in his best song Winter in America, features us gunning each other down, seemingly without pause. I won’t give into media sensationalism and ignore the improvement in the Black murder rate in the last twenty years, but our rate of committing homicidal acts toward one another is still dizzying relative to other ethnicities and our 1950s selves.

We have assimilated into materialistic mainstream culture at a dizzying rates. Our “intellectuals” have certainly failed to live up to Harold Cruse’s ideal that dictated:

“The special function of the Negro intellectual is a cultural one. He should take to the rostrum and assail the stultifying blight of the commercially depraved white middle-class who has poisoned the structural roots of the American people into a nation of intellectual dolts… He should tell black America how and why Negroes are trapped in this cultural degeneracy, and how it has dehumanized their essential identity, squeezed the lifeblood of their inherited cultural ingredients out of them, and then relegated them to the cultural slums.”

Instead our intellectuals have done nothing more than use the suffering of our poorest as a guilt trip to leverage against whites and get themselves accepted into white institutions. With few exceptions they merely repeat and slightly refashion the jargon handed down to them by old tired Marxists and other white liberals. They rarely offer anything in the way cultural rebirth or self determination. 

As a tribe we have forgot all the traditions that sustained us during that long walk from chattel to “freedom.” Our sense of community is long gone in most places, our dedication to the institutions founded by our ancestors nil. We tend not to even get married, we have almost all of our kids out-of-wedlock, our dedication to our own families is even circumspect. Since “official” integration (where the middle class blacks chased white people where ever they went) it seems the only thing we have gained was a marginal amount of wealth, although our wealth in relation to whites remains stagnant. Yet we are happy that we are integrated. I suppose living next to white folk and being allowed into their institutions made all these declines and the impending death of our culture and institutions worthwhile to most. Hey, at least we can feel self-important for embracing diversity.

 Undoubtedly those of us who actually care about Black communities, which are way different from “the Black Community,” see these issues for what they are, dismal signs of a dying people and decaying culture. Can we be saved? I have no idea. But as Gil said in Winter in America “sister (and brother) save your soul” if you can’t save anything else.

Fittingly the great Gil Scott Heron died, May 27, 2011 (62), in the dying former capital of Negro culture and self-determination Harlem, NY. I think the griot was telling us something.

From the Indians who welcomed the pilgrims
And to the buffalo who once ruled the plains
Like the vultures circling beneath the dark clouds
Looking for the rain
Looking for the rain

Just like the cities staggered on the coastline
Living in a nation that just can’t stand much more
Like the forest buried beneath the highway
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow

And now it’s winter
Winter in America
Yes and all of the healers have been killed
Or sent away, yeah
But the people know, the people know
It’s winter
Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
‘Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your soul, Lord knows
From Winter in America

The Constitution
A noble piece of paper
With free society
Struggled but it died in vain
And now Democracy is ragtime on the corner
Hoping for some rain
Looks like it’s hoping
Hoping for some rain

And I see the robins
Perched in barren treetops
Watching last-ditch racists marching across the floor
But just like the peace sign that vanished in our dreams
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow

And now it’s winter
It’s winter in America
And all of the healers have been killed
Or betrayed
Yeah, but the people know, people know
It’s winter, Lord knows
It’s winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your souls
From Winter in America

And now it’s winter
Winter in America
And all of the healers done been killed or sent away
Yeah, and the people know, people know
It’s winter
Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows, nobody knows
And ain’t nobody fighting