Quote of the Day:
"...the critics do what they do and I have to do what I do."
- Edward P. Jones
SAVE THE DATE: NOVEMBER 9 & 10, 2009
Fear of an Intelligent Black Man
By Paul Scott -Guest Columnist- | Last updated: Sep 25, 2009 - 11:59:38 AM
"If I'm not who you say I am then you are not who you think you are."
I want to extend my sincerest apology to the Right Wing Republicans; the Tea
Party people, The Birthers, etc. For the last year, I have been calling you
"narrow-minded bigots who are just hatin' on the president because he's Black!"
However, based on the events of the last few weeks between the hecklers, the
protesters, and the media lynching of former Obama green czar, Van Jones, I
stand corrected. You guys don't hate him because he's Black. You hate him
because he's smart ... and Black.
Back in the early 90's there was a short lived fashion trend when Black youth,
like the ones wearing "Scarface" T-shirts today, were proudly sportin' shirts
with slogans such as "Knowledge is Power," "The Blacker the College, the Sweeter
the Knowledge" and my all time favorite, "Warning: Educated Black Man."
The latter was the expression of a sentiment that has existed in this country
for centuries. White America is scared to death of a Black man who can read and
articulate a position.
On the plantation "Simple Jim" and "Big Buck" were never threats to the status
quo. Nor are Krazy K and T-Bone who walk around with guns in their waist-bands
shouting obscenities at anyone who passes by. However, "uppity Negro" Frederick
who would hide behind the barn and read a book and Marcus who walks around with
"48 Laws of Power" instead of a 40 ounce of Old English have always been public
Historically, it must be noted that up until the latter part of the 19th
century, Black people were not legally allowed to read as the plantation owner
didn't want the people on whom he counted to pick his cotton to have delusions
of grandeur that they could one day be running the joint and make his little
rotten kids pick the cotton, themselves!
During the period following slavery it was necessary to give the newly
emancipated slaves just enough training to make them productive parts of an
economic system that was changing from agricultural to industrial. The idea was
never to give the masses of Black folks enough education to achieve equality
with White Americans.
While an education indeed, was hard to obtain during the 1800's, some were able
to break the color barrier. In 1826, John B. Russwurm became the first Black
college graduate. It must be noted that many of these early intellectuals used
their education to write and speak out against slavery and later, with the
coming of the WEB Dubois' and the William Trotters', speak out against racial
The continuing education of the masses of Black folks has always been a
According to Harold Cruse in his book, "Plural but Equal," during the 1880's
there was an attempt to pass a bill by Senator Henry Blair that would have
required the government to provide $77 million to be spent "equally for the
education of all children, without distinction of race or color." This was
followed by the investment of White philanthropists in the movement of Booker T.
Washington that favored an industrial education for Black folks instead of the
challenging White folks intellectually and politically as advocated by Du Bois.
During the mid 1900's, many African Americans thought that public school
desegregation (Brown v. the Board of Education, 1954) was going to be the key to
social and economic equity that we have yet to achieve.
In regards to the Black Power Era of the 60's, while whitewashed history paints
the protesters as "angry Black militant thugs," it must be noted that the most
vocal members of the leadership were intelligent and college educated such as
Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) and Jamil Abdullah Al Amin (H. Rap Brown). And
while the powers that be may have feared Black Panther, Huey P. Newton's gun,
they were more afraid of the bullets that came out of his mouth.
It must also be noted that while Malcolm X went to prison as a street cat he
came out of prison as one of the greatest debaters this country has ever known,
often debating his philosophies on the campuses of major White universities.
During the "conscious" Hip Hop era (1988-92), it must be noted that those
rappers who promoted intellectualism and academic development were demonized by
those in power while some of the rappers who glorified gangsta-ism are still
making CD's, endorsing products and even making kiddie movies twenty years after
I am sure that many of the parents who yanked their kids out of school a couple
of weeks ago so they would not hear Obama's "stay in school" speech, have no
problem with their children listening to Lil' Wayne.
So, the problem of White intimidation by Black male intelligence still exists to
this day. Just ask any Black student who was directed to the gym or the wood
shop class by his advisor while his White counterpart was guided to the
chemistry lab or advanced physics. Or the Black man with a Master's degree who
gets passed over for a promotion that is given to Jim Bob, who barely has a GED.
Maybe the attacks on Black men like Van Jones and Pres. Barack Obama will serve
a greater purpose.
We must use these instances as "teachable moments" to tell our young people that
racists don't hate strong Black men because of the color of their skin but they
fear the genius that lies within.