by Minister Paul Scott –Guest Columnist–
“Beware of the hand when it’s coming from the Left. I ain’t trippin’ just watch your step”
–Can’t Truss It – Public Enemy
It was the moment he had been waiting for over 50 years. Former Black Power activist Brother Harold stood in anticipation as he heard “Black Lives Matter!” being chanted in the distance. As he stood in his colorful dashiki that he had been saving for this occasion, holding a miniature Red, Black and Green flag, he waited to see an army of strong Black people marching down the street. But his heart dropped when he saw a crowd of predominantly White folk frolicking behind a banner that read: “Black Lives Matter …. especially at Walmart.”
Although Black Lives Matter is a catchphrase that has been embraced by mainstream America, contrary to popular belief, not all Black folk are card carrying members of BLM.
The issue here is not specifically the platform of the movement that started in 2013 with the murder of Trayvon Martin (though one may have differences with the mission statement). The beef is that, in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, in many cities the majority of people screaming “Black Lives Matter” seem to be White folk backed by White dollars.
The reasons why some of us don’t want to be in that number when the Black Lives Matter saints come marchin’ in may vary, but the bottom line is we have trust issues. And rightly so.
The origin of this can be traced back to when the European first set foot on the African continent under the guise of saving the souls of Black folk.
Both Jomo Kenyetta and Bishop Desmond Tutu have been quoted as saying: “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land.”
Also, although many people applaud the role that the abolitionists played in ending chattel slavery, according to Lerone Bennett, Jr., in his work, Before the Mayflower, even though Frederick Douglass used to hang out with William Lloyd Garrison, he eventually broke ranks, as White abolitionists like Garrison wanted Black abolitionists to merely serve as lawn jockeys. However, Douglass believed that Black people should have been at the head of the abolitionist movement. As Bennett quotes Douglass as saying, “the man who suffered the wrong is the man to demand redress.”
A textbook example of the exploitation of Black suffering can be found in the 1931 Scottsboro case when nine African American teenagers were accused of raping two White women. According to Benjamin Quarles in his work The Negro in the Making of America, the Communist Party sought to capitalize off of the Scottsboro case to push their agenda amongst African Americans who were skeptical of them.
During the Civil Rights Era, White philanthropists and foundations sought to influence the Civil Rights movement protests through Stephen Currier and his Taconic Foundation (read David Gurrow’s book Bearing the Cross). Later during the Black Power Era, according to Robert L. Allen in Black Awakening in Capitalist America, the Ford Foundation became “the most important, though least, publicized organization manipulating the militant black movement.”
During the early 70’s we saw White entertainment entities counter the Black Power Era by channeling that energy into Black exploitation movies. Also, during the late 80’s and early 90’s we witnessed White corporations shift their dollars from conscious Hip Hop to the self-destructive “gangsta rap” which still plagues us today.
This is why many of us look sideways when major corporations start making it rain on organizations that promote racial justice by donating millions of dollars to the cause.
It must be noted that some of us still subscribe to a Black Nationalist tradition that goes back a hundred years as advocated by ancestors such as Martin Delaney, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Ture and many others. We believe in the idea of Black Self Determination, in plain layman’s terms: We don’t need no White liberals to fight for us.”
Maybe, one day we will realize that ain’t nobody gonna save us but us.
As much as people complain about the picture of White Jesus that Grandma used to have hanging on her wall, in 2020 many Black folk are still waiting for a White Savior to come save them.
Minister Paul Scott is founder of the Black Messiah Movement, P.O. Box 15123, Durham, N.C. 27704. He can be reached at 919-972-8305. His website is BlackMessiahMovement.com.