by Ken Harris
DETROIT (Real Times News Service)–Detroit is facing an epidemic in the form of a prevalent case of African Americans who have done nothing to help the Black community but rob, cheat, steal, camouflage, and pose as credible Black leaders. Malcolm X called those who lived back during the days of slavery “House Negroes,” while others enriched the variety of names with the terms Sambo, Uncle Tom, Sell Outs, and Slave Negroes. It was a time when Black people would get called out for their direct intent to use the Black community for personal gain, opportunity, self-appointment, and contributing to the degradation of the Black community and race. Some African Americans are misguided Black folk because of their direct intentions in Detroit.
“Why not exploit, enslave, or exterminate a class that everybody is taught to regard as inferior?” – Carter G. Woodson
We have seen in Detroit very few leaders who were un-bought, un-sold, and un-influenced by the circumstances of the oppressor and the assault on the Black community. Many African Americans during slavery gave their lives so their children could be free and reach equality in America. But throughout history these Uncle Tom Black folks have sought the approval and acceptance of the dominant society while stepping on, exploiting, and manipulating the Black community. Marcus Garvey said the Black community is full of impostors and perpetrators using the name of Black power and identity.
“If you can control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.” ? Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro
The line is being drawn in the sand. We are starting to see exactly who is who within the Black community. The African Americans who really had the best interest of the Black folks who have been dealt the backhand and baggage of slavery and its economic conditions. We are starting to see which ghost will take off the sheet of self-destiny, hatred, and anger towards the Black people and the communities and ghettos where they reside. We are discovering certain Black politicians, clergy members, educators, educated, bourgeois, poverty pimps, media pundits, businessmen, young professionals, elected, old-guard, and establishment leadership.
“In a later age ‘Uncle Tom’ became an epithet for a black person who behaved with fawning servility toward white oppressors. This was partly a product of the ubiquitous Tom shows that paraded across the stage for generations and transmuted the novel into comic or grotesque melodrama.”
We can trace Black neglect back from the post-Civil Rights days, and the existence of the selfish, opportunistic, profit-driven, sold out, and political prostitutes for decades. There was a time when Negroes would deal with out-of-touch Black folks. There was a time in history when if you got caught back-stabbing another brother or sister, you could expect something coming to you. There was a Black code in the streets and there was respect for that Black code. We have been truly mis-educated to be African American without a Black identity. There are Black folks who only feel comfortable within the dominant culture and society. They totally remove themselves from the Black struggle, while trying to live a life without acknowledging race, creed, or color. Society is more racist now than ever before; everything Black people worked for since slavery is being attacked and threatened by the complete removal of progress. The clock is being turned back in time, right in African Americans’ faces.
“The present system under the control of the Whites trains the Negro to be White and at the same time convinces him of the impropriety or the impossibility of his becoming white… the Negros will have no outlet but to go down a blind alley, if the sort of education which they are now receiving is to enable them to find the way out of their present difficulties.” ? Carter G. Woodson
Isn’t espousing a color-blind, race neutral, melting pot society a modern way of hiding the master’s silver? What are Black leaders conserving when Black Detroit and other communities are burdened by poverty, crime, unemployment, homelessness, and other social pathologies?
We have to watch out for these types of Negroes: they are in our families, at our jobs, at the gym, in our social networks, elected to office, owners of Black businesses, and operating in the names of historically Black organizations, associations, fraternities, sororities, nonprofits, and community groups. We need to start calling these Black folks out for what they truly are and do with the express purpose of exposing those who are leading exploiting, opportunity-seeking, and money-grabbing lives promised by the dominant culture. We have to protect our families, friends, community, and workplace from these individuals. No longer can we stand for ideals. No more can we keep getting smacked in the face. Am I my brother’s keeper? Can we honor the code? If we don’t, Black society and culture will be removed completely. There is no exception for inequality; no regard for servitude or enslavement by our own people. We must stand and we must fight and in some cases we must die for righteousness, truth, equality, and excellence in the Black race and nothing short of it.
“If they were to be subordinated to some one it should be to the white man of superior culture and social position. This keeps the whole race on a lower level, restricted to the atmosphere of trifles, which do not concern their traducers. The greater things of life which can be attained only by wise leadership, then, they have no way to accomplish.” – Woodson, Carter Godwin
It is time for Detroit’s next generation to step up, step out, and take it from these Sold Out, Uncle Tom, Power Hungry Opportunity Negroes. It is time for those true to Black excellence, identity, struggle, and uplifting of the race to move forward with a plan, solutions, and resolute leadership qualities. The time is now. Power is not given; it must be taken. Although we have had some phenomenal Black leadership in the past, they were few and far between, many going unnoticed because they never wanted to be in the spotlight, but they gave their lives for the Black race. Detroit is ripe for strong, new, and bold leadership unlike what has existed until today. Do something special to uplift the Black race and not just yourself and let your actions, deeds, and efforts speak louder than your words, brothers and sisters.
Power to the People! Stay Black! Keep it Real!
Ken L. Harris serves as the President/CEO of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce with access to more than 79,000 black-owned businesses in Michigan.