Khadija inspired this post for sure. I wanted to talk about something else today but I was blown away by the last conversation on Khadija blog were she referenced Elijah Mohamed and his work with the black community. Khadija's Blog
In truth and as Khadija explained, EM's work and models for his work in the black community remain the only few examples of models and strategies that are successful with black people (I can think of only one or two others). If you want to look at community building models that have ‘been successful’ in the past, then look no further than the work of Elijah Mohamed.
I was particularly ready to do a dance when I came across this statement by Khadija
I don’t have to like Elijah Muhammad (and I don’t like him) to tell the truth, and admit that his analysis was 100% correct about many things. And that he was very wise in how he dealt with with AAs’ unique psychology and pathologies.
Wow folks I was blown away by this particular statement, and do you know why? The reason is that the multitude of words that black folk have to say about community building etc, I am yet to come across this clear understanding among any significant number that black leadership is required to understand the unique psyche of black people in order to come up with effective models.
I don’t even think that black folks even require their leaders to meet the 'challenges' of black folks for real! All they need is mouth pieces who anounce that black people are decimated by HIV, Crime, Poverty etc etc, without even having a coherent idea (beyond call for government interv), at how blacks can organize internally to change the situation as EM did.
You know when you go to an interview and they ask you to do a presentation on, ‘5 issues facing XYZ and how I plan to solve them', well I think nobody is even having such an expectation anymore when they elect so called black leaders. All black people want is a figure head, who can wag a finger at ‘the white man’ and makes the required ‘noises.’ That is essentially all that is required of black leadership!
No wonder why black community is more or less defunct.
This issue of leaders not being required to meet the challenge of the group they lead (beyond heading marches and being wheeled in to give opinions on CNN), plagues the whole of the black world. It happens in Africa. African leaders approach the presidential race of their respective countries without even having a clear plan of how they hope to solve the deep and entrenched problems in the country, but even before that, they haven’t even understood what these problems are or the unique psychology of their people that will lend itself to some solutions and not others! Lawdy lawd.
For all his faults I admire Kwame Nkrumah for understanding that he had to play a 'tight game of political chess' with both Americans and Russians, to deliver his countries infrastructure. Akosombo dam I believe, remains one of the countries major infrastructure a quarter of a century later and decades after his death.
The other day a friend responded to me re this discussion that, ‘well the CIA and etc always end up killing African leaders that are good for Africa.’ I said to him, ‘out thinking the CIA' then is a ‘leadership challenge’ that must be met! It should not continue to be an excuse especially since it has been going on forever. By now there should be strategies in place. It is only organisms intersted in extinction that dont adapt to each threat especially a threat that is known.
It is very clear why Jesus had twelve apostles (actually the number twelve denotes/symbolizes governmental perfection). He spoke of his death often but made plans for the work to continue beyond him. Today you have African leaders in their 80’s who haven’t even prepared for succession and will be brought out of office on a stretcher followed by years of turmoil in the country. Jesus prepared for successful continuation of his work in 3 years!
Leadership is adaptable and innovative. You are not prepared for leadership if you haven’t mapped out the problems and come up with some sort of clever plan of action (which you can adapt as more information becomes available).
Black leadership was always meant to be so innovative beyond anything any other groups could come up with, and that is simply because black people are surrounded by problems; layered, complex, internal and external. To meet the challenge then, black leadership was supposed to be ‘ninja’ like in level and style (and by that I invoke the general view on Ninjas’s as invisible, highly skilled with the ability to accomplish almost impossible feats; deadly effective). When black folk started patterning black leadership after mainstream (read: white) leadership then end was in sight!
Understand the challenge, met the challenge and stop excuses.
Khadija also said something that made me want to faint with the knowledge of it all; that black folk always respond with their cultural defensive, emotional baggage. Something happens today and it triggers and emotional memory/baggage response that is totally OBSOLETE (and just about satifying our need to have a historical rememberance moan-fest) for the modern situations.
So we think, 'This is rosa parks all over again let us respond accordingly', when it isnt. Read the comments of the post linked above to find this particular angle.
One thing that is sure re Kelley Williams-Bolar , black women who want to thrive need to wean themselves off the same emotional 'sympathy pulls' we had in the past.
I too felt sorry for Kelley Williams-Bolar but then I suddenly felt an 'attack of fears' as I realized how deep a mindset change we black women need in order to survive and how well trained we are to fall into a pit. The general mentalities of black women are no longer going to surfice (eg having children without particpating fathers, not thinking and planning for comfortable rather than 'on the edge' living, our need to defy legal structures to wag a finger at 'the man', etc etc), we have to 'come up higher'. Anything less than a totally reorganized mindset will lead to the sure ruin of many women. It is scary because many of these women that are destroyed never stood a chance because they were surrounded by bad advice and bad advisers! There but for the grace of God....
And I agree with Khadija that black folks 'cultural insecurity' is largely responsbile for us always finding outside causes to blame when it is clear that the blame belongs with us. This blaming government, racism etc etc when we could have taken simple steps towards our betterment, is a sure sign of people who have lost faith in themselves and their abilities.
People who know they can 'right' a wrong situation are never obsessively averse to taking any blame as black people show themselves to be, because they know they can 'handle it'. When people have lost faith in the ability to 'course correct' they are always involved in frantic effort to dodge blame. Dodging blame becomes the goal in itself, as they desperately try but fail in their attempts to not look like inferior people!
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