A friend and colleague sent me the New York Times Opinion Piece “The End of Black Harlem” and I’m trying to process how to suppress my anger and to whom it should be directed. Many of you know me from 40 years ago, I was the young, enthusiastic African-American male who thought starting a magazine called ROUTES, A Guide to Black Entertainment would demonstrate how proud he was of his people. In today’s jargon “A Guide to Black Entertainment” may not seem like it had much to do with African-American culture, but when one looks through its pages there’s no doubt it has everything to do with his respect for his culture.
What’s happening today in the United States has everything to do with disrespect for the African-American culture. It’s impossible for African-American’s to express their opinion about obvious daily genocidal assaults without being called an “Angry Black Man or Woman.” Many outside of the African-America culture unapologetically hurl disparities at all African-Americans—justifiably disregarding the past and present atrocities heaped upon them by the “Omission and commission” white community. I’ve asked many a friend “What does a racist look like?”
Who is to blame for what’s happening in Harlem and Bedford Stuyvesant and elsewhere in the United States? Can any aware African-American dare say out loud what he thinks without being called anti White? Are those African-Americans who were in/are in positions of authority reverse the plight of the average citizen in their communities? Neither on the local nor on the national level does the situation seem to be a priority. My experience tells me that if this dire situation was a white problem, this community would be seeking solutions from their local and national politicians. African-American politicians, well that’s another dire situation! The Church in the African-American community—”Seek salvation in the next life.”
I think the New York Times Piece should have read “The End of African-American Culture.” An undiluted evaluation of the present state of African-America —”no leaders, no money, no power, no media”. Our young popular hip hop singers denigrate their their mothers and sisters as “Bitches & Whores” and get away with it–many in our own community praise them as “creative and poets, I think they lack “adult supervision.”
Media which can deliver vital information and a positive image to the African-American community is either under someone else’s control or has been eliminated—Essence, gone; Ebony/Jet, gone; BET, gone; WBLS, gone; WWRL gone; African-American theater, JUST ABOUT GONE; sensible, respectable, loving African-American music, GONE. I’m sure YOU can fill in the other areas of the African-American infrastructure that are GONE. Are YOU feeling helpless or YOU just don’t care? Are YOU blaming integration? And what are YOU doing about it? I’m doing my part with ROUTES-MAG.COM. Do you think YOU should be actively supporting ROUTES. Or perhaps YOU should be supporting “The Root”, “On Monday, Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic Americans, announced that it has acquired The Root, the leading online news, opinion and culture destination for African Americans.” The Root was launched by the esteemed Louis Gates, Jr. and subsequently sold to Univision.. Or perhaps YOU don’t care about who describes your culture? Did you know that up until 1965, African-Americans didn’t write their own cultural history? 51 years later we seem to be moving back in that direction with accomplices. And no one of authority in the African-American community is taking effective notice.
A couple of months ago, I comment on a Langston Hughes prophetic poem Langston Hughes(1965): Tales of Simple: “Coffee Break” and no one responded to my comment, so I’m reprinting it here.
Ten years ago, I was riding a bus through Harlem and a man, most African-Americans who grew up in inner cities, know as a “little” crazy, was shouting and pointing at a new high rise building “who the fuck is going to pay a million dollars for an apartment in that building?” I hypocritically thought to myself “:Not you.” But this “loony” was speaking about something we all knew the answer to—”NOT US.”
I think each individual must make a determined effort to support those persons and institutions that have in mind.the welfare of the community Inactivity is not an option. Or am I a lone effete angry African-American man? What do you think?