Jaye Swift, author of But You Can’t Enslave My Thinking uses his book as an eye opener to what the Black community is lacking in knowledge, not only of the world around us, but specifically within the community. Throughout the book there are different sections that challenge the reader’s knowledge on Black history and even the history of Africa.
Swift expresses concern for Black people in the book, claiming at one point that in 100 years or so the Black race will be extinct. He believes that the setbacks that face the community are results of ignorance, which he analogizes to being a disease. Swift believes that literature is the key to curing ignorance, therefore gives a sort of history lesson throughout the book. This includes an extensive lesson on Black inventors, background on Black History Month, a list of all HBCU’s, the history of Kwanzaa, information on the Harlem Renaissance, and a scornful attack on Bill Cosby’s comments on hip hop culture.
At times, Swift attacks the Black community. For instance, he includes a letter to Bill Cosby in the book, giving him a hard time for speaking up against hip hop music and culture, but not speaking up against what has been done to the black community by outsiders in the past. As a hip hop artist himself, Swift questions Bill Cosby in wondering why he did not speak publicly when Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
This is just one point in his book when he uses his wit to make his argument.
The book does not read like most novels, as it is written almost in textbook form. It is a compilation of facts, letters, articles, quizzes and lists that entails information about the Black community and its lacking relationship with Africa. It is an interesting read in that Swift takes a very radical standpoint on what he believes is the most important issues facing today’s Black community today.
It is in the readers best interest not to take offense to some of Swifts accusations, opinions and statements, but to embrace them as the position of a man who feels as if he has experienced first hand the prejudice of this country. Accept his arguments as a man who has “received a bachelor’s degree in racism from Corporate America…his Masters degree in street pharmacy, on the streets of the Bronx, in New York City, and…his doctorate in 5 penitentiaries, around the United States,” as well as an enlisted soldier of the US army.