Saturday, November 18, 2017
Cultural Revolution, Part 2
By Darryl James (Columnist)
Published October 30, 2008

Last week I outlined the need for Blacks in America to undergo a Cultural Revolution in order to remain relevant and thrive in America.

This week, I'd like to outline some of the things that must occur in order for such a revolution to take place.

Before I proceed, I must make it clear that this revolution, much like any other revolution is not for everybody. Every Black person in America will not agree or support this movement. But move we will.

What this means is that all of the ignorant asses who love to leak stupidity from their brains need to be either put on blast or soundly ignored. If you are not interested in joining the movement, then move out of the way and shut up.

Now, let's get down to business.

This revolution is already under way. A growing number of Black men and women have been in communication across the nation exchanging their ideas and information about the revolution and their contribution.

First, we must create self-identification. During the most powerful movement in the Sixties, Blacks the world over self-identified almost universally as Black, no matter what nationality. That created a universal linking that could have sustained a potential power base the world over. That power base was rocked when each nationality eventually became primary and Blackness became secondary.

We have far more in common than the differences we love to focus on. And, in order for any group, ethnic, religious or otherwise, to create a power base, they must first create universal identification.

While Blacks in many nations refuse to identify with each other and/or Africa, we see the power in the self-identification of Jewish people the world over. An argument can be made as to whether the Jews are a race or a religion and that argument is even made within their group, yet, there is nearly universal self-identification, which is one of the main reasons why the Jews are so powerful the world over.

Where is the power in refusing to self-identify?

The Cultural Revolution that must occur in the United States must carry one label, and Black should be it. This prevents the ignorant, useless discussion of who is African and who knows what about Africa. Self-identification with Africa can still occur, but there is unity and power in one label of self-identification.

After we self-identify with a unifying label, we must proceed with the removal of other identifications that are divisive. I outlined some of them last week, but let me highlight those and more divisive labels here.

I wrote about feminism, which was taken out of context. Let me be clear and succinct-As a Black group, we must be about the uplift of women, men and children without placing any of those subgroups above each other. This means that there is no need to identify with subgroups when the focus is on ALL of us.

Where religion is concerned, we must all be willing to place the group's self-identification above the identification of religion. We must ask ourselves: "Is power to be gained from being identified as a part of our religion or as a part of our larger group?"

Your religion can not be more important than your group. Your religion must be pursued in accordance with the identification and uplift of your group. This means that Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Hebrews who are Black must be able to come together and focus on issues that affect the group as a whole, with religion taking a back seat.

No other subgroup can take precedence over the focus on being identified as Black. This includes sexual orientation, secondary race, secondary nationality and politics.

And where politics come in, we can and should join whatever party we imagine will do the most good, but that good must be the greater good, not the good of selfish individuals.

As a Black group, we must be about our own uplift. This means that we can no longer depend on anyone outside of our group to raise us up. Anais Nin said: "We can not ask a man or woman to build the world we want. We have to build it ourselves."

As a Black group, we must be about our own chastisement. This means that we can no longer support entertainment from within or without which damages our image on the world stage. If rappers and comedians are damaging our image as a group, then we must destroy the excuse of "at least they are getting paid," or "they are opening doors." Both of those excuses are garbage.

We must also chastise those who would stand and do nothing, yet criticize those of us who are active. According to a Chines Proverb, "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

We can no longer tolerate mindless, inactive fools to speak negatively without chastisement. Such action lead to the deaths of Malcolm and Martin.

And speaking of leaders, the Cultural Revolution can not be about leaders in the traditional sense of the term. Each of us must lead and do so in our own arenas. This means that leadership will be young and old, rich and poor, educated and not educated. It is about the work, not the credentials nor the resume.

Primarily, the Cultural Revolution must focus on children. If we can improve the standing, image and self-esteem of today's children, tomorrow will certainly be brighter.

How do we accomplish this? More of us must become teachers on purpose. More of us must parent unselfishly. More of us must mentor and more of us must listen to youth and learn to follow them after we teach them how to lead.

If we teach them and get out of their way, we will witness the only true source of new ideas, and according to Albert Einstein, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."

Armed with knowledge of self and self-esteem, today's youth will be better prepared to lead tomorrow.

And speaking of teaching, we must stop giving too much focus to Black History Month. I think it is absolutely absurd to get rid of the month, but we must focus on promoting and preserving our history all year long. Anyone who has a problem being connected to Africa can simply focus on the immense contributions we have made to this nation over the past five hundred years.

We must create an economic base. We have to Buy Black, even if there are difficulties. Drive to a Black-owned store you know and make a purchase. Buy Black books, Black clothing, Black food and other Black products.

We hear people talk about how Black businesses fail to take care of customers. Perhaps they know that Black customers have some serious issues with Black businesses. How about we work this out by communicating? If the Black business you choose to patronize is not taking care of you as a customer, then let them know BEFORE taking your business elsewhere.

This is crucial because our spending habits are so far out of whack, buying Black will certainly help our group and our own spending habits as well. Currently, even though the economy is in the toilet, many Blacks have increased spending on expensive items including satellite dishes and cars.

In addition to curbing our spending habits, we must also begin to get our saving habits in check. Far too many of us are living for today and therefore, will have nothing to contribute to our future.

According to the National Urban League's State of Black America report, less than fifty per cent of Black families in America owned their own homes in 2004 as compared to seventy per cent of Whites.

Even though many of us were pushed out of our homes during the housing crisis, when we move, we can move into communities with a majority of us and create more solid Black communities. The motto should be; "Don't move, improve!" We know that Whites are moving into former Black communities and gentrifying them, so how about we follow suit or go ahead of them and reintegrate amongst ourselves?

And comparing Whites to Blacks in terms of savings, an Ariel Mutual Funds/Charles Schwab Black Investor Survey revealed that Whites saved twenty per cent more than Blacks with similar incomes. That survey also found that one third of Blacks earning 100K annually had less than five thousand dollars in retirement savings.

We do so poorly when it comes to finances because of our relationship with money. Blacks have only been freely participating in commerce since the middle of the twentieth century. And having access to financial independence, many of us would rather look successful than be successful.

We can change our relationship with money if we change our concept of self-identification. If we are banking, spending and consulting amongst ourselves, we are more likely to change our ideas about what we can accomplish.

These are some ideas that are already being discussed and pursued. Support them and take them to your neck of the woods, or come up with your own, but please become active about participating in a revolution that is not only attainable, but productive.

Again, not all Blacks will agree or even understand. If this is not for you, create your own or kill yourself, but please don't think I care what you think unless you are adding instead of detracting.

Let the dialogue begin.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology "Notes From The Edge." He released his first mini-movie, "Crack," and this year, will release his first full-length documentary. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at



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