The Uppity Negro Manifesto: A Black Nationalist Response to Post-Racial Fatigue

Either a) I’m really getting caught up with other blog posts or b) I’m just getting lazy because this blogging while in grad school thing isn’t easy.

I’m going with b)

Yeah, I’m somewhat stealing a story, but it’s more a theme that I happened upon while making a comment on another blog.  The Dallas Morning News reported yesterday that Dallas Mavericks’ player Josh Howard made some off-color comments as to why he didn’t stand during a flag-football game sponsored by Allen Iverson.


Um, we all know A.I. is an NBA badboy, Howard, perhaps not so much on the national arena, personally I wasn’t aware of his limit-pushing escapades off the court, but nonetheless, that was a harsh comment even for my book.  The article quotes Mark Cuban as saying that “we will be going through some advanced communication-skill sessions together this training camp.”  And then goes on to say “Josh really is a good guy with a great heart.  He just doesn’t do a good job of showing that side of himself publicly.”

Well isn’t that the understatement of the decade.

Well, I just went off in the post and ended with the same message that many whites say to blacks when a Josh Howard comment is caught on camera which was “SHUT THE HELL UP!”

Sorry, I’m being angry Negro today.

But, my anger was somewhat assuaged when I clicked on a link from the original Morning News article entitled “Josh Howard off-key on Black patriotism.”

In a back and forth, manuscript-style dual columnist conversation concerning Howard’s comments, two Morning News columinist re-hash the incident.  There was the mention of Dyson’s April 24th, 2008 Time interview when he separated “nationalism” and “patriotism” both of which come from a love of country in the context of Jeremiah Wright and using the Dyson standby that many blacks are patriotic by definition because we’ve ALWAYS been involved in fighting this country’s wars in the military from Civil War and on–paying what many patriots define as the “ultimate sacrifice.”

But it was the following passage that got my mental gears turning.

Steve: I’m sure you’re right that no one looks to Josh Howard as spokesman for the African-American community. But his words didn’t spring from nowhere. His statement was rooted in something.

I hate to say this, but I almost see a segregationist attitude rising up among some young blacks. Or maybe “separatist” is a better word. It’s like he and some others are just not comfortable fully embracing the values and ideals of America. [emphasis added]

The celebration of ghetto culture feels like a rejection of mainstream America. And for those of us who have long yearned for racial unity, it hurts to be pushed away – even if it’s “just” Josh Howard giving the stiff arm.

Well, no doubt that Steve Blow is a white columnist and that James Ragland is black.  I don’t think their bios mean much in the grand scheme of things, but be my guest if you want to check them out.  But, first I’d wonder what Blow’s take is on Tim Wise’s latest blog at the RedRoom on white privilege that got copied and pasted on many a black blogs, including this one.

But it’s Blow’s mentality that a) proves white privilege exists and b) I think is ultimately detrimental to our country’s progress.

Certain mindsets, that cross politcal lines, but rarely racial ones, would say exactly what Blow would say and see nothing wrong with it.  Aside from the weirdness of hearing a white guy talk about “ghetto culture” it’s the idea that black people are not inline with “the values and ideals of America.”

Militant Negro will say without any reservations: “This is some bull$#!%!  I have a right to resist against the tyrannies of the prevailing thought in this country. ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand.  It never did and it never will.  Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both’ and you’d better pray I choose the former and not the latter!”

Angry Negro really wants to say “Why should we subscribe to anything that dominant culture [read: white folks who wield political and economic power, which ultimately dictates social power]?  It is this dominant culture that a) lead to our ancestors enslavement b) that lead to the prevailing understanding of “seperate but equal” (I’m coming to that in a minute) c) that has lead to a consumerist culture that has preyed on the economically impoverished many of which are in the black community.  I mean what the hell else do y’all want from us?  I mean Chris Howard, even with a degree is a prime example of the pimp-prostitute farm that is the NBA!  I mean, he’s making y’all RICH!  So shut the hell up and let him look a fool!”

Uppity Negro simply says at the press conference: “Why is it that black ideals and values aren’t American in the first place?  Were we not here long before the Irish, the Germans, the Polish and the Jews?  Did not the Anglo-Saxon’s have us in mind when they framed the Constitution?  I mean most certainly if it were not for blacks in this country, these values and ideals would not have been in place.  I mean seriously, could you imagine this country without blacks, African Americans–or whatever it is we’re calling ourselves these days.

“If it weren’t for blacks would we have had a 3/5ths compromise in the Constitution?  If it weren’t for blacks would we have had the top three of four major Supreme Court decisions centered around race: The Dred Scott Decision of 1857, the Plessy Vs. Ferguson Decision of 1896 and the Brown vs. The Topeka Board of Education in 1954 (with Roe vs. Wade being the the fourth, non race related case).  Seriously, if it wasn’t for the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act of 1964 and 1965 respectively, how could these “values and ideals of America” have been shaped in the first place?”

I’ve heard many a professor, preacher and black adult opine that “Integration was the worst thing to have happened to the black community.”  Real talk, prior to integration blacks had be self-sufficient: we owned our own stores because of the horrible treatment we received in many white ones, we owned our own banks, we circulated the money in our own community, we supported our on schools and the teachers actually gave a damn because they lived on the same block–not some suburban plant. 

What most of these older adults have said that we should have been de-segregationist in our approach.  I mean the inane hatred of whites against blacks during the Jim Crow era was so strong that they passed laws about it.  There should have been no law that said a black person couldn’t eat at a lunch counter, but fact of the matter is, why did blacks want to eat food from that lunch counter in the first place?

Well, that’s an open question…

Seriously, for all this talk about being post-racial and bringing blacks and whites together is under the assumption of how whites interpret we need to be brought together.  Why is it that my understanding is the wrong understanding?  Why is it “off-key black patriotism” and not just “off-key patriotism?”  Does patriotism have to be qualified in terms of blackness–why not white patriotism?  Just look the comments following the article in the Morning News and the Youtube clip and many of them put forth the advice for those of the darker skin color to just be quiet–but using a much smaller word base to put get their point across.

So, why is it that I’m in the wrong if I were to tell all of them to “Shut the Hell up!” 

Serious question–why is it that everytime a black person voices their opinion, if it’s not in lockstep with another prevailing white understanding then it’s branded as separatist or the trump card of “unpatriotic” or “un-American?”  What’s wrong with having a philosophy and an ideology or even a theology that celebrates ones culture, as opposed to being merely tolerated by another.

Don’t forget to check out the other posts:

Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL

4 thoughts on “The Uppity Negro Manifesto: A Black Nationalist Response to Post-Racial Fatigue

  1. @Kat

    I agree. To which I ask why and how are these values promoted as “American”? Furthermore, its a slap at Democracy and at the history of this country which was founded on the basis of people not walking lockstep with the established government.

  2. I agree upity! It seems to me that they do not think we are going against American morals and values, but more like White morals and values, or what they think they should be.

    For years we have spoke out against the so called American Values! We have challenged the consitution over and over again, like you stated before. If we did not, we would still be slaves or under the Jim Crow Laws.

    The challenges and oppositions to American Values are truly what shape the American Values of the future.

    The American Values once included it being okay for us to be slaves…were we not suppose to stand up 2 that? It bothers me when Blacks think that other Blacks should shut up when they are standing up for what they believe in.

    When will being American include the many religions, views, cultures, and values that we all have? I thought “their” America says that we are all equal? But then why is it that only one type of culture and view is truly valued?

    There are so many American Values that do not represent the bigger picture…and if that means challenging it so that it works better for all of us, than so be it.

    Itsn’t that the beauty of our country?

  3. Many of us thought that the white conservatives and/or racists along with their ignorant minions of and not of color would never show any weakness in the face of reality. They would spew the same hatred and ignorance as if part of ‘the collective’. No cracks. Ever.

    But, the pressure is increasing on the pipes and they are a bussin’. The present economic state of our great nation is scaring the shyt out of these people. And you can tell who has skin in the game. The backlash against the administration is deafening. Not from the left but, from the right. These sons and daughters of white privilege are knee-deep in Wall Street. Their 401k, Hedge Funds and Mutual Funds have gotten involved in all these fancy financial instruments like Off-Balance Sheet Entities (OBSE). Yes you read that correctly- OFF BALANCE SHEET! People felt it was cool to invest in stuff like this. Most Black & Brown people (who Neil Cavuto blames this crisis on) would laugh loudly if asked to invest in such an instrument. At least when we get in over our head with a mortgage we are smart enough to gamble someone else’s money and the asset would still be available for resale should we fail. But, these fancy schmancy tools were houses-of-cards built on houses-of-cards on the beach during Hurricane Ike… You get the point.

    I digress.

    Now white privilege (Big Up! to Tim Wise) is biting them in the ass all over the place: Cheney’s cronies are stealing money, Bush is again proving how little suited for the job he is, the savior-Sarah numbers are tanking, McCain is proving he is the same loose cannon he has always been (What is the over/under on McCain going into a tirade and trying to choke the shyt out of the Skinny Black Kid on Friday?), Wall Street-types are the REAL greedy welfare queens…

    Like every real problem we have in this country, the power-elite are hiding their hands. They break, steal, torture, kidnap, bomb, send to war, marginalize and never accept true responsibility for their actions. Never get to the root cause. Never discuss how NOT tapping into the inexhaustible brilliance of ALL Americans is destroying us.

    Forget the disease- FIX THE SYMPTOMS!!! NOW!!! Or the planet will spin off its access. But, for them this IS the reality. Their world is based on the position of unquestioned dominance they have usurped over the last five centuries. Therefore, the emperor admitting he has no clothes would be earth-shattering.

    Tirade Off.

    Black Mike

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