North Versus South: Social Awareness Versus Black Elitism

I just came from spending the better part of my afternoon with my friend, The Critical Cleric after I dropped off my application to Emory’s Candler School of Theology and somehow as we were sitting at Landmark Jr. cafe, and we were discussing this one young lady who went to our school (now his alma mater).  He was saying about how she’s probably looking for a relationship, and I said true, but she’s from Philly and that knowing her she probably won’t find someone here in Atlanta.

And that’s when the diversionary conversation began.

I’ve long made the claim that Atlanta is a “fake” city.  That is that many of the black people running around here, living and existing, are a part of a reality that is more concerned with material things.  So much so that when individuals are attempting to be in relationships, they are more concerned with what type of car one drives, what’s their address, what type of job they have, what type of clothes they wear et cetera.  My friend countered back that that’s probably true of any northern city with a black urban professional sector.  I responded that that’s probably true, but I said specifically for blacks from up North who move down South, that there lacks a certain level of “social awareness” of those down South.

And of course, the ish hit the fan.

Here’s my point: blacks living down South do indeed have a certain cultural and social awareness, but I must say given my experiences hopscotching across the eastern half of the nation, that by in large blacks living Down South have a social awareness that is lacking.

For instance, various Pan-Africanist thoughts concerning Africa and even other Afro-centric thought as a part of African American culture are not even on the minds of many individuals living in the South.  Case in point: If while sitting in a freshman required course at Dillard University on African World Studies, a one semester course, that when the professor said “Africa is not a country” and you could see the faces of many of the students light up as though this were a novel thought, somewhat proves my point.

Remember, Dillard University is comprised of students from largely middle class backgrounds with a high student populations from both Texas and Louisiana, but still middle class which means that they went to decent high schools and somehow and someway they were able to pay the $20,000 tuition–Dillard was not some community college.

So as the conversation proceeded, I told my friend that I never got challenged by my peers intellectually until I got to Fisk University.  I never had some deep intellectual (well, deep to us as college students) conversation on the Yard with fellow students about some social or political issue until I got to Fisk–and yes, I was making the argument that Fisk had a higher student incidence of people from the North.  And that’s true, Fisk’s highest out of state student come from Chicago and Detroit and next was California from the population centers of Los Angeles and the Bay Area. And for the record, my more memorable conversations with persons on the Yard that challenged ones varying world views from topics to politics to what characterized a “Fisk Man” or a “Fisk Woman” to even the role of black men versus black women in a relationship had a higher incidence of those individuals not being from the South.

We came to the conclusion at this point in the conversation that this had to do more with religious and social conditioning.  My friend made the argument that because of the religious institutions being so dominant down south that a certain level of freedom was not possible down south, but was able to be achieved up north.

But, he still wasn’t ready to concede that indeed the social awareness was wider.

We kind of went off on a tangent concerning black preaching and specifically the modern Civil Rights movement.  He said the the infrastructure of blacks had a social consciousness (not awareness) in the South that the North did not have that was able to produce a CORE and a SNCC and various other organizations that helped the movement.  He used the argument of Bayard Rustin coming to the South to observe the movement.  Now, I responded be that as it may, but the type of movement in the South wasn’t needed in the North because of the de jure segregation in the South and de facto segregation in the North.

He didn’t buy that argument.

And we also disagreed on the issue of blacks having a population mass that’s still heavily southern. He said population numbers are exclusive from the ability to have an infrastructure that was able to produce the modern Civil Rights movement.

Well, I guess we’re just going to disagree on that.

So the conversation meandered around preaching and the difference of a northern black preachers and southern black preachers and their content–which again, I pointed to the vast difference of social awareness historically and contemporarily.  Although, I was quick to point out, at least in Chicago, the southern Baptist preaching style that’s so prevalent in many northern black Baptist churches.  Which of course he acknowledged.  He then went to note that generally, the rap music that hip hop has produced has generally produced more “conscious hip hop” in northern enclaves.  His example was that D4L’s “Shake Your Laffy Taffy” would have been laughed out of the studio if they had been in New York.

And then finally, I was mentioning to him that I somewhat fell out with some friends from Fisk when I passed through because I was trying to tell of my various experiences of living in New Orleans for three years for college, my one year at Fisk in Nashville and my nearly four years in Atlanta for school that lead me to concretely say that the level of social awareness in the North surpasses that of those in the South.  And between these two other soon to be Fisk alumni, one from rural Arkansas and another from Atlanta, both began using their family legacy and their own social location as means for their awareness.

Hear me out.

The one from Arkansas used his family history and being fifth generation college educated, and his parents professions and him studying overseas as reasons to discount my general argument.  The one from Atlanta was countering that I my experiences were based on a “new Atlanta” and that I couldn’t possibly understand the “old Atlanta” that had birthed Auburn Street and various other Atlanta institutions that are black cultural highlights of Atlanta.

As I was retelling this story to the The Critical Cleric and I turned the phrase that my two Fisk colleagues were using their elitism to cover for their social awareness.

And my friend cut me off in the conversation and said, “I take back everything I just said about this whole argument.  You’re right.”

You know that was music to my ears, especially because usually this is the friend that challenges my logic and not the other way around.  And he went on to tell a story that he went to the house of one of his members, an established gentlemen who’s a known lawyer here in Atlanta and that in midst of the visit that this man said to him that because Africa (which I guess was a country in his mind) has never sent one boat or one plane back to the Americas asking for blacks to come back that he doesn’t want anything to do with Africa.

This was his logic.

Which more or less proves my point.

Black middle class persons down south generally, don’t acknowledge the Afro-centric part of African American culture.  Because of that, many black southerners push back when persons are seen wearing African garb and please don’t bring up Kwanzaa to black  folks living in the South.  My issue is not that blacks need to ascribe to these schools of thought or that their “blackness” is called into question because they don’t practice them, but dammit, at least be aware of it!

As my friend posited, blacks in the South seem to be dismissive of certain cultural and social links that bring about awareness; they are self-affirming in their own “blackness” in so far as they can see it.  I would like to further add (this is me and not him), that this is a result of bourgeoise and westernized assimilation and acculturation.

This, let me first say, is not the end of the world.  To my fellow Fisk men, please believe they do have a world view and a social awareness that surely far surpasses many others, but I would still say that on certain Pan-African and Afro-centric thought that they fall short.  Let the record show that in certain circles writers like Molefi K. Asante, John Clarke, Asa Hilliard and Cheikh A. Diop are household names, but far too often those names are a complete foreign tongue to those living in the South.  Yes, this is not to say that the Pan-Africanist does not exist in the South, but just here in Atlanta.  Between First Afrikan Presbyterian Church of Lithonia, Ga. and The Shrine of the Black Madonna in the West End, one does not have much of an outlet.  This in stark comparison to a cultural capital enough in the city of Chicago that the annual Malcolm X Kwanzaa celebration gets news and air time every single year along with many other Afro-centric cultural events.

And of course, I’m not saying that every black Northerner is “enlightened” to a social awareness of which I’m describing.  But by in large, the northern “concrete jungles” have provided an atmosphere for which one can receive a larger social awareness–particularly those afforded the privilege of the black middle class.

If you are black and middle class and living down south the following is especially for you:

If you’ve made it this far through this article and haven’t totally written me off, and still your immediate reaction is to recite a full list of accomplishments that you’ve done and that you’re family or your friends have done that qualifies you as having a world view that is broad, or, your inclination is to cite the horrible statistics of crime and under-education and projects of northern cities like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland or Rochester, then this entire post has been lost on you–please resume what you were doing before this.

That is simply to say that if one fails to engage some of the other aspects of African American life from a national standpoint simply because you were never exposed to it, don’t understand it, or don’t care to understand it is somewhat of a disappointment to me.

Then, the conversation turned to education and my friend said, well, let the record show that down south we have schools, up North there are “African American Studies” departments.  I had to laugh because it’s true, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

And the conversation turned to Morehouse–and just to what level of elitism do we in the black community expect and project onto ourselves.

Stay tuned because this conversation isn’t over.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think blacks from the North have a broader social awareness than those blacks Down South?  Does elitism at times cloud our judgment on world views and various inter-racial social issues?


25 thoughts on “North Versus South: Social Awareness Versus Black Elitism

  1. Eh, that messed up. I’ll just post it as this:

    You wrote:

    “Black middle class persons down south generally, don’t acknowledge the Afro-centric part of African American culture. Because of that, many black southerners push back when persons are seen wearing African garb and please don’t bring up Kwanzaa to black folks living in the South. My issue is not that blacks need to ascribe to these schools of thought or that their “blackness” is called into question because they don’t practice them, but dammit, at least be aware of it”

    I would challenge this assertion, though. Could it be that the racial climate in the south makes it difficult to become aware of or embrace those Afro-centric parts of Af-Am culture? My experience has been like yours in some ways, to the extent that the southern black folk I know are less like to have that cultural awareness you speak. At the same time, though, they usually have a greater awareness of the reality of racial climates. For example, I have so many northern black friends who are constantly surprised when confronted with the racism woven into daily life in the south and when learning about the magnanimity of racial issues. For them, they have a strong cultural consciousness, but not necessarily real lived encounters with racism and white supremacy. For black southern folks, then, their consciousness and way of being largely comes out of lived racial experiences. I think the more overt presence of white supremacist structures in the south has a lot to do with the rejection of cultural awareness seen as too boldly black. I know a lot of southerners who are proud of being black, but also have assimilated into white middle class values and norms, in many ways due to not having the privilege of being able to exist as Afro-centric as freely as those in the North.

    1. @Amaryah

      That’s an interesting observation. I’d be hard pressed to find any black person, north or south, who’s not had to deal with some level of overt racism. Although, I will say those experiences do get interpreted differently based on geographical settings however. But, the racial climate that makes it difficult to be aware or embrace various Afro-centricities, is exactly my point, and it still proves my point, there’s a certain level of general awareness that’s not the case down south. I think I would have to agree that blacks down south have a greater appreciation for the reality of racial climates–I think that just goes part in parcel with being black in America no matter if you’re living in a small town, suburbs or a city no matter what region.

      1. I’m born and raised in Atlanta . And what I’ve found is the rest of the country is scared of tension. The white folk and black folk down here say what they mean and mean what they say. They didn’t ignore the past either. I lived in LA for a while. While I was there all these white folk pretending like they fighting for our rights and this and that. But we’re inately scared of me. Regardless I feel like the north and south is trying to compensate for their internal fear. And to be real their is a huge problem in the black community here in Atlanta. Drugs are rampant and I mean rampant. Stereotypes are largely for the most part true here. But the white folk will say I don’t trust you, but will sit down and eat dinner with you and treat you right. No fear of you and you’d feel human. In LA (same in New York) they would try but you could feel their fear and uncomfortability with me as much as they tried to compensate by pressing their “politically correct” views

  2. @ Amaryah: I can agree with your statement. I will add that some middle clsss blacks love to call attention to their “bougieness” so as to say I’m not like “those black people.” It is as if they have something to prove to their white counterparts.
    On the other hand, I can understand where Uppity is coming from. I’m from Texas and you would think some (not all) of the black people here still embodies the “slave mentality”–don’t do anything that might upset the white folks even to the point to deny/ignore/hide your “blackness.”

  3. I’ve come along way from the time when I would tell my dad what some northerner would say and he would say “tell them to take their ass back up north.” I’m sensitive about the South so I had to step away from this one before I made a comment. So since you are from the Chicago you are technically a Midwesterner. I remember Citizen Wifey telling me how backwards Midwesteners were regarding style and such. I always wondered how did she know because she has only been to Ohio and Chicago but people meet one or two folks via in person, t.v. or thru a passed down conversation and wha la! It’s easy to make assumptions and generalizations based on not a whole experience but a partial experience. With that being said…I think there is a reason for noticing what you have in the South. Chicago is rich with Black History that can be seen everyday.. Jet, Ebony, Ariel Capital Management Inc, Third World Press some of these have been around for years. Also the Historic Figures that walked the streets in Chicago from political leaders to athletes to musicians. Blacks went to Chicago because up there they could live like MEN. Racism still exists but it was alot better than the south. Jim Crow had us hemmed up for the longest. Some cities in the south are just now getting black owned businesses on the regular. So maybe in some areas we are behind. But with the influx of Northeners (speaking for North Carolina Only) they bring a change to cities and businesses adjust to that. For every complaint you have I know a person from NY, NJ, Penn, that would love to come down here. Cost Of Living being a huge factor. As for Atlanta – I don’t care for the place. Nice to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. There is a pretentiousness that permeates around the whole city. Black Folks have created this Mecca while on the outskirts the Klan is waiting for the day to take it all back…ha ha ha.

    1. @Citizen Ojo

      Well, remember I’m speaking for the last 8 years of my life being a nomadic student. I’ve lived in New Orleans, Nashville and now Atlanta. And I’ve spent entire summers in Washington, DC and Jacksonville, Fla.–and I grew up in Chicago.

      Granted Chicago does have black businesses, but you go to any major southern city and you’ll find a plethora of significant black owned businesses. No, they’re not the multinational corporations, and may only be local businesses supply maybe a tri-country area, but they do exist down south. And I couldn’t disagree with you more about “Racism still exists but it was a lot better than the south.” First of all the idea of “race riots” occurred heavily outside of the south following the close of World War I. Whereas racist whites may have donned Ku Klux Klan hoods terrorizing citizens down south, the racists whites up north merely exchanged KKK hoods for business suits and police uniforms.

      And honestly, living here in Atlanta, I don’t know if I could make the argument that the South is just now getting black owned businesses. Atlanta historically has had black owned businesses and when Maynard Jackson got into office, it was good as gold. And in mid-size cities like a Birmingham, Nashville or maybe even to include Charlotte (not sure, I’ll default about Charlotte, don’t know much about it) and perhaps their lack of black owned businesses may speak more to them not having the metropolitan pull that major southern cities like Atlanta and Houston have.

      I’ve heard the argument about Chicago being Midwest and not “the North” in the same way as Cleveland, Pittsburgh and most certainly cities like B’more or NYC. But, that might act as more of a mere technicality. I’d much more buy into the “midwestern” ideal for cities like St. Louis or Kansas City than Chicago. Blacks from Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi migrated to Chicago heavily if for no other reason than the fact that the train line ended there–and for those blacks, Chicago wasn’t “midwest” but it was the North and clearly, I’m a descendant of family members who left the South in the 1940s from Mississippi and made a go for it in the big city–and thank God! I wouldn’t have made it in Louisville, Mississippi. And thank God my dad came to Chicago after he graduated from h.s., cuz I don’t know if I woulda made it being raised in the South.

      1. So true… It seems like northern people of both “races” are trying their best to create divisive egos, only creating further separation in the community… Just search the official statistics on racial equality and u will soon find out that the South is far closer to equality than the north OR west, talk is cheap, we produce numbers

        Meanwhile, in the South, our culture (both “races” again) has already saw the trials and tribulations, in all the attempts to be separated we have realized that IRONICALLY when we are honest, we share the same interests/hobbies, we all want our kids to be safe, everybody likes to BBQ… That’s not to say that hate groups don’t exist, but they have to remain incognito, the vast majority will not associate with them so they are a joke at best (I’ve never met a single Klan member or national socialist and I’ve lived my entire 25 year life in Alabama and I’m white)

        In conclusion, I feel more at home and definitely have more in common with a southern black man than any northern man… They call us ignorant and uncivilized, but in reality most of us are far more satisfied than they are in life, u certainly don’t see all these childish protests happening down here, we could care less what happens outside our own neighborhood and the revolutionary spirit that built America lives on in US, we don’t protest and riot to get the gov’t to protect this or that nonsense, we still acknowledge that WE ARE the gov’t… Northern people need to wake up and remember, we don’t ask them for our rights, they ask us. People give birth to the nation, NOT the other way around. When the govt tries to take it to the next level, we are gonna rely on each other, on our communication, southern folks will be just fine trust that… Lawlessness is a beautiful attribute according to our nation’s fathers, plenty of that down here, it’s so much more peaceful when u check-up the powers that be, let them know what’s good… Everybody respects strong men, not men that bow and kiss the feds boots

  4. I guess I should clarify about Black owned businesses in ths south. Yes they had them but not on the same level as they would have in NY or Chicago. Many Smaller towns in the South (which would speak to alot of what you were saying when it comes to lack of knowledge) are actually just now getting a taste of minority ownership. Yes, you guys had race problems but my mothers school was burned down by racists. When they went to college there was a sign in a town they would go thru that said Welcome to ***** Home of the KKK. That was in the late 60’s. Sure everybody felt the sting from Racism but some people felt it alot more.

    1. @ Citizen Ojo

      Maybe we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one, or else I’m going to have to provide facts on this one. There are countless stories of blatant racism that occurred in northern cities. To the credit of the modern Civil Rights movement in the South, there was a more slight media fascination with southern accounts rather than northern accounts or even events that happened on the West Coast. But like I said, most of the race riots occurred in the north. Moreover, if someone felt so persuaded to spray paint a “Go Home Nigger” sign on a door of a building where Harold Washington was to speak for a campaign–and this was 1983. And police brutality was the same up north as well, just because one dons a KKK hood doesn’t mean it’s less intimidating. And West Siders knew that Cicero, Illinois was KKK territory back in the 1960s and black folks on the South Side in what’s now the Bronzeville neighborhood knew better than to venture on the other side of State Street because that was Bridgeport where ur skin color could get you brutally beaten up or even killed.

      I don’t want to get into the “my racism experience was worse than yours” but, I would have to press back and say that racism is racism and any kind of form stings just as bad. I mean, just because your mother had the experience of a sign “Welcome To….Home of the KKK” in her college town, doesn’t mean that my mother’s experience dealing with the horrid conditions of Chicago Public Schools in the 60s with a mayor who was quite clear about the warehousing of students and people into the new Robert Taylor homes with dilapidated schools or dealing with the Willis wagons or a city government that clearly did not have the best interest of the black community.

      Frankly, I don’t see a difference between a sign on the road entering a town that says what they’re about versus a tacit understanding of what type of politics are at play: at the end of the day, the policies and the level of action and reaction from the white populace were about the same. Chicago’s 1919 Red Summer was brutal with 2 weeks of violence and I mean, remember Daley’s infamous “shoot to kill” and the fact that Chicago Police shot and killed Fred Hampton. And Martin Luther King commented that the atmosphere of Chicago was worse than that of the South!! He got knocked in a head with a brick! In all the marches in the South there was never any direct violence committed on him.

      Welcome to the North.

      Personally, I think I opened up a can of whoop-ass on this one. I think this discussion proves my point that there are some underlying assumptions that blacks in the north have about blacks in the south and vice-versa.

      1. Horseshit… racism is ubiquitous amongst blacks in America but common sense risk/reward tells the true story. Blacks still went up north to escape the south. Labor race riots were in fact more common up north but it was still because of blacks taking industrial jobs (JOBS that they couldn’t get down south). Yes police brutality as we experience it today was common in northern cities but using it as a counter to the kkk down south is ineffective because it ignores the fact the southerners have to deal with both. Way fucking worse down here period. I agree with the post in general as a southerner though. I can remember my grandad going on and on about lightskin women and my sisters dreadlocks so the awareness thing you pointed out is undeniable to me but it’s unfair to point that out without acknowledging the much more terroristic environment of southern white supremacy. The “we all dealt with racism” tone deaf argument goes against common sense to me

  5. Hey Uppity, good post. (The inevitable but), while MLK did not have a Northern brick thrown at him in the South, the Southern bullet proved fatal. I know, I know, I should have let it pass. Historicity called me to respond. You did clarify ‘in all the marches.’ Forgive me for expressing this need for specific accuracy….

    Overt and covert racism affects/affected all conscious nonwhites.

    We enjoy reading your thoughtful uppity posts. Speak and write on!

  6. I read your blog often and I can honestly say that i have mixed feelings about this post. Geographically I am from the south and my family is originally from Georgia, but being that I was born and raised in Miami I don’t know if my southern experience has been the same as those living in others growing up in other southern cities. However, we have to deal with racism on a different level down here because we have to go beyond black vs white….

    1. @virtue5

      Help me understand this “different level”?

      What i’m understanding you to say is that “my oppression was worse than your oppression.” And what do you mean “we have to go beyond black and white”?

      1. I mean that in some places racism/discrimination is as simple as black people and white people having issues, but down here in South Florida (I have to highlight the fact that I live in South Florida because down here we have a saying: Florida is the only state where the further north you go, the further south you go) it can often go deeper than that. Down here we have people who look just like each other, but who discriminate against each other because they come from two different countries. Also, I did not mean to imply that my experiences with racism and discrimination are worse than anyone else’s experiences.

  7. I don’t know about the whoop ass because more I don’t think that the North has more recorded incidents of men being lynched/Tortured and Killed than in the South. But I digress… you have proven that there are misperception we both have about each other. You are still my second favorite MidWesterner behind Common Joe Grad School.

  8. You have to understand the situations that led to those mindsets. Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, etc. didn’t set up shop in the south. There centers were places like Chicago, New York City, LA, and other cities outside of the south. Stokley Carmichael did say “Black Power” in Mississippi, but he left for California to join the Panthers. There was never a strong black nationalist presence down South like there was in other parts of the country. People growing up in those cities came up under different influences from their brothers down South.

  9. I agree that in the South black nationalist presence is virtually non-existent EXCEPT when it comes to the black church..The church is a very powerful institution in the black community especially in the south, but of course that’s another story. However, to co-sign with Amarah’s point, the in your face racism and the racial tension that northerners are not so much challenged with compared to an average black southerner tends to be amplified and prevalent here, giving way to the low percentage of black entrepreneurship, high poverty levels and non-recognition of the pan-African Diaspora so on and so forth. I think its safe to say that in fact, old habits die hard.

    A lot of the traditions, ideals (both religious and social) some good and some not so progressive have been carried through the ages from the days of bondage, imprints and proof of the struggle and where we come from, hell, a large part of the African American culture is IN the SOUTH.

    “various Pan-Africanist thoughts concerning Africa and even other Afro-centric thought as a part of African American culture are not even on the minds of many individuals living in the South.”

    I’m surprised that as brilliant as you are you’ve not entertained one thought that maybe this problem is on the behalf of the negative experience some black southerners have had with trying to come to terms with Afro-centricity…I met a young Nigerian girl on campus in my sophomore year ages ago at UTA here in Texas and I will never forget how she made damned sure before we became friends that I was not an African and she was not an American… and then you know there were those pesky lynchings and church bombings in the south and all…I mean shouldn’t we just ‘get over it already?’

    “My issue is not that blacks need to ascribe to these schools of thought or that their “blackness” is called into question because they don’t practice them, but dammit, at least be aware of it!”

    Some in the south may not acknowledge the ideas of the Pan-African Diaspora in the extent you may see up north or on a level you’d appreciate, however it is in their own ways recognized. Whether it’s in the form of the person deciding to rock dreads and kinky hair in place of a weave or attending the MLK day benefit for the A.A community. .Don’t get me wrong I am MORE than for expanding one’s world view and multi-cultural inclinations, but given that blacks in the south have endured being conditioned to their surroundings via severe and brutal measures due mostly though systemic force and through mostly no fault of their own if you take time to look at it from that perspective, to assert that writers like Molefi K. Asante, John Clarke ect.. being “a complete foreign tongue to those living in the South” seems very much like blaming the victim. From my experience I haven’t seen many teachers from up north in the south trying to teach these people of these things..trying to incite some interest to learn these things…not so much as even a book store.. 😉

    However, If I chose to make a purported claim about the level of social consiousness by geographic standards the case, I could say that black northerners are not as socially conscious to the blatant racism about them as black southerners. Case in point being that because names like Jelly Roll Morton and Blind Lemon Jefferson are not household names up north, northerners have been led to believe by their oh-so-loving and well meaning white counterparts that every great Jazz musician ever made came from concrete jungles of Harlem, Chicago when Rock and Jazz were both born on the bayou, in effect marginalizing the work of the black southern pioneers of rock and roll and how they never had to cross the mason dixon line to become great..

    Nevertheless, ones blackness should not put on trial just because they are not going around quoting Langston Hughes or blasting Fela Kuti down the block, son…and I know that’s what you have not intended to do but you can only be disappointed when you hold others to standards you have set for yourself.

    1. @ krystal

      I think perhaps the black nationalism you are speaking of in the institutional Black Church is not the same black nationalism that I am speaking of, however I think to delineate the differences is a major undertaking that I’m not up for at 12:34am, lol.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to paint ALL blacks with the same wide brush here in the south. There are many vestiges of highly pan-African and Afrocentric thought here in the South. The largest I’d dare say here in Atlanta where you have the Shrine of the Black Madonna and even the First Afrikan Presbyterian Church all with thriving memberships–but please believe this is Atlanta, and I doubt the same could be said for any other cities in the South. The dashikis are for the month of February only. As far as hair, I would put my money that the majority of black women who have their hair in locs or just natural are probably from up north. I only know of one black female born and raised in the South who purposely got her hair locked.

      The issue I’m raising is that while blacks down south would attend an MLK day rally without a second thought, they’d somewhat look down on those who are wearing the locs and speaking a clear Pan-African message that does talk about Afro-Latino influences or actually making references to the African continent. The issue I’m having with that is that down south blacks aren’t even aware of Pan-Africanist talk. To that end, I’m just tired of the sheer ignorance–okay, so you don’t know, fine, can’t fault you for that, but don’t treat it as less than or look down your nose on others because they have a slightly different approach to the same daily problems.

      And in turn I can point my finger at some self-professed Pan-Africanists who I always say suffer from the “Black-______ (enter your gender of choice)-who-just-read-a-book-syndrome” better known as the “I’m-the-only-enlightened-one” syndrome which seems to at times place their life philosophy over that of other blacks and would damn near think that just because you have a perm you’re an “assimilationist Negro” and a sellout.

      Not gonna lie to you, I see their argument, but that’s neither here nor there, lol.

  10. Pan-Africanism is a crock devised by mountebanks masque-
    rading as Pro-Africa types,when they just backed the corrupt kleptocracies which even today-APR.7,2010-bankrupt their resources-rich countries,from which they plunder to the tune of billions9in the worst cases)while their citizens are hungry and disease-ridden.(Of course,some of these criminal “leaders” bribe Afrocentrists to ignore their thievery.Thus,the only thing(s) I follow are a buxom blonde’s big boobs!!

  11. Loving this convo…Wanted to add my five cents as a Bay Area Brotha. I too went school in Atlanta…CAU! And Yes the south is different…we coming from the west, east and north, don’t really understand the trauma of the southern way of life that existed there…parts of it still today…we are all subjects to the trauma of regional traditions…I never could understand they way the locals would act. I worked in buckhead while in school…and you know even the whitepeople didn’t mess with you. They treated the locals different from “outsiders”. I could not believe the shit our people would take out there. I worked at phipps/ in the movie theatre, one day the manager who happened to be white, told one of the other ushers, who was black, to tell me that I need to smile more…I couldn’t believe it. I walked up to the manager and told him, that if you want me to smile more, then you need to smile more, why don’t you practice what you preach, that what effective leaders do. Do you know he had a look a shock on his face, I still laugh at. I think he was more shocked that I approached him than the words I said, he probably never had that happened. Now, I said that cause he would walk around looking crazy all day with no “smile” on his face…so…I told him to practice what you preach…lol…but yes…it was different…I will say…that down south…there is still a “Yessah Boss” mentality…and I mean from the most menial job to the corporate ladder…how could it not after hundreds of years of pyschological trauma. But I also believe that in general, across the racial spectrum, the southern way of life has a strict, almost ridiculous adherence to the status quo. Coming from the Bay, most African Americans on the west coast are not as inclined to give this reverence to the civil rights movement as they tend to do in the south…Out here, the Black Panthers were OUR symbol for the struggle. Just as Atlanta was the epicenter for the civil rights movement…Oakland and San Francisco was the epicenter for the Black Panther Movement AND the College protest movement…We were brought up in a rich militant culture that real did not come from a biblical context as the civil rights movment did…but more of an intellectual and social context. Not many people are aware that the Black Panther Movement was birthed thru the Black Student Movement…these were not radical anti white fanatics as the powers that be like to script it…These were men going to college who were also poor living in the hood, so the mix of the violence of the hood and the intellectual stimulation of college life birthed the panther movement. I know most people would be surprised to know that Huey Newton attained a Phd in Sociology and was a member of phi beta sigma…We all flocked to the A for the Black College experience…and it is well worth it…now I wouldn’t stay there after you are done…go back and uplift your communities…One of my issues is that it seems that the southern black elite tends to continue to evoke the civil rights movement and how it changed america…well it did, it was a symbol for defeating the terrorist of the south…but, that is it…What has the Black Churhc and the southern elite done in the last 45years. The Black Church is as relevant as GM corporation today…That is another issue with the south…but WHEN where there be a conversation on how the Black Church today, especially in the south, is more apart of the problem than the solution. The Black church has not been relevent since Ali had the title…that’s a longggg time. Now…say what you want…be we all know there is a thin line between pimpin’ and preachin’…can I get a witness?

    1. @ George
      I grew up in Chicago which had its own black political hotbed, but ya know what, I was never hella (to use something from Yay area lingo, lol) cool with any Cali kids on the political level. The one I knew was just a weed head and spoke in riddles all the time, so I never really got to talk on a serious level with black kids who grew up influenced by the Panthers as a paragon of civil rights. Man, that’d be interesting to see how west coast young kats understand some stuff now.

  12. Really, well weed heads are every where…don’t let that reflect on us out here…lol…I never found that the case in my time at the AUC…we used to have some pretty deep conversations with cats all over. Now mind you…we were and are all children of the seventies…so the Panthers are a deep part of our history…I don’t expect cats who gradauated highschool past 1992 to really get that…Because I remember the Panterhs patrolling my community as a very little boy…I can could attest to their significance in the struggel to those civil right types. As we called them…the Negroes…LOL…it seemed like every dude that went to morehouse back then was vying to be the next MLK…I chuckled on your writings about rev bryant…I remember his ass to on the auc…looking like he was there to go to “Black civli rights leadership training” LOL…I know at the AUC…it was actually all pretty cool…most of the regions were cool…the midwest, chi, ohio, wisc, and the west coast was pretty much all love cause our taste in music and style were so similar…boston, dc, philly…it was all love…the only issue every body had was ny…lol…it was a common fact that cats from ny were kinda weird…and I KNOW other people at HBCU’S can attest to this…it seem like the cats from my were always into theri own thing…and they thought it was the shit…but NOBODY was paying attention to it…we never could understand the moshing, the guys dancing with each other, the girls dancing with each other…nobody went to their parties cause nobody enjoyed themselve…not dissing ny…but it was their thing…when other regions thru a party…it was a party…LOL…

    1. @ George

      Interesting. I certainly can’t say that about NY people these days. Maybe because at the time the hip hop movement was still a new enough of a phenomenon and without question it was an East coast thing and specifically something out of New York and it wasnt until the 90s West Coast entered the national scene.

      IDK, just a thought.

      But, yeah, I’d really be interested to hear about stories from your generation about the Panthers and y’alls perspective from there.

  13. Please excuse the mis spelled words…I was sleep deprived at the time, but really wanted to add my few cents to the post.

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