One hold over from slavery that doesn’t get enough exposure is the whole anti-intellectualization of the Black man, specifically.
African men came from an intellectual culture, one with deep philosophy, where volumes of text were accumulated, and massive universities were erected. The scholars, thinkers, and philosophers where some of the most respect men in the society. The African man was a thinking man, a reflective man, an articulate man, an expressive man.
All of these characteristics had little value for the Colonizer and Slave Master, they needed our strong bodies, but had little use for our intellect, our imagination, and our critiques of methods and systems. That’s where the Strong Body Weak Mind model of Black manhood was born; under slavery and colonization.
The most celebrated and wealthy Black men are not known for their intellects, their views, they ability to understand and articulate complex phenomenon. There are no Black Think Tanks (aside from the poorly funded, and neglected Harvest Institute set up by Dr Claud Anderson,) Blacks don’t get the funding to do the intellectual research like the White Scholars, there are no Research Institutions that value and cultivate Black intellect to be used to address Black problems.
I’m sharing this because whenever I share some insights, or my position on an issue, or I offer a critique of any historical occurrence or problem I’m inevitability asked, (most often by Black females), “what are you doing?”
They must feel that my thoughts are not enough, or my thoughts invalid unless I can state what manual work I’ve done or doing.
Mind you, this in not face to face, often these people are nowhere near my area of operations; they simply have the Pavlovian impulse to dismiss the mental, intellectual, non-physical work of the Black man.
White dudes go on global media as experts, as researchers, as nothing more than people who think about, research, and share their views on the world; and they are valued, no one expects one who does risk assessments for the Pentagon to actually take up a machine gun and go fight on the front lines; they respect his intellectual contributions as they respect the soldiers contributions.
I used to fall for this bait and list all this shit I’ve done, I do, and even the organizations I’ve worked with or founded; but never again.
If I am sharing my thoughts, that’s what I stand on, and if you can’t engage me intellectually, and respect my ability and right to speak, to write, to think, and to share, then fuck off.
I’ve never once had someone who callously asked “so, what are you doing besides posting on Facebook,” ever turn around and say, “thank you for letting me know of your efforts, I’m gonna make a contribution, or I’m gonna join you in the struggle,” not once. They usually slink off and STFU, or the bring even more irreverent shit into the conversation. Either way I’m done validating that bullshit.
Until you’ve chased down every single non-African scholar, social critic, philosopher, etc; and asked them what they are doing besides sharing their insights, don’t fucking ask me that shit.
I’ve attended or listened to hundreds of lectures or readings by White scholars and never once heard a muthafucka ask “so, besides talking all over the country, what are you doing?” It seems they are able to appreciate what’s being shared in the movement, and deal with whats being shared in its proper context.
But I’ve been to lectures of Great Black scholars, and muthafuckas always ask that shit. I’ve even watch lectures where Negros ask Dr. Clarke and Dr. Ben what they are doing besides giving lectures!
I’m blocking people who come with that rebuttal, unless it is from someone I know and respect in this struggle, someone I am obligated to answer to, I will answer to my Revolutionary elders and allies and no one else.
Black men, don’t think you are nothing more than a laborer, or that your thoughts and views are any less valuable to the community than your labor. We need a resurgence of African Intellectual Culture and Discourse.