This article is being reposted to continue the dialogue and further a much needed dialogue about race in America and beyond. Yesterday’s repost about ” White Privilege” (read the Absurdity of Saying White Privilege) has gone viral and this is a continuation of that dialogue. Join in the dialogue and further the conversation by using #InclusiveJustice to amplify the message of this article.
Those who come around pretending to care about you don’t always have altruistic intentions. Too often, they come dressed as sheep hiding their intentions with paternalism and false charity. I write this in light of what I have observed over the years and the mistakes I have made in my own life after witnessing one too many “leaders” being exposed as sellouts working for the system. Let me preface this article by saying that I hope all sides read what I write not with a defensive posture but with an open ear and an even more receptive heart. I know this is the most sensitive of subjects–a third rail that burns all who dare try to grab a hold of this topic–but a conversation is needed nonetheless. Looking the other way for the sake of pleasantry and not offending people is just not working.
The topic I am referring to is race and identity in America even though this could be applied to any nation where society is not monolithic. The issue of race has been referred to for more than two centuries as America’s original sin and greatest moral failing; the color lines have been rightly pointed out by intellectual giants like Fredrick Douglas and W.E.B. DuBois as America’s biggest obstacle to overcome. The horrors of slavery has evolved from a life of forced servitude to systematic form of repression which continues to this day to rob too many people from pursuing a life of opportunity and dignity simply because of their skin color. But too many look at one side of the coin and fail to see the true nefarious aspects of oppression that serves to victimize the ancestors of once political prisoners from the continent we now refer to as Africa; an injustice that splinters our nation based on artificial constructs of race imposed on us by others.
Let me state here that I am not privy to the generational struggles that have been at the root of the”black” experience in America for those who can trace back their lineage to former slaves. I was born in Ethiopia and my burdens pale in comparison to someone who grew up with a limited understanding of where their family tree was once planted. My heart breaks when I think of the pain associated with not knowing one’s ancestors because the branches of their family tree were severed by nefarious slave traders. I did not experience the monstrosity of slavery and the evils it wrought onto humans who were turned into chattel by those who worshiped money above human life. I do not know first hand the effects of cyclical oppression that has kneecapped a large mass of “African-Americans”. True enough, I have and continue to experience the pernicious practice of being treated differently because of my complexion; but by in large the wounds of generational racism has not scared my spirits.
But perhaps my disconnect from the issue of race and the legacy of slavery is precisely what allows me to approach this issue from a nuanced and dispassionate perspective. The default conversation, it seems, is one of either resentment or defensiveness. Between these two paradigms, the chasm of race continues to widen and swallow civilians and civility in the process. The irony of it all, the candidate who I thought would heal these divides and lead an “adult conversation” about race did no such thing. Malcolm X a long time ago warned of the devious nature of both Republicans and Democrats and he especially cautioned of the “black bourgeoisie” class who have no intention on helping their people and instead use the pains of the masses in order to enrich themselves.
Let me warn before I go on that what I am writing will give no quarter to the “black leaders” who have stuffed their pockets with cash for generations as they pretended to be down for the cause. To me, these people are no different than leeches and just as harmful as the most rabid racist in the Klu Klux Klan. In some instances these “black leaders” are worse–they peddle grievance as a means of gaining fortunes while deceiving the masses with their demagoguery. There is no need to be coy here, who I am talking about are the Sharptons and the Van Jones of the world and the endless number of “black elites” who live a life of opulence and only run to the inner-cities or “black neighborhoods” when the camera lights are on.
To this list I add Obama; he sure made a show of caring for “black folk” when he needed the “black vote” in Illinois’s 2004 Senate election and in 2008 only to throw his congregation and the rest of us under the bus once he got elected. While Obama might be beloved by the rest of the liberal class, he is seen as the shyster that he has always been by those who know him best in the south side of Chicago and the folks he stepped over in East Saint Louis before he even gained the national spotlight. I will expound on this issue a bit more, but I should have known that Obama was not about change the minute Wall Street gave him hundreds of millions of dollars and the mainstream media pushed his candidacy. Truth tellers get silenced and true change agents don’t get the platform; only confidence men and toadies of moneyed interests get the megaphone of the Corporate State Media.
It is within this context that I bring up the issue of the Black Lives Matter movement. One additional point of order before I move forward, while I have no problems condemning those who sit at the table when it comes to policy and those who are given the megaphone to perpetuate a deception, I am in no way condemning the masses–those who are caught up in the struggle–for I too once was deceived not too long ago. So I hope you don’t read my words as a condemnation of everyone who chooses to partake in the Black Lives Matter movement. I equally hope that some on the “other side” don’t latch on to this article and use it as a weapon to demonize everyone who is doing their best to stand up for justice. This is a denouncement of the select few who sold their soul in order to make a fortune and the moneyed hyenas who financed them in order to use our pains to splinter the public.
Now circle back to what I said about those who come around pretending to care for you or speak on your behalf. Unless you see these people walk with you and struggle by your side, automatically discount these people as frauds and demagogues because they are only using your pains to elevate themselves and quenching their need to be gods to other people. I speak of this through experience; every time I run into some liberal or conservative who tries to speak for me, the minute these people realize that I can do for myself and that I’m actually smart, their inner bigotry comes flaming out like a missile out of a silo.
It is this conniption of some to “help” people into dependency that I speak against and bring to your attention those who funded the Black Lives Matter movement and the leaders who gladly took the cold cash of billionaires in order to get PAID while speaking out of both sides of their mouths. It is no secret that George Soros gave tens of millions of dollars to Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors to start Black Lives Matter. This movement started during the height of inexplicable number of deaths of “black men” at the hands of the police. A pretext was thus set in place to leverage the suffering of the people and let loose demagogues to peddle grievance and gin up conflicts. I will return to this in a bit but let me just say this; billionaires do not give a penny out of benevolence. Scoundrels like Soros give their money either as an investment or as a means of creating chaos so they can swoop in to be the “saviors”.
Alicia, Opal and Patrisse thus became the fronts for a corporate enterprise that sought to inject animosity between the races and push society closer to conflict. Once again, the pains of “black folks” were used to further the aims of powerful people as we keep letting ourselves be used as pawn by the elites who don’t give a shit about us. It was not just Soros who was behind this nefarious plot to create strife and induce even more rancor between the races. This whole episode was deployed in ways that is too cunning to really understand. I only know of this playbook of divide and conquer to this degree because I have studied the blueprint of colonialism in “Africa” for the past twenty years and recently realized that his same blueprint is being deployed here in the USA as a means to fragment society into the cauldrons of grievance and antipathy.Do you think it’s just a coincidence that the corporate owned media all the sudden became enamored with the Black Lives Matter movement as if they had a sudden infusion of a conscience and started to care about us? Hell no! They were given scripts to follow and they did just that; wall to wall coverage of discord and friction inculcated into the American public a sense of unabated outrage. I talk to people all the time and to a T most people feel a sense of foreboding and more than a minority of these people think that we are heading closer and closer to some type of racial conflict. This is what happens when the most powerful weapon in the history of mankind–mass media–is deployed against the people and keeps feeding us conflict in order to garner ratings and keep us distracted by outrage.
It’s sad, all sides are enraged by the same locus of injustice that is tearing at the fabric of America and the world. Our nation has been hijacked a long time ago by an elite few who have more money than most of humanity put together. We call them all kinds of names–the 1%, plutocrats, oligarchy, status quo. The name is not as important as the fact that we keep being deceived by “them” into thinking that we are each others enemy while the those who have amassed ill gotten fortunes continue to bludgeon us into either a life of indigence or perpetual financial anxiety.
The middle class is being wiped out and poverty is the new normal as more than half of Americans are not working and a shocking amount are dependent on government programs to sustain themselves. In a country that has more wealth than most of the planet combined, the gap between the .01% and the rest is mind boggling. This level of financial inequality is not sustainable; the house of cards will come tumbling down the minute there is not enough consumption to power our system of crony capitalism.
This is why conflict is being pushed; as long as we are fighting each other, we are too distracted to stop and say “what the hell is going on!” What is going on is that we are all being turned into indentured servants of the global agenda as we are becoming more and more dependent on corporatism. To this end, the Black Lives Matter movement was birthed not through an organic outgrowth of civil disobedience but through the manipulation of billionaire’s bank accounts. The subversive acts of the founders of BLM and the duplicity of our corporate own mass media–that is beholden through and through to Wall Street and their wealthy benefactors–is mind boggling. The BLM founders, and the rest of the “black intellectuals” who get paid to push grievance, are in this way no different than the “Africans” who sold their own into slavery for the sake of a money and accumulations.
Black Lives Matter is a Trojan horse which was injected into the “black” community in order to get us to act with our emotions instead of our logic. BLM in this light is no different than one “black” organization after another that is funded by corporations, endorsed by the elites, and pushed by the media. If you want to separate the charlatans apart from the authentic voices that care about their community, there is one sure fire way to uncover the frauds. If they are taking money from the rich or being pushed by the media, walk away quickly for these people who pretend to be speaking for you are really sell outs who are doing the bidding of their malignant masters.
The end goal of Black Lives Matter was made evident with the election of Donald Trump as president. When 70% of “white America” is put into a defensive posture, feel like they are being wrongly maligned and their struggles are ignored or marginalized, they end up voting for their own shyster who spoke to their grievance the same way Obama spoke to ours. This is a game that is being played on all of us. Donald Trump used the identical playbook as Obama as he spoke to “white people’s” anger and manipulated those who feel like their frustrations are not being heard.
This is why it makes no sense to say things like “white supremacy” or “white privilege”, we only turn potential allies into adversaries by using this type of rhetoric. Do you know that there are more “white people “on welfare than “black folk”, poverty goes after all and we only further the divides when we put an adjective in front of injustice. Stop trying to monopolize pains no matter how pained you have been in your life. Those who try to own grievance end up embittered and alone. Besides, if it does not feel good when people say “all black folk do this or that”, what makes it right to do the same in reverse and blame all “white people” for the sins of the past or for the excesses of the present system.
Those who peddle this nonsense of “us versus them” are doing so because they are getting paid a pretty penny. I am no fan of people like Taneshi Coates who write books castigating “white folk” only to end up being embraced and paid by the very same people they were condemning in their books. Understand a hustle and a shakedown when you see it; it’s like the 10% that DuBois spoke about have decided that the best way to make money is to step on their own people. Most of these black “intellectuals” you see being interviewed on TV and being mentioned as “black leaders” are embraced by the status quo the same way slave masters once embraced overseers to harm their own people.
From the pages of the New York Times to the Washington Post to BET, we are bracketed by duplicitous demagogues who stay using race and our pains as a way to pay their mortgage while the people they supposedly speak for are wilting in perpetual poverty. You can add Alicia, Opal, and Patrisse and the rest of the “black leaders” who keep Tweeting one outrage while refusing to speak against a wider injustice that is bleeding all of us. These people are poison, they use injustice and suffering as their hustle in order to cash the checks of their corporate patrons. We are inundated by prevaricating jackals who are pushed on us as “black leaders” when in reality they are just black leeches.
Malcolm X was beloved by the same corporate and scholarly elites as long as he was pushing the “white devil” rhetoric. But boy did they turn on him the minute he disavowed the exclusionary language of “us versus them” and instead held to the notion of universal justice. This is when Malcolm was taken out; the shooters might have been “black” but trust me there were others behind the scene (read Confluence of Martin and Malcolm) who funded the assassination of Malcolm X. The same is true of Martin Luther King; as long as he was only talking about the “black cause”, the system loved him. But the minute King stepped out of the racial lane and started to advocate for universal justice, BANG! This is what the powerful do; you get rewarded for being a demagogue but you get silenced for speaking of unity and love. The powerful kill you then own your narrative, this is a playbook as old as divide and conquer itself.
The age of Martin and Malcolm long gone and dead, we are now led by a bunch of charlatans who continue to peddle grievance as a means of getting more followers and adding zeros to their bank accounts. This is all a game to these shysters who feast at our cost. Sadly, for the rest, the huddled masses from San Francisco to Chicago to Baltimore and every city and town in between, we are treated to a life of abject hopelessness. While too many live of utter squalor and poverty that one could not imagine in America, the ivory tower “black leaders” are being chauffeured in limousines as they use our suffering to further their interests. Those of us who are privileged and think rush hour traffic is an injustice are shielded from this reality as we drive our cars to and fro and think oppression is when Trader Joe’s runs out of Merlot. But to the masses who are caught in generational destitution, what they are given as a birthright is a life sentence of hardship and difficulty.
Instead of working to abate this blight on humanity, we are deceived into thinking that the enemy is “white supremacy”. Enmity is whispered into our souls in order to keep our eyes averted from the source of injustice. As long as we are splintered in this way and as long as the people are divided by color lines, the system of economic inequality and iniquity will NEVER end. The same way animosity is sold to us, it is sold to “white people ” too as people like Hannity and Limbaugh convinces the “other side” that they suffer because of us. The truth is that the people in Chicago and Harlem have a lot more in common with the folks in the Appalachians and in Wichita than they do with their double dealing “leaders” who peddle victimization on Fox News and MSNBC.
When will we wake up to this mass deception? When will we understand that anger and hatred, regardless if we are the originators of it or the ones responding to it, are counterproductive emotions and do nothing to lessen injustice? How long will we keep getting played by lying manipulators who use our suffering as a means to make millions? I’ve had enough of depending on politicians and pundits to lead us; we will have to be Moses ourselves or else be content stewing in umbrage for yet another 400 years. For God’s sake stop listening to people who sell grievance and try to convince you that you need their help. Just because you have been victimized does not mean you have to be a victim.
I say this to both “black” and “white” people because all sides are getting played by this brilliant system of subterfuge. By the way, there is a reason I keep using quote marks on “black” and “white”–these words were foisted on us in order to keep us perpetually divided. I delve further into the topic of identity through constructs in the video at the bottom of this article. If our goal is to lessen suffering and stand for justice, I am begging you to please put away anger and treat each other as humans. Our journeys might be different but our pains are similar, if a child is hungry in Houston or in the Panhandle of Florida, does it matter what color she is? If a mother struggles to provide for her children, does it matter whether she is “black” or “white”. Do we want to eradicate injustice or do we just want to be mad and solve nothing for yet another generation?
I used to call myself a “black revolutionary” a long time ago, now I disavow both. I disavow the word black because I am self-aware enough to know that the label was given to people from the continent of Ethiopia (yes I said that right) in order to dehumanize us. And I disavow revolutions for revolutions in time devolve into the same injustice that gives birth to them. We need to stop pushing conflicts and revolutions and be solutionaries instead–the only solution is to counter hate with love and to see each other as fellow strugglers instead of thinking we are each others enemies.
I come from a country that was fractured by two revolutions in the past 40 years. More than 200,000 lives were lost in Ethiopia when a movement started out of resentment against injustice was co-opted by the elites and turned a movement into carnage. You see, revolutions always seem fun until bodies start dropping in the streets. What I’m writing to you is a warning, be careful of those who preach hatred and anger. We have no chance to take on a system that has a monopoly of guns. Moreover, if society breaks out into a conflict, who do you think will suffer the most. Do you want your children to be on the front lines? In this context, unity is not just a kumbaya story, unity is an imperative and the only way we can overcome injustice.
Let us lead the discussion and talk to those who are radically different than us instead of preaching to the choir and thinking we are making a difference by spreading fire. Disavow those who try to feed you animosity; there is no change that comes by way of grievance and exclusion. It takes no courage to join the crowd, true courage is to speak against the crowd when you realize that a mob mentality is being fostered in order to Balkanize America and to create yet more acrimony. Courage and discernment; let these two be the north star towards redemption and above all fight hatred with love. In the end, we have a choice; we can either let race lead us or we can lead the race. #InclusiveJustice
“Hell is yourself and the only redemption is when a person puts himself aside to feel deeply for another person.” ~ Tennessee Williams
If you were moved by this article and want to start an adult conversation with others, share this article on social media using #InclusiveJustice and let’s get the dialogue started. Watch the video below, it is jarring at first but when you finish, you will understand the love behind it. Peace and let’s be the change!
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.