April 3rd, 1964 in Cleveland, Ohio; Malcolm X gave one of his most noted speeches, “The Ballot or the Bullet”. In reading this speech, 55 years later the saying, “The more things change the more they stay the same”has never been truer. Malcolm’s philosophy of Black nationalism made a lot of people uncomfortable, including the villagers. Regardless of the outcome of yesterday’s Super Tuesday primary elections, if we do not change how we view our village, we are just turning in circles. Note the following excerpts, but I invite you to read the speech in its entirety.
Let’s first look at “redistricting".
“...They have a system that's known as gerrymandering, whatever that means. It means when Negroes become too heavily concentrated in a certain area, and begin to gain too much political power, the white man comes along and changes the district lines. You may say, "Why do you keep saying white man?" Because it's the white man who does it. I haven't ever seen any Negro changing any lines. They don't let him get near the line.”
The name has been changed from gerrymandering to a more palatable “redistricting” but it is the SAME thing!
Let’s look at the White House Administration.
“...So, you're dealing with a man whose bias and prejudice are making him lose his mind, his intelligence, every day. He's frightened. He looks around and sees what's taking place on this earth, and he sees that the pendulum of time is swinging in your direction. The dark people are waking up. They're losing their fear of the white man. No place where he's fighting right now is he winning. Everywhere he's fighting, he's fighting someone your and my complexion.”
In 1964, Malcolm X was speaking of President Johnson but does that sound like President Trump?
Let’s look at the political philosophy of Black nationalism.
“ the black man should control the politics and the politicians in his own community; no more. The black man in the black community has to be re-educated into the science of politics so he will know what politics is supposed to bring him in return. Don't be throwing out any ballots. A ballot is like a bullet. You don't throw your ballots until you see a target, and if that target is not within your reach, keep your ballot in your pocket.“
Our vote means more than we know. Why do you think political candidates are at our village gathering places; churches, parks, clubs, etc. to get our vote? Once they get our vote, it is our duty to hold them accountable to us.
What about economic empowerment?
“So the economic philosophy of black nationalism means in every church, in every civic organization, in every fraternal order, it's time now for our people to become conscious of the importance of controlling the economy of our community. If we own the stores, if we operate the businesses, if we try and establish some industry in our own community, then we're developing to the position where we are creating employment for our own kind. Once you gain control of the economy of your own community, then you don't have to picket and boycott and beg some cracker downtown for a job in his business.”
The power of our dollar is staggering. Nielsen’s Diverse Intelligence Series 2019, It’s in the Bag: Black Consumer’s Path to Purchase, reports :
Black buying power continues to grow, from $320 billion in 1990 to $1.3 trillion in 2018. Between 2000 and 2018, black buying power rose 114%, compared to an 89% increase in white buying power. Texas now has the largest population of African Americans and tops the nation in African American buying power.”
What if we used that money to create wealth in our communities? Created our own co-ops, banks, schools, businesses etc. Our village would look completely different! We would be prosperous beyond measure.
Lastly, let’s consider the social philosophy.
“it is not designed to make the black man re-evaluate the white man -- you know him already -- but to make the black man re-evaluate himself. Don't change the white man's mind -- you can't change his mind, and that whole thing about appealing to the moral conscience of America -- America's conscience is bankrupt.”
Super Tuesday has come and gone but the general election will be here before we know it. Let’s make the ballot our bullet!
THIS WEEK’S CALL TO ACTION:
Become an educated citizen. Pick one thing in the Village you would like to see changed. Research how you can contribute to the change. Share on social media what you will change and how you will make that happen. Remember if you are not a part of the solution, you are part of the problem!