For Black Self Assertion in the Time of a Historic Economic Crisis

The capitalist system teeters on the edge of a new and deeper economic crisis which will deliver devastating blows to Black folk and our communities.We lack a radical and revolutionary leadership to confront this crisis and to educate the masses. We must consider, in these very difficult times, where we are going as a people and how and by what means we plan to get there. Most Black folk view progress in terms of how far we, or at least the elite of our race, have gone towards becoming American, that is like white folk. In a historic essay written in 1960 Du Bois asked the question Whither Now and Why? He wrote,
“Because what we must now ask ourselves is when we become equal American citizens what will be our aims and ideals and what will we have to do with selecting these aims and ideals. Are we to assume that we will simply adopt the ideals of Americans and become what they are or want to be and that we will have in this process no ideals of our own? that would mean that we would cease to be Negroes as such and become white in action if not completely in color. We would take on the culture of white Americans doing as they do and thinking as they think. Manifestly this would not be satisfactory. Physically it would mean that we would be integrated with Americans losing first of all the physical evidence of color and hair and racial type. We would lose our memory of Negro history and of those racial peculiarities which have long been associated with the Negro. We would cease to acknowledge any greater tie with Africa than with England or Germany. We would not try to develop Negro music and Art and Literature as distinctive and different, but allow them to further degraded as is the case today. We would always, if possible, marry lighter-hued people so as to have children who are not identified with the Negro race, and thus solve our racial problem in America by committing racial suicide.” I
He goes on to say that this assimilationist/racial suicide program has been in the minds of Negroes for generations, but it is now being stated openly and broadly welcomed. He argued that among other things a program of struggle that included Pan Africanism was necessary to offset the dangerous and unacceptable “Americanization” of Black folk.

About Anthony Monteiro

I am a activist and scholar who is a professor in the Department of African American Studies at Temple University.
This entry was posted in Black Intellectual, Political and Ideological Issues, Political and Ideological Issues, W.E.B DU BOIS AND HUMAN SCIENCE. Bookmark the permalink.

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