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BRITTLE PAPER [brittlepaper] Wole Soyinka on Race, Divisive Rhetoric, and the American Political Climate [] []

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Rapha'el [SiriusSunBeing] …Eritrea – 1912 []

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Lisa Fischer [lisafischersing]@KinteSpace@BryanWilhite thank you so much for sharing this🙏🏽

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carlfranklin [carlfranklin]@BryanWilhite Awesome!

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“Hi, Bryan!” the person meeting me kind of laughs to themselves for being in the situation of meeting me. “…been a long time! How’s it going?” The person kind of smiles and winces waiting for the “confusing” stream of Bryan they are expecting to wash right over them. Then I just say, “…it’s been kind of how David Liebe Hart is treated—but the difference is I know I’m not that guy.”

Until the typical, property-obsessed, American “white guys” find out I’ve taken their photograph (hey why don’t you tell them! —fuck fair use, right? —let’s teach Bryan a lesson!), I can actually show you what I’m talking about… it looks like this:

David Liebe Hart

Look at the expressions on the faces. It’s a classic composition that could easily been snapped in the Belgian Congo in the 1800s—but the difference is David Liebe Hart chose to put himself in that situation. We can find Louis Armstrong or Charlie Parker in the same situation doing the same thing—but this is David Liebe Hart…

I’ve got nothing against the white-Black relations Mr. Hart has set up for himself—hell (and I do mean hell), I might end up in some shit like that too when the solitary confinement starts to wear me down even more…

No folks… you got it all wrong. When I show you this picture of Mr. Hart and some white guy—I am not using it to illustrate how white people treat me—I use it to illustrate how many, many self-described “Black” people treat me. (The very act of mentioning this allows more followers to get on the band wagon—but remember these are just followers.)

To avoid dragging yourself through all of these sooty-bosom words, here’s my point: unlike Jesus, I tend to attempt to form alliances with functional people of African descent—and I will continue to do so. But I often fail to realize that to ‘function’ in a society that is designed to crush you under the concepts of “race” people have developed (and underdeveloped) various world views that ultimately see me as David Liebe Hart. And I cannot be in an alliance with Black people that reach out to me like the white guy in the picture above.

Without naming names, let me sketch out a few Black profiles that can be inserted in the photo above:

The Condescending Colored Academic

You are an academic with a few books under your belt. You hold, say, an assistant professor position (no tenure) but you assume I know nothing about that and what “tenure” means. You are too young to even consider the possibility of being a Marxist or a serious Buddhist (because you are from the “hip hop” generation). You have no idea who Cheikh Anta Diop is yet you seem to make sweeping dismissive statements about ancient Africa without applying any umm… academic discipline or rigor. You assume what you achieved in your life is freaking amazing (since you fail to compare yourself to your predecessors) so there’s an intense solemnity about you by you—and you expect others to as genuflective as the grandeur demands.

The Condemnation-Filled Black Feminist

You are the condescending colored academic with the additional carriage of “gender issues.” I’ve written way, way too much about you (see “Related Links” below).

The Black Tech Manager

Because you are Black you think you are cool—but you are still a manger in the most Dilbert-esque way. You are a monument to mediocrity and you may self-deprecate in the face white script kiddies who do a few things with JavaScript—but you would never dare to imagine what I’ve been doing with technology for the last 18 years in some of the whitest, would-love-to-fire-an-imposter-Black-guy corporate arenas on the West coast of North America. You tend to interrupt me before I get a chance to finish my first sentence because you assume that whatever I know you already know. This kind of makes difficult for me to stop working for white people and branching out into a startup-venture with a true “cultural fit.”

The “Successful” “Black” Filmmaker

I completely understand why you would find me irritating. First of all, because you don’t give a fuck, you are likely to assume that I’m some geeked out tech dude that knows nothing about film. Then, should you find out two or three things about me, you swing to other polar extreme and still find me irritating when I start asking why people like you don’t follow the example of Ang Lee and do your white Hollywood thing but make sure to go back and do your Julie Dash thing too…

The Assimilated Black Professional

When I first launched in 1998, you comprised the majority Black presence on the Internet. You are described as ‘assimilated’ and Black—and you fail to see this as a contradiction of terms. You have every right to be what you want to be—my chief complaint is that instead of respectfully disagreeing with me under the context of ideological differences, you opt to pull high-school-lunch-table shit and call me “crazy”—essentially treating me like David Liebe Hart. Let’s compare our financial statements and see who is in credit-card debt and who is not—who the crazy mufukka now?

The Terrified Black College Kid

I was literally invited to speak under the auspices of our alma mater on your behalf—but your colored organization is so disorganized you don’t even know who I am when I walk through the door. You try to guess who I am by vibing off of me and since I don’t speak with a Barak-Obama accent (and a Barack-Obama concern for your immediate respect) you assume I am an around-the-way, absentee-father, imposter, joke of a “man”…. You are angry that a “loser” like me has any kind of damn job because you know your country—and your people—have failed you because little is waiting for you after you graduate. You literally, literally walk up to the podium to introduce me to an audience you helped to assemble and you mumble and ramble things about me interjecting the phrase “and whatnot” every five seconds as looks of confusion and astonishment sweep through the audience. Your disorganized group asked me to write an introduction for you that turns out to be too long so you just cut it short without concern for its content which allows people to assume that I’ve been working for the Automobile Club of Southern California continuously since 1992—and why the fuck is this AAA guy presenting to us?

In serious conclusion…

My life choices have brought me to places where it is harder and harder to commune with other “outsiders.” Most of the true contrarians I’ve met were encountered in my youth and many of these renegades simply gave up, writing themselves off as being young and stupid. I’ve been young and stupid—but I’ve also been young and brilliant.

One of the ‘brilliant things I’m going to do is post this article on my Blog with a promise to myself that this is that last time I “explore” this issue. I may come back to this article to add another Black profile to the list but no more complaining about this shit. Shit like this goes back to W.E.B. du Bois first ignoring and then talking shit about Marcus Garvey—and I am nowhere near Garvey greatness and there are still 21st century Negroes today—with Twitter accounts—with more love for du Bois than Garvey.

I think I need to recognize that I did not ‘escape’ the 1950s by being born in the 1960s. There is no amount of writing in Latin glyphs that can “reason” with people not being reasonable. I’m not going to spend the rest of my life policing my invisibility in the context of the so-called “community” in which I self-proclaim existence. Real sharp folk who have real street knowledge are in the very least observant. Pimps have to dress flamboyantly so bitch-ass hoes (of all genders) can “see” them.

“What, Bryan?”

“What do you mean?”

“You so crazy. Tee hee, hee…”

Related Links

Tafsir Diop (Baye Fall), My Interpreter and Guide

I am self-described momma’s boy. I tell this to my sisters very quickly to prevent them from not recognizing my basic human rights out of concern for their own safety. This effort of mine never works, largely because of the burden of the 21st-century socialite: she deals with people in bulk and tends overlook the fine details.

When I went to Africa for the first time in my life I did several momma’s-boy things: I took rooms at a “four star” hotel; I wore way too much anti-mosquito skin cream; I was in my hotel for the night at or before six; and I had way too much fun with my compatriot elders. product

One of the “big-boy” things I did was make a point of walking the streets of Dakar (instead of going everywhere in a taxi). Since I was not going to be yelling broken French into the ear of a beautiful Senegalese woman with too much western makeup on in a night club full of chain-smoking French men of all skin colors, this was going to my way of getting close to Dakar. And walking is the second-best thing a cyclist can do (I saw, by the way, only two cyclists in Dakar—one looked to me in great danger with a taxi close on his tail—by the way, many taxis in Dakar have ‘tails,’ tufts of blonde animal hair gingerly touching the street from the rear of the cab for “protection”).

Outside of the gates of my momma’s-boy hotel there are street vendors (many with mobile-phone SIM cards) and others waiting for tourists. Two young men waiting outside my hotel volunteered themselves to be my guide for DAK’ART 2014. The first dude was, ahem, not qualified to help me and the second man was Tafsir Diop—who was not only my guide (because a map was not going to help me much) but was my interpreter. He understood immediately that I intended to walk to most DAK’ART venues and, as we walked through the streets, many, many people of diverse walks of life seemed to know him and greet him with genuine pleasantries.

One “big boy” fantasy I had before travelling to Africa was engaging a beautiful, Senegalese, female interpreter. This is just more Hollywood imagery coming ironically from someone that claims to be so anti-Hollywood. First of all, in the real world of Dakar, there would not be a beautiful, educated young woman just standing in front of a hotel with a bunch of men waiting for a Black stranger like me that she will then brazenly walk up to and volunteer herself. There are only two adventuresome sights seen in Dakar that featured such attractive Senegalese women: one was a female taxi driver that had something like “Sister Taxi” painted on her cab (she made point of parking her cab inside the gates of my hotel unlike most of the male drivers) and two was this stunningly, superfine sister that was putting a helmet on her head, as I walked past her, to get on the back of a Mobylette, driven by a greying, heavy-set French man, old enough to be her father.

So, based on my complete stranger-hood and my limited knowledge of Dakar, my ‘close’ interaction with Senegal was going to be close interactions with the men of Senegal. To many of my homeboys (and, ironically, some homegirls) that have some kind of idea of how much money I spent on this trip, the previous sentence was a declaration of total disaster. To many of my homeboys who still claim to be “afro-centric” after it went well out of style after the Public-Enemy 1980s—those homies who claim to “love” the motherland—this “disaster” should look like me paying respect for the real situation on the ground—and the idea that a Black Man coming to the motherland for exploitative, imperialistic, patriarchal sex-tourism should be nauseating.

Tafsir Diop primarily reminded me of two things about Africa: there still struggles a man’s world of honorable men in Africa and me being in Africa close to my people with economic problems is just like me being North America close to my people with economic problems—eventually a mufukka is going to ask for too much money (I spent about a half-million “cifa” on the streets of Dakar—not including my personal hotel shit). But let’s concentrate on the honorable man stuff that Tafsir brings to the table. It begins when he tells you his name. He referred to himself with first name last name and he referred to himself with first name and Baye Fall. I has no idea what Baye Fall meant for my entire time in Senegal. He invoked Baye Fall in a musical way like how Rasta people invoke Rastafari. He referred to certain other young men as Baye Fall as well. It took a while for me even me to break through my western programming and simply Google Baye Fall and the Wikipedia article came to me:

One famous disciple of Bamba, Ibra Fall, was known for his dedication to God, and considered work as a form of adoration. Amadou Bamba finally decided that Ibra Fall should show his dedication to God purely through manual labor. Ibra Fall founded a sub-group of the Mouride brotherhood called the Baye Fall (Baay Faal in Wolof), many of whom substitute hard labor and dedication to their marabout for the usual Muslim pieties like prayer and fasting.

I knew there was something about Tafsir because we walked through the streets of Dakar for hours and he never complained about the effort involved (even by local-folk standards). Once—and I do mean only once for my duration in Dakar—an elderly woman was really persistent about getting money from us (usually young men were persistent like this)—and I told Tafsir give her one thousand “cifa” and he did so immediately. A more western-impoverished young thinker would immediately insist that I give her money, but Tafisr knew (I guess) that I would hand him five thousand or more later—and very possibly he knew that I was the kind of man who traded cash for work, I was not a typical westerner that would “give” money to people for nothing but begging (I can do that shit at home with a small number of persistent folk in my own family).

When a street merchant wanted to sell me sandals and I did not have the tens of thousands of “cifa” on me (I would have to walk back to the hotel ATM), the merchant trusted Tafsir enough to give him the sandals and collect the money from me later in the day. This level of trust (not just for fear of thievery but just general “forgetful” incompetency) is very much impossible in too many places of the world I come from. So I knew there was something ancient and pre-western about Baye Fall and the honorable ways of Tafsir.

So Tafsir Diop always makes me remember Cheikh Anta Diop and the idea of checking the index of his books for Baye Fall led me to page 148 of Civilization or Barbarism. During an exploration of “the Islamic Revolution in Africa” Diop refers to Cheikh Ibra Fall:

Islam might have eliminated castes and started a social revolution, the basis of all progress; but the religious dignitaries of common origin preferred to become “ennobled,” in a way, by marrying princesses, so that their children would be nobles through their mothers and marabouts through their fathers. Thus, outwardly, the model of the conquered aristocratic society continued to be conveyed, in some manner, by the subconscious of those whose mission had been to eradicate it from the mental universe of the people. The failure of the social revolution was painful. However, some religious chiefs did at times put the nobility back in its place. This was the case with “Lamp Fall” (Cheikh Ibra Fall), creator of the Muride subsect of the Bay Fall. He had a calabash full of sun-dried “turds” given to all of his princess wives who were demanding the privilege of having their meals separately, apart from the other wives of popular or slave origin, and exclaimed indignantly: “Try to tell your ‘turds’ from those of the common women!”

Immediately we see the Baye Fall style, a mixture of formal piety with street vulgarity. I relate to this extremely quickly. We see very little patience with the pettiness of imperial womanhood—something keeping me very sad and single to this day.

So whatever is “tragic” about my time in Dakar is weighted against what came close to me in Dakar. I came very close to the brothers of Dakar—and it gave me a reason to pull out my old, cherished Diop books. I have found my interest in Cheikh Anta Diop a very lonely pursuit and any little thing helps a momma’s boy like me. Much respect Tafsir! Baye Fall!

The only game in many, many towns is Liberator Magazine. I ordered my copy of Liberator 8.1 because of the thought-provoking article “Past Afrocentricity” by my new Facebook friend, Lafayette Gaston. This article has two issues that jumped out at me:

  • One: Diop felt that his work never received “proper feedback” (during his lifetime)—from his would-be African-centered colleagues.
  • Two: “At La Sorbonne, Diop’s first doctorate theses [about the African origin of the ancient Egyptians]…were not actually refused. The professors informed Diop that if he wanted to complete his dissertation, he would have to choose another topic. Thus, Diop’s theses were never even defended.”

Both of these statements lead to yet another precedent that proves yet again nothing is new under the sun. Diop was caught in the middle of two large camps: the political, emotional, non-scientific Blacks and Negroes who could only wave at Diop from a distance with “duao” or “right-on brother” and, of course, the white-power establishment of all skin colors denying his existence. I am no C.A. Diop but let me tell you: being caught in such a no-man’s land (actually more of a no-woman’s land) is the essence of hell.

So let me drop the bombshell: I was under the impression that Diop was allowed to defend his first doctorate theses at La Sorbonne. It definitely follows that I rushed toward the footnotes of this Lafayette Gaston article, looking for the details. There are two sources cited: one in French not in my possession and another in my collection—the 1986 James G. Spady article “The Changing Perception of C.A. Diop and His Work: the Preeminence of a Scientific Spirit” in Great African Thinkers: Cheikh Anta Diop. Until I get my hands on the French source, I can definitely say I have no explicit reference to the details. However, the Spady article has a quote from James Baldwin about Diop that is astonishing:

The evening session began with a film, which I missed, and was followed by a speech from Cheikh Anta Diop, which, in sum, claimed the ancient Egyptian empire as part of the Negro past. I can only say that this question has never greatly exercised my mind, nor did M. Diop succeed in doing so—at least not in the direction he intended. He quite refused to remain within the twenty-minute limit, and while his claims of the dishonesty of all Egyptian scholars [sic] may be quite well founded for all I know, I cannot say that he convinced me.

Buy this Book at! So this missionary position taken by Baldwin surprised me at first. (And, yes, you may ask, “How could a book in his collection surprise him? Isn’t the great Bryan reading his books?”) But then it began to make sense: how can James Baldwin return to Giovanni’s Room and accept Diop at the same time? Certainly, such a split would be schizoid. You see, kids, some people just grow up watching American Idol and others have to build a sophisticated intellectual framework to actually decide to watch American Idol—and James Baldwin clearly would be one of those intellectual people.

Let’s try another approach: when bell hook’s allegedly said (somewhere in the 1980s–90s) that Oprah Winfrey sucks white dick—I assumed such an aggressive, non-Buddha-like statement was symbolic, referring to a way of thinking. In the case of James Baldwin, the shit is fucking literal. It is common sense to not want to lose your real and present social life over some “black dogma”—James Baldwin was tossing salad of some real shit and would have to live his life as a chaste priest after failing to get his “friends” to go along with Diop’s news—after realizing what his “friends” really think about him (slave ship cabin boy) after trying to “share” Diop’s news.

But don’t diagnose my homophobia as paraplegic. First of all, when visualize homophobia—I don’t see the genius of, say, Keith Haring being tragically ignored because he is “gay”—I see a prison gang rape by crazed body builders—grown men attacking a juvenile—this is the imagery of homophobia for me. Secondly, even after finding this new shit out about James Baldwin I will still cite his series of black-and-white-television interviews about racism as the benchmark for all Black celebrities. James Baldwin’s celebrity is galactic units ahead of anything coming out as “talking about race” in media today…

There are 21st-century, young, self-described “black” people who still think that “all we need to do” is open a “public dialog on race” and the world will change. These kids definitely have not seen James Baldwin on national television over 40 years ago doing this exact thing. And now that I am a little older I accuse the bleeding-heart liberals that put him on television as being slightly attracted to Baldwin for less than idealistic reasons. There are few white things more delicious than knowing that the “black man” you are talking to about the freedom of what we assume to be straight Black men (statistically speaking) literally sucks white dick. Kids, there is a sense of white, upper-class humor you know little about…