Rahim Islam is a National Speaker and Writer, Convener of Philadelphia Community of Leaders, and President/CEO of Universal Companies, a community development and education management company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. Follow Rahim Islam on FaceBook(Rahim Islam) & Twitter (@RahimIslamUC)
After looking at the horrible social and economic conditions that has and continues to attack the Black community (at every level), one must conclude that the Black community has a real and very lethal enemy. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, the acknowledgement of this enemy has been all but forgotten by many in our community, and for the millennial generation they don’t even know at all. The sad reality for many, we don’t even believe such a thing is possible. When some of our Black leaders have articulated this, they have been called Black racist (something that’s impossible to be) or something negative by Black leaders mainly because White America have de-legitimized this type of Black leadership – even so-called liberals.
It’s amazing to me that we have we have such a “reality” gap between the White and Black community when it comes to the suffering of Black people at the hands of White America (conservative and/or liberal) and the current impact of that suffering on today’s generation of Black people. To deny this reality isn’t a political philosophy it’s just an absolute lie. To deny the Black Holocaust and all of its derivatives, and to deny White privilege is just pure evil. You would think that even the so-called “liberal” White person would be on the side of Black liberation but that goes against even their nature (we’re liberal up to a point).
When it comes to just even understanding the plight of the Black community in America, where is the White liberal scholar, politician, clergy, businessman, historian, economist, psychologist, etc.? I know, their liberalism is based on a “no-cost” policy.
We can give them “civil” rights; we can let them live in our neighborhoods; we can even hire a few of them; we can let a few of them into our private clubs; we can even let them marry our women. However, when it comes down to what really counts (economic equality and to attempt to repair our inability to compete which was done by their ancestors), there are real limits to their liberalism.
We can’t even envision compensating the Black community for the absolutely unbelievable contribution that our people made to their current wealth (without any compensation) because that will be a cost to them. I call this type of liberalism ‘liberal colonialism.”
If you’ve suffered like the Black community has suffered in America for nearly 500 years for no reason except for being Black and not White, at a minimum, you must come to know that you are in a fight for your survival and you have an enemy.
This isn’t an enemy or a fight that we’ve choose, its one that was thrusted on us for reasons still unknown. Why is this important? When the Black community knows that they are in a fight and that they have an enemy, you adjust and respond accordingly – you fight back. That fight is integrated into every aspect of Black life similar to what the Jews have done.
In response to the Jewish Holocaust, the Jewish community has thoroughly and completely adopted a concept that speaks to “never again” and “never forget” about those that have persecuted them and why they were persecuted (just for being Jewish). In response, they have incorporated this theme into every aspect of Jewish life (including religious) and today they are able to defend themselves and their group by detecting and defeating any hint of anti-Semite behavior coming from anyone.
In addition, they have held everyone who war participants in their Holocaust ACCOUNTABLE which is what the Black community must equally do. THE BLACK COMMUNITY MUST HOLD AMERICA ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE BLACK HOLOCAUST AND OUR CURRENT ECONOMIC STRUCTURAL DEFICIT. Unfortunately, the Black community has no real infrastructure or organization to truly hold America and its many governments and institutions accountable (one of the first aspects of reparations must be capacity building). There is no “one” leader or organization capable of this undertaking nor is there a built-in socialization process that teaches Black children that we’re in a fight for our survival and that we have an enemy. When more and more Black children are indoctrinated with this reality, they will be more diligent and dutiful to be on guard and they will better prepare themselves to take on this fight (they will own it).
This is even more important given the fact that within our current education, religion, and the language that we speak, there is a higher attention (value) given to being White and just the opposite for being Black.
Organization and infrastructure is absolutely critical to take on this fight. In fact, it can’t be done without it and our opponent knows this. How can you take on a fight against America and its hundreds of institutions at the simultaneously?
Our first fight must come to understand this reality and this fact – we are woefully outmanned and when things are bad for so long, they become structural (baked into the status quo). This is why when you look in the rear mirror of Black life, you see a whole host of great Black leaders and organizations that existed in the past but are no longer around today – many of these great leaders and organizations aren’t even mentioned today and they have absolutely not known relevance.
This is so sad and we must ask ourselves why. When we don’t have strong, independent Black organizations, we have no defense of the Black liberation (structural deficit).
The struggle for liberation for our people isn’t something that will be achieved at one point and time – it’s something that will happen over a long period of time, which requires that we have organizations and institutions that are able to thrive for generation after generation. These Black institutions must be built to last long after we are dead, and our children can take them over and continue the struggle and build on the success previously achieved (not always starting over). We must have Black organizations and institutions that can build, aggregate capacity and develop expertise.
Our community can’t take on the enemy of the Black community without this continuous and uninterrupted capacity – we must understand the value of historical IQ which keeps us always moving in the right direction and not burdened by yesterday’s mistakes. Experience is the best teacher especially when you can incorporate into today’s practice.
A Black institution becomes both a structure and mechanism with the governing behavior of liberation for our people through both the defense and offense of the Black economic agenda. Why didn’t those organizations continue; why didn’t those organizations become institutions? Our community has dropped the ball because we thought that somehow others would do for us what we must do for ourselves – we thought White liberals would help us to create Black institution’s, which is somehow against their very nature. When we don’t understand that we have an enemy or, at least we have a competitor (competition is like war), we don’t build to defend ourselves and our organizations and they start, grow, and then die (it automatic) – this is reality also prevalent in our business community that has become the foundation for our ongoing economic structural deficit.
Brothers and sisters, I asked you, who is really defending the Black community.
Yes, we have people and organizations that are trying to defend the Black community but even they are not aligned. Who is defending our community in the hundreds of different arenas that we have obvious and serious disparities (i.e. education, health, government, economics finance, justice, etc.)? Who’s working every day to fight our enemy in the cities, counties, and states that we reside in.
Who has represented us with the multiple sectors within the economy (i.e. quasi-public, large nonprofits, philanthropic, and the number of for-profit industries, etc.).
Who is defending us with the thousands of organizations that help to guide America institutions and help to form public opinion? Everyone knows that a good defense is having a good offense – so what evidence can we ascertain that our community has the capacity to advance the Black agenda versus being a perpetual defensive mode.
We have an economic structural deficit and it won’t/can’t be fixed without coming to understand this reality – we need must support Black organizations until they become institutions.