Who Will Survive America by Amiri Baraka, It’s Nation Time (1972)
Who Will Survive America by Amiri Baraka, It’s Nation Time (1972)
Over 700 Jefferson County High School students are staging walkouts and protests over proposed changes to the Advanced Placement History curriculum. According to Colorado Public Radio:
Last week, a school board member proposed that advanced placement history classes be required to promote free enterprise and patriotism and be required to avoid classroom materials that encourage social strife or civil disobedience. Two high schools in Jefferson County closed Friday after dozens of teachers called in sick in protest.
According the online petition to be delivered to the School District:
Jeffco Public School Board has just proposed a change of curriculum stating that, “Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.”
This means that important parts of our history such as the Civil Rights Movement, Native American genocide, and slavery will not be taught in public schools. If these important lessons are not taught, children will not learn from them, and what will stop them from happening again? This is a severe form of censorship intended to keep the youth ignorant and easy to manipulate. I’m hoping to get enough signatures to prove that this is a public issue, so, please, if this is important to you, please sign. Do not let our youth grow up in ignorance; we all deserve the truth!
You can sign the petition here.
Thanks to theseacaptainsdaughter for dropping a link in my inbox.
I see White folks still scared about being the minority here in the States, that they gotta erase all folks of color from the damn history books.
If I had not taken APUSH and AP World History I would not know half of the horrors that America has committed.
I would not know that Abraham Lincoln was a supporter of the colonization movement, or that the Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t NEARLY what people seem to think it was.
I would not know that America was so afraid of Communism that it purposefully overthrew DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED leaders of countries in order to assure that no communist or socialist policies were put into place that ENDANGERED AMERICAN CORPORATIONS.
I would not know that Republicans used to be “liberal” and that Democrats used to be the white supremacy party.
I would not understand the extent of the build up to the Civil War, and the argument over slavery that existed from the time of the country’s founding.
I would not know that coup d’etats in Guatamala, Iran, Cuba, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and so many other countries were the product of American espionage.
I would not know who W.E.B Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, or Marcus Garvey were or how diverse and divided the civil rights and abolitionists movements were.
I would not know that Americans at the time of the American Revolution were the best fed, best dressed, best housed, least taxed people on the planet and they still found reason complain.
I wouldn’t know that socialist policies enforced by F.D.R. helped to bring this country out of the great depression, and I wouldn’t understand the relationship between the U.S. and communism.
I wouldn’t know that Andrew Jackson completely ignored the Supreme Court’s ruling against the Indian Removal Act, thus marching thousands of Native Americans to their death.
Yes, I wouldn’t know all the awful things about this country that people try to brush under the rug, and I would probably be in a blissful and ignorant bubble, enjoying life as a middle class white kid.
But I also wouldn’t see how far we’ve come, and how much farther we have to go, and everything we need to change about this country to make it better and to fix our mistakes.
AP United States History is so important, because theres so little between us and what’s happened in the past, and if we can’t educate kids on what the past is, then don’t expect them to learn any lessons from it. If we can’t understand where we come from then we have no idea where we can and will go.
Excerpt from “Amiri Baraka Analyzes How He Writes”
Baraka + Kalamu Ya Ssalaam; African American Review, Vol. 37
TO ALL MY BLACK PEOPLE IN UNDERGRAD, MASTERS PROGRAMS, PHD PROGRAMS, KEEP YA HEAD UP, I KNOW ACADEMIA IS OVERWHELMINGLY RACIST BUT DON’T LET IT OVERCOME YOU!!!!!!!
Bc today #wholefoods published a blog titled “#collaredgreens are the new #kale” … #youright
Most people know I have a lot of feelings about Bell Hooks … recently … because, well,
she was comin’ for Beyonce to secure her own soundbite that one time we wont mention.
But most people who know me know that her work has shaped so much of my own life. And that’s really saying a lot because the only writers I publicly claim as having shaped my life are Alice Walker, Toni Cade Bambara, Audre Lorde, and Amiri
Anyways. Times change. Moving on … I reread “Simple Living” in Black Genius: African American Solutions to African American Problems (edited by Walter Mosley, Manthia Diawara, Clyde Taylor, and Regina Austin … for those of you who might someday need this for a dissertation) and thought I might share the most amazing portions (at least to me) from it with you.
On Negro God Types and the rest of Du Bois’ expected talented tenth:
Hooks reminds us that Du Bois himself retracted that original theory of “leadership of the Negro race in America by a trained few” saying, “I assumed that with knowledge, sacrifice would automatically follow … I realized that it was quite possible that my plan of training a talented tenth might put in control and power, a group of selfish, self-indulgent, well-to-do men [and women], whose basic interest in solving the Negro personal problem was personal; personal freedom, and unhampered enjoyment and use of the world …”
Me and Other Educated Black People Sell Out:
“Even though individuals whose talents have been nurtured in [white educational institutions] … can actively choose as an insurgent act of resistance to direct their work toward masses of black people, this is rarely the case, largely because the mechanisms of reward — whether recognition, status, or monetary gain — remain highest for those of us who turn their backs on the masses.”
On reformist notions and why radical change might be the best bet OR why black folks can’t agree on Ferguson … or anything else:
“More than ever in our political history, black people in the United States confuse reformist efforts aimed at securing civil rights and equity with agendas for black self-determination, decolonization, and liberation. … while reforms are important, they do not constitute radical interventions aimed at transforming society in ways that ensure the collective well-being of masses of black people … black capitalism is not black self-determination.”
On prosperity and black pain:
“‘It’s American to be constantly craving and to feel that you’re no good without things. …’ … many people have already made the connection that a culture of domination needs people to be in these constant states of yearning. The pain is actually caused by those systems that make you feel that you are disempowered in your life, you are not anybody, and whether or not you can read and write, you are somebody if you own the right kind of tennis shoes.”
“It is important for this country to make its people so obsessed with its own liberal individualism that they do not have time to think about a world larger than the self. Everything in our culture is telling us that anything that we can do for money is okay. What is happening to black people is no different from what is happening to the culture as a whole, but I think it is more personified in our lives at timesbecause of where we sit in the class/economic pole.”
There’s actually a few other quotes from this article that are just perfect for validating my everyday life … but you know … this blog is really about my dissertation work … so … well … revolution and blackness it is.
When you talk about a revolution, most people think violence, without realizing that the real content of any revolutionary thrust lies in the principles and the goals that you’re striving for, not in the way you reach them. On the other hand, because of the way this society’s organized, because of the violence that exists on the surface everywhere, you have to expect that there are going to be such explosions.
Interviewer: But the question is more, how do you get there? Do you get there by confrontation, violence?
Davis: Oh, is that the question you were asking? Yeah see, that’s another thing. When you talk about a revolution, most people think violence, without realizing that the real content of any revolutionary thrust lies in the principles and the goals that you’re striving for, not in the way you reach them. On the other hand, because of the way this society’s organized, because of the violence that exists on the surface everywhere, you have to expect that there are going to be such explosions. You have to expect things like that as reactions. If you are a black person and live in the black community all your life and walk out on the street everyday seeing white policemen surrounding you… when I was living in Los Angeles, for instance, long before the situation in L.A ever occurred, I was constantly stopped. No, the police didn’t know who I was. But I was a black women and I had a natural and they, I suppose thought I might be “militant.”
And when you live under a situation like that constantly, and then you ask me, you know, whether I approve of violence. I mean, that just doesn’t make any sense at all. Whether I approve of guns.
I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. Some very, very good friends of mine were killed by bombs, bombs that were planted by racists. I remember, from the time I was very small, I remember the sounds of bombs exploding across the street. Our house shaking. I remember my father having to have guns at his disposal at all times, because of the fact that, at any moment, we might expect to be attacked. The man who was, at that time, in complete control of the city government, his name was Bull Connor, would often get on the radio and make statements like, “Niggers have moved into a white neighborhood. We better expect some bloodshed tonight.” And sure enough, there would be bloodshed. After the four young girls who lived, one of them lived next door to me…I was very good friends with the sister of another one. My sister was very good friends with all three of them. My mother taught one of them in her class. My mother—in fact, when the bombing occurred, one of the mothers of one of the young girls called my mother and said, “Can you take me down to the church to pick up Carol? We heard about the bombing and I don’t have my car.” And they went down and what did they find? They found limbs and heads strewn all over the place. And then, after that, in my neighborhood, all the men organized themselves into an armed patrol. They had to take their guns and patrol our community every night because they did not want that to happen again.
Here’s How It Goes:
You walk into a store. You do not steal but they say you have stolen. You are afraid but can never appear fearful. Your heart races even though you can’t be human.
And so they kill you. Shoot you 10x - though you were dead on the 1st – so that they might be sure.
"Sometimes. If you’re not white. Even if you don’t live in St. Louis. Even if your name’s not #KajiemePowell."
meditationsforsurvival #morningmusings #writing #andsoitis