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Black Americas Legacy of Struggle - Keeping it Real By Larry Pinkney, BC Editorial Board

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Life is struggle. Shirk it and lose it. Embrace it and most assuredly fulfill it.   

What does Black America’s legacy of political struggle really mean? In succinct terms, it refers to the enormous sacrifices, both personal and collective, made by those men, women and children who endeavored to further the cause of economic, social, and political equality, justice, and freedom, particularly with respect to Black Americans and our Red and Brown sisters and brothers. 

In 21st century Black America, far from ending or concluding, our political struggle has, by necessity, intensified. White racism and concomitant economic, social, and political inequality and hypocrisy have, in fact, increased for the vast majority of Black and other people of color - not decreased. 

Adding insult to injury in this regard today, are some political parasites — political pimps, who now in the 21st century, falsely claim to have been a part of Black America’s legacy of struggle, when, in fact, they have built their reputations on myth, not reality. Their objective is obvious: to distort and usurp the mantle of ongoing struggle for personal gain, and ultimately to abort the intensifying, much needed and legitimate struggle of Black, Red and Brown peoples, all in the very name of supporting it. It is worth repeating here the African proverb: “Beware of the naked man who offers you clothes.” The danger posed by such political parasites, such political pimps, is self-evident. They must be exposed and appropriately dealt with. 

Effective political struggle is not some kind of knee jerk reaction to oppression. Rather, it is an ongoing, collective, and consciously dialectical process wherein thought, planning, action and specific goal-oriented accomplishments (however large or small) are important measurable and integral components. As I discussed on Sirius Satellite Radio’s November 15th, 2007, “Make It Plain” program with host Mark Thompson: “Serious and effective political struggle is not about simply meeting ‘once a year or so’ to - plan the next planning meeting in order to discuss planning the next meeting — in order to plan for the following year’s meeting.” Such activities are tantamount to a pet hamster endlessly running on a caged and spinning mechanical wheel, going nowhere. Ours must be the tactics and strategies of effective political struggle, not intellectual masturbation. 

As a Black American of proud African and Indigenous Native ancestry, I must concur with a reader of The Black Commentator who delineated her distaste for the term “African-American,” when she wrote to me: “I say Black because I don’t like the term African-American. That’s like saying we asked to come here [to America]” Indeed.


We Black Americans — descendants of the noble, magnificent and long suffering slaves who built what became known as the United States of America — did not come here as willing immigrants, or as refugees from oppression, intent upon building a better life in this land of the slave and home of hypocrisy and genocide. No, our ancestors were brought here by force under the most despicable and unspeakable conditions, as human chattel stripped of even the most basic of human rights. To this very day we continue to be dehumanized and disenfranchised by a hypocritical and avaricious white American society and system (be it so-called liberal or conservative), intent upon maintaining its privilege at all cost.  This, unfortunately, is something that even some modern-day actual immigrants from Africa to America have yet to understand, respect, or come to grips with, regarding Black Americans. Proud descendants of Mother Africa that we unequivocally are, we are nonetheless Black Americans who have paid our dues on this stolen land over and over and over again. Our is a struggle, not only for ourselves, but for humanity as a whole. 

We are Black Americans, proud and strong, engaged in an intense, ongoing, centuries-long struggle in this land, for equality and justice that is steeped in a legacy of protracted political struggle, full of sacrifice. 

Ah yes, life is struggle. Shirk it and lose it. Embrace it and most assuredly fulfill it. Onward. What better way to keep it real…

BC Editorial Board member, Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book) Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.


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November 29 , 2007
Issue 255

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