The Black Commentator: An independent weekly internet magazine dedicated to the movement for economic justice, social justice and peace - Providing commentary, analysis and investigations on issues affecting African Americans and the African world.
Mar 1, 2012 - Issue 461

Barack Obama & the Colonization of Our Minds
Keeping it Real
By Larry Pinkney Editorial Board



“The claim to a national culture in the past does not rehabilitate that nation and serve as a justification for the hope of a future national culture...Perhaps we haven’t sufficiently demonstrated that colonialism is not satisfied merely with holding a people in its grip and emptying the native’s brain of all form and content. By a kind of perverted logic, it turns to the past of the oppressed people, and distorts, disfigures, and destroys it.”

-Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth)

“The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

-Steve Biko

The systemic economic and political power-brokers of the United States’ elite have always understood that the most effective way to control people is, first and foremost, through the incessant application and perpetuation of mental chains. It is crucial that everyday ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people understand this and act accordingly.

From the inception of the United States, White people in this nation were fed the fallacious and artificial notion of superiority, while Black, Brown, Red, and Yellow people were simultaneously administered the poisonous pills of supposed inferiority. For generations, color [i.e. skin pigmentation] and/or ethnicity were effectively used to divide and thereby control everyday people. In other words, the internal mental colonization of ordinary people was being utilized by the systemic power-elite to harness and manipulate the very thought processes of everyday people. This paradigm of power and distorted human relations was tenaciously maintained by the power-elite of this nation until it became expedient for these power-brokers to insidiously tweak it in order to remain secure in their positions of economic and political power in this, the 21st century.

Economic hegemony on the part of this nation’s power-elite was, and remains today, part and parcel of the above-described paradigm of power and distorted human relations. Thus, in the year 2008, the economic and political power-brokers, which have morphed into what is presently referred to as the corporate elite, overwhelmingly acted together (be they so- called Democrats or Republicans) to take full and crass advantage of the very odious paradigm of mental colonization which they themselves had so long maintained, by ensuring that the nominally black, then candidate (Barack Obama) - who publicly claimed to be the champion of everyday ordinary people - would be ‘elected’ and installed as the next head of the U.S. corporate/military Empire. This was, of course, a cruel but well planned hoax by the corporate power elite of this nation, perpetrated against struggling ordinary people. Neither the corporate owned Democratic party or the corporate owned Republican party, offered then in 2008 or now in 2012, the much-needed systemic change that everyday people desire and deserve. Nevertheless, the pressing question is: How could such a terrible hoax be so thoroughly perpetrated against the people? The answer is, that when a people have been so thoroughly mentally colonized, they are in a constant state of vulnerability. Mental colonization equals subjugation. Only by exposing, and simultaneously breaking free of and from, this hideous form of colonization can the ability to critically think and analyze be regained and vigorously applied.

There are, to be sure, additional factors which feed into mental colonization. One such factor is greed. Primarily, it is the greed of the corporate elite, but it is not limited to them. For example, the greed and callousness of much of the relatively tiny ‘Black elite’ and the Black so-called ‘intelligentsia’ in the United States, in this year 2012, is at an all time high. These Black misleaders, like their counterparts of varying colors, have no conscience and no shame. In the name of serving the people they economically pimp them even as they “distort, disfigure, and [attempt to] destroy” the history and ongoing struggle of everyday people. The very last thing these de facto economic and political vampires actually want to see come to fruition in this nation is economic, political, social parity and justice for everyone. They are, in fact, among those whom Malcolm X (el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz) described as “those who want to continue the system of exploitation.” They are systemic gate-keepers, and they have betrayed and are betraying, everyday people.

Another factor that feeds into the perpetuation of mental colonization is the constant distraction by and from the corporate-stream media, including so-called ‘news’ outlets and the Hollywood mind distracters. Moreover, corporate advertising on television, in print media, and on the internet, in addition to distracting people, barrages them (subliminally and/or blatantly) with messages that invoke greed, envy, or low self-worth. After all (so the messages imply), if persons do not possess such and such corporate product - their humanity is somehow of less or no value.

Distorted corporate messages claiming to define success, beauty, or worth, etc. keep people distracted and manipulated in a perpetual state of mental colonization. Moreover, the endless Hollywood glorification of, or rationalization for, perpetual U.S. wars is augmented by corporate television cop shows that essentially deny and/or rationalize the enormous police brutality experienced by so many ordinary everyday people throughout this nation. And of course, it almost goes without saying, the corporate-owned and/or corporate-sponsored ‘news’ media feeds everyday people a pathetic and dangerous diet of disinformation, misinformation and critical omissions.

Meanwhile, the corporate owned politicians of the Democratic and Republican parties, etc., hypocritically wring their hands in feigned distress at the increasing despair and anger permeating U.S. society. All of the aforementioned is an integral part of what the colonization of our minds is all about, and it is deliberately maintained by the corporate elite who own and have subverted the U.S. political system from the White House on down.

‘Americans’ in general, and Black Americans in particular, have been and are, particularly vulnerable to mental colonization. The effects of this form of colonization have proven to be disastrous, not only to the everyday people of this nation, but also to peoples throughout the entire planet of Mother Earth. If humanity is to survive, we must break free of this colonization.

The hideous ‘Patriot’ Act, so-called corporate ‘personhood,’ and the odious and draconian indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without even the pretense of due process (known as the National Defense Authorization Act-NDAA) are, in this year of 2012, the law of the land in the United States. They are indefensible and were brought upon us by both the corporate Democrats and the corporate Republicans. Indeed, the signing stroke of U.S. president Barack Obama’s pen (on December 31, 2011) made the unthinkable and reprehensible indefinite detention of U.S. citizens inside the U.S. (without being charged, or receiving a trial, a jury, or even a legal defense counsel, etc.) now legal. This should give everyone serious pause for thought.

Alas! Who else but the articulate, corporate-backed, former university instructor of constitutional law, war mongering, president - Barack Obama - could have gotten away so quickly, effectively and legally with utterly destroying the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, all in the ambiguous name of “hope and change?!!” Had people not been so thoroughly mentally colonized, this horror may have been avoided. But for now, the Obama brand has carried out an infamy against political dissent and the human rights of everyday people in this nation, the likes of which no previous U.S. president had been able to get away with.

The ramifications of this, for the present and the future, of everyday people in the United States are both ominous and chilling. The political power brokers and puppet-masters of the U.S. corporate/military elite have, at least for the time being, carried out - in the person of Barack Obama - a stunning coup against the people of the United States, and ultimately the world.

Perhaps the irony in all of this is that Barack Obama (whether or not he is re-(s)elected and re-installed as U.S. president) is fundamentally of little further use to his corporate puppet- masters (other than for continued propaganda value and as possible ‘ghetto uprising insurance’); for he has already no doubt carried out their desires far quicker and more adroitly than even they themselves might have envisioned. Unfortunately however, for the everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people of this nation, our peril has increased ten-fold. Nevertheless, all is by no means lost.

By way of increased political organizing and resistance, it is imperative that everyday people make a collective and ongoing conscious effort to de-colonize our minds. It is imperative that we unplug ourselves and each other from the mental colonization and death grip of the Democratic and Republican corporate parties and their accomplices and operatives.

The process of mental colonization certainly did not begin with the installment of Barack Obama. It was however, horribly enhanced by it. The most effective antidote to mental colonization is to consciously reclaim our abilities to critically think and analyze. Without reclaiming and applying the mental tools of critical thought and analysis, everyday people remain vulnerable to manipulation in the form of mental colonization.

Everyday ordinary people hold the key to their/our own economic, political, and social liberation. Yet, this liberation must begin with the conscious de-colonization [liberation] of our own minds. Remember and internalize the words of the late South African political activist and organizer, Steve Biko: “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

Even as we organize to bring about systemic change, we must actively de-colonize our minds - each one teaching one - each one reaching one. This remains a long and protracted struggle.

Onward, then, my sisters and brothers! Onward! 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. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil / Lehrer News Hour. 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.