Saturday, July 04, 2009

Building Independent Minds by Akindele Akinyemi

Today is the 4th of July. In other words Independence Day. We must reflect on our nation's birth.

But I am declaring another type of Independence Day. An independence of our minds.

Oftentimes, we cannot think for ourselves. One of the major factors of poverty is ignorance. To many, the word ignorant is an insult. What we mean is simply that some people do not know some things; there is no shame in that.

In urban communities all across America we have not reached independence. We are still trapped and enslaved in our own minds and hearts. Single families are on the rise and our churches are in decline. There is a liquor store on every corner next to the church. Blacks generate over $910 billion as consumers yet we are not producers. We drop seeds in one woman and move on to the next woman. We still think social power is the key to our problems. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Here in Michigan when I look at urban centers like Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Highland Park, and even River Rouge I see a crumbling infrastructure, lack of jobs, high crime and failing schools. We cannot celebrate any level of independence, regardless of what party affiliation we belong to or what church we belong to , because if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Independence has to begin in the mind and spirit first not waving your flag on the 4th of July. In urban communities our independence will not just come from spiritual and mental freedom but also creating a counterculture. I am pretty sure you heard about the 7 teens that were shot at a Shell Gas Station here in Detroit after summer school a few days ago. This happened around the corner from my house and the police had this community on lockdown. How come we cannot come out of our homes with the fear of someone conducting a home invasion in broad daylight?

Our children are out of control. We stopped parenting and gave up our right to be free a long time ago. This intergenerational crisis has transpired into a culture of poverty and a culture of death. With the lack of jobs in our community we are left with hopelessness and a culture that are still living in the dark ages.

The biggest trap from urban communities becoming free and independent is education. Education is a passport to freedom. However, we have liberal ideologies dominating the academic landscape and conservative ideologies not creating an academic counterculture to combat this. Education must be taught from a global perspective to begin to break down the stereotypes, fears and ignorance that will help uplift people in our communities out of both spiritual and mental poverty. Yet, no one is using education as a chief policy platform to create (1) a counterculture, (2) generate wealth and (3) compete globally. When we stop emphasizing geography in K-16 education something is wrong.

My social conservative colleagues preach about there is a need for Christianity in urban communities, yet I see a church on every corner in my community along with abandoned homes, prostitution and crime. It has gotten so bad that our own children are practicing self-destructing behavior by committing murder in the aisles of the church. These godless children, who are being raised by godless single parents, have created a new level of slave behavior that has transpired into the hip-hop culture, television and radio, and even in public where we cannot even enjoy going to the grocery store, sitting on your porch or get this..sitting in your living room watching cable without someone shooting, someone raping or someone carjacking an individual or family.

Our churches are change agents and we must hold our preachers, pastors, and bishops accountable along with our local police and non-profit entities. Accountability, integrity and trust are three factors we need to improve our communities.

The biggest factor of independence will not come from a tea party, criticizing Sarah Palin for resigning as Governor of Alaska, critiquing Michael Steele's performance as RNC Chair or President Obama on supporting cap and trade. The biggest factor of independence will come from freeing our minds and hearts from the fear, ignorance, racism, and sexism that plagues our community. Black leaders in Detroit are still caught up on civil right/black power leadership that died out a long time ago. We are still playing these race games when the race that we are losing in our urban communities is the race to save our men from destruction, save our women from their dignity and saving our children from violence that they are bombarded with on television and in the streets. We never talk about that race. We only discuss the race that has something to do with the color of our skin.

We are now in a silver rights era where we are striving for global education, global dignity and respect by rebuilding our family structure to generate wealth creation that will create a legacy for our children. We have to teach the language of money and financial wealth to our children if they want to compete. If they do not have a bank account then we are creating a new generation of economic slavery.

One out of three black men who are released from prison take two paths. They either clean themselves up and walk the straight and narrow path or they bring the prison culture right into the homes. Sagging pants and the feminization of men come from a combination of broken homes, lack of fathers and homosexual activity right out of the prison system. Our men are MORE emotional than our female counterparts. I have seen this tend even in educational, civic and political leadership.

What we need to do is stop fighting among each other and come together with a common cause. If liberal thought has destroyed urban communities how long will it take for conservatives to even come into urban communities and join those who live in the community to take a stand on apathy and destruction? Traditionally, conservatives who previously lived in urban communities did not stay to live in areas like Detroit after the 1967 riots but moved out to areas like Oakland County. First it was called white flight and now we are experiencing black flight from the inner cities (for various reasons). Now I am not saying that black folks should not live outside Detroit because I may leave myself (for various reasons) but at the same token who will be left to fix the urban communities?

Independence will come from our minds when we realize that (1) no political party will come in and save us and (2) we have to save ourselves. The Democratic Party and their policies have not done anything to enhance urban communities to move them into the 21st century and the Republican Party still think that they can win elections without coming into the urban communities. It is a sad day when Democrats can run on conservative principles in rural Michigan and win elections but Republicans will not even open the discussion on an urban execution plan to even forge relationships in urban areas. The ONLY groups that is making headway in urban communities in Southeastern Michigan are the North Oakland Republican Club and the Family Rights Coalition.

Any conservative who is waiting for the RNC or Michigan GOP to help them in their local political races will be waiting for a long time. Try being self-sufficient. Start a PAC or 527 group and raise money on your own. Develop your own strategies that fit your target audience. Create your own style. Stop trying to sound like Rush Limbaugh, David Axelrod, James Carville or Mark Levin and develop your own speech and energy. This is what urban conservatism is about..self-sufficiency. To wait on someone is a handout when you should be working on a handup.

If urban conservatism is going to take root in urban communities we must create an independent vision and take a radical different approach to solving problems in our community. We cannot discuss social conservative issues in our community if our faith-based structure is broken. How can a minister preach against homosexuality when you are bi-sexual yourself? How can you talk about not having an abortion if you label the very same woman a welfare queen or whore? How can we discuss national defense when our city defense is broken because of the lack of quick police response time in urban communities? How can you criticize a woman who wears pants instead of a long skirt when both of you suffer the same things that other women are suffering from? The ego and ignorance must stop.

How can conservatives and liberals mock urban agriculture projects in the inner cities when Blacks suffer the highest rate of health problems ranging from diabetes, heart disease and AIDS? There is a fast food restaurant on every corner in Detroit. We have to eat better and exercise. We do not need to hear President Obama's plan on health. Close your legs or wear a condom and get tested for STDs is a start. I do not want to hear about abstinence education because how many young people you know are virgins before they get married? Very few so we need to EMPHASIZE in our homes the need to wait as well as practice healthy relationships around our children. Notice I said the homes FIRST. The church will reinforce this through youth ministries and actual biblical teaching. A counterculture through media and culture arts will be the third factor in creating a culture of respect and love.

If you participated in a tea party today good for you. Just keep in mind that a tea party does not equate into improving education and bringing in new industries into our community. These are practical things that only we are capable of doing. While we should hold government accountable for their actions let's hold each other accountable for our actions as well. You cannot have a tea party and protest the government about raising taxes if we are not protesting the fact about looking out for our fellow man and woman.

Independence Day is about being free. In this silver rights age we must strive to be free from political and religious dogma, racist actions, anarchy and failure. We must work together for the sake of our children and future.


Anonymous said...

I agree with your message. In the two years I have been visiting this site, you have been very consistant in your views, which to me shows you are motivated by principle. But, I think some clarification is needed. I am interested in the role of religion in society and if it is the religious teachings that serve the most important function, or is it the community of people, the team, that makes the difference. For example, fraternities are groups of associated individuals sometimes working for societal goals, As do charities, many of which are completely secular. The only reason I bring this up is not to be tedious, but as I say, to get clarification. You spoke of godless children, and churches being agents of change, and then you say we must strive to escape from religious dogma. Men were moral before religion and most are moral in their natural state. How do you propose churches modify, what you admit seems to be a failing regime (churches on every corner unable to stem the tide of social disintegration- your observation),to increase to growth of social conscience. Are they able in this day and age to make the abstraction of God more real, real enough that behavior changes?

Akindele F. Akinyemi said...

"You spoke of godless children, and churches being agents of change, and then you say we must strive to escape from religious dogma."

Hi and thanks for visiting my site. When I say religious dogma I am speaking on using religion to control people's spirit. Oftentimes we use religion as a weapon to keep people in fear and intimidation instead of a tool of enlightment and encouragement.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote] I am pretty sure you heard about the 7 teens that were shot at a Shell Gas Station here in Detroit after summer school a few days ago[/quote]

Brother Akinyemi:

What you are discussing are the consequences of the same END GAME.

The Black community likes talking about "being used" by the White man in the guise of Slavery and Jim Crow.

Today we are BEING USED just the same but it is in the context of the big game of political chess known as national politics and ideological theories of governance.

The reason why you are not going to see a stronger reaction to 7 Black kids SHOT - neither locally or nationally is because this level of violence among Black people has reached the point to which it is commonplace. Why do they need to report on something as it being "exceptional" when tomorrow we will likely hear something that is equally as damnable?

As a people we have been defeated by operatives FROM OUR OWN. They have used us to insure the political domination of a particular party and ideology. In exchange we have been given a series of entitlements that have functioned far more effectively than the blankets that were infected with Small Pox that did the Native Americans in. Our culture and racial dignity has suffered from this assault that I am speaking of.

I get so frustrated as I debate with various Black Quasi-Socialist Progressive-Fundamentalist Racism Chasers as I reaffirm that - YES IT IS TRUE - "you all dominate the Black community". They love to brag about the power that they have as compared to the conservative. They are loathed to turn this POWER into "accountability". Its like the more control they obtain over Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, Philly, Newark, DC, Atlanta and Memphis and elsewhere - the more that their claims that "SLAVERY DID THIS TO US" will become.

I am convinced that they are doing everything necessary to allow us to live yet another generation hence where we presently reside.

They are too ideologically bigoted to do otherwise. said...

Nice. "Ignorant" was the PC word of the year four years running back during my time at Ottawa Hills High School in Grand Rapids.

It meant a lot of things. It meant "bad kid." It meant "violent." It meant "drug addicted."

And it was for sure an insult. I can't use that word to this day, it was so misused by the staff and students. Like it could be used to cover up everything that was happening at the school.

Cracks me up to read it wasn't just confined to the Big O.