Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Destruction of the African male

Posted: May 07, 2004
By Dr. Kwame Nantambu

"The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
- Steven Biko   

While the plight, hopelessness and self-destruction of the African-Trinbagonian male have received much currency in media talk shows, it is crucial to determine the genesis of this dilemma and then to proceed in a logical, sane and historical roadmap towards a solution to this intractable problem.

The conception of this dilemma occurred with the election of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States in 1981.

Then Pres. Reagan rode into office brandishing his overt, potent anti-Communist-Socialist -Marxist bullpistle and "ready to lash anything dat pass across" wearing these titles, mind-set, world view or ideological clothes.

Pres. Reagan used as his rhythm section the infamous December 1823 Monroe Doctrine. This Doctrine gave the US President the constitutional authority via Congress , the God-given Right to intervene anywhere in the Western Hemisphere to protect U.S. interests.

Thus, the declaration of "America for the Americans" in 1823 became the "foundation stone of American hemispheric policy" to be repeated in future decades. President Reagan totally embraced and operationalise this declaration to the max.

In short, the Monroe Doctrine legalized and appointed the United States as the sole "international police power" in the Western Hemisphere and it still is as of this writing.

As such, it need occasion no great surprise that Pres. Reagan used this Big Stick police-power-policy not only to invade Grenada on 25 October 1983 but also to destabilize and eventually overthrow the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega.

Under Pres. Reagan, all the perceived anti-U.S.-capitalist, Socialist-Marxist regimes in the Western Hemisphere were permanently crushed. Pres. Reagan was the perfect hit-man to get rid of and/or eliminate democratically-elected or revolutionary leaders in this region in the 1980s. Job well done, Mr. President.

When he came into office, Pres. Reagan's anti-Communist stance was confronted with the following triangle in the Western Hemisphere: Communist Cuba at the peak, Marxist Nicaragua on the left plank and a plethora of ideological Isms on the right plank in Jamaica,Grenada, Guyana, Suriname, Dominica, St. Lucia, just to name a few.

There was also the presence of the first Communist party in the English-speaking Caribbean, the Jamaica Communist Party led by Dr. Trevor Monroe.

As a backdrop to this historical recounting, former US President Jimmy Carter's policy of "Ideological Pluralism" permitted and allowed the birth and germination of these Isms in the region.

However, when he left office after serving two terms, President Reagan made sure that the triangle and "ideological pluralism" no longer existed and may not exist in the Western Hemisphere for the next fifty years.

The fact of the matter is that while on the one hand, Pres. Reagan aimed U.S. military might against leaders of African descent in the region in order to assassinate, destabilize and/or overthrow them, on the other hand, drugs were the major weapon used against the revolutionary African male, in particular.

In other words, the Reagan administration used drugs, for example, heroin, cocaine, marijuana and others, to de-sensitize, deflate, diffuse, dis-orient, dysfunctionalize, debilitate, dis-member, decimate, decapitate and destroy the revolutionary world view, intent, message, charisma, mind-set and modus operandi of young African males in the 1980s both in the United States and right here in TnT.

Hence, it need occasion no great surprise that there was a massive,widespread proliferation of drugs in TnT and in the ghettoes of the United States, especially Los Angeles, during this period.

In fact, according to Gary Webb, a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News (18-20 August 1996):

"A year-long investigation removes any doubt that paid CIA operatives in the U.S.-backed Nicaraguan mercenary army, referred to as the 'Contras', flew thousands of kilos (I kilo = 2.2 pounds)into California in the 1980s. Their aim was to buy arms and line their own pockets with knowledge of superiors in the CIA and the tacit approval of an array of local, state and federal cop agencies."
Webb further documents that:

"the flood of cheap cocaine from Colombia to Nicaragua with the support of the U.S.- supplied El Salvadoran air force, then engaged in a civil war against insurgent workers and farmers-then to northern California and finally to the Black neighbourhoods of Los Angeles through gang Street dealers."
Mr. Webb also reports that "cocaine from the two Nicaraguans was sold at cut-rate prices and helped spark the explosion of crack cocaine in Los Angeles and other cities in the early 1980s."

It is precisely the wanton availability of this cheap cocaine that has further led to the destruction of the African-American male.

More specifically, in the sentencing-prison phase, for the possession of five grams of crack cocaine, a person gets five years mandatory. For the possession of five grams of powder cocaine, the sentence is only probation; the distinction here is that powder cocaine is wholesale, crack cocaine is retail.

For possession of crack cocaine, 94 per cent of those in prison for this $5 high are young African-American and brown males, although 55 per cent of those who actually use crack cocaine are White males. Something is wrong with this prison sentencing picture.

The fact of the matter is that 80 per cent of those who use both crack and powder cocaine on a daily basis are White males.

In addition, possession of $45,000 worth of marijuana brings five years in prison; $8,000 possession of powder cocaine gets warrants five years but possession of only $29.00 worth of crack cocaine brings about the same five years in prison.

The bottom-line: cheap crack cocaine was the planned, insidious magnet by the Reagan administration to lure and draw young African-American males into a life of nothingness and destruction in American prisons--- then and now.

The fact of the matter is that African-Americans account for only 12 per cent of the national population but a whopping 67 per cent of the total prison population.

The stark reality is that the same parallel scenario also plays itself out in TnT today in regard to the prison sentencing of African-Trinbagonian males vis--vis middle-class, "Trini White", "Redman" Trinbagonians.

Something is also wrong with this prison sentencing picture here in TnT.

In the words of the African-American representative from South Central Los Angeles and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Maxine Waters:

"I think it is unconscionable that the intelligence community or the CIA could think so little of people of colour that they would be willing to destroy generations (of them) in an effort to try to win the war in Nicaragua. And they lost it anyway."
So it is no accident that drugs also found their way into the ghettoes and communities of TnT in the 1980s.Everything was a concerted, planned and perfectly orchestrated effort.

So the plight and self-destructive behaviour of young African males in these communities, at Home and Abroad, have their genesis in the 1980s. And the sad, scary legacy is that these two communities have not yet recovered from this Euro-American master-plan.

Gang-turf warfare, murders, daily killings and drug-trafficking are now a natural way of life for this target group of African males. This is no accident.

As a result of President Reagan's genocidal, Mein Kampf, Third Reich foreign policy, the African male in these communities in the United States and TnT are brain-dead, brain-damaged and revolutionary comatose and apathetic.

He is just walking around like a spaced-out zombee with a self-destructive, self-inflictive, self-hateful and classical haemorrhaging state of mind.

His life's motto is "get rich or die trying"; instant, quick-pick gratification is his only game-plan. His life has no meaning or beginning and he really does even care how it ends.

President Reagan's policy should best be regarded as a crime against humanity, but since under the rubric of European supremacy, the African male is a non-human being, then such a racist, ethnocentric policy fits right into place.

Truth be Told: Indeed, it is the Euro-American President Ronald Reagan who deliberately, callously and viciously unleashed Weapons for the Mass Destruction(WMD) of the African male but most importantly, the damaging and damning consequences of this policy-decision in the 1980s have grown by exponential leaps and bounds today.

Moreover, these outcomes are now too ghastly to contemplate and deal with among this supposedly "three-fifths of a person" group of young people.

This present lies in the past.

Truth be Told: This decision by President Reagan represents overt institutionalized racism whereby an agency or department or unit of the U.S. federal governmemt is used to oppress, exploit and in this specific case, kill American citizens; the U.S. federal agency used to kill African-American citizens in Los Angeles was the CIA.

African-Americans do not produce drugs; they only consume them.

On the other hand, the decision to interject drugs into the communities of TnT represents the overt permeation of ethnocentric and xenophobic characteristics of Euro-America's global policy to annihilate African people in general but the African male, in particular. African-Trinbagonians do not produce drugs; they only consume them.

The crucial question that comes to the fore is : What is to be done? For "a people limited in their viewpoint and without a collective vision going into the 21st century will, indeed perish."

This writer suggests the following:

1. As an African people, we must totally reject Christianity, the imposed religion of our European colonizer, slave-master and oppressor. We must re-transform ourselves and re-embrace our original African spirituality.

2. Young African males must all go through the Rites of Passage process.

3. We need schools that engage in Afro-centric curriculum and Heuristic, holistic education or what this writer calls Afro Centrification. Our young people need re-education with A new paradigm, historical reference point and locus.

4. We must regain and re-activate our traditional African Extended family way of life and human interaction---a Way of life that existed in TnT in the 1950s and 1960s.

5. We must embellish our homes with African motifs.

6. Young African Trinbagonian males must be imbued with the liberative fact that Imhotep, Ramses 11, Queen Hatshepshut, Gibral Tarik, Steven Biko, Martin Delany, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Malcolm X, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, just to name a few, are their role models and not Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan, "50 Cents", etc.

7. All African-Trinbagonians must celebrate Kwanzaa and live out its seven Principles 24-7-365.

8. Our young African males must be educated to answer these questions:
    a. Who am I here and now?
    b. Am I all I can be?
    c. Am I really who I am?
    d. Why am I here?

9. Our young African Trinbagonian males must be provided with critical tools so that they can de-toxify, de-Americanize, de-brainwash and de-mystify their subconscious mind of this altruistic, self-destructive, vanity-driven Euro-American value system and way of life.

10. Our young African males must be taught the vital necessity of respect for self, authority and women and responsibility to self, their children and the community. They must be taught that the value of any human being supervenes the value of material things.

In the final analysis, this new Africa-centered education/curriculum will seek to cure young African-Trinbagonians of the deadly disease of Africa-sclerosis that 500 years of Euro-centric mis-education or edjumacation has inflicted upon them.

Through this new Africa-centered curriculum, our young African Trinbagonian males would be imbued with a positive sense of self-confidence, self-esteem and self-empowerment and thus be fully equipped to eliminate and permanently eradicate the mental paralysis, induced collective historical-cultural amnesia, collective lobotomy, menticide and psychological genocide European global mis-education has imposed upon all of us.

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace').

(Dr. Nantambu is Professor Emeritus at Kent State University, U.S.A.. His e-mail address is : kwame@tstt.net.tt).

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