Skip to content

Speaking Out Of Turn.

As slavery became a permanent institution of American society, one of its features was the development of laws governing the behavior of slaves. Every state created codes to suit their particular region but one of the most common laws covered Acts of Assembly. No group of slaves could gather without the presence-and permission-of a white man. That rule extended into the religious services that slaves were allowed to attend, and what little literature a select few were allowed to read. It was a rule designed to prevent human beings forced to live out lives of backbreaking labor, daily humiliation and brutality from developing any ideas that would lead to thoughts of discontent, or eventual revolution.

Last week, Nick Cannon spoke with Professor Griff of Public Enemy. During that interview, Cannon expressed views about white people that created a firestorm that saw him branded as anti-white and anti-Semitic. What happened next followed a predictable pattern in celebrity culture; condemnation by his employers, a public apology, and a pledge to monitor his tone in the future. 

The incident, and the controversy around it, Shows that Black people, no matter how successful, still face consequences for voicing opinions that don’t line up with America’s self-image.

One of those consequences is the controversial statement is denounced by Black people, usually Black people with connections to white media chosen to keep the Black masses in line. Sometimes they are asked to do this, but often they do this on their own. Again, this is not new. Every Black voice that challenged the status quo from Marcus Garvey to Malcolm X to Huey Newton was met with Black detractors trying to discredit them.

This is the legacy of a leadership class that teaches Black people that progress can only be achieved through pleasing a non-Black benefactor. Any public discussion of issues affecting Black people has to include that benefactor, and be tailored to not offend him enough to close his wallet.

The goals of pro-blackness changed from sociopolitical independence and speaking truth to power to prioritizing proximity and dependence on whites, to the point that any theories and scholarship created by Black people generates hostility from Black people. 

Denouncing Louis Farrakhan is a rite of passage for any Black politician who wants to be accepted by the donor class. For Black academics, the same thing is true regarding Dr. Umar Johnson who’s views on LGBTQ members of the Black community have made him many enemies. But rather than engage with his theory he’s been reduced to a meme that can be dismissed.

The opinions of these men aren’t nearly as dangerous as the fact that Black people aren’t allowed agency to accept or reject them for ourselves and are forced by people outside the Black community to do so. No other ethnic group allows outsiders to pick their leadership and agendas.

Nick Cannon is being punished while white entertainers like Mark Wahlberg, Bill Maher, and Mel Gibson have said and done revolting things to Black people and kept their careers. Some of the news reporters condemning him work for cable news outlets that constantly brought white supremacists on as guests and allowed them to spread their views virtually unchecked.

If Black people are ever going to be free we are going to have to get free of the fear of having some uncomfortable conversations among ourselves. And if we’re overheard, any discomfort should only concern us.

6 Comments

  1. Marley K Marley K

    This was marvellous per usual and on point. White supremacy does not allow Black men to speak freely, no matter the wealth and noteriety accrued. You cannot liberate our people if you are silenced. That’s the goal.

  2. Paddy Paddy

    Agreed. Have to work hard as white female to listen and connect with black leadership as the systemic disease of rascism finds deep roots in the heart. Pray for us. Continue your bold work to speak the truth to our blindness. Thankyou for Now and for then. So much pain from hardened hearts enslaving true human beings tried in the fire. Sight is relative so is hearing to whosoever is willing to approach the truth.
    Heard you briefly on WURD in Philadelphia PA today.

  3. Mateo Mateo

    On point brother.

    We not letting our oppressor dictate how we communicate. Our discourse on empowerment should be totally up to us.

    These white Jews are white supremacists like the non Jewish whites.

  4. P. P.

    That “proximity to whiteness” line was so spot on as I remember Whoopi and Sunni denounce Nick on TV to please their white bosses

    Yet Sage Steele is encouraged to be herself without any consequence even if it is degrading to her own race (because no matter how much she tries to denounce it, she is 1/2 black and will be seen as such by everyone)

  5. Napoleon Jemison Napoleon Jemison

    Excellent price as usual. Despite the negro whisperers, the hypocrisy from some who have Suffered similar backlash and decided to cower rather than defend their 1st Amendment right to speak, I hope Nick Cannon will realize he’s entitled to say what he believes and further elaborates on the subjects of ‘contriversary’. After all, it will be years before he can become ‘acceptable’ again. Fxck it, go on go off🤷🏾‍♂️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *