Nation or Plantation, the Choice is Yours

by William P. Muhammad

Accompanying the 2008 presidential elections, and the campaign which made Barack Obama the first Black President of the United States, the term ‘post-racial society’ soon became an oft repeated mantra from both the liberal left and conservative right. An idea seemingly embraced by both sides of the political aisle, think tanks, policy-makers and corporate controlled media soon declared the end of America’s race based Civil Rights Era and the beginning of a new day under the monikers ‘Hope’ and ‘Change,’ as heralded by the election of a Black man into the Whitehouse. 
Lee Atwater
John Erlichman
These, like the many other socially engineered initiatives before them, sought to graft in a top-down approach to America’s centuries long debate over what was euphemistically known as the Negro problem. Spanning many decades, indeed centuries since the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the shores of North America, the government and society of the United States, whose laws codified white supremacy from its inception, later evolving into unspoken rules, code phrases and dog whistles, as orchestrated by the likes of the late John Erlichman, President Nixon’s former domestic policy advisor (who admitted the administration’s war on drugs was actually a war on Blacks), and the late Lee Atwater, a Republican proponent of the Southern Strategy and advisor to both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush (who refined the practice of marginalizing the Black community as the quality of public education declined and jobs left urban communities for foreign labor markets), sought to maintain white supremacy through the guise of law and order.
Making it abundantly clear that America’s national policy intends to maintain the racial hierarchy, with whites at the top and in charge at all costs, politically speaking, Black Americans are given the choice between the lesser of two evils every four years. In a system that permits few in the Black community to advance, in order to sell the “illusion of inclusion,” substantive and collective change will come only when a critical mass begins to think outside the box of seeking legitimacy through white recognition and approval.
However, regardless of party affiliation, whether in the form of Democrat policies which led to the mass incarceration of young Black men, after President Bill Clinton signed the 1994 Crime Bill into law, or from the Republican policies of privatization and deregulation, which placed state functions into the hands of corporations that valued profit margins over people, the Black community’s state of continued dependency continues to hamper our future as a free, justified and equal community when compared to other ethnic groups and nationalities living in the United States.
Appearing no different than the fundamental differences between the early 20th century aspirations of Booker T. Washington’s advocacy for a Black economic infrastructure, and W.E.B. DuBois’ drive for social and political inclusion, the fantasy of 21st century post-racialism, in the waning months of the Obama administration, is essentially a repackaged form of non-economic liberalism. To borrow from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan: “they integrate the bedroom, but not the boardroom.”  Therefore, within American society, there is little Black representation wielding real influence over the nodes of power from editorial boards (that move public opinion), to the broadcast and publishing industries (that propagate ideas), to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), the disciplines that build and maintain societies, to domestic or foreign policy making (that governs free trade and wealth creation), or in the many other institutions guiding the onward march of civilization in a technological Information Age.
Control the narrative, control your destiny
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
While it has almost become common knowledge among Black Americans that as consumers we contribute more than $1.1 trillion dollars to the global economy every year, this fact has been more than abundantly clear, well documented and well understood by merchants, economists and the financial establishment itself as they have all quietly benefited from our culture of consumption and spending. Our collective failure to compete as the producer of our own goods and services has created in its wake a mockery of our non-productivity by those profiting from our ignorance of business and enterprise. In fact, the merchant class and financial elite have understood the domestic and international implications of this reality far better than the Black community has understood it, and as such, they have done everything to control access to the golden goose that lays the golden eggs, for the sake of maintaining their power and control.
An awakened, disciplined, organized and producing Black community could, almost overnight, harness hundreds of billions of dollars for recirculation into itself, which would not only translate into a dignified community of movers and shakers, but also into a community where the substance of economic power would dictate the agendas of local and state government, subsequently changing the balance of power not only nationally, but also internationally as trade and commerce would redefine and realign global relationships.
According to the demographers, within the next 25 to 30 years, today’s elementary school student will be a man or woman of middle age, and as such, he or she will live in an America with a white minority and Black and Brown majority. In light of this fact, and to avoid the post-Apartheid model of South Africa, where an aging white minority continues to control the technology, the military and the economy of the so-called new South Africa, Black Americans must act quickly to avoid this fate and immediately decide to change a culture and tradition rooted in the legacy of slavery, fear and dependency.
Our failure to overcome the many distractions, traps and pitfalls of today’s society will deprive our children of a life of security and upward mobility by adulthood. Furthermore, there should be no question that much of dysfunction we see in contemporary American culture is designed to slow or prevent the likelihood of Black and Brown people from inheriting the inevitable reins of power. Therefore, we must recognize the intentional dismantling of public education as an opportunity to design our own curriculum and to open our own schools, even if it is at home or in the basement of a mosque or a church. We must recognize inner city food deserts as opportunities to buy vacant lots and to grow our own fruits and vegetables, and we must recognize the closing of factories as opportunities to pool our resources and to open our own businesses in order to provide goods and services for ourselves, our families and our people. Although the choices are not hard to make, time will eventually force on us a critical decision. It’s either nation or plantation and the choice is yours.