The Black Nation of The United States of America

With all the racial talk post-Zimmerman verdict, I’d like to take some time to explore the deeper issue here: America. What most of its citizens fail to understand is that this nation doesn’t exist; it is a myth. The U.S. is not a nation; it is a state; not States as the moniker falsely suggests. There is one state and there are many nations within that state. The idea of one nation is a myth; a myth that’s predicated upon one ideal: Whiteness.

When we talk about the “American Dream,” this is really what we’re discussing. When we talk about forming “a more perfect Union,” this is what’s at the heart of it. It’s not ultimately about embracing diversities into a unified whole, it’s about reinforcing a hierarchal structure that seeks to keep Whiteness at the top. So, in essence, forming a more perfect Union is just a euphemism for creating an even larger divide between those who are White and those who are not—or phrased another way—driving a bigger wedge between the Non-minority (Majority or the White race) and the minorities (non-White peoples).

Post-Racialism vs. Abolitionism

There’s a difference between someone who is post-racial and an abolitionist. Abolishing chattel slavery was only one step of the process. In order for all enslaved-Africans (otherwise known as Black or African-Americans) to really be free, the idea of Whiteness itself must be abolished. Not just the term, but the idea; the socio-political construct and all the privileges and benefits that come along with that. A post-racialist just seeks to kill racial identification while maintaining the American or White ideal, but a abolitionist wishes to cast off all ties to Whiteness and its effects on all non-White parties.

Moms-Apple-Pie-1In this context, America and Whiteness can be used interchangeably. Because when we talk about America, what we are really discussing is a White-normative society. So, the U.S. would more aptly be called The White State of America. When you think of America, you think of Whiteness. You also think of the corporate brands that fuel the capitalist system, like: McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. You may even think of The Jackson 5 and Apple Pies, but who owns Michael Jackson and who’s baking that pie? As an outsider, when you think of Black people in the context of America, you either think thug or entertainer (slave). So, if you Black and ain’t tap dancing, you must be robbing somebody.

Hambone Backbone

This is the backbone of how America works. There is only one problem: The less White the U.S. becomes, the less American it is and the mythology begins to shatter. This is where we are with it right now. We’re at a crucial place in the history of this conglomerate of nations. The state is becoming less White everyday—so in effort to save it—it’s commodifying Whiteness to whomever is willing to sell their souls for it; even non-White people.

slave-princeIn my previous piece, Unlocking The Mystery Of Hyphenated Racism, I unpack how folks of white skin—who at one point in America’s history— were not considered to be White. We’re talking your Jews, Italians, the Irish, the Slavevic—sorry—Slavic people. So, as the State started losing grips on its America, it expanded its definition of Whiteness. Overnight, racism went from being a thing of class distinction to one of color. But did it really?

A Boarding Pass To The White State of America

Now that Whiteness is at the most desperate place it’s ever been, it is selling Whiteness to those who don’t meet the white color requirement, hence post-race. But it’s not really post-race, it’s just post-White identification. A post-racialist has absolutely no missive to abandon any of the stereotypical connotations that come with glorifying Whiteness or subjugating Blackness, or any other so-called minority. A post-racialist just wishes to expand the definition of Whiteness so it can still enjoy the perks of dominating and sustaining a permanent underclass.

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Broadening the definition of Whiteness without calling it “White” is a smart chess move. It keeps the current power structures in tact while promising those who have been oppressed by their non-whiteness a slice of the Apple Pie. It is the evolution of the same idea the ruling class had when they started selling Whiteness to their low-class, white-skinned constituents. But this is all a mirage. The ruling class is never going to let folks of lower class distinction  in, regardless of skin color; just like a white-skinned person who is post-race will not so easily let go of their fear of black skin and the imagery that has been created around Blackness.

This is why, as a Black community, we must fully come to terms with what Blackness is before we’re so quick to discard the title completely. It is also imperative that we come to a thorough understanding of what Blackness means in relation to Whiteness, and vice versa. As I said earlier, this is not a nation of states—but rather—a state of many nations. This is key to the Black American, because it’s the one thing we haven’t built since we’ve been here: a Black Nation.

It’s Nation Time!

So, if this is not a nation of states, but a state of nations; and if Black people have yet to build a nation, that means the only identity we have here is to serve the colony. The closest we’ve come to nation building was at the height of the Civil Rights Movement—pre integration. It’s why segregation was the impetus behind Black autonomy, and why integration is chiefly responsible for decimating what little we were able to build post-Emancipation Proclamation, which is a misnomer. We didn’t gain emancipation, equality, or liberation with the aforementioned document nor the Civil Rights Act of 1964. America offered us the illusion of participation in Whiteness—The American Dream—and we abandoned a certain part of our Blackness as a result.

We should have continued nation building, as Brother Malcolm wanted us to. Though the Black Power Movement tried to pick up the slack, it was destroyed by anti-Black intelligence agencies. What parts of the Black community weren’t dismantled by those missives were wiped out by crack cocaine and the subsequent War on Drugs—which might as well have been called the War on Black America.

Individuals can be sustained by riches, but nations are built on wealth. There is a big difference between income and wealth. Income is the amount of capital you’re able to generate on a regular basis; wealth is the length of time you’re able to sustain that capital to maintain a certain quality of life. We have many high-profile celebrities that have generated tons of income, but as Black Americans, we have virtually no wealth. In order to qualify as a nation, we must first begin to build wealth in our communities.

The 3 Bs

There are only 3 simple things the Black community must do in order to set this in motion. I call it The 3 Bs: Support Black culture, build Black businesses, and buy Black. That’s it! Well, if it’s so simple, why don’t we do it? Because we’re too busy supporting our oppression by financing and worshipping Whiteness.

zimmermanSo, when George Zimmerman was handed a not guilty verdict, it wasn’t a question of was he guilty of the crime. We all know he did it. What he ultimately received was a membership pass to the United State of Whiteness where the life of a Black man has always been expendable.

So on that fateful night Trayvon Benjamin Martin was murdered at the hands of his non-White brother, not only was it an assassination on a young man’s life, but another death blow to Black America.

Blood On The Leaves

It’s sad that a young man’s life had to be sacrificed for a conversation on a national level to arise. Just the other day, I stated: “There’s no point of celebrating a Black President if he doesn’t use his candidacy to spark a national discussion on race. Now is the time!” Unbeknownst to me, as soon as I voiced it, President Obama was giving his first address post-verdict. I spoke truth to power and called it forth. Timing is everything and juju is real.

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Though I have not been a fan of Obama, so far, what he said was really important. It was the first time he addressed what it means to be a Black man in America, which if there’s going to be any point to having an African President—at this point—that would be it. This is the first time any President has done this in U.S. history, and it carries more weight because he’s coming from the perspective of a person who has lived the life of a Black American male with Black American experiences.

I give President Obama a one-hand clap for addressing Blackness. Now let’s pray that he addresses the real issue in America: Whiteness. 

Fear Of A Black Planet

But it can’t end there. The President is only as good as the people he represents. If we’re not willing to take a stand for justice in our daily lives, we certainly can’t expect him to. We have to literally force him to speak for us, which is what gave voice to his briefing on race. He must peacefully be forced to act on behalf of the people. Greatness is more often a byproduct of peer pressure than it is a birthright. A good example of this is the Harlem Renaissance.

When the bar is set high, you have to be great to even matter. 

We have a real opportunity to gain the kind of leverage needed to matter in this country, but without building a nation, we’ll have no voice.

I implore every member of the Black community to use its collective strength in the edification of a Black Nation within the United States of America.

#BAM

— Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop

Unlocking The Mystery Of Hyphenated Racism

There’s been a relatively new phenomenon in White supremacist culture, who the neophyte within has come to identify as hyphenated racism. To stay viable post-Civil Rights, Whiteness has had to change its face. Gone are the days of overt acts of Black hatred. The racism of today mostly lives in the realms of semantics. Virtually no one is racist today. Even a Ku Klux Klan member will distance themselves from racism. Today you’ll hear them say things like, “I’m not racist, but shout out to (insert name here) for killing that Nigger.”

Racism isn’t cool anymore. It’s more dated than the high-five. Even the most bigoted people in our society will distance themselves from that association, and they would be somewhat justified in their claim. You see, racism is never the act of one individual. It is a collective construct, which requires the cooperation of a body of participants in order to be effective. In order to be racist, you must be able to dominate people of other races on the basis of politics, economics and education. No one person is capable of injecting racism in a situation—thus the claim—no one is racist.

Monkey Business

The only people who are dumb enough to cop to being a racist are the type who have the least to gain from the identification, otherwise known as Middle Americans, and even they tread lightly. Besides, we haven’t seen these folks in the media since the Golden Era of talk shows when they were frequently featured on shows like Donahue, Geraldo, and Oprah—who has since become White, middle-aged Americans’ Black nanny.

The new secret handshake amongst racists is the Constitution. The truth is: Since it went into affect, the Constitution has always been the manifesto of oppression in this country. Racists figured out 50 years ago that there’s no need to self-identify when it’s been written into the document that governs this system. If there’s ever a need to evoke more racism in this country, one simply has to add or repeal amendments.

Long ago, there was a more rigid definition of Whiteness. Jews who were white couldn’t belong. The Polish, Irish, Italians and other Eastern Europeans were also not allowed to be in the club. When racism started to lose more followers, those who were once regarded as second-class citizens were granted access. The new rule became: As long as you’re white, you’re alright.

White Chicks and All That Jazz . . .

whitechicksOvert racism has had to endure a lot of blows over the last century. The beginning of its demise can be traced back to when this new, sexy, Black music was developed in New Orleans that the White man quickly commodified and called, “JAZZ.” Seeing as how insecure this made White men feel to see their most precious asset next to money—White Chicks—go crazy over the Black men who created this art form, they hastily crowned Paul WhiteMan the “King.” When the Jazz Age waned, Swing was the new thing and its King, Benny Goodman.

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It was around this time that Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, began his crusade on making marijuana illegal. His biggest contention: “Reefer makes Darkies think they’re as good as White men.”

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“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

- Harry J. Anslinger

An interesting thing happened during World War II, partly due to the recording ban of 1942 – 1944, which opened a space for Black musicians to be less entertainment oriented. A new underground expression was unearthed, and its chief architect was Charlie “Yardbird” Parker. Bebop was born and the group of counterculture White kids that followed became known as The Beat Generation.

This trend of White youth adopting Black culture continued with the hippies of the ’60s, during the disco era in the ’70s, whomever Michael Jackson and Prince converted in the ’80s, and in the Golden Era of Hiphop in the ’90s. Likewise the trend continued of placing White icons at the top to distract White Chicks from lusting after Black men, be it in the form of Rock and Roll’s Elvis or The Beatles, disco’s Bee Gees, R&B’s George Michael, or Hiphop’s Vanilla Ice and Eminem.

The Race To The Finish Line

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Now that they’ve exhausted all possible demographics of white skin, they must turn to people of color. As racism becomes more covert, so must their front-runners. They make great scapegoats for the post-race ideology. In the current lineup are guys like Barack Obama—basically a White, Liberal in blackface, or Bobby Jindal. The most prominent member of the clan in the media at the moment is George Zimmerman.

Because he’s of half-Peruvian descent, he blurs the line. They can now say that he didn’t racially profile Trayvon because he’s a person of color. He can’t be racist. This is true, but neither is Don West, Mark O’Mara or the jurors. No individual is racist. They don’t have to be; the coding is built into the Constitution. All you have to do is say that, by law, Zimmerman was justified in killing Trayvon if at any point he feared his life was in danger and it makes it cool to murder a Black child.

Dad Killed It: Modern Day Lynch Mob

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The defense sold the narrative that Trayvon struck the first blow and the jury bought it—even though there is no evidence to support this theory. The bloody picture that was presented in the case doesn’t prove that. For all we know, those were self inflicted wounds, which I’m inclined to believe because there’s no way after Zimmerman’s head was allegedly banged on cement 25+ times, by his testimony, that the result was those two little scrapes.

Had they done a proper investigation, they may have found that there was none of Trayvon’s DNA on Zimmerman’s mouth and nose, an area he claimed Trayvon was brutalizing. Proper measures weren’t taken at the outset because it’s automatically assumed that the young, Black “thug” got what was coming to him.

Theme from The “Assfault” Jungle

And even if Trayvon did strike the first blow, why didn’t he have the right not to retreat and evoke the “Stand Your Ground” law? Is it not plausible that he, too, was in fear of his life that night? Sadly, Trayvon was cursed from the day he was born. In America, the act of waking up Black is a crime. To be of African descent, is to be marginalized, politicized, and criminalized. And as a result, anything in your reach becomes a weapon—even the pavement.

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In America—under the feet of a non-Black man—a sidewalk is just a sidewalk, but in the hands of a Black man, that same concrete is distorted into a murderous weapon.

It’s not people who are racists, it’s the policies.

#BAM

- Nicholas Payton

FREE WISDOM: The Solution To Ending Black Oppression In America (in one, short blog post)

So y’all gon’ sign a petition to ask the system to bring civil charges against the same murderer the system freed? Y’all a trip. Y’all just not gon’ learn, are ya? You’re asking the same unjust system the same question we’ve been asking since we got off the boat, hoping for a different result. Stop asking White America for justice, Black people, and design your own America by choosing where you spend your Black dollars.

“It is not the prosecutors’, the jurors’, or Florida’s fault. Onus is on Black America to make itself impervious to injustice. Look within.”

- Nicholas Payton

You don’t have to dethrone the King. You don’t have to brandish weapons. No need to riot or burn your neighborhoods down. You don’t have to try to dismantle White supremacy and oppression. As a Black person, that’s not your job anyway. That’s up to White people—like Tim Wise and Michael Moore—to confer with their less enlightened constituents about.

On some level, ain’t none of us truly free until we all free. But the Black community has some internal work to do on itself that no one else can do for us.

You mustn’t suceed from the Union. You don’t have to build a Black Star Line ala Garvey to ship Negroes, en masse, back to Africa (which is just as colonized, if not more, than America). You don’t need to march on Washington or appeal to your political leaders.

The Stand Your Ground law is a diversion from the real issue: Race.

We shouldn’t have to ask anyone else to respect us. What we need to do is respect ourselves. Once that happens, everyone will have no choice but to respect us. Respect is rarely given; it’s hard earned.

Economic self-sufficiency equals power, and until Black America reestablishes that—as we once had and used in the ’60s—we will not gain political leverage. As they say, “Money talks, bullshit walks.”

Buying Skittles and Arizona beverages is not a symbolic gesture, it’s just perpetuating the same structure that serves to oppress you. I’m willing to bet some capitalist pig manufactured that hoodie you’re wearing.

So if you need the Cliff Notes version, here’s the solution in under 140 characters:

Support Black culture, build Black businesses, and buy Black.

Problem solved.

#BAM

- Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop

Black America : You Built It, But This is NOT Your Country

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The Zimmerman verdict is no news. It is business as usual. You can march in the streets. You can make signs. You can blackout your social media avi. You can boycott Florida, yet the other 49 states are just as racist. You can take it to the ballot box, if you’re not a victim of voter suppression, that is. You can wear hoodies, make political memes with Skittles and tweet, “#IamTravon,” but it will change nothing.

Like any other group that navigates the U.S. with any degree of success, you have to create your own America, and the only way to do that is to economically empower your own community.

Stop waiting to be recognized.

Stop vying for validation.

Stop asking for your freedom.

No one willfully gives up power. It must be taken forcefully. Violently. And I don’t condone violence.

Free yourself. Build your own businesses and support your brothers and sisters who are doing the same. We are far behind the pack when it comes to that.

A bullet to the heart is an extreme example of the dreams that are silently killed off daily in the Black community. The seeds of African justice have yet to take root in American soil. Don’t wait for a magic genie to grant you 3 wishes or that Pick 3 lotto ticket to pay off. Do the work required to build a better future for successive generations.

Right now, Black America has more access to riches than ever, but also has less control over its culture than we did 50 years ago, and perhaps since we’ve been freed from chattel slavery. Individual income amounts to nothing if you don’t use it to establish wealth for your people. What do we do with what we have? Produce shows like Basketball Wives, Love & Hiphop, and R&B Divas. Like there aren’t enough stereotypes in the media, so we have to reinforce our own?

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The empires that we’ve built like Motown, BET and Essence are now part of the oppressive corporate structure. To top it off, some of the moguls who sold their companies off to Mainstream America have nerve to complain that the legacies they’ve built are now being tarnished. What do you expect? It’s foolish to think others will look after yours like you do.

We’re all brothers and sisters out here, but Black folks need to readopt their pre-Civil Rights mindset. We need to establish our own systems within the system and quit hoping things will change from the outside in.

To those who have been misled into believing we’ve advanced: We have not. We are regressing, and if we don’t do better, things will only get worse. Quit lying to yourselves because it sounds cute, and get involved.

It is not the prosecutors’, the jurors’, or Florida’s fault. Onus is on Black America to make itself impervious to injustice.

Black autonomy is the only way out. Stop waiting for shit to happen.

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#BAM

- Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop

American Progress and The Zimmerman Trial . . .

“I thought with the ancient Romans, that it was right never to cede any land or boundary of the republic, but always to add to it by honorable treaty, thus extending the area of freedom.”

-Andrew Jackson

Excuse me, Mr. Jackson, but whose freedom?

I’m no lawyer, but this case is simpler than what it’s made out to be. None of this would even be a discussion if Zimmerman would have stayed in his vehicle and let the authorities do their job. Is there really anything else that needs to be understood? Far as I’m concerned, the case is being obscured by all this testimony about things like who’s screaming on the 9-1-1 call and Trayvon’s alleged marijuana use.

Providence

This did not have to happen. Trayvon’s murder was unnecessary and 100% preventable.

Whether or not Zimmerman was in good shape or had the ability or right to defend himself is a diversion from the issue. He wouldn’t have had to “defend” himself from the alleged ass-whooping had he not stalked Trayvon. He is not legally authorized to question or follow anyone, regardless of how suspicious they may seem to him. It’s Neighborhood Watch, not Neighborhood Pursuit. So, bringing in fitness trainers and martial arts experts whom Zimmerman sought out for instruction to vouch on his behalf as being out of shape and a poor student means nothing. If anything, it weighs against him, as it is typically spineless, fearful people who commit murders. It’s an easy way out.

Manifest Destiny

This case just confirms the American narrative that it’s still OK to hunt down Negroes. The U.S.A. has been this way since Day One. Black Americans are not citizens. We are not human in the eyes of the law. We are property of the State. Once you understand that, everything else makes sense. So why should it be any different in the case of Trayvon?

“Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

-Psalms 2:8

American Progress

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One woman’s Puritan is another woman’s slave owner. One man’s terrorist is another man’s President. They bible — and I do mean theirs — was used to justify the uprooting, chattel enslavement and killing of Africans for centuries. Some of the most heinous crimes are committed in the name of God.

“America has cultivated the mindset that there is no value to a Black life, whatsoever, and no amount of policy will ever be able to fix that.”

-Nicholas Payton

Black people need to start taking better care of each other—socially, politically, economically, mentally, emotionally and otherwise.

As far as intent, no one scours a neighborhood toting a gun unless they plan on using it.

BLACK PEOPLE: From the way this trial is unfolding, I’m convinced that a desired end for some is a race war. Don’t take the bait.

#BAM

- NIcholas Payton

Much love to Trayvon’s family who have exhibited an extraordinary sense of courage, faith, and poise throughout this trial.