First and foremost I would like to give a hearty “rest in power”, and dedicate this article to the memory one of the greatest counter-racist, Afrocentric minds who ever lived, Dr. Frances Cress-Welsing (March 18, 1935 – January 2, 2016). Her seminal masterwork, the Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors, is without a doubt one of the most influential texts to me personally, as it was absolutely monumental in helping to remove some of the confusion about the system of racism/white supremacy that I contend is present in so many Black/Afrikan people, and that is so necessary and vital in the maintenance of said system. Her deliberate yet powerful way of delivering constructive information and wisdom is irreplaceable. Recently I took a listen to one of her over 20 appearances on a podcast called The C.O.W.S. (The Concept of White Supremacy). In this appearance, she expounded on a concept called Black Self Respect, a concept that she frequently references, which is present in her writings, and which she was the living embodiment of during her time on earth. It is a very simple concept, but like many things pertaining to the system of racism white supremacy, there is much more depth to be gleaned beneath the surface when thought deeply about.
The concept of Black Self Respect as I understand it and apply it simply refers to doing the appropriate thing at the appropriate time in reference to combating white supremacists and the system of racism/white supremacy as an institution, and replacing it with justice, relating to other Black people in the most constructive and wholesome spirit possible, carrying yourself with honesty and authenticity, and always presenting yourself and other Black people in the best possible light at all times. It is the complete opposite to the concept of “inappropriate behavior” that Dr. Claude Anderson speaks about, in which Black people often act, think and speak illogically and self-destructively (racially and personally) as a matter of our conditioning. This concept seems so simple and obvious as to become trite and redundant. I mean, how would it be logical to behave in any other fashion, but in the fashion that is appropriate for opposing a system that was created to squeeze the life out of Black people, dominating and subjugating us in the most unjust way possible? But within the simplicity of the concept lie its novelty, and its ultimate constructive utility to Black people.
It is in the best interest for the whites who have been identified as either suspected or confirmed white supremacists for Black people to be as confused and illogical as possible, and to always think, speak and act in a way that serves to maintain the system of racism/white supremacy. Therefore the goal is for Black/Afrikan people to exhibit as little Black Self Respect as possible at all times. And there are many distractions and lies about ourselves and our enemies set up by our enemies themselves, that we are constantly conditioned to believe, that serve to at the very least lead us in this disastrous direction. The concept of Black Self Respect, if practiced widely among Black people, could possibly serve as a panacea to what I consider one of the biggest internal issues that Black people face as a people, which is internal anti-Blackness. Due to the constant cultural conditioning and indoctrination by the system of racism/white supremacy, intra-racial relations between Black people have been poisoned to extreme levels. I assert that this stems from one main factor. It is is the constant anti-Black cultural poisoning by the white supremacists, in which I contest that the media (the propaganda arm of racism/white supremacy) is the biggest culprit in producing, maintaining and refining. This factor often leads to the observation of and participation in conditioned toxic cultural behavior by other Black people, whether through the media, in our day to day lives, or both.
Due to confusion of the impact that the system of racism/white supremacy has had on the Black mind, body and soul, this behavior is often viewed out of context, which is badly needed to understand the “what’s” and the “why’s”, that are so important in understanding, so that we can alleviate some of the necessary confusion that the system of white supremacy causes. Intra-racial relations between Black people is often so toxic, that Neely Fuller often says that Black people should stop socializing “for the hell of it”, and avoid each other if there is no constructive reason for doing so (constructive I believe in this context refers to producing, working on, or discussing something that is of constructive value as far as eliminating the system of racism/white supremacy). Even well-meaning Black people, who I believe in their hearts want to do the right thing in terms of eliminating the problem, and I must include myself in this, still carry around toxic levels of poison that they have not shook off, due to left over, and current, somewhat unavoidable exposure to Black toxic cultural elements that have been normalized as the way for Black people to relate to one another. Anyone who has experience with some Black “conscious” organizations probably understands the dynamic that I am referring to. “If you swim in a sea of insanity, you’re bound to get wet”, indeed.
Black Self Respect is the best cure for this that I can possibly think of. Simply carrying yourself according to a strict code in terms of how you think, speak and act to, with and around other Black people, as well as the enemy, is in its own way a revolutionary act. We may think that it is irrelevant, but in reality by championing and exhibiting the concept of Black Self Respect as often as humanly possible, we are helping to change the paradigm, which is what is needed in order to combat the system of racism/white supremacy. Black Self Respect can show itself in the words spoken, constructive information given, or simple behavior toward fellow victims of racism/white supremacy or those who have earned the designation of “brother” and “sister”, regardless of their attitude or behavior toward you, whether brotherly or sisterly affection, or anti-Black hostility. It can also show itself in the way someone acts, speaks or thinks around the enemy, when confronted by race soldiers masquerading as law enforcement officers, in a work situation, or even when in a simple unavoidable social situation. Black Self Respect is a very intuitive concept, a concept that is within all Black people to uphold, exhibit and champion, given the correct training or social re-conditioning that may or may not be needed. It is a concept that could be a weapon used in our ever elusive liberation, and our quest to do what needs to be done, to correct the world’s biggest problem (racism/white supremacy) immediately.
Brother Osei, 21st Century Race Man