Within the Black community, during our struggle against the most unjust, horrible social system that has ever been created in history, there have been many people who have attempted to position themselves as “leaders” who appear among us, and attempt to step out in front to work on behalf of Black people. There have been some who can be counted as legitimate leaders, who by all appearances truly have the best interest of Black people at heart. But then there are the misleaders, who can be described as fraudulent, unscrupulous, sociopathic shysters, who use Black people’s sincere and conscious’ desperation to either eliminate or escape a system designed to destroy and slaughter us as a means to enrich themselves financially, feed their massive, ravenous egos, procure sex from starry eyed people who follow them, and to create some sort of brand or cult of personality around them. Unfortunately, there are many people among us who understand certain aspects of the psychology of Black people, and try to exploit it for their own personal gain. But the one thing that they understand about Black people that is very apparent and that they use to their advantage the most; Black people are suckers for charismatic speakers who position themselves as leaders.
On one hand, let us use the example of Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. Elijah Muhammad, who aside from his alleged faults, was a fountain of wisdom and knowledge that he would impart upon his followers, and to Black people in general to elevate Black people from our pitiful condition. This was of special benefit to the more downtrodden segment of the Black community that his organization, the Nation of Islam, focused on “waking up, cleaning up and standing up”. But Mr. Muhammad was unfortunately not the most captivating stage presence or speaker, so he decided to use Malcolm X, an extraordinarily charismatic personality, a dynamic speaker, and fortunately a very honorable Black man to promote the Nation of Islam to Black people, to great effect. But on the more negative side, charismatic speechifying is also the way that charlatans who push poisonous ideas like white Jesus, and all other manners of toxic anti-Blackness, confusion and degeneracy, can gain such a foothold on the hearts, and the emotional part of the minds of Black people. These types appear in many fields and from all areas of people activity. But the most prominent of these types in the Black community come from the fields of religion, politics, and entertainment. In the modern world, this also includes the internet, as I consider many of the people with huge online followings whose methods are to reach Black people on platforms such as YouTube as entertainers first and foremost.
Many Black people’s irrational love for speechifying is one of the main reasons why for instance, a once very popular (now deceased) Black preacher and peddler of the poisonous concept of white Jesus as I prefer to refer to those of his ilk, can be involved in a sex scandal involving homosexual liaisons with much younger, barely legal men, and still have adoring throngs of people every Sunday, fully aware of the charges, as well as the out of court settlements, which could easily be seen as an admission of guilt, still unquestioningly hanging on to his every word. It’s the reason why a very charismatic yet relatively unknown Senator named Barack Obama, a biracial man primarily raised in a non-Black environment by whites, yet who is accepted as Black by most, can ascend to what is referred to as the highest office in the land, with the help of almost every Black person eligible to vote. This was done primarily through showing an affable, likable personality, and delivering lively, seemingly powerful yet ultimately empty speeches which feature promises of change and hope to a people desperate for change and hope. But once he got into office, he did almost everything for everyone except the people who most strongly supported him, Black people, whom he essentially ignored, and still enjoys the support of the overwhelming majority of Black people. This is nothing but personality worship, which is a huge problem in our community, and an impediment to true Black empowerment.
Personality worship is extremely dangerous for Black people because many times Black people conscientiously and deliberately overlook troubling details about a popular persons ideology, platform, record of producing in service of Black people or lack thereof, and overall morality, simply because we like the person so much. We put personality over principle. And not having principles and not sticking by said principles solidly is a fundamental flaw in any person, group and in this case race. Again, let’s use former President Obama as an example. This is a man who had over 90% of all eligible Black people vote for him, but says when asked to do something specifically for Black people, which you would think would be a given seeing that he is “bi-racial” and is considered to be Black by many, says “I’m not the president of Black America, I’m the president for all of America”. But on the other hand, he went out on a limb to do things for people with alternative, some would say degenerate sexual lifestyles, lifestyles that until recently most Black people were resolutely against and have been throughout history, as well as groups of non-Blacks who were brought to America to economically undermine Black people with a fervor that many Black people who voted for him expected to receive for ourselves. He made it easy and comfortable for people whose only reason for being in America is to displace and exploit Black people from an economic and labor perspective (so-called other people of color, many of whom only use that term to receive some of the benefits that were supposed to be for the descendants of enslaved Afrikans who built Amerikkka) to come and do exactly that.
Any Black person with a semblance of sanity and intelligence can see and admit that these things among other things, were extremely detrimental to Black people. I’ve even had some fervent Obama supporters admit that these things were troubling for them. Yet they refused to stop supporting him or even voice any negative opinion at all even to this day, simply because they just “like him”. They liked the idea of seeing the image of a man with visible Afrikan ancestry, with a Black wife and children in the white house. I’ve even heard utterly ridiculous reasons for liking him which are too silly for this article (although the people giving these reasons were serious). The Obama-era is one of the biggest examples of putting personality over principles, and the disastrous results of doing so are readily apparent to those who are honest and observant. Now with a suspected racist/white supremacist with clear white nationalist leanings in office as President, and with nothing to show for 8 years of the Obama era, Black people are in as precarious of a position as we’ve ever been since the end of our chattel enslavement. The point is, the cult of personality worship is something that Black people need to drop, and quick, if we want to achieve our goal of liberation.
It must be principles over personality. Personalities are flawed, especially considering the damage that has been done to Black people under the system of racism/white supremacy. None of us are perfect, most of us have “dirt on us”, and very, very few of us are fit to credibly play that perfect leader, savior role that many Black people are on the eternal search for. But principles will always stand, and they must be our ultimate guide. It is on this subject that the cliché “If you stand for nothing, then you’ll fall for anything” is proven to be true. I believe that if Black people stay on our “cosmic assignment”, as the great Dr. Frances Cress-Welsing refers to it, and stay loyal to the principles of Black empowerment, liberation and the elimination of racism/white supremacy primarily if not exclusively, then the “sky is the limit” for Black people. This war can be won, and the system can be destroyed. What was built by humans can just as well be destroyed by humans. But as long as Black people refuse to define clearly what is correct for ourselves, our families/care units, and our people, and stick resolutely to those principles, rather than just following and adopting what individual people say and do, people who may not have the best interest of Black people in their minds and hearts, or some that actually may but are just too flawed to use as an example of who or what to be, simply because they are popular and likable or it is fashionable to do so, then we will keep falling for anything.
Osei, 21st Century Race Man