Contrary to popular belief, Black Nationalism is not Black supremacy. Rather, the philosophy of Black Nationalism sought/seeks to re-educate the Black masses in the importance of organizing our communities in a manner that allows for us to control the politics and economy, which greatly influences our social life. This meant/means controlling our own businesses and developing them into industry enough to create employment for ourselves. It meant/means keeping Black dollars in the Black community by patronizing Black businesses. This was the philosophy of Marcus Garvey; the philosophy of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad; the philosophy of Malcolm X; the philosophy of the Black Panther Party. Black Nationalism established institutional structures pertinent to the educational needs of Black America. It established progressive social and economic directives such as the Black Panther Ten Point Program and the Community Breakfast Programs that assured ghetto children around the nation a healthy meal; community policing programs to rid the Black community of drug dealers; and vanguards to deter police corruption and abuse.

However, we must understand the distinction between Black Power  (aka Black Nationalism) and Black Consciousness. Here, I relie on African Freedom Fighter Steve Biko’s analysis of the two. Undoubtedly, he has best articulated the objectives and, arguably, the shortcomings of the former in comparison to the gains of the latter.  

Biko: I think the end result or the goal of Black Power is fundamentally different from the goal of Black Consciousness… Black Power is the preparation of a group for participation in an already established society, a society which is essentially a majority society, and Black Power therefore in the States operates like a minority philosophy. Like, you have Jewish power, Italian power, Irish power and so on in the United States. The Black people are merely saying that it is high time that they are not used as pawns by other pressure groups operating in American society. They must themselves form themselves into a defined pressure group, because there were common problems with Black people in the United States, but essentially they accept that they are a minority group there, and when they speak of bargaining-you know, which word they use-they are talking within the American context of using the ballot box. They want to put up the kind of candidates they like and be able to support them using their block votes. So in that sense Black Power is a minority philosophy in the United States…. And the other thing which causes that: The American Black man is essentially, you know, he is accepted, he is truly American in many ways. You know, he has lived there for a long time. All he is saying is that “Man, I’m American, but you are not allowing me to live like an American here in America.” He has roots with Africa…but he does not reject his American-ness….
*     *     *     *
Conscientization is a process whereby individuals or groups living within a given social and political setting are made aware of their situation. The operative attitude here is not so much awareness of the physical sense of their situation, but much more their ability to assess and improve their own influence over themselves and their environment. Thus in the South African setting, for instance, it is not enough to be aware that one is living in a situation of oppression or residing in a segregated and probably inferior educational institution. One must if conscious be committed to the idea of getting himself out of the morass. One must be aware of the factors involved and dangers imminent in such an undertaking, but must always operate from the basic belief that he is in a struggle that must be seen through in spite of the dangers and difficulties. Thus then conscientization implies a desire to engage people in an emancipatory process, in attempt to free one from a situation of bondage. The framework within which we are working is that of Black Consciousness.

Excerpt from Ivan Kilgore’s book Domestic Genocide: The Institutionalization of Society. Friend him at Facebook/Ivan Kilgore.com. You can contact him directly at:

California State Prison Sacramento,
Ivan Kilgore, No. V31306, FB2-118,
P.O. Box 290066,
Represa, Ca 95671.
Email: domesticgenocide@hotmail.com.

Click on the link below and hear some truth talkin’. http://m.ustream.tv/recorded/42784923?rmalang=en_US

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