Sunday, January 30, 2011

Black History: The Lost Episodes

Black History: The Lost Episodes

Paul Scott




Black History Month is like one of those cheesy 80's sitcom reruns. Even though you know every punch line, word for word, you, somehow, find your eyes glued to the tube every time it comes on. The Black History Show opens with slaves picking cotton and singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" before being "freed" by Honest Abe Lincoln. Then a black seamstress will sit in the front of a bus, a black scientist will get milk from a peanut and a black southern preacher will lead them on a merry march to the Promised Land. Finally, a multi-racial choir will sing "We Shall Overcome" as the closing credits roll, thanking white owned corporations with questionable hiring practices for sponsoring the program.

Every year, we are programmed to death with the same stories during Black History Month. There will be the obligatory stories about Frederick Douglas, Rosa Parks , Rev. Martin Luther King Jr and some inventor or entertainer who died broke after making millions of dollars for a white owned company. Surely, there has to be more to the black experience than that!

Contrary to popular belief, Black people did have a history before they were "discovered" by European explorers. Although, they have been ripped from the pages of history books, there existed mighty civilizations in Africa before "Europe" even existed. Scholars such as Dr. Anthony Browder, George GM James and Dr. Yusef ben Jochannan have done extensive research on the subject but because their scholarship did not conform to traditional western propaganda that promotes the idea that anything worth having came out of Europe, their works have been, largely, ignored.

As Dr. WEB Dubois wrote in his essay "The Souls of White Folk," " Europe has never produced and never will in our day bring forth a single human soul who cannot be matched and over matched in every line of human endeavor by Asia and Africa."

Even when such fan favorites such as Douglas and King are mentioned, their images are white washed, so we are left with a Frederick Douglas who never questioned the black celebration of Independence Day and a Martin Luther King who never questioned the war in Vietnam.

Also, although much of the attention is paid to the lead characters of black History, little attention is given to the supporting cast of thousands. There are hundreds of heroes and heroines that are never discussed because they dared to veer off script that promotes black intellectual, inferiority. How many people know about Imhotep, who, according to historian J A Rogers, was "the real father of medicine" or Marcus Garvey, who led the largest black movement in American history.

The blatant disregard for black history is becoming increasing problematic on two fronts.

First, it has allowed many black youth, who were denied the truth about their history, to develop a Hip Hop pseudo-history that replaces "revolutionaries" with rappers.

Secondly it has allowed nouveau, revisionist historians to create an American fantasy land where legalized slavery was never sanctioned by the US Constitution, Jim in Huckleberry Finn was never called the dreaded "n" word and right wing pundit Glen Beck is the legitimate heir to the Martin Luther King's throne.

So the challenge before us in 2011 is to find a way to change the channel and present a new, high definition picture of Black History. How do we show the real black experience without corporate, commercial interruption?

The answer is, literally, in the palm of our hands. We use social media to show the world the lost episodes of Black History. Everyday during February we should use our ipads, iphones and lap tops to post information about black history on Youtube, Facebook etc. And not just the PC fluff that we get every year. We need the (Malcolm) X- rated stuff too. Whether it be stories about ancient African civilizations, unsung African American leaders or those members of our own families who have made positive contributions to society, we must seize the time and become the executive producers of our own history.

As Malcolm X once said, "of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research."

In this case, the prize is not an Emmy nor an Oscar but a proud history to be passed down to future generations.

Paul Scott is a minister, activist and writer based in Durham NC He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or info@nowarningshotsfired.com . His blog is No Warning Shots Fired.com

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Exposin' the Hip Hop Hood Hoax

Exposin' the Hip Hop Hood Hoax

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott




"Mental pictures, stereotypes and fake history reinforces mystery."

Why is that ? Boogie Down Productions





From birth ,we are taught to believe myths. We start off believing fables about tooth fairies and an old fat dude in a red suit ridin' around the hood in a red sleigh pulled by a red nosed reindeer. As we grow older and enter the mis-educational system, we are indoctrinated by stories about a lost sailor named Chris "discovering" America and an "honest" opportunist named Abe "freeing the slaves." We are also programmed to believe the urban legend that the Hip Hop of today comes out of the hood.

It may come as a shock for some but the Hip Hop that is played on the radio today owes more to the campus of Harvard than it does the streets of Harlem . Most Hip Hop fans can recite, verbatim, the often parroted propaganda about how Hip Hop started in the parks of the Bronx in the late 70's and went on to become the global enterprise that it is today. Like most myths, there is a shred of truth in this hype, however, the whole truth is hidden from the masses.

One flip through the pages of books like "The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip Hop" by Dan Charnas and one sees how quickly the focus on Grandmaster Flash spinin' in the Bronx switches to stories about Maury, the mild mannered accountant thinking of a master plan to have his multi- national company exploit the talents of "ghetto" youth.

Contrary to the popular belief that commercial Hip Hop is the brainchild of mix masters in the 'hood , in reality, much of the credit goes to the masterminds at Ivy League schools.

While it is, indeed, true that Hip Hop originated in the Big Apple, the moment that "Rapper's Delight" was played outside of the five boroughs, the corporate takeover of Hip Hop began. Later, as interest in Hip Hop spread throughout the world, the people who were largely responsible for defining what Hip Hop is or is not were not the neighborhood scribes but Ivy League brainiacs who interpreted the street lingo of the Chocolate cities for the Vanilla suburbs. Although, rap is promoted as being the voice of the streets, it is interesting that the founders of Hip Hop's premier magazine , the Source, Dave Mays and Jon Schector, as well as early members of "The Mind Squad" formed the magazine while they were students at Harvard during the late '80's.

Also, in 1993, Keith Clinkscales, who received an MBA from Harvard Business School, was named CEO of Vibe Magazine. It was under his watch that the magazine heavily promoted the East Coast/West Coast Beef that resulted in the deaths of Tupac Shakur, Notorious BIG and many others. Which adds to the theory that all the "Hip Hop" beefs are just a part of a diabolical marketing scheme to sell cd's.

Also, although rappers such as Waka Flocka Flame have said in interviews that they purposely dumb down their lyrics to "keep it real" for their homies in the 'hood, according to a 2006 article in New York Magazine, one of the hottest producers at Bad Boy Records was Ryan Leslie who scored 1600 on his SAT, entered Harvard at 15 and graduated at 19 years old.

It must be noted that Harvard's connection to black music did not start with Hip Hop but goes back to the early 70's with "A Study of the Soul Music Environment" aka the Harvard Report. According to Yvonne Bynoe in her essay "Money, Power and Respect: A Critique of the Business of Rap Music, "the systematic colonization of Black music began in 1971 when Columbia Records commissioned the Harvard University Business School to conduct an investigation about how they should better benefit from soul music." Later, according to a May 1996 article in the Harvard Gazette, a more Hip Hop version of the study, the "Harvard Report on Urban Music" was compiled by the Harvard Consultation Project.

Besides the money aspect, Hip Hop's influence on the minds of our youth and the strange behavior of some artists cannot be denied.

Ironically, Harvard is also famous for experiments in mind control. Dr. Timothy Leary, a professor in Harvard's Center for Research in Personality, in the early 60's conducted mind control experiments involving psychedelic drugs. According to Alex Constantine in his book "The Covert War Against Rock" Adophus Huxley, a visiting professor at Harvard asked Leary to "form a secret society to launch and lead a psychedelic conspiracy to brainwash influential people."

Although Harvard has produced some of the most influential African Americans in this country's history including scholar WEB Dubois, who was one of the founders of the NAACP , Soledad O'Brien, host of CNN's series "Black in America" and President Barack and Michelle Obama, the institution has also been affiliated with some who believed that Black folks are genetically, intellectually inferior to Whites. William Shockley received his PhD from Harvard and Arthur Jensen's "How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?" was published in the 1969 Harvard Educational Review. Also, "The Bell Curve," a 1994 book that also questioned the intelligence of African Americans was co-authored by Harvard professor, Richard Herrnstein.

So, is it possible that the current "dumb down" movement in Hip Hop is a self full-filing prophesy orchestrated by those who will stop at nothing to prove a point?

That Harvard should produce those who feel that African people are inferior to Europeans should come as no surprise to those who have researched Harvard's dark hidden history. A February 1999, edition of the student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, reported that buried "deep within the annals of Harvard" there is a file HUD 3502 that reveals information about the Harvard chapter of the Ku Klux Klan that was formed in 1921.

Of course, there are some who will still believe the "Hip Hop hood myth" in the same manner that some people will fight you if you try to tell them that WWE wrestling is fake. No matter what, some Hip Hop heads will still be in denial.

Whether you want to believe it or not , the next hot rapper may not come out of the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn but from some top secret science project in a lab hidden away deep down in a basement in Harvard.



TRUTH Minista Paul Scott can be reached at info@nowarningshotsfired.com or (919) 451-8283.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dethroning a King

Dethroning a King:
The White Washing of Black History

Paul Scott


If the late Civil rights leader, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr was able to look down from Heaven at the numerous MLK Day memorial celebrations taking place across the country, I'm sure that he would have one question.

"Who are they talking about?"

Like many black historical icons,the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, has been victimized by revisionist pseudo-historians who take great liberty with the truth when discussing the life of this great man. . Although, he was assassinated over 40 years ago, every third Monday in January his legacy is murdered over and over again. The King who is glorified as the Prince of Peace bears little resemblance to the man who marched in cities from Mississippi to Illinois seeking socio-economic justice for African Americans.

It must be noted that while some Americans now wear the fact that they "marched with Dr. King" as a badge of honor, he was actually hated by many members of society both black and white, who thought that King's form of radical civil disobedience was moving America too fast.

Even those who initially supported his movement dropped him like a hot potato when he used his nonviolent philosophy in the context of opposition to the Vietnam War. Dr. King was considered the most dangerous man in America by FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, who launched a smear campaign to discredit King that plagued him until the end of his life.

It can be argued that many of the same corporations who are sponsoring MLK Day events and using his image to attract Black customers to their stores would themselves have been picketed by Dr. King if he were alive today. Also, even though many newspapers will devote a lot of ink towards the legacy of Dr. King, he would probably be considered persona non grada by today's newspapers, who would fear that giving the activist too much coverage may anger their advertisers.

While much attention is paid to his nonviolence "turn the other cheek" philosophy, in reality, Dr. King knew that the best way to hurt the rich and shameless person was not to hit them in their heads but in their wallets.Most Americans do not know that according to Kennth O'Reilly in his book "Black Americans: The FBI Files" at the time of his death, King was planning a Poor People's March which would have pressured the government to spend more money social programs. This surely did not sit well with the conservatives at the time who argued for smaller government.

It must also be noted that, while many churches in America will be singing "We Shall Overcome" during their morning services in honor of Dr. King, he was often criticized by his more conservative colleagues in the ministry. In his book "Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65, historian Taylor Branch wrote that King was once "excommunicated" from the National Baptist Convention by the former head of the organization, Rev. J H Jackson.

Perhaps, the greatest myth that has been perpetuated regarding Dr. King was that his whole mission can be summed up in the "I have a Dream Speech, where he prophesied that " the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down at the table of brotherhood." While this is the stuff that makes for good Hallmark greeting cards, it does not capture King's idea of race relations in its totality.

In his later years, undoubtedly effected by the growing militancy of black youth in America following the Watts Riot, as well as the activism of rival leaders such as Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) and Malcolm X, King was beginning to sound more like a Black nationalist than a staunch intergrationist.

Although , most people only remember the part of his last speech delivered on April 3, 1968, where he emotionally said that he had "been to the mountain top," in the same speech he not only called for economic sanctions against Coca Cola and Wonder Bread but also asked African Americans in Memphis Tennessee to take their savings out of the white owned banks and put them in black ones. Also, according to Dr. Devin Fergus in his work "Liberalism, Black Power and the Making of American Politics 1965-1980, the day of his assassination, King met with a gang called The Invaders, "a group patterned after the Black Panther Party" in order to "help the group secure funding for community programs."

If we truly want to celebrate the life of Dr. King, we must call for an end to revisionist history. Recent attempts to sanitize American history from the removal of the dreaded "n" word from Huckleberry Finn nor deleting references to slaver when reading the Constitution of the United States will move us forward as a nation. America must face the ghost of her past or forever be haunted by it.

As Dr. King said "truth crushed to the Earth, will rise again."

Paul Scott is a minister, writer and activist based in Durham NC. His blog is No Warning Shots Fired.com

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Haters for Hire

Haters for Hire:
Understanding Racism for Ratings

Paul Scott


It all started when, while standing in the checkout line at Community Foods Supermarket, Mike White told a joke that he heard on the local right wing radio morning show. However, Rasheed Blackmon, who was in line behind him was not amused. The simple off-color joke led to a racial slug-fest, as customers throughout the store began clubbing each other with frozen pizzas and boxes of Twinkies.The radio station finally got what they had been pushing for; a race riot on aisle five of the local grocery store...

Since the last presidential election, there has been a growing interest in right wing shock jocks with new ones springing up like weeds everyday in markets across the country. Whether it be Clear Channel's Rush Radio affiliates or Fox News, the line between journalism and entertainment has been permanently blurred. What is passing for examples of intelligent racial discourse are merely cheap one-liners and the conservative equivalent of "yo' mama" jokes.

Racism for ratings has become the order of the day and stations are scrambling to hire their own stable of hired haters.

What is ironic is that I doubt very seriously that most of the pundits who spew the racist rhetoric actually feel that way when they are off the clock nor will they be able to defend their positions in public debates. They subscribe to the old saying, "I'm not a racist; I just play one on TV." For them the profits of racial rage are strictly business, nothing personal.

Unfortunately, if you follow the right wing rhetoric to its logical conclusion, eventually some one's gonna get hurt and it's not going to be one of the media moguls in an office building in downtown Manhattan nor one of the local haters-for-hire hidden away in a DJ booth in some undisclosed location, it's going to be one of your friends or neighbors. After the racial Apocalypse, the head honchos at corporate will just put the racial rebel rousers in their Clear Channel Radio Host Protection Program, change their identities and ship them off to some unsuspecting town in Idaho where they will start the same mayhem over again, while leaving their former city of employment in shambles.

While many will be quick to blame the messenger, it must be noted that as early as the 18th century, Thomas Jefferson warned that if America did not get its collective act together in terms of race relations, according to Bradford Chambers in his book "Chronicles of Black Protests," he foresaw a race war and the "extermination of the one or the other race."

You have folks on both sides of the political gulf that take what they hear on Fox News and conservative radio as the Gospel, a reflection of how the average white American feels about people of color. However, just as the Hip Hop videos on Black Entertainment Television do not reflect the lifestyle choices of all African Americans, neither does Fox News reflect the racial attitudes of all whites.

According to WEB Dubois in his book, "Black Reconstruction in America, " in 1860 only 7% of the total population of the South owned nearly three million of the 3,953,676 slaves. These were the members of the "planter class" who controlled the politics and economics of the southern states. Dubois wrote that the propagation of the doctrine of black inferiority was based on the interests of this planter class by which the majority of the population (poor whites) were manipulated. In modern society, the planter class would be the media moguls and their prophets of rage, while the poor whites would be the majority of their listeners.

One of the reasons why this trend continues is that most Americans have a very lackadaisical attitude when it comes to historical research. It is easier to listen to some bigot on the radio and just parrot right wing talking points than it is to engage in a critical analysis of the race problem. Plus, it's more entertaining to watch Glenn Beck go off one one of his tirades than it is to sit down and read a book. Let's face it, the Right's theater of the absurd sells out every night.

Also, we live in an area where the local newspapers would rather pretend that by ignoring racial issues they will eventually disappear. Racial issues will not make the morning paper until two days after blood is flowing waist high in the streets,evidence of the old adage "if it bleeds, it leads."

This is not without precedent, as back in 2004, Kentucky's Lexington Herald Leader admitted that the paper "neglected to cover the Civil Rights Movement." Maybe this is why paper's like Durham's Herald Sun have not really explored the race issue, instead, relegating discussions on race to community message boards, the journalistic equivalent of back alley discussions, instead of the actual newspaper.

It must be noted that it was the articles that originated from No Warning Shots Fired.com and not the Herald Sun that have produced some of the most thoughtful dialogue on race relations over the last year. Nor should it be overlooked that the articles that were posted courtesy of No Warning Shots Fired have, consistently ,generated more web hits than all the Herald Sun's staff columnists combined, indicating that there is a desire in this community to have an open and honest discussion on race based on facts and not sophomoric name calling.

Nationally, this has been a long hot summer in regards to the topic of race in America and with the upcoming mid-term elections, you can bet that the heat of the summer will bleed into the fall.

While the media gatekeepers are cashing in on the racial hatred, folks like you and I are just pawns in the game.


***Originally published 8/8/10****

Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots Fired.com. He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or info@nowarningshotsfired.com