Published in Issue 478 of The Black Commentator on June 28, 2012
By Larry Pinkney

“You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”

– Malcolm X [el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz]

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

There was a time, not so long ago, when Black America collectively, was at the forefront of the struggle by everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people for social justice, peace, and economic equality in this nation and throughout our precious Mother Earth. What happened?

Why is there such a deafening silence from so many in Black America who seem to have somehow become deaf, dumb, and blind to the cries of pain from the increasingly poor and disenfranchised right here in this nation? What of the horrible screams of the babies, women and men (young and old alike) who have been (and are being) mercilessly pounded by U.S. bombs and deadly predator-drone missiles in Libya, north Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, etc? What has happened to the collective consciousness and conscience of Black America?

Have we forgotten the timely words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal?” Have we become so blind with patriotism and color pride that we have forgotten about principled integrity and the love of humanity as a whole? If we betray humanity, then we are in reality, betraying ourselves.

Black America! Where is our 21st century Harriet Tubman, our Rosa Parks, Lucy Parsons, Frederick Douglass, WEB Du Bois, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Paul Robeson, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Huey P. Newton, and countless others? We need them now as never before!

Why has it apparently become okay today for the U.S. military to recruit our young people in schools and at political and social gatherings to become cannon fodder for the U.S. Empire’s war machine? Why are so many of us failing to connect the dots between our own social and political oppression and economic austerity, and that of our Brown, Red, Yellow, and White sisters and brothers in this nation and throughout the world?

Systemic oppressors and gate keepers come in all colors and both genders, and if we fail to pay heed to this reality, we do so at our own peril. It is time to collectively regain our political principles and act accordingly. If we do not do so – then there is blood on our hands, and bloody hands are bloody hands – no matter what their pigmentation.

Black America! Let us not be cast in the ignoble historical position of Pontius Pilate of old. Let not the blood of everyday people here and abroad be on our hands. Let us redeem ourselves for ourselves and for humanity as a whole. Let us be principled and true once again!

Awaken! Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one. Onward, then, my sisters and brothers. Onward!…

Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities, Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. Pinkney is a former university instructor of political science and international relations, and his writings have been published in various places, including The Boston Globe, San Francisco BayView newspaper, Black Commentator, Intrepid Report, Global Research (Canada), LINKE ZEITUNG (Germany), 107Cowgate (Ireland and Scotland), and Mayihlome News (Azania/South Africa). For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book.)


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