Founder/CEO

Wednesday, September 28, 2016



The G.A.O.T.U.
The Grand Architects Of The Universe

*This appears in Chapter 11 "A.E.A.O.N.M.S vs. A.A.O.N.M.S" of my book Eyes Wide Shut: The Science of Secret Societies:

Since the late 1700's, 1784 to be exact, to this day, the legitimacy of Black Freemasonry and Shriners has been legally challenged by White Freemasons and Shriners on a State and Federal level here in America. In many cases these legal challenges were upheld in a court of law and these white Freemasons or Shriners were able to successfully get injunctions against blacks from using their constitution, names/titles, rituals, emblems, constitution and regalia publicaly or privately in what became commonly known among Freemasonry as black "clandestine" [fraudulent] masons, lodges and Shriner temples. For example, on June 3rd, 1929 the Texas Supreme Court decided that the Negro [Black] "Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of North and South America and its Jurisdictions" [A.E.A.O.N.M.S] were biting the White "Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America." Even though this suit began in 1918 in Texas, it had grown to restrain and prevent blacks from imitating white temples throughout the entire United States. It was eventually decreed by the court that the A.E.A.O.N.M.S were restrained from using their name, any other name or distinctive words which can be considered a colorable imitation of the [white] Shiners.  It was also decreed that blacks couldn't use the words "temple" or "shrine", wear or display as an insignia or emblems of membership of any society or organization, corporate or otherwise, any of the emblems, insignia, paraphernalia, badges, jewels or head-covering, etc., which can be considered a colorable imitation of the [white] Shiners.   Since [white] American Freemasons colonial beginning and their [white] Shriner 1872 inception, there are literally hundreds of legal cases against blacks who have strived to 'freely' set up their own lodges and temples or be 'accepted' into white lodges and temples; the irony of being Free and Accepted, huh? There are also various legal cases of black Freemasons and Shriners taking other black Freemasons and Shriners for the same damn reasons: check out the case of Prince Hall Grand Lodge vs. the John A. Bell Grand Lodge.

Yes many blacks argue that Prince Hall, a black Freemason did it first when he got permission to set up African Lodge No. 459 in North America via a charter from Fredrick, Duke of Cumberland, Grand Master of the Most Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Ancient Masons on September 29, 1784. This was prior to George Washington and his working class cronies getting a charter from England. Yeah I've even heard the argument that black Shriners technically did it first because white Shriners were only a voluntary 'unincorporated' association since the 1870's while blacks got legally incorporated in Illinois in 1893, then incorporated again after it was abandoned in 1901 as a fraternal and charitable association under the Act of Congress of May 5, 1870. I can see the legitimacy of these claims and the idea that whites don't possess the exclusive or superior right to use the constitution, names/titles, rituals, emblems, constitution and regalia of Freemasonry or Shriners. All of it is originally derived or falsified from first world people; the original fathers and mothers of civilization, and white Freemasons and Shriners cannot chronologically, genetically, geographically or archeologically stake claim to that. Yet it's also important to keep in mind that the legal courts these legitimacy cases are tried in, the color of law and their assessment that some of us seek validation from is the legal arm of a system and status quo that's dominantly controlled by whites. This control, in the form of nepotism and white privilege, has allowed America to historically and legally establish superior rights for some of its citizenry and an inferior status of Slavery, Indian Boarding Schools, Segregation, Japanese Internment Camps, Racial Profiling, Women's Suffrage and etc. for others. In other words, the same way you historically had people of color fighting, assimilating, imitating and trying to integrate to be acknowledged, validated and accepted by those sitting in a public judgment seat, you had people of color 'privately' fighting, assimilating and imitating and trying to integrate to be acknowledged, validated and accepted by those sitting in a private judgment seat. People seem to only talk about black people openly trying to integrate white movie theaters, hotels, restaurants, schools and etc. Naw, you also had a simultaneous secretive movement of black people trying to integrate white masonic lodges and various other exclusively white auxiliary organizations including the shrine. Here's the kicker: you oftentimes had various black leaders outwardly promoting segregation, black self reliance and presenting themselves as black nationalists who were already secret initiates or trying to be initiated into some masonic lodge or other auxiliary organization that's legally considered a colorable imitation of its white superior counterpart or beholden to a white superior governing body.

Learn more about this HERE!!
 

In this high time of #BlackLivesMatter activism and people of color positioning themselves to be socially conscious talking heads to bang on the system, all of this is very important to consider. Why? Because everybody is not who they say they are. This living contradiction amongst some people of color has been a consistent historical narrative here in America, or wherever you see colonialism around the globe. As a minority group in this capitalistic society, some of us measure success as individual accomplishment, how much money we can make and how high we can climb a social ladder and get close to those who print the capital and made the ladder. In the process, some of us, often secretly, join certain organizations, have certain associations, establish certain relationships and even change certain ideals in order to "so-called" be a part of the club. Don't get me wrong, ambition, having aspirations and setting goals is not negative in and of itself. There are many people I know who are doing very positive things personally and collectively. It's when people have no integrity or compromise their integrity to get money and ascend a social ladder when it becomes negative. At one point in time the black church, social clubs and Freemasonry were the only game in town. As much as was humanly possible, some of us used these platforms to do for self while striving to maintain our cultural integrity. Today, with the illusion of integration, many of these houses of worship, clubs and organizations are only a shell of their former self and holding people of color back more than healing and helping them. With the creation of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI), changes in the law of how nonprofit organizations can legally operate and the modification of bylaws and unspoken membership rules/regulations of certain organizations, people of color who are not striving to do for self are even more beholden to the legal arm of a system and status quo that's still dominantly controlled by whites. What do I propose? Definitely not the attitude some of us have that, "If we can't beat them, lets join them -and use what hookups they got to succeed or bring knowledge to the lodge or temple and make it better." I know brothers who joined the lodge or temple with those idealistic intentions only to realize after the fact that 1.) So-called hookups are limited to when, how and if they choose to hook.., you.. up and 2.) You're not going to walk in and change an institution and ideology that's beholden to a white Masonic and Shriner tradition that's formally been in tact for a combination of over 400 years.  If our goal is genuinely cultural freedom then we must make choices to remove the vices and entanglements to anything that's restricts our ability to live our culture free. This means we must not join any organizations, have associations, forge relationships and even change certain ideals that will get us more entangled. That's like saying we're striving to save money to buy a house and then turning around buying a new car with a lease that's crippling our pockets. That's backwards. Some entanglements are more difficult to remove than others. Some people are striving to be more entrepreneurial and work for themselves, those are the employment entanglements they're dealing with. Others are investing in solar paneling or live off of the grid. Still others may be fighting addiction while others are figuring out ways to create a homeschooling consortium for their community. Whatever those entanglements may be, the struggle to free ourselves from them is worth it, don't you think?
 
Peace,
Saladin

Wednesday, September 07, 2016



MOST Black Men...


     One of the surest ways to get blindsided by life is to start off with a wrong or false premise. A premise is the basis [foundation] of an argument or theory. For example, if I start off saying, "MOST women...", that is the wrong premise to argue from. It suggests that I know most women when I absolutely don't. Therefore, everything that concludes that wrong statement has more of a chance to be wrong too. Why? The foundation isn't solid. If you've ever witnessed a person start off with the wrong premise you may have also seen that conversation take a sharp detour to address the wrong premise before going any further. For example, before I could even go into talking about "MOST women" a critical thinker would first address the fact that I don't know most women to speak on them. Starting off wrong sets the tone for whatever else I have to say about women that has a high probability of being wrong too. At best, all I could say is "most women I know" -which sets the right premise and frames the conversation in the proper context. 


     What inspired this article are the countless false premises and arguments I see offline and on social media. While some false premises are deliberately made as clickbait, there are those who simply don't know how to soundly communicate their ideas. They may be well intended, and even have a valid point to make about their own personal experiences or observations, yet it all goes out of the window when they start off wrong. I once saw a Facebook post get so out of hand that it resulted in violence offline, all because of a wrong premise about how someone died.


     I recently had an online exchange with a black woman who shared a post of a white man being interviewed by a black woman on a South African News Station. Out of frustration of her questions, the white man walked off of the show and threatened her to the point he had to be escorted out of the building. The woman who posted this video captioned it, "This is how most black men treat black women now a days. It's pitiful" Upon seeing this I commented that at best all she could accurately say is, "most black men I know." Instead of considering the fundamental flaw in her statement her only response was "My mother always told me only a hit dog makes noise." The irony in this is she was literally talking to a black man who is not "MOST black men" she described. In fact, all of my colleagues are not like that. When faced with this scenario some people take pride in trying to convince someone like this otherwise. If it's a child who lacks the experience then I share with them some examples they can consider outside of their sphere of awareness. If it's an adult with no physical/mental impairments that limits their experience or sphere of awareness then I don't waste time trying to explain anything. This is an able-bodied adult who is ignorant by choice. Meaning, they choose to ignore new information and experience anything outside of their limited sphere of awareness. With this person it is only a matter of time before life shows them something otherwise. In this woman's case, who was single, she'll miss brothers like myself who don't fit into her conceptual prison house.


     As I said, many arguments start from the place of a wrong premise. Consider Donald Trump's false premise about Mexican Immigrants that, "THEY [The Mexican Government] send the bad ones over because they don't want to pay for them" or Hillary Clinton's 1996 Speech at Keene State College Speech describing inner-city [black and brown] youth as "superpredators" -a word first mentioned by Princeton Political Science Professor John DiIulio to describe these youth as subhuman, wild, amoral creatures ready to violate and murder Americans without a conscience. Both of these false premises, and many others, have been used to criminalize people of color in this country and reinforce an image of inferiority/distrust that permeates every institution, that colors every resource and fuels this economy.


     How do we begin to change that? To start, knowledge must be our foundation, not belief, hearsay or feelings. Having the facts enables us to speak from a position of surety and confidence because our proposition is sound. When we start off right, with the right information, the conclusions drawn from what we say and do will be less likely to be wrong. Belief, hearsay and feelings don't afford us the same sense of security and stability because they aren't concrete. People believe whatever they want regardless of the facts, hearsay is nothing but a rumor and feelings change like the wind. While there's a place for all of these perspectives, they're not the most sound sources to build upon because they're too transitory [impermanent]. The more we know, we have the ability to make wiser decisions. It's difficult to make wise decisions when we don't know anything first. So as we become more informed about people, places and things ,we'll begin to expand our sphere of awareness and experience life beyond the limits of belief, hearsay and feelings. We'll begin to "know" the "ledge" [knowledge] of the false premises we once stood upon and willfully speak and act wiser than we did before.


     In the series Kung Fu, Master Kan in speaking to his student Caine about perceiving the way of nature said, "Avoid rather than check. Check rather than hurt. Hurt rather than maim. Maim rather than kill. For all life is precious nor can any be replaced." With growth and development comes power, and this influence makes us a resource and responsible to those who are unaware. There are times I didn't follow the above advice in regards to mental combat and killed rather than maim, maimed instead of checking a person and checked a person instead of avoiding them. As I've gotten older I realize that many arguments can be avoided with a few well chosen words or avoiding the conversation altogether in order to preserve the relationship. People are capable of drawing the right conclusions, such as "my love wasn't wrong, I just shared it with a person unwilling to reciprocate it" if they can get their premise right, "there is a chance for love" as opposed to  a false premise like "b*tches ain't sh*t but hoes and tricks" or "all men cheat." It takes courage and receptivity to think outside of the box before stepping outside of the box, but it's a way of thinking and a step that's worth it. To say that MOST or ALL people, places and things are a certain way, especially when we don't know MOST or ALL people, places and things, is equivalent to building a house with straw or sticks. And it's only a matter of time before the big bad wolf comes and huffs, puffs and blows that house down.

Peace,
Saladin

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

 
 
 
In Episode 36 of Atlantis Build Talk Radio I feature a raw, uncut interview with Power Allah; AKA Hip Hop Artist Planet Asia. This interview was conducted following his performance during the Tour Wavy with Ras Kass on August 16th in Bethlehem (Buffalo, NY). Planet Asia elaborates on his growth and development process, Supreme Mathematics, 120 lessons and of course his introduction to Hip Hop.
 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

College Access
Setting The Course


On Saturday August 13th I had the pleasure of attending the College Simulation Experience to speak on a panel for high school youth about the importance of Self Advocacy and role of Social Justice. The College Simulation Experience is an initiative dedicated to improving college retention rates for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This stylized enactment of college life used dramatic role playing to help pre-college students develop time management and financial management skills, as well as better understand the responsibilities associated with collegiate success. For the last two decades I've worked with youth, from preschoolers to college age students. Of my many experiences one of the most alarming has been the lack of career preparedness on the part of our young boys of color. It's been quite common for me to talk to a young man who is finishing his junior year or in the middle of his senior year of high school with a desire to go to college with no knowledge of the SAT; an entrance exam created by the College Board that's used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. When I say no knowledge I'm talking about they never even heard of it before. On a couple of occasions I've had this conversation with young men with their parents and the parents didn't know what the SAT was either. My response? I began to educate them, and youth as early as elementary school, about college access and provide them with the resources so they're successful in their undertakings. One project I did was the A.S.I.A. College Tour Project which enabled me to sponsor two high school students on a black college tour. In recent years I learned about another subject we need to be educated about in regards to college access and that is the trending concept of Previewing and Forward Credit summer school classes.

Previewing and Forward Credit Summer Classes are classes offered by high schools for students who are striving to get a head start on a class they'll be taking next year or to earn credit for a class they won't need to take next year. One of the sixth graders in my STYA Program actually earned Forward Credit this year taking a math and science class this summer before he starts middle school in the autumn. Students also take summer classes to accumulate AP [Advanced Placement] class credit because College Admission Boards look at AP exams. In many cities college access has become so competitive that high schools often hold summer school lotteries for students to be admitted to their programs. Many of these programs such as Northfield Mount Hermon in Massachusetts have tuition costs of $2,900 per day and $3,700 when English is a second language. Horace Mann School in Pelon [Bronx] offered a summer physics class to students for $4,175 and the Hun School of Princeton in New Jerusalem [New Jersey] offered boarding tuition for $5,675 this year. Therein lies a problem that widens a disparity that already exists between students who can afford this and low income students; low income students simply don't have access to these summer school programs and an opportunity to preview or earn forward credit for classes next year. low income students already find it difficult to compete and this puts them even further behind unless we can help supplement their access to creative ways. This is also important in terms of encouraging our youth to explore the trades and entrepreneurship as viable alternatives. Not because they can't compete but because data supports the fact that many of these students competing for college access usually don't settle into a career path that's in alignment with the degree and debt they spent their life paying for.

My young Queens don't come from a place of financial access where their mother and I had/have the kind of disposable income to pay for the college access other parents could. We've had to canvass the landscape to find any and every program available to give them an advantage to academically compete with those parents who could send two to three of their children to a Hun School of Princeton for summer without robbing Peter to pay Paul. This has also been challenging because we co-parent our Queens and reside in different states. Canvassing that landscape resulted in finding free SAT classes being offered on Saturdays, taking them on college tours, doing community service, networking to gain access to resources and enrolling them in programs such as project Forward Leap. We also encouraged them to explore high school sports or extracurricular activities they'd like which would could result in a partial or full scholarship to college. My eldest Queen Asiyah played lacrosse in high school and successfully earned an athletic scholarship to Howard University to play lacrosse; ranked #2 among all Black College and Universities by U.S. News and World Report. She's a senior this year and has been awarded Defense of Player of the Year twice. My youngest Queen Aziza also attends Howard and is in her sophomore year. She's 19 now and I have a picture of her wearing a Howard U shirt when she was 8 years old; which says a lot about her vision and ability to execute her plan to reach her goal. Although we as parents helped provide them with resources, encouragement and access to experiences to expand their mind and its possibilities, it was/is ultimately up to them to be self-determined and discipline enough to set forth a plan to reach their goals. It's their life, not ours and we're proud to see them evolve into young women.

As parents, we are like many parents who simply didn't or don't have the money to do certain things for our children that others could. What we didn't or don't have financially we learned to find or create. For example, every year since our Queens have been in college they've attended summer school to earn Forward Credit for college. They didn't have to pay for these classes because their ole Earth works Administration at a college where they could take these classes tuition free. We learned creative ways to help our children gain access to those resources and I've likewise shared these creative ways with parents and youth I've worked with over the years. While this is a start this definitely isn't enough and cannot replace actual credit hours many privileged students are literally buying during the summer to bolster their high school transcripts and earn free transportation to college. Even though The No Child Left Behind Act signed into law by George W. Bush over a decade ago [2002] under its Title One was established to distribute funding to schools and school districts with a high percentage of students from low-income families, funding needs to be directed to assist these students seeking to Preview and earn Forward Credit during School Classes. This funding is initially distributed to state educational agencies who then allocate those funds to local education agencies that invest those funds to public schools in need. This means that it will require active Parent/Teacher Associations and other Lobby Groups to work with local city and county elected officials who can leverage state officials to address this disparity. If you're already living in a school district where schools are already in need there is already funding being directed to those schools under the guise of No Child Left Behind. Therefore the goal is simply a redirection of funding already there to help improve college access and retention rates for disadvantaged students by offering SAT/ACT classes and practice exams, scholarships for students seeking Forward Credit in Summer Classes and even transportation to other schools in the district that programs that will help close the college access gap. 


In closing, whether you have children or not, you may have nieces, nephews, cousins or friends with children who need to understand this changing academic landscape in America where youth are no longer being sentenced to summer school for failing but choosing to go, and paying money, just to get ahead. This is setting the tone for the level of competitiveness within our future global market and the power dynamics between the Haves and Havenots. If we're not in a financial position for our children to formally Preview a class next year then we need to find out what they will be learning and have them enrolled in some program, find a tutor, tutor them ourselves or explore other creative ways to keep them academically competitive so they don't fall behind their peers. If we don't personally have the financial ability to help them enroll in summer classes to earn Forward Credit then we must consider creative ways to finance it such as crowdfunding, gofundme and etc. There are also organizations and agencies that provide scholarships to support youth like this. We gotta canvass the landscape! Many of our children aren't college bound and they also need to know that it's O.K., everybody isn't. However, they also must understand that they must have a career alternative such as learning a trades and being an entrepreneur. If they're not striving to legitimately eat to bring something to the table or build their own table they will be on someone's menu.

Peace,
Saladin

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Relief Valveology (RV)
 
 
I recently had a dream about how systems work, or don't work, based upon a role of a relief valve. Over the years I've watched the ebb and flow of important issues within the mainstream media and various talking heads weigh in on everything from #BlackLivesMatter, police brutality, foreign policy, the 2016 Election and Monsanto to the show Empire, Caitlyn Jenner, LHHATL, Raven Symone and McDonalds offering breakfast All Day. While some of these critical perspectives and the dissatisfaction is genuine, I think many of them serve as valves to simply release pressure on "the system", not to fundamentally change anything.
 
So what is a relief valve (RV)? A relief valve (RV) is a gate-like device used to control or limit the pressure on a system or vessel that can cause that system's equipment to fail and become damaged. The valve is designed to safeguard a system by limiting the maximum amount of pressure on that system. To relieve that pressure the valve opens. When pressure conditions return to normal, the valve close. Without a relief valve pressure will continue to grow until other components in the system fail, thus ultimately relieving that pressure.

Sound familiar? Have you ever listened to the perspectives of some people and see that their underlying intent is safeguarding the system/status quo? What about those who function like a valve; they open [their mouth] to speak out on issues the people are dissatisfied about, yet close [their mouth] when the pressure to change those conditions returns back to normal? In Freemasonry this is the same role and responsibility of the Tiler/Tyler; a gate-keeper and symbolic valve used to [safe]guard the outer door to the lodge from potentially malicious, unqualified and nosey people. Tiler comes from the Latin word "tegere" which means 'to cover' or roof. In other words, this is a person who got the system covered... Although some of these people you see organizing rallies in cities, doing lectures, sharing videos and etc. may not be due paying members of a masonic lodge, they act as Tilers none the less. I elaborate on Tilers and other things in my latest book Eyes Wide Shut: The Science of Secret Societies. While some may even be on the government's payroll to quell the emotions of the public who are putting pressure on changing public policy, some are not but they both serve the purpose of maintaining the status quo. Keep in mind that I am not talking about Don Lemon or those who come from the David Clarke tribe. We know their posture and it's not to release the pressure building up within black/brown communities. It's obvious that they, and others, are here to safeguard the system that's already failing in many areas. I'm referring to those some of us assume are for a new system of things. I'm talking about some of these black militant, black conscious, nationalistic, religious, Pan-African, metaphysician, sovereign folks who appear to be banging on the system. I'm also talking about some of these white liberal, free-range, off the grid, anarchist, racism conference attending, political candidate Eminemians who appear to be banging on the system too. Some of them, are only here, to provide vent forums. And once you've gotten your concerns off of your chest while they nod their heads and articulate they understand, things remain the same. And if you ask too many questions, get deemed unqualified or accused of entertaining malicious intents against them or their leaders, you'll see the Tiler come out.
 
At the end of the day we must be mindful that some people are simply not invested in being change agents to help transform the conditions of this world. They're nothing more than relief valves that helps release the pressure being put on this system. It doesn't matter what gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation they are; they're all gate keepers. Age also doesn't matter because the older ones strive to socialize and incentivize the younger generation to do the same thing. There are some things right about what goes on here in America in comparison to other places in the world. There are also things that aren't right that needed to be changed yesterday, perhaps many years ago. In order to do this, knowledge must be our foundation, not sentimentality, being in our feelings or getting riled up to rally around talking heads who aren't invested in change. The more we know, the more we can personally and collectively do n order to see the changes in our families, communities and society as a whole. It's not about valve-like position aspirations or being proud that we're the only person of color on our job. The only pride in being a gate-keeper is safeguarding the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society; our youth, elders, women, disabled, disenfranchised and poor. And it shouldn't take pressure from these segments of our population to make changes in the way this system operates. When we don't, that pressure will continue to grow until other components in the system, including the system itself, will fail. It's not rocket science, I'm simply talking about relief valves. 
 
Peace,
Saladin

Monday, July 25, 2016

Chapter 10 The Mystic Shrine: The ROJ [Royal Order of Jesters]

Eyes Wide Shut
The Science of Secret Societies

     What's the cable-tow symbolize? Where did the Illuminati begin? Do freemasons worship the Devil? Who was Haj Bektash Veli? How is the BoulĂ© Society structured? What Zodiac Signs correspond to the temple gates where Hiram Abiff was accosted? When can one become a Shriner?

     On July 18th I published my fifteenth book, Eyes Wide Shut: The Science of Secret Societies to answer these and many other questions for those who are misled, uninformed or intrigued by secret societies and how they function as special interest groups. A reference guide to the signs, symbols and hidden meanings within secret societies, this book unveils Freemasonry, the White Shrine of Jerusalem, Royal Order of Jesters, Knight Templars and many others. This science of Secret Societies will equip the reader with the tools to decode, assess and navigate the sociopolitical landscape that is hidden in plain sight.



Order Here!!
     As a Five Percenter, learning how these societies function is an essential part of our studies because we are directly opposed to secrecy and concealing the truth. One of our fundamental principles is Equality. We strive to be equal in everything, we advocate for one common cause and we don't do things to keep people apart from that. The only time we won't share something with someone is based upon tact and maturity, not because we have some obligation to keep something to ourselves. If it's not the appropriate time or space to share something I will share it when there is time and space. If a person isn't mature enough to receive something, I will share what they can receive until they're open for more. This book reinforces that posture because the majority of people are in the dark about what secret societies are, what they're aren't and how they function within society. They're in the dark because there is no real transparency on the part of these societies, thus people aren't receiving a comprehensive perspective about them. Those who have been a part of them, and who sought to expose what they learned, end up gaslighted, missing like William Morgan or paid off to come back into the fold. I take great pride in saying that Eyes Wide Shut is the single most comprehensive book on the subject and that other books should be referenced against it. It makes plain the signs, symbols and misleading language often used to "DIVERT A DISCOURSE... for the Honour of the worshipful Fraternity" as stated in Part 4 Section 2 of their Masonic Constitution discussing a freemason's BEHAVIOUR in the Presence of STRANGERS not MASONS. Much of what I share in this book you will not be able to Google. If you're serious about study and/or know others who are, this book is indeed a worthy investment in your library.


Eyes Wide Shut: The Science of Secret Societies 
is now available globally at Quanaah Publishing, Barnes & Noble

Peace,
Saladin 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Eldest Queen Asiyah and her College Classmate
America, The Beautiful?

     It's been 10 days since the police murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, the hanging of Michael George Smith Jr. and the deaths of 5 Dallas police officers. I wanted to take some time to work through my emotions and gather my thoughts before I shared them with all of you here. Let me start by saying that in times like this especially, our greatest resource and sense of clarity is in our youth. As Five Percenters we view them as the understanding and symbolic to a star: dispelling the darkness with the light of truth that's often light years from where many of us presently stand. I'm currently facilitating my STYA Summer Enrichment Program for 5 weeks and even though we've discussed these incidents they've helped me work through my emotions and make sense out of what I've been seeing. If you find yourself in a similar place I would encourage you to invest some quality time with our youth as well. Black people make up about 12% of the U.S. population while White People make up 63% of the U.S. population. With that mind, here are some statistics I want to bring to your attention:

  • Black people make up about 60% of the prison population.
  • 1 out of 3 black men will go to jail in their lifetime.
  • 70% of school related arrests or referrals to law enforcement are people of color.
  • From 1980-2007, 1 out of 3 25 million adults arrested for drugs were black.
  • Based upon population, of the 752 police deaths in 2015 blacks are 2 1/2 times more likely to be shot by police.

     Statistically there are many other racial disparities in regards to income, education, health, legislation and etc. These and other inequalities highlight the unstable quicksand like socioeconomic landscape that not just black people but all people in this country live upon. It's important to articulate that because some people are under the impression that whatever happens to 12% of the U.S. population has nothing to do with them, as if these lives don't matter. As I always say to people who brush things off that are happening on the other side of the world, the other side of their country, the other side of their state/province and the other side of town: be mindful because that can eventually be in your backyard.



     Of those disparities, one of the greatest concerns black people have historically had within America is with its law enforcement. Several months ago on December 18th and 21st of 2015 I had an opportunity to do a workshop with young men at Gaskill Middle School about the history of law enforcement in this country. The first and most important thing to understand about law enforcement is that it was never created to protect and serve black people or any people of color. In fact, law enforcement was created to maintain order, enforce law and protect the property of those who established it. Back in 1555 when millions of black people were brought to America via the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, white slave masters organized the first Slave Patrols to maintain order, enforce law and protect their plantations. These Slave Patrols in the South and Night Watchmen in the North evolved into police forces by the 1800s. The city of Boston is credited with organizing the first formal police force in 1830; a generation before slavery legally ended and slavery by another name began as a prison industrial complex via a ratified 13th Amendment. Again, these slave patrols, night watchmen and police forces were created to maintain the social order, enforce the laws and protect the property of the ruling class, which were not black and other people of color. The only difference in this power dynamic today is the militarization of these police forces across America. If there is any truth to the law enforcement adage "Protect & Serve", it clearly  has not historically applied to black people. This is the reason many people have and are advocating fundamental reforms in law enforcement and the criminal justice system; it was never created by or for the benefit of black people or any people of color in the first place. Since America's 1776 inception, its Founding Fathers formed a republic governed with politicians who forged policies that were protected by slave patrols and eventually the police. This begs the question that many of us continue to ask: How can we expect to get justice from an unjust system?



     Systemically, some things have not and will not change. Other things can be changed. Sometimes the system itself needs to be revamped. Depending upon the demographics and socioeconomic landscape of one's region and local city, systemic changes and the degree of resistance will vary. Some people may not consider that. In my city our local police force were one of the first in the country to invest in body cameras, without a bunch of prompting or protesting from the community. While there are many national similarities across the board in regards to racial disparities, police violence and inequalities, we must also take into account the regional and local similarities and differences. There is no silver bullet or one size fits all approach to address these issues and the sooner we understand that the better equipped we are to help resolve these issues. I recently saw a BLM Chapter in Minnesota calling for the disbandment of their local police force. That may be an effective approach where they live, not where you live.

In closing a want to offer seven points to consider wherever we may be in the U.S. or in other countries experiencing some of the same racial disparities, police violence and inequalities.

1. Environmentally there are no boundaries for consciousness; this is why so much is invested in media that socially engineers narratives that distracts, deceives, confuses and emotionally destabilizes the people. The largest investment in any country is not its military it's their media. The media is the conduit of its cultural ideas and icons; their greatest export that their military ultimately protects. I've said this numerous times and I will continue to say it: we must use our platform to CONSISTENTLY control the narrative and amplify our voice. Facebook Live and Periscope have been a great resource people are now using to inspire, empower and educate others. However, lets put more than put our two cents in and be a CONSISTENT voice of clarity. What we have to say is worth more than that, don't you think?

2. Some people often talk about good cops taking a stand against bad cops and their need to crack the blue code of silence yet don't offer suggestions how. With any people who are expected to take a stand against injustices, especially when they're in the minority, we must consider their need for a safe-space to do so. In this case a safe-space is a place an officer can fully express themselves without fear of retaliation against them and/or their family or them being made to feel uncomfortable, unwanted or bullied on account of standing against police corruption. If we expect our officers to have integrity like Frank Serpico then we also need to have their back because some of their partners, an entire precinct and possibly IA (Internal Affairs) may not.


3. Be a constituent, not a voter. The power in the political process is not in itself voting it's in constituency. The difference is one votes with a voice, the other votes with money where their mouth is. On a regional and local level get to know who our officials are and their jurisdictions. Then find out who their constituency is; those who are financially backing them. Then we will see the basis of their policies and expose their political agendas. Even more so we can start identifying or organizing lobbyist groups who are aligned with our agendas and engage these regional and local law makers about what matters to our group, with money, not just our mouth. There's strength in numbers and the numbers in our pocket.

4. Prayer changes things.., when you do something about those "things" after you're done praying. Ever since George W. Bush founded the Faith Based Community Initiative in 2001, churches and other religious organizations have been getting millions of federally funded social service dollars from the U.S. government. One of the reasons you see many of these institutions less likely to get involved with social justice issues, and if they do they're supportive of the status quo, is because they don't want to bite the hand that's feeding and breeding them. Knowing this, as a congregant you need to hold your leader's feet to the fire and demand that some of your financial support go towards projects, programs, initiatives and collaborations that directly address the racial disparities in your city. If they're unwilling to do anything or their solution is to just pray for your city, you know what time it is.

5. It's a fact we have feelings yet our feelings aren't always a fact. As a matter of fact, our feelings can heal or hurt, build or destroy. We can only make that determination from a conscious place. I know it's challenging, and it may take everything in us to share or not some things, yet we must put thought into what we choose to share. Don't just be angry, articulate that anger. Although I'm sure many of the things I've seen on social media and hear in conversations are well intended. Our children just don't need to pay for our well meaning mistakes.

6. Allies will align themselves with you, don't go begging for them. Keep in mind that white allies must give up a lot in order to systematically fight against racial disparities, police violence and inequalities, not just protest about these issues. Most aren't built like that. How do I know? Because if the majority of the 63% of their U.S. population were built like that we wouldn't be having this discussion right now. The same white allies were outnumbered during slavery and segregation, that's why the status quo remained the same, that they still got privileges from. They were always grossly outnumbered and some really weren't who they say they were. Also, trying to appeal to a moral conscience of white people, and other people of color, who are not convinced that black lives matter is an exercise in futility. Slaves didn't get free by putting forth some bullet proof argument to convince their masters it was wrong or by making them feel ashamed about their actions. Regardless, we have to be committed enough to do things on our own to protect and support one another.

7. The historical and present day racial disparities, police violence and inequalities against black people in the U.S. and in other colonialist countries don't have any thing to do with race, they have everything to do with race.

Peace,
Saladin