April 20, 2017
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The West Oakland Multicultural Manifesto
by Doniphan Blair
Shown here draped in flag-like attire, abolitionist and feminist Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) was born into slavery in New York State, escaped and freed her son through the courts, and eventually delivered the famous '"Ain't I A Woman?' speech, off the top of her head, at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention (1851). photo: courtesy Randall Studios
Given that we appear to be returning to the demagoguery, race baiting and injury of the ‘60s, and that the Black Panther Party started in West Oakland almost exactly 50 years ago, and that if Oaklanders can’t create the earth’s most advanced multiculturalism then who the @#$%^&* possibly can…
1. All Lives Matter
is both a funny punch line about oblivious whites and true.
“The very philosophy and slogan that we are spouting is ‘All Power to All the People,’” said Panther co-founder Bobby Seale in the ‘60s, “whether you are white, black, blue, red, green, yellow or polkadot!” (See cS article,
The Black Panther Filmography
Black Lives Matter is an understandable, important reaction to the current police war on black men, the revanchist reaction to the Obama Presidency and the inherent racism of many Americans, but as a tactical action. As an elevated principle over the long run, Black Lives Matter fetishizes, tribalizes and divides, not just between black and white but brown, yellow and red.
Slavery is America’s biggest crime. Still, atrocities were endured by First Americans and recent immigrants, some of whom remain oppressed or traumatized.
Meanwhile, there is no time like the now to repudiate divisions and join in self-evident humanity, as imperfect and evolving as America’s multicultural society may be, given that “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not the Golden Rule for nothing.
2. Race Is Culture
Nurture versus nature is the central philosophical argument of the last two centuries, but our so-called natural race turns out to be a nurtured cultural construct. Moreover, almost all of us enjoy mixtures of cultures and many have highly mixed heritages, as DNA tests prove. Some of our greatest representatives were from miscegenation: Barack Obama, Bob Marley, W. E. B. Du Bois.
Even more importantly, DNA, bodies and brains are mere manifestations of the physical while the mental is massively more important: what we do with our minds, cultures and actions. Indeed, many of the innovations in art and science, of which we desperately need so much more, were born from the marriage of different cultures.
3. Tribe Versus Civilization
is the central dialectic of history, now being fought to the death in the Middle East. Tribes define culture by blood, even as they reap civilized benefits, and civilizations, even as they borrow heavily from tribal work, define culture by what their scholars say is good. Nevertheless, when you get right down to it, “Good is long term benefit for the many; evil is short term benefit for the few.”
4. Civilization Is Good
Although civilization is often oppressive, there have been many movements to overthrow it, notably in the 1910s and ‘60s, and its shortcomings are blamed on dead, white men, civilization is by definition multi-tribal and about providing longterm benefit for the many, despite the ongoing exclusion of some.
Moreover, civilization's creators are not all white, male or dead. Indeed, many were tribal, female, or female-influenced, or of color, and their good work lives on—the Gettysburg Address, x-rays, dance, polio vaccine, film, planes, peanut butter, the Internet—equally for everyone who can afford its sometimes high entrance but often fast-dropping fees.
5. Thug Privilege Is Bad
While white privilege and power abuses are poison, so is thug privilege, as we can see from Huey P. Newton’s tyranny over, and destruction of, Oakland’s Black Panthers, Tupac Shakur’s romanticization of, and murder by, "Thug Life," and epidemics of inner-tribal violence and macho confrontation everywhere. Yes, thug culture is an inevitable part of injured tribal culture, and counter attacks are emotionally satisfying. But, if allowed to escalate, it leads to war with civilization, since democratic-like civilization provides rights to all the people through "the rule of law" and a "one gun" policy, dispensed by the people-elected courts, police and army.
6. All Racism is Bad
While white racism is massively more destructive, having accrued over centuries and been institutionalized, any racism feeds all racism, diminishes our shared individuality and perpetuates the absurd fallacy that nature beats nurture. In point of fact, nurture beats nature almost every time as we can see by the art and science of civilization and some of the love.
7. African-Americans Dominate Aspects of American Culture
from music and sports to President Obama and Attorney Generals Holder and Lynch and other government and law enforcement officials. No matter how successful the first black-led administration may be, it could not help but trigger a reaction, aggravated in turn by Republican venality, institutional racism and thug culture. Of course, existing law must be enforced against hate crimes, criminal cops and housing, work and service discrimination but love is not legislatable. Although bias is inevitable among rich whites, poor whites or others fearful or injured, the Black Tribe has fully joined Western Civilization and that achievement brings responsibility and noblesse oblige.
8. End N-Word Apartheid
Outlaws and subgroups can have secret slangs but not multi-billion dollar businesses which broadcast their product around the world. The notion that English speakers are free to use all of their language’s one million words except one fetishizes that word. The 19th century poet Arthur Rimbaud said he was one, because the word symbolizes opponents of false civilization, while seventh grade Oaklanders of all colors use it as a term of endearment. Freeing the N-word from negative empowerment to colorful, multi-use will mark the arrival of a multicultural society.
9. Racist Love Is OK
Love and sex are the only arenas where racism is open, acceptable and legitimate, as we can see by the check box on all internet dating sites, which tells us something: The individual is free to do what they want with their own body but not with other people’s bodies. As race is culture, people have preferences, and love, by definition, cannot be forced.
10. Love the Other Or At Least Accept
While Malcolm X said the ends justify the means and Huey P. Newton proved they don’t, Martin Luther King was the great expert on, and master practitioner of, love—in all its forms: political, intellectual, agape, even forbidden—making him the avatar of our age. Not only is it advisable that anyone professing progressive politics lead by example and love, or at least accept, their neighbor—which is simply a rephrasing of the Golden Rule, we have already been loving each other since time immemorial, as proven by our mixed DNA.
The secret to life, as it turns out, is mixing in all its forms—genetic, cultural and spiritual.
11. Enough with the Cultural Colonialist Critique Already
No one would accuse Louis Armstrong, Irving Berlin, Benny Goodman, James Baldwin, The Beatles, Miles Davis, Bob Marley or The Roots of cultural colonialism for using instruments, styles or stories not of their cultural background. While expropriation for personal or commercial gain is obviously exploitative, if not illegal, let the best ideas and art win, irrespective of the inventor's race, class, country or political affiliation. Similarly, endless accusations of racism are not helpful since if everyone is racist, no one is, and it is a form of demonization hard to back off of.
12. Full Equality and Radical Multiculturalism
While we can’t really have reparations, quotas or affirmative actions any more, we can have peaceful demonstrations, boycotts, aggressive prosecutions, class action suits, specialized banks, study groups, charter schools, non-corrupt non-profits, Guardian Angel-like street patrols, Panther-like police patrols and other people-powered progressive actions in an atmosphere of tolerance, equality and multiculturalism. Insisting on changes among members of our civilization's other tribes is easier after we have instituted some ourselves.
Hence we must take a stand for radical multiculturalism, moving beyond the half-way measures and ideologies necessary in their day to the assumption and practice of full equality as modeled by Obama, who is both black and white, presidential and cool, constitutional law professor and community organizer, standup father-figure and joke-cracking comedian.
13. The Conclusion of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced… that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
14. We Are All One
We are all one scabrous being; hand the railroads back to the Zulu; let the albino shaman dance; hybrid the hell out of it; and don’t cut off your cousins to spite your cousins, to whom you may be much more closely related than you think.
Doniphan Blair is a writer, film magazine publisher, designer and filmmaker ('
Our Holocaust Vacation
'), who can be reached
Posted on Jul 17, 2016 - 03:58 PM