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Dr. Eugene Stovall

Oakland, California

January 28, 2014

According to the social media, branding and website development experts, it is important to say thank you. So to those who have been following my blogs on, I want to say to my supporters: Although you are few, thank you.

Since the beginning of the New Year, the number of those reading my blog has declined from 388 to 270. But I want to thank those who have remained and continue to read my postings. I sincerely appreciate your support. Our community is engaged in an intellectual renaissance and we are slowly emerging from the dark recesses of anti-intellectualism and reactionary thought. While the complex of religious, social and fraternal and civil rights organizations makes resisting the urge to “go along with the crowd” nearly impossible, the dreadful state of black economic, social and political life makes the emergence of a class of thoughtful black intellectuals imperative for our survival. More than ever before, we need a group of black people who can think and act for themselves. And you are the ones who are most likely to read my blog. Thank you!

Despite the fact that those who have unsubscribed from my website include college professors, professional managers, book reading groups and even black newspaper editors and columnists, there is growing evidence that many black readers are shrugging off the hysterical anti-intellectual propaganda to which we are being subjected. More of us are undertaking thoughtful analysis and critical thinking. We are beginning an intellectual renaissance that is rejecting that ‘never criticize black public figures’ mentality that has shackled the black community to those hand picked black spokesmen who slavishly serve white power brokers.

One instance where this new attitude can be seen is in the reaction to the article:

Dr King Had a “Dream”…Obama Has a “Drone,” Slams Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Though comments on the article were mixed, one commenter made bold to say:

Barack Obama is the commander-in-chief. We get that. But just because he is a black man in office does not absolve him from critique. Because the same things were said about George W. Bush and few of our people were sitting back and saying things like "why are you not attacking the enemy" or "the script was written long before HE was elected."

For many African Americans when a black person is elected to any office we are supposed to sit back and shut-up and support the brotha or the sista. Even when they are doing wrong or not living up to what they said they would. The idea of accountability is seen as "giving the white man more ammunition against us." But you let a white man or woman get in office and do the same things and we are on them like "white on rice."

This commenter is saying something that needs to be said. The examination of the policies of a public official, whether he is the president of the United States or a congressman should not be based upon race. Those who find black officials blameless in advocating policies that would be roundly criticized if that official were white is the anti-intellectual approach that has gotten us into the mess we are in now. We expect and demand nothing from our leaders … and that is what we have gotten. This anti-intellectual approach has caused the voter suppression movement, resulted in the complete takeover of the City of Detroit and the elimination of every black political officeholder at the state and federal level in the State of Arizona. The blame for these catastrophes must be placed squarely upon the shoulders of those who accepted the leadership positions, in part, to protect us from such things. Their failure makes it imperative that our community considers other approaches than doing the “electric slide” down the streets of Washington.

The anti-intellectual approach demonstrated in one person’s reaction to Jeremiah Wright’s denunciation of Barack Obama’s use of drones is but one example of “shooting the messenger” without evaluating the message. A commenter from Washington University in St. Louis said:

It's amazing that the good Reverend doesn't choose to criticize our enemies. I guess he is disappointed that he was not put on the pedestal that he had hoped for. You and I remember Reverend Wright when. We remember when the original church had been built West of where it stands today (95th & Lowe). I actually played in the foundation. He was the musician and had the reputation of being a womanizer (not my personal assessment--but the assessment of my mother and her contemporaries). So very sad.

The anti-intellectual approach notwithstanding is how the black ‘gate-keepers’ make it uncomfortable and unsafe for anyone to express opinions critical of their elected, religious or social leaders.

On the other hand, Glen Ford, editor of the Black Agenda Report, believes that a black intellectual renaissance is not likely to happen in the near future. In fact, he believes we are more controlled by propaganda than ever before. In his article, Black Madness Under Obama: African Americans More Pro-NSA, Anti-Snowden Than Whites and Hispanics, Ford cites a poll that finds that blacks were far more willing to kill Syrian civilians and risk engaging in yet another war than any other ethnic group in America. Ford found that a great number of blacks supported Obama’s proposed air strikes on Syria because of Assad’s alleged use of poison gas. According to Ford, the presence of a black president has profoundly “… distorted collective Black perceptions of reality” and mangled the African American worldview beyond imagining. Ford attributes this “mangled worldview” upon the black community’s susceptibility to propaganda. He traces the black community’s willingness to go to war directly to MSNBC’s propaganda machine. Ford states that while commentators, Melissa Harris-Perry and Joy-Ann Reid called for Edward Snowden’s capture and imprisonment, black South Carolina congressman, James Clyburn, used MSNBC as a platform to defend Obama’ warmongering, saying that Snowden’s NSA revelations were nothing more than an effort to embarrass president. While only 44% of whites approved of government spying, according to Ford, the MSNBC’s propaganda campaign resulted in a 60% black approval for NSA surveillance on its citizens. This is why Ford believes that the black community has a long way to go before it can claim to have shrugged off its tendency towards anti-intellectualism. However, who can blame them. It is dangerous to be an intellectual, these days. In the article, Scared Silent: NSA Surveillance has 'Chilling Effect' on American Writers, Lauren McCauley cites a report that claims that the Obama NSA has caused news reporters to censor themselves. If white reporters are afraid to deal with current political issues, why would blacks? After all, those politically aware blacks have the most to lose ___ their jobs. And in today’s environment, any black person who loses a job is unlikely to find another one.

And yet these wars, assassinations and impoverishing subject populations began with the ongoing devastation of the black community and the mass incarceration of black men. The New York Times in the January 12, 2014 article, Is the United States a ‘Racial Democracy’? shows that there has been an ongoing “war of blacks”. The article compares white and black incarceration rates and shows that, black people especially black men, been incarcerated at an alarming rate:

Starting in the 1970s, the United States has witnessed a drastic increase in the rate of black imprisonment, both absolutely and relative to whites. Just from 1980 to 2006, the black rate of incarceration (jail and prison) increased four times as much as the increase in the white rate. The increase in black prison admissions from 1960 to 1997 is 517 percent. In 1968, 15 percent of black adult males had been convicted of a felony and 7 percent had been to prison; by 2004, the numbers had risen to 33 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

If this article is correct, how is it that the black community is becoming more conservative more tolerant of indiscriminant killings, more willing to overthrow governments and go to war on the flimsiest of pretexts? The answer is not merely because they support their president since the black community was being targeted long before Obama became president. The answer is that we have been marginalized and victimized by our own anti-intellectualism. Since anti-intellectualism most certainly contributes to the lack of concern for the masses of incarcerated black men and women, it certainly contributes to the support for Obama’s assassinations, drones and wars. And it is this repugnant anti-intellectualism among black people to cause them to applaud Obama’s boast that he is “really good at killing people.”

All this being said, I must express my profound appreciation for those, who despite the risks to their own reputations and employment, continue to read my blog and consider the various opinions expressed here by me and others. And, if you know other likeminded individuals who are open to intellectual analysis and critical thinking, please invite them to sign up for my blog by sending their e-mail address to [email protected]. I will guard their privacy and will not ask them to purchase anything.