“My father hated Southern Baptist preachers…there was not one Baptist preacher known to him that he trusted…The situation troubled my dad monumentally because he was a deeply religious man.”
“The Biblical curse of Ham propelled and solidified the 17th Century foundation for white supremacist theology in the New World…A proficiently organized Atlantic slave trade rode valiantly atop this philosophical momentum all the way to the bank.”
“[David] Walker…to prepare himself for the monumental task of…attacking America’s extremist slavery…knew…it would be vital to understand…the…history of the world at large—he also knew…that ancient Egyptians were Black…”
“Negro preachers…show no interest in publicly discussing—or acknowledging—the… [Dead Sea] scrolls (let alone other important global findings.)”
Trouble In Black Paradise Introduction: page XV; Chapter 13: All Paths Lead To The Original “Eve,” page 267; Chapter 12: Impudent Moralizers, Ill-conceived Mavericks And Glorified “Legal Setbacks,” page 255; & Chapter 3: Unexplained Phenomenon And Milestone Discoveries In The Modern World, page 65.
Greetings heart filled readers!
Trouble in Black Paradise sees bitter struggle—where brutal “cop culture” terrorizes social change.
In San Francisco (& the Bay Area) names swelling the list of those murdered by police are:
Idriss Stelley, Oscar Grant, Kenneth Harding, Jr., Derrick Gains, James “Nate” Greer, O’Shaine Evans, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Luis Gongora Pat, Alex Nieto, Mario Woods, Jessica Nelson Williams…
In Baton Rouge last July 5th 2 cops shook the nation murdering this man: Alton Sterling (at left).
Out here San Francisco’s Blue Ribbon Panel gave a damning recent report—offering 72 findings & 84 recommendations to reform our PD—then we got yet another. The Oct. 12th Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) report followed suit: 94 findings & over 200 recommendations being made.
Both reports (the Panel’s forum seen at right on Sept. 24) determined the SF Police Officer’s Union vigorously blocks reform.
But an odd thing gives me concern. In Baton Rouge I believe far more scandals, brutality cases & murders by police stay locked under the radar.
The question is, why the huge blackout?
Baton Rouge is the base of my mother’s family line, so it rings home to me. I’m the first California born (my parents met out here in So. Cal); our lineage had converged in the West from both Louisiana & Texas (& I’ve now lived in San Francisco for 25 years).
Relatives seeking big change & opportunity from Southern racial horror (angry about stagnant Black leadership) had plopped into a major tributary of America’s Great Black Migration.
So when Sterling’s murder on video hit airwaves, adding Baton Rouge to the growing list, it grabbed me. My 40 years of fieldwork guaranteed this battle would be uphill—& on many tricky “fronts.”
I was certain of something else: a warrior there dear to my heart would launch into the thick of organizing things. He’s my nephew, the Rev. Reginald Pitcher, Sr. (above).
True to form Rev. Pitcher did leap into the fray—organizing mode in tow. He knew Baton Rouge’s shocked, horrified public would react “impulsively”—like every stricken city: folks angrily take to the streets; corner protests & marches erupt; spontaneous rallies vent outrage & frustration; civil disobedience blocks roads & public entrances (much done by uncoordinated, roving “bands”).
First response syndrome is particularly explosive—it rolls out a phenomenon. I call it the delicate & volatile 1st major “front.”
It is media that triggers the 2nd major “front”—simply in their converging “shark frenzy”:
Instant soapbox interviews push random speakers (in the “flurry”) to quickly state the case—many still shuddering in “ground zero’s” tragic shadow. Media “frenzy” shuns sober appraisal & stalks raw emotion—hungering for protest “rage.” But “Sharks” have no appetite for corroborating an obvious fact: that age-old civic racism makes Blacks disposable in murderous cop “culture.”
Then the 3rd major “front” hits—the most important & difficult of all. Raw emotion explodes in people feeling unrepresented—their havoc looms with each new sunset. Leaders get their mettle tested—where wild forces rip at one end & apathy bogs-down at the other. Humanity rushes to do this:
Organize & orchestrate healthy, multi pronged “strategies”; mobilize coalition resources; educate & train “foot soldiers” (in consciousness campaigns); set “lead & assist” positions that guide & synchronize action units; prepare for physical & emotional “burnout”; and more…
In essence an “operation central” HQ with multiple satellite stations is activated—fighting to harness fresh momentum while digging-in for the long haul—all in the slowly settling dust of terrifying reality.
Of course this is a sweet dream response to social horror. It’s a tall order—even for a local San Francisco scene with its lively history of organizing “progressives”—let alone those not noted for putting “radical activism” on the map.
Rev. Pitcher & a show of leadership lined up at Sterling’s murder site in a Baton Rouge press conference, angrily outlining local miscarriages of justice—much of which I’d previously never heard (racist, sexist, homophobic cop emails may have surfaced there as well). And when the 2 murdering cops as expected were declared justified Rev. Pitcher leaped into progressive mode.
As President of the local Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) he spearheaded a makeshift boycott—targeting businesses that support the bigoted & politically influential Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce. National media saw civic officials get the shock of their lives:
An entire mall was shut-down over a weekend—a powerfully successful boycott test. Rev. Pitcher prepared to amp-it-up with a more extensive “buy only in our communities” self-help campaign. It’s the kind of springboard momentum—to piggy-back on solid mobilizing effect—that organizers dream of—right?
A bizarre thing happened.
Charles Steele, Jr., president of SCLC’s national, threatened to censor Pitcher, demanding he squelch the boycott—& retract every media comment he made regarding Sterling’s murder. True to our own family’s progressive tradition my nephew in local televised interviews held his ground.
Steele declaring he gave no “national” permission to boycott slammed a “morally correct” gavel!—Rev. Pitcher was summarily suspended.
Since then little or no info comes out of Baton Rouge. National media apparently finds no salacious incidents to grab their attention, so they’ve dropped local broadcast—as it does with every locale they pick-&-choose to cover (out here a national blackout of SF’s incidents & investigation results still holds fast).
Some advocates in Louisiana’s capital posted local TV reports thru social media, but that’s dried up as well. I get hints that a classic organizing snag has hit, stalling & disrupting progress.
Bits of posted remarks imply a thing: old guard Baton Rouge leadership may be too comfortably entrenched in stagnant status-quo; “class” issues & vanity distraction—cloaked in conservative religious overtones—have folks digging-in heels.
I first got hints of trouble out there early on.
Rev. Al Sharpton was recorded addressing Sterling’s funeral & outright confronted some local clergy for bickering over the “spotlight”—apparently agitation stirred around his being an outsider speaker. Sharpton wryly offered them an open-ended invite saying “come to New York!” (they’d coalesce in “its” battle) driving home the notion that national reinforcement is not a novelty—it’s crucial!
This is the standard anguish plaguing advocates in communities across the country—fighting to rally masses against bigotry & deadly civic corruption—but it seems especially worse for Blacks.
The silence now coming out of Baton Rouge, the way it also blankets other impact places, is disturbing. It can’t be surprising though.
I write in my last blog on SF’s Blue Ribbon Panel forum about surviving families wanting to neuter the powerful Police Officer’s Union (POA)—it was soundly scoffed at by Panel officials. Not because there was no available process—laws could be passed—but because POA is a well moneyed, well oiled lobbying machine. It’s totally dedicated to preserving the power of thuggish “cop culture.”
Panel officials believe legislators are financially led by the nose & the public is too apathetic (or “sold out”) to civic corruption.
But openly gay white Senator Mark Leno—in the spirit of SF’s radical gay rebellion—rejected the “sell-out” mold, introducing a CA State bill (SB 1286) that would make cops more transparent—with evidence of misconduct (& murdered civilians) made more accessible in lawsuits.
Then, true to form SF’s openly gay white Supervisor Scott Wiener backed strict cop “privacy”—voting against it—eventually the State bill died. Wiener (running against Jane Kim) seeks Leno’s State seat this November—backed heavily by none other than the POA.
“Selling-out” is a term that is buried in today’s discourse—dialogue that is of course controlled by major corporate media interests. But I’m a longtime Black social repair advocate. And my 42 years of Buddhist practice proves its spiritual insight has partnered social repair well, stressing that “realistic change is impossible without addressing hard core reality.”
I honestly & sadly concur with panel officials: Afro-Americans are far too sold-out to take the proper level of action—& on too many fronts. A thing eats at the root of this tragedy: Afro-American “culture” itself renders Black people utterly & totally disposable.
Dentists know digging out “root rot” saves teeth—and patients (desiring “relief” in a thorough restoration of healthy structure) demand dentists “keep it real”—so here, I’m “keeping it real!”
Cops are willing to murder unarmed folks & I’m willing to disturb misguided “comfort zones”—exposing the ugly truth behind multi pronged root rot in this American matter.
Here, you already know what “discourse hijackers” avoid:
America is literally a 500 year social “pressure cooker”—the “test tube” nation in modern history—managed & guarded by wealthy white U.S. governors. General social diversity in “mini tubes” (including poor whites) packed the bottom—crunched under the weight of privilege at the top.
Enforcers (claiming “moral authority” from God) saturated the entire works with their main ingredient: “white supremacy.”
Governors molded monsters in that “cooker.” They’d protect exclusive class & privilege—overseeing (or containing) outsider “tubes”—at all costs. Millennia taught rulers that “perverse & corrupt ideology” holds the glue (to attack, stunt & abolish overall “humanity”). The perfect religious vehicle waited—but not Islam. Instead, it’s a barbaric offshoot from the doctrine of Rabbi Joshua (or, Christ to the Greeks):
The offshoot is Europe’s “radicalized” Christianity.
Blacks faired the worse in America’s “tube”; homosexuals crunched just under us (Black lesbians & gay’s worst of all). In fact African-Americans are the most broken survivors in U.S. history.
White governors were no fools. They knew African civilizations pulsed from time immemorial; a global scale foundation steeped in advanced spirituality & material ingenuity—with the 1st democratic civic operations.
Foreigners marveled at the immense depth of Black hospitality, fortitude—and treasures, knowing a thing: Africans were formidable warriors whom they could not take for granted.
Hence, barbarously bastardized (or, “radicalized”) Christianity was perfect to break & reorient U.S. African slaves—& American whites pushed Europe’s barbarity to heights unprecedented in history.
Governors needed specialist monsters to manage the Afro populace. Utilizing history, where foreigners could only conquer Africans (if they used neighboring Blacks) white legislators created the perfect religious mental jailers: the Black preacher.
Panelist Ray Marshall (speaking above right at our Blue Ribbon Forum) said it best: absent, faltering & corrupted “leadership” is the number one socially derailing factor.
For at least 300 years (before Reconstruction era leaders above left) the preacher was the only “leadership position” allowed Blacks—& the highest paid position attainable by Black men (entering modern times). Today churches exist on practically every corner.
Something glaring is this: noted Christian scholars constantly update canonical understanding & “interpretation” after every religious anthropological finding (the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gnostic Nag Hammadi Texts of Upper Egypt, etc…).
Black Southern Baptist preachers guiding America’s largest sector of Black religious don’t even respond—showing absolutely no interest in adding their voice (or opinion) about enlightening Palestinian 1st century developments—regarding their own “doctrinal” base.
Unsurprisingly “white supremacist” Southern Baptist preachers show the same exact scholarly disinterest as Blacks—strange bedfellows here, guarding Europe’s “radicalized” barbaric ideology:
White Biblical rationale justifies Anglo’s religious “aggression” to be privileged—to “enslave” & murder outsiders—gaining wealth for civic benevolence; conversely Black Biblical rationale demands a “docile” Afro response to systemic racism (but on the other hand it ok’s “cosmetic” aggression to amass vain Black materialism & self-centered wealth—for the few).
Ironically both Black & white religious “zealots” use the same Bible to make different quotes—which back very different approaches to racism: Black benevolent docility vs. white Holy (manifest destiny) aggression. This was sealed solidly after the Civil War:
White Southerners were handed back absolute power—to redefine & separate Southern empire boundaries. “Radicalized” Christianity justified restoring brutal white hierarchy. Thus, formally declaring that white racial brutality (& superior “morale”) had God’s approval, Southerners labeled their own empire “Holy”—set apart from all others by what they called a “Bible Belt.”
The world’s most extreme racist, conservative politic—wedded by “radicalized” religion—now exhorted powerful control of social policy in a virtual vacuum—half the size of the U.S. The “Bible Belt’s” own slow “cooker” had eternity to bully & bend Afro minds, breaking Black lives—& solidifying “radicalized” Afro-religious monsters: preachers stifling activist motivators at one end, with a depleted, terrified public selling-out at the other.
Fast-forward to the 1930’s.
Signs that humanity has a “pulse-bleep” in the “radicalized” storm shakes the “Bible Belt”—but it’s a white legislator (white supremacy’s ultimate nightmare). It didn’t last long: Senator Huey P. Long was assassinated in Baton Rouge’s Louisiana State Building (in the exact hallway at left, behind where I stand during my 2013 visit)—for being “too inclusive.”
Fast-forward to the 1950’s.
An exhausted Black woman defies dangerous “Bible Belt” repression. Sparking the nation’s very 1st bus boycott she stood up—while “sitting down”—but not in Montgomery, Alabama. Baton Rouge was the location Martha White made history—two years earlier in 1953.
Black Southern defiance erupted in Baton Rouge (at right) not seen by a white ruling class in generations. The 1st major front hit, spilling folks into the streets—squaring-off with inevitable violent white backlash. Media rushed to the scene in the 2nd major front, to confront protesters—& trying to discredit protest justification.
With mettle sorely tested the Rev. T. J. Jamison & Willis Reed hit the 3rd major front—embraced the will of fed-up citizens—and organized a boycott that stunned white governors. It didn’t last long: authorities seeing major lost revenue played to docile “altruism”—offering negotiations.
Jamison (soon a cofounder of SCLC) compromised, ending the crippling boycott after only a week—infuriating many. They gained only a few extra “Colored Only” seats (Blacks made up 80% of riders). Ugly segregation raged on—totally unchanged.
It seems Jamison (at right with protesters) admitted his “career” with the prestigious National Baptist Convention (that did tragically snub the eventual Civil Rights Drive) trumped ending segregation—his father was its current president. Many surviving Baton Rouge participants are outraged to this day.
Most U.S. Blacks come out of the Southern Baptist experience—one way or another. Their selling-out in every level of achievement—instead of using gained “leverage” (resource) to further Black social advancement—has a profound connection. Social climbers (having fallen thru racism’s cracks) prefer to huff behind “moral correctness” (& religious authority) when ignoring social progress for the rest.
Today the age-old Black “Cadillac syndrome” is alive & well—the notion that for Blacks “worshiping” cosmetics usurp reachable “social improvement” substance.
I saw it here in SF as the Mario Woods Coalition on Sept. 19th lobbied at SF City Hall—to get the Blue Ribbon Report added to Supervisor’s docket. Reaching London Breed’s office (at left) she peeked through a cracked door not letting us in. Breed (who did support the lobby request) was getting her hair done—at 2:00 in the afternoon while City Hall bustled.
You see it in the plethora of Black pundits, celebrity sports figures & entertainers—all having slipped thru racist cracks becoming the new “celebrity aristocracy.” SF 49er Kaepernick’s anthem protest is revealing: some sit duplicating it; some vocally support (but say they wouldn’t follow suit); others openly balk at it & most do nothing.
None that I know (besides media sharks) have personally visited any victim’s families—or joined protests, marches & rallies (eliminating a powerful kindred connection statement). It’s obvious: moderately successful celebs fear for their jobs—hostile corporate producers would clip their wings (& celebs expect the same treatment a fickle, sold-out public gave Paul Robeson—fans not supporting his concerts after the govt. black-balled him for leading Human Rights campaigns left Robeson financially ruined).
But what about the so-called now “financially independent” Black moguls—the Oprah’s, Jay-Z’s (producing the now mega millionaires Beyonce & Rhianna), warhorse James Earl Jones, Gangsta & Hip-Hop rappers—why don’t they publicly visit families & marches (like Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis, Josephine Baker, Sidney Poitier & the like) or do more?
Rapper Lil’ Wayne on Night Line recently called Black Lives Matter “dumb shit,” bragging that he’s a “rich gang-banger.”
I don’t believe standard Black preachers will be spearheading this modern movement. Evidence says they’re still too philosophically rigid—& brutally “exclusive”—preferring to solidly wall themselves, their congregations (& their “privileges”) in the mental Dark Ages.
Black social change requires powerfully diversified coalitions—interfaith being essential. Black Muslims are prominent in the lineup with Rev. Pitcher—as they are out here in SF (with an insightfully vocal Christopher Muhammad); SF’s Archbishop Franzo King (upper left Oct. 7 at the DA’s office) & Father Richard Leslie Smith (below, Sept. 13 at City Hall) are “step-up” leaders among others—progressive spiritual forces racing past immobile Baptist preachers, pushing diversity to combat civic terror.
And it cannot exclude the lesbian & gay spectrum.
I’ am an openly gay Black man of 37 years—having contributed hugely to mainstream Black community & general LGBTQ social repair—saving & rebuilding lives. I’ am the living witness to anti gay viciousness raining from Afro pulpits, sectors & families—including my own; this brutal castigation destroyed & discarded countless Black gay souls. I’m SF’s rare leadership voice holding a white gay community’s rampant “racism” (& cultural indifference) to accountability’s fire!
And my work certifies a fact: the abused (wounded & unresolved) in turn, will abuse their own. Here’s a strange phenomenon: people finally easing discrimination against them, now “needing” to brutalize someone under them & for the same reason—to feel good in the name of God.
The Civil Rights Movement heading into the 60’s would collapse, were it not for Bayard Rustin—an openly Black gay pioneer (at left in Montgomery with King & Abernathy): he was top strategist & consultant for every major Civil Rights leader the 1st half of the 20th century (also co-founding SCLC). Dr. King never wavered defending Rustin—rebuking “moralizing” attacks.
And how ironic that the late Coretta Scott-King vehemently supported “gay marriage,” but her daughter Rev. Bernice King gives “radicalized” opposition. Rev. King campaigned in an anti gay march with the now disgraced Rev. Eddie Long (who’s “sex scandal” with underage boys had him “settling” big-time).
Dr. King led a cadre of Black Preachers (with a rainbow coalition) stepping out of the “radicalized” religious pack—directly embracing Rabbi Joshua’s higher, more humane spiritual ideal—absolute “hospitality” treasuring the “downtrodden & meek.” King anguished about multitudes of preachers snubbing the “movement”—but you’ll have to fight to hear those speeches.
Evidence shows Rabbi Joshua backed swift response in calling-out the victims of “perverse & corrupt” ideology—who’ve become monsters themselves. I follow suite with today’s examples:
Steele’s now “radicalized” SCLC (founded in light of Montgomery’s Bus Boycott)—but now suspending Rev. Pitcher; the prestigious National Black Convention “radicalized”—snubbing the Civil Rights Movement; Black entertainers “radicalized”—strictly dedicated to a white “celebrity aristocracy”; SF’s white gay Supervisor Scott Wiener “radicalized”—thwarting Leno’s cop transparency bill; Blacks groomed in Southern Protestant “tubes” being “radicalized”—sabotaging kindred in every social sector; sadly the list goes on…
The POA means serious business, totally dedicated to raising big money & legislative backing—to maintain racist power in “cop culture.” Afro-American “culture” is not serious; having only superficial dedication to Black people—giving “lip service” to liberating the whole by any means necessary.
Supporters in distress ask me this: given the true level of “cop culture” brutality and public “sell out” can it realistically be turned around?
Swallowing past the lump in my throat I offer a reminder:
Three young Black women started modern Black Lives Matter—one of them Alicia Garza of Oakland, a proud lesbian (& reminder of Black LGBTQ leadership legacy). It echoes the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) who bolstered Dr. King (& whose audacious tactics were supported by him)—“youth” rescuing the “movement” from faltering old guards.
And there’s fresh fire in Baton Rouge—in lieu of the Black Panther’s 50th Anniversary (they’d also started in Oakland):
I see young people in a video declaring they are the new “Black Panther Chapter”—rallying on Baton Rouge Courthouse steps. Backers confront the stagnant “Bible Belt”; exhort passers to join in, blister apathy, invoke Blacks to take back their “power” (then define what that power is)—& inventory the list of “radicalized” monsters running the local system.
Other institutions there dig-in as well: 2 Black history museums awaited my visit in 2013. One of them, the Odell S. Williams “Now And Then” Museum of African-American History sits right at the State Capital & is listed on their map. The founder & curator Sadie Roberts-Joseph is warm & well versed—pulling out all of the magical stops during my visit (below left with a historic “bus” & above, anointing me on my return to Baton Rouge after 40 years).
Consciousness has set a breach, breaking ground on Baton Rouge’s long scorched trail—Rev. Pitcher & co. instill mettle & grit beneath the surface—to bypass paralyzing fear & an old guard (who’d comfortably grind action to a halt).
Faltering local services might see Pitcher founding the National Alliance for Social Justice—acknowledging this might need to hit “international courts”—thus providing an Operation Central HQ primed for substance action!
Spiritual “evidence” is what rallies faith—more soldiers must step out of America’s monstrous pack (revoking corruption’s “pay-off”) to turn this legacy of horror around.
Hard core “reality” is clear: gaining good ground on real Human Rights achievement takes hitting the long road—& that trail leads “national.”