Monday, October 15, 2007

Part Two: The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

by Dr. M (aka Marvin X)

The Chauncey Bailey Project continues to give us the story of incidents in the life of Your Black Muslim Bakery. While it is a good thing to see journalists and writers contribute to in depth articles on this story (and we consented to an interview with a student from UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism) , it is approaching the level of overkill, repetition and redundancy. How many times can you go over the same facts or allegations? Thus, the Chauncey Bailey Project has quickly become an attack on Your Black Muslim Bakery in particular and Muslims in general, adding to the climate of hatred and disgust for Muslims in the Bay, in the US and worldwide. We suggest the media tone down the Muslim aspect of the story and concentrate on the fact that individuals may have killed Chauncey, since when do we see persons referred to as Christians when they are indicted for crimes?

The Chauncey Bailey Project has yet to tell us about the guilt, shame and grief of the entire African American community here in the Bay Area that has endured decades of embarrassment from the activities of YBMB. As in the case of Jim Jones who had compromised the black leadership of San Francisco long before his suicide mission in the jungle of Guyana, Dr. Bey compromised, perhaps through fear, much of the political and religious leadership of Oakland, to the extent that children suffered and he himself. As far as I know, he was never advised to seek help for his dark side activities. What kind of friend are we when we cannot help a friend, when we are too cowardly to tell a friend the truth and advise him to seek help, especially when it is well known he long ago crossed the line of propriety.

The matter of Chauncey Bailey and YBMB touches a sensitive heart string though out the community because the two were often comrades in struggle, especially when Dr. Bey and Chauncey both had programs on Soulbeat television for several years. Thus this tragedy is a community tragedy, not simply the murder of a fine journalist and the destruction of a community institution. It has affected the African American community and perhaps the community in general in a way we have not seen since the first OJ trial. As one friend noted at the time, "OJ put the entire black nation under stress with his bullshit." Today we are under stress at what has happened with Chauncey and YBMB as well as the continued mayhem throughout our community in the Bay Area, the homicides and especially the number of unsolved cases. Perhaps the police rushed to judgment with spurious facts only because Chauncey was a high profile personality. But the Chauncey Bailey Project appears to continue the myopia of Mr. Bailey by rehashing information for sensationalism, or does it have a demonic mission to bury any positive view of Islam in the Bay.

We are stressed that so called leaders are incapable of finding creative solutions to problems which are economic and mental health issues that don't take rocket scientists, nor will a military/police action resolve matters as we can see from the situation in Iraq. If the criminals and insurgents in Iraq can be enticed to end their mayhem and terror with employment and reconstruction aid, why can't the same formula be used throughout the hoods of America to entice youth to stop the violence and resulting destabilization of our beloved community? It appears there are those with a vested interest in the continued chaos--perhaps it is good for gentrification or "Negro removal."

It is time to heal the community grief associated with YBMB. No amount of writing will bring Chauncey back, nor will it bring back the bakery, but there are many people associated with both who have unresolved grief and need resolution so a community can move on to other critical issues.

Dr. M is an internationally recognized poet/playwright, essayist and social activist, one of the founders of the Black Arts Movement. His latest book is HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE ADDICTION TO WHITE SUPREMACY, available from Black Bird Press, POB 1317, Paradise CA 95967, $19.95. Dr. M will facilitate the next meeting of the Pan African Mental Health Peer Group on Friday, November 2, 7pm at the Berkeley Black Repertory Group Theatre, 3201 Adeline St., Berkeley. Call 510-355-6339 for more information.

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