Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Notes for the Pan African Mental Health Peer Group Session of Saturday,
January 12, 2008

1. What shall we plan to accomplish during the next 12 months?
2. Can we plan to stick together as a group until we go through the 13 Steps?
3. Should we focus on going through the steps or can we try to set up other groups locally and nationally, since we have received requests for sessions in Oakland,
San Francisco and other cities?
4. Dr. Nathan Hare has suggested we make a play or movie based on the book. Are any of you interested in being a part of such a project or should the group focus on recovering from our addiction to white supremacy. Is not our recovery partly based on helping others? Are we ready and able to help others—perhaps we should wait until we have gone through all the steps.
5. There are those who want to organize other groups, should we hold them off or let them go about the business of organizing as part of their recovery?
6. Should we incorporate as a non-profit organization or should we remain unincorporated and totally free of the system? Should we seek grants from mental health foundations or remain free and independent, surviving off donations and contributions of and from ourselves? What projects such as books and tapes can be used to fund the group and other groups like this so we remain free?
7. What kind of rituals should we do to expedite our recovery, such as burning our fears, painting our faces, spiritual dancing, retreats, etc.? What type of celebration should we create for graduation of the group?
8. Should we utilize bio-therapy (or the reading, viewing and/or listening to books, tapes, DVDs) to expedite recovery—or should we focus on Dr. M’s book to see if it is indeed able to help us recovery from the addiction to white supremacy.
9. What should be our attitude toward religions, ideologies and philosophies that many of us believe in, some of which may be the cause of our addiction to white supremacy but we think they have been helpful to our self development?
10. Should we meet on a weekly basis and who is willing to facilitate such weekly sessions.

Report: How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, APan African, Twelve Step Model

Date: December 15, 2007
Scheduled meeting time: 4pm
Actual Starting time: 4:10
Place: In the Upper Room,
Black Repertory Group Theatre,
Berkeley, CA
Order of Session:
1. Prayer, Read Step 7
2. Check In
3. Read 13 Steps
4. White Supremacy Defined
5. Detoxification from White Supremacy
6. Read Step One, Fear
7. Donations
8. Prayer
9. Next Meeting Date: Saturday, January 12, 2008, 4pm, Upper Room, Black Rep. Theatre, Berkeley

The meeting was a success, for one reason because it began only ten minutes after the scheduled time. This is revolutionary for North American Africans. Secondly, it was a success by the fact that ten people came together on a Saturday afternoon during the holiday season to begin the healing process from their addiction to white supremacy. This is revolutionary. We met to heal ourselves by ourselves, without any leader, although Dr. M and his associates were there to facilitate, and they did. PhD candidate and long time associate of Dr. M, Ayodele Nzinga did an excellent job keeping people on the agenda, summing up each item, and explaining concepts.

Who came to the meeting? Sick people in search of healing. Why would anyone come in denial they are addicted to white supremacy, level II (the oppressed), as Dr. Nathan Hare explained in his foreword to Dr. M’s book HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE ADDICTION TO WHITE SUPREMACY. Level 1 is the oppressor’s addiction to White Supremacy.

From the check in it was clear everyone was in a state of Black Rage, the women and the men. The rage was like a teapot boiling and steaming, and about to explode. The meeting was successful because it gave people an opportunity to release rage in a constructive manner, although people told of their desire to be destructive and attack the perceived source of their rage and anger, the oppressor.

White supremacy was defined as a system of oppression and domination. It was said that the solution is coming together in the circle to begin the healing process. We suffer because we are disconnected, thus the simple solution is to connect, come together. Sister Ayo remarked how good it felt just being in the room with a group of people coming together to consciously begin to heal themselves. And we must concur, it did feel good being in the room with people aware of their problems and about the business of finding the solution. Yes, everyone in the room was sick, to one degree or another, but the hope is in the fact they made it to the meeting. One severely disturbed person came up the stairs, looked around at the people in the circle, acknowledged to all that he had played basketball with Dr. M, but he had to leave, so he departed. But even he must be congratulated for making it up the stairs—at least he made the effort in his pitiful condition, so how can we dismiss him. Maybe the next time he will find the energy to remain, so let us not lose hope. Our sickness is only a matter of degree, but by degrees we are raised to perfection. Again, the meeting was a success because people came to make the initial step.

Dr. M told them his book is not written in stone, it can be revised, just as he revised the traditional 12 step model to adjust it for the addiction to white supremacy. He does not expect every one to agree with his remarks in the book, but he would like this group to serve as a model for others who desire to used the peer group approach, especially since, as Dr. Hare noted, there simply are not enough mental health workers to serve the critical needs of our people. Dr. Hare has indicated he will make himself present when time allows. He did not attend, but we are honored to have his unqualified support as our elder and specialist in the field of liberation psychology. We informed the group that they should seek out the writings of others in the field.
When it came to the subject of detoxification, Brother Ptah, who wrote the afterword to Dr. M’s book, noted how he detoxed by listening to the tapes of Dr. Clarke, Dr. Ben, Dr. Wesling, Dr. Khalid Muhammad, and others, and he suggested this as a detox method, for we must simply negate white supremacy information. Ptah said just as we hit delete on the computer, we must hit the delete button in our minds and release the ideas, the thoughts, the information that is the source of our ills, the mis-information that is slowly killing us.

A rich man from Silicon Valley was interviewed on radio about how he became wealthy and how others do the same in the Valley. First, he said you come with a thought, with an idea that has the potential to be successful, then you connect with others, such as engineers and venture capitalists, but the thought is the key element. And the addiction to white supremacy can be healed with New Thought. Thoughts are things, thoughts can kill and thoughts can heal! So much of our addiction to white supremacy is thought-based, and most of us have not been in a position to think outside the box because in order to do so one must be on the highest spiritual plane wherein we are in this world but not of this world. Now there are some of us who have been able to get outside this country, to travel abroad long enough to ponder our condition and, from being abroad, see how ridiculous it is for us to accept our wretched status. And a sister noted who called from Florida and has worked in the field of addiction to white supremacy, she calls it White Lunacy—yes, we are under the rule of lunatics. How can divine people allow themselves to be ruled by lunatics? And brother Ptah said as much in his afterword: we are giving too much credit to the enemy by using the term supremacy: “Even Black Studies scholars and educators, in their mentally disturbed state are guilty of perpetuating white supremacy. Unfortunately, some intellectuals are unaware of the dialectic that suggests every time the thesis white supremacy is used, the antithesis black inferiority is automatically insinuated.” Indeed, we have, and I have written about the psycholinguistic crisis of North American Africans. In short, not only are thoughts killing us but language as well. Hence, all the confusion about the proper description of our identity: Africans, colored, Negro, Black, Bilalian, Kemetic, Niggers, Nigguhs, Bitches, Hos, thugs, dogs, pimps, gangstas, etc.

In the meeting, a sister got upset because a young brother used the term old people, she preferred the term senior. We agreed to allow freedom of speech in the peer group, otherwise we can get lost in the black hole or white hole of linguistic confusion—the tower of Babel. Language can be ideological, political, spiritual, thus we can get bogged down with words, definitions. Perhaps we should establish a working vocabulary, but we do not want to inhibit people from speaking their mind, only because some of us are linguistic puritans and only desire to hear socalled positive speech. I believe in freedom of speech, and I especially abhor those hypocrites who say don’t say motherfucker but are guilty of incest. Dr. Cornel West told the NAACP, “Yes, you buried the N word, but you’re still acting like Nigguhs!” Yes, we are against phony Nigguhs who hide behind words to shield their wickedness. Jesse, don’t pray with the president while you are engaged in the same immorality! You so involved in praying for somebody else when you need to be praying for yourself and asking God to forgive you! People email me, “Who’s going to heal you, Dr. M?” I’m trying to heal myself as it is prescribed, “Physician heal thyself.” I’m not above the peer group, I’m in the peer group! The book is healing for me, it allowed me to transcend some of my addiction to white supremacy or lunacy (I like Sister Abena’s term, the group liked it. The old folks used to say, don’t worry bout them white folks, they crazy!). The only problem is that we have been infected by their virus of lunacy.

A good example is the multitude of fears we harbor, as revealed when the group discussed Step One, which deals with fear—so many fears, while the only thing to fear is fear itself. We fear nothing but the Creator, and furthermore, we flow in the flow of the Creator’s love, thus we only fear when we slip into the undercurrent and get caught in the counter flow.
There is no fear when we are I harmony with the laws of the universe, but we become fearful when we are not doing the right things. The brothers in the hood are armed because they are afraid of each other, they don’t know each other, in their ignorance of their Divinity, they act out animal behavior, even worse than animals, for animals don’t kill for no reason—they kill to eat. We kill for wreakless eyeballing, “I don’t like the way you looked at me, Nigguh! I don’t like the way you looked at my bitch.” Bam, Boom, Bam! One more bites the dust.

One sister feared her father and other men because she did not know them. She knew the women in her family and life, but not the men, they were strangers to her and she did not know how to interact with them.

Another sister feared that our people would mess around until it was too late and we will self destruct or be totally overwhelmed by the forces of white supremacy. I saw her point and gave the example of the Polish underground during WW II, they delayed organizing until it was too late when they finally got their resistance together. When they finally did, they found themselves caught between the political chicanery of Hitler, Stalin and the Allied powers. Of they ended up in concentration camps or simply had their resistance foiled.

Of course the men in the group had no fears, to hear them tell it. “I ain’t scared of nothing,” many of them said, perhaps expressing their macho socialization. For men to express fear is cowardice, yet some did, when pressed, admit they had fears. They feared getting caught in a death trap interacting with white men in the business world, as one union organized spoken about. They feared not doing enough in the time they had on earth. Even I feared my forty years in struggle has been in vain, that my sharings on the internet are not being read because I get few comments on them. I fear teaching on the street is in vain, yet people tell me I make a difference when I am on the corner of 14th and Broadway—a spiritual energy pervades the area, even though I may be unaware of it, but the people notice and they have told me and others. So there is a power working higher than myself, a spirit in the dark, or perhaps a bright sun shining on a winter day. We must simply do the work, do all that we can do while we’re here, and don’t worry, simply plant the seeds and surely they will grown.
A sister feared she would lose her government job by attending our meeting, that she is being watched. On the street, a brother feared going back to work with my book—he might get fired for having a book on white supremacy in his possession.

A mother said she feared for her children every time she hears the news about a shooting. She has to take a head count of her sons to see they are all safely in the house, because she worries all the time they are in the street.

Brother Ptah said after reading aloud from Step One, he was shaken by the material, even though he had read it before. He was especially moved by the lines, “If truth be told, we are not powerless over anything, but have the power within ourselves to overcome any force in the universe that is not in harmony with the Higher Power without and within ourselves.” (page 31, How to Recover from White Supremacy.)

The meeting ended with prayer. The next session is scheduled for Saturday, January 12, 4pm, in the Upper Room of the Black Repertory Group Theatre,
3201 Adeline Street, Berkeley, one block south of the Ashby BART station. Call 510-355-6339 for more information.
Let us hear your comments. We urge you to organize a peer group in your community, at your home even.
Start with your family members and friends. Time is of the essence. Racism is on the move, but so are we, and we are not afraid, for we stand on the shoulders of ancestors David Walker, Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Booker T, Frederick Douglas, Noble Drew Ali, WEB DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Master Fard Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott, Betty Shabazz, Mae Mallory, Ella Collins, Queen Mother Moore, Ella Baker, Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, George Jackson, Robert F. Williams, Kwame Toure, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, and other known and unknown soldiers of liberation.

To order Dr. M’s book HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE ADDICTION TO WHITE SUPREMACY, send $19.95 to Black Bird Press, POB 1317, Paradise CA 95967. To book him for speaking and reading engagements, write to the same address or call 510-355-6339.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Hares and the Great Debaters

Drs. Julia and Nathan Hare were both students of poet Melvin Tolson, the teacher portrayed by Denzil Washington in the Great Debaters. If there is one negative criticism of the Great Debaters, it is that we do not see Melvin Tolson as the great poet he was. There is little mention of him as poet. The film opens with him reciting a Langston Hughes poem, but never do we see him rapping from his own great body of work. Both Hares were taught by Tolson at Langston University in Oklahoma . Nathan was originally an English major under Tolson.

Tolson was a difficult, detailed, intricate poet whose book Libretto for Liberia is a poetic classic. Before the film, he was not well known except in literary circles and academia.
The film should spark interest in his body of work and the students he mentored such as James Farmer, Julia and Nathan Hare.
Check out former Oklahomans, Drs Nathan and Julia Hare, in this week's JET magazine hitting the stands today, January 8.

The Hares, who were both former students of the film's hero when he taught at Langston University , are the subjects of a page-length sidebar, "The Real Great Debater 'Aimed at Broadway and Hit Hollywood.'" An interesting aside: Nathan later taught black power advocate Stokely Carmichael and Claude Brown, author of Manchild in the Promised Land during a six-year stint on the faculty of Howard University .

In the radical activist tradition of Tolson and others, including the greatest radical scholar WEB DuBois, Nathan Hare was banned from teaching at Howard and later at San Francisco State University . SFSU will celebrate the forty year anniversary of Hare's battle in his role as chair of the first black studies department at a major university--he caused one of the biggest and most violent student strikes in the history of American academia. The SFSU Ethnic Studies Department is planning to endow a chair in his honor.

By Marvin X and The Black Think Tank

I keep looking back
Something back there
May leak
Into this present reality
But it hasn’t.

Like me
Picking up the phone
And hearing your voice
On the other end
Telling me
What you like best
And it is
In this time,
And in this place.

No need to be righteous.
No protected armor.
No inflated egos.
No critical analysis.
No regrets
Of exposure
Or not.
No guarded conversations
That leave us
Wanting more,
And take the place
Of our communicating
The way we do best.

Our eyes are wide open
And we can see
Straight through to our hearts
That wonder
What has taken us so long?

Delores Nochi Cooper

Monday, January 7, 2008

Letter from UC Berkeley Grad Student

Dr. Marvin,
I'd went to Bancroft Library early in December and got a chance to see the video you have of Yusuf Bey at both the 1980 First Black Mens' Conference and the Eldridge Cleaver memorial service. I would very much like to incorporate short pieces of these videos in my master's thesis, the documentary on Chauncey Bailey and the Bakery. I want to give the audience a sense of what issues Bey would talk about when he'd appear around town. I hope we can talk about this soon.
Thanks for your help.
Zach Stauffer

Freelance Reporter/Producer
Graduate School of Journalism
University of California - Berkeley
Comment On the poem Facing Mt. Kenya by Dr. M

Great piece by Marvin X and I agree: darkness and light,
and everything in between, have the potential for positive

--- Fige Bornu wrote:

> Brother Marvin X in this piece said "we are white with
> evil." Wow, this is one of the few times that evil
> has been associated with the color white versus the
> color black, and I appreciate the inclusion because
> ALL colors are innocent having both positive and
> negative consequences.
> And I know this poem was sent in part to respond to my
> recent pledge to support Barack Obama. And I truly
> appeciate it being shared because it helps me and
> reminds me of what all of this about and what this
> "way" has produced in our people.
> I will be aware.

And I ask you all to be aware that Cynthia McKinney is
seeking the Green Party's nomination for President. Please
give yourself an opportunity to to see other possibilities
than just the Republican and Democratic parties.

Thank you for continuing to keep me in your dialog.


Nan Garrett

Thanks for this healing, Brother Marvin X.
Fige Bornu

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Facing Mt. Kenya

Lord let us pray
Great Ancestor save us this hour
We have shamed you in our wickedness
shedding of blood
Even into the Lord’s House we bring machetes
Slaughtering the innocent
Even the babies
Vote for me, I’ll set you free
And freedom is slavery of the worst kind
What evil spirit has come among us
What strange language this democracy
Brother against brother, tribe against tribe
Oh, Mt. Kenya
Who gave birth to us all
Raise your hands in mercy
We are lost in the forest
Cannot find the way home
Where is our king, where is our queen
What of manhood rites
rites for women
They did not teach us slaughter
Did we learn this at Oxford and Harvard
Help us, Mt. Kenya
This is not the way of the Great Spirit
Not even the way of the jungle beast
This madness for power and greed
Vote for me, I’ll set you free.
Freedom is worse than slavery

We refuse to share
transcend tribe for nation
We the great people
Who became little people
Not the tall Masai warriors
but pigmy of the forest
our heads fat with evil
no justice among the brotherhood
There is no Kwanza
No celebration of harvest
No seven principles of love
Only madness
From Kenya to Somalia
From Sudan to Congo
From Nigeria to Zimbabwe
From Fillmore to Harlem
New Orleans to Philly
Ancestors gather to wail
The people have lost their way
Aping Western man
Voting his way
People starve in the shanties
Politicians order fleets of Mercedes
The colonialists and their lackeys
Brought this chaos
They set borders and boundaries in days past
He taught the schools or filled them with tom teachers
He gave us his language his God
we have lived in misery ever since
At least during the colonial wars
We fought the good cause
But what is this today
Another Rwanda
We learn no lessons
Master no courses in civility
Make fools of history
At this hour let us bow down to. Mt. Kenya
Mt. Kilimanjaro
And cry out mercy and forgiveness
We have sinned like the Western man
We are white with evil
Paint our faces white and wade into Lake Victoria
Wade into the ocean
Cleanse the blood from our hands
Put down the machetes
We are the Great Nation
who gave birth to humanity
Let us return to the course the Ancestors taught
Let us find our way from the forest to the sea.

Part Three: Plato Reviews The Great Debaters

This is a coming of age film of the North American African Nation. It is about a people regaining their consciousness after decades of obscurity. This film puts them back properly in the time and space of history, for they present themselves as a civilized people, the children and the adults, thus making it a movie on the goodness of life and the power of consciousness to reveal the very best of a people, thus regaining their self respect before the world community. It shows the intelligence and leadership of American African youth-- of adult leadership and intelligence as well, including the radical activist tradition in North American African History.

Every North American African, every Pan African, can be proud that Oprah Winfrey and Denzil Washington produced this. Perhaps we have reached that moment in time when our people have no choice but to be their true selves, their best selves.

For the first time in a long time, we see the intellectual genius of a people during the turbulent 1930s. This should be a lesson to all North American Africans that we have a dignified liberation tradition to uphold, thus we cannot sink into the morass of today, but in the manner of this film, take a great leap forward into dignity, respect, and intelligent behavior.

As a people, we must be proud of the young performers in this drama. They have exhibited the very best in us as human beings, as African people. The children teach us and themselves in this movie. They teach us the worst in human consciousness with their remarks on a lynching.

They repeatedly show us the power of using the black mind for intellectual dexterity rather than barbarity and expressions of animal consciousness.

This film is in the genre of Akila and the Bee, except that it goes deeper socially, intellectually, historically and spiritually. While it reveals the utter racism and white supremacy of this nation, it also depicts the resistance and transcendence to this unique American evil, especially in the present era.

The music is excellent, the visuals as well, including the acting and dance, giving us a sense of the ritual life of our people during the 1930s. The young character Henry who became a debater after a riotous life is exemplary and a clear example to other wayward youth struggling to survive in the hoods of America. You can come up if you get up! Yes, it takes energy: the same energy it takes to stay down it takes to get up!

Denzil Washington must be given kudos for his role as Melvin Tolson, the great poet of our people. Denzil proves his acting ability in presenting Tolson as the intellectual/activist, a tradition often represented by the artists/activists of the 1960s. But in the character of poet Tolson, we see the roots of the Black Arts Movement artist/activism that would emerge in the 60s with Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Toure,Larry Neal, Marvin X, Haki Madhubuti, Ed Bullins, June Jordan and others. But this tradition had its origins in the Harlem Renaissance of the 20s, and the poets, writers, and artists of the 30s, 40s and 50s, from Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Sterling Brown, Gwen Brooks, Ralph Ellison and others.

Forest Whitaker as the senior James Farmer maintained a certain dignity early on that his character revealed late in The Deacons, his character kept its self respect when confronted by white racists after he accidentally ran over their hog. This scene is a survival lesson for young black men. I tell young black men on the street and in the schools and colleges that they must pass the tone test when confronted by police: depending on their tone of voice, they can be killed, arrested or released.

But imagine, so-called Negroes having an intellectual debate, even a team of debaters with a coach who apprises them on the Willie Lynch syndrome, who tells them straight out white supremacy has them insane, thus confirming the sister who says it is not white supremacy but white lunacy, thus we are victims of an insanity far beyond the economic implications. I love James Baldwin’s quote, “It’s a wonder we haven’t all gone stark raving mad,” dealing with white supremacy for four hundred years. The Debaters is a hopeful sign that we can and shall overcome, that we can and shall regain our sanity.

Dr. Marvin X’s recent book is HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE ADDICTION TO WHTIE SUPREMACY, Black Bird Press, POB 1317, Paradise CA 95967, $19.95. It is now a textbook in the English Department at Berkeley City College.

“He’s the new Malcolm X! Nobody’s going to talk out loud about his book, but they’ll hush hush about it. It’s very straight and plain. They talked about the things I wrote in my book, but wait til you read Marvin’s.”

--Jerri Lange, author of Jerri, A Woman’s Life in the Media