Sad But True, They Are Slaves by Kyle Phoenix

  (The Italicized portions are part of an article, anonymously presented supposedly by a White man on the state of Black Americans.)


We can continue to reap profits from the Blacks without the effort of

physical slavery. Look at the current methods of containment that they

use on themselves: IGNORANCE, GREED, and SELFISHNESS.

Their IGNORANCE is the primary weapon of containment. A great ! man once

said, "The best way to hide something from Black people is to put it in

a book." We now live in the Information Age. They have gained the

opportunity to read any book on any subject through the efforts of their

fight for freedom, yet they refuse to read. There are numerous books

readily available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, and, not to

mention their own Black Bookstores that provide solid blueprints to

reach economic equality (which should have been their fight all along),

but few read consistently, if at all.

Sadly, while it is true that Dominant Culture people (read White/Caucasian) have continued to profit off of people of color because of the above reasoning, when I'm teaching, I often hit my students---generally 80 to 90% people of color with the statistic that for every 10 square block in America there is a public library.  Simply put, one, education, is available, now in abundance throughout America.  Two, that of the 3 Ways to Occupy Capitalism (a neutral but prevalent system)
We are disproportionately Consumer, historically have been Product but are only a micro of Producer. And lastly that my education, my advanced education, day by day is to go back and pull out, mentor out, educate out, as many from "slavery", in its newest iterations, as possible.

I estimate that if I continue with just what I'm doing now, with another 50 years, television show, You Tube, teaching, blog, writing---I can maybe touch 2 million people---of that 2 million potentially 1% to 10% will do what true education does----turn around and do what a teacher has done with and they'll liberate 1% to 10% of the totality of people they come into contact with. Imagine if 1000 more people of color did this?  A few hours a week just flooded You Tube with videos of mentoring, explaining how to dress, mentor others, educate, read a book, interview, go to school, get up when you're tired, turn off TV, stay non-addicted, stay non-destructive----imagine if 1000 of us REALLY used the internet? I mean REALLY used it?

GREED is another powerful weapon of containment. Blacks, since the

abolition of slavery, have had large amounts of money at their disposal.

Last year they spent 10 billion dollars during Christmas, out of their

450 billion dollars in total yearly income (2.22%).

Any of us can use them as our target market, for any business venture

we care to dream up, no matter how outlandish, they will buy into it.

Being primarily a consumer people, they function totally by greed. They

continually want more, with little thought for saving or investing.

They would rather buy some new sneaker than invest in starting a


Some even neglect their children to have the latest Tommy or FUBU, And

they still think that having a Mercedes, and a big house gives them

"Status" or that they have achieved their Dream.

They are fools! The vast majority of their people are still in poverty

because their greed holds them back from collectively making better communities.

With the help of BET, and the rest of their black media that often

broadcasts destructive images into their own homes, we will continue to

see huge profits like those of Tommy and Nike. (Tommy Hilfiger has even

jeered them, saying he doesn't want their money, and look at how the

fools spend more with him than ever before!). They'll continue to show

off to each other while we build solid communities with the profits from

our businesses that we market to them.

Sadly, when I project forward, 100 years, 50 years, 25 years, even as America browns, I see brown Americans declining and separating. I am often talking to friends and colleagues about the Chasm----of the Haves and the Have Nots---the Going to Be OK and The Nots---there are some students/young people/older people on my Facebook Friend list right now who think being some of the above essay IS reality. And I am heartbroken and torn because I'm at the stage in my life where my abilities and skills must start to forge my own cave, my own family's future, and there's only so much I can do with two hands in my life. I struggle with the impetus and example of Harriet Tubman and the reality of my students, 22 years old who when you hand them a book---their first words are---"what's this?" They're as brown as the floor and for intents and purposes, dead. They'll see the latest iteration of Batman movies for the rest of their lives, they'll get on color coded mass transit to go back to impoverished neighborhoods to sit and watch tv that only shows people (even in fiction) who make or have $15 at the lowest end, while they go to work for $9 an hour. They'll call me and I won't be able to pick up the phone because I'll have to make the kinds of decisions lifeboat men have to make as the Titanic sinks---how many can I save before this small boat is dragged down?

I pass them by on trains and sometimes in their overpriced cars and they are so lost because they don't know that the storm is coming. That Obama as President doesn't matter a tinkers damn when you don't have a GED or a college education. That by 2014, the USA work market will demand a minimum of an Associates degree to participate as a "minimum wage worker". But they'll have IPhones and IPads and BMWs and Mercedes and drink liquors from beer to vodka, Coronoan to Hennessy---companies that don't offer GED scholarships, nor come into upper Manhattan or the Bronx---wherever in the country that may be---not with branding day but with books and food. Those companies, they'll rush, rightfully so, to Haiti, because the poorest people on Earth, brown ones, know the value of education. Which is why they walk miles a day to apply as 12 year old girls to the Oprah Leadership Academy in South Africa and I can't bribe GED students with lunch, free books and love, in their 20's to a glorious campus like Columbia to READ.

SELFISHNESS, ingrained in their minds through slavery, is one of the

major ways we can continue to contain them. One of their own, Dubois

said that there was an innate division in their culture. A "Talented

Tenth" he called it. He was correct in his deduction that there are

segments of their culture that has achieved some "form" of success.

However, that segment missed the fullness of his work. They didn't read

that the "Talented Tenth" was then responsible to aid The Non-Talented

Ninety Percent in achieving a better life.

We, as African Americans, have passed the legacy of slavery as a rape, as a loss, rather than assuring each other---we won! we beat slavery!  We are alive from a system that did everything to destroy and kill us. I think that's what the Talented 10th learn and hopefully pass on. The Talented 10th I think exist in all levels of a society---in fact I would broaden DuBois to the supposition that only about 10 to 20% of all humanity is keeping the planet moving, keeping technology growing, keeping justice balanced. When I watch the television show Through the Wormhole hosted by Morgan Freemen, I see people of color and all genders and sexualities wrestling with some mighty big concepts----and I think to myself---do the disenfranchised on the corner even know about particle colliders, about satellites, about real estate, about inventing the next Facebook---and with their fingers mind-numbingly clicking onto handheld screens,m thumbing through posts, punching in texts, who's not telling them?

Instead, that segment has created another class, a Buppie class that

looks down on their people or aids them in a condescending manner. They

will never achieve what we have. Their selfishness does not allow them

to be able to work together on any project or endeavor of substance.

When they do get together, their selfishness lets their egos get in the

way of their goal. Their so-called help organizations seem to only want

to promote their name without making any real change in their community.

They are content to sit in conferences and conventions in our hotels,

and talk about what they will do, while they award plaques to the best

speakers, not to the best doers. Is there no end to their selfishness?

They steadfastly refuse to see that TOGETHER EACH ACHIEVES MORE (TEAM)

They do not understand that they are no better than each other because

of what they own , as a matter of fact, most of those Buppies are but

one or two pay checks away from poverty. All of which is under the

control of our pens in our offices and our rooms.

Yes, we will continue to contain them as long as they refuse to read,

continue to buy anything they want, and keep thinking they are "helping"

their communities by paying dues to organizations which do little other

than hold lavish conventions in our hotels. By the way, don't worry

about any of them reading this letter, remember, 'THEY DON'T READ!!!!

(Prove them wrong NOW..Please pass this on! After Reading it..)

I walk sometimes through the streets of Manhattan, through three levels of neighborhoods everyday---Poor People, Middle Class People, Upper Class People and I see it's not simply race that drops one into those categories----it's the fundamental ability to know, to think, to process, to discern.  A people, any people, who can't think, whose thinking has been replaced by big budget films where they're never the hero or emasculated into being simply fuckable, breeding males and females, because that's the only voice, power your race has, will do two things based upon basic human survival:

  1. Those who can't thrive will become neo-slaves and forever be neo-slaves and will serve me and others our basics---french fries, towels at the gym, clean the garbage I won't touch.
  2. Then there are those who will know that maybe life/circumstance means you do a few shitty jobs (I've worked at Wendy's and Pathmark and done day labor on construction sites, and scrubbed walls and mopped floors) to get $100 so you can use $10 to buy a book. 

And while you're scrubbing you're thinking through Frederick Douglass or wrestling with Mozart's symphony or trying to figure out whats the difference in being the furrow in or of his brow in Toni Morrison's Paradise---and then maybe you save up and you get into some rooms where educated, knowing people like Carlene Hatcher Polite and Raymond Federman challenge you, not because of your skin, but because of the brain. The Polites and Federmans of the world will casually say go read these 15 people and come back and tell me what you think and if you're going to attempt to write creatively, why are you limiting yourself to staying literally within the lines on a page? Then years later you're at a law school, 4th best on the planet, scared, but there. Holding your books with only $2 in your pocket, having shaved your comfort to the bone to afford your ticket to slip in, to afford the books, to afford the sweatshirt that makes you feel both warm and welcomed and pushes security to giving you the blank smile they reserve for the students.

But each day when I leave the Ivy adorned walls I go to Bed Stuy, Brownsville, Washington Hgts., and Harlem, and with the group that is smart enough to gather, I sit down and open up my bag and I share the bounty I carried out.  Some days I even snuck it out, I pressed print for twenty copies when I was just standing in the office making one.  Or I sat at a desk for an extra hours pay to buy a book that a celebrated professor lauded on about.  Or I found a digital copy of the notes and class assignments from another professor who travels the world dispensing pearls of wisdom among the intelligentsia.  I think of Harriet Tubman in those moments, I think that the railroad, while still underground is in reverse that I'm sneaking into free lands to bodies held in mental bondage.

One of my students emailed me with the salient question of what happens to those who don't move along, how do I personally deal with that? I've learned, so as to not be crushed by my own heart, to think of myself and my work as a trauma surgeon does, I imagine. I go in and I do my best work---and some patients/students will die on the table; they will drop off, drop out, vanish, go back to jail, never progress, have children before they're ready, have too many children, etc.--- and just as a trauma unit surgeon knows that they have to make decisions with deep ramifications, I pray and meditate diligently or how long I can spend helping people. I rail, I push, I cajole, I challenge, I help, I assist, I champion----but I also admit when I've taken someone as far as my skills, my influence can get them and I move on to the next "patient-student" with a hope and a blessing to the past ones and a new vigor and commitment to the new.  A new patient student with me, patient teacher anew.

I keep it moving because I can't spend my lifetime second guessing myself or waiting for a cracked seed to birth fruit.  I am only one tool in the Universe's workshop, a single lampshade to reflect enlightenment. Sometimes it's me and sometimes it's something or someone else and sometimes, most of the times teaching, it's a dead patient-student on the gurney. Admitting that to myself, letting myself on the hook allows me to put myself on the hook but not lynch, as mental slavery would have me do, myself.

Thank you,
Kyle Phoenix
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