2002-02-16 / Columnists

From the G-Man

By Gary G. Toms
A Letter To Malcolm and Martin

Hey people! I was sitting at a table scribbling little notes to myself the other day, and much to my surprise, I ended up drafting a letter to Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. What started out as simple drawings and notes turned into a letter that dared to ask the question, "Where has your message and spirit gone?" It went a little something like this.

I call upon you at this time, my beloved mentors, because my people are suffering more than ever before, especially in the area of true Black leadership. Events have unfolded that have had a direct impact on the African-American community, and the pain is far-reaching.

The legacy of Hale House has been severely damaged because of a scandal involving the daughter of the late, great Mother Hale and her husband, Jesse De Vore. A treasured institution has been reduced to nothing more than a shameless vehicle used to fleece the public, the city and most of all, the children who were supposed to be cared for. This would not have happened if you had lived.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson, a central figure in the prolonged fight for civil rights in America, has been forced to admit that he had an affair with a long-time assistant, which ultimately produced a child. His organization, The Operation Push (Rainbow Coalition), has been accused of bilking major corporations of millions of dollars by threatening to expose their discriminatory practices unless they paid him. Supposedly, the IRS is now interested in reviewing the financial records of the organization to try and determine if any wrongdoing took place. If something of a criminal nature did take place, it will do further damage to not just Jackson, but to the African-American community of America as well. This would not have happened if you had lived.

Some of our young, Black men, who have achieved major success in the hip-hop music industry are keeping your message and spirit alive, but the majority of them are slaves to the record labels who push them to promote negative stereotypes to increase sales and profit. The truth is they are degrading our communities and our Black women. You both vehemently stated that the Black woman is to be treasured, respected, loved, nurtured and protected because she is the keeper of our legacy. Sadly, our modern day Cleopatras have inherited the label of "hoe", but what is even sadder is the fact that they have accepted and embraced it to a certain degree because of these absurd, projected images. This would not have happened if you had lived.

I guess you would be happy to know that your message and legacy has been maintained by people like the Reverend Al Sharpton, Minister Conrad Muhammed, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Black Eyed Peas, A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, Lauren Hill, Sade, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Colin Powell, Condeleezza Rice, Maxine Waters, Ed Williams, Curtis Archer, James Sanders, Jr., some guy named "The G-man", and the many others who strive to make "Black" look good. However, with all due respect to those listed, the overall connotation of "Black" in America, in history and in the general media, is evil, criminal, violent, destructive, lazy, brutish, and welfare dependent. This would not have happened if you had lived.

There is a reason why we do not have a prominent spokesperson to empower the youth of today and address the issues affecting us. That reason is money. Too many of our so-called Black leaders have become nothing more than what were once described as "Looney Coons" and "Sambo Sellouts." These were the people who ran around claiming they were fighting for the interest of Black people, but behind closed doors, they were cutting deals with the establishment to spy and dismantle the notion of "Black Power", while getting paid in the process. In other words, it quickly became a case of, "I’m getting mine, so ya better get yours!" They’re simply Black people with a European mindset. What makes this situation so disgusting is the fact that these people have sacrificed their culture, and your timeless messages, for the almighty dollar, and I blame them for our lack of leadership.

I’ll close by saying how much I miss you both. More than ever, you are needed by our youth and by America in general. As Black people, we need to feel that sense of honor, pride and dignity within our communities once again. We need to make the government, and the nation, understand that the struggle for equality continues. Above all else, you are needed more than ever to show that this "war on terrorism", is going to create even more division and infighting in America, as we strive to figure out who the true enemy is. I am absolutely convinced, Malcolm and Martin, that these situations would not exist if you had lived. The G-man, is doing his part, along with others in my community, but dear God, I really wish you guys were here.

See you next week.


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