It has long been said by many learned observers (read: they agree with my tilt on things) that a person becomes what you call her. If you tell a child he’s stupid --- he will be. If you tell a child she can’t do math, she’ll make your words a prophecy.
Repetition and reinforcement are, in reality, two of the three “Rs” of education (the third being racism --- but that’s another discussion). And by education I do not mean to limit the application of this principle to the formal classroom variety. Entire populations can be trained to mimic their handlers and embrace wholeheartedly the labels bestowed on them by others.
All this is fairly obvious and perhaps even (gasp) non-controversial. I’d say this most basic level of indoctrination probably applies to every sector of humanity to one degree or another. Indeed, you could argue that the entire process of socialization is a series of labels doled out along gender, age and social caste lines.
But what’s up with the wholesale co-opting of exceedingly derogatory labels by women and Africans in America (a.k.a. bitches and niggas)?
I mean, there is the old, tired controversy about whether the word “nigga” is a term of endearment previously reserved for use by those within its definition that has now been exported to the larger population but without the sting, or whether it is a viciously hateful reminder of chattel-status that is spat at rather than said to the oppressed by the oppressor.
And now there is an entire generation of women to whom the word “bitch” no longer provides motivation to go upside somebody’s head, but is a mere descriptive adjective of the female gender.
Nobody can tell me that these two phenomena are either happenstance or unrelated. What I want to know is where do I get a copy of the playbook that teaches me how to so completely transform my enemies into the vehicles of their own destruction?
At the Million Man March several years ago, Louis Farrakhan cited a speech by a Southern politician during the infancy of this American colony outlining the agenda to be followed to subjugate the slaves for the coming 400 years. Tips from this oracle of social engineering included breaking up the family, destroying the common bonds of language, culture and religion; giving preferential treatment to mixed race slaves so that they protect the interests of the masters as if they were their own, and calling the slaves derogatory names so that they internalize the stigma and be made all the more vulnerable for exploitation.
Some of you who are reading this may, at this point, dismiss the possibility that the self-destruction of the Black community we are witnessing today is no more than an extension of a plan began hundreds of years ago as yet one more far-fetched conspiracy theory.
But check this. We have just endured the so-called election of that Trump chump. This election is attributable to the rise of the angry, hypocritical Bible-thumpers mostly inhabiting the former slave states also known as the Red States Right.
This latest victory is merely the continuation of a campaign waged by reactionary Republicans for the last 30 years to “reclaim America.” Meaning, of course, that they want to reclaim the advantages of white male status in their 1950s vision of what this country should be from every group -- women, people of color, non-white immigrants, gay folks, environmentalist and others --- who had the audacity to reject their roles as lesser Americans.
Backlash politics of the late 20th Century has followed a well-documented pattern. Reverse discrimination replaced affirmative action. The right to life movement sprang up after Roe v Wade --- although, where all these folks were when women were dying of back alley abortions for the hundreds of years before the court case, I don’t know. White flight followed Brown v Board of Education. Angry white male syndrome developed in response to advances in equal opportunity. Gay marriage and prayer in school eclipsed the war on Iraq, the abysmal economy and a nation staggering under a staggering debt in the minds of those bent on bending back America to the “Good Ol’ Days.”
So before you shake your proverbial head and reject outright the notion that we are being conspired upon, take a look at the pendulum swinging back from where it had landed in the late 60s and early 70s.
And speaking of the late 60s and early 70s, imagine a song (hell, who am I kidding, a legion of songs) gaining unprecedented popularity on the basis of deriding “bitches and hos.”
Imagine the horror of marchers risking life and limb to break Jim Crow, partying to lyrics about “My Nigga.” Contemplate the biting irony --- a mere millisecond later in the grand scheme of Time – of our people becoming our own overseers, cracking the whip of self-hatred more effectively than a cat-o-nines ever did.
With every meager advance has come a diabolical reaction. And as the game unfolds, we grow closer to annihilation with every step.