The weight of ‘seg­rega­tive lan­guage’


Many peo­ple have ex­pressed to me that Bill O’Reilly re­ally nailed the “black com­mu­nity’s” prob­lems in a Talk­ing Points Memo re­cently.

The prob­lem is his “Memo” amounted to lit­tle more than hol­low words, chiefly be­cause no white in­tel­lec­tual has the guts to say what re­ally needs to be said.

O’Reilly’s words were ob­ser­va­tions pre­sented by a per­son view­ing things from a white in­tel­lec­tual’s per­spec­tive. It is ob­ser­va­tions from that per­spec­tive that have con­trib­uted mas­sively to what I am con­vinced is the core prob­lem.

Where ex­actly is this myth­i­cal “black com­mu­nity”? Can I find it on a map? Is it just out­side of town? What’s the zip code?

Give me a mail­ing ad­dress that is as­signed to John Q. Black-Man at Num­ber One Happy Street, Black Com­mu­nity, USA.

Racial assig­na­tions, as they have evolved over the years, stem from the mind and, I might add, as­tute ob­ser­va­tions of Lenin when he opined in the early 1900s that the first-gen­er­a­tion for­mer slaves in Amer­ica were “ripe for rev­o­lu­tion.” “It was Du Bois ... who, true to his Com­mu­nist views, in­sisted on the use of ‘col­ored’ rather than ‘black’ be­cause ‘col­ored’ could be used to in­clude dark­skinned per­sons every­where – which was of sig­nif­i­cant im­por­tance if so­cial­ism was to reach the great­est num­ber of those in­tended.”

In the early 1940s, Ba­yard Rustin, an avowed black So­cial­ist, chan­nel­ing Lenin, said, “Blacks are ripe for Com­mu­nists.” Rustin was in­stru­men­tal in the for­ma­tion of the South­ern Chris­tian Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence, which spawned Joseph Low­ery and oth­ers. In 1965, af­ter the sign­ing of the Civil Rights Act, Rustin turned the at­ten­tion of the black il­lu­mi­nati (i.e., Tal­ented Tenth) from “protest” to the era of “pol­i­tics.” Rustin be­came the hon­orary chair­man of the So­cial­ist Party of Amer­ica in 1972 and the national chair­man when the group changed its name to So­cial Democrats, USA (SDUSA) a short time later.

I con­tend that, by that time, the stage had been set for the cul­mi­na­tion of the per­fect elixir of mil­i­tant black ob­du­racy and con­tempt for Amer­ica fu­eled by so­cial­is­tic in­cul­ca­tion.

This elixir, when taken as it was pre­scribed, led blacks to em­brace “eth­nic­ity over na­tion­al­ity,” fol­lowed by a chaser of bel­liger­ent mil­i­tancy and guilt-laden, po­lit­i­cal strate­gies re­sult­ing in where we are to­day in the 21st cen­tury.

O’Reilly and those who view things through an in­tel­lec­tual ma­trix are clue­less to the re­al­ity and dam­age they do ev­ery time they em­ploy the assig­na­tion “black com­mu­nity,” and it is even more seg­re­gat­ing when the assig­na­tion “African-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity” is used.

Blacks in the late 1960s were no longer singing songs like “Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry and “Yakety Yak,” by the Coast­ers. They were singing “I’m Black and I’m Proud,” by James Brown. In the 1970s, Gil Scott Heron was preach­ing through song that it was “Win­ter in Amer­ica” and “When the Rev­o­lu­tion Comes.” Blax­ploita­tion films ush­ered in a new mantra of ac­cept­able be­hav­ior whereby blacks were jus­ti­fied in us­ing force to take what they wanted from the evil and op­pres­sive white man.

The idea of pride in “eth­nic­ity over na­tion­al­ity” was en­trenched in col­lege class­rooms first and then high school class­rooms un­til it had reached a seam­less tran­si­tion from the cra­dle to the grave. Seg­rega­tive lan­guage and color-coded ref­er­ences do noth­ing but cal­cify the idea that blacks are sep­a­rate and in­fe­rior. Pompous in­tel­lec­tu­als fail to re­al­ize that their use of the afore­men­tioned serves only to con­firm to blacks that they are a sub­set not in­cluded in the whole of Amer­ica.

The in­cul­cated ad­her­ence to seg­rega­tive lan­guage and assig­na­tions has cre­ated a form of di­plopia where ev­ery­thing is seen as color-coded when ref­er­enc­ing blacks and then all oth­ers. It has spawned the damnable het­ero­doxy of low­ered ex­pec­ta­tions and per­ceived in­sult pur­suant to any­thing and any­one crit­i­cal of aber­rant be­hav­ior. Even more egre­gious, it has erected the im­age of a wall of in­equal­ity in the minds of most blacks that can only be climbed over by race-based af­fir­ma­tive-ac­tion mea­sures with no re­gard for qual­i­fi­ca­tions or abil­ity.

This may be a dif­fi­cult con­cept for puffed-up in­tel­lec­tu­als, pro­gram hosts, those who are try­ing to show that they are down with the strug­gle, and the oth­er­wise un­think­ing, but let there be no doubt that what I am say­ing is true.

Un­til Amer­ica un­der­stands and con­fronts the dam­age be­ing caused by seg­rega­tive lan­guage and self-seg­rega­tive be­hav­ior, no amount of talk­ing points as such are go­ing to make a dif­fer­ence.

Color-coded assig­na­tions serve only to di­vide us by por­tray­ing one group as op­pressed and the other group as the op­pres­sor.

My­chal S. Massie is the for­mer National Chair­man of the con­ser­va­tive black think tank, Pro­ject 21-The National Lead­er­ship Net­work of Black Con­ser­va­tives; and a mem­ber of its’ par­ent think tank, the National Cen­ter for Pub­lic Pol­icy Re­search. You can find more at my­

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