Black America's "Issues": Structural or Cultural?
07-01-2006, 06:55 PM
1) Dont you think though that we can support the resdesign or redrawing of the structure so that it enables us to more greatly address our psychological and cultural deficiencies.
Albeit, for this to happen, radical structural changes would have to happen. Perhaps even the fall of the current structure.
I think we might be able to see this more easier if we more broadly interpret what it means to enact structural changes... to me starting the liberator is a structural challenge to the current structure... starting independent schools, designing independent curriculum that is culturally accurate, etc... are all ways to challenge the current structure... So I think that structural changes have to come from the grassroots... direct action... I am, however, skeptical that POLITICS can reform the current structure.
What u think?
2) I guess this is what I'm proposing... that really the Favelas are structural... they are structural alternatives... we have to understand that this structure is cultural also... it is culturally exclusive to few or even a select group... that's why it is mostly ineffective for other groups. I think this is what Harold Cruse was envisioning... and DuBois, when they talk about the "multiple nations in a nation" concepts. The question is why do we keep getting in bed with the system?! Is it that no one has adequately proven that the whole "spook who say by the door" thing doen't work in real life in the long view?
My take is that real long view change comes through us proving that the alternatives can work. Which is why we have so much at stake with alternative media, alternative/independent music, art... food production... business/economy... because if we don't prove that it works (which takes sacrifice)... we have to prove that we can have a decent standard of living and that it is better than the american dream of great wealth, because it will not exploit people as a prerequisite to its attainability.
3) Culturally, we are disconnected with alternatives and why they are better than the current... we are disconnected from the values that teach us that wealth is not in large sums of money and material goods, but rather in health of community in physical (homes, good food, etc)... mental (logical actions), spiritual (karma... not exploiting people or nature for our health/wealth), cultural (principles of reciprocity, truth, justice, equality, passionate work, etc... as definitions of "success")
So yea we have come full circle they are co-dependent... and dare i say THE SAME THING REALLY. Cause even the structure has to be changed by us...
So the real problem we have is with a system that is disconnected from us (i.e. is ignorant or defiant of our values and principles and worldview ... i.e. angela davis' critique of the concept of prisons... or george washington carver's critique of the concept of agriculture as interpreted today... etc.)
Our culture IS our structure... the current structure doesn't reflect our historical culture... so is it really that this structure LACKS our cultural contribution? Or is it that it defies it... in ways that make it seem like it doesnt (i.e. give a little so that it seems like its accepting to be modified... but are we satisfied if the root isnt willing to be redesigned adding in our worldview?)
And not to mention... holding alot of this up is the fact that we dont really know our worldview(s)... we still have a lot of learning about ourselves and our historical structures to learn...
Right now we just go offa the feeling that this current structure has that little SOMETHING wrong with it and so we are constantly reacting... striking back where and when we have time to do so... but we are on the run... like maroons...
I feel you with the Crash example... but it really doesnt matter in the context that he wasn't really a revolutionary cop... in that he wasnt helping to REDEFINE the concept of a police officer. So when we hear about the black congressman with the money in his fridge... it doesnt really matter in the long view cause he's not a revolutionary (by revolutionary i mean someone who realizes that the root of this structure either needs massive deconstruction and reconstruction or just destruction...)
So we have to start to be honest with eachother and stop smiling when someone tells us they are going to be a cop... or a politician... or when they tell us they just got signed to a major label... or that they just got promoted at goldman sachs (sp?)...
We have to challenge eachother's fundamental thinking... and express dissapointment where appropriate... not to say that we won't still love eachother. But we have to express discontent and disagreement if our people are not trying their best to separate from this structure... exploitation... profit motives... notions of land ownership... of intellectual property ownership... of individuality... of celebrity... of accumulated material objects and money for no apparent reason... of convenience, comfort and wealth as gods...
07-02-2006, 01:40 AM
I like where this is heading...
1. I agree.
2. I understand and agree with your logic on this... I was initially hesitant to see it this way because of the effect that the current structure has had on our culture. I wanted to keep them separate. I agree that they--structure and culture--can and should be the same thing...as long as the structure that we are referring to in this case is the structural alternative and not the current structure. So, I think that once we have built strong, alternative, structural institutions based on an established set of values that serve to bolster culture, then this reconciliation of structure and culture can be a healthy merger. It makes perfect sense.
So why do we keep getting in bed with the system? I think it's inevitable that this keeps happening...given the current value system --"the get money mentality"--that these structures are based on and given our lack of official articulation and actualization of our own values. In a sense, the values of the current structure have become our surrugate or rather, default value system...until further notice, that is. We are vulnerable, but not in a powerful way.
3. I agree.
07-02-2006, 01:58 AM
Quote:"And not to mention... holding alot of this up is the fact that we dont really know our worldview(s)... we still have a lot of learning about ourselves and our historical structures to learn"
Very good point, b. I think this is where we should begin then. I combined many points you made with some of mine to come up with a viable "first step." Let's build.
To (re)-establish our values, principles and worldviews through a)a rigorous (re)learning of our historical, cultural and political "selves" b) an unapologetic evaluation of our current selves in the context of the current structure c) a reconciliation of the two.
Quote:"However, the real collective goal or interest is not a THING or THINGS. The real collective interest is: A WAY OF DOING THINGS. The ends do not justify the means for us as a collective, there is nothing earthly worth having that we can get, using means that are against the way of life we desire, that will be lasting or worth it in the long run." (Brian X-ref'd from Blog)
THESE VALUES SHOULD BE:
(I like what you had, I added/built on some and cross-referenced others. We'll condense later.)
health of community in:
physical (homes, good food, etc)...
mental (logical actions),
spiritual (karma... not exploiting people or nature for our health/wealth), cultural (principles of reciprocity, truth, justice, equality, passionate work, etc... as definitions of "success")
importance of not accepting over-simplified rhetoric (x-ref'd)
Freedom of: thought and actions that are void of harm to others
Freedom from: confinement, psychological oppression, external cultural impingement, exploitation
Life preservation and health awareness and maintenance
Education- knowledge of self, culture, history
Arts and aesthetics appreciation
Language and spoken word
Krevwon: (cross-referenced from the community forum)
Shelley: (cross-referenced from the community forum)
Establishing definitions of:
-quality of life
-basic standard of living
-success (see: "Hunting for Cool" board post)
Lydia: (cross-referenced from the generational disappointment thread)
Renewed sense of "time"
Recognition of our "contextual existence" as it relates to our ancestors and future generations
PROPOSED COURSE OF ACTION:
A. Broaden the definition of structural and cultural alternatives
B. Identify the key cultural and structural institutions that have the most influence on our individual and collective consciousness: family, friends, schools, media, entertainment...more?
C. Create alternative institutions that are built upon these values
D. Lovingly, constructively and consistently renounce any all actions that are repugnant with these values and are in keeping with the standing system:
Quote:"So we have to start to be honest with eachother and stop smiling when someone tells us they are going to be a cop... or a politician... or when they tell us they just got signed to a major label... or that they just got promoted at goldman sachs (sp?)...
So, this needs to be fleshed out, especially the last part, but do you think that establishing principles and values is a good starting point or is there another first step to consider? Let's do this incrementally.
10-05-2006, 12:43 PM
yo kam, i've been building on this since the forum in minnesota happened.
i think all of our values can be compressed into one: anti-exploitation
then i think the first steps are pretty accurate.
we have to basically hold all of our current institutions and political, cultural and economic practices up to that torch and see if they prove to be non-exploitative.
if they do, we're good.
if they do not (which i fear most will not) then we have to get to the work of conceptualizing new ideals for how to carry out these practices and/or how to build institutions that do pass the test.
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