Fear and Self-Loathing In Black America

Protesters against US Democratic presidential candidate Illinois Senator Barack Obama hold placards while disrupting a, “Women’s Rally For The Change We Need” in Coral Gables, Florida. (AFP/Emmanuel Dunand)

My mama always says that all black people need therapy and in some respects she’s right.

She’s right in respect of the massive inferiority complex black Americans deal with from the day they are born, bombarded with images to reinforce the “black bad, white good” paradigm. From intellect to beauty to passion to charm to grace to femininity to strength to power we are portrayed as the losers, the lessers, the lamented, unable to shake the “beasts of burden” status we were branded with when we got off the boat in shackles. The status that has clung to us like a funeral pall, darkening our view of everything — even each other — often bubbling and burning to self-hatred.

That self-hatred is buried so deep that even if your parents try to fight it by educating you about your history, by telling you that you are loved and beautiful, by telling you that opportunities are limitless if you make the effort and reach high, even if they tell you that we are not the losers, the lessers or the lamented, that we are the triumphant, the survivors, the strivers, the heroes of our own lives, there is still a seed of doubt, planted years ago when as a child you wished for a smaller nose, lighter skin, blue eyes, straighter hair and thinner lips.

Where you said you wanted to be a little less black when you really didn’t want to be black at all.

That kernel of doubt that made you pine for what you could never have and never be and if not fought against diligently this seed could grow into an all consuming kudzu of hate, suffocating you from the light, obscuring your view, leaving you with a mental illness where you look at the world, the racism, the negativity from the media and even other black people as a cancer.

Some channel this self-hatred into an abandonment of blackness. For others it becomes a paralyzing identification of permanent victimhood. They only know how to operate against racist phantoms, real and imagined, but are frozen when dealing with internal issues, reluctant to “put a brother down” even if they’re in the wrong.

For the worst it becomes an all consuming fire destroying out what they think is love. Incineration out of what they believe is the salvation of the race — masochistically massacring the sinful, damaged black body with a Baptism by matches and kerosene.

This is the story of a man who believes in the theory that we must be torn down to be built up.

On Friday last week Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama gave a speech at rally in Coral Gables, Fla. and he was interrupted by 20 black men shouting “Barack go home,” carrying signs reading that “Blacks Against Obama,” “Jessie [sic] Jackson hates Obama for Federal Child Support Act,” and “Obama is endorsed by KKK.”

These men were part of a group, Blacks Against Obama, lead by “Mike the Black Man” aka Maurice Woodside, Maurice Symonette, and Mikael Israel, schooled by former “cult” leader Yahweh ben Yahweh, nee Hulon Mitchell Jr.

Yahweh founded the Nation of Yahweh in 1979. The group “emphasized that God and all the prophets of the Holy Bible were black and blacks would gain the knowledge of their true history through him. He also emphasized whites and particularly Jews as infidels and oppressors.”

To become part of the inner circle of the group members had to kill a white person and bring Yahweh a body part (an ear or nose or finger) as proof. Several white vagrants were murdered. In 1992, Several members of Yahweh’s church were prosecuted for murder and Yahweh himself was prosecuted under RICO charges and served 11 years of an 18 year sentence, then died in 2007 of prostate cancer.

Mike the Black Man was charged in this case, but acquitted.

Unperturbed by what happened with the Nation of Yahweh, Michael lives on with the new goal of ushering black people from “Demon-crats” and launching into anti-abortion tirades, arguing that that the DNC is a pawn of the Ku Klux Klan.

“(John) McCain’s the closest thing to God, so I’m going to go ahead an encourage my people to vote for that guy,” Michael told reporters after the protest at the rally, according to a reporter from the Miami New Times.

The reporter, Gus Garcia-Roberts, provided some background on Michael.

In our 2002 story on the tempestuous and racially-charged history of the little village of El Portal, we ran into Michael, who at that time had commandeered an illegal but popular radio show and was lambasting the town’s Democratic black mayor, Daisy Black, as a “devil” and encouraging that she be “set on fire”.

It all stemmed, it seemed, from Michael’s obsessive and Old Testament-fueled quest to convert blacks to Republicanism. He would refer to democrats as “Demon-crats” and “slave masters”, and, yes, accuse them all of being in bed with the KKK.

Blacks Against Obama appeared to oppose the candidate for his Democratic Party membership and his Liberal stances on reproductive rights, including being for the right of women to have an abortion. Michael flung out the unfounded statistic that 35 percent of all abortions are of black males.

As the protesters ranted and the Obama supporters in the crowd railed back I cringed. As some long-time readers my know, I don’t always agree with black Republicans but I do agree that alternative views are needed and should be studied and applied in our community. But I winced for every rational black conservative who may be anti-abortion but are loathe to have this self-destructive malcontent braying in front of TV cameras, r
ipping nonsensical rants for FOX News.

He was a sideshow, a freak who delighted the white gawkers thinking they were getting some inside view into the secret life of black Americans.

I couldn’t see anyone wanted to be associated with that, to be included with that vitriol, burned by that oxygen devouring funeral pyre.

On Michael’s Web site, Michael Defeats Satan, he gives Obama the mark of the beast, listing reasons why he is the devil and shouldn’t be supported, including his support for gay marriage (Obama supports gay rights, but is actually against gay marriage, preferring civil unions.) and abortion rights. (He was also touched by the “devil” that is Oprah Winfrey, another target of his damnation.)

On his site, michaelwarns.com he writes: “Please visit www.michaeldefeatssatan.com for information on Oprah and Obamas destruction of the black race and the rest of the world.”

Michael also goes into screeds over women, accusing 33 percent of black woman of being worshipers of the “Devil Lilith” and expressing outrage over women being given the right to vote, saying women outnumber men 40-to-1.

This sounds all the more insane given that as of 2002 women make up a 51 percent majority in the United States. The ratio is a bit larger for blacks with black women making up 55 percent of the black population.

He also has numerous videos and radio commentaries about the issues he rails against.

This is where the hatred leads to lunacy. Any rational argument dissipates in haze of judgment and fevered revelations. How can you take him seriously? How can you take his 20 man protest seriously?

The truth is, no one did.

The print media only did some cursory coverage and cable news was more interested in playing the drama of the event rather than explaining it. Blacks Against Obama was just another blip the cycle, a star in the dope show. Look at the picaninny carnival booing Obama. Gaze at the YouTubed spectacle drowned out by Obama’s devoted supporters, black and white. There was nothing deeper to divulge here, yet I wanted to know who and why. I wanted to know if there was something tangible, such as an earlier protest from a group wanting Obama to address more “black” issues. But instead I discovered what Gil Scott-Heron sang years ago.

Home is where the hatred is.

The hatred lives inside of us. It lives in Pastor James David Manning who went on a rant this month about perceived “attacks” on Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter Bristol. Rather than simply call for family members to be off limits, Manning went into a vile diatribe about Obama’s white mother being “trash” because Manning’s “Mama” taught him that any white woman who was willing to go off with a black man in the 1950s and 60s was trash, the worst of the worst.

The whole rant is offensive on multiple levels, dripping with hatred for Obama, Obama’s Kenyan father, gays, the perceived sexual aberrations of black men and white women and media commentators with a heavy focus on the most prurient side of human sexuality. He was obsessed to a near J. Edgar Hoover level of perversion, projecting his own lustful heart onto others he hated.

While most of us won’t fester and run like a blister, the roots of self-hatred are there. There is the voice in our heads telling us we are everything “they” think we are. So with the devotion of a true believer we adopt behavior and mannerisms meant to tear each other down in an effort to rebuild someone else in your place.

But when rebuilding out of hate, Lord only knows what monsters could be unleashed, what perversions of blackness could become portents of misfortune and pain.

*Thanks to reader Deidre for the tip and links!

33 thoughts on “Fear and Self-Loathing In Black America

  1. I hadn’t heard about their protest, thanks for sharing. I think that there is a lot of self-hatred in the black community (wrote about it a bit ago http://1219sibmtt.blogspot.com/2007/08/message-to-brown-people-in-usa.html)But I also think that a huge problem is the lack of information and the lack of desire for people to be better informed. I am sure that there are many people who read the Michael Defeats Satan site and take what he says as truth — despite the fact that the stats don’t even seem like they could make sense. Some people are just easily swayed to agree with opinions of others.

  2. Another one of the right wing conspiracy tricks. That few people out of all the other blacks who support him. A non issue for me. Not all blacks have common sense. We are not a monolithic group. If they can’t see the problems with a Palmcain ticket they have issues.

  3. I absolutely love your blog Danielle, it’s truly one of the reasons why I continue to pay for internet access at home instead of just siphoning of my local Starbucks.I think you completely nailed this and gave good details on why something so absurd could happen (Blacks Against Obama??).I hadn’t heard all of the details and actually gave the protesters much more credit than they rightfully deserved by never thinking that they were truly and possibly clinically deranged. I just thought they were protesters who had merely a superficial backing to do such a thing, like maybe they didn’t like Michelle’s dress during a stump speech last week. I had no idea the crazy ran this deep, so thank you for sharing background info on this group.

  4. Most abortions happen before the 13th week. Most of the time you don’t know the gender of the baby until the 20th week. And sometimes not even then if the baby is ‘shy’ and won’t open their legs.

  5. i read most of story on this subject but i had to stop. it was just disgusting! they need to go home, not obama. McCain is the closer to God? is the man on drugs? ive never hear anything so delusional. i hope to never encounter these types of men. they are dangerous, the people need to look out for them. not just kkk. ive always worried that another black person might harm obama, like they did w/ malcom x.i just continue to pray for him and his family.

  6. I try to watch my thoughts because I know what you hate in others is the very thing you hate in yourself. On the blogs, I’m guilty of being negative on occasion, although I’m known as an optimist in person. Consequently, I know there’s some spiritual growth that’s still needed in my case. I slam the Repubs a lot, but I would never bad-mouth a person to his face or to others. Insulting or speaking ill of someone is just as bad as physically harming them. Lately I’ve been venting my spleen on blogs, and I admit that it’s probably not the most productive thing to do and it sets my consciousness back a little. It feels good for a moment, then I invariably regret doing it. I’m not perfect and I guess I’ll never be. Still, I’m not a hater. There’s a lot of hate out there, and some of it I don’t understand. For instance, I don’t know how a black person like myself can see Obama as a shining example of a black person overcoming adversity, while others see him as an agent of the devil. It’s madness to me. I believe in the existence of evil and I see the world as entering the proverbial “Time of Trouble.” The only way we can change it is by changing our own hearts and minds. To effect real change, it’s going to take more than a catchy campaign slogan or governmental program, no offense to my fellow Dems. What’s going on right now in society is a reflection of what’s going inside each of us. Before we start assuming party labels and racial identities, we should first see ourselves for what we truly are. We are divine beings, carrying the seeds of God in each and everyone of us, and one day we’ll shed these mortal skins and return to our true spiritual state. And we’ll know that all of this was an illusion the whole time, a hologram of reality set up to help us evolve further as souls. We’ve forgotten where we came from and we’re so caught up in this delusion and that’s where the madness stems from.

  7. I listened to Pastor James D Manning’s harangue and I was blown away by his hatred and angry words. How can this so-called man of the cloth preach about God to others? He’s either sociopathic or secretly getting checks from a right-wing think tank for preaching this brand of gospel. Oy Vey! Man, that feels good to say.

  8. Why am I not surprised. This is a prime example of the ‘crab barrel’ syndrome where some black folks don’t want to see other black folks succeed. Seeing that they ‘side’ with Jesse Jackson on child support issues makes them a fraud. I took a class on the Old Testament once and isn’t Yahweh a term for God? I haven’t clicked on any of the links in the article but I would bet my paycheck that this ‘leader’ Mike The Black Man is former convict.Is it me or will Barack Obama’s win mark the end of the sham leaders that have been bleeding the black community for decades?Sandy

  9. Just read some more of this article and this group is anti-abortion but they’re also against mandated child support? WTF! Don’t they care about what happens to babies after they get here?Sandy

  10. Danielle,Your blog and writing skills are exceptional! Thank you for talking about this.It is particularly disturbing that these people actually believe that they are agents of God. Even worse, they hate themselves so much that they deny their African ancestry or anything that makes them black. It’s maddening, sad, confusing, and funny all at the same time.John McCain is God? That negro needs his a** kicked something terrible.

  11. blkseagoat wrote:John McCain is God? That negro needs his a** kicked something terrible.I disagree. I think that negro needs to leave the drugs alone. This person is obviously delusional and it’s unfortunate when people actually follow someone like this. He reminds me of Charles Manson. Why would anyone follow that guy? Because they’re strung on drugs because NO ONE in their right mind buys into that crap.Sandy

  12. i would like to write this off as the repubs courting silly negros to stand up and say this mess…but i can’t…this is silly negros on their own…why do some of us insist on not getting their facts straight before embarrassing themselves out in public…their “talking points” for not voting for obama leads me to believe they want the children they help to make starven and have no clothes plus they’re worried a the only person that may want to marry them is another man…*gasp*

  13. Sandy was on point when referencing Charles Manson. Groups like these thrive because some deranged person taps emotionally damaged individuals with low self-esteem who are desperately needy to feel special. The world can be a threatening place. Mix it with some “religious” spoutings and you have a dangerous cocktail for the gullible. Don’t try to counter their thinking with facts, it’s all lies and they know the “truth”.What I find “fascinating” about these groups, be they the Nation of Islam, the 10 Percenters, or Yahweh, is black women are villified. We’re always in cahoots with the white power structure to bring black men down.How are we to get ahead when we have anchors like these bringing us down?Bourgietopia

  14. Look I’m not a Barack supporter (for the record, I’m not a McCain supporter either). I am concerned about lack of criticism (even critical discussion) of Barack among Black people. To me that defies logic. Tavis Smiley received death threats. Rep Tubbs-Jones is heralded now that she has passed, but how many times was she called mammy before her untimely death. It’s insane.That being said, I don’t think the rants of wacko Rev Manning and the cultists described in your post merit media attention. Those people are just plain crazy.

  15. These folk should not be defined by their ‘blackness’ but by their ‘craziness.’Let’s not legitimize this madness, by giving it a name, a brand, and a diagnosis. It’s just crazy.

  16. Butopia, I have to disagree with you to some extent. No doubt, cults are bad and should be avoided at all costs. Following charismatic leaders of them is never a good idea. However, I don’t like the inference that people are “desperately needy” because of their desire to feel “special.” I think this desire was implanted within us at our conception, along with the feeling that we’re part of something greater in the universe. We are special, but no one is more special than the other. I think Obama’s biggest misstep was when he criticized people for clinging to religion in times of trouble. Many times it takes adversity to break down the barriers that prevent us from knowing the true nature of God and ourselves. The reason I personally don’t belong to any organized religion is because virtually all of them have the belief that God holds their members in special regard, above other groups of believers, and nothing is further from the truth.

  17. Oh, and there, Sister Wendy, I did say something critical of Obama in my comment above. Nobody’s perfect. Let’s give the brother a break. He ain’t Moses, but he’s the best we’ve got since MLK.

  18. Wow. Nice work as usual Black Snob. I first heard of this incident from Ricksanchezcnn on twitter. These is the kind of stuff that makes me want to leave the country and never return. There is no defense for this ignorance. No amount of drugs to fix this.

  19. The first thing that came to my mind was Uncle Ruckus from the Boondocks. Anywho, the fact that they want to disassociate themselves from being black doesn’t surprise me. I am an out of state student attending school in Florida, and i find a good number of black people try to find ways to disassociate themselves from their black skin color. I’ve met a lot who obviously have african lineage, but get upset when you refer to them as such. They will try to claim every other color under the rainbow besides black.

  20. all: I’m glad folks were able to glean something from the story. I wrote it because I’d had some readers inquire about it.Just to clear some things up (just in case they weren’t clear in the story), Blacks Against Obama are not an anti-black group. If you asked them I doubt they’d say they had any self-hate issues at all. They don’t hate themselves in the same sense as someone who disassociates themselves from all things “black” or becomes like “Uncle Ruckus,” aka Pastor Manning. The folks following Mike the Black Man are remnants of a former black supremacist group that murdered white vagrants to show their devotion to their cult leader.They appear to be pretty proud of being black, they’re just sick.Manning, on the other hand, has some serious self-hate issues that don’t just stop at blackness. But Manning and the Blacks Against Obama people are separate self-loathing entities.wendy: I totally agree that these guys are mentally unstable, but in the piece I mentioned that the drama is a non-issue due to the fact the group is marginal at best. I just know a lot of people were curious since the cable news and print media glossed them over and lumped them in with other black people who don’t like Barack.There is a BIG difference (as you know) between someone who disagrees with Barack on issues and those who are a member of a charismatic, right-wing cult. I didn’t want them to get lumped in with the rational people who have protested Obama previously on the grounds that they feel he doesn’t address enough issues related to the black community.But no one should see Michael’s fringe group and those critics in the same light.

  21. Thanks Snob for the insight on this this fanactical group. I witnessed this on MSNBC while it was happening and they showed the folks and continued with the speech. We are truly our worst enenmies. Tell me when you will see white folks saying they are against McCain in such a public display. Obama tore it up last night on 60 Minutes. Although I believe the reporting was slanted in McCain’s favour.

  22. Uncle Ruckus wasn’t created from anyones imagination . I’m just surprised of how many Ruckus folk there were in one place!

  23. Where the hell is the Feds when you need them?! Why this group even exist?! Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I can’t believe this much ignorance is allowed to go on in 2008. Anybody that join that group should just go straight to jail for life, they are ruining our reputation.

  24. draven7, please reread my full description. I reference “emotionally damaged individuals with low self-esteem who are desperately needy to feel special”. While there are people who misuse religion for it’s “country club” aspect, I don’t believe that is all of the religious community. The individuals I cite aren’t just seduced by religion. That’s why I pointed to Charles Manson and his followers. Hitler also tapped into that group. These people aren’t just looking for a “leader/messiah” to follow, they’re looking for someone to make them feel above the others; hence the special reference.Bourgietopia

  25. as a member of this group /cult gang.or however you seek to pigdionhole us the fact that you have no idea what Yaweh is all about you have been hoodwinked into thinking that Obama is simply a wolf in sheeps clothing

  26. I have almost no memory of writing on this post, even after reading parts of it. I just can’t imagine saying Obama is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, when in actuality, I think he’s fantastic. As far as my concept of Yahweh goes, it’s a spirit that encompasses everything in the universe, and we each contain a portion of this divinity within us. Everyday I learn something more about our true nature and purpose. BTW, everyone is entitled to their beliefs. If they aren’t harmful, I would recommend embracing them and following your heart. Peace, light and blessings always

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