Sunday, February 25, 2007

More Than a Month: Good Looking Out Carter G.

Peace and blessings,

I pray everyone enjoyed their weekend. As we are approaching the last few days of the government-sanctioned "Black History Month," I thought it appropriate to acknowledge
  • Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950)

  • , an individual who not only revolutionized the importance of recognizing the history, struggles, and value of people of African descent, but embodied the spirit of what it means to use our gifts and talents for the benefit of our fellow brothers and sisters. Although the quotes that are to follow were taken from "The Miseducation of the Negro" and thus focus on people of African descent, I believe that the themes addressed in this book (which everyone must read) apply to people of all backgrounds, experiences, and ethnicities, as it deals with the emancipation of mental slavery. Come to think of it, I'll probably have to revisit this book again, because there is not enough room in one post to include all of the "food for thought" that is in this book. Without further or do, let's get into business...

    This quote is probably one of the more popular of the book, as it not only highlights the potential danger of mental slavery as an idea, but it gives a stifling example of what mental slavery looks like in practice:

    "If you can control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one." (pgs 84-85)

    This next quote is also powerful, although insteasd of mental slavery, it focuses on the importance of service, not leadership in addressing society's ills:

    " If the negro could abandon the idea of leadership and instead stimulate a larger number of the race to take up definite tasks and sacrafice their time and energy in doing these things efficiently the race might accomplish something....Under leadership we have come into the ghetto; by service within the ranks we may work ur way out of it. Under leadership we have been constrained to do the biddings of others; by service we may work out a program in the light of our own circumstances. Under leadership we have become poverty-stricken; by service we may teach the massess how to earn a living honestly. Under leadership we have been made to despise our own possibilites and to develop into parasites; by service we may prove sufficient unto the task of self-development and contribute our part to modern culture." (pgs 118-119)

    Now I don't think that Carter G. would be against recognized leaders such as Martin Luther King or Malcolm X because they made it a priority to encourage the members of their respoective movements. More importantly, within both movements, especially the civil rights movement, everyone, regardless of "rank" played an active role in bringing about social change. For instance, teh bus boycott did not happen because of Martin Luther King, but because of the hundreds (and probably thousands) of people who chose to walk instead of taking the bus, organized carpools, raised money, got the word out, and so forth. In other words, service was at the core of the movement.

    The most revolutionary figure, Jesus Christ, also put a high premium on service:

    " But Jesus said to them, The kings of the Gentiles are deified by them and exercise lordship [ruling as emperor-gods] over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors and well-doers. But this is not to be so with you; on the contrary, let him who is the greatest among you become like the youngest, and him who is the chief and leader like one who serves. For who is the greater, the one who reclines at table (the master), or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am in your midst as One Who serves."
    Luke 22:25-27 (NKJ Amplified)

    As those who notice that "things aren't right" with regards to our local, national, and international affairs, let's pray that our God-given talents and abilitities be used in the name of service and not just in the name of leadership. Take care and speekonit...


    Anonymous said...

    Hmmmm....I like this article. You know what? Truly leadership is service and serving other people. You can't be a leader unless you serve others. For example, Jesus washed his disciples feet and he is the King of Kings!


    Anonymous said...

    ummm......i meant "true" not "truly"

    Unknown said...

    Real talk. Thanks for showing love.