At one time, I hated all white folk. It didn’t matter if I knew them or not. I had grown up in the south, born in 1945, and, I had seen all the shyt white racism had to offer. Racial violence had visited my family many times, and, after sitting at the feet of my grandfather, who was an ex Mississippi slave, and listening to him speak on the horrible treatment he received, and the reasons why, I was too through with white folk. However, I soon discovered that my hate’em all racial philosophy didn’t jive with the philosophy of my Elders.
Despite what my Elders had experienced racially, they didn’t hate white people. Instead, they thought a lotta them to be misguided, misinformed, devilish, and, very violent. Overall, they mistrusted white folk, and kept their distance as much as possible. Even so, rarely did I hear them speak of hating whites. We wondered, the youngas of my generation, how could that be? especially, after all of the violence they had experienced. So, my generation said, the buck stops here.
At the time, America was deep into my generation’s black revolution. so, when I joined The Black Panther Party, I thought my hate’em all racial philosophy had found a home. How wrong I was. With the Panthers, it wasn’t about race, it was about white racist institutions that needed to be exposed and resisted, as well as, replaced by institutions which were equitable, and dedicated to the democratic ideals of freedom, and justice for all. Within the Party, we were considered frontline warriors, who didn’t have time to be sitting around discussing our self hatred of white folk.
That was a bitter pill for me to swallow. I wanted to hate white folk. I wanted them to feel the pain my Ancestors felt. As James Brown sang, I was ready for The Big Payback. It never happened. In about a year, I had reprogrammed my mind. I had went out and rubbed shoulders with young whites who were also on the front lines. Many became allies. In addition, there were those who had saved my life. So, I threw away my hate’em all racial philosophy. It had no place in my work. It was replaced by respect, trust, and, unity, around issues we agreed on. When I reached that level of consciousness, I knew I was ready to truly put in some serious peoples work.