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Title of Course: Philosophy 101: "Black Race Matters" Instructor: Mba Mbulu

Textbook: Essays by Mba Mbulu are provided online.

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Read the following Essay. Think about the questions below and explore them more fully.
(1) What, according to the author, is an intimidated spirit?
(2) Do you think the author is correct in applying that term?
(3) Take note of the examples the author uses to support his assertions. Are they, in your opinion, valid?
(4) The author states that an intimidated spirit limits ones "ability to imagine viable realities and alternatives. Do you agree?
(5) What is your opinion of this statement: "fighting racism and inequality is not a matter of individuals 'fitting in', but of nations of people insisting that their reality is a legitimate reality."
(6) Is your body housing an intimidated spirit?

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Class #4 "Intimidated Spirits"

To achieve Black Nationhood We must be able to recognize and overcome those individuals with shortcomings that hinder Our progress. I earlier identified some of those shortcomings as (1) self interest (2) a little mind (3) an intimidated spirit and (4) a lazy body. In this essay, intimidated spirits will be briefly addressed. Then I will make a statement about lazy bodies.
At the risk of oversimplifying matters, I will define a spirit as that surge of energy an individual gets and maintains as long as s/he feels the potential to do something s/he wants to do. It is that feeling of power and confidence that puts any accomplishment within your reach. It is that creative zeal, that desire to keep trying, and the will to overcome all obstacles because you know that, sooner or later, you will prevail.
An intimidated spirit is a spirit that, under certain circumstances, experiences a short circuit in its energy supply, a drastic decrease in its feeling of potential and power, a downgrading of its level of confidence, and an unexplained and eerie absence of desire and willpower. In some situations, the fact that one is intimidated will be crystal clear, but in other situations intimidated spirits will camouflage themselves as rationalizations, collapses in logic and functional inertia (doing "nothing").
An intimidated spirit asserts its influence at an early stage in a process, almost subconsciously, and predetermines that all types of meaningful confrontation will be sidestepped, regardless of the cost in dignity, and regardless of how much one's rights are trampled on. It interrupts one's thought processes in almost the same manner that panic does, but not as excitedly. Additionally, whereas panic acknowledges the superiority of an other, an intimidated spirit need not make that acknowledgement. Nor need the individual acknowledge that he/she is intimidated.

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In the column on self-interest, I referred to an article in the April 4, 1997 edition of the Washington Post newspaper. That article reports that a Black professional stopped wearing a Black styled haircut in order to not "send an unintended message. . . African Americans. . . said they often feel the need to change their speech, way of dress or body language to keep from inviting unwanted negative attention. . . For exactly that reason, a second [B]lack professional counsels his youngest [B]lack clients to resist congregating with other [B]lacks at the office."
"I tell students. . . that there is a culture to master. . . There are do's and don'ts: Don't always sit together in the lunch room; don't always congregate together. The impression that people will have if you isolate yourself is that you're not team players. It creates a level of suspicion."
This same Black professional "doesn't necessarily read racism into the anticipated reactions of his colleagues. 'There are an awful lot of persons who look at diversity as only an issue of discrimination. What we don't understand often is cultural patterns...we see the world differently'."
Let's look at the statements of that Black professional. "There is a culture to master," he said. What culture is he referring to, white culture? Have We mastered Our own culture, or is it okay for Us to ignore that? "There are do's and don'ts," he continues. Whose dos and donts? White people's, of course (they are the "people" whose "impression" counts). The implied message is that Black dos and donts can be downgraded, de-emphasized and/or dismissed. He also equates Black individuals sitting together to not being "team players," isolating themselves and creating "a level of suspicion". Is he suggesting that Black teams are negligible? Additionally, if whites sit together, are they isolating themselves, are they creating "a level of suspicion"? Or, is he suggesting that Black individuals are the only ones who must bear the burden of eliminating "suspicion"? Also note his references to "diversity." What his little mind and intimidated spirit don't understand about diversity is twofold: Number one, diversity can't exist in a racist society; and number two, healthy cultural patterns don't wage warfare against dissimilar cultural patterns. Waging cultural warfare is the activity of ethnocentrists. When race becomes the qualifying factor, those ethnocentrists become racists, their acts become racist acts and their culture becomes a racist culture. A broad minded person would not attempt to explain such "diversity" outside of that context.
Declarations such as these show how an intimidated spirit dominates some individuals and limits their ability to imagine viable realities and alternatives. Must We spend Our time trying to anticipate what white people won't like in order to not "send an unintended message"? What a demeaning proposition!

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We must remember that fighting racism and inequality is not a matter of individuals "fitting in", but of nations of people insisting that their reality is a legitimate reality. Several Blacks who work in low level jobs understand this truth and defend their right to wear African braids, mustaches and goatees, for example. But professional Blacks, those who are most highly "educated," can't quite seem to get to that. We cannot downplay the importance of that inability.
It is going to require a great deal of energy to accomplish what We, Black People, need to accomplish. Intimidated spirits are a barrier to the production of energy, and that is why so many so called educated individuals are so "tired". Because they are so tired, they do not have any creative energy; the type of energy that can create solutions that go beyond those that have been approved by the status quo. Because they are so tired, they do not have any physical energy; the type of energy that "guts" is made of and the type of energy that cowards always seem to lack. And, because they are so tired, they do not have any moral energy; anyone who trades in his or her essence for a dollar and values white skin more than natural laws and principles is morally bankrupt. Such persons can't be of any use to Black People in that regard.
A word about lazy bodies. No one can hear, see, smell, feel or talk for you. No one can eat, drink, sweat or excrete for you. The functions that are most basic are so critical that it is impossible for anyone else to do them for you. In the realm of politics, the power game, the same is true. If you want to have an impact, you must be part of a power system that values what you bring to the table. If that power system does not presently exist, you have to help create it. If you are too lazy to do that, abuse will be your reward.
"If not now, when? If not Us, whom? Every time We fail to act, We become weaker. Every time We overcome inertia, We become stronger."
It's on Us, Brothers and Sisters.

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