Wednesday, March 29, 2006

That young black girl,
Autum Ashante?
She's raisin' hell
but she ain't no Dante.


Roy Innis Asks, "Autum Ashante: A Cause Celebre Or An Intelligent But Misguided Child?"

New York, NY 10003

March 17 2006

The alleged crisis about the statement made by Autum Ashante, a 7 year old Westchester black girl, is not about her free speech rights. It is about her right to impose her inaccurate reading of history on other children in a closed public gathering--a captured audience. It should also be about a parent corrupting an apparently bright, innocent child. Just imagine that Batin Ashante, her father, was a white man, home schooling and guiding his daughter with such palpably erroneous thoughts about black nationalism. Would there be a question of free speech? Or would the question be white racism—as it should be?

It is a puzzle to me that after perusing much of the media discussion of this issue, that none of them raised the question of the gross inaccuracy of the historical reference to Columbus, Morgan and Darwin as white nationalists who put black people in bondage. Assuming that Autum and her father are poets, and that is a stretch of my imagination, there isn’t enough poetic license to justify those historical inaccuracies. Whatever the sins of Columbus, Morgan and Darwin, these sins were not directed at blacks. Columbus could be criticized for his treatment of Native Americans, not Black Americans. Morgan should be condemned for his piracy committed on treasure ships owned by Spain, France, England, Portugal, Holland, etc. Darwin might be challenged for his theory of evolution that is offensive to fundamentalist Christians—white ones, black ones, latino ones, etc.

People attending a Black history celebration event at a public school in Westchester should be offended by a seven year old child being led and allowed to invidiously segregate the audience. Again, imagine a white nationalist and his daughter doing this in a similar audience. Racism is racism.

Racism is not truth, and poetry is not the cure. Black leaders must not exploit this incident as a cause celebre. They should recognize it for what it is—a case of intellectual child abuse.


other folks
be fawnin'
I be
in the corner
wrap a doo-rag
my head
paint me
black, I’d knock
'em dead

talkin' ‘bout
and queens
and kings
talkin’ ‘bout why
the caged bird sings,
drums and
Afrocentric things
rappin’ ‘bout
roots and
the motherland
ain’t no
whites gonna

cause it’s a black thang

like jazz and chit’lin’s and
Muhammad Ali

I know I ain’t
no Langston Hughes
but damn, I’m
I paid my dues
I gotta right
to sing the blues
and if my shit ain’t
it don’t make no
me and Maya

you can kiss
my black behind.

( from "The Little Book of Poems About Poet's and Poetry" by Deeplip, aka Pandora Blue.)