Dope, Mamas, and Preachers

Dope, Mamas, and Preachers


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



One sister said if the church talked about drugs it would have no congregation since so much of its

 income is from tithes derived from the criminal activity of children whose mothers are church

going women. . . . essentially pimping their children, then cry when Dante is murdered



  Dope Mamas and Preachers

By Marvin X


In West Africa and the Atlantic Slave Trade,  a monograph published before his great work, HOW EUROPE UNDERDEVELOPED AFRICA, the late Dr. Walter Rodney explained the dire social situation as Africa entered the slave trade. He told how all institutions contributed to our downfall: the political, economic, judicial, military, and religious institutions played their role in the destruction of African society.

The rulers, kings and queens, in the words of a Baraka poem, “Sold the farmer to the ghost….” The king and his military, those noble warriors, often engaged in mock battles with neighboring kings and their peoples, then divided the spoils of war (the people) between themselves; of course the “spoils” were sold to European slavers.

Rodney told how the judicial system was corrupted with false charges and false evidence to enslave the victims. Persons were falsely charged with adultery and of course the sentence was slavery or sale to the Europeans. From a previous society with no jails and peace in the streets, the time came when all were fearful of being kidnapped. No more peace in the streets, in the villages, but chaos reigned. One tribe could no longer trust another tribe; one person could not trust another.

In America today, we find ourselves in a similar situation. The Arabs use the term “ya’um jahiliyah” (days of ignorance) to designate the historical time  before the prophet when all was chaos, murder, revenge killing, tribal warfare, assassination, kidnapping, highway robbery of caravans, quite similar to West Africa before the slave trade or Maafa (great tragedy).

But what we have in America is not only business  as usual white supremacy, but an expeditious return to slavery times, especially with the involuntary servitude of the jailed and imprisoned, with over 50% of the population African and Latino, the majority Africans incarcerated for minor drug crimes such as small amounts of crack cocaine; with a great percentage of inmates found guilty due to information or mis-information from snitches (give up three people and you go free is the mantra here in the Bay Area of Cali).

Is this not similar to the judicial corruption Dr. Rodney described in West Africa? Nowhere is safe these days, the Mall, the Church, the schools, colleges and universities, the workplaces, the social clubs. In Oakland , nearly all clubs for North American Africans have closed due to violence inside or outside the establishments.

Youth gangs have adults living in terror, afraid to go to the store. Several youth have been carjacked and murdered to obtain rims. Antar Bey, the young CEO of Your Black Muslim Bakery (now closed since the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey), was killed to obtain the five thousand dollar rims on his BMW.

And while the church marches and prays to stop the violence, it too has been corrupted by the general chaos in the hood. Sometimes it says nothing about drugs and violence because it is often the beneficiary of mothers who support the church with funds from children involved in the drug trade. One sister said if the church talked about drugs it would have no congregation since so much of its income is from tithes derived from the criminal activity of children whose mothers are church going women.  One sister told me these women are essentially pimping their children, then cry when Dante is murdered, swearing he was a good child who did no wrong. When in fact Dante was one of the biggest dope dealers in the hood, who lavished material goods upon his mother.

We recall a church mother who took drugs to her sons in prison contained in baby diapers. And recently we were informed parents can no longer bring home cooked meals to juvenile hall because they were hiding drugs in the food. Yes, even mother is guilty of participating in the chaos and corruption of modern day slavery.

Prostitution is on the rise since the drug trade has led to the incarceration of so many males. Girls eleven, twelve; and thirteen can be found whoring on Oakland ’s International Blvd , and they are indeed international, representing every ethnic group and multiracial configuration.

The sad truth is that America has never separated itself completely from its slave past; it merely progressed into virtual slavery of segregation, then wage slavery of the civil rights era. Globalism insures the continuation of virtual slavery with the capitalist desire for cheap wages and natural resources. To obtain and maintain their thousand per cent profits, the imperialists will insist on minimum wages and prices for natural resources. The hopeful sign is the nationalization of resources by the leftist governments throughout the Americas, throwing a monkey wrench in the continued exploitation and robbery of their peoples.

North American Africans seem oblivious to events below their border, aside from joining with the capitalists in their attempt to stem the tide of immigration from the south caused by centuries of Yankee imperialism. The American Blacks are in the main ignorant of the revolution throughout the Americas , in Bolivia , Nicaragua , Venezuela , Argentina , Chile , Brazil , Peru and elsewhere.

While they are glued to the insanity of B.E.T. television, peoples throughout the Americas are taking charge of their destiny, kicking out the bloodthirsty imperialists and their reactionary collaborators.

We must come quickly to the realization that our freedom is connected with other people throughout the Americas , with whom we are connected by blood, sweat and tears.

The poor peasants who cultivate the coca plants are victims as well, for they derive little profit for their labor under the sun. We cannot get angry with them but it is upon us to have the discipline to resist the dope when it reaches our cities, for medication is not the solution, rather we must resist oppression not submit to it by medicating ourselves into oblivion, additionally becoming victims of the criminal justice system, then clients of the billion dollar racist pseudo-recovery industry. Yes, the same white racists who deliver the dope, offer to deliver you from the dope, especially with the new harm reduction model that says keep using dope, just do so in a controlled manner. Don’t stop being a wage slave, take a bath and make love to your mate, and don’t abuse your children, but keep taking your dope, and keep coming back to recovery—after all, we make as much money off the recovery business as from addicting the population.

Of course the real solution is a revolution in consciousness, then in society, yes, the destruction of all white supremacy institutions that are harmful and dangerous to our health and the health of humanity in general.

Politicians, preachers and teachers must act in new ways that are progressive rather than reactionary and backward. Mothers, fathers and children must do the same. This is a family affair: slavery was about the destruction of family, thus ultimate freedom will be about the reconstruction of family. There is no other way.

Dr. M is author of  How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, Black Bird Press, 2007, $19.95. Order from Black Bird Press, 1222 Dwight Way , Berkeley CA , 94702.

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as “the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field ‘cut their teeth’.”

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 23 August 2008



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