Taken from: https://www.utexas.edu
STOP BLAMING WHITES: NOBODY OWES BLACKS ANYTHING
BY DR. CHIKA ONYEANI
TOPIC: TRUTH, HONESTY AND FRANKNESS
President Earl Richardson, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters. I feel especially honored to be here today, in this great institution. I must thank Dean Hollis, for inviting me to come here today. In fact, the last time I was in Baltimore was at the Mid-Atlantic Writers Association conference, and I had been invited by Prof. Grace Coffey to speak about my book, CAPITATLIST NIGGER: The Road to Success – A Spider Web Doctrine. My African sister, Yahne Sangarey, a member of the African Sun Times staff as well as Curator, the African Museum in Baltimore here, had arranged for me to participate in the “Global African Writers: The Ties that Bind” of the United Nations African Project. The book was well received, and when Dean Hollis offered to bring me here to speak with you, I wasn’t sure that his colleagues would have the courage to agree with his selection of an author of such a controversial book and viewpoint. The fact that I am here today is a testimony to the courage and progressive thinking of the members of this institution. I thank you all and especially Dean Hollis for his bold initiative.
A lot of times when most of us present our polished resume, we forget to mention the humble environment where we come from. Of course, I am no exception. But I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you a little bit about myself other than what is in my resum. I come from Ohafia, a warrior group of the Igbo national group in Nigeria. It is in a very remote area of the country. When I was growing up, we attended school in make shift mud and hut houses. Then, as it is still now today, we didn’t have running water, and now the electricity we have today hardly works one day in a month. For most of us, books were a luxury , but when we got hold of one, we made sure that we knew what was in it to pass our exams and move to the next class. In fact, I am exceptionally lucky because I was one of those who hardly had books, even exercise books, what you call notebooks here, not due to my parents not providing the money for them, but due to my uncle’s partiality to my cousin who started school with me.
Needless to say my cousin was three classes behind me when we finished, and even then I had set a goal of becoming somebody. I gave you that very short resume just to say that no matter wherever you come from or from whatever circumstances, you can achieve whatever goal you set your mind on. And looking at you all, I know you are all very special and goal oriented, otherwise you would not be sitting where you are now.Thousands of others have abandoned their goals even before they started. I applaud you all.
My topic today is the Black Race – it is not about Africans from the continent, or Africans in the Diaspora, or African West Indians, but about the Black Race. My discussion is about truth, it is about honesty and frankness. It is about no more lies, no more hiding the truth, and no more blaming others for what is happening to the Black Race. It is about accepting responsibility for our actions; it is about playing the same games that others are playing and becoming very successful.
It is about being intelligent on how we make decisions where to spend our hard earned money. It is about no more playing the blame game, and the victim-mentality game. In this 21st century, we have to accept the truth of our situation, and nothing but the truth, so help us God. There is nobody more qualified to debate the state of the Black Race versus others, other than you and I. We cannot, as usual, in our lackadaisical manner abandon this debate to others with better access to the media.
In Africa, we have a saying that “when a child grows up, and he is able to wash his hands, he should sit at the same table and eat with his elders.” The Bl ack Race has grown up, we have washed our hands, but the question is why are we not sitting at the same table to eat with our elders, in this case, why are we not sitting at the same table with other races to eat from the same table, why are we still eating from the floor?
We are afraid of looking at the truth. We prefer the fuzzy image. We know the truth, but we don’t want to talk about it. Yes, we say to ourselves, we cannot wash our dirty linen in the public; we cannot talk about the truth of our situation, because white people are going to seize that as a weapon against us. We believe that they will say, you see even the Blacks themselves are saying what we have been saying all along. “They are lazy, they are non-productive, they can’t govern themselves, they are unruly, etc. etc.” Well, let me tell you the facts of life. That era of our not looking at the truth in the face is dead, and gone.
This is the 21st century, if we are to believe what all the Y2K experts told us; and I am happy that there is a genre of Blacks all over the world who now believe that we, just like the Jews and others, must begin to wash our so-called dirty linen in the public. Again, where I come from, there is another saying that “you don’t chase after a mouse when your house is on fire.” Just take a second to digest that statement. Because you know what would happen if you started chasing after the mouse when the house is on fire. You will perish and the mouse would have escaped. I am telling you that the Black Race is like an inferno, we shouldn’t be chasing after a mouse. What we need is water, no, we need a whole ocean, to put out the inferno.
Their opinion is irrelevant and meaningless. Our situation is critical and we need drastic action if we are to begin to discover and cure the seemingly insurmountable virus devouring our whole organs of life. The first bitter truth we have to accept, as I charged in my book, is that the Black Race, as now constituted and though as endowed as the others, is a non-productive race. We have to accept the fact that the Black Race, as constituted, basically is a consumer race, depending on other communities for our culture, our language, our feeding and our clothing.
And despite our abundance of natural resources, we are economic slaves because we lack the “killer-instinct and devil-may-care attitude” of the Caucasian and the “spider web economic mentality” of the Asian. The Black Race is the most hospitable race of people I have ever seen. We will not have any difficulty throwing out our own brothers or sisters just to accommodate any other race, other than our own. We will rather be poor, let our guests be comfortable.
But let me be totally sincere with you here. I am tired of a people who have one mind set, complain and whine about what others do to us. We complain and complain and whine and whine ad nauseam about what others have done to us and are still doing to us. We think the world owes us something. I am sorry to say that we are delusional. Nobody owes us a thing. Nobody is willing to give up what they have, on the excuse that we want it. If you want something you have to go out and get it. You cannot continue to beg for manna to fall from heaven, my brothers and sisters. You know what, unfortunately manna never falls from heaven. Let me tell you this.
Most African countries have been independent for more than 40 years. The promise of independence is yet to be fulfilled and we had thought that Manna would fall from heaven. But rather than manna falling from heaven, what we have in Africa are wars, famine, disease, military dictatorships, human rights abuses, despotic leaders who prefer to loot the peoples’ treasuries for their own personal aggrandizement, leaders who prefer to force the adulation of the masses with the barrels of a gun rather than with the provision of simple amenities to the people – like good roads, health care facilities, good environment for learning and opportunities for employment.
My brothers and sisters, I feel sad letting you know that Africa is worse off today than when the colonial masters left. Everything we use in Africa is imported. Do you know that we even still import candles from Taiwan? Yet 40 years after independence, we still blame our colonial masters for everything that happens in Africa today. Our leaders are not men enough to accept responsibility for the abject poverty of our people. We accuse Europeans of plundering and pillaging the natural resources of Africa. But I ask you, tell me, who are inviting them to do this, are they not our own people?
I am sure you have all heard of the late tyrants and dictators Sani Abacha of Nigeria and Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Abacha stole more than $5 billion of the impoverished Treasury of Nigeria and took that money and deposited it in Swiss Bank accounts. Since his death, the Swiss authorities have “found” only $1.5 billion of that money. On his part, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire took $6 billion to the same Swiss banks. After he died, the Swiss have told us that they have only found $7 million of that money. Tell me, which white man left Europe and took a gun to their heads and forced them to steal $12 billion from a continent where the per capita income is less than $500 per year? Do you know what $11 billion could have done for the starving and disease prone children in those countries?
No, we cannot continue to accuse white people for everything happening to us. At a certain point in time, we have to sit back and look in the mirror and see the culprit of our misfortune. It is not the white, the red, the green, the yellow or any other color. We are responsible for what is happening to us today.
As Capitalist Nigger: The Road to Success has charged, the Black Race is drowning in the blame and victim-mentality game. We have three things we now wear as body armor – slavery, colonialism and racism. We use these as excuses for our failures. We blame all our failures on these three factors. In Africa, we blame everything on colonialism and racism. In the Western world, especially here in America, we blame everything on slavery and racism. We have allowed these three factors to envelope us as a people. They are attached to us, as the bee is attached to the honey.
When African leaders squander the peoples’ money in buying up palaces in Europe, rather than building infrastructure in their respective countries, and the masses revolt, they blame the former colonial masters. When in this country, we allow others to come into our neighborhoods and buy up our businesses because we are stupid enough not to patronize our own people, we blame it on racism forgetting that those who came into our neighborhood started with almost nothing. But through our generosity and patronage, became rich and then turn around to insult and disrespect us.
It is your fault, and it is mine as well. As I said in my book, we are not even intelligent consumers, why, because we believe that the more we are insulted and disrespected, the more respectable the people doing the insulting, and the more we should patronize them. Let me give you two examples here. We as a people spend approximately $40 million a day eating Chinese food. That is $40 million a day, and that comes to about $15 billion a year. That’s what we give to a community that disrespects and insults us, and treats us like dogs. In most of our communities where there are Chinese restaurants, they erect these barriers between themselves and us, and pass our purchases through a hole as if they are passing food to a savage dog. Yes, we all love Chinese food – it is also cheap; but is it better to be investing $15 billion a year in a community which treats you like a dog?
In economic terms, using the economic multiplier effect, we are actually investing $120 billion a year into the Chinese community, and inversely taking that much money out of own community. No wonder their children go to the best schools, and they live in the best neighborhoods because we cannot curb our taste and our laziness to cook for ourselves. Listen, I am not advocating that we should boycott Chinese food, but I am saying there should be a tit for tat. There should be reciprocity. And for all the billions we give to the Chinese community, they don’t even employ one Black person in their establishments. I ask you, is that an intelligent way to spend our hard earned money from the menial jobs that are left for us? I believe not.
As I said earlier the more we are insulted, the more we gravitate and patronize the people doing the insulting to us. Let’s take the Japanese for instance. Two of their Prime Ministers, at different times, within a few years apart, publicly stated that Blacks are inferior. Mind you, the Prime Minister is like the President of the United States, the leader of the Japanese people. Just imagine, if these leaders said that publicly, what the Japanese really think about us. Yes, true to form, we protested their calling us inferior. We hollered, and made them make some kind of feeble apology. But what do we do in retaliation for the Japanese insulting us? We reward them with purchasing $80 billion worth of their goods a year.
But while we are happily dishing out the little we don’t have, the Asians have perfected what I call the Spider Web Economic Doctrine, which is a highly effective system of achieving economic power. Of course, I am sure you all know what a Spider does? When it spins its yarns, any fly that tries to enter its web is caught and never able to escape. It is the same thing that happens in the Asian community. So, in my Spider Web Economic Doctrine, when a dollar enters a community, it does not escape from that community. It circulates within that community, and that is where truly what economists call the “multiplier effect” is classically practiced. Asians, especially Indians from India, are the greatest practitioners of the Spider Web Economic Doctrine. When a dollar comes into their community, it doesn’t leave it. It circulates within their community, because the Indians believe in patronizing one another. They don’t eat other peoples’ food. They eat theirs. Their women hardly wear anything other than clothes made in India, and even the suits their men wear are made in India. The Indian, and other Asians, will travel hundreds of miles to patronize one another.
Let me tell you what this has done for the Indian community in America. When they arrived in New York, long after continental Africans, they bought one newsstand in New York City, and eventually took over all the major newsstands in the City, including Grand Central, Penn Station and Ports Authority stations. You have to pay them $3,000 just to get your newspaper into those locations. From this, the Indians set their eyes on the taxi and limousine industry of the City. They took over 90% of the medallions, and now control most of the taxi and limousine services in the City.
Then from there, they set their eyes on the motel business. As has been expansively written by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Forbes, Fortune Magazines, plus a plethora of television network newscasts, the Indians control over 85% of the motel business in America.
According to the same sources, they are now poised to take over most major five star hotels. In Silicon Valley, as has been well chronicled, Indians control more than 750 high tech companies in the Valley, with the result that several Indians are now billionaires. And are using their wealth to create incubators in universities throughout India and Pakistan to train future leaders in the high-tech age, for even now more than 50% of the professional visas awarded by the United States each year are given to Indians. India, which got its independence barely nine years before African countries, possesses nuclear power and exports a great deal to Africa.
The Spider Web Economic Mentality of the Asians have brought them enormous wealth, respect, and insulated them from the idiotic vagaries of the white man. It is the only economic doctrine I believe that is capable of rescuing us out of the abyss of our present economic doldrums. Unfortunately, you and I, as a people, have always believed that whatever a Black man produces must be inferior. It is ingrained in us. We may not be conscious of it, but we believe it nevertheless. For example, if we were to have two people, one black and one white, open a store offering the same quality of goods and service. We will not patronize the black store; rather we would go to the white store, because we believe it is offering a superior product and service just because of the color of their skin.
You can’t pretend you don’t do it. You do it, and I do it. It is even reflected in how we see our professionals. Just go to doctors’ offices. When you go to a Black doctor’s office. All you see are black faces. But, on the other hand, go to a white doctor’s office, and what do you see but black faces more numerous than even white faces. The Black race must abandon its current path to oblivion and total annihilation, its current practice of wearing its success on its sleeves. As I said earlier, you don’t chase after a mouse when your house is on fire. We prefer to run before we walk, and prefer the best things in life when we hardly have a penny in our bank accounts. We prefer the Lexus, the Mercedes Benz, buying a $300 pair of snickers for our grade school children, when we haven’t put one dollar in their education fund.
Rather than provide simple amenities to the people, African leaders prefer to buy palaces in Europe, spend $10,000 a night at hotels around the world, and ride in luxurious limousines. Unfortunately, Africa owes the world more than $375 billion, and there is no place in Africa you could point to as evidence of that money being used. That $375 billion translates to $5000 to pay back for every African in a continent where the per capita income is less than $500. In fact, you have more Mercedes Benzes in Africa than in Germany itself.
My brothers and sisters, my message to you today is that I want the younger generation of the Black Race to understand that they cannot carry the same baggage the older generation has carried for so long: the notion that somebody owes us something.
Well, let me be ruthlessly frank with you, my friends, nobody owes you anything. Don’t carry our baggage of whining, complaining and begging. Nobody is willing to give up what they have. This world is about survival of the fittest. If you want something you have got to get up and get it. We must develop the same Spider Web Economic Mentality of the Asians, and the killer-instinct and devil-may-care attitude of the Caucasian.
As I rightly observed in my book, we are as endowed as any other race of people. We have to believe in ourselves. We have to believe in solving our problems ourselves. We cannot continue to depend on others to do everything for us. We have to become intelligent consumers; we need to become a productive race. We must become economic warriors. As the general who led his men into enemy territory did, we must destroy the transportation that brought us into the enemy’s territory. We must fight our way to victory or perish.
Let me honestly say this to you, my brothers and sisters: self-preservation is not a sin. Look at the person next to you. We must think of ourselves as superior individuals. There is nothing inferior about you or me. We must adopt the Spider Web Economic Mentality: we must trap the dollars that come into our community so that they could circulate within us.
As I charged in my book, if you and I were to be charged to the court of public opinion, we would all be shot for the serious economic crimes we have committed against the Black Race. We must atone for our sins. Therefore, when you leave here today, resolve to buy black – it is a dynamic virtue.
We must stop wallowing in the feaces of slavery, colonialism and racism. For me, the stench is too much, and I am getting out. I hope you join me in getting out and breathing in the fresh air of ruthless honesty, truth, freedom and the stupendous economic prosperity before us.
My advice to you is this: don’t buy Capitalist Nigger: The Road to Success, if you are not willing to face the truth. It is a bitter brew to swallow, but it is painfully uplifting.
Once again, I thank this great institution for asking me to speak on this great occasion. I have been highly honored and humbled.
KEYNOTE SPEECH BY DR. CHIKA ONYEANI AT THE MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY’S BILL OF RIGHTS/TRANSAFRICA CONVOCATION THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2000, 11: 00 A.M. CARL MURPHY FINE ARTS AUDITORIUM