Stokely Carmichael At UC Berkeley – Black Power


*This is not a historical or sociopolitical ‘analysis,’ this would best be though of as a linguistic/rhetorical ‘analysis’ that looks at language use and how it affects thought.*
It is often times too easy to fall victim to unsophisticated and illogical stereotypical thinking. Labeling oppressors white, making over generalizations such as color “The White Man” and “The Black Man” and “White society” is not accurate for what should be obvious reasons. When listening to this speech, try to disseminate the color coding. Just short of being color blind, we must realize that people are people, flesh and bone.The major problem with low-brow propagandic labeling is that it distorts reality and as propaganda, it unfortunately works.

‘I am black … but I am a human being!’ Value your humanity, not your color!

“We are a nation of thieves” Who brought slavery to America? (Brittan? The Dutch? entrepreneurs/capitalists?) And it by no means started with ‘black’ people, but lets not play the blame game….
Who supported the “Underground Railroad?” (the oppressors?)
Who fought to keep slavery? (Rich plantation owners in the south who relied on the cheap labor and profits from ‘growing’ and selling slaves? The nation whose profits/infrastructure stemmed largely from the exploitation of slaves? racists/separatists – assassination of Lincoln?)

Who fought to abolish slavery? (Civil War?)

To remove poverty you must remove its root; money and greed breed poverty and more money is not the answer. Destroy monetary systems – Communism? redistribution of wealth – Huey Long?, education!

Why were/are humans with dark skin considered to be less then a person? (propaganda? – just think what advertising is designed to do – capitalistic philosophies? classicism in a predominantly white ruling class?)

“This nation can not justify any-longer its existence, we have become the policemen of the world!”

“it is we who are the hardest workers, and the lowest paid…” Here he is perhaps glazing over the plight of the Irish, ‘Native’ Americans, Jews, low-class white Americans, Chinese, and many others who have been exploited.

“This country is not God and it can not rule the world!”
“Who has power?, who has the power to make their acts legitimate?”
“We have to begin to develop a political sophistication! do not be a parrot!; the two party system is the best system.”

“We must question the values of this society! and I maintain that black people are the best people to do that.” (How can skin-color qualify someone for sociopolitical/philosophical thought?)

“American students are perhaps the most politically unsophisticated students in the world!” Perhaps this is true but the problem is almost entirely found in the lower classes.

He makes an excellent point @40:00 about a little know method of exploitation and touches on the bias publication of news for the benefit of the producers and the affiliations of those producers.

‘We have to admit that most people in this country see things as black and white, we live in a country that’s geared that way.’ I hate to admit that he is right but… we must change that! It also stands to reason that he himself is a product of his time and was influenced by the dominating ideals of the 1960s.

And you also have to admit that there are ‘black’ people who are afraid to go into a ‘black’ ghetto at night. It’s not about color, it about class, status, wealth, power.

‘This country is too hypocritical, and we can not adjust ourselves to its hypocrisy!’ Nor should we have to!


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