Op-EdColumnistsAskia MuhammadOpinion

America’s Choice: Racial Separation or Race War

The United States is on the brink of implosion, not so unlike 160 years ago when the righteous cause of abolishing slavery was at issue.

The difference now from then: Negroes (small “n”), coloreds, slaves and freemen had better leaders, even though they couldn’t even vote — not for president, not for Congress, not for mayor, not for dog catcher.

Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1856 and, despite a lot of flak from the 20th-century black militant intelligentsia, I think he really wanted the best outcome for both black and white people, and that outcome was separation of the races. Lincoln had powerful forces for good around him, most notably Frederick Douglass, then the most popular speaker in the U.S. and Europe.

The powerful abolition movement was also a potent force and it helped keep old Honest Abe on the straight and narrow path. There was Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose riveting novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” swept the entire nation with antislavery sentiment.

And then there was the courageous, bold, fanatical soldier, Capt. John Brown, who launched a daring raid on a weapons armory in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.

Of course black folks have had some righteous and brave leaders in the modern times, it’s just that since the Reconstruction movement was derailed by the end forces of “retrenchment and nullification,” the movement has been on the right road, only headed in the wrong direction.

Integration does nothing to improve race relations in America. It has only made matters worse, frustrating those who are held back by race hate, and angering those who would like to see their neighbors — black people in America — once again in servitude slavery. In the past 50 years, that frustration/confrontation has spilled over to now embrace Latinos and Native peoples who have joined the struggle in modern times.

White ignorance and hatred has been catered to and exploited by sleazy, hateful segregationist politicians, rather than addressed and corrected. After World War II, Germany was disarmed, Nazi symbols were outlawed. In Japan, which also surrendered “unconditionally,” the military was disbanded and the nation struck a course toward world peace.

Without the burden of military spending — and because the victorious allies provided all their security needs — those two nations concentrated on civilian development, producing the world’s finest automobiles and consumer electronics, soon surpassing the U.S. in the marketplace.

There was no such wisdom in this country after the Civil War. Blacks were cut loose from the plantation as slaves, only to be driven back to the same land as dirt-poor sharecroppers. White hate was not untaught, it was wallowed in by wealthy and poor whites alike, so today, the Tea Party — now Trump movement — is entrenched and viewed as if such ignorant and hateful views are justified.

During this time there has been important progress made by many, many black folks, all the way to the very top of this wicked society whose mother’s milk is race hate, yet black folks still wonder why are they treated so poorly. But most black people still wallow in the bowels of this country.

That was not always the case. Booker T. Washington, Mary McLeod Bethune, George Washington Carver and others fought for true equality on black folks’ terms. They did not go quite as far as perhaps Dr. Martin Delany, a physician, journalist and highest-ranking black officer in the armed forces during the Civil War, but they built institutions for producing success among the once-lowly.

Delany was one of the first three black students at Harvard Medical school, who struggled after the war for the repatriation of the freed slaves into a land or territory of their own. He was not smitten with the romance of being an ornament in the world of white supremacy, like Dr. Ben Carson has become in this day and time.

Today the ignorant, left-behind ordinary white people who were taught that the Confederate flag symbolizes “Southern heritage” rather than treason against their country are now rising up into the Donald Trump campaign like zombies who can’t be killed because they are already dead. Many — including a sitting governor, Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin — are threatening “bloodshed” and revolution if the disgusting, racist, misogynistic, xenophobe Trump is not elected. Sad.

The solution is simple. It’s what Lincoln and President Thomas Jefferson correctly advocated: separation of the races. The vast majority of the people live in separate worlds already, worlds dominated by white supremacy thinking, only the average Trump supporter thinks their comfy world of privilege has been upended by the advance of a horde of undeserving blacks who have ruined the paradise they stole from the Indians, then strip-mined and polluted to the brink of natural destruction.

They think their little Second Amendment-protected pop-gun AR-15s and whatnot are sufficient against Almighty God, Who controls the forces of nature — the rain, the drought, the earthquakes — and who promised to deliver His people from bondage under the children of their slavemasters. The white racists are mistaken. They cannot prevail.

Let black people go into a sovereign land of their own!

Otherwise, I think we will all learn the truth of John Brown’s last words, delivered on a note given to his hangman on the gallows: “I, John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land can never be purged away but with blood.”

Bring it on. Racial separation, or race war.

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Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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