NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 64

Why The Thirty Two-Year Assault On Some Black Male Writers? 62 Where does the thirty two-year-old assault on some black male writers, specifically those aligned with the Black Arts Movement begin? Or the idea that in order to promote one black writer or a group of black writers, one has to denounce another black male writer or a group of black male writers? In the 1980s, it was gender vs. gender, in 2014 its generation against generation. The old colonial strategy of divide and conquer, which the British perfected in Ireland after the invasion of 1171 and later applied to Africa and the Middle East. Lenin said that “Ireland was the laboratory for Colonialism.” By ISHMAEL REED The initial takedown of black male writers was launched by Gloria Steinem, a woman who has eight servants and access to millions of dollars, a woman who, according to Harriet Fraad, co-opted a movement that began as integrated and working class and handed it over to “educated” and “privileged” women.1 In a mean spirited and ignorant attack on black male writers,2 Steinem depicted Alice Walker as a victim of black male writers and quoted Ms. Walker as slamming Richard Wright, Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, John A. Williams and Amiri Baraka. Before gay became the New Black, Ms. Walker gay baited members of the Black Panther Party and was answered with a trenchant op-ed from Elaine Brown.3 Ms. Brown’s message was “blame racism, not black men.” Ms. Steinem used her article to assert that Ms. Walker was “truth telling” about black males, the kind of group libel that has been aimed at her ethnic group since the time of the Romans, because it would include the incest violator — ‘Mr.’ in The Color Purple, whose screen portrait, managed by Steven Speilberg, even offended Ms. Walker. Incest has been an ancient charge that the enemies of Jewish people have used against them. Shunned by outsiders, they marry their first cousins, a taboo that is the subject of István Szabó’s 1999 film, Sunshine.