I’ve said many times that the only true revolution will be of our thinking – true especially in our community. We must reevaluate our priorities and resolve ourselves to them. We must have our brightest minds explore alternatives and options never before considered as well as those passed over. We must think outside the box. Perchance there is a revolution it will be between we people of color; those who favor authoritarianism or totalitarianism versus those who believe in democracy: those who favor slavery to those who believe in freedom to choose; those who are tolerant of past indiscretions and those who favor one paying one’s debts. Other people including white folks and the rich will stand on the sidelines. The fight for a black consensus will not be their fight.
If our community does not peacefully revolutionize its thinking, consider the lack of diversity at the Oscars. Consider basketball again and sports, then black business and academics and picture them being adjusted according to the current trend of our black authoritarianism. Picture then, despotism further deconstructing our processes and everything we touch within those categories becoming toxic. If you cannot do that take another route and remember what prewar Germany was like.
If you can in fact process the above, does your honesty and courage extend to question that our dilemmas might be our own fault? How brave would that be? The query would follow, what did we do to bring this debacle upon ourselves and specifically who was/is responsible? Were they asleep on their watch or was there a method to their felony? The answers to the above ... will offer the best route to the final question: What do we do about it?
The reason given for our dilemmas people say is that the system is rigged for the “wealthy ruling class” i.e. the ‘club’ on Wall Street” which is unacceptable to me as a reason or as an excuse. We simply must learn the accounting methods they employ. We must too, learn their method so when they change the rules as they have been accused of doing we will know how to address the situation. We are not lazy. What happened? I should add also that some rigging or better, manual adjustment would be required of any socio economic method given the numbers, the diversity, demographics and the obscure mechanics involved. However that doesn't mean these variables cannot be regulated and so do not now justify the abuse that may be occurring presently. Only a principled ethical structure would give us a better alternative. The foundation they have provided for our republic has already been established and is included in our constitution,
If we do these things they will lead us to the ultimate solution which is ethics. Ethics is of such influence, think that if the black church were not to adhere to the ethical core etched within our genes, black society would come tumbling down. Think that if the FBI or Homeland Security were not to adhere to the essentials of our human ethical code our society would not be enjoying a free, and fair homeland and the opportunities she provides. Our task only becomes to stay vigilent and participate in the system on every level. Ethics is the human spiritual glue. It is the magic that causes us to be curious, reason and walk upright. Without it we might be insects, dust floating on afternoon sunlight peering through venetian blinds.
Only ethics gives us DNA, reason and wisdom, the miracle which attracts to it “practical” elements forming molecular structure. It's glue is the myth and magic which caries us forward. It is this which men have altered to their own benefit and for which ethics returns as a remedy. Believe henceforth that ethics is the basis of our existence and that without it we are but those insects and dust mites. It might be the one rule of nature your spirit adheres to or dies, the physical self, following later. We are in that “later” now.
If I may go further, its important to define "later" as having two connotations the first of which is stated above. The second ,refers to time as it incurs patience and is in that way our most important asset. I remember once hearing someone say that they could trace their lineage back to a particular tribe in central Africa. Many of us can do that but for those of us who don't or cannot this is where time is an asset. It was less than 200 years ago that we were living amongst our original families back in Africa. Most white families may trace their lineage back to Europe only about an additional 100 years before that. The point is that 100,000 years from now, if we are all still here 200 years or so will mean nothing. We must view and address patience and time as assets.
Humans are a young species as are the few races that have survived. If we start now to change our thinking to be more friendly towards growth and progress we can achieve the objectives that are important to us. Think that we have wined and complained to the heavens that we are equal to all its expectations and that now the universe is testing us. We have proven our endurance and now we must prove our patience.
As for how I arrived at this position, I confess to being of the old school though of the hustler class. I admit to having been a fringe player - more style than substance, more wanting to be in the legit big game and so hustling just enough to gain access to its contest and avoiding any penalties. Sober now, I've learned to navigate the modern dilemma as a peaceful adventurer. The idea is not bought by everyone as not everyone wants peace and resolution. It takes but a few and I imagine that if they were to wake up one morning and find their crisis’s resolved that they would immediately start creating new ones. Mines is an arduous and even dangerous path. It is an old story where when staying in one place too long, you listen for word of contracts put out on you as people discover what you do. They come alongside the praise but grossly outweigh it so my adventure is every bit risk and work. I see every day in it the equation where force begets more force and then so it affects spiraling. Peace is a proven strategy. Consider the above, live the strategy and be wise … forever is a long time
Leslie Lox, author, principal of “The Potential Enterprise Company”. My, or really our adventure on www.nilopub.com
Peace is a strategy. Live the strategy.
Reason and Change
We are silent to the truths in front of our eyes inviting catastrophes we can’t even imagine. Our community has lost not one but several steps on our journey. At issue is a newer slavery along with other disparities regarding our black institutions and as we are too silent, they swell to smother us. We are not the people we used to be. We should be feeling shame …to even whisper of our ancestors is sacrilege.
My views before the primaries, my insurance, our reality.
I am fearful of a Trump, Palin collaboration. We need intelligent, thoughtful, decisive government that can act wisely on the issues. We do not need government that is one sided if it is not uninformed, reactionary or incendiary. All change must occur in our thinking before it occurs anywhere else.
As the Truth Closes in … There’s Always Tomorrow
The Potential Enterprise Company E-letter
January 2016 - Reason and Change: A New Strategy
February 2016 The Truth ... There's always Tomorrow
I was living in Bedford Stuyvesant at the time. It was Tuesday morning and I had descended the steps of the row house. The hoax of the grey skies made the cool shorter days ahead seem romantic but uninspiring, if that’s possible. A mangy couple in their twenties emerging from the garden level of a well-kept Brownstone across the street gave my stomach a hollowness. These four story buildings had been purchased for a “song” - twenty to thirty thousand dollars, some for as low as a dollar when the neighborhood was a ghetto. Now the millennium crowd had rediscovered the hand carved fireplaces and doorways, marble counter tops and hard wood floors finished to a gleam.
The duo in grungy jeans and tee shirt looked like a pimp and one lonely hoe fallen from grace, working truck stops, shop lifting and now this. I watched them with my peripheral vision as they crossed the street and fell in behind me. I was carrying my laundry in a large sports bag. It was light so I kept a fast swagger fitting in with the neighborhood.
I scanned the small brown paper bag in his right hand. It looked like it might be concealing a piece of hardware, maybe a revolver. This looked like a hit and I scanned them again, to make sure they stayed a safe distance behind me. Almost to the corner and not making up the distance he handed her the bag. “Hold this,” he said. She put it into her shoulder bag.
When I turned the corner I made a dash for the street lifting my load over my head to squeeze between the cars. I dodged the whizzing traffic to the other side and turned to see them round the corner and immediately enter a Bodega. They didn’t want to pass through “Blood” and “Crypt” territory.
This black cat I had been staying with one day passed through these blocks ahead of me slapping palms and glancing back at me, “That dudes alright. He’s with me.” He had cased me back in the “three-quarter” house and deduced that as hard to believe as it was, I was trouble shooting the neighborhood or something; overseeing the children, schools and their teachers amongst other things. I had also helped him and this Puerto Rican guy, both fresh out of the joint, to avoid being set up. They’re ruses would have gotten in my way. The Puerto Rican guy left soon after the black cat and on that day had put something in my hand. It was one of those small square yellow “Stickum note papers” folded up. Nobody saw him do it. On it was written simply, “thank you”.
Rarely a day goes by without me wondering if I’m doing the right thing and that maybe I should quit this role of watchdog/overseer in the communities I visit. I recall the people who are too busy to care and those whom I know didn’t or don’t .., unlike the two cats back at the “three-quarter” house. It also bothers me, the small fortune (measured in ghetto figures) I gave up for this thirty year plus campaign and that I haven’t been compensated by the groups who asked me on this journey in the first place.
Then I remember the pain on the faces of those tricked into slavery and the ruthlessness of my adversaries. I remember the sacrificial child rapes and the children set on fire for some esoteric ritual. I remember the nonchalant face of a man who had allegedly raped fourteen little boys over a ten year period and his neighbor who it was rumored had gang raped two young boys with his partner. Some of those children it was purported were so badly marred their abusers the abusers hired people who specialized in the termination of such cases and the children were buried in fresh graves at night in a cemetery I sometimes passed.
From the kitchen window back at the “three quarter house” I remember seeing this little boy barely four feet tall, born without a backbone who attended a special school, being carried onto the school bus on a gurney every morning. In the afternoon I would watch him return home peering up to the sky through his horned rimmed glasses as if a reason for this existence floated somewhere up there amongst the afternoon clouds. He resisted the vestige of fear on his face trying hard to conceal the things he might expect that evening. It didn’t work. Apparently his caretaker was the only family he had, receiving two thousand plus dollars a month to take care of him. Few people knew that he was renting the disabled boy out for sex and had been experimenting on him, seeing how much pain his heart or testicles could bear. One of the guys where I stayed suggested he understood the rituals being practiced there and because others who had visited the house had little or no money I surmised that sex with the disabled boy cost surprisingly little.
It was a preview to the resurgence of slavery seeping into the area. They started with the handicapped and then moved on to the rest of the community. I didn’t know who exactly was orchestrating this trend but abusing the handicapped in any form is a bad idea. It was raining one afternoon as I peered down from my window to the tiny youngster being brought into his house on the gunnery. I wanted him to feel that someone cared and was watching and that something had been set in motion that would free him from his torment. It happened before a few weeks passed. I’m still amazed at how astonishingly brave he must have been.
There are two beasts in life and I have been in the belly of both of them. It is from whence I speak as this commentary likely attests to. I was and am able to garner solutions to the myriad of debacles facing our society because I had been trained to understand and engage the source of our woes. I had been prepared for seven years beyond college and graduate efforts, community, business and work experience to do just this. Rather than one big campaign, for the most part my journey has been comprised of many battles. Many were smaller "jobs" lasting a few months while others were larger with expanded demographics lasting a few years. But they were mostly similar to the structure, complexity and desolation described here.
I have to say these things, for one because I’m, black which might be why I was chosen for this "journey" being able to fit easily into almost any venue. But it needs to be said that a black man operated on this level and was successful in these many battles which comprised a much larger campaign. In all honesty the larger campaign is failing.
A second descriptive might portray me as a failure, dedicating thirty years of my life to what has evolved as an ethically principled campaign that wasn't or isn't successful however I hopeful I remain. I must add too that an ethically principled endeavor wasn't intended as my original purpose but the request was to follow a particular directive according to my demeanor and follow it I did. That commitment has led me to this three/quarter house for the disenfranchised and those recently released from incarceration. It was assumed, rightfully I admit, and due to my preparation that I would know what to do in these situations.
No matter how these circumstances are portrayed one could say with confidence that one amongst us had mounted a gallant fight for our children and our future; scoured the bellies of both beasts; sorted out and engaged the hoodlums, terrorists along with countless others who were supposed to be hardworking and honest. I might add that the so-called "hardworking, honest" individuals were the most horrific of all. I would go for weeks with out sleep around and when it did come I had learned to literally sleep with one eye open. Although I really couldn't see anything it was a matter of staying half awake. I had worked and fought until my arms locked or were too heavy to raise. My legs not to be bested seemed timed to lock or give out as well at their most needed moments.
I have to wonder if it was because I was seen to be successful in spite of these occurrences that I fell out of favor with those gents who had originally asked me on this campaign. Candidly speaking, most of those gents are probably no longer around and their successors probably aren't familiar with this campaign. However, they should be witness to the severity of our situation and should be able to recognize and understand what I do. I can see no excuse for my lack of support.
Now, after thirty years of it I admit that a certain economy defines my actions. The engagements have become battles of the mind - spiritual fracases, opposing thoughts and ideas from opposite quarters vying for power and position. For example, who is to say that one religion is better than another when they both believe in the same things; you cannot steal, or harm another person etc.? Who is to say one political system is better than the next when the same people who have money in a dictatorship will be the same ones with money if it become a democracy and visa versa? They are often analogous conflicts and the physical properties they assume like those demonstrated above are the actual areas of concern. In the example above, slavery was and is a largely mental exercise but there it took on physical properties when the man who claimed ownership of the disabled boy started experimenting on him and renting him out for sex. It’s the same in other cases where sacrificial rape, ritualistic immolation, forced labor and more is present. More often than we realize it is our behavior that needs adjusting more than the system or institution itself.
Adding to my own difficulty, I must engage my adversaries who make use of pious implements indicative to their particular culture and religious beliefs and me without even practical support. Just my general knowledge of these has to prove sufficient. That is not meant in any way to berate these practices but rather to explain how complex my job has been and so to support my desire now to retire.
Where else can a lack of support, a lack of credit for my successes and importantly a lack of compensation point to. Support, credit for one's accomplishments and compensation after thirty years would be the tools of my trade. Knowledge and experience are useless if I have no credibility, am unsupported and I lack mobility and access to the resources I need. As tools they are enabling which is important for what I was asked to do. I am exhausted but in all honestly true stories like the one above makes it hard to stop in spite of my wanting to move on to other things, perhaps even writing. I keep waiting for the cues but they don’t come.
Further, I took an oath and was asked to conduct this campaign. I did not volunteer. The gents who asked me on this campaign apparently had done their homework and knew they were asking these things of someone of suitable ability. The above job was one of many over a thirty year period and from them you may conclude that the campaign itself was an important undertaking and me recognizing this, would finance it diluting my small fortune.
I’ll leave you with the fact that some of us don’t have to see over the horizon to know what’s there. If your reading this your probably a member of that club. All that to say this, and I say it to you now with momentous urgency – it doesn’t look good for us black folks. We are the culprits of our own demise and I know I’m not alone with this perception. Someone has to step up … or maybe we all have to step it up …
Finally, do remember that peace is a strategy but so is work, diligence and patience. Live them hard.
Excerpts from my books are available on www.nilopub.com.
Leslie Lox, author and principal of “The Potential Enterprise Company” and also “The Nigel and Loxy Publishing Company” along with co-principal Henry ‘Butch’ Williams