Saturday, July 26, 2008

The State of Africa America Remix: The Excess of (Always Seeking) Redress

By Heru Ammen

Currently there is much hype and media attention focused upon African Americans and the issues that we face. In doing our part to bring attention to the aforementioned issues, the authors of the Urban Village Blog & Commentary will re-post the series we authored in 2006 entitled "The State of Africa America." In this current media frenzy regarding "Black issues" we want to participate not only in the discussion of these issues, we believe it is important to discuss tangible solutions. All too often all that we hear are the same voices discussing the same issues and offering nothing but the same tired rhetoric. It is our hope that by re-posting this series, we can move the discussion forward and focus on what we can do to actually change the dynamics affecting the culture and socio-economics of African American communities.

"If you have, as leader, to decide on the conduct of a great number of people (emphasis: mine), seek the most perfect manner of doing so that your own conduct may be without reproach. Justice is great, invariable, and assured; it has not been disturbed since the age of God. To throw obstacles in the way of the laws is to open the way before violence. Shall that which is below gain the upper hand, if the unjust does not attain to the place of justice? Even he who says: I take for myself, of my own free-will; but says not: I take by virtue of my authority. The limitations of justice are invariable; such is the instruction which every man should (emphasis:mine) receive from his father.


What is preventing us (African Americans) from rising and transforming? I’ve often asked that question and I’ve concluded that part of the answer to that question is that we fail to utilize the intellectual, spiritual, and political resources that we have to formulate strategies or solutions that will cause us to rise and transform. Instead, our energy has primarily been focused on what I term the excess of redress

The excess of redress is a phenomenon of propping up and fronting a platform that incorporates the art of complaining about discriminatory practices and past or current injustices. It has often been said that power concedes nothing without a demand. Let me add that power does not even concede a place at the table of public discourse and debate for milquetoast rhetoric.

The excess of redress has spawned its own industry of African American pundits, politicians, religious based orators, and other nefarious front men. These African American men and women earn millions of dollars doing nothing more than appearing on television, radio, or in the pulpit complaining about a particular injustice.They use their exceptional communication skills to discuss and complain about the latest injustice, get paid for it and then move on to the next studio, stage, march or pulpit and complain about another issue. This is nothing more than the illusion of substance in action and the reality of overt inaction. Because after the show is over, the amens have subsided, and the audience has moved on, the issue still exist and nothing has been fomented, negotiated, or implemented to deal with the immediate and long term consequences of the aforementioned issue.

It is conceivable that one day after all of the pontification, punditry, confabs, seminars, sermons, marches, books, written white papers, and speeches on the redress of past atrocities we, the African American progeny of a great and resilient people will finally solve the issues that affect our communities. I wouldn’t fade that bet though.


James Tubman said...

glad to see that you are back my brother

i gotta sit down and have some coffee while i read this

hit me up at

i have a mission for you

if you choose to accept it

charles Donahue said...

So now the complaining has been redirected from the established racists institutions as the targets to the African American pundits and front men. The target has changed but the passive process remains the same. The result is more sermons and no actions.

James Tubman said...

we could use some more of that knowledge my brother

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