Brain Dropping #103
I have something stuck in my craw and I’ve got to get it out of my system. When I was in CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality, the term “Oreo Cookie” was used, by blacks, to describe blacks who had utterly compromised with the system which was oppressing them. The term supplanted “Uncle Tom.” They were the black collaborators who always cautioned moderation, like the well-meaning white people excoriated by Martin Luther King in his “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.” In that letter MLK said that the moderates who cautioned going slow, both white and black, were a greater obstacle to the Civil Rights Movement and the realization of its goals than the KKK or the White Citizens Councils. “Oreo Cookie” – someone black on the outside but white on the inside. I suggest you go back and read King’s letter.
The most distasteful example of the “Oreo Cookie” identity was Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, better known to movie goers in the thirties and forties as Stepin Fetchit, the obscenely stereotypical bone-lazy black man who yah-suhed! his way to become a millionaire several times over. Earlier, Booker T. Washington preached accommodation with racism and separate development for blacks. He was called
“The Great Accommodator!” That position of holding back, of advocating torturous gradualism, is captured in this quote:
“There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles,
the wrongs, and hardships of the Negro race before the public………Some of these people
do not want the Negro to lose his grievances because they do not want to lose their jobs.
There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well!”
That is probably the most cynical statement I’ve ever read about the effort of an oppressed people to realize their “God given” right to exist free of brutality. I suppose Mr. Washington would put MLK, Malcom X, Stokely Carmichael, Fred Hampton, Fannie Lou Hamer, James Farmer, Bob Moses et al in the category of “race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well!” The only excuse I can find for Booker T. Washington is fear. This was at the time of the post-reconstruction “Black Codes” enforced by lynchings and false imprisonment, whose sentence was slavery by another name, working off the trumped-up fine on the white man’s cotton plantation. Hundreds of lynchings across the country, North and South carried out by the fearsome night riders of the Ku Klux Klan – even here in Vermont. The Federal Government did nothing.
In our own time, Harry Belafonte condemned Colin Powell as “a house slave” who identifies more with the agenda of the white elite than with people of color. His kowtowing and abetting Bush’s blatant lies in his speech at the UN, led to the crime of the Iraq war and the murder of hundreds of thousands of people of color. Professor Cornel West, Glenn Ford of The black Agenda Report, Tavis Smiley and other leaders in the Black community dismayed by Obama’s betrayal of his enunciated principles, see in him and Attorney General Eric Holder two “Great Accommodators” too fearful of rejection from the white elite, to act decisively in regard to the increasing suffering of their race! Two stalwart “OREO COOKIES!”
Once again I’ll refer you to this Democracynow interview with a black retired NYPD Detectve and others, whose outrage President Obama and Attorney General Holder would have done well to echo.