“Principles” By W. E. B. Du Bois

Listen Siblings, I come in peace,

“Whatever liberty is worth to the whites, it is worth to the blacks; therefore, whatever it cost the whites to obtain it, the blacks would be willing and ready to pay, if they desire it.” — Martin Delany

Martin Delany beautifully sums up the legacy of African struggle, putting to the African oppressed the reality that the European oppressor, in a similar oppression, would not suffer lying down. Not to suggest that there are not cowards among the Europeans, for there may be too many; but what’s suggested is that the European for all his foibles organizes what we know as “White Privilege” and asserts these privileges in nearly every corner of this Globe even for the waste of his race. It’s a real shame. Booker T. Washington had told Europeans how when holding a man in a ditch, the holder must stand in the ditch as well; and it’s true, in the European’s limitations on the African, the European limits himself. Yet that cost for “White Supremacy” is shouldered by the European; and the most important lesson from there is “How much are Africans willing to spend to restore African Prosperity, Independence and Community?”

Of everything that one can say about W. E. B. Du Bois, one thing about him should occupy the foreground. On his twenty-fifth birthday, in a diary entry, he pledged to devote all of his energies to our liberation. He lived for seventy more years. No, he was not Garvey’s friend. Yes, he did have some self-hating qualities. No, he didn’t perfect Originalism. Yes, he may have, in some capacity, spied on us. Yes, he was far from perfect. Very far. But read his story below and ask yourself whether you see Delany in Du Bois’ words. Many of us don’t enunciate this well. And it’s about time that we start to.

This is “Principles” by W. E. B. Du Bois. When you finish reading this, reflect on Delany’s quotation, and the reality that on the whole internet, of any and every site out there, the only place where you can read this story is on the African Blood Siblings Newsletter. Again, I transcribed this. How many other stories are missing from our digital canon because we’re not making the effort to digitize them? Are Europeans as irresponsible? Is it any wonder why they are the Oppressors today and we are the Oppressed? It’s upon you to be Responsible and Organize. Write. Subscribe, share, love.

By W. E. B. Du Bois
From The Horizon 5 (December 1909):1-2

The Eminent Philanthropist entered the suburban street car and appropriated the best seat. Then he looked about and spied Me.

“My Friend,” he said, after greetings, “My dark and dear Friend , you are impatient. You are Over-Anxious and Ultra-Sensitive. Suppose your Rights are at times invaded, suppose you are not treated as you think you deserve–what of it? Look up, look out, look forward! Give up your right to Vote, don’t insist on entrance to Theatres and Concerts, don’t crowd into the Best Streets, be glad of Caste Schools all these are little things; Seek the greater; enjoy God’s bounty in sun, air and beauty. Forget your Rights, do your Duty, don’t complain, suffer and wait, let the abstract principle go and seize the concrete present advantage,–”

Here the conductor reaches his grimy paw for a second fare. The Eminent Philanthropist withers him with a glance.

“I have already paid, Sir–as I was saying–what? Two fares for this short distance? A new rule? Well Sir, it is an outrage. I’ll not pay it–do you hear, Sir? I’ll not pay it. It is deception, theft, highway robbery. Impatient? It is time to get impatient with these grasping stealing corporations. Moreover, Sir, I demand more respect from you–your tone is insolent. I’m not sensitive but I am a gentleman and demand treatment of one. Very well, I will get off. I stand upon my Rights, Sir! Damn the nickel, I don’t care a rap for it–it’s the Principle, Sir, the Principle.” And the Eminent Philanthropist got off and walked.

6 thoughts on ““Principles” By W. E. B. Du Bois

  1. It does seem to be human nature that people will dish out as much as you’re willing to take. There are decent people who don’t fall into this category, but I think most people do. If the only way to fight systemic injustices is to organize, and Blacks refuse to do that, then in essence we are willing to put up with terrible mistreatments. This of course, evokes disgust and horror in others, even though they will try to thwart any organized efforts. It may even give rise to a certain amount of fear within themselves, that humans will suffer such indignancies.
    I think a good case in point was covered today in the Albany, NY Sunday Times Union paper. It was about strip-searches in Albany county. Apparently, Black men are stripped search on a fairly routine basis. This is really not anything that has not been heard before. The difference now is that they have become bolder with their strip searches. They will now strip them wherever they choose, not at the station and for any reason, whether ridiculous or not. For example: He had a nervous look, baggie clothes, smelled funny or was close to a known drug spot, etc.
    According to the article, they do it for the money, since there is a lot of money to be made with drug charges. So supposedly, they hope they can get lucky and find any kind of drugs on the unfortunate person. The police call it “dialing for dollars”.
    Personally, I think there is even a more sinister aspect to this strip search “mania”. Black men are being punked with this constant humiliation by other men. There may even be some sort of perversion going on which everyone carefully steers clear of even suggesting.
    A 76 year old Black man finally has brought the depth of the humiliation to light and has sued. He said he was treated like an animal. Of course he was innocent. He was giving a neighbors son a ride home, who apparently, the cops had been watching. Here are the strip search’s breakdown by category:
    Blacks-82%, Whites-13%, Hispanics-4%,Other-1%. Females were 12% of the total. There was no breakdown by race, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Black women were over represented also.

    1. Thank you Blessed Sister,

      “The doctrine that submission to violence is the best cure for violence did not hold good as between slaves and overseers. He was whipped oftener who was whipped easiest.” — Frederick Douglass

      It’s sad that Frederick Douglass made the sentiment so clear–his own life story attests to the necessary self-respect for liberation–yet due Mis-Education we continue to come to the wrong conclusion: go along to get along.

      Self-Respect, Self-Respect, Self-Respect! Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass spoke thusly:

      I met some very interesting characters during my travels. As illustrating the peculiar mental processes of the country people, I remember that I asked one coloured man, who was about sixty years old, to tell me something of his history. He said that he had been born in Virginia, and sold into Alabama in 1845. I asked him how many were sold at the same time. He said, “There were five of us; myself and brother and three mules.” — Booker T. Washington

      “It is vain that we talk of being men, if we do not the work of men. We must become valuable to society in other departments of industry than those servile ones from which we are rapidly being excluded. We must show that we can do as well as they. When we can build as well as live in houses; when we can make as well as wear shoes; when we can produce as well as consume wheat, corn and rye—then we shall become valuable to society.

      “Society is a hard-hearted affair. With it the helpless may expect no higher dignity than that of paupers. The individual must lay society under obligation to him or society will honor him only as a stranger and sojourner.” — Frederick Douglass

      It’s a shame that we are mis-educated so deeply that our suffering Siblings must be convinced of this Wisdom; yet if that’s the necessity so be it. We must organize for our Prosperity, Independence and Community! We must. We must finally have men and women who provide for self; we must finally handle our own affairs, our own drug problems, conflicts and such; we must finally know one another and look out for one another, we must organize to improve our own lot.

      I almost understand the man who taught to be of no value receives any injury with only a bottled up protest. With a “That’s the way it is.” I almost understand him. For that’s what our men are mis-educated to think. That White Supremacy and Black Inferiority are Universal Truths. But let it not be that the ABS Membership doesn’t turn those ‘men’ into MEN and those ‘women’ into WOMEN. We have the task ahead of us; to Maroon and Build For Self! It’s time. Those who will to Love their race are to come to the ABS!

      More quotations: https://africanbloodsiblings.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/some-collected-quotations-some-commentary-some-resources/

  2. Camagu , you guys are the best and i am trying all i can to share all rthis wisdom you post here with the siblings here in the barinwashed Mzantsi Afrika. Maze’enethole

    1. I come in peace,

      We are trying to form a flyer for distribution to aid in bringing Knowledge of how to uplift our people. The membership in Mzantsi Africa can create a Prosperous, Independent African Community there that connects with the Communities all over the world. Then we will be Liberated.

      Maroon and Build For Self!

Please ask any questions that come to mind

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: