Anthony Asadullah Samad

*Every decade or so, some unconscious Negro steps forward into the national spotlight to demonstrate how insane they can sound in trying to attract the support or affinity of white folk by making the most outrageous and outlandish statement. It’s usually when some conservative initiative is in play. This year, it’s the conservative movement’s blackface response to President Barack Obama. Watching the Republican debates, businessmen, Herman Cain, has come off as a rational, reasonable pragmatist, with a sensible approach to taxation (9-9-9 flat tax plan), which got the nation’s ear.

Other than that, nothing really distinguishes him from the rest of the “RAT pack.” RAT, being an acronym for “Republican’s Anti-Obama Trial.” Cain placed second in a couple of straw polls,  then he proceeded to lose his mind. This week, Herman Cain made the comments that “Racism in this country today doesn’t hold anybody back in a big way.” Cain acknowledges there are some racist elements in the society but suggests that the so-called level “playing field” is only screwed during weak economies. Obviously, he has lost his mind? Herman Cain can’t be that unconscious. Public Enemy’s Chuck D once asked “What sucka stole the soul?” You have to wonder who stole Cain’s soul?

With that statement, he just earned my nomination for “Bootlicker of the Year.” Only a fool would believe that the vestiges of racial discrimination are not only present in today’s society, but some of the disparities they created are just as wide as they were nearly 60 years ago. Just because a few more are doing better don’t mean the masses are. That’s why the black bourgeois who escape the realities of black misery have never been able to speak for the masses. They forget where they came from and scapegoat the reality of the masses. Zora Neale Hurston warned us of piousness associated false intellectualism. During the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston suggested that the Negrotarians (whites who studied, followed and shared black culture in this period) and the Niggerati (black elites who shared the culture largely among whites), as she called them, would distort and misrepresent the racial complexities of the Renaissance movement if allowed.

That’s exactly what we see going on today. Well to do blacks like former BET owner, Bob Johnson, and Godfather Pizza giant, Herman Cain, distort and misrepresent the racial complexities of American culture today. To dismiss the reality of racism, after knowing the sting of racism—just because you got a break—to win an election or carry favor with a white electorate, suggests you have no conscience about who you step on to get to where you want to get to. Cain is a Morehouse Graduate, who came up in the Civil Rights Era South, but somewhere along the way—someone stole the soul.

No, racism is no longer by commission but it certainly in evidence by omission, as blacks are disproportionately left out of social and economic mainstream. It has nothing to do with holding them back, and everything to do with leaving them behind. Blacks are expected to “pull themselves up” without a rope, and America won’t throw us one. Even though they throw themselves one everyday. Economic stimuli and corporate bailouts, are ropes thrown to the wealthy to pull themselves up. Twenty years ago, blacks were told, “pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps”…even if you didn’t have boots. Another Negro spewed the same line as Cain suggesting there was no such thing as racism. His name was Ward Connerly and he was the face of the anti-Affirmative Action movement in America.  It led to the elimination of affirmative action in many states. We have witnessed, firsthand, what the absence of conscious can do. It can make you lose your mind, forget the truth and steal the integrity of a true movement.

Twenty years ago this week, America sought to confirm the most unconscious black man in America history, Clarence Thomas, when a sister of conscious, Anita Hill, stood up and suggested that Thomas was not fit of mind to serve on the Supreme Court. We have not only found out that he wasn’t fit of mind but he is out of his mind and is absolutely soul-less when it comes the racial experience that positioned him to be where he is. Clarence Thomas is the “Who Stole The Soul” posterboy for where you can land if you’re willing to say and do anything, including put down your own people.

Malcolm X once said, “I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.” That’s what people like Thomas, Connerly, Bob Johnson and Herman Cain do. They dismiss what America has done to the masses of black people, then criticize black people for not being able to stand up to the weight of centuries of racial oppression—just because they escaped it. Then they make excuses for why conditions remain the same. They say things like what Cain said, “If you’re poor, don’t blame America. Blame yourself.” Really? Even if you believe that, saying it is a false assertion that exploits racial circumstances more than it helps because those who want to believe it, use it as an excuse to do nothing to change the racial disparities we all know are real in this country.

It’s unconscionable that black folks lose their minds like this, but obviously it happens when someone or something steals your cultural conscience, what we call, soul. Other people fake the conscience and steal the soul, just to remain relevant with black people when they need to be. There is a modern day Niggerati in our midst. We see it and allow it to move about us, but we need to be clear about the compromise it represents because its not about us—its about them and only them. One who steals the soul from his community is no better than the one who loses his soul, forsaking his community for another. Both have lost their conscious minds and will say or do anything to promote themselves.

Speaking of losing your mind, the Taste of Soul festival is in Los Angeles this weekend. The Taste of Soul was created by radio executive, Ron Turner, who was the National Sales for KKBT. “The Beat” was planning a street fair in the late 1990s before they sold the station to Cathy Hughes. The name of the concept…”Taste of Soul.” Turner met with several community folk, including myself, to start the street fair under the new management but Cathy Hughes sold her station before the fair could be implemented. Someone else has implemented it, but they didn’t create it. Didn’t even change the name. I hope my baby brother, Ron Turner, strolls down the boulevard this weekend to take in his creation. But it says something for someone who won’t acknowledge when they get their “ideas” from others and refuse to give credit to them.

Herman Cain, and other stuff like that, happens when we let people who lose their mind then say and do anything they want. Then we ask ourselves, “Who stole the soul?” SMH

Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum (www.urbanissuesforum.com) and author of the upcoming book, REAL EYEZ: Race, Reality and Politics in 21st  Century Popular Culture. He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com or on Twitter at @dranthonysamad.