The AfroFogey

Ame

AfroFogey has been my internet de plum for some years now and many folks have inquired about what exactly does it mean. I must admit the name itself was inspired by the decidedly not  Afro , Young Fogeys of England. But the worldview is solidly  Negro, Negro in the Ellisonian sense. There are other AfroFogeys , otherwise called AfroTraditionalists (AfroTrads), out there scattered about, differing from each other in minor ways and for certain many of them are better writers than I but I am here first thus I’ll write the definition .

Afrofogeyism isn’t an ideology but a disposition, centered upon the view that the past was better than the present and without a doubt should inform our future. For first and foremost, the AfroFogey is a romantic. The idea of old Harlem and old New Orleans are at the immensely appealing to him.

The AfoFogey is a conservative in the truest sense of the word. He seeks to preserve and promote Black American culture. Unlike “Black” Republicans who refer to themselves as conservatives, who have no interest in preserving anything.

The AfroFogey loves; Jazz; Negro Spirituals; Gospel and all traditional styles of Black music. He considers “rock” mostly juvenile rebellion and is one of the things at the root of the vulgarity, juvenile rebelliousness by grown men living in an extended adolescent, and the deifying of the so called bad boy in Americans post 60’s culture.
He also loves; Ralph Ellison; Zora Neale Hurston; Albert Murray; Martin Delany; Alexander Crummell, Booker T. Washington, Harold Cruse and 19th & 20th-century Black businessmen (and woman).

The AfroTraditionalist likes; Stanley Crouch’s critiques but thinks of him as the poor man’s Albert Murray. Murray is a seminal thinker and among the most under appreciated writers of recent memory. He is especially under read by those who actually need to read him.

The AfroFogey exalts and expects his kids to attend the great HBCUs; Spelman, Howard, and Morehouse, even if he never went to one himself. Institutions like them and the Black church will be the basis for “civilization”

The AfroTrad is nationalist; he supports Black business, lives among Blacks and marries Black- and greatly enjoys the phrase “if she can’t use your comb, don’t bring her home”. However, he is not sympathetic to the Black Panthers and the Black power movement or any post 60’s Marxist informed “radicals”.

Without a question, the beautiful Clair Huxtable in her 1980’s era splendor is the AfroFogeys pin up girl. On occasion, his style and disposition will cause those who know him to call him Bill Cosby.

The AfroFogey eats and loves fried chicken, collard (mustard & turnips) greens, Virginia ham, real barbecue, and whatever grandma cooked. He also likes fine French food (Duck & game please) and wines a great deal.
The AfroFogey loves Africa, specifically West Africa, but is rather indifferent to Africans, especially those who’ve immigrated to the US.

The AfroFogey always pays deference to religion and loves the AME & AME Zion churches.

To the AfroTraditionalist, Mahaila Jackson is the greatest singer ever (because she is).

The AfroFogey thinks the civil rights movement may have theoretically been largely a good idea but is cool on integration. Frequently laments the demise and decline of Black businesses, churches and especially our communities.

As alluded to earlier the AfroFogey prefers the term Negro to Black and Black to African American and certainly is not a Person of Color.

Never fervently or hatefully but the Fogey is anti- immigration and thinks birthright citizenship is silliness. There is much to be said for blood, culture land and traditions a far more reasonable and logical way to decide where a person is a citizen of.

Some AfroFogeys may be Prince Hall Masons but sadly that’s a dying breed and the organization has caught the attention of  uneducated conspiracy theorist.

The AfroFogey drives a Cadillac unless his wife has convinced him to get a Lexus (the province of social climbers). If not able to afford the Caddy he drives another affordable understated vehicle; Toyota, Buick, Chevy but never an Acura.

Some frequently votes Democratic although he shouldn’t.
The AfroTraditionalst is apathetic to Feminism and finds feminist amusing.

The AfroFogey has absolutely no voice in the mainstream media.

Not unheard of for the Fogey to have the only well-kept house in a rapidly declining neighborhood.

The AfroFogey is never an activist.

The AfroTrad vacations on Myrtle Beach, MMartha’sVineyard, The South Carolina Lowcountry, and Ghana among other places. He never visits LA, Las Vegas or any other cultural wastelands.

The AfroFogey constantly defends Black culture against the “conscious”, insecure uncle toms, Pan Africans, Radical Liberals, color blind so called conservatives. Rarely defends the culture against whites, their opinion on the topic matters little.

You may be wondering if there is a female equivalent to the AfroFogey and the answer is unlikely. The closest specimens were the recently deceased Elizabeth Wright and the long dead Zora Neale Huston( our spiritual mother.)

Afrofogess Zora Hurston and poet Countee Cullen

CCullen Mrs. Hurston is the mother of Afrotraditionalist thought. But everyone from progressive and Republican Blacks can learn from her always astute observations. She even has something for those inclined to follow early Malcolm X. I will note (and bold the text) that Zora like all the elders who inform Afrofogey thought, recognized the many poisons Liberal whites brought upon blacks. Here she talks about how offended white liberals were to find she did not pine for their company and had no problem with social segregation. Zora and Countee Cullen correspondence on PBS’s website. 

Dear Countee: Thanks a million for your kind letter. I am always proud to have a word of praise from you because your friendship means a great deal to me. It means so much to me because I have never known you to make an insincere move, neither for personal gain, nor for malice growing out of jealousy of anyone else. Then too, you are my favorite poet now as always since you began to write. I have always shared your approach to art. That is, you have written from within rather than to catch the eye of those who were making the loudest noise for the moment. I know that hitch-hiking on band-wagons has become the rage among Negro artists for the last ten years at least, but I have never thumbed a ride and can feel no admiration for those who travel that way. I have pointed you out on numerous occasions as one whose integrity I respected, and whose example I wished to follow. Now, as to segregation, I have no viewpoint on the subject particularly, other than a fierce desire for human justice. The rest of it is up to the individual. Personally, I have no desire for white association except where I am sought and the pleasure is mutual. That feeling grows out of my own self-respect. However blue the eye or yellow the hair, I see no glory to myself in the contact unless there is something more than the accident of race. Any other viewpoint would be giving too much value to a mere white hide. I have offended several “liberals” among the whites by saying this bluntly. I have been infuriated by having them ask me outright, or by strong implication if I am not happy over the white left-wing associating with Negroes. I always say no. Then I invariably ask why the association should give a Negro so much pleasure? Why any more pleasure than with a black “liberal”? They never fail to flare up at that which proves that they are paying for the devout worship that many Negroes give them in the cheap coin of patronage, which proves that they feel the same superiority of race that they claim to deny. Otherwise, why assume that they have done a noble deed by having contact with Negroes? Countee, I have actually had some of them to get real confidential and point out that I can be provided with a white husband by seeing things right! White wives and husbands have been provided for others, etc. I invariably point out that getting hold of white men has always been easy. I don’t need any help to do that. I only wish that I could get everything else so easily as I can get white men. I am utterly indifferent to the joy of other Negroes who feel that a marriage across the line is compensation for all things, even conscience. The South must laugh and gloat at the spectacle and say “I told you so! That is a black person’s highest dream.” If a white man or woman marries a Negro for love that is all right with me, but a Negro who considers himself or herself paid off and honored by it is a bit too much for me to take. So I shall probably never become a “liberal.” Neither shall I ever let myself be persuaded to have my mind made up for me by a political job. I mean to live and die by my own mind. If that is cowardly, then I am a coward. When you come to analyze it, Countee, some of the stuff that has passed as courage among Negro “leaders” is nauseating. Oh, yes, they are right there with the stock phrases, which the white people are used to and expect, and pay no attention to anymore. They are rather disappointed if you do not use them. But if you suggest something real just watch them back off from it. I know that the Anglo-Saxon mentality is one of violence. Violence is his religion. He has gained everything he has by it, and respects nothing else. When I suggest to our “leaders” that the white man is not going to surrender for mere words what he has fought and died for, and that if we want anything substantial we must speak with the same weapons, immediately they object that I am not practical. No, no indeed. The time is not ripe, etc. etc. Just point out that we are suffering injustices and denied our rights, as if the white people did not know that already! Why don’t I put something about lynchings in my books? As if all the world did not know about Negroes being lynched! My stand is this: either we must do something about it that the white man will understand and respect, or shut up. No whiner ever got any respect or relief. If some of us must die for human justice, then let us die. For my own part, this poor body of mine is not so precious that I would not be willing to give it up for a good cause. But my own self-respect refuses to let me go to the mourner’s bench. Our position is like a man sitting on a tack and crying that it hurts, when all he needs to do is to get up off it. A hundred Negroes killed in the streets of Washington right now could wipe out Jim Crow in the nation so far as the law is concerned, and abate it at least 60% in actuality. If any of our leaders start something like that then I will be in it body and soul. But I shall never join the cry-babies. You are right in assuming that I am indifferent to the pattern of things. I am. I have never liked stale phrases and bodyless courage. I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions. I suppose you have seen my denial of the statements of Douglas Gilbert of the World-Telegram. I know I made him sore. He is one of the type of “liberals” I spoke of. They are all Russian and want our help to put them in power in the U.S. but I know that we would be liquidated soon after they were in. They will have to get there the best way they can for all I care. Cheerio, good luck, and a happy encounter (with me) in the near future. Sincerely, Zora Document from Amistad Research Center, Tulane University. “Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun” is available on DVD at www.newsreel.org

Rid Yourself of the White Man

 

By the title you might expect some sort of radical text, saying either we should go back to Africa or kill the cracka off in a glorious revolution. Maybe some black panther like rhetoric that simultaneously condemns whites and seeks their help and embrace of our cause; well, those whites who are “down for the people” anyway.  I mean none of that of course, nor do I mean one should rid themselves of the intangible parts of our culture that may have started with whites like the sax (and all the instruments used to create the Blues,  Gospel, and Jazz), the English language or ( if you believe they gave It to us) the Christian religion. No culture is without outside influences and purity spirals are unhealthy for any culture, movement, and organization.

That said, I certainly am against embracing much of white culture and especially current mainstream white culture. I’d dissuade one from engaging the former because I am an anti-assimilationist, and the latter because it’s crass,  godless, materialistic and vulgar ( like our current culture). We need to support and foster our own institutions, and outlooks on the world in order to be a spiritually and culturally prosperous race. If we don’t do that, our very identity will always be insecure and we will continue to exhibit the forms of self-hatred and self-destructiveness that are so common among us.

What I mean is rid yourself of the white man as an excuse, as one to emulate, as one to oppose and as one to seek love, respect or any validation from. Be neither his enemy nor his follower. Imagine your own path.  Be secure in yourself as a black man with his own ways, mores, values, and culture developed in our over 400 years in this land now called the United States. Celebrate your achievements, unify with your brethren, follow your betters and lead your lessers. Create a way of life directed at self-determination for the black race, instead of one dedicated to receiving favor or fairness from whites. Act and behave as a confident person from a confident culture. That is the only way to build on our traditions and maintain our identity( what little we have left of it)

Leontyne’s Heights

Massive dignity even in illustration

“If you are going to think Black, think positive about it. Don’t think down on it, or think it is something in your way. And this way, when you really do want to stretch out, and express how beautiful Black is, everybody will hear you.”

Today we have to many African Americans*, especially in the public eye and especially in academia , pretending being black is some albatross on their necks white folks need to ignore or reward in order for them to succeed. Most will try to cover up those feelings of inadequacies up with false proclamations of pride. Mainly concerning some “radical” Negro telling white people off, “speaking truth to power” or some such, like a rebellious teen does to his momma. But they give away their feelings of inadequacy by showing how worried they are about the Caucasian race’s opinions . Sadly, they don’t know prospering and ascending; taking black culture to new, yet tradition rooted, heights is far more impressive than petty rebellion.  The accomplished Leontyne Price basically understood this and that’s why I decided to highlight her words at the beginning of this post.

* I use African American instead of Negro or Black on purpose.

Sister Odetta Sings

To disabuse any notion that my love for Mahalia leads me to ignore other great female singers, I present to you this rendition of Motherless Child by Odetta. Odetta (why don’t we have such names anymore) was known as the Queen of American Folk music(dubbed so by MLK)  and was instrumental in its revival in the 60’s. While I do have my issues with folk revivalist, as I don’t like much of it and find many times the singers render the remakes in a most unsoulful manner, Odetta’s abilities to  summon the full range of emotion and sing some of the songs as if she was field herself has made me a life long fan.

Great stuff from a good woman.

What I’m Into Vol. 3 Father’s Day Edition

Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
2 for I give you good precepts;
do not forsake my teaching.
3 When I was a son with my father,
tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
4 he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
keep my commandments, and live.
5 Get wisdom; get insight;
do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Proverbs 4:1–5

We all have fathers who raised us, who imparted their wisdom, their habits, their approach to life onto us. We all have lived according to these values given to us by what should be our greatest influence.
But as we age and become literate we develop our intellectuals ancestors. They might share the same outlook as our fathers and reinforce and provide a source of inspiration and motivation and expand the purview of the morals handed down to you. From that foundation you build your personal outlook.
My intellectual father is the great Martin Delaney, regarded as the father of Black nationalism to many.  From him I further understood the value of self determination & self preservation; building, preserving and supporting your own institutions; along with the value of of blacks starting and supporting our own businesses. So in honor of him, here are somethings of his and some stuff about him that I was reading today.

Here in Martin Delany’s  Advice to Slaves he counters the bombardment of information from a society seeking to paint us as a caste of layabouts without distinction, culture or industry, in a speech which would be radical in any age. Even warning us a full century before Malcolm X classic warning against aligning to close with Liberal whites,  Delany makes the case against their fore bearers.

“As I said before the Yankees are smart; there are good ones and bad ones. The good ones, if they are good they are very good, if they are bad, they are very bad. But the worst and most contemptible, and even worse than even your masters were, are those Yankees, who hired themselves as overseers. Believe not in these School teachers, Emissaries, Ministers, and agents, because they never tell you the truth, and I particularly warn you against those Cotton Agents, who come honey mouthed unto you, their only intent being to make profit by your inexperience.”

He also engaged in the rewriting tunes used in minstral shows to fit a more radical narrative.  In this example he turns Stephan Foster’s Old Uncle Ned on its head.

Fosters version:

Den lay down de shubble and de hoe
Hang up de fiddle and de bow:
No more hard work for poor old Ned
He’s gone whar de good darkeys go

Delany’s (superior) version:

Hang up the shovel and thee hoe-o-o-o!
I don’t care whether I work or no!
Old master’s gone to the slaveholders’ rest
—He’s gone where they all ought to go!

“Summer time and the living is good. Fish are jumping”, this line has always echoed in my head, I sing it randomly without provocation. I still do not know and don’t particularly care why. Today I was listening to Mahalia Jackson’s Summer Time/Motherless Child on repeat, tis the season and its a Beautiful* song. Enjoy it and until my next post I bid you good day.