Thomas Brown

My observances of the various civil unrests all over the world concerning police violence and the branding cadence “Black Lives Matter” that comes out of America has certainly made the way for what Angela Davis stated: “This period of protest makes for the world and America, teachable moments.”

For those who may not know, Ms. Angela Davis was and is a Black female scholar and historical contemporary revolutionary advocate for equality and justice. This is how I describe this sister, who was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Much more could truly describe this dynamic sister.

The “teaching moments” covers many subjects to be addressed. My first subject of the “teaching moment” addresses “Black Power and White Power.”

The protests that emerged gave rise to Black presence of power. That presence of power was manifested in unity. It seemed to have brought many whites of power into the cause to call “Black Lives Matter.”

Now, the question for me is, what is the teachable moment? In the period of the ‘60s, we of SNCC proclaimed “Black Power” as a movement of liberation and equality, Not “civil rights.” Today, it is necessary that meanings and definitions of what power is and how it acts, and for reasons of when and where.

We know, or we should know, that power in America has certainly been white. We also should know that white power has been oppressive and is oppressive now. In this teachable movement, however, we can learn that white power has been due to FEAR! Fear of Black people, maybe, or the possibility of the fear to love.

In a series of my essays, “Fear to Love and Love to Fear,” I have and still define love and fear as the “subjects” of our personal and collective consciousness of “being-ness.” In other words, white power as a fear response manifests what I call “white racism and/or white supremacy.”

On the other hand of the equation, black power has its issues of “fear to love and love to fear” that weakens Black people’s ability to unite and work together for a “common good.” By this, I mean we fear to love one another. 

We are afraid to Unite for our educational, economical and political good. There are various reasons for this dynamic that will be written in future columns, if allowed.

This teachable moment, however, can be the experience of “truth telling” that is tied into our educational system in schools, universities and various religious institutions, as well as the various protests and demonstrations. I have witnessed “truth actions” of emotion in a “power being-ness”

that has brought all colors together. Consequently, these “truth actions” have to be told and taught in the various educational subjects, particularly in history and social science classes.

I have to admit that in the very early ‘70s, Blacks in Indiana initiated the Indiana Black Expo, which in my opinion was a demonstration of Black power. Its theme was “Working Together Works.” I will not in this writing give individual names, but those persons involved were primarily Black leaders, local grassroot organizers and all sorts of persons of the Black experience.

As of this date, there is no comprehensive “truth telling” written history of those days. There is no description of the how, the why, the what and when of Indiana Black Expo’s emergence of the collective power movement. Certainly, there are many other great Black power initiatives throughout our nation. One very interesting one was Tulsa, Oklahoma, with Black Wall Street.

Certainly, in Indianapolis, many can remember Indiana Avenue and Madame C.J. Walker Enterprises. That was Black power driven by what I would phrase as Black women power. Certainly, we in the “teachable moments” and as politician say about our today circumstances, “we must seize the moment.” Why they use that phrase is interesting, they want to seize our power of a possible “unity” as Black people for their goal of reelection.

This time is to vote as a “teachable moment” in November. Black power and white power can emerge if each can rid themselves of fear and collectively unite out of love. This is the time for “teachable moments,” and it is not going to be easy. Four hundred years of “mis-education” has had its impact upon the psyche of persons in this country. It is based upon the fact that “we love to fear and fear to love.” Our past few weeks of protests did show some “teachable moments” of Black and white power together.

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