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Fight censorship behind the prison walls!

 
On October 18, 2013 the Central Office of the Pennsylva­nia Department of Corrections upheld the censorship of the book “10 Lessons: An Introduc­tion to Black History” by Mba Mbulu and refused to give me the book because they alleged it contained “racially inflamma­tory material and/or writings that advocate violence against the government or any of its fa­cilities.”
 
Ironically, the main pages and chapter identified in the book that contained the prohib­ited material outlined Cheikh Anta Diop’s “Two Cradle Theo­ry” that Chairman Omali Yeshi­tela elaborated on as the histor­ical basis of the African nation state in his Political Report to the Sixth Congress of the Afri­can People’s Socialist Party.
 
The “Two Cradle Theory” discusses how the different en­vironmental factors in Europe and African contributed to an aggressive culture in Europe and a communal and tranquil (though not passive) culture in Africa and how these cultures shaped each continent’s institu­tions and society.
 
I can understand that it must be disturbing to the Depart­ment of Correction’s Central Office to learn how institutions in Europe—and by extension, the United States—function on an ideological posture rooted in white supremacy, for in the United States the philosophi­cal foundation of the modern prison system owes its origins to the philosophical foundation of plantation slavery.
 
The much-celebrated 13th Amendment to the U.S. Con­stitution merely eliminated one class of slavery (chattel) while legitimizing another class of slavery (penal):
 
“Section 1: Neither slav­ery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their ju­risdiction.”
 
It is for this very reason that a book about real black his­tory would be censored by the Pennsylvania De­partment of Correc­tions and as reported in a recent issue of The Burning Spear, the Alabama Depart­ment of Corrections would eliminate a black history class that Brother Richard Mafundi Lake taught to fellow prisoners at the Donaldson Honor Unit.
 
Information or programs that teach African empower­ment are a direct threat to institutions that function from a white supremacist posture.
 
What is insult­ing to me and which should be insulting to all Africans is that the Pennsylvania De­partment of Corrections would dare call a historical analysis of our history, based on the “Two Cradle Theory,” racially inflam­matory.
 
There is nothing racially in­flammatory about African his­tory, and rather than censoring books about black history, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections should censor ev­ery book about American his­tory. If anything, it is American history that is racially inflamma­tory with its historical treatment of Africans, Native Americans and all people of color who en­tered this country/empire.
 
The very process of assimi­lation or the American ‘Melting Pot’ theory that is discussed and celebrated in American History books cannot be con­sidered anything other than in­flammatory to Africans and all people of color.
 
The process of American assimilation of racial and ethic minorities into the dominant white culture society was noth­ing less than a racial massacre, and the great ‘Melting Pot’ was a cultural genocide!
 
All one has to do is ask themselves the following ques­tion, have Africans ever used an ideology to dehumanize white people, enslave them, strip them of their culture, mur­der them in the most barbarous fashion and then refuse to offer any substantive compensation for the atrocities committed on them?
 
Has the “Two Cradle Theo­ry” been responsible for any of these crimes? Absolutely not. On the other hand, all of these crimes and atrocities and more have been committed and advo­cated under good old-fashioned “Americanism.”
 
We need to start uprooting these predatory American insti­tutions that have a grip on our minds and communities, start­ing first by censoring “Ameri­can” values from our minds and institutions.
 
The more our communities started thinking and behaving as Americans, the worse they became and the more distant we’ve grown from one another.
 
Our African ancestors sur­vived and endured centuries of slavery, not by acting and thinking like Americans, but by retaining the vestiges of African communalism and familial val­ues while fashioning our own culture of resistance and inno­vation in the Americas.
 
We must return to this for­mula.
 
We will then cease being just communities and instead become “African communities.” Then we can start uprooting the institutions and mentality that make it possible for a book about black history to be cen­sored on the grounds it contains racially inflammatory material.
 
Let us heed the word of Marcus Garvey: To see your en­emy and know him is part of the complete education of a man/ woman.”
 
Write to Comrade Robert Sal­eem Holbrook at Robert Saleem Hol­brook #BL-5140, SCI-Coal Township, 1 Kelley Drive,. Coal Township, PA 17866
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