[Pnews] Pennsylvania - Censorship behind the walls

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Feb 1 12:32:50 EST 2014


    Censorship behind the walls
    <http://sfbayview.com/2014/censorship-behind-the-walls/>

February 1, 2014
*http://sfbayview.com/2014/censorship-behind-the-walls/*

/*by Robert Saleem Holbrook*/

On Oct. 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 allege it contained "racially inflammatory material 
and/or writings that advocate violence against the government or any of 
its facilities." The main pages and chapter identified in the book that 
contained the prohibited material outlined Cheikh Anta Diop's "two 
cradle theory."

The "two cradle theory" discusses how the different environmental 
factors in Europe and Africa contributed to the creation of an 
aggressive and materialist culture in Europe and in Africa a communal 
and tranquil -- though not passive -- culture and how these cultures 
shaped each continent's institutions and society. Culture, according to 
the late African revolutionary Amilcar Cabral in "Unity and Struggle," 
was a people's fruit of history and reflects at all times the material 
and spiritual reality of a society, of the man-individual and the 
man-social being, faced with conflicts which set them against nature and 
the imperatives of life in common.

People cannot escape their culture, and the institutions upon which 
Western Civilization (Europe and United States) is propped up on are the 
product of centuries of Europe's and the United States' plunder and 
conquest of the world, in particular the people of what we now refer to 
as the Third World -- Africa, Asia, Latin America.

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 slavery -- while legitimizing another class of 
slavery, penal slavery:

"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. 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 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, for 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 and 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 ethnic 
minorities into the dominant white culture and society was nothing less 
than a racial massacre, and the great "melting pot" was cultural genocide!


      Information or programs that teach African empowerment are a
      direct threat to institutions that function from a white
      supremacist posture.

All one has to do is ask yourself 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? 
Does it advocate 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."

The prosperity and development found in the United States and Europe is 
not the result of anything superior in Western Civilization that can be 
traced back to ancient Greece or the European Renaissance, nor is the 
underdevelopment and poverty found in the Third World, in particular 
Africa and Latin America, the result of anything inferior in the history 
or culture of Africans and Indigenous peoples of the world.

The reality is the prosperity of the United States and Europe can be 
traced back to the Atlantic slave trade and the plundering of the coasts 
of West Africa for slaves, as well as the pillage of Latin America by 
Europeans and later the United States. This is what Western Civilization 
and its values and institutions rest upon.

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 
words of Marcus Garvey: "To see your enemy and know him is part of the 
complete education of a man (or woman)."


      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.

/Send our brother some love and light: Robert Saleem Holbrook , BL-5140, 
SCI Coal Township, 1 Kelley Dr., Coal Township, PA 17866, email 
salimmwasi at gmail.com <mailto:salimmwasi at gmail.com>. Visit his website, 
at www.freesalim.net <http://www.freesalim.net>. Read "Human Rights 
Coalition sues prison officials for censoring political dissent and 
human rights advocacy 
<http://sfbayview.com/2014/human-rights-coalition-sues-prison-officials-for-censoring-political-dissent-and-human-rights-advocacy/>" 
to learn how Saleem is fighting the censorship./

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/ppnews_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20140201/1b47b15c/attachment.html>


More information about the PPnews mailing list