[Pnews] Pennsylvania - Censorship behind the walls
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Feb 1 12:32:50 EST 2014
Censorship behind the walls
February 1, 2014
/*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
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
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
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
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
to learn how Saleem is fighting the censorship./
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the PPnews