When she was a small girl, Amanda hid a ticking clock in an old rotten tree trunk. It drove woodpeckers crazy. Ignoring tasty bugs all around them, they just about beat their brains out to get at the clock. Years later, Amanda used the woodpecker experiment as a model for understanding Capitalism, Communism, Christianity and all other systems that traffic in future rewards rather than in present realities.

--Tom Robbins "Another Roadside Attraction"

Gangsta' Lit:

Black Revolutionaries Without A Revolution

by James Cook

African-Americans have come a long way since we began to sing our songs of freedom. We've moved forward in this generation so triumphantly that every African in America and his mother claims to possess the master plan for black liberation. If it's not Louie, its Jesse. If it's not Jesse, it's Winnie (well maybe not anymore). If it's not Winnie, it's Speech. If it's not Speech, it's some African-know-it-all-in America. If it's not some it's some African-know-it-all-in America, then it's some punk-ass bitch on talk show and I don't wanna hear it! In most cases, whoever it is, defines the struggle according to some self-righteous, egotistical, hypocritical criteria. They come in all shapes, sizes, genders and degrees of sanctimony. Imprisoned by their own ideas and some whack-ass self-righteous dogma, they never cease to amaze me with plans for a revolution that cannot revolve, evolve, or resolve. It's always more of the same old shit: a constant state of inertia. So what's up with Black Revolutionaries Without A Revolution? They can try to fake the front but we all know what time it is. These motherfuckers are no different than MTV Feminists, Sensitive Pony-Tail Men, Beatnicks Without Rhythm, Republicans, Democrats, Rave-era Anarchists, Unhip Hippies, Nazi Skins, SHARP Skinz, Low Riding Eses and Pour La Raza Mexicanz, Old G's, New G's, The Cat In the Hat, Sup' Lovely Sista, Oh Baby Goddamn, Sam-I-Am's Smokin' Green Eggs and Ham........and so on to infinity.

Three Percent Revolutionaries

Three Percent Revolutionaries are down with the Islamic approach to black liberation. They jock The Five Percent Nation as their primary source of religious creed. For black folks in denial and everyone else, The Five Percent Nation is a group of Harlem youths who've organized an alliance with The Nation of Islam. Hip-hop, graffiti and other art forms are the means by which they communicate the spiritual message of Islam and black solidarity. Unfortunately, Five Percent Nation ideologies only contribute to one percent of the Three Percent mind-set. The other two percent comes from Oprah, Rolanda, and Montel.

Between Holy Pilgrimages, three times daily, to the church of St. Ides, the Koran, Egg McMuffins, and blonde chicks that wear Air Jordans and starter jackets, it's difficult to maintain the type of devotion and discipline that being Muslim demands. Three Percenters kick a slightly modified, government subsidized version of Islam which requires only a fanatical devotion to a no-pork diet. In the name of Allah, Three Percenters feel it is their right to make fucked-up and obnoxious remarks to young white coeds seated nearby on crowded city buses. In the name of Asalaam Aleikum, they preach, the same anti-miscegenation rhetoric that the KKK preaches, to interracial couples minding their own business and enjoying flame-broiled burgers at Burger King. The Three Percenter, who disrupts a four-star drinking establishment with a five-star display of public drunkenness, feels that he should be exempt from arrest. After all, the so-called Negro has been oppressed and under arrest by the white man for four centuries.

Buckwheat Revolutionaries

The same social energies that produced hippies in white American counter-cultures are responsible for producing Buckwheat Revolutionaries in African America. These dreadlocked or Stevie-Wonder-Style Braids motherfuckers specialize in waxing poetic about African heritage and culture. Their approach to black consciousness is strictly organic (I don't know what this means but it seems like Dreadlocks make black people do some dumb shit.) Buckwheat Revolutionaries repeat urgent requests for Afro-Americans to adopt African values, traditions, clothing, and grow dreadlocks. They believe that celebrating Kawanza, wearing Kente cloth, and bumpin' Arrested Development will prepare black people for the Exodus -- the movement of Jah people throughout the African Diaspora -- back to the motherland, Africa.

Buckwheat Revolutionaries are strict vegetarians who only eat chicken and fish. Edibles that contain lard, chicken broth, and other types of animal preservatives are politely refused while pork is definitely out of the question. Thus, when the Holistic Buckwheat Revolutionary is not feasting on a soft taco (with beans and no meat) from Taco Bell or applying another coat of horsey sauce to a Philly Steak and Cheese from Arby's, he is at the co-op in search of nuts, bean pies, tofu pita sandwiches, organic fruit, celery sticks, and low-fat Doritos.

Buckwheat Revolutionaries are notorious for their competent philosophical skills. Nobody can touch their ability to extract the symbolical and intellectual connection to eurocentric oppression, of all things dark from anything under the sun. Check out just about any street corner or curbside, where Dreadlocked Revolutionaries gather to sell incense and drop serious knowledge. You can always hear the brothas saying some shit like: "Peep this out, Africans! Take any number of simple household objects like pen and paper. Before the ink is applied, your average piece of blank white paper has an infinite number of significant uses. This piece of paper represents the whiteman in America. The black ink pen, on the other hand, represents the black man in America. It relies on the white paper in order to serve a useful purpose. You see how the white power structure conspiratorially conspires to create situations that sublimely suggest the power of the white power structure. It's the same thing for a black street without white lines. Traffic on a black street is chaotic, confused, and incomplete. Until the white lines are added, the misguided flow of traffic is self-destructive and lethal. See where we at black man?...."

I once had the pleasure of spending the greater part of a day with an Afro-American guru on African culture. After about six hours of heavy philosophical lecturing in African-American patios, four cups of Java, a lemon croissant, and an espresso, he proceeded to give me a lesson on how to become as African as humanly possible. I can't even front because I was thoroughly convinced that I too could become one bad-ass black-African-Kunta-Kinte motherfucker. The only problem that I could foresee was that it would cost some serious money to get my fist on a comb. Daily trips to the co-op, new congas, an imported wardrobe from Philly, and Lenny Kravitz CDs, would leave me assed-out and broke on the real. Then out of curiosity, I asked the brotha about his top-ten list of African countries and their major cities. Something strange happened. A white cat must have had his tongue because a long moment of silence passed between us. The next thing I knew, class had been dismissed.

The Yo My Nigga Wassup' Revolutionary

The Yo My Nigga Wassup' Revolutionary is down for the cause because he listens to hip-hop, kicks extra-large almost down to his knees, wears British Knights hi-tops, owns a beeper, and busts the free-style lyrics with a forty-ounce mic. For the Yo My Nigga Revolutionary, if the mind-set can be color-coordinated with the clothes, then why not? In most cases, however, the Yo Yo Revolutionary cannot decide if he wants to be a gangsta and a revolutionary or a High-Rollin'-Motha-Fuckin'-Pimp-Ass-Player Revolutionary.

The Yo Yo Gangsta Revolutionaries is the perfect examples of wasted potential -- "niggas usin' minds wrong when niggas could be great." He lives by the law of the nine millimeter and the Ford Pinto with a cella' phone. In the name of black people, the "G-Thang" can make the "ends" meet. You just have to be dat' nigga with the biggest nuts and the ability move that rock and bust caps in people's asses. However, the Yo Waz' Up Nigga Revolutionary soon realizes that preaching revolution while behind bars is useless. Possessing illegal substances with the intent to traffic may be necessary for some brothas to survive. But committing murder with a deadly weapon is all about some dumb shit. In this case, the only chance for the Yo Yo Gansta Revolutionary to be down for the revolution is a food fight in the cafeteria or a prison riot.

Most Yo Yo Nigga Revolutionaries become Yo Yo Wassup'-Playboy-High Roller-Mackin'-Ass-Chronic-Smokin'-Pimp-Daddy-Straight Up-Front-Like-A-Gangster Revolutionaries. The High Roller-Straight-Up-Player image allows you to take a stand for black liberation at your own convenience. Whenever the Forty-Drinkin'-Playboy-High Roller needs a few extra dollars or the girl that he has been "tryin' to push up on" refuses to give it up, his line is, "C'mon, help a brotha ooout! What a black man got to do to get some respect out this' motha-fucka'? " You hear the same noise, when he is forcibly removed from Kentucky Fried Chicken after starting a fight with the cashier for giving him "Extra Crispy" instead of "Original Recipe. "A black man can't go nowhere in this city without white people callin' the cops. Hey, wait! I wanna speak to my lawyer! Ah see, wassup with the handcuffs. Things ain't changed a bit since the 1950's..Y'all treatin' me like we South Africa....this ain't no South Africa. Don't I get a phone call? Nigga, what the fuck you lookin' at! Ay yo! Mr. officer, Come back..I wanna speak to my lawyer!...Ay Yo Wasssup!!?"

Who is James Cook?