The Parasitical Class of Black Misleaders

Danny Haiphong 

The Black political class, what BAR deems the Black misleadership class, was nurtured in the bowels of white capital to provide an outlet for Black politics after the state-sanctioned destruction of the Black liberation movement in the late 1970s. While Jews and other European American workers have historically leaned on whiteness to relieve economic insecurity in the US, Black Americans have never possessed such an anchor. Class divisions within the Black polity have always been marked by varying levels of poverty, imbuing a state of cognitive dissonance described by E. Franklin Frazier’s study of the Black bourgeoisie. This changed in the 1970s when a select few Black Americans were given access to varying forms of political power, giving more credence to the notion of upward mobility within US capitalist society.

However, the cognitive dissonance within the Black political class only worsened as a result. Increased access to the halls of political power has come at the expense of the Black economic condition. It has required Black people themselves to supervise the affairs of white capital. White capital hoped that Black politicians would become the faces of police repression, war, and barbaric capitalist exploitation. And this is exactly what happened. The ascendancy of Black police commissioners and mayors in majority Black cities like Philadelphia and Detroit has brought with it even more severe enforcement of police brutality and privatization on the Black masses broadly.


  1. This is interesting. I have to read it in full later. I am snowed under w/ reading/writing. (Some of it from the Nomad). I’m bookmarking it now.

    In the meantime now I am wondering if any of your politics seeped into your teaching university art courses. (I’m not w/ the govt… I promise… at least I don’t think I am… You should put ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ on your future film list).

    1. My career was too brief for that. Plus it was before the info I now have thanks to the Internet. However, the racism was rampant. I made myself a Tshirt on one occasion to wear to campus that said in big letters “I did not kill no deputy”. Because almost everybody, staff and students alike, treated me as if I had.

      1. a) Did you live in the Wild West? Or in a Bob Marley song? I guess we have ‘deputies’ here in the Northeast… somewhere… State police?

        b) The rest of the story please.

      2. thats the story. it was my way of saying to the people who treated me like a criminal that i wasnt. ‘you might believe ive committed a crime, but i havent; i did not shoot no deputy’

      3. Great minds think alike. That & you just ruined my joke. I was going to answer asking you ‘But more importantly: Did you shoot the sheriff?’ However: I had to look up how to spell ‘Sheriff’; which I had initially spelled w/two ‘r’s & one ‘f’ & in the meantime you beat me to the chase.

        Eric Clapton ruined that song & then of course that became the more popular version for the masses & then he had that meltdown on stage where he began screaming at the audience about “wogs”. Or rather “Wogs!!!”. I love how British people lumped Black Anglo-Africans & Africans & Arabs & East Indians & Pakistani people into the same term (after a jet black googly-eye doll many people are still in love with in England & other British countries). It’s so inclusive! Why discriminate!

      4. and i didnt shoot the sheriff either. in fact, i didnt shoot nobody.

      5. “kill”. Actually it said “I did not SHOOT no deputy”. ‘Kill’ sort of skews the Marley reference.

  2. I am still wondering how they treated you like a criminal. But I understand if you don’t want to describe that to the whole world. (Hello planet!).

    When I have to talk to various people w/ the town here some of the ultra-White people get what I call ‘saucer eyes’ when they see me. It’s weird. It’s like that half-second thing! Then their eyes go back to normal. I feel like I live in a King Features cartoon. (If you don’t mind I may archive some of these descriptions of my various woes in this nation in the Arab American museum).

    Listen to this one. I live above shops in these lofts made into apartments. An inspector was supposed to come by but she didn’t show. (I have an absentee landlord that doesn’t make repairs). So when I told the town she didn’t show. This woman told them it was because she was afraid of me because I have “wild hair”. Hahaha. Are we in a cartoon? My hair is sort of wavy. Sorry I plead Arab for that. She was Mexican American & had super straight hair. Hahaha. I told them: “Listen to me; there is something really strange about this woman; I believe she’s a sociopath.” Of course they ignored me. She then stole $30k from the town. Thirty THOUSAND dollars. $30,000… & zero cents.

    Hahahahaha. It is EXACTLY what we were saying about the “subtext” (& thanks for that word) in the original ‘Night of the Living Dead’ film. I’m tired of being treated like dross whilst watching all sorts of people who fit the accepted respectability model in looks (= paler) behave horrifically. Thirty Thousand… but you know my hair is not stick straight…

    1. Zoe. You bring back bitter memories. I have a long list of racial abuse at that university. The most grievous. On one occasion my immediate supervisor called me a boy.

      I had no computer at the time and was using the one in the shared office to write my dissertation which I carried around in those old disks. You remember those?. I came in one morning and put my disk in and some strange screen popped up. I couldnt read it all as it flashed but at the end it said “Divide by zero” and my disk was infected and my dissertation irretrievable. I lost my diss to this apparent sabotage. That’s the primary reason I am not Doctor Nomad right now.

      1. O_O This is a horrifying nightmarish story. I mean in the very sad true sense where you have nightmares over some trauma years later. I’m sorry this happened to you.

        Waking up realising you just dreamt about some traumatic event again. And/or those school anxiety dreams. I had one last night where I was back in our old house & was missing my first classes. I took a lot of abuse from various teachers for having undiagnosed math learning disability… for having undiagnosed absence seizures (looks like staring briefly or not paying attention)… & in gym (w/ two steel rods in my back for earlier in childhood spine surgery)… etc. Finally I just stopped going to those particular classes & got Ds & Fs in them. Ang got my mother to speak to the principal to demand I be exempt from taking Gym. I was a really confident person. Arabs grow up in an honour culture so we are horrible at taking dross from people. (That’s why so many people became self-employed. Even if they just began w/ a cart on the street. Or the stereotypical cab driver!). I would rather quit & starve. So I just refused to take Gym & be abused there.

        I was only able to graduate high school because our school was set up like a university w/ some electives allowed. And it was in what was an iconic New England artists/writers/theatre town near the City. So the school had lots of art classes in a separate building. And due to the nature of the town the art classes were graded vs. pass/fail (like in other high schools). So I basically lived in that art building & along w/ writing/English classes which I also loved & the teachers me — I was just able to graduate (barely made it!) w/ a C- average. If I had not passed I would have just dropped out.

        As a twenty year old in the City I met a lot of people my age like me. All the street artists & musicians my age who could not go to/dropped out of school. Many who became household names — but back then were really young grafitti artists/musicians/actors. There are other avenues beside university art school!

        I’m assuming this happened to you in the 70s/80s because of the discs.

        Which actually I never used or saw before. I probably still haven’t seen those. I didn’t use a computer until 1999 — at a local library. And didn’t really start using one until 2005; when it by then had a lot of really interesting art projects online & Youtube etc.

        I never had jobs where I needed one. I did not get an academic degree or even a bfa (when I took studio courses at night at SVA) or Parson’s (which I left because it wasn’t what I expected as far as the level of courses as I was already working as a goldsmith then). I went to an atelier school for goldsmiths. No computers. No academics. And all my friends were musicians artists… either from downtown NYC or uptown graffiti artists & musicians (Hip Hop but prior to that word for the late first part of the 80s). None of us even had television!

        So no I never saw one of those discs! Don’t even know what they look like! My parents are quite older than me & never had computers. (As described my dad just yelled at DJs for the length of their song intros etc. for a living!). My sibling that I had the most contact w/ — as he also lived in the City — was a musician & modelmaker. (Commercial NYC model shops that make props for commercials & ads & shop display & architects & film). He had not gone to school either. I spent my time behind an acetylene torch vs. a computer.

        I would ask you more. Like who you think was the evil culprit. What school was it. Where was this etc. But we are online & more importantly I don’t want to bring up these “bitter memories” as you said. Sorry for that.

        If you feel like it sometime I’d love to know what the dissertation ‘paper’ was about. You are beyond PhD level! Schools can be limiting as much as illuminating. At least for art; vs. the STEM studies/careers.

        You should be Dr. The Nomad but I don’t want to put salt in the wound; so you shall remain The Nomad.

        Herman Melville — who may be my favourite writer — was not recognised for Moby Dick (it did horribly despite its brilliance — inc. the best opening run on sentence ever written) or his other writing; stopped writing & spent the rest of his life as a customs clerk in NYC. When he passed on this note was found on his desk; which I now live by & use it to help me remember to keep trying to be creative despite how difficult my life has been:

        ‘Keep true to the dreams of thy youth’

      2. Zoe. I could tell some interesting stories specific to my location. It would pretty much erase whatever bit of anonymity I have. Maybe I will.

        I was able to get some parts of the lost diss onto my files. Scanning the paper docs. But for some reason I have been unable to do that in my recent attempts for other segments.

        Here is part of the lost dissertation.
        plus this

      3. Thanks for your links. I’ll read them in a bit.

        Do you think they did what they did (erased your work) because of what you’d written? Did they know the content? (They had access or you spoke of it?). Sorry if my questions don’t make sense before I have read your links. I’m glad you could save some of it. Do you know who did it? Without giving away anonymity: did you leave there then? Or did you stay on.

        WNYC podcast (& on air) tonight of Studio360 ‘Native Son/Richard Wright’ episode. Interviews & stories about the book & author. I heard this podcast episode before — it’s really good! You can also access it on the Studio360 website directly. I have an early printing of the book! (Found in a local book fair a few years ago).

      4. i have no idea. Shared office with several other people. Some of them not so friendly. The racism on campus in general was ubiquitous. Hence my i did not shoot no deputy shirt.

        good find on native son

      5. I heard that people come from far & wide (U.S.) to our book sales here. (Vulture antique dealers that mark things up 500 x or more… buy a book for $1 & sell it for $500).

        The early edition ‘Native Son’ (first publ yr – second printing? I forget) was a few dollars or less. It’s not worth much monetarily though because it has no jacket. It’s worth a lot otherwise though. So I’ll give it to a local high school or university etc. I live a stones throw from a city w/ a lot of kids in Black AA studies courses & I’m also near New Haven (Yale etc.) & there are also two universities in the town I’m in now that of course have those. (Pun… see that? ‘course’!).

        I was going to have a T made that said ‘Grandchild of Syrian immigrants’ (or ‘Grandaughter…’)… yet to have made… or just ‘ARAB’ to laugh watching people go saucer eyed O_O

      6. Do you think they did what they did (erased your work) because of what you’d written?

        no. they could not have read it. the only person that read it was a trusted full professor. one of my former teachers.

  3. PS to The Nomad

    Herman Melville wrote POC heroes in Moby Dick also! ( ~> the other thread).

    & film does not do justice to the brilliant writing in the book. You need book posts also!

  4. Re. my ’20 July 4.23′ comment here:

    long sleeve T shirts only for me! Modest/modern dressing only for me

  5. Such a great point a scholar just made in this Studio360 American Icons/’Native Son’/Richard Wright podcast episode:

    Uncle Tom’s Cabin > Uncle Tom > Bigger Thomas > Bigger = bigger than Tom stereotype

    That Richard Wright attempted created something “bigger” than an “Uncle Tom” stereotype w/ this character: hence this name.

    Wow his daughter is just describing something that happened when they lived in Greenwich Village which caused him to be so furious that he left.

    I need to learn how to link things & paste URLs into my phone & then maybe I can copy the link here.

  6. It was so great to hear Richard Wright’s voice in that also! (In an interview from Paris… He was the first Black AA writer to go there before Baldwin & Ellison etc.). Sort of a hybrid of different accents (NYC/Greenwich Village? French?) & sort of 1930s-ish.

    There was criticism of the novel & character (as stereotype) also; inc. from Ralph Ellison (for it’s lack of hope: his review read here — in this podcast — by an actor) & contemporary Black writers (re. both stereotype & hopelessness — interviewed in this). Also someone wrote a book on how this novel influenced Hip Hop (also interviewed in this).

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