STOP BLAMING WHITES: NOBODY OWES BLACKS ANYTHING
BY DR. CHIKA ONYEANI
TOPIC: TRUTH, HONESTY AND FRANKNESS
President Earl Richardson, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, brothers and
sisters. I feel especially honored to be here today, in this great
institution. I must thank Dean Hollis, for inviting me to come here
today. In fact, the last time I was in Baltimore was at the Mid-Atlantic Writers Association
conference, and I had been invited by Prof. Grace Coffey to speak
about my book, CAPITATLIST NIGGER: The Road to Success - A Spider Web Doctrine. My African
sister, Yahne Sangarey, a member of the African Sun Times staff as well as
Curator, the African Museum in Baltimore here, had arranged for me to
participate in the "Global African Writers: The Ties that Bind" of the United Nations
African Project. The book was well received, and when Dean Hollis
offered to bring me here to speak with you, I wasn't sure that his colleagues would have the
courage to agree with his selection of an author of such a controversial book
and viewpoint. The fact that I am here today is a testimony to the courage and
progressive thinking of the members of this institution. I thank you all and
especially Dean Hollis for his bold initiative.
A lot of times when most of us present our polished resume, we forget to
mention the humble environment where we come from. Of course, I am
no exception. But I would be remiss if I didn't tell you a little bit about myself other
than what is in my resum. I come from Ohafia, a warrior group of the Igbo
national group in Nigeria. It is in a very remote area of the
country. When I was growing up, we attended school in make shift mud and hut houses. Then, as it is still now today, we didn't have running water, and now the electricity we
have today hardly works one day in a month. For most of us, books
were a luxury , but when we got hold of one, we made sure that we knew what was in it to
pass our exams and move to the next class. In fact, I am exceptionally lucky
because I was one of those who hardly had books, even exercise books, what you
call notebooks here, not due to my parents not providing the money for them,
but due to my uncle's partiality to my cousin who started school with me.
Needless to say my cousin was three classes behind me when we finished, and
even then I had set a goal of becoming somebody. I gave you that very short
resume just to say that no matter wherever you come from or from whatever
circumstances, you can achieve whatever goal you set your mind on.
And looking at you all, I know you are all very special and goal oriented, otherwise you would
not be sitting where you are now.Thousands of others have abandoned their
goals even before they started. I applaud you all.
My topic today is the Black Race - it is not about Africans from the
continent, or Africans in the Diaspora, or African West Indians, but
about the Black Race. My discussion is about truth, it is about honesty and frankness. It is
about no more lies, no more hiding the truth, and no more blaming others for
what is happening to the Black Race. It is about accepting responsibility for
our actions; it is about playing the same games that others are playing and
becoming very successful.
It is about being intelligent on how we make decisions where to spend our
hard earned money. It is about no more playing the blame game, and the
victim-mentality game. In this 21st century, we have to accept the truth of our
situation, and nothing but the truth, so help us God. There is nobody
more qualified to debate the state of the Black Race versus others, other than you and I. We
cannot, as usual, in our lackadaisical manner abandon this debate to others
with better access to the media.
In Africa, we have a saying that "when a child grows up, and he is able to
wash his hands, he should sit at the same table and eat with his
elders." The Bl ack Race has grown up, we have washed our hands, but the question is why are
we not sitting at the same table to eat with our elders, in this case, why are
we not sitting at the same table with other races to eat from the same table,
why are we still eating from the floor?
Again, we have another saying in Africa that "you don't need a mirror to look
at what you are wearing on your wrist." You see, you can look at your wrist
and see clearly what you are wearing. You don't need a mirror to tell you what
time it is or to know what kind of jewelry you are wearing. But
unfortunately, we as a people, the Black race, prefer to look at what
we are wearing on our wrist with a mirror. Just try it, and you will see why we have a very
distorted image of our situation.
We are afraid of looking at the truth. We prefer the fuzzy image. We know
the truth, but we don't want to talk about it. Yes, we say to ourselves, we
cannot wash our dirty linen in the public; we cannot talk about the
truth of our situation, because white people are going to seize that as a weapon against us.
We believe that they will say, you see even the Blacks themselves are saying
what we have been saying all along. "They are lazy, they are non-productive,
they can't govern themselves, they are unruly, etc. etc." Well, let me tell
you the facts of life. That era of our not looking at the truth in the face is
dead, and gone.
This is the 21st century, if we are to believe what all the Y2K experts told
us; and I am happy that there is a genre of Blacks all over the world who now
believe that we, just like the Jews and others, must begin to wash our
so-called dirty linen in the public. Again, where I come from, there is another
saying that "you don't chase after a mouse when your house is on
fire." Just take a second to digest that statement. Because you know what would happen if you
started chasing after the mouse when the house is on fire. You will perish and
the mouse would have escaped. I am telling you that the Black Race is like an
inferno, we shouldn't be chasing after a mouse. What we need is water, no,
we need a whole ocean, to put out the inferno.
The word ruthless is regarded as a negative, when used to describe somebody's
action. But to me, that word ruthless is a very positive word. And that is
why I decided to be ruthlessly frank about the Black Race in my book,
Capitalist Nigger: The Road to Success. No more hiding what people
would say about us.
Their opinion is irrelevant and meaningless. Our situation is critical and we
need drastic action if we are to begin to discover and cure the seemingly
insurmountable virus devouring our whole organs of life. The first bitter truth
we have to accept, as I charged in my book, is that the Black Race, as now
constituted and though as endowed as the others, is a non-productive race. We
have to accept the fact that the Black Race, as constituted, basically is a
consumer race, depending on other communities for our culture, our
language, our feeding and our clothing.
And despite our abundance of natural resources, we are economic slaves
because we lack the "killer-instinct and devil-may-care attitude" of
the Caucasian and the "spider web economic mentality" of the Asian. The Black Race is the
most hospitable race of people I have ever seen. We will not have
any difficulty throwing out our own brothers or sisters just to accommodate any other race,
other than our own. We will rather be poor, let our guests be comfortable.
But let me be totally sincere with you here. I am tired of a people who have
one mind set, complain and whine about what others do to us. We complain and
complain and whine and whine ad nauseam about what others have done to us and
are still doing to us. We think the world owes us something. I am sorry to
say that we are delusional. Nobody owes us a thing. Nobody is willing
to give up what they have, on the excuse that we want it. If you want something you have
to go out and get it. You cannot continue to beg for manna to fall from
heaven, my brothers and sisters. You know what, unfortunately manna
never falls from heaven. Let me tell you this.
Most African countries have been independent for more than 40 years. The
promise of independence is yet to be fulfilled and we had thought that Manna
would fall from heaven. But rather than manna falling from heaven,
what we have in Africa are wars, famine, disease, military dictatorships, human rights
abuses, despotic leaders who prefer to loot the peoples' treasuries
for their own personal aggrandizement, leaders who prefer to force the adulation of the
masses with the barrels of a gun rather than with the provision of
simple amenities to the people - like good roads, health care facilities, good environment for
learning and opportunities for employment.
My brothers and sisters, I feel sad letting you know that Africa is worse off
today than when the colonial masters left. Everything we use in Africa is
imported. Do you know that we even still import candles from Taiwan? Yet 40
years after independence, we still blame our colonial masters for
everything that happens in Africa today. Our leaders are not men enough to accept
responsibility for the abject poverty of our people. We accuse
Europeans of plundering and pillaging the natural resources of Africa. But I ask you, tell me, who are inviting them to do this, are they not our own people?
I am sure you have all heard of the late tyrants and dictators Sani Abacha of
Nigeria and Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the
Congo. Abacha stole more than $5 billion of the impoverished
Treasury of Nigeria and took that money and deposited it in Swiss Bank accounts. Since his
death, the Swiss authorities have "found" only $1.5 billion of that
money. On his part, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire took $6 billion to the same Swiss banks.
After he died, the Swiss have told us that they have only found $7
million of that money. Tell me, which white man left Europe and took a gun to their heads
and forced them to steal $12 billion from a continent where the per capita
income is less than $500 per year? Do you know what $11 billion
could have done for the starving and disease prone children in those countries?
No, we cannot continue to accuse white people for everything happening to us.
At a certain point in time, we have to sit back and look in the mirror and
see the culprit of our misfortune. It is not the white, the red, the green,
the yellow or any other color. We are responsible for what is happening to us
As Capitalist Nigger: The Road to Success has charged, the Black Race is
drowning in the blame and victim-mentality game. We have three
things we now wear as body armor - slavery, colonialism and racism. We use these as excuses
for our failures. We blame all our failures on these three factors. In Africa,
we blame everything on colonialism and racism. In the Western world, especially
here in America, we blame everything on slavery and racism. We have allowed
these three factors to envelope us as a people. They are attached to us, as
the bee is attached to the honey.
When African leaders squander the peoples' money in buying up palaces in
Europe, rather than building infrastructure in their respective
countries, and the masses revolt, they blame the former colonial masters. When in this country,
we allow others to come into our neighborhoods and buy up our businesses
because we are stupid enough not to patronize our own people, we blame it on
racism forgetting that those who came into our neighborhood started with almost
nothing. But through our generosity and patronage, became rich and then turn
around to insult and disrespect us.
It is your fault, and it is mine as well. As I said in my book, we are not
even intelligent consumers, why, because we believe that the more we are
insulted and disrespected, the more respectable the people doing the
insulting, and the more we should patronize them.
Let me give you two examples here. We as a people spend approximately $40
million a day eating Chinese food. That is $40 million a day, and
that comes to about $15 billion a year. That's what we give to a community that disrespects
and insults us, and treats us like dogs. In most of our communities where
there are Chinese restaurants, they erect these barriers between themselves and
us, and pass our purchases through a hole as if they are passing food to a
savage dog. Yes, we all love Chinese food - it is also cheap; but is it better
to be investing $15 billion a year in a community which treats you like a dog?
In economic terms, using the economic multiplier effect, we are actually
investing $120 billion a year into the Chinese community, and inversely taking
that much money out of own community. No wonder their children go to the best
schools, and they live in the best neighborhoods because we cannot curb our
taste and our laziness to cook for ourselves. Listen, I am not
advocating that we should boycott Chinese food, but I am saying there should be a tit for tat.
There should be reciprocity. And for all the billions we give to the Chinese
community, they don't even employ one Black person in their establishments. I
ask you, is that an intelligent way to spend our hard earned money from the
menial jobs that are left for us? I believe not.
As I said earlier the more we are insulted, the more we gravitate and
patronize the people doing the insulting to us. Let's take the Japanese for
instance. Two of their Prime Ministers, at different times, within a
few years apart, publicly stated that Blacks are inferior. Mind you, the Prime Minister is
like the President of the United States, the leader of the Japanese people.
Just imagine, if these leaders said that publicly, what the Japanese
really think about us. Yes, true to form, we protested their calling us inferior. We
hollered, and made them make some kind of feeble apology. But what do we do in
retaliation for the Japanese insulting us? We reward them with purchasing $80
billion worth of their goods a year.
But while we are happily dishing out the little we don't have, the Asians
have perfected what I call the Spider Web Economic Doctrine, which is a highly
effective system of achieving economic power. Of course, I am sure you all know
what a Spider does? When it spins its yarns, any fly that tries to enter its
web is caught and never able to escape.
It is the same thing that happens in the Asian community. So, in my Spider
Web Economic Doctrine, when a dollar enters a community, it does not
escape from that community. It circulates within that community, and that is where truly
what economists call the "multiplier effect" is classically practiced.
Asians, especially Indians from India, are the greatest practitioners
of the Spider Web Economic Doctrine. When a dollar comes into their community, it doesn't
leave it. It circulates within their community, because the Indians believe in
patronizing one another. They don't eat other peoples' food. They eat theirs.
Their women hardly wear anything other than clothes made in India, and even
the suits their men wear are made in India. The Indian, and other Asians, will
travel hundreds of miles to patronize one another.
Let me tell you what this has done for the Indian community in America. When
they arrived in New York, long after continental Africans, they bought one
newsstand in New York City, and eventually took over all the major
newsstands in the City, including Grand Central, Penn Station and Ports Authority stations.
You have to pay them $3,000 just to get your newspaper into those locations.
From this, the Indians set their eyes on the taxi and limousine industry of the
City. They took over 90% of the medallions, and now control most of the taxi
and limousine services in the City.
Then from there, they set their eyes on the motel business. As has been
expansively written by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal,
the Washington Post, Newsweek, Forbes, Fortune Magazines, plus a plethora of television
network newscasts, the Indians control over 85% of the motel business
According to the same sources, they are now poised to take over most major five
star hotels. In Silicon Valley, as has been well chronicled, Indians control
more than 750 high tech companies in the Valley, with the result that several
Indians are now billionaires. And are using their wealth to create incubators
in universities throughout India and Pakistan to train future leaders in the
high-tech age, for even now more than 50% of the professional visas awarded by
the United States each year are given to Indians. India, which got its
independence barely nine years before African countries, possesses
nuclear power and exports a great deal to Africa.
The Spider Web Economic Mentality of the Asians have brought them enormous
wealth, respect, and insulated them from the idiotic vagaries of the white man.
It is the only economic doctrine I believe that is capable of rescuing us out
of the abyss of our present economic doldrums. Unfortunately, you and I, as a
people, have always believed that whatever a Black man produces must be
inferior. It is ingrained in us. We may not be conscious of it, but
we believe it nevertheless. For example, if we were to have two people, one black and one
white, open a store offering the same quality of goods and service.
We will not patronize the black store; rather we would go to the white store, because we
believe it is offering a superior product and service just because of the
color of their skin.
You can't pretend you don't do it. You do it, and I do it. It is even
reflected in how we see our professionals. Just go to doctors'
offices. When you go to a Black doctor's office. All you see are black faces. But, on the other
hand, go to a white doctor's office, and what do you see but black faces more
numerous than even white faces. The Black race must abandon its current path
to oblivion and total annihilation, its current practice of wearing its success
on its sleeves. As I said earlier, you don't chase after a mouse when your
house is on fire. We prefer to run before we walk, and prefer the best things
in life when we hardly have a penny in our bank accounts. We prefer the Lexus,
the Mercedes Benz, buying a $300 pair of snickers for our grade school
children, when we haven't put one dollar in their education fund.
Rather than provide simple amenities to the people, African leaders prefer to
buy palaces in Europe, spend $10,000 a night at hotels around the world, and
ride in luxurious limousines. Unfortunately, Africa owes the world more than
$375 billion, and there is no place in Africa you could point to as evidence of
that money being used. That $375 billion translates to $5000 to pay back for
every African in a continent where the per capita income is less than $500.
In fact, you have more Mercedes Benzes in Africa than in Germany itself.
My brothers and sisters, my message to you today is that I want the younger
generation of the Black Race to understand that they cannot carry the same
baggage the older generation has carried for so long: the notion that somebody
owes us something.
Well, let me be ruthlessly frank with you, my friends, nobody owes you
anything. Don't carry our baggage of whining, complaining and
begging. Nobody is willing to give up what they have. This world is about survival of the
fittest. If you want something you have got to get up and get it. We
must develop the same Spider Web Economic Mentality of the Asians, and the killer-instinct
and devil-may-care attitude of the Caucasian.
As I rightly observed in my book, we are as endowed as any other race of
people. We have to believe in ourselves. We have to believe in solving our
problems ourselves. We cannot continue to depend on others to do
everything for us. We have to become intelligent consumers; we need to become a productive
race. We must become economic warriors. As the general who led his
men into enemy territory did, we must destroy the transportation that brought us into the
enemy's territory. We must fight our way to victory or perish.
Let me honestly say this to you, my brothers and sisters: self-preservation
is not a sin. Look at the person next to you. We must think of ourselves as
superior individuals. There is nothing inferior about you or me. We must
adopt the Spider Web Economic Mentality: we must trap the dollars
that come into our community so that they could circulate within us.
As I charged in my book, if you and I were to be charged to the court of
public opinion, we would all be shot for the serious economic crimes we have
committed against the Black Race. We must atone for our sins.
Therefore, when you leave here today, resolve to buy black - it is a dynamic virtue.
We must stop wallowing in the feaces of slavery, colonialism and racism. For
me, the stench is too much, and I am getting out. I hope you join me in
getting out and breathing in the fresh air of ruthless honesty,
truth, freedom and the stupendous economic prosperity before us.
My advice to you is this: don't buy Capitalist Nigger: The Road to Success,
if you are not willing to face the truth. It is a bitter brew to swallow, but
it is painfully uplifting.
Once again, I thank this great institution for asking me to speak on this
great occasion. I have been highly honored and humbled.
KEYNOTE SPEECH BY DR. CHIKA ONYEANI AT THE MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY'S BILL OF
RIGHTS/TRANSAFRICA CONVOCATION THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2000, 11: 00 A.M.
CARL MURPHY FINE ARTS AUDITORIUM