Since Dr. Michael Afolayan's last posting, I have been debating whether or
not to reply and how to reply to his not only under-handed way of apologising
(correct me if I am mistaken), but as well as his attempted crafty manner of
trying to entrap me, through his extraneous mention of the names of individuals I
have a great deal of respect for. Again, since we agreed this is a
conversation, I have decided to say a few things.
First, I want to say that I am indebted to Dr. Afolayan for introducing
"Capitalist Nigger" to his white graduate students. I am being serious about this,
after all he knows that I am a sucker for book sales. He got me where I am
very vulnerable - so I thank you dearly, as I had also thanked a young black
woman yesterday, Tuesday. Here is what happened. When I went into New York
yesterday to do a few transactions and run back to my office in New Jersey, I
wasn't expecting to meet anybody of importance. But as soon as I got into New
York, my cell phone rang, and it was Rev. Dr. Adolph Roberts, Pastor of the
Mount Calvary Baptist Church on the phone. He said to me, "You know we have a
meeting today with Congressman Charles Rangel. Remember I told you that I
nominated you to be a member of the board of directors of the African-American
Museum to be built in New York." "I am afraid to disappoint you, I can't come," I
replied to this pastor who as soon as he saw a copy of Capitalist Nigger in a
friend's home, borrowed it, and then arranged for me to do a book signing at
his church, resulting in the sale of over 200 books. "I am in my jeans, I am
not dressed for a meeting with the caliber of people like Congressman Rangel,
and the other board members, especially at the first meeting." He insisted I
should come, even if I were in my natural clothing, he didn't care.
Anyway, to make this story short, after all the discussions had been
concluded, it was time for the Rev., as the Chairperson, to introduce everybody to the
Congressman, who I had dealt with since 1990 when he was one of the first to
receive the Nigerian Achievement Award. Since I was sitting next to him at
his left, I was the last to be introduced. Immediately after this introduction,
the young woman, who had been introduced as a lawyer, but now doing her
doctorate in divinity, opened her bag and brought out a thickly bound document.
She pushed it in front of me, opened it to where she had her bibliography, and
pointed to many areas where she had "Capitalist Nigger," and asked "is this
you?" As the meeting broke out, this very telegenic lady immediately came to
me, and told me how she had quoted a lot of "Capitalist Nigger" in the thesis
she has submitted, a copy of which she had shown me.
Of course, I had read Dr. Afolayan's post before going to New York, and when
this other episode happened, I said to myself, what a beautiful day to be so
With respect to the other issues Dr. Afolayan raised, including raising the
issue of whether or not I am familiar with Dr. John Ogbu, yes, in fact, we
profiled his work and unfortunately his death in the African Sun Times. He had
great insight and I totally agreed with his thesis, why wouldn't I? As Dr.
Afolayan rightly noted, which means he has come over to our way of thinking, truth
is bitter, and there are those of us who are not willing to compromise
telling the truth about the Black Race in this 21st century. As I have noted in
Capitalist Nigger, African-American scholars have done more to bring African
history to where it is today than African scholars themselves and I am not about
to withdraw that statement. It is the truth, it is not a generalization and it
is not inflammatory.
Let me repeat a joke that Prof. Wole Soyinka told during the 70th birthday
anniversary celebration of Prof. Chinua Achebe. "I was invited to a college to
speak to the students," he said. "As we began to talk about literature, I
asked them who's your favorite author. All of them shouted, Wole Soyinka. I
said to them, wow, thank you all. And then I asked them, which of my books have
you read, and all of them shouted, "Things Fall Apart." I am telling this
story to say, it is time that we stopped milking the fame of the Achebes, the Wole
Soyinkas, the Nguigi wa Thiong'os, etc., and begin to create the new ones,
like the Afolayans, the Agbalis, the Falolas. It is time people. It is time we
begin to duplicate the Ayitteys as experts, not only on issues pertaining to
the Black Race but on other issues and the only way to achieve that is when we
begin to document our thoughts as well as our research.
I remember speaking to my wife a few years ago. I noted that if you were a
alien coming to America, you would not know that Blacks lived in this country
if you were looking at the 'experts' being touted on the hundreds of
television/radio channels in the country, and that the only time Blacks were called upon
to give an opinion were if it were about black issues.
I wholeheartedly disagree with Dr. Afolayan that whites necessarily have to
be involved in the direction that the Black Race should proceed for us to
succeed. This is the problem we have been having, allowing whites to dictate the
manner and nature of the Black Race discussion. We are especially eager not to
say things that whites would use and say, "didn't I tell you so." At this
period in our history, what should concern us is what we think, irrespective of
what others think and say. For instance, some people are not happy at
Capitalist Nigger saying that blacks are non-productive. "Oh, what would white
people say?" Of course, what would they say? You think they would agree with you
that black people are "non-productive." Those who prefer to continue to live
the lie would want them to pat us on the back, and say "ole boy, don't listen
to this rabble-rouser, he doesn't know what he is talking about. Yes, black
people are very productive. Take it from me." What a deceit!! Why would we
want to look at this coconut and call it banana?
Capitalist Nigger also says that we should steal from white people the same
way they have been stealing from us. Why would anybody cringe with this
advice? According to Dr. Afolayan's list of all the inventions black people have
come out with, white people have stolen all of them. So what is wrong with
black people stealing from whites, the same way they have stolen from us?
Personally, I don't see anything wrong with this type of stealing. The world is made
of nations stealing - Japan from America, look where it has landed them;
China stealing from Japan and America, look at where it has landed China -
marching through Africa as an economic giant. We should stop being afraid or ashamed
of saying these things - and we shouldn't be concerned about white people's
Finally, I want to say that I would very much want to attend Prof. Falola's
event this year; however, at the same time I have been invited to be a keynote
speaker to "over 400 dynamic men and women holding key positions in the public
and private sectors on the topic of The Spider Web Doctrine .... and the
prospect of you engaging young Africans with employing the psyche necessary to
become economic warriors in the new landscape confronting us now."
I want to thank Dr. Afolayan for this continuing conversation.