Lesson 16: Propaganda
Below is a chapter from Message to the People: The Course in African Philosophy.
Propaganda means to propagate or to make known extensively some particular phase of human intelligence. The desire is to convert or influence the people to the acceptance of the truth of that particular intelligence that is sought to be spread among them.
Propaganda can be true or false in its origin or intent; but it is always directed at the public for the purpose of winning the support of that public to the sentiment expressed in the propaganda. If you hate a man, giving him a bad name well may explain one of the purposes of propaganda without truth behind it.
Nearly all organized efforts have a system of propaganda to convert people to their principles and get them to support them even though there may be no merit behind it all.
Propaganda is all around you; to make you buy a special brand of cigarettes, although no good, but advertised to be the best; to make you drink or use a certain brand of tea; telling you of its wonderful qualities and its everlasting benefits when there is absolutely nothing to it, and so on.
Before the war of 1914-1918, the Germans were known to be the most cultured and scientific people in Europe. When the war started, the other nations in order to discredit the Germans and to hold them up to world ridicule and the contempt of civilization, released the propaganda that classified the Germans as Huns and barbarians. This also reveals how organized intention can be carried to the public for public acceptance without thought.
The press, cinema, pulpit, schoolroom are all propaganda agencies for one thing or the other. The pulpit carries religious propaganda, the schoolroom carries educational propaganda, the press carries out written propaganda, the platform carries on oral propaganda, the cinema carries out demonstrative propaganda. These methods have been devised by the white man to spread his ideas universally among them. That is why he is able, in a major sense, to control the minds of the people of the world.
The white man is a great propagandist. He fully and completely realizes the value of propaganda. Therefore, you must organize your propaganda to undo the propaganda of other people; if their propaganda affects your interest. The bible is religious propaganda, the school is literary propaganda. The novels and books you read are also literary propaganda, all calculated to bring about certain results beneficial to the propagandist.
Never forget then that you are surrounded by a world of propaganda, all dressed up or cooped up to suit a doubtful public that is not careful about what it digests from without. The artist is also a propagandist. He paints pictures to convey the idea he wants to impress upon the non-thinking and doubtful public. The sculptor is also a propagandist. he chisels figures and portrays them to suit the aim or purpose he wants to achieve. The pictures of the Madonna and Christ and of the angels are painted portraying a white race, so as to inflict upon the rest of the world the belief that God, the angels and the Holy Family are all white, as well as Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were black. They also paint the devil and the imps of hell black to impress upon the world the belief that all that is black is evil and all that is white is good and holy.
Tear from your walls, all pictures that glorify other races. Tear up and burn every bit of propaganda that does not carry your idea of things. Treat them as trash.
When you go to the cinema and you see the glorification of others in the pictures don't accept it; don't believe it to be true. Instead, visualize yourself achieving whatever is presented, and if possible, organize your propaganda to that effect. You should always match propaganda with propaganda.
Have your own newspapers, your own artists, your own sculptors, your own pulpits, your own platforms, print your own books and show your own motion pictures and sculpture your own subjects. Never accept as yours subjects of another race; but glorify all the good in yourselves.
Keep your home free and clear of alien objects of glorification of other races, otherwise your children will grow up to adore and glorify other people. Put in the place of others the sheroes and heroes and noble characters of your own race.
Never allow your children to play with or to have white dolls. it will give them the idea of having white children themselves. Give them the dolls of their own race to play with and they will grow up with the idea of race love and race purity.
Watch the newspapers, magazines and journals daily for propaganda against your race or your institutions; particulary against the U.N.I.A. Rush into print immediately a defense of your race institutions and organizations from any attack. Never allow an insult propagated to go unanswered by you. Be ever vigilant to down anything by way of propaganda that dishonors or discredits you. don't help the other fellow to carry on propaganda against yourself or your race. All propaganda comes from the arranged desire of individuals and not from a race as a whole. It is the thinkers and leaders who originate propaganda. By insisting on its wide distribustion they get other people to think as they like.
Don't accept the thoughts of others through propaganda, unless it coincides with yours. don't follow the band down the street because it plays sweet music to the propaganda of the circus manager. He may lead you into the circus tent and take away your pocketbook; that is to say, don't get on anybody's band wagon, because he may drive you to hell with his sweet music. Like the Pied Piper of Hamlin, who played his sweet pipe and led the rats out of the city and into the sea and drowned them.
Propaganda organized by somebody else is always calculated to take advantage of you. Don't help them do so . Always ask, what is this about? What is the object of this? Who has sent this out? What is he aiming at? Will it hurt me and my race? Is he trying to get an advantage over me? Is it honest? Is it true? If you ask these questions of all propaganda that comes up, before you swallow it, you will be able to take care of yourself.
Don't sing the songs and repeat the praises that glorify other races. Sing your own songs and recite your own praises that glorify your own race. For instance, it is foolish for Africans to sing or say "Britons never shall be slaves" when they themselves have been slaves and are likely to be slaves if they don't impress upon their minds that they as Negroes will never be slaves again.
Sing, therefore, "Africans never shall be slaves." Be careful how you sing religious hymns that have been written, dished up and made popular by white writers to glorify the white race in the name of God; taking advantage of the silence of God to impress inferiority upon your race such as "the great white wings of angels," "the great white throne of God," "Wash me in the blood and I shall be whiter than snow." All these things reflect the propaganda designed by the white man to glorify his skin and his race as against the black imps of hell and the black devil and the black pale of doom.
The idea of the white man making black a symbol of mourning and sadness is just to show the extreme of the purity of whiteness and it's joy and happiness. Reverse this. If possible teach the African that when he is in mourning he should wear white, and when he is happy to wear black. This is meeting propaganda with propaganda, the hatchet with the hatchet, the stick with the stick and the stone with the stone. Everything on earth is man's creation. So out of man's propaganda and mind he has created his special systems of opinion to meet his designs.
Therefore, customs are based upon acceptance of propaganda skillfully engineered. Have your own propaganda and hand it down through the ages. Write your own poetry and recite it. Compose your own songs and sing them. Write your own interpretation of the scriptures and history and teach them as far as the interpretation of others affect your race.
Challenge the thought of any book of other literature that dishonors or discredits you in any particular way; and give it the widest publicity so as to undo the harm intended. Remember always, that an error not corrected ultimately becomes a fact. Never allow false statements or allegations against your race to become current and pass into history as if they were facts.
War is the hellish passion of man let loose in opposition to man. It sums up the cruelty of man towards man. It always aims at the stronger taking advantage of the weaker to gain that which could not have been acquired otherwise; because of the failure to use human reason. War comes when men fail to adjust their differences with reasoning.
Always be prepared for the exhibition of the vilest passions of men in war. Man has always warred against his fellow man. It started with Cain against Abel and has continued down through the ages; and shall ever be so as long as man remains an unreasonable creature.
No generation has shown that man intends to become wholly reasonable. Therefore, in time of peace, prepare for war, so as not to be caught unprepared by your enemy. Do not discuss terms while you are warring; discuss them after you are victorious. When war comes, all resources of intelligence and wealth, all utilities are placed at the serviec of those who conduct the war to make them victorious on behalf of those for whom they are warring. Therefore, have in view the obtaining and controlling of all such resources, factors and utilities that may be necessary as ammunitions of war.
There may be righteous wars as well as unrighteous wars; depending entirely upon the civilization that makes the war or defends itself in war. It may be war to put down human abuse in favor of human virtue. The warmakers have always justified war in some way or another. If you become engaged in a war, always have justification for your engagement.
If the war is not yours, get something out of it before you go into it and complete it for the good of others. Never go into it and complete it for the good of others. Never go into war foolishly. Never sacrifice your life without good results for your cause. War is the best time to take advantage of your transgressor, whoever he may be. Whenever he is engaged in war and he promises you nothing, you will never get anything from him in time of peace. Therefore, during the time of war make your bargains before you help anybody else in war. If you are suffering from the abuses of others and there should be a threat of war against them from some other source, encourage it because it will be your chance to force a square deal. the more other people war among themselves, the stronger you become if you exercise good judgement.
Divide your enemies so as to gain your advantage. Always keep them divided so as to be able to gain the advantage. your only hope of escaping the hate and prejudice of other people is to keep them severly occupied with other problems. If they have nothing else to attend to, they will concentrate on you and your problems will be aggravated.
While others have gone to war, try to be at peace among yourselves to gather the spoils of war. Never talk war openly to your enemies; but be prepared for war. If you talk it, they will become prepared waiting for you. Keep the other races divided and fighting each other as much as you can so as to take advantage for yourselves.
If they have no other problems to occupy their time, they will turn to you and turn on you. keep them occupied otherwise. The more confused they are worrying over their troubles, the more time you will have to get out of your trouble.
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