by Solomon Comissiong
The most insidious propaganda might have a really nice melody, or even a compelling beat, yet be “laced with untruth after white supremacist untruth.” America’s propaganda machinery is awesome. “If we don’t respect America’s propaganda beast it will certainly consume our minds, and therefore our humanity.”
Euro-American Songs of Racism, War and White Supremacy: An African Perspective
by Solomon Comissiong
“America has never been the ‘Sweet land of liberty”; as a matter of fact it has been the complete opposite.”
Life within the American Empire is replete with stark reminders of a land built on a foundation of injustice, but only if you remain cognizant of your surroundings. This author is often reminded that you do not have to love or like something in order to hold great deference for it. Take for instance the most awesome structure and effectiveness of America’s all-encompassing indoctrination system. Let me preface, I hold not love for this system – as a matter of fact I despise it. I loathe it. Did I mention that I find it reprehensible? Ok – I think you get the point. However, despite my feelings for this most nefarious system of mind manipulation, I respect its potency. My respect for America’s propaganda machine is akin to the kind of respect a gazelle must have for a lion or seal must have for a polar bear. If they don’t respect their predators they are certain to be eaten. And if we don’t respect America’s propaganda beast it will certainly consume our minds, and therefore our humanity. When facing a formidable foe, one must respect that opponent – if you don’t, you can be in for an unfavorable surprise.
The United States propaganda machine never lets up and always operates on full throttle. Its conductors understand, all too well, that this psychological device is a necessity. Without American false propaganda and indoctrination their despicable deeds lose much of their overall life. Oppression, white supremacy, institutional racism, war, imperialism and injustice are all, part and parcel, made possible by way of indoctrination and false propaganda. These tools are so effective that they even convince many of America’s most oppressed to openly cheerlead for its crimes. Unwittingly, they have been made accomplices without fully realizing it. It is sad to witness countless American-born Africans openly make excuses for US imperialism and war, simply because the current face of the war machine is that of a brown skinned man named Barack Obama.
“These tools are so effective that they even convince many of America’s most oppressed to openly cheerlead for its crimes.”
People of color, like their Euro-American counterparts have been bombarded with the same incessant supply of false propaganda-laced psychological darts. They are surrounded with carefully placed one-sided propaganda extolling the contrived virtues of a rogue empire. It is on the “news,” movies, TV, ahistorical school textbooks, and even within seemingly “harmless” ballads. “My Country Tis of Thee” is a song, like numerous pro-American ballads, a cute melody laced with untruth after white supremacist untruth. “My Country Tis of Thee” was written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831 and was first performed in public on July 4th of that same year for an Independence Day celebration. This was fitting given the hypocritical roots of the American Independence Day holiday – why not sing hypocritical propagandistic songs too. This song was even used as a de facto National Anthem prior to the adoption of the “Star Spangled Banner” in 1931. And yes, the “Star Spangled Banner” is a most hypocritical song as well.
“My Country Tis of Thee” is stuffed with a psychological and social hallucinogenic that renders the unknowing into a sort of blind patriotic trance. At this juncture only strong doses of factual information and infusions of reasoning can bring the subject back to reality. Unfortunately, many older victims of this kind of indoctrination are too fargone to be reasoned with, even with the factual antidote. Despite being riddled with propagandistic falsehoods, songs like “My Country Tis of Thee” are most effective in transforming subjects in to helplessly patriotic sheep.
Songs like “My Country Tis of Thee” deserve critical analysis, if for no other reason than to expose their harmful composition to the unknowing. The villagers must be warned! Let’s look at the first verse of this curious song:
My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From ev'ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!
This verse is riddled with white supremacist lie after white supremacist lie. America has never been the “Sweet land of liberty,” as a matter of fact it has been the complete opposite. America’s amoral foundation is drenched in the blood of countless people of color who were massacred in order for Europeans to build it into the white settler state that it is even to this day. In 2012 America reigns as one of the most racist and unjust nations on planet Earth. Unfortunately, while many people know this fact outside of America’s manufactured borders, most Americans are oblivious to this painful truth. This is a stark reminder of the effectiveness of this country’s false propaganda machine and American Exceptionalism myth.
“Barack Obama has become a contemporary Buffalo Solider.”
“Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims' pride”? This song clearly was written by white people for white people. They aren’t talking about the fathers of indigenous children whose entire families were slain in the most barbaric ways imaginable. And they certainly are not referring to the countless enslaved Africans who were worked, raped and beaten to death. Stereotypes about indigenous people being savages were created by Europeans barbarians to, not only mask their sadistic crimes, but to also justify hundreds of more years of maiming, mutilating and massacring. The only savages were the Europeans who committed these crimes against humanity. These “people” did things that four-legged animals refrain from. Hundreds of years later, American politicians, like Hilary Clinton, have continued the savagery set forth by some of her ancestors. Enrolling a brown face to spearhead these modern day crimes via war and imperialism was a genius move. It has mollified the masses of people of color who used to stand on the side of justice – now they revel in war and make excuses for today’s crimes against humanity. Barack Obama has become a contemporary Buffalo Solider. Instead of slaying indigenous people throughout the Midwestern plains, he slaughters Africans in Libya – all for his political masters.
“My country tis of thee”? Really? This land is no more white people’s than a stolen car belongs to the thief. America may be a white settler state, however it remains stolen land. It will always be the land of indigenous peoples. However the Euro-American hubris is unbelievable. Claiming that this land is your land (after brutally ripping it away from indigenous people) takes more than audacity, it takes an evil heart. This leads me to the second verse of this vile white supremacist song:
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.
“My native country, thee,”? Again, we are confronted with the blatant lie referring to this land as their, “native country”. However, they knew what they were doing. Rule number one of false propaganda – the more you repeat and display lies, odds are, the simple-minded will believe them. No need for special glasses as worn by Rowdy Piper in the 1988 science fiction flick, “They Live,” as a means of discerning who is what and what is who – simply look around America and you will see those who are byproducts of this white supremacist false propaganda machine. They are literally everywhere. Songs like “My country tis of thee,” as repugnant as they are, are incredibly effective in fomenting very dangerous white nationalist sentiments. They are not simply “patriot,” they are ahistorical, as well as justifications for the mass murder of indigenous people throughout North America.
“Land of the noble free”? Once again we can easily assume this line is in reference to European “settlers” since people of color were not free at all at the time this song was written. In fact, people of color, whether it was enslaved Africans or North America’s indigenous population, were in the midst being routinely mass murdered by European invaders, including by the likes of many of America’s so-called “Founding Fathers.” What makes the line, “Land of the noble free” particularly reprehensible is the equation of the word “noble” with those who were “free.” Given the European settlers' evil actions toward people of color, any morally sound human should naturally equate their activities as devilish crimes against humanity.
“Who were they really praying to – perhaps they devil itself?”
I simply will offer up one more verse within the wretched white supremacist incantation, “Our country tis of thee,” as evidence of one of the countless weapons of indoctrination, utilized by the morally corrupt, as means to indoctrinate and dehumanize young children. There are more verses within this song, however in the interest of sanity I will end on the following verse:
Our fathers' God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.
The above verse is pretty self-explanatory, as well as sick and twisted. These cretins do their best to emphasize their desire to use their “God” as Divine justification for their amoral actions. However, this is nothing new. European invaders, commonly referred to as Pilgrims or Settlers, routinely justified their devilish crimes as Divine intervention or that they were destined by the Lord to “inherit” the land they ripped away from the indigenous nations of Turtle Island (North America). The blood-drenched establishment of the Thanksgiving Day holiday is largely based on the raping, murdering, and maiming of indigenous people (e.g., Wampanoag, Pequots) throughout what is now known as “New England." What kind of “God” would support these kinds of actions? Who were they really praying to – perhaps they devil itself? This author cannot image there being any good "God" that would condone such horrific deeds.
“My country tis of thee” is simply one of a great many songs of indoctrination used to render subjects mentally numb to the hypocrisies and injustices riddled throughout America’s tainted history. America’s own national anthem is among that collection of ballads. Individuals are to collectively (much like at a cult ceremony) sing along in cacophony. Within the American Empire you are trained at an early age not to question the validity of the song – just accept it like bad medicine. Over time these songs play a significant role within the subconscious of many Americans. As their government bombs and destroys people from other nations, their subconscious tells them that the carnage is justified. This keeps them collectively in check, never jointly (on massive and consistent scales) demanding an end to America’s perpetual addiction to war; thus the false propaganda machine remains a most effective tool. However, one of the sadistic realities within this gruesome tale remains the fact that children (of all backgrounds) are force fed this morally deficient psychological food.
Having Euro-American children sing songs like “My country tis of thee,” is the systematic training of white children to embrace America’s bloody legacy of white supremacy and institutional racism. These children are not given a chance to break the cycle of injustices committed by Euro-Americans upon people of color. The ultimate intent of having white children mindlessly recite these songs is to continue the legacy of white supremacy, unabated. What other reason could there be?
“Within the American Empire you are trained at an early age not to question the validity of the song – just accept it like bad medicine.”
And by having children of color subjected to, not only songs like “My country tis of thee,” but also revisionist history within the American school system, ensures that many of these children will grow up to as mindless cheerleaders for wars committed against other nations – most being nations of people of color. These adults of color have had their minds bombarded with images and propaganda their entire lives, and with little to no intervention along the way the sad transformation is complete. Voila, you are now a good loyal Yankee! No doubt the American born Africans on the 2012 USA men's Olympic basketball team were subjected to this regimen their entire lives. This was blatantly evident when, upon beating Spain for the gold medal, they, without hesitation, took the American flags handed to them and wrapped themselves within them as if it was their silk comforter on a chilly night. They even chanted, "USA, USA, USA." Eerily, it was if they were programmed to do just that. I guess systematic indoctrination is a form of mental programming.
Children should be given a chance at humanity – a chance to contribute toward creating a much better planet than the one they inherited. However, as long as white youth within the US Empire are subjected to white supremacist songs, and daily incantations riddled with justifications for imperialist deeds, they will contribute to the same crimes as their forefathers. And children of color will contribute to or support similar crimes that were committed against their ancestors. These rituals do not push them to demand more from a government that falsely claims to represent them, the rituals program them to accept the destructive status quo. In 2012 the status quo in America is largely based on institutional racism, sexism, imperialism, and profit before people. The Euro-America capitalist system is one that produced a prison for profit mass incarceration system. And it is one that produced the war for profit Military Industry Complex machine. No money for a universal healthcare system that would save tens of thousands of lives a year, however there is always enough money to mass incarcerate the poor and to wage war on countries with resources they wish to plunder.
Wars of aggression and global domination are not unlike waging war against Wampanoag people. And incarcerating masses of people of color (for profit) is not dissimilar to chattel slavery in the US. These things are going on today, as they were hundreds of years ago – the scene of the crime is just exponentially bigger and the tactics have become more subtle, yet more effective. In order to stop these crime stories from continuing, a new chapter must be written. However, this cannot happen if children’s’ minds are ultimately poisoned with destructive propaganda. Those of us who are adults in the know must share this information with other adults. Most importantly, we must have the courage to candidly share it with, not just our children, but our neighbor’s children. If we are a village then we all take responsibility for the creation of a new and better society. However, it cannot be done without consistent work. We must be the inconvenient heroes at our school board and PTA meetings, and raise these concerns. And then we must demand (not request) a change in the repugnant and racist current system.
“The rituals program them to accept the destructive status quo.”
Comprehensive and accurate history must be reflected in school curricula, and songs like “My country tis of thee” must be eradicated from schools. The racist changes within history books and courses in places like Texas and Arizona are merely the legalization of white supremacist values that have been in force for generations. Together we must reclaim our children’s education, several communities at a time. Organization and institution building is paramount. There simply is no other way. If we don’t collectively fight to make these changes injustice will continue, in perpetuity. A better world starts with us, and it starts with social justice in the United States. Children throughout the globe simply deserve better.
If it were up to Africans/blacks who are not mentally programmed by Euro-American indoctrination, they might chose the rap group Gang Starr's classic song "Conspiracy" as a more accurate depiction of the US, from an African perspective.
Part of the song goes like this:
"You can't tell me life was meant to be like this
a black man in a world dominated by whiteness
Ever since the declaration of independence
we've been easily brainwashed by just one sentence
It goes: all men are created equal
that's why corrupt governments kill innocent people...
...The educational system presumes you to fail
the next place is the corner then after that jail
You've got to understand that this has all been conspired
to put a strain on our brains so that the strong grow tired
It even exists when you go to your church
cuz up on the wall a white Jesus lurks...
...They use your subconscious to control your will
they've done it for a while and developed the skill
to make you want to kill your own brother man
black against black you see it's part of their plan
They want to send us to war and they want to ban rap
what they really want to do is get rid of us blacks
Genocide is for real and I hope that you're hearing me
you must be aware to combat the conspiracy..."
Solomon Comissiong is an educator, community activist, author, public speaker and the host of the Your World News media collective (www.yourworldnews.org). Solomon is the author of A Hip Hop Activist Speaks Out on Social Issues. He can be reached at: [email protected].