26. "RE: Elders, Youth, Saul Williams and Black Revolution" In response to In response to 25
i was also in attendance at the saul williams event and i just had a few thoughts to share. first, i don't think it was saul's intention to disrespect amiri baraka or anyone involved with the civil rights or black arts movements. he was indeed critical of mr. baraka's statement that you should be concerned with how other people view you, as well as the male-centered perspective that was behind much of the direction and organization of the movements. but being critical is significantly different from being disrespectful. saul did not say, "those cats in the 60's didn't know what they were talkin about cuz they were sexist, therefor, we should disregard what they did and tried to do." he didn't even allude to such a conlusion. saul points out the mistakes of the elders not to disrespect them, but to show us so that we might not repeat them. it seems to me that at the heart of saul's position was the idea that we can't simply take a movement from back then and make it work for us in the here and now. some of the underlying ideas and understood concerns that helped to organize and structure the movement then are more problematic in today's society. for example, women's secondary organizational roles and underappreciated efforts are less likely to be tolerated to the same extent that they were tolerated then. it's a different time and place. how can we take movements that were born of their specific time and place and just transplant them to today and expect them to succeed? you can't do it. but this doesn't mean that we ignore what happened before us. we take what happened before us and let it inform our actions for today and tomorrow, while taking a critical eye to it so that we may not repeat the same mistakes. and this is done with all due respect.