Instruments of Our Own Oppression

By Eric M. Wallace, PhD

In 1907, Bal Gangadhar Tilak addressed the Indian National Congress as the nation of India struggled to shake off British empirical rule. Tilak, and others, were determined to achieve independence from Great Britain; and to establish self-rule as a nation and people.

Tilak argued that independence was within the grasp of his countrymen, particularly because Britain’s control over India was due, in fact, to those Indians responsible for assisting the British. He said, “[w]e have perceived one fact, that the whole of this administration, which is carried on by a handful of Englishmen, is carried on with our assistance.” In other words, there were a handful of foreigners who ultimately controlled the destiny of millions, because the millions allowed them. Thus, Tilak aptly expressed his people’s cooperation with foreign government as the “instruments of our own oppression.” Here is the quote in its context:

“This whole government is carried on with our assistance and they try to keep us in ignorance of our power of cooperation between ourselves by which that which is in our own hands at present can be claimed by us and administered by us…Self-government is our goal; we want a control over our administrative machinery. We don’t want to become clerks and remain [clerks]. At present, we are clerks and willing instruments of our own oppression in the hands of an alien government, and that government is ruling over us not by its innate strength but by keeping us in ignorance and blindness to the perception of this fact.”

Not surprisingly, in this same manner a foreign government has taken control of the destiny of the African American community. Since the 60’s many African American leaders have assumed the role of the “clerks” assisting, in many respects, the Democrat Party’s control over the black community, to our obvious detriment.

I’ve chosen to call the progressive Democrat Party a “foreign government” because its progressive ideology is foreign to the professed ideology of most African Americans. Progressives, in general, are anti-Christian, pro same-sex marriage, pro-abortion and support the status quo in education to the detriment of our children’s education. Blacks have been led to believe that it is in our “best interest” to support a party that does not share or support our social or Christian values.

One example of this is the growing support of LGBT rights by Democrats. Black preachers across the country have traditionally preached against “same-sex marriage,” or at least acknowledge that it is ungodly. Yet, they continue to support a party and candidates who have pledged their support of “LGBT rights.” As a result, we have redefined the institution of marriage, opened the flood gates to transgenderism, with state after state lobbying for coed restrooms. To speak against homosexuality is to bring on criticism. As a Pastor and biblical scholar, I can assure you that God is not pleased that so many who claim to be ministers of the gospel have compromised biblical principle for political expedience. A day is surely coming when we will suffer for not “standing for righteousness.”

When it comes to education, many of our elected officials, as well as “black leaders,” have sided with unions in an attempt too halt school choice. A few years ago Jesse Jackson Sr., Rainbow P.U.S.H convened a panel on education, which failed to include anyone advocating on behalf of school choice. The head of Chicago’s Teacher’s Union was there, but no one from a charter school was present. This happened despite the positive results seen in several charter schools such as Noble Street Charter or Urban Prep serving under-privileged communities in the Chicago metropolitan area. What confounds me is how can we have a real conversation about education if we’re not willing to invite, and accept, innovators to the table? At the same time Jackson would be one of the first to say that a good education helps our kids find jobs, and stay out of jail.

Unfortunately, for those children trapped in under-performing schools Jackson’s words are empty and disingenuous. Our children have become tragic reminders that we are “instruments of our own oppression.” These children are receiving a poor education, not because white people are trying to oppress us, but because African Americans themselves are on the wrong side of the issue.

So, somebody please tell me how blind support of the progressive agenda is helping the African American community? How is this same blind support of teachers’ unions helping our children learn, graduate high school and get a good job? When you add to this the democrat’s support of transgenderism, the question frankly is, why is it that black Christians support the progressive Democrat Party?

Unfortunately, these questions represent only the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t even mentioned that over 70 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. Or that it is public record that blacks have over 30 percent of abortions, though we make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population. Or those local, state and national statistics, which consistently show most victims of crimes in the black community are terrorized at the hands of other black Americans.  Chicago is the epicenter of concern for black gang activity that includes shooting innocent men and women, boys and girls. Then add to this mix the police department which harbors the few bad officers who maim and brutalize suspects without due process and a mayors who hide police officer misconduct for political gain. How can a community move forward in this scenario?

Although the content of this article infers a negative and hopeless disposition, it is this author’s contention that this apparently desperate state of the black community is not far from redemption and transformation. There are many of us who believe that the church must “rise” to lead the way out of the wilderness of self-destructive behavior and antithetical policies that call evil good and good evil. However, the hope of transformation will only happen when the people of God determine to collectively “stand for what we say we believe, and actively engage in the political process that represents us.”

[This is an updated version of an article published during in 2009]

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1 Comment


Charles Walkup Jr - February 25th, 2021 at 6:06pm

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

Excellent intro India example to make your point here.

As a Democrat for almost 50 years (changed Jan. 2015 in order to campaign for Dr. Ben Carson for pres.), I learned that the 2012 DNC in Charlotte (where I lived) had voted to remove God's name from the party platform. In Aug. of 2019 a Dem. committee passed a resolution celebrating that now the party majority was non-religious.

Now I call them the anti-God party. They are all about power (Satan's slaves). In 2015 I didn't really vote FOR Trump (but checked his name), because I was not going to vote for Lady Macbeth. But now it seems it's not just her, but at least the whole leadership of the party that is focused on power and silencing God's voice.

It just seems there are so many "lost sheep" who are being lead by false shepherds. And it is particularly disheartening to me (a 3/4 century-old white guy, who grew up in NC) that my sense during the 1960's civil rights era of Black People as a group being closer to God's heart than white people because of the suffering they had endured, and that now, as your article clearly points out, many of them have now "gone the way of the white man" and the "way of the world". One example, Emanuel Cleaver, Methodist minister and U.S. rep. from Missouri. And he sponsored the evil HR5 Equality Act which is anti-God, anti-Liberty!!! As one who has dealt with same-sex attraction and saved by God's grace, I emailed a letter to all sponsors of this bill (all the Democrats) asking if they were more interested in pleasing (1) God or (2) humans. If "humans", they didn't need to read any further. If you're interested I'll be glad to share it with you. Again, your article is a great perspective!

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