The Art Of Stealth, Part 3: Sidestep African-American Guard Dogs By Staying Focused On Self-Interests

Welcome to the third episode of The Art of Stealth. The purpose of this series is to learn and master the strategies that others have used to get ahead. It’s intended to serve as part of a 21st century “mirror” for sojourners. The “mirror for princes” genre was a type of political writing that was very popular during the European Renaissance of the 14th through 17th centuries. These books taught rulers how to behave in order to avoid having reigns that were violent, tragic, and most of all, short. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli is the most famous example of this genre. The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracian is another popular example of this genre. Currently, these books are mostly read as a form of self-help literature. Most African-Americans have never heard of them. This is a pity. This lack of knowledge makes us vulnerable. Vulnerable to hype, and vulnerable to the wiles of others who are familiar with the wisdom contained in these books.

This chapter builds on and is the second half of the Part 2 entry, “Do Not Commit To Anyone, But Be Courted By All.” If you haven’t already done so, please read it now.

As was discussed in Part 2, most African-Americans have the bad habit of rushing in to take sides. This foolish habit has many negative consequences: Nobody has to “bid” for our support because we offer it automatically and freely. We unnecessarily make other people’s enemies our enemies. We drain our own resources while fighting other people’s battles. We naively assume that every fight is a principled crusade, when most times it’s actually about advancing other people’s personal ambitions. Finally, the people whose causes we support discard us at the first opportunity.

Unfortunately, we engage in this foolish behavior across the board—at work, at college, in politics, in our personal lives. And as I stated during Part 2, we often continue to be good “guard dogs” who fight other people’s enemies—even after they’ve reconciled!

A QUICK GUIDE TO IDENTIFYING GUARD DOG BEHAVIOR

The easiest way to identify guard dog behavior is to consider the question: “Is this person’s advocacy on behalf of self, and people who are most like self? Or is it on behalf of a group of people other than self?” “Self” is measured by closeness to, or distance from, one’s own identity. For example, in my case, “self” is African-American women and girls. Latinos (of any race) are not part of “self.” Continental Africans are not part of “self.” Other non-African-American Blacks are not part of “self.” Non-African-American Muslims are not part of “self.” In the context of the conversation that I’ll use later on as an example of guard dog behavior, “self” means African-American Muslims.

Now, I will on occasion support the interests of specific individuals other than self. But I only do that for the specific, individual “others” who have invested in me. My support does NOT extend to these other people’s entire ethnic groups, tribes, or nations! And even with that, I won’t support X for individual helpful others if doing so would damage one of my own ethnic group’s core interests. I’m not going to cut my own people’s throat to be in solidarity with others, including those specific others who have helped me. The same way they don’t cut their own people’s throat to be in solidarity with anybody else.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN GUARD DOGS PERFORM OTHER SERVICES FOR THEIR MASTERS

Directly protecting their masters from these masters’ enemies isn’t the only service performed by African-American guard dogs. They perform a wide range of indirect protection services for their non-African-American masters.

Demanding That You Also Support Their Masters.The African-American guard dog has already rushed in to take a side—somebody else’s! They will follow this up by coming among other African-Americans to insist that you must also support the “side” that they’ve chosen to fight for. I’m sure that you’ve seen this behavior pattern over and over again. The basic guard dog assertion in these instances is some variation on “We must support X.” And they will offer a number of spurious reasons why “we must support X.” These “we must support X” statements will usually start off by presuming some sort of connection between the African-American listeners and the guard dog’s non-African-American master.

If you’re resistant to supporting a cause other than your own (such as their masters’ cause), the guard dogs will become increasingly belligerent.

Trying To Silence Any Criticism Of Their Masters. African-American guard dogs will be annoyed by your refusal to take their master’s side. They’ll be indignant if you say something even remotely unflattering about their masters. Finally, they’ll snap to attention and rush in to fight you if you criticize their masters. You see this all the time with African-American guard dogs coming to African-American blogs to engage in verbal combat with their own people on behalf of an endless list of others: Latinos, non-African-American Blacks, “don’t you dare call me Black”-so-called biracials, Martians, and whoever else that’s not African-American.

STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR OWN INTERESTS. SIDESTEP THE GUARD DOGS. DON’T LET THEM DRAW YOU INTO A DESTRUCTIVE BATTLE OVER THEIR MASTERS

If they can’t get you to join them in fighting for their masters, and if they can’t get you to shut up with your truthful, unflattering statements about their masters . . . then the African-American guard dogs have one final service they try to perform on behalf of their masters. They will try to divert you from your original agenda by drawing you into a fight with them over their master’s interests.

Don’t do it! Don’t directly fight with them over the merits of their master’s cause. Can you see how doing so serves to shift the spotlight away from your own interests and onto their master’s interests? Instead, keep your comments focused on self, and how X impacts self-interests. Also, if possible try not to get nasty with the guard dogs. Many of them are well-intentioned (if misguided). And it’s best to, if at all possible, keep things civil. That way, you might be able to work with them in the future on projects that benefit self.

AN EXAMPLE OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSLIMS PERFORMING GUARD DOG SERVICES

Far too many African-American Muslims are self-hating slaves who place more (unreciprocated) value on foreign Muslims’ lives and interests than they do on their own. For an example of this guard dog mindset in action, see this crazy conversation over at Abdur-Rahman Muhammad’s blog, A Singular Voice. He and I were about the only ones who could see what’s wrong with the notion of cheerleading the Somali pirates over our fellow American citizens.

Pay particular attention to the back and forth argument I had with a commenter named Kwame during that conversation. Thankfully, by the time of the subsequent prosecutions of some African-American Muslims on the east coast for terrorism-related charges (some trumped-up sounding, agent-provocateur-inspired “plot” to blow up a synagogue), many of the African-American Muslim fools who had previously been cheerleading the Somali pirates found a clue. And decided to think carefully about their own interests as African-Americans, and chill on that guard dog behavior.

Unfortunately, I broke the “don’t get nasty with the guard dogs” rule during the above conversation. I somewhat lost my emotional discipline because I felt the African-American guard dogs (who were defending the interests of Somali pirates) were endangering the liberty interests of other African-American Muslims. First, by encouraging potentially incriminating statements that could be used in a trumped-up prosecution for supporting terrorists. And second, by projecting the image that African-American Muslims are a disloyal fifth column in support of foreign enemies. I felt that if it took getting nasty to stop the guard dogs from endangering other African-American Muslims’ freedom, so be it.

**Audience Note** The comments are closed to this post because I don’t want to have a potentially counterproductive conversation about who is and isn’t a guard dog. That’s not helpful. My point is to describe this behavior pattern so you recognize it whenever you encounter it. Sidestep the guard dogs and stay focused on what benefits SELF.

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