The birth in the late 1800s of the ideological Neo-progressive movement in America has had profound effects on the Black man, which have evolved in 2020 into a Black philosophical catastrophe. The overall condition of the Black man in modern-day American society is bleak, because for every one Black man’s success story we hear about, there are thousands of stories of Black men whose conditions are riddled with fatherless homes, schools providing nothing more than a lowbrow, illiterate edification, and futures plagued with joblessness and lack of qualification.
Meanwhile, the Neo-progressive movement’s effect upon the intellect of Black men has resulted in a disastrous ideological state of mind—an emotional state continuously packed with massive lies and distorted misconceptions about the past, accompanied by negative rhetoric about future possibilities.
The male, in any race, is the backbone of society, and if you undercut him the society will struggle at the very least or fail at the worst.
In Black communities prior to the Neo-progressive movement an unorthodox and unequal education system nevertheless provided Black men hope of a better tomorrow, a self-confident hope of achievement through self-agency. Black men held a deep and strong desire to learn everything possible, because they understood the education lifeline and its connection to Black overcoming. Many Black Americans clung to the promise that education is the key, and Black men like Booker T. Washington, one of Black America’s greatest heroes, became the inspirations that illustrated to many that the American dream is indeed possible.
Booker T. Washington possessed a desire for education that inspired him to walk 500 miles to Hampton Institute in Virginia in 1872, seven years after the end of slavery in America.
Upon obtaining his degree, Mr. Washington understood the necessity of opening a path for all Black men who desired an opportunity to acquire skills by way of an educational platform, because he knew this to be an essential part of the Black man’s integration into American society. In 1881, Hampton Institute president Samuel C. Armstrong recommended Booker T. Washington to lead the Tuskegee Institute, where vocational training helped a great many Black Americans achieve educational goals (Washington, 1901).
However, the birth of the Neo-progressive movement, for all intents and purposes, destroyed the sort of education system Booker T. Washington created. Neo-progressives reduced the Black community as a whole to the status of guinea pigs in an effort to test their methods within the community and see whether it would take effect.
Sadly, it has.
Neo-progressives learned from communist Karl Marx how ideology and sociology are deeply interlaced, in that each affects the other reciprocally and a change in one necessitates a change in the other (Marx & Engels, 1848). The communist intent, adopted by the Neo-progressives, was to destroy capitalism and force people to depend on the state in a fanciful effort to equalize society. Neo-progressives learned early on that they could use a psychological approach that would make it possible for them to control the thought process of the masses. They also learned that the younger the mind, the easier the process. So Neo-progressives took control of the education of Black Americans, interacting with young minds and steering them in a certain direction.
John Dewey, a renowned progressive and socialist, taught that schools should focus on the empiricist theory when it comes to teaching students. The empiricist theory believes all ideas that a mind can entertain have been formed through subjective experience (Andrea, 2019). In other words, facts and reality be damned, because whatever your imperfect thought process comes up with becomes reality. We witness the same approach being pursued today by the curriculum projects spawned through the “1619 Project” sponsored by the New York Times. The Neo-progressives were inspired to adopt Dewey’s empiricist education model (Piedra, 2018), which resulted in a generation of children, particularly Black children, failing to learn how to use their minds to think through problems of life in general and instead depending more on the expression of their feelings.
The Neo-progressive ideology invaded the Black home as well. The Black family unit during slavery stood strong in the face of disintegrating stresses. Living in captivity all but necessitated the need for close family ties; enslaved persons lived their entire lives together, save for the imposed separations of death and sale. By the time slavery ended, this tradition had deeply rooted itself within the Black community and had an almost genetic force.
The Black family bond was crushed to its core by Neo-progressive ideology, which lurked beneath the government’s “I’m here to help” welfare movement that ultimately grasped, shook, and broke the Black family unit to pieces. The development of the welfare state focused primarily on the Black woman, much as the devil targeted Eve in the garden of Eden with the promise of “here to help.” The intent of the welfare movement was to instill within the Black woman the belief that she did not need a man, only children, to qualify for the material assistance offered through the government.
The proverbial nail in the coffin of the Black man was the government’s decision, implemented through Neo-progressive policies, that the Black woman could exist without him. After he impregnated her, his use in the eyes of the Neo-progressive, and eventually in the eyes of the Black woman, was at an end.
In the 1960s, Johnnie Tilmon, an unmarried Black woman with six children, helped to organize the National Welfare Rights Organization with the help of Frances Fox Piven, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Richard Cloward, a sociologist who believed gang members were not individually responsible for their actions but were spurred by poverty alone. Cloward and Piven created the Cloward-Piven strategy, an economically disastrous plan to overload the U.S. public welfare system in order to create a crisis—a crisis they would not let go to waste. They hoped this crisis would lead to a welfare system that would guarantee an annual income for able-bodied people who would no longer need to work a single day (Cloward & Piven, 1971). Cloward and Piven helped Johnnie Tilmon organize the National Welfare Rights Organization in an effort to get as many Black women on welfare as possible.
The government handout given to women because they had children did nothing to teach the Black woman to avoid childbirth until she found a man with whom she intended to spend her life. Instead, it encouraged fatherless childbirth by guaranteeing a continuous payday should the Black woman have children out of wedlock and by ensuring that it was in her best interest not to have the father around. If the father was around, both he and the mother must apply for welfare, and if he had any income, what the government provided would be considerably less. To further incentivize the woman to remain on her own, the government forced the mother to sue the father for child support, thus building a wall between the Black man and the mother of his children and also criminalizing him and placing yet another obstacle in his path. This policy further eroded the likelihood of any family development and further undermined the Black man’s chance of self-sufficiency.
The Neo-progressives plague Black Americans in schools with their corrosive teachings, dull the minds of young Black men while locking them in a downward spiral of thug mentality, and even alter the relationship the Black man has with the building blocks of family creation. It is hard not to view this as a calculated effort on the part of the Neoprogressive movement to destroy the Black community.
Yet the Neo-progressive movement is not solely to blame. For decades, the Black community allowed itself to be prey to this destructive state of mind. Women allowed themselves to get trapped in an addictive state of government dependency. They found themselves raising boys who were poorly educated and who had no male role model because they themselves chose to have children with men who easily succumbed to a thug’s life with no tangible desires or inspirations. Both man and woman became dependent on the government and continuously and blindly advocated for a political system that guaranteed this dependency, regardless of its obviously destructive nature.
The Neo-progressives have been able to create what appears to be an endless cycle, an infinite loop that feeds off itself by creating a dependent class of people who are afraid to lose their financial support and are thus trapped in a system designed to keep them illiterate and reliant.
Surprisingly, it took the Neo-progressives hardly more than a generation after slavery ended to create this sinkhole within the Black community. Its birth came at a time when the entire country was struggling and people were desperate to grab onto a lifeline to avoid sinking beneath a wave of despair. However, claims like this can be made for every generation. In some part of America, there are always those grasping for any form of hope to avoid hunger or homelessness.
The job of the Neo-progressives is a relatively easy one, especially when they control the output of information through the school system, the media, and the dependent people themselves. Neo-progressives constantly warn those who are dependent on the government that there are some who want to strip them of their only reliable source of income. They highlight the despair of the people trapped in the system and block every truly effective way to help them by using the two-year political election cycle to stir up the masses with propaganda and divisive rhetoric.
The only real building expertise Neo-progressives possess is their ability to build walls between people. They rely on the dysfunctional education system to keep the ability for critical thinking at a minimum and tap into emotional reasoning instead. Emotional reasoning causes a cognitive distortion of reality, where truth is disregarded or dismissed in favor of the assumed truth felt by the person(s) whose reasoning is guided by emotions.
Neo-progressives have also tapped into the basic individual needs of the human character to further their cause. The need for the basic necessities of life, such as food, health, and shelter, creates a strong motivating factor that can be used to manipulate the expectations of the individual. As mentioned above, Neo-progressives chose the Black woman to be the target of this ideological methodology. They had two ideological fronts with which to bombard the Black woman: the welfare state and the feminist movement. Both played a major role in convincing the Black woman that her body is hers and hers alone and that neither the Black man nor his child growing within her has any rights beyond those she decides to give them. Neo-progressives have convinced the Black woman that she is alone.
The question before us is, what good have Neo-progressives done for the black man? The answer is simple when we factor in the Black family as well as the Black community as a whole: not a lot.
One could classify this Neo-progressive movement as a virus, but not just any ole’ virus. It was a capricious, premeditated, covert undertaking working its way into a community and, bit by bit, ripping it to pieces. The virus then mutated into a Stockholm syndrome that, in due course, caused Blacks to act against their own best interest by continuously voting for progressive ideology while Democrat Party rhetoric mentally enslaved them. At the same time, a cannibalistic mentality spread, which caused those targeted by the Neo-progressive virus to feed off one another, turning Black communities into a war zone.
Young Black men do not know Black American history, so they do not know the countless contributions of the Black men who came before them. Due to this lack of knowledge, a rotten, festering sore has gnawed at their sense of belonging and self-respect. Their misinformed history of America’s past has left them on the outside of America’s future.
If we could simply tap into and re-direct the spirit that drives the Black man, what a wonderful healing the world would witness, both for the Black man and for America.
Cliff Brotherton, a former police officer, also served in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. He owns Brothertons Publishing LLC, and is a graphic designer and an author.