Parable of Black Man
and Block Man
There was a black man and a block man, both were black men, but block man had a big block head. He used to stand at the crossroads waiting for black man to come through so he could block him from going in any direction. If black man tried to go east, west, north or south, the playa hatin, jealous, envious block man would cause black man to either stop, stumble or fall.
Sometimes black man would purposely fall because he knew the African proverb that to stumble or fall is only to go forward faster. So after being blocked at one turn, he would fake a fall and go forward on his journey up the hill.
Of course block man would be waiting for him at a pass up the hill and again try to block black man from going farther. But black man, being athletic, was able to leap to the side and gracefully go pass block man.
And even though block man had a lot of friends who were blockheads too, black man had friends in the sun, moon and stars who watched out for him.
Black man had friends in the wind, seas, rivers, trees and all over the earth. So block man didn't have a chance with his evil scheme to block black man. All black man had to do was flow in the flow and make sure he wasn't swimming against the current of the universe, for in the counter flow the block men were waiting patiently for him, sharpening their knives, ready to remove the heart and soul of black man.
So black man planned and block man planned, but black man was the best planner. As long as his mind remained clean and sober, he could see block man coming a mile way.
from In the Crazy House Called America, essays by Marvin X, Black Bird Press, Berkeley, 2002.
Marvin X is known variously as El Muhajir, Plato Negro, Rumi, Jeremiah. His outdoor classroom is at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Ishmael Reed says, "If you want to learn about motivation and inspiration, don't spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway and watch Marvin X work. He's Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland!"