One of the nation's fastest-rising poetry prodigies is a 7-year-old New York girl whose poisonous demagogic advocacy of black separatism makes Al Sharpton look like Mister Rogers.
Autum Ashante' of Mount Vernon, N.Y., has performed at HBO's Def Poetry Jam, The Cotton Club in L.A., The Apollo Theater in Harlem, the African Street Festival, Caroline's on Broadway, the Russell Simmons Phat Farm Fashion Show, Steve Harvey's "Big Time," a prestigious Grammy Foundation event, and at universities and other venues across the country. She recites her verses not only in English, but also in fluent Swahili and Arabic (she attended the Islamic Darul Arkam School in Mount Vernon).
Autum has appeared at a tribute to black nationalist Marcus Garvey, America-bashing 9/11 conspiracy-monger Amiri Baraka's annual family cookout and the extremist New Black Panther Party's Million Youth March. The city of New York honored her with a proclamation for inspiring "her peers, as well as adults, while also demonstrating the power of a father's love, the importance of education and the limitless boundaries of the human mind." New York City councilwoman Yvette Clark called her "one of the most precious young talents that this world has ever known."
Most recently, as New York Post education reporter David Andreatta reported this weekend, she was invited to perform at public middle and high schools in Peekskill, N.Y., for Black History Month.
Here, in full, is what precious little Autum -- groomed by her single father, Batin Ashante, a Nation of Islam poet/activist -- spewed:
White Nationalism Put U In Bondage
White nationalism is what put you in bondage
Pirate and vampires like Columbus, Morgan, and Darwin
Drank the blood of the sheep, trampled all over them with
Steel, tricks and deceit.
Nothing has changed take a look in our streets
The mis-education of she and Hegro -- leaves you on your knee2grow
Black lands taken from your hands, by vampires with no remorse
They took the gold, the wisdom and all of the storytellers
They took the black women, with the black man weak
Made to watch as they changed the paradigm
Of our village
They killed the blind, they killed the lazy, they went
So far as to kill the unborn baby
Yeah White nationalism is what put you in bondage
Pirates and vampires like Columbus, Morgan, and Darwin
They drank the blood of the sheep, trampled all over them with
Steel laden feet, throw in the tricks alcohol and deceit.
Nothing has changed take a look at our streets.
Autum's performance also included commanding white students to remain seated as she led black students in a recitation of the "Black Child's Pledge," by Black Panther Shirley Williams, which reads in part:
I pledge allegiance to my Black People.
I pledge to develop my mind and body to the greatest extent possible.
I will learn all that I can in order to give my best to my People in their struggle for liberation.
. . . I will discipline myself to direct my energies thoughtfully and constructively rather than wasting them in idle hatred.
I will train myself never to hurt or allow others to harm my Black brothers and sisters . . .
These principles I pledge to practice daily and to teach them to others in order to unite my People.
Complaints from shocked students and parents led to a tape-recorded apology sent to all parents apologizing for the performance. Autum's father condemned white district officials as "racist crackers." Autum defended her poem by explaining to the Westchester Journal News that white people are "devils and they should be gone. We should be away from them and still be in Africa."
And make note of this: The official who invited Autum to speak, Melvin Bolden, is a public school music teacher, Peekskill councilman and producer of her first spoken word album.
Who is surprised? If you set aside a separate holiday for Black History Month in the public schools, if you set aside separate graduation ceremonies, college dorms, academic departments, recruiting programs, and government contracts and subcontracts by race, you send a message that hard-core racial separatism is not only acceptable -- but desired.
Autum Ashante' is the natural offspring of militant multiculturalism and government-sanctioned identity politics. We reap what we sow.