B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1999
Saab Lofton was conceived in Los Angeles the night Robert Kennedy was assassinated and not too far from where the coup went down. Saab's biological father proved to be too unstable, so his mother married a shell-shocked Vietnam vet of a drill sergeant for financial security. Saab was a military brat until he graduated from high school in his native California and left home (because this is not a free country, but an expensive country, he would keep having to move back).
Saab has been a teacher, an amateur cartoonist, a minor league pro-wrestling manager, a public access talk show host, and an op-ed newspaper columnist (the latter nominated him for the 1995 David Jenkins Award). He's even been a nude model and a member of the Guardian Angels, but his claim to fame is the novel he wrote while still in the dorms at San Francisco State University, A.D. - which was so radical of a book it got him kicked out of college. After being exiled from the Bay Area, Saab moved to the state of Washington where he self-published his second novel Battle Neverending and earned a bachelor's degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington on June 11th 1999. In a textbook example of karma, Evergreen graded and graduated Saab on the very kind of writing that banished him from San Francisco State. He has also guest lectured at various high schools and colleges over the years and was even invited to speak in Canada and Australia.
Battle Neverending, Share the Wealth Productions, 2005
A.D. , III Publishing, 1995
"Fear and Loathing (of hiring a black man) in Las Vegas," City Life, August 5, 1999
"When Civility Becomes Censorship," Las Vegas Weekly, August 27 - September 1, 1999
"A Case for Alternatives to Fossil Fuel," Las Vegas Weekly, September 2 - 8, 1999
"Give Hemp a Chance," Las Vegas Weekly, September 9 - 15, 1999
"A Closer Look at the Not So Liberal Media," Las Vegas Weekly, September 16 - 22
"Piper's Pit," Las Vegas Tribune, November 4 and 11, 1999
From "Fear of a Mulatto Planet" (or FMP for short)
Back in 1998, my professor conned me into writing a full-fledged biography as part of the dissertation that was to graduate me from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. The last thing I wanted, after having been censored more than a Jew in Germany or an anarchist in Russia because of my first two novels, was to write anything else - at least for a very long while. If you survive a dozen rounds with Mike Tyson, the last thing your ass feels like doing is scheduling a rematch! Actually, I shouldn't say "conned", my professor (whom I've the utmost respect for) just loved my writing so much he wanted to see more out of me. And more, and more, and more...
At any rate, I had been wanting to do something on either John Brown or Paul Robeson for quite some time. But any biography written by someone with the background in pop culture and professional wrestling (I used to be a Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart-esque manager) I have couldn't be in the format of the neutral, clinical biography of old. I'd have to explore Robeson's (it wound up being about Paul because our evil empire cut Brown's life so short that, beyond his raid on the federal arsenal, there ain't much to talk about) life and what they did to him on my own terms. So if you have a problem with ebonics or pop cultural metaphors, you should not choose to accept this mission impossible and let the tape self-destruct in ten seconds (See what I mean?). My Robeson bio being in the tradition of Michael Moore's Downsize This! and Al Franken's Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations wasn't what my professor had a problem with. It was all the sub-text commentary about a little thing I like to call Fear of a Mulatto Planet. About how at the root of all the suffering brown-skinned people on this planet have had to endure over the millennia at the hands of the white man is the fear that since blond hair and blue eyes or red hair and freckles (as superficial biological cosmetic aesthetics go) can't survive a bath in brown or even tan blood, then one day whites will look around and find themselves a minority nationally as well as internationally - if not extinct. In other words, the worse case scenario (from the white supremacist point of view) is if one were to time travel a couple of or a few centuries into the future and find the only ones wearing kilts and cowboy hats were Ice T and Mariah Carey lookalikes.
My professor wasn't having it, and though I have to grudgingly admit loving how his disbelief of FMP kept me honest and challenged me to dig up even more evidence than I otherwise would've bothered with, fact is him being the Scully to my Mulder was wearing thin. In his faculty evaluation (i.e., what's in my official transcripts) he says the following: "He [being me] usually showed good ability to support his claims, e.g., that Robeson was repressed and censored because he was a strong and courageous black man who had red (left) politics.He is less persuasive in his claim that the fear of interracial sex and of the resulting mulatto population is the fundamental cause of racism in the United States in the past and present [italics mine]."
Actually, I made the case that fear of a mulatto planet was global (Why is immigration such an issue in Europe?), but anyway, you get the picture. The ironic thing was before my professor had even written the aforementioned, the November 6th 1998 issue of The Olympian ran a piece by one Joel Coffidis with this headline in its South Sound section: INTERRACIAL COUPLE FIND CROSS ON LAWN. The main paper of record in the very college town we were in went and accidentally (and unfortunately) confirmed what I was writing about. But despite the fact that the hate crime in question went down in our backyard, it still wasn't enough for my professor.
However, the more evidence he made me dig up, the more I began to feel as though this was a subject which must be talked more about. If FMP ain't the motive for all this chaos and mayhem, what else could it possibly be? And since I never hear it spoken of in "African American" circles except in hushed whispers and the occasional crack from a stand up comedian, I've taken it upon myself as my new crusade (as if I didn't have enough windmills to tilt as it is). Which is why I took the introduction of the Robeson biography in its entirety (and even added some extra goodies) and turned it into a pamphlet. Oprah and the rest of those Gobbels successors on the talk show circuit may continue to censor me, but hopefully I can continue to distribute these and who knows? If Marty McFly from Back to the Future can change the course of history by doing something as simple as getting hit by a car that was supposed to have hit his daddy, maybe I'll make a difference yet. It's the dawn of the millenium, after all. Some of anything could happen.
I'll leave you with a little ditty that was never in the intro, but related to all this just the same. It's from the second to the very last column I wrote for Evergreen's student paper (I told you my professor kept me busy), The Cooper Point Journal.
Finally, the Revelations, and I'm really tired of white folks swimming in denial over this one, but it's clear that Ronald (six letters) Wilson (six letters) Reagan (six letters) is the Anti-Christ. Period. The reason why whites demonize the concept of a one-world government as being the base of operations for the Beast is because they oh so conveniently fail to make the distinction between a one-world dictatorship and a one-world democracy. In a one-world democracy, the majority would obviously rule, and since the majority of the world is brown-skinned... ! Uh huh, so much for the conspiracy theories of the Montana/Michigan militias. Black helicopters my ass! Fear of a black planet is more like it!
Introduction - "Fear of a Mulatto Planet"
Black coloring has permitted inhabitants of Africa to withstand and ward off the effects of a hostile sun since the very beginning of human kind.
Part of the package that the first man who could truly be called a man (and woman), possessed was protection from the sun. As he and she ranged farther and farther away, maybe a few miles every generation or so, over a period of many generations, humankind found themselves quite far from his and her place of origin. Just like every other animal, mankind had had to adjust to the prevailing environment, or fall victim to it. As mankind moved farther away from Africa, he underwent physical change; eventually he became, in several ways, quite different from his and her African forebears.
Any and all differences in members of the same species... were attributable to an adjustment to a different environment. The farther humankind moved from Africa, the less they needed pigmentation to ward off the sun's rays. In fact, just the opposite. In colder climates, with sparse sunlight, the people needed to be able to absorb the sun more because there was less of it, so no pigmentation was needed to protect people from the effects of too much sun and its attendant ultraviolet rays.
- Carlton Lewis, from his book Pigmentation.
Human beings exhibit a range of skin colors, depending on the level of the biochemical compound melanin in the skin. Melanin serves to protect the skin against ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, which can damage DNA in skin cells and lead to skin cancer (still one of the most common forms of cancer today). Humans whose ancestry derives largely from very sunny climes, such as the African continent, have dark skin because people with dark skin were much more likely to survive in those regions than people with lighter skin. People whose ancestors came from Northern Europe, on the other hand, tend to be light-skinned because high melanin content isn't particularly beneficial there. . .
Biologists do not recognize any major biological significance in minor differences in human skin color. The notion of "race" is not based on biological principles.
- Andre Bormanis, from his book, Star Trek Science Logs.
Excuse us for the news
You might not be amused
But did you know white comes from black
No need to be confused
- Public Enemy, from their rap, "Fear of a Black Planet."
And hath made of one blood all nations of men... - The Holy Bible, Acts 17:26
If I recall my Christian mythology, the Tower of Babel story referred to the division of the human race but focused on language, not the skin tone/facial feature/hair texture-based (sub) cultures we today erroneously call "races." However, if there is any validity to the Bible, "Babel" may very well be a metaphor for the aforementioned.
The creation myth of the Nation of Islam claims that at one point Mecca was akin to Atlantis or Shangri-La. A utopian metropolis populated by dark-skinned blacks until a light-skinned (read, mulatto) mad scientist named Yacub was exiled in Luciferian fashion to an Island of Dr. Moreau of sorts, where he created all the so-called races of the world. It wasn't continental drift coupled with generational migration, mind you, it was a laboratory with Frankensteinian gene splicing and genetic engineering technology we don't even have today - and this story of the "honorable" Elijah Muhammad's is supposed to be set over six thousand years ago! What, the man never heard of Charles Darwin?
Alas, within every mythos, there lies a germ of truth. There was a point in which the black man did rule the Earth. The Egyptian empire was the American empire of its day, and the operative word here is "empire," for as Marcus Garvey so accurately put it to a friend of his, "We were the first fascists." Meaning there wasn't (or isn't) anything inherently utopian about an all-black (or any all-black) society. Just ask Moses.
And yet, as Dr. W.E.B. DuBois said in 1938 (one year after Garvey said what he did about being fascistic), "Most men in this world are colored. A Faith in humanity, therefore, a belief in the gradual growth and perfectibility of men [i.e., the very basis of Gene Roddenberry's utopian series Star Trek] must, if honest, be primarily a belief in colored men."
The white supremacists of the world, be they in Cape Town, South Africa or Cobb County, Georgia all suffer from a lack of said faith in varying degrees, and in order to truly understand racism (the practice of carving up the human race into many races for the express purpose of division and conquest) this must be addressed.
While the human rights record of ancient Egypt was nothing to be proud of, it was in fact a thriving civilization. Therefore, the fear on the part of white supremacy that blacks wouldn't be able to do just fine by themselves is completely unfounded. The African empires of old didn't fall because they were black, they fell because they were fascistic, and (thanks to human nature) no fascist regime in history has ever been able to last very long - no matter how efficient it was. Just ask Hitler.
Egypt was blessed with the Nile River, and the Nile allowed the Egyptians to trade and communicate with their neighbors with relative ease. But after their time was up, the English Channel and the many tributaries of Europe allowed for its successors to Egypt's imperialism to do just as well. It wasn't racial superiority, it was all those waterways and byways, and how they can get a merchant (as in the post-feudal Mercantile Revolution) from point a to point b.
But of course, the white empires wound up imperializing a lot farther than the Africans ever dreamed, and I believe (and can prove) that the added edge, the motivation behind it all was a little thing I call fear of a mulatto planet, or FMP for short.
Riddle me this, Batman (I warned you in the disclaimer), if Michael Jordan and Cindy Crawford had a son, who would he look like? Tiger Woods! If Tiger Woods and, say, Jennifer Love Hewitt had a son, who would he look like? Ice T! And if Ice T and - oh, I don't know, any one of the white Spice Girls had a son, who would he look like? Brandon Lee (it's important to note this is a result of genetic seniority, NOT superiority- remember who evolved first)!
The moral of this little hypothetical construct is that it would take at least three generations for Cindy Crawford's descendants to start looking like her again. And while there are (in today's slightly more civilized age) quite a few whites out there who wouldn't mind or couldn't care less, fact is there hasn't been near about enough to ensure the safety and well being of people of color throughout history...
I may not can pinpoint the date (any more than a rape victim can positively identify a ski-masked rapist - but that still doesn't make her delusional for saying she was raped), but I know there had to have been a point - be it during the Greek, the Roman, the Spanish, or the English empire - in which the word finally got around to all the white elitists of the world that they would eventually become biologically assimilated. Given Dr. DuBois was right about how "most men in this world are colored" and given the validity of my hypothetical construct (which I'm certain those elitists found out for themselves while "sowing their royal oats"). There are some 600 million people in Africa as of this writing and there aren't nearly that many blond and blue eyed or red headed and freckled people on the entire planet. Not to mention all the brown and tan people in Latin America, India, Asia, etc . . . Does the name Custer mean anything to you? Or should I say y'all?
It certainly meant something to the elitists, which is why, for instance, many a law had to be passed and enforced during the early days of American slavery to "keep 'em separated" as the modern rock song from The Offspring goes. In A People 's History of the United States, Boston University's professor emeritus Howard Zinn speaks of how one Governor Lyttletown of South Carolina would make it government policy to drive a wedge between Native Americans and fugitive African slaves. Not just out of fear of mass/class struggle, but, as Professor Zinn phrased it -
If there had been the natural racial repugnance that some [racist] theorists have assumed, control would have been easier. But sexual attraction was powerful, across racial lines. In 1743, a grand jury in Charleston, South Carolina, denounced "The Too Common Practice of Criminal Conversion with Negro and other [white, as in indentured servants] Slave Wenches in this Province." Mixed offspring continued to be produced by white-black sex relations throughout the colonial period, in spite of laws prohibiting interracial marriage in Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, Georgia [in other words, the whole bloody union]. By declaring the children illegitimate, they would keep them inside the black families, so that the white population could remain "pure" and in control.
That last line, about declaring us mulattos (What, you didn't know I was one?) illegitimate was probably one of the worst mistakes white supremacy ever could've made. The whole point is to decrease the numbers of your enemy, not increase them, but who ever said white supremacists were bright? The "one drop rule" as it's known in black studies circles is, if anything, the one thing that makes the battle for white supremacy (at least in the minds of the supremacists) akin to fighting off an invasion of vampires of the Borg from Star Trek.
Think about it. A human can't change a vampire into a human, but a vampire can change a human into a vampire. The same is the case with the Borg. With the possible exception of Star Trek: Voyager's Seven of Nine, Starfleet can't assimilate the Borg, but the Borg can cocksure assimilate Starfleet. And for the record, I am not living in a fantasy world. Tucker Estron, publisher of the "zine" Otherwise wrote a review in the eighth anniversary issue (May 1998) of the Olympia, Washington based paper, Works In Progresson a sequel to the science fiction movie "Species." And in it, Estron says the following:
The parallels with the way the human characters in Species consider Sil's [the protagonist's] DNA a contamination of the white race should be evident. In both cases, any amount - no matter how insignificant - of genetic connection to the Other is enough to make a person one of Them. To a white racist, any African ancestry, no matter how slight, makes one black (and in their view, subhuman). To the xenophobes in Species, any alien ancestry, no matter how slight, makes one an alien (and therefore both not-human and in their view, subhuman). That the moviemakers chose a shiny black creature as Sil's alien form was probably an unconscious move [whatever]; but it still sends a message about the prejudices that are endemic in American culture, and the news is not good.
Then again, the one-drop rule was probably inevitable. If you can't love someone who looks like Michael Jordan, chances are you're going to have trouble loving someone who looks like Tiger Woods too, despite there being a couple of shades of difference between them.
'Course, that didn't stop black women from being repeatedly raped by slavemasters for centuries, but that went on primarily because the white male slavers were in control. Things back then were more sexist than they are now, and as such, the white male figured it was ultimately the man who decided when babies were born and how many ("my body, my choice" didn't exist back then). That control, that power, if you will, was never supposed to be shared with the black man.
And then we went and won the Civil War.