"Majority Can Be Mistaken"

Majority Can Be Mistaken

One of the most influential women in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Ella Baker, noted that "Oppressed people, whatever their level of formal education, have the ability to understand and interpret the world around them, to see the world for what it is, and move to transform it". I would partly disagree with that. A more fundamental condition for 'retaining a clearer vision of reality' is simply that one is not infected by the current dominant culture. It is toxic. Even the oppressed can turn blind when exposed to the current dominant culture. Of course, the oppressed who've managed to retain their ways are an exception. Here are some words of wisdom by the Muskogee-Creek Native American Elder Phillip Deere:
  • We believe in The Truth... The native people are believers in the truth, and not in facts. A lot of times, I go before the press, they ask me how many people I represent, because they believe in the democratic form of government. They want to know how many followers I have. But I let them know that I'm not representing a thousand people, but I represent the truth. And it doesn't take a thousand people behind me to prove the truth. If it's the truth, then you have to admit that it is the truth. Do we believe in majority to bring about the truth? Where did President Nixon go? The majority elected him. But the majority couldn't make him do the right thing. And if people in this country believes in majority so much, if [as a leader] I would ask them, go down this street down here and burn every church house on the corner, how many followers would I get? Nobody would follow me to burn down these church houses. But it is true that majority of people killed Jesus Christ. If people followed majority, they would follow me. But I don't believe in majority. Majority can be mistaken.
  • --Phillip Deere, from a 1979 interview, "Majority Can Be Wrong"
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