Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Understanding Leadership and Activating Power

BOND: All right. Let me challenge you here. At Fred Hampton's funeral, you said, "The power structure has genocide in their minds," and now anybody who looked at you today would say you are in the power structure. Now, you don't have genocide in your mind. So how do you balance these — ?

RUSH: I still have genocide in my mind.

BOND: Well, you don't want to practice it. You want to prevent it.

RUSH: Oh, you're talking about — oh, no. Okay. I understand what you're saying. I'm not a part of the power structure. Don't let me fool you now.

BOND: You're a member of the Congress.

RUSH: I'm a member of the Congress and everything like that, but I'm not a part of real power structure here. I have certain limited power, all right, and what my role is in the Congress is to get as many resources as I can back to those poor people who live in my district and in other places, but I would not — you know, I could not be in that comfort zone to say I was a member of the power structure. Sure, there're some powers and prerogatives and you have some influence and things like that, but it's not — if you take that and set it aside statically, you know, if you put it one of these shelves and say, "This is what the power is," then you really don't have it. You have to activate it, so division has to be a part of what motivates and energizes the power. The power has to be connected to the vision. It's not something that's static.

BOND: I see what you're saying.

RUSH: So, you know, again, in terms of — you know, we talked about the genocide. I could never be a part of something that was genocidal. However, I know that the society and the power structure, the real power structure, those who are in power but don't realize that the genocide is taking place on a day-to-day basis even in America, even in our own homes, I mean, our communities, but it's much more subtle now. It's not the way it was before and in some ways, it is the way it was before.

You know, most of the penitentiaries now, that's — to me, that's an aspect, a component of genocide in terms of having young black men and young black women locked up in the numbers that they are.

You know, the fact that the healthcare system — to me, that's a component, an aspect of a genocidal-type attitude even though it's not just the active genocide. The fact that we don't have in my neighborhood, in my city, produce — fresh produce is almost alien. You know, the fact that most of our young people grow up thinking that ketchup is a vegetable. That's a form of genocide to me. You know, so, and then you have all the other kinds of things that's going on with the dope and things like that, so I feel like that genocide is still a part of our lives as African Americans.