Black Skin, White Mask

Friday, 3 June 2022 — CovertAction Magazine

By Jeremy Kuzmarov

If formally nominated by the White House and confirmed by the Senate, Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley would become the first Black four-star Marine Corps officer.Lt. General Michael Langley [Source:]

Lt. General Michael Langley is poised to become the first Black commander of AFRICOM—a neocolonial force whose main purpose is to enable Western corporate pillage of Africa.

We have seen Blacks assist in the subjugation of their own people before and it is not something to cheer about.

In his 1952 book Black Skin, White Masks, Algerian psychiatrist Frantz Fanon warned about the emergence of post-colonial African leaders who would do the bidding of the former colonial powers.

A picture containing text, book</p> <p>Description automatically generated[Source:]

Were he still alive, Fanon would not be surprised at how the last remaining imperial power is poised to appoint a Black man—Michael Langley, a 37-year army man who served overseas in Afghanistan, Somalia and Okinawa—to head its Africa military command (AFRICOM).

Obama and AFRICOM chief General David Rodriguez | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city's independent newspaper, unbossed and unboughtObama and then AFRICOM chief David Rodriguez in 2012. [Source:]

It was the first Black U.S. President, Barack Obama, who expanded the number of AFRICOM military bases in Africa from three to 84, contributing to the effective recolonization of Africa.

AFRICOM today sustains ties to 53 African nations and provides a cover for an estimated 9,000 U.S. troops in Africa.

AFRICOM Founder & First Deputy, Robert Moeller, Passes Away in Washington, D.C. | Vince Crawley's Africa BlogRobert Moeller [Source:]

AFRICOM founder Vice Admiral Robert Moeller admitted that one of AFRICOM’s guiding principles was “protecting the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market.”

In April, AFRICOM announced that it would open an office in copper-rich Zambia as part of its ongoing expansion.

Zambia’s former representative to the African Union (AU), Emmanuel Mwamba, considered AFRICOM’s expansion a betrayal of previous Zambian leaders’ efforts to remain non-aligned.

Documents Show Vast Network of U.S. Military Bases in AfricaA map of U.S. military bases—forward operating sites, cooperative security locations, and contingency locations—across the African continent from declassified Fiscal Year 2015 U.S. Africa Command planning documents. [Source:[Source:]
SADC security forces told be alert to emerging threats - defenceWebSADC security forces represent an important local alternative to AFRICOM. [Source:]

The AU and Southern African Development Community (SADC) for years had tried to resist the establishment of U.S. and other foreign military bases in Africa, and to develop their own standby military forces and security architecture designed to prevent a return to the era of colonialism.

A Historic Appointment?

The New York Times gushed about Langley’s potential appointment—he has been recommended by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to become the next AFRICOM commander—calling it “historic.”[1]

But historic for whom?

The U.S. military to be sure has an abysmal record of promoting African-Americans: The Marine Corps has never had anyone other than a white man in its senior leadership and four-star posts, and only 30 Blacks have ever obtained the rank of General.[2]

Retired Lieutenant General Ronald L. Bailey, the first Black man to command the First Marine Division, was quoted in The New York Times as saying that the promotion of Langley, whom he has known since he was a First Lieutenant, “is bigger than Langley. This is for our nation. It’s been a glass ceiling for years, and now Black Marines will see that this is possible.”[3]

New CCF Advisory Board Member: Lieutenant General Ronald L. Bailey, USMC | Carrington Charitable FoundationGeneral Ronald L. Bailey [Source:]

The fact that a glass ceiling has been broken, however, does not erase the fact that Langley is now in a position to hasten the exploitation of Black people throughout Africa.

And he can do so more effectively than a white by helping to give the illusion that U.S. policy is designed to help Africans.

In his 2020 book Understanding the War Industry (Atlanta: Clarity, 2020), Christian Sorensen emphasizes how the U.S. war industry has sustained a progressive veneer through more minority appointments and by emphasizing the diversity of its workforce.

Langley’s likely appointment is but the latest example. It is of little solace to Africans who suffer the humiliation of having their countries occupied by a white foreign power.

  1. Eric Schmitt and Helene Cooper, “A Historic Endorsement for U.S. Commander in Africa,” The New York Times, May 21, 2022, A19. 
  2. Idem. 
  3. Idem. 

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