Richard Aoki: Valedictorian & Lumpen (In His Younger Years)

Richard Aoki

One of the things that seems to be odd is that, here I am. I’m a Japanese American. This is an African American based organization. So meeting there the first night of the founding, Huey asked me to join the Party. I looked at him and I looked at Bobby and I said, “I know you two guys are crazy, ‘cuz we drafted the program together. Are you blind as well? I’m not Black.” Then Huey responded by saying, “That’s not the issue, Richard. The struggle for Freedom, Justice, and Equality transcends racial and ethnic barriers. As far as I’m concerned, you Black.”

In fact at one point I had the title of being the “toughest Oriental to come out of West Oakland.”

At first I looked over the other majors: rejected psychology for their subjective approach to the problems of the world, and philosophy as nothing but thought, mental masturbation. Political science, I couldn’t deal with that at Berkeley, because at the time the Poly-Sci department at Berkeley was politically conservative. In fact some of the professors worked for the CIA and that was public knowledge.

Richard Aoki’s the definition of putting your brain juices to good use!


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