I love how if you critique any Afrikan held up by Eurocentric media, someone almost immediately accuses you of “hating on them.” I hate no one and moreover, in order to have hate or strong dislike, you have to have strong feelings towards the individual or individuals being “hated.” I don’t feel attached to “celebrities,” or “stars,” as the Eurocentric world defines them, nor do I feel they have some special, privileged role to play in social change. Certainly they can use their status to speak positively towards change and their resources to help facilitate activism, but real social change in my mind is always based on the participation of the people and their organizations and moves in a certain direction. And critique is not personal criticism or “hating” anyway. In my mind, its simply situating a particular individual who may or may not be prominent, in the context of the worldview structure that makes them prominent and seem important and the role they play in that structure.
Afrikan revolution is based on creating institutions independent of the Eurocentric political, economic, and social structure, controlled by Afrikans, and built on Afrikan principles. What we need is a change in the structure not a few dollars distributed within it. I can donate a billion dollars to feed the hungry but if the system that makes people hungry is not changed, you will need another billion tomorrow.
I believe integration has nearly destroyed the Afrikan community here and in many other places around the world. Integration meant two things, the abandonment of any kind of independent financial base within the community (guaranteeing an economic based on begging, bumming, borrowing, and stealing) and the invasion of our culture which has led us to be confused about who we are, whose we are, our history, our language, and everything else about us.
Desegregation was fine. Breaking down the barriers so we could exercise the rights of other citizens, but integration was a trick which led us to become totally dependent on other people and their cultures and worldviews while denigrating our own.
Think about it. Sojourner truth was saying “ain’t I a woman?” In the 1960s brothers said “I am a man.” and now here we are in 2016 trying to convince folks that “black lives matter.” Ever since we have been here we have been trying to integrate with a system that does not accept our fundamental humanity. The issue then is not that it does but that WE do. Black lives matter, but they must first matter to us. We must stop killing each other, hating each other, mistrusting each other, abusing each other, defrauding each other, undoing the slave mentality and the colonial mentality and do what every other group here and abroad has done and that is build collectively for our people for the future. No one else is going to do it and you can integrate until you turn bred, white, and blue, there is no workaround. GOD himself says he or she who does not work (for themselves) does not eat.
We have always had wealthy folk. Even during slavery, some slaves in the house or who had favor were given some land and money, some were even given their own slaves and then they were raised up as models. But my view is I am less concerned about them and what they do than the plight of the masses still stuck on the plantation.
Afrikans teach that what happens is directly connected to what you and we EXPECT to happen. When we say negative things about each other constantly and have negative expectations, we create spiritual energies that move the result and combine with our physical work to realize the negativity. The word “gospel” means GOOD news. The old R and B record said “Tell Me Something Good.” So I get it. We’ve been hurt, disappointed, misused, betrayed, and seen this fail before. Our enslaved ancestors and folks like my parents who lived more than half their lives in legal segregation had it worse, but what amazes me is how they not only believed, but somehow KNEW collectively that THIS day, when THOSE oppressions at least would be gone would come, and they walked from ship to plantation to selma in that faith. We can give up and die and spend what time we have left talking about all the stuff we failed at or don’t like about each other. Or, we can be like Nat Turner or Tubman or Douglass and say “I’d rather die and go to my grave than be a slave.” And if you buy THAT idea, then anything short of death towards freedom is worth giving a shot, again and again, and you look for the GOOD in your people, the GOOD in your organizations, the GOOD in your history together. You don’t IGNORE the bad or fail to correct the wrong, but your attitude is always positive because you know that there is always a path that will lead to that better day. I challenge all of us, beginning with ME, to think of reasons to be encouraged about who we are and what we can and will do despite enemies, snakes, and goofs. I got to believe in yall, I got to love yall, cause God, the deities, the ancestors and us is all we got when it comes to this war. The cards on the table and even if I die by my own brothers or sisters brainwashed words or hands, I got to go “all in” for the people.
If you choose not to lend a hand in the kitchen, complaining about the food is an idle proposition. Whatever we create towards our empowerment as a people, at the grassroots level is ultimately in our hands. We can talk about challenges with each other and make changes and improve it or be our own self-fulfilling prophets of doom and gloom. It’s interesting how it’s relatively easy for us to stay engaged with various systems of white supremacy and Eurocentrism that dissatisfy us, but the minute WE try something that doesn’t work right, “I’m done with yall.” Walmart mess up? Even if we boycott, we head right back. Community store mess up? “That’s why I never work with yall. It’ll never work.” We even try to discourage others from engaging. Choosing to work with your people and build through screwups is a choice. If I withdraw, nobody is going to miss me. That would be ego, thinking the people need ME. I need them. I am because we are. Instead let me say cognitively that any mistakes I see, give me a special insight and responsibility to contribute to make it better,by dialoguing with my people. If you and I are willing to do it everyday with a power structure we KNOW we don’t control, that often acts against us, we can do it for our own. It’s like all these people who criticize the church in the community. I look at them and say “JOIN one, build a collective and you LEAD the activism you want to see or at least advocate for it, inside as family, not outside as an enemy.” I work to transform the church with clergy and laity. It’s harder than seeing errors and throwing stones at the stained glass windows, but far more productive towards the ends. If we want to change our collective condition, we must change the collective slave mentality that makes us respond to our own natal efforts with “Here are the reasons I WON’T engage.” Think of reasons to stay in, and not just sit outside waiting for magical improvement, but lead or introduce it, not as a rival for self-interested ego, but as a fellow soldier. We have to get free and if we value our collective freedom, we have to stay in despite the pain with faith that our faithfulness will be rewarded in us finally getting our ships righted where they falter.
People with no money should never get conned into believing they can liberate themselves with nonprofit ventures. That concept keeps the poor either poor or dependent on philanthropy. What you need is profit making ventures which provide jobs and training and money, some of which can then finance your politics.
As for parties, I am neither Democrat nor Republican and have no special allegiance to either. What I do have allegiance to is my people and their condition. If you have ideas that will move us constructively towards the improvement of their condition I will work with you. When I HAVE voted, which is not often, I have voted for Republicans and Democrats, Greens and Libertarians, and others. At some point we HAVE to get more sophisticated in our politics and not be so shallow as to blindly support one party or blindly reject another, making ourselves irrelevant to both, recognizing that parties are one thing, people are another. And the agenda and not the individual or the party should be the ultimate focus of our work. We have been betrayed by both of the major parties many times historically. There are good people in both and bad people in both. What determines their value to us is what they DO with respect to our collective condition. Let THAT be the litmus test for evaluation. And let us recognize also that whatever your party affiliation, the man or woman you support may lose. Now if that happens, you can sit around and lament and watch your people deteriorate, OR you can find a way to build a bridge and make a would-be enemy a friend or at least a contingent ally, blunting the worst they could do and challenging them to do more than they ever thought they could. You don’t have diplomacy with friends, but with those who are not or at least who don’t seem to be.
Any man that intentionally abuses a girl or a woman be it mentally or physically is for me, no matter what his age, not a man at all nor worthy of any respect for pretending to be one.
My moral lines don’t change when it’s convenient or when everyone else is going in the opposite direction. I will stand for God and what He reveals to me is just right regardless. For those who are enemies of our people and among US. I am as concerned about us raping our boys and girls, beating our men and women, assaulting and killing each other as I am concerned when those who are declared and/or proven enemies do it, maybe MORE so because the damage in such cases is greater and longer lasting, and because such actions automatically provide an acceptable rationale for the actions of others against us. Afrikan lives will matter first when Afrikan lives matter to all Afrikan people because then, and only then, will we be able to collectively demand respect from others and collaborately defend ourselves and cultivate a common agenda for our survival. In the absence of Afrikan love for collective self in evidence by action, pronouncements of “Afrikan lives matter” and related things are vain, merely symbolic, rhetorics that have a short-term shelf life for social relevance and an even shorter likelihood of long-term impact.
Hypocrisy, double standards, and moral equivocation are not more acceptable when they come from oppressed people than when they emerge from the elite. “Black” sh** stinks too. And it has still got to be cleaned up, like any other variety. Stepping around it, pretending it is not there leaves us all walking “in the mess.”