Excuse Me? Butt Out.

When Afrikans talk about their own history and try to correct myths and errors, usually someone (inevitably a Euroamerican or European) will say “well you didn’t ALSO mention X” as if it is the unique or particular obligation of Afrikans or any other globally oppressed people to raise the name of every analogous situation or peoples just to justify their assertion. That’s false and part of the philosophical system of Eurocentrism. I know, for example, that indigenous people were enslaved here in Babylon as well. I don’t have to SAY or PROVE I know that to legitimate ANYTHING I say about AFRIKAN enslavement here. Conversely, it is totally valid and necessary, at times, for an indigenist revolutionary to talk about THEIR enslavement experience WITHOUT including mine. Nor does my NOT mentioning it or their NOT mentioning me, somehow mean we are unaware of each other’s struggle or not mutually sympathetic to each other, but that is NOT MY struggle and I have no right to commandeer it and claim any authority there and this is not theirs. We have to avoid this trap that the system gets to focus on one narrative and hone its power and force on the oppressed while all the people who fight the system have the prerequisite of including EVERYONE else’s narrative. The European community, a global organization, does not attempt to address Afrikan membership or perspectives. It is THEIR organization, for THEIR purposes and perspectives. Afrikans have the same right to have organizations, discussions, and perspectives for THEMSELVES and to talk about themselves for themselves without the necessity to be sure that they include every other group, struggle, and issue. This is Eurocentric liberalism which protects the system by saying that all fights are the same and all fights are your fights. Oppressed people who try to meet that standard will never get any kind of unified agenda around anything or will be internally divisive as the different issues cut different ways and impede coalition. My struggle is not everyone’s struggle or ALL struggles and I don’t make that claim, nor do I expect everyone to mention the Afrikan struggle in the context of THEIRS if it is not relevant to the point and effort they are making. Eurocentrists talk about their cultures and civilizations without including anyone and that is considered okay. But there is this implicit requirement that Afrikans or Latinos or anyone else has to be all inclusive, often including the Eurocentrists themselves. Rubbish.

I respect everyone and I am all for coalitions, but I reject coalitions with anything and anyone that have as a prerequisite the idea that I cannot speak Afrikan truth to power for Afrikan purposes without including a whole bunch of other stuff that while, related in an abstract way, is not to the point. I think in particular of the move to convert all “black” student centers which were areas of Afrikan student organization at predominantly Euroamerican campuses to “multicultural” or international centers. The rhetoric is that we’re being more inclusive. What you are doing and it’s clear is first, diluting the centers as a place for Afrikan student and staff community organization, effectively eliminating that activity. Then you are diluting the power of the other groups by lumping them all together as if the struggle of Afrikans (mostly US born) is the same as the struggle of the handicapped, those with different languages, the struggles against patriarchy, being foreign-born, the struggles of Latinos (foreign and not). You get to spend one budget on all of those and claim diversity. It’s not really about advancing inclusion, it’s about reducing the scope of your commitment to diversity and disguising it demonically as liberal progress. And the empirical reality is that while they were closing down “black” centers to make them more “diverse” and “inclusive,” nobody was changing all of the Euroamerican areas of the university to make them “inclusive.” Why does that the university wide multicultural campaign start with closing the “black” student center?” Because it’s not about inclusion. It’s about the same old Eurocentrism and white supremacy. Euro liberalism is nothing more than a kind face on neocolonialism. In Euro liberalism, the Eurocentrist gets to appear moral while doing the same thing the conservative does, but allegedly for “our” own good. So the conservative says close “black” centers because we don’t support them. The liberal says don’t close them, make them more “inclusive” by throwing everyone but the kitchen sink and every little special interest into them. We’re helping the oppressed by “unifying” them. (You’re also avoiding giving each of these issues and peoples the attention they deserve as human beings. You need 20 more centers, not a merge). A coalition means you add what I am doing to what you are doing or vice versa, it does mean you get to tell me what I can and cannot do and dictate the terms. That is not coalition OR being an ally. Someone needs to tell Eurocentric liberals to abandon that neocolonial mentality.

At my own university I ran into one of these bogus Euro liberals who was talking to me the chair of Black Studies, a department, “sympathetically” about the plight of Native American Studies and Latino and Latin American Studies which do not have departments. The argument was that to be “inclusive” WE should not be a department, that would establish equality. No! How about I write a letter with you and we all demand that those two JOIN us as departments? Watch the “liberal” disappear.


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