I have always wondered, on a very basic level, beyond the emulating Euro-Americans to have what “they” have aspect, why a group of otherwise very intelligent Afrikans who want to honor scholarship, leadership, and service and supposedly build brotherhood and sisterhood among THEMSELVES choose to undergo or inflict potentially damaging cultural and physical rituals (which they mistaken think are all theirs and which often undermine the very goals just listed) to identify themselves as members of someone else’s culture (a culture by the way which invaded and enslaved Afrikans and stole Afrikan culture). It’s always been a head-scratcher. I was already a national leader, had a B+ average on the verge of the undergraduate degree and was working on building a name for myself in the international anti-apartheid movement when a brother on probation tried to convince me I HAD to join his group to “become a man,” “be a leader” etc. Not wanting to just call him crazy outright, I showed up at a prelim meeting. Prior to and during I had some people who had been through everything explain to me their experience in the “pledging” process. Right then I pulled the plug. Anyone who was going to hit me was running the risk of triggering mass violence and the notion that I was going to do a bunch of stuff that would endanger my education and leadership to allegedly join them to get both, was for me evidence of the effect of the crack epidemic. The real kicker was the treatment of women across the board. The alcoholism and the sexual debauchery was unbelievable. I also showed up at “black Greek beach weekend” and I felt so bad that the ancestors and the creator were somewhere watching and I kept trying to imagine what on earth they thought about it. The closest analogy I could come up with was the brothers and sisters I grew up with who had joined “gangs” where they had colors and logos and symbols and rituals and where the same general patterns of behavior or worse were prevalent. Like in the gangs, there were some people and some places where individuals seemed to be productive and okay despite the culture, engaging in service and succeeding individually, but for way too many membership gave them privileges to act completely out of character. And like for the “gangs,” there was this overriding pressure to join these to show you were a man or woman, the notion being that those who did were superior. I concluded that those who were most likely to survive all this stuff were those who already had service, leadership, and scholarship inclinations. But that latter point raised the issue of why those people would get involved in all that in the first place. I also concluded that there was a fundamental Duboisian and communally destructive aspect to the idea that in a divided, suffering community, only some “chosen few” were divine and therefore implicitly superior to the masses of their people. It was for me the talented tenth concept run amuck and I always thought that one of DuBois’ most elitist, sexist, and destructive ideas. It’s an “integrationist” mentality where some of our people are so conflicted about simply being themselves, that they can only function as part of something, believing that becoming part of something, even if it’s something symbolically and culturally problematic for our collective long term well being, is vital. I pray every day for the coming of the day when we realize that we are Afrikans not Greeks and that we should go through the somewhat easier ritual of being ourselves and then we won’t feel the need to let some fool hit us with stuff to think we can then be authorized to do scholarship, leadership, or service since that is part of our cultural heritage to begin with.
If ANYONE (“white”, “black”, or aqua maroon or turquoise) tells you that they HAVE to hit you, sexually violate you, denigrate you or disrespect you in ANY way as an Afrikan man or woman as a prerequisite for you to become a man or woman, to be a leader, to be a scholar, or to engage in communal service, they are LIARS under God and deluded by Satan. And it is likely that they do this just because they too, were lied to and deluded the same way and are feeling that shame (calling it “pride” to mask it psychologically). They therefore subconsciously feel the need to vindicate their own oppression by passing the stupidity on to you. If you ALLOW anyone to hit you, sexually violate you, denigrate you or disrespect you in any way as an Afrikan man or woman in this manner, you need not worry about your manhood or womanhood because you have sacrificed those already. Even slaves did not accept such treatment as valid. Many fought back to the death and those who could not, prayed for the day when those who could and would were born and sought to prepare the way for them. Nor are you a “leader” in that case, since you are in effect submitting yourself to the authority of an abuser. I pray still for higher consciousness among us. Particularly among our presumably best and brightest, many of whom are being permanently physically and psychologically scarred and taken off the battlefield as a result of such nonsense, and even more tragically like in the homicide situation, by their OWN.
Abuse prepares you for future abuse not resistance to it.
Attacks on self-esteem and dignity among a people who are trapped in a civilization that attacks their collective self-esteem and dignity are not progressive, but reactionary.