Your AfroSpear Circle, will over the next little while, each drop a post telling a bit about themselves, share why they got into blogging and what they hope to see Afrospear accomplish. TheFreeSlave, who I refer to by his African name, Lubangakene, started with his post: Intro To The AfroSpear: TheFreeSlave. Here is mine.
I was born in England, spent my formative years in Jamaica and grew up primarily in Toronto, Canada. I currently live in Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada. I’m 40 something, married, expecting my first child, and work in the national security field. I am a born again Christian and regularly attend a Pentecostal church. I took the African/Spiritual name of: Asabagna Alatentou, during a pilgrimage to West Africa in 1997, where I journeyed to Senegal, The Gambia and Ghana.
Looking back on my life, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to do and see a variety of things. I went to a drama school and worked as an actor for a number of years. During that period into the early 90’s, with a friend of mine (who was also the 2nd Best Man at my wedding…lol…), I co-wrote and co-produced a hip-hop funk style album, which had some local radio play and sales. This interest in the arts also included an interest in writing, which I had never seriously developed or pursued. My other interests include politics, African/Black culture, history, economics and religion. So all my experiences and interests led me to have definite opinions, beliefs and views on a variety of subjects and issues. I saw blogging as an avenue to write down, develop and share these beliefs with others in the Blogospehere (at the time), in the hopes of engaging and exchanging ideas.
The purpose of interacting with others for me has never been about arguing my beliefs, changing others’ opinions, showing how “intellectual” I am or being “right”. I read more than I comment. I listen more than I speak. It’s more beneficial to listen and learn from others’ experiences as well as their ideas, and to be open and humble enough to, if not accept or agree with, at least consider another “way” of doing or seeing things. So that is why I write what I feel. This term is a play on a couple of influential sources. There is a book entitled: “I Write What I Like”, on the writings of Steve Biko, a South African student activist who was murdered in 1977 by the apartheid regime. I once heard a speech by an African-American psychologist on the paradigms of white supremacy who stated that European society is more concerned about what you “think” (which is easier to control) than what you “feel”, and as people of African descent, what we “feel” about things is just as important as what we think. So, what I “feel” about any issue is a combination of what I know, believe, experience, read, heard, saw and what my inner voice (for me the voice of God)…. what all these factors has led me to hold as being “true”, in that moment of time.
For the issue of AfroSpear, I will reference the other post by Lubangakene: Gimme Five.
In regards to the internet, what strategies and tactics should we use to liberate ourselves?
- READ, READ, READ!!!! There is this saying, that if you want to hide something from Black people, write it down or put it in a book. There is a lot of information and knowledge that can be accessed through the internet. Be discriminating and discerning about what you read of course, but it can be utilized as a tremendous learning tool. Knowledge can bring power.
- Connect with those of African descent throughout the world. Learn about their history, culture and the dynamics of their society without any preconceived and/or elitist (western-based) notions. When I first started blogging, I did a search for Black bloggers. This is how I connected with TheFreeSlave and The Field Negro. I have done searches for blogs by Africans, those in the Caribbean, Black and African Women, Black Christians, to name a few. Through this method, I have been able to engaged with others.
- Create blog cells and collectives to encourage unification…. not primarily based on similar views, beliefs and/or opinions, but for benefiting from the diversity of our community.
- Create business and economic partnerships. Those of us with entrepreneurial abilities can connect and utilize our intellectual, financial and material resources to start multinational corporations based on fair trade policies.
- Become politically aware and involved with issues and causes that relate to those of African descent throughout the world. One method is through online petitions (see Bronze Trinity excellent comment in Gimme Five).
Pitfalls we need to avoid?
- Those of African descent (or who claim to be) who’s objective is to cause discord and dissention among us. The internet provides perfect anonymity of identity and motive.
- Demonizing others because they don’t hold your views, opinions and/or beliefs.
- Getting enslaved in the cloaks of deception and dissention through eurocentric based ideals of: conservatism, progressivism, liberalism, feminism, communism, socialism, and all the other divisive “isms” that were not created for our benefit.
- Getting ensnared in other peoples/groups struggles to our own detriment. Remember: “the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.” We need to also be mindful of this middle-eastern saying: “Me and my cousin against my neighbour. Me and my brother against my cousin.”
- Believing that those of African descent in other parts of the world have the same priorities or views on issues like we do in the west.
- African Development Bank fraud letters. LOL!!!!
What should be our initial first steps?
We’ve already made it and you are here also. So let’s continue this journey together.