“BP: While I completely acknowledge the historical fact of white responsibility …how long do we wait for white folks to change? And what do we get out of continuously speaking truth to someone who can’t hear? We have so much changing and growing to do ourselves yet have the time to muse on when the drunk will finally put the plug in the jug and stop. It may likely never happen. 

Whites have no incentive, NONE, to change. What’s the downside of racism/white supremacy for them? It is our people who need to change because Plymouth Rock rests on us – those of us who can change that is – and we need to ally ourselves with anybody who is “truly” conscious….whatever that means.

“Organization presupposes unity,” so said Kwame Nkrumah. We need to organize and let those other chips fall where they may. What is our vision for a new world? Where are we going? What do we want to do? “Appealing to the moral conscience of white folks,” who have neither morals nor conscience according to Malcolm, seems like a futile exercise, no matter how much truth we invest in the telling.” thefreeslave

Every once in a while (unfortunately not often enough), I read something which causes my inner being… my soul to applause. The above comment by Lubangakene, aka thefreeslave, on the post “When Will America Take Responsibility For Slavery?” is one of those moments. It hits at the heart of my beliefs on what we need to do as a community… as a people… to empower ourselves. 

Brotherpeacemaker dropped a powerful post on why white people in America are historically responsible for slavery and the benefits they continue to reap even today from the status quo it created. In asking the question: “When Will America Take Responsibility For Slavery?” , it is necessary to ask ourselves also: “What do we expect America, white people in particular, to do to take this responsibility?” Are we seeking an acknowledgment of their sins through an apology? Are we seeking a humble plea for forgiveness? Are we seeking reparations? Are we hoping that white people will take us to their bosoms, accept us as their brothers and sisters, and treat us like one of their own? Lubangakene is right on point when he states that white people have no incentive to change… so we must change… and unite.

One of the life changing realizations I came to during my pilgrimage to Africa, was that the beliefs and values of the eurocentric society in which I lived… it’s way of thinking… it’s way of seeing and defining the world… was not as powerful as I had always believed. I immediately became emancipated of it’s grip on my spirit, soul, body and mind. I then made a conscious decision to embark on a process (which continues to this day) to change: to empower myself… to strip away the fear to embark into unknown territory… to continually redefine myself as the basis of my ever transforming relationship with God, other people and society in general.

In regards to the eurocentric dominant culture, this has meant four things. One, I no longer felt any responsibility to be their teacher (and/or confessor… as a way for them to ease the angst of their white privilege) on the effects of white supremacy – eurocentric superiority thinking and practice on people of colour. Two, I had no desire for the material and/or societal trinkets which signifies “success” in their society. I could no longer be bought. My soul… beliefs, values and principles… are more important to me than to “gain the world”. Three, I don’t expect anything from white people. I don’t expect them to be fair. I don’t expect them to be just. I don’t expect them to be empathetic to my situation or to the struggles of people of African descent. I don’t expect them to take any sort of responsibility for their past, present or future behaviours. Finally, I care about all people… regardless of nationality, ethnicity, colour, religion, gender, age and sexual orientation… who are oppressed and/or taken advantage of. I don’t compare and rate oppressions on a scale. However with that being said, the issues concerning people of African descent are first and foremost in mind… because I am one of them… and what we need to do, not only to overcome to survive, but more importantly, to empower ourselves to live, is the core of my cause.

The most significant consequence from this renewed mindset is that my primary focus is no longer on what the dominant society (or white people for that matter) do or did not do. It drains my energy that could be utilized for more empowering endeavours. My focus and therefore my energy, became taking control of my existence by continued empowerment through personal responsibility. Simply put, I realized that I had no power over what others did, but I was responsible for what I did and how I go about doing it. Life is dynamic. It’s about making choices. It’s about accepting or rejecting the opportunity to change… to grow. As I gain more spiritual and intellectual knowledge, as well as life experience, I go through the process… most often a painful process… to let go of what I had believed and valued… and change so I can grow. 

Now this does not mean that I live in a dream world or believe that we will achieve nirvana anytime soon. The “damning” effects of racism aka white supremacy – eurocentric superiority thinking and practice, on the everyday lives of people of African descent worldwide, is real. It is entrenched… and due in part to globalization, it is widening, growing and deepening (another post for another day). It needs to be confronted and defeated daily! This certainly takes community commitment and community responsibility. However, it starts with personal commitment and personal responsibility. “Organization presupposes unity.”  Well said. 

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18.

Lubankagene poses these life affirming questions: “What is our vision for a new world? Where are we going? What do we want to do?”  The issue then becomes: where should we focus our energies? He provides a key to this answer: “Appealing to the moral conscience of white folks, who have neither morals nor conscience according to Malcolm, seems like a futile exercise, no matter how much truth we invest in the telling.” Sweet! 

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” Bob Marley.