I have become quite blasé about Black History Month over the last few years. It’s not that I don’t consider it important, but in reality, it’s not something we really own.
I believe that we as a people need to invest our time and energy learning about our various histories, beginning in Africa and then in the lands, or islands of the Diaspora where we were forced to emigrate. We need to acknowledge, understand and appreciate first and foremost, that there were a variety of cultures in Africa before the invasion of the Arabs and Europeans and that there are also a variety of cultures within Africa today. The same can be stated about the variety of cultures throughout the African Diaspora.
Once we come to the realization that although we are not homogeneous in thought, beliefs, values and culture… and not fear but appreciate this… and focus on the fact that as African people we do have a shared experience, historical as well as contemporary that we can build a sense of unity upon, then I believe Black and African history will be significant to us. Then it won’t be just an Eurocentric based illusion to pacify the African/Black savages, a trinket given once a year, in the shortest and coldest month of the year, as a penance to sooth the European conscience. Then it will be something we own daily, as we educate and enlighten ourselves daily, as we educate and enlighten our sons and daughters daily, as we educate and enlighten our family and community daily.
It is in this spirit that I share these articles by John Henrik Clarke with you entitled, “The African’s Influence in the New World”. It’s a lecture he gave in London England in 1986. It is presented in a 3 part series in the African Executive webzine.
The African’s Influence in the New World Part 1
The African’s Influence in the New World Part 2
The African’s Influence in the New World Part 3
Not loving ourselves enough ,recognizing, respecting and appreciating our differences have been the detriment of African people.
God loved us so much that African people were the first to attained every type of knowledge including the spiritual one but Africans were also the ones to squander them foolishly .
We do not have to go back into history to see that it was very easy for one tribe as a result of warfare after acquiring captives (spoils of war) to sell them off to outsiders(Arabs and Europeans).
There tribalism presented its biggest sting. African Muslisms had no qualms helping Arab Muslisms capture their fellow non-Muslim African. The very Arabs came back for them .
Even today, tribalism is still a big issue on the continent.
If Europeans can overcome tribalism and create the European Union, then African people can learn something worthwhile from them
The Chinese although an ancient people, scattered in a vast region, not having any kind of political national unity in the early days, never allowed themselves to be bamboozled and fall prey to outsiders.
I scoff at all those black people who believe that Pan Africanism is only about having black skin and wearing a natural hairstsyle.
Right now there is a cultural movement in places like Argentina and Uruguay to ressurrect African culture and many of of those involved are not even black but they represent a better example of blackness than many of the black people I have met here in these United States.
I look for customs,agendas, beliefs and traditions that exhalt black people regardless of color.
If I do not see anything exhalting or uplifting , I do not care how black that person is and what they are saying.
There are some truths that most be digested:
Culture, education and acquiring vast knowledge of practically everything, especially that of African people are very important.
People of African descent are not a monolith.
No particular group of black people in the Diaspora is blacker than the other .
Black people speak many different languages and come in many different skin shades.
Skin color does not mean much when you have within families people of different hues.
Black boys must be taught to respect black girls/women and vice versa.
If we teach our children to love, respect and appreciate their cultural groups, most of their problems will disappear.
I will hate to believe that when the ancestors walked the gangplank of that particular area of no return, that, in itself represented the entire rupture and breakaway of selves and an illustration of what we see today in many people of African descent throught the entire world.