“I do have a job but I have to work tons of overtime just to be able to afford food, shelter & clothing. My father made it a point to teach me African American History. I was reading Langston Hughes and W.E.B. DuBois as a child. However no matter how knowledgeable I become about regarding the Black experience or the diaspora that does not really help me economically. I can’t eat history, it will not provide me shelter nor will it pay my bills. My reinvention consists of doing things I thought I’d never have to do to survive. Being degraded and dehumanized are not the reinvention I want. The price I’m paying is not worth it and believe me the cost has been and is very high. But it goes back to the point Asa made that Black unity is a farce. Just be down on your luck and see if any of your sisters or brothers come to your aid. People are only on your side when life is going well for you and you can do something for them. In this life we are truly alone.” dancingpalmtrees
You ever read something that moves from your mind, jumps into your heart and settles into your spirit? This is what I experienced when I read the above comment on a previous post. My first instinct was simply “WOW!” It literally shook me to my core, awoke me from a self-induced slumber to remind me that for some, life experiences are not simply the basis for intellectual dissertations or a Sunday sermon. That for some, maybe most, daily life is a real struggle. I knew this on an intellectual, cosmic level… but I actually felt it in her words.
So for a few days now I have turned the above comment over in my mind, savoured it within my heart and meditated on it in my spirit, contemplating on if and what I wanted to say.
My grandmother had a saying: “he who feels it, knows it” and this sister has dropped some serious truth here. There is nothing truer than what you experience, for it is the foundation of what you know… what you feel about your existence and relationships with those you engage with. Knowledge is power when you utilize your knowledge to empower others to first and foremost, meet their basic needs… i.e., food, shelter, clothing. Unity, like charity, therefore begins at home… with family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances… then onto community and beyond.
These are not the values of our current society. Individuality is the idol to be worshipped. Self-centredness is revered. Knowledge is power to empower and enlighten oneself… “to only get yours”. Caring about the needs of others is weakness for it competes and detracts from satisfying one’s own selfish needs. There is no value seen in unity… unless others unite to confirm and conform to “my” self-adulation… i.e., agree with all I say and believe… or to satisfy “my” personal wants.
I believe in Black unity. People of African descent worldwide have a shared history, as well as similar present day experiences, based first and foremost on the colour of our skin. Although we may have these shared experiences, we are not homogeneous in our beliefs and perspectives, but we don’t need to be to work for a common purpose. Our empowerment as a comm-unity is based on our unity of commitment… therefore what we need, first and foremost are people who are committed… not to a principle, ’cause just like history, you can’t eat principle and it won’t provide shelter and pay the bills… but people who are committed to do the work necessary to create a foundation for this unity.
This is where the truth in the sister’s statement that “Black unity is a farce” is right on point! Many will talk about being for Black unity but aren’t willing to put in the work, as simply as coming to the aid of a brother or sister, especially when they are down on their luck. Sure they are more than willing to engage in intellectual discourses on the Black struggle, share conspiracy theories, offer advice and bible verses for comfort and encouragement, but when it comes to actually do something… giving selflessly of themselves to provide food, shelter, clothing or whatever else may be needed… well that’s where the “I don’t give a fuck” attitude jumps out at you.
I have also found that many who preach Black unity are quick to “degrade and dehumanize” other Black people who don’t share their opinions and beliefs or view the world as they do. As I stated in a previous post, “working to unite with only Black people who believe as you do, whether politically, culturally or religiously, is neither work nor unity.”
What we need is a spiritual transformation, a renewing of our minds, before the reality of Black unity can be ever achieved. Seeking the truth within oneself isn’t a noble endeavour. It’s misguided and based in vanity. In fact, finding the truth within oneself is easy as it will be revealed in what you do to aid those less fortunate than you. That is the noble endeavour, the foundation of Black unity: helping others… and in doing so, the truth about oneself will also be revealed. The spiritual reality of Black unity isn’t about focusing within, it’s about reaching out.
Asa, this post is a reflection as to why my personal concepts center around an evlotion rather than a revolution. The world is being revealed to an extent as never before. So many hidden agendas are being exposed that we are going to have to take personal account of our own being, our own families extending outward into our neighborhood and onto the greater collective immediatly surrounding us. We are going to have to become much more economically astute in that evolution, no longer ignoring how deeply an understaning of this economic system impacts us daily and nightly.
There will be no revolution, no unity, no moving forward without gaining a detailed understanding of who we are individually and internally. And, just how our mere existance is inter-related to one another and to the systems around us. Lets face it, we have a broken people we are dealing with. We are dealing people that have been personally abused whether in childhood or as adults in relationships, whether physically, mentally or sexually that have to be overcome and yet the individual must find a way to come to terms with these issues before great progress can be made. This is part and parcel of an internal evolution that needs to be addressed.
Outside of that, self introspection is required of those of us that may not have had to deal with such abuse, but still we have allowed the world to cow us down to become that self centered “i gotta get mines” being. Living on a survival level of existance.
People want and call for unity, but cannot clearly define what that is and how it can be accomplished. Can we, Black people, unify if we cannot and have not personally unified in our own thoughts, body, mind and spirit? Can we have unity when we cannot unify with our significant other? Have we even established a unification with the one we live in the same house with? Look, how many families are at odds. Read through blogs right here in the AfroSpear world and find that sisters and brothers are not speaking or have not spoken in years. Many bellieve in God, the Bible, Jesus, Allah and its written if one brings their gift to the alter and yet have an issue with their brother, leave the gift and go make peace with your brother then come back and present the gift to “God.” A clear statement where unity should begin, no?
Right on, Amenta! The degree of internal work that each and every human being must do in order to heal from the mental, spiritual destruction this society has wrought on EVERBODY is daunting. We are a sick, sick people and the unification of anybody in the condition that we’re in is an absurdity. We need some serious mental health, some counter-brainwashing, “post-traumatic slave disorder” treatment before we can even consider a so-called ‘unification strategy.’
Peace to you FS. Glad to see you back. Asa has been on fire lately, almost feels like back in ’06 & ’07…LOL
A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
A rule or belief governing one’s personal behavior.”
If not committed to a principle, what then are we committed to? Seems to me that any action taken by a group should be grounded in a shared, fundamental truth or proposition. A commitment to ‘nothingness’ or vague, unstated aspirations, or vague assertions of skin affinity will get us what we’ve got: Nothing.
A principle is not food; but will surely secure some grub, if the principles that we espouse and agree with include it. And if concerted/committed action based on those principles is taken to secure it.
<"Seeking the truth within oneself isn’t a noble endeavour. It’s misguided and based in vanity. In fact, finding the truth within oneself is easy as it will be revealed in what you do to aid those less fortunate than you. That is the noble endeavour, the foundation of Black unity: helping others… "
Asa…I agree, as has been said, “seeking truth within oneself” is a primary necessity in “helping others” (in whatever way we think we can). But If I’ve not looked into the mirror of my own pain, and asked the, “Whys and wherefores” — and come up with some answers for me, how can I hope to help someone else? Only through a constant and careful, “doing my first works over,” as Baldwin says, have I even figured out what questions to ask!
Some folk have been very “helpful” with that here. No, not with “knowledge to empower” to meet my basic needs but, there is:
– a nurturing of sorts going on in the “community” of words here
– some measure of peace in the sharing of experiences which confirm for me that I’m not the damned crazy one
– revelation, in the “two sides to every story, and then there’s the truth” arguments put forth that help me o critically think you this world around me — all of which, IMHO, breed unity, not only of principle, but of people.
I agree with both Amenta and the freeslave, we all have a lot of work to do internally. We are a hurt people, Brother — and hurt people, hurt people. “Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder” is no different, than any other seriously “traumatic” event which requires a peeling back of many layers (it just gets viewed differently through the white frame, allowing others — and even some of us — to think they’re better than those of us going through it,in our own way). IMO, it is most helpful to encourage folk to ask themselves the “whys and wherefores” of their lives, as long as the goal is to find, and face the “honest” answers. In fact, I think it’s one of the first prerequisites to any kind of unity.
(Didn’t mean to bold all that, must’ve not closed the “b” tag somewhere)