“It’s so amazing to me that so many of us speak of unity, yet we are to assume we know what is meant by unity and unification. The word is never clearly defined by the user. In the between time, there is a mean spirited tone to the discussion that should be avoided if we are truly in process of unifying. This is based on my own definition of the word.” Bro. Amenta
This is part of a comment by my Bro. Amenta on a previous post. He and I agree on the fallacy of black unity that is preached by the majority of Black people. At the very least, it’s a slogan of bygone days (during the activist stage of their life) or at the very most, it’s an intellectual talking point. Regardless, there is no real substance nor commitment to making this ideal a reality.
Furthermore, what does black unity really mean? I acknowledge it means different things to various people. For myself, there are some Black people I have no desire to “unite” with. In the words of Public Enemy: “a brothah ain’t a brothah just because of collah”… (I would add “sistah” too). The reason I have no desire to unite with certain Black people has nothing to do with their political ideology, or religion, or sexual orientation, or gender, or nationality, or “add in whatever”. It has everything to do with their character, sincerity of purpose and having the same goal (maybe different strategies) to empower people of African descent. I would much rather work to find common ground in an effort to unite with a Black conservative than with a White progressive. Working to unite with only Black people who believe as you do, whether politically, culturally or religiously, is neither work nor unity.
With all this in mind, I was not surprised by all the disparaging and demonizing comments leveled against the Black Republican speakers Arthur Davis and Mia Love, by some in the African-American community. I understand it’s all apart of the “Plantation” politics that the majority of African-Americans, who identify with the Democratic Party Plantation, are engaged in. However what I found troubling was some of the “mean spirited tone” of the attacks against Mia Love.
These two posts are examples of what I found utterly distasteful: “Women of color in a strange place” and “The questionable racial and ideological authenticity of Mia Love“.
Both articles stress the fact that Ms. Love parents were Haitian immigrants and one even falsely makes the point that she “represents the typical immigrant who came to America looking for a better life with her family”. The fact is that Mia Love was born and raised in the United States. However, by highlighting the nationality of her parents and by extension her heritage, both authors went on to use this fact to question her understanding, relating and empathizing with the so-called African-American experience. One went so far as to question her “racial authenticity”. Really!? This smacks of the “birther” arguments leveled against President Obama by the Republicans who question his American citizenship.
Both articles further makes the point that due to her Haitian heritage, Ms. Love has no understanding of the history of slavery that was faced by Blacks in America, and that the Black immigrant experience in America is so much different that the African-American experience:
“Ms. Love, in her mind, isn’t burdened by America’s sad history when it comes the blacks who were brought here under quite different conditions. So sadly she doesn’t even view herself as one of those American blacks.”
“The fact of the matter is that she is the only one of her generation in her family born and raised in these United States. As such, she doesn’t have a personal historical background as do the many black people living here descended from the slaves set free (on paper at least) by Abraham Lincolns’ Emancipation Proclamation a hundred and fifty years ago.”
The actual fact of the matter is whether you were born in Haiti, Jamaica or America and are of African descent, then we have this in common: we are all descendants of African slaves or servants of European colonialism. The actual fact of the matter is whether you fought for your freedom, granted your freedom or your freedom was proclaimed, today those of us of African descent worldwide have this in common, we are all under assault from White supremacy based capitalism and/or imperialism.
The actual fact of the matter is just because your parents were immigrants and you have a different political affiliation that most African-Americans, doesn’t make you any less “Black”.
Let me briefly discuss an aspect of the Black immigrant experience in the North America, whether in Amerikka or Kkkanada. Her politics aside, I can relate to Ms. Love in this respect. My parents came to Canada from Jamaica via England. I was born in England, spent some of my formative years in Jamaica, but I was primarily raised in Canada. My parents instilled these values in my sisters and I: take advantage of all opportunities available to you, but never depend on them to succeed. Regardless of whatever benefits government programs may provide or whatever obstacles society may put in your path, failure is not an option. Our success is dependent on the grace of God and on hard work.
Immigrants from the so-called “third world” have experienced that whatever programs their government provides to benefit the masses, they can be easily taken away by the next U.S. backed government or U.S. controlled international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank and IMF. Therefore they are sckeptical of what they see as “government handouts”. They have also experienced that social capital, such as education and affordable health care, are not regarded as a “right” by the government in the country of their birth. You have to pay out of pocket to be well and for your children to get even the basic elementay education and most cannot afford either. Therefore, good health and education, especially having the opportunity to attend secondary school or college is the domain of the rich, the children of government officials… not the poor and certainly not the intelligent.
So most children of immigrants are shaped by this message: you better work hard, maximize your opportunities, depend on your own knowledge, skills, abilities, most importantly resourcefulness, to get and keep what you have. Don’t put your faith in anyone or anything other than your God. Focusing on blaming the “white man” for all our ills as a community or as an excuse for your personal failures will get us nowhere… just do it!
One of the authors referred to Ms. Love as the “top token negro” in the Republican Party at the present time… which may be true, just as Barack Obama was at one time seen as the “top token negro” of the Democratic Party during their 2004 convention. Just like the Republican convention last week, the Democrats during their convention this week will parade their plantation negroes to the nation and the world, to extol the glory of their party and their presidential candidate. They will however trump the Republican’s “top token negro” with their own: Bill Clinton… and then by their close second… Barack Obama.
When you get involved in politics, align yourself with a political party and put your views, policies and platform out there as to be assessed and voted on, then they’re fair game to be discussed, debated, criticized and even attacked vigorously. Plantation politics aside, these types of attacks on Mia Love, by other members of the African-American community is neither constructive nor do they move us as a people towards real unity. What they are… in the words of one of the authors… “it’s serious House Negro behavior.”