The Black community in America, which consists of nearly 47 million people, contrary to popular opinion, isn’t a monolithic group. The fact of the matter is that Black America is represented by a very large diverse description with unique characteristics to their sub-group. South vs north; east-coast vs west-coast; urban vs suburban; urban vs rural; high, middle, low, and very low income levels; Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Atheist; liberal vs conservative; democrats vs. republicans; college graduates vs. high school dropout; literate vs illiterate; male vs female; adult vs children; straight vs gay; you name it and we have it. While the majority of Black Americans are direct descendants from Africa, via the American slave trade from Africa and therefore considered African Americans. However; there are a significant number of other Black Americans who came to America by way of the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and South America. The bottom line, no matter how we got to America, we’re all descendants of Africa and we’re all considered to be one Black race.
Scholars often interpret race as a socially constructed phenomenon, its divisions shaped by common social norms, understandings, and perceptions. However, human fate still rides upon ancestry and appearance. The characteristics of our hair, complexion, and facial features still influence whether we are considered free or enslaved in America. Restated, the color of your skin defines who you are in America and the stereotypes that come with it. In spite of numerous negative stereotypes and propagandas, the Black community in America is extremely complex and diverse – there is no “one size” that fits all. Like all people, Blacks don’t have a monopoly on good or bad people but the Black culture isn’t anything like its being portrayed in the American mass media (i.e. historical books, magazines, religion, television, and radio). Black culture isn’t about being lazy, diseased, criminal, promiscuous, anti-family, anti-American, or helpless. I argue just the opposite, given the overwhelming predicament that Blacks have and continue to endure in America, the Black culture is strong and resilient, it’s about achievement, greatness and excellence.
Blacks not just in America but worldwide, have become a conquered group and the results are that blacks have morphed into look-alike clones of the American white culture. The American white culture hasn’t nearly produced the outcomes for Blacks as it has for whites. Why? The American culture is about the supremacy of America and the white race which is at conflict with a Black person no matter how well he behaves and/or emulates the American culture. This isn’t an attack against white people – it’s quite understandable for the culture to be what it is. In fact, many other groups, while they are considered American, have not fully embraced the American culture and work hard to maintain their cultural identity (i.e. Asians, Arabs, Latino’s, Jew’s, etc.). This is achieved through maintaining their language, religion, and their customs (they habitat together and recreate their homelands in America). This approach has been extremely difficult for Black people.
Since the 15th Century (past 600 years), many Europeans believed that it was their divine right to rule and govern African peoples. As part of the “Manifestation of the evil genius of Europe,” Europeans not only proceeded to colonize the world, but more importantly they also colonized information about the world – making Europe the SUBJECT of world history (his-story – glorify European civilization which started 600 years ago in Europe, owners of “civilization” and the total defamation of Africa and African people). Africa will forever be defined as the dark continent, with its people as cannibals, savages, uncivilized, primitive, with evil traits and desires, and devoid of knowledge and culture – which is just the opposite. Africa is the “Mother of Civilization” and has a recorded history of nearly 100,000 years with Africans being pioneers of science, religion, chemistry, mathematics, education, astrology, philosophy, architecture, agriculture, medicine, government, etc.
Note: The truth is that African history predates Europe by thousands of years. In addition, the world didn’t wait in darkness for thousands of years for Europe to bring us into the light. It was Europe that was in the dark until around the 15th century until the influence of Africa and Asia, which they would ultimately completely colonize.
One of the weapons that Europeans have used to perpetuate and maintain the big lie of European supremacy and white privilege and invincibility, and the big lie of African inferiority and nothingness is education (mis-education). The entire education system was designed to subordinate, exploit, create mental confusion and was the creation of an absolute and total dependency of Africans to Europeans. It was meant to produce people who would participate in the process of European colonial rule – Blacks would participate in the process of their own oppression (i.e. House Negro to the hundredth degree) through the acute alienation (divide and conquer) and the psychological imitation – the behaviors, culture, values, lifestyles, moral preferences, and definitions of morality is fully defined and emulated by the colonized (de facto completo). In addition, we have been taught to OUTRIGHT reject anything associated with Blacks – in many cases, we revel in the hope that our oppression of each other receives the favor of the oppressor. The majority of the African world had been brain-dead, brain-damaged, and culturally comatose – this can’t be confused with Black culture.
Another weapon that Europeans have used to perpetuate and maintain the big lie can be seen in the religion of Christianity. During the enslavement of our ancestors, in the mid-1800s, Blacks embraced Christianity as its religion. This conversion hasn’t empowered Black people at no level near the level of White people because for the most part, traditionally, Christianity supported white supremacy. Ask yourself, if you were the Devil/big lie where would you hide? Religion is the perfect vehicle, because once religion becomes an acceptable tradition, a lie can then be covered within the spirituality of a tradition making it virtually impossible for anyone to question the validity of what’s being taught or question the lie. The big lie in Christianity is that God, the creator of the Heavens and Earth and everything in between, is a White man and all of the people of God and Heaven are portrayed as European, while the Devil is portrayed as black. The combination of both weapons has created two different diseases: Europeans – white supremacy and privilege and for Africans – inferiority and submission. Note: The Black man in America has a double dose of damage due to the nearly 300 years of chattel slavery and Jim Crow terror, which produced a natural intense desire to be educated by a contaminated education system and a civil rights movement that produced the ultimate emulation and cultural assimilation. We now have the dilemma “legacy of slavery” multiplied with its creation of a “culture of failure,” self-fulfilling prophecy – this can’t be confused with Black culture.
Any “real” solution to unpack the compromise Black culture must involve a strong and massive de-Europeanize, de-mystify, detoxify, and de-brainwashing of the Black man’s subconscious mind of Eurocentric everything. The world is ruled by power not blackness or whiteness and every attempt by Africans in America, the Caribbean and Africa has been undermined by its own people. In America, the derailing of the movement can be seen in politics, religion, and the disconnection with Pan-Africanism by confused ideologist, middle class frauds, and undercover spies. Pan-Africanism is defined as any effort on the part of African people to reclaim any portion of Africa that has been taken away, mutilated, misunderstood, or misrepresented by a non-African to the detriment of Africa. The Africa-centered connectedness is genius – we must understand that we have to make radical changes in our lives and attitudes; we have to build from within. We have to reach out to Africa and Africa has to reach out to us (Sankofa). We are African people – one nation at home and abroad – all people of African descent, whether they live in North or South America, the Caribbean, or in any other part of the world are Africans and belong to the African nation. Only through Pan-Africanism will the African nation be redeemed and restored. We must become African-centric, which is a sincere effort on the part of African people to regain what colonization and slavery took away and to restore the nation as you originally conceived it to be.
Let’s examine more of the Black culture. The technical definition of culture is the characteristics of a group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, arts, view, belief, and trust of themselves, life and economic expectations. Culture is the full range of all learned human behavior patterns. Culture is “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” Culture is a powerful human tool for survival, but it is a fragile phenomenon. It is constantly changing and easily lost because it exists only in our minds. Our written languages, governments, buildings, and other man-made things are merely the products of culture. They are not culture in themselves. For this reason, archaeologists can’t dig up culture directly in their excavations. The broken pots and other artifacts of ancient people that they uncover are only material remains that reflect cultural patterns–they are things that were made and used through cultural knowledge and skills.
Scientists describe several levels of culture that are part of your learned behavior patterns and perceptions. Most obviously is the body of cultural traditions that distinguish your specific society. When people speak of Italian, Samoan, or Japanese culture, they are referring to the shared language, traditions, and beliefs that set each of these peoples apart from others – language is extremely important to culture. A good portion of the global Black community speaks a language other than our native tongue (i.e. English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, French, etc.). While Blacks have tried to retain their culture, it’s virtually impossible when you speak the language of your conqueror – the fact remains it’s very hard to distinguish Black people from their captives and/or colonialist when Blacks speak a European language. No matter how strong your culture is, over time, a foreign language will dilute it.
Today, in the United States as in other countries populated largely by immigrants, the culture is influenced by the many groups of people that now make up the country. Black Americans are the subject of ideas and behaviors that do little to describe our vast diversity and merely cast us in neatly fitted caricatures for mass consumption. It’s easy for white America to only see the Black family and the troubles being promoted void of our history in this country and the damage that has been done – this makes their argument of inferiority more believable. While the election of President Barak Obama delivered an image more powerful than many could have imagined, we must not lose sight of the more general narrative on the perception of Black people perpetuated by mass media. I contend, when things are put in context, our ills are understandable and our gains are nothing short of remarkable. In fact most Americans (Black and white) are little informed about American history and operate at the tyranny of racial ignorance, mythology, and propaganda.
Racial ignorance continues and even though not mentioned, is the most complex issue facing all Americans. While this issue is very complicated, in my humble opinion, the legacy of slavery has crippled our ability to address the issue of race head-on. The descendants of the slave owners must come to understand the pain, hurt, and damage inflicted on a whole group of Black people and how the structural deficiencies entrapped millions of Black children and their families. The descendants of the enslaved must equally come to understand the distinction between this hurt and the true Black culture. In spite of the overwhelming challenges that Black people face in this country and abroad, at the core of the Black struggle in America there is clear and convincing evidence of a Black culture of resilience. This is why we must know our history. I’ve become a student of our history and it is very clear to me that Black culture is about achievement, greatness, and excellence. In my next article I will discuss more about the achievements, greatness and excellence of Black America.
Join me again next week as I continue with Part 3 of “To Move Forward America Must Address Its Past”. Yours in the Struggle – Rahim