Identity Theft, Crisis, and Restoration
I believe that I have made the argument in the previous parts of this article, that the BLACK IDENTITY AND BLACK CULTURE has been stolen and the impact has created a whopping IDENTITY CRISIS for the entire Black community.
We must all acknowledge that the Black man in America is a unique people and unlike any other Black group in the world. Because of our hostile experience in America, the damage done is real and comprehensive. I contend that this experience, fueled by an American culture of white supremacy and Black inferiority, is alive and thriving today. America utilized the most barbaric form of slavery upon tens of millions of Black people that involved the most horrific physical and psychological treatment they could devise to get them to accept and survive this treatment. Slavery, also physically and structurally separated Black people from every aspect of our past (i.e. language, religion, history, etc.) while intentionally destroying the institution of the Black family. THE BLACK IDENTITY AND CULTURE HAS BEEN STOLEN.
Since the emancipation of our enslaved ancestors in 1863, the Black community has held a predetermined concept of what success and freedom look like due to the socialization of white supremacy and Black inferiority. When we look at history, religion, media and the economic status of white over Blacks, white children are taught to believe that they are superior to Black people. Black children are taught to disassociate themselves from anything Black, including looking back to our enslavement in this country and to our motherland Africa. By not having your own identity, consciously or subconsciously: success, goodness, beauty, etc. is defined by how close we are in physical proximity and/or in the assimilation to white people especially when we are being measured as a “group.” When a people use a foreign and subversive “mind” and identity that honors, loves, respect, another group of people at its “center” or “core.” At the same time this promotes self-hate and self- distrust, you have a classic case of Identity Crisis. THE BLACK COMMUNITY SUFFERS FROM A MASSIVE IDENTITY CRISIS.
The identity crisis is real. It has had a significant impact on our growth as a group. The Black community continues to struggle against a variety of American institutions and systems that oppress and suppress them daily with none more alarming than the economic disparities created by slavery, which remain unrectified. Economics is so essential in America because your position in life is largely defined by your economic status. Today, by all statistical measures, the Black man dominates every negative demographic and is nearly invisible in every positive demographic. Restated, the Black community is woefully oversubscribed in areas that require massive levels of investment (i.e. poverty, incarceration, unemployment, etc.) Yet we lack the fundamental resources to wage any meaningful campaign or retaliation.
I contend that we could do better economically if we understood the power of “group” economics and the “group” fight that we are in. Our actions are clear and obvious examples that our identity and culture has not permitted us to think as a group or brought us closer to each other. This is a fundamental requirement to achieve group economics. Instead of working as a group to defend ourselves from economic opposition, which contributes to our sense of inferiority, many of us are satisfied with chasing the “illusion of inclusion”- that white America and Black America are the same and with the end of the American institution of slavery, the effects of slavery no longer exist. Part of the illusion is that once the physical pain stopped (slavery ended), the problems that it created were resolved and therefore there is no need to bring up slavery again.
When you have your own identity and something like this has happened to your ancestors, it becomes a part of everything that you do to ensure that you 1) honor the pain and sacrifice of your ancestors; 2) ensure that this experience never happens again; 3) hold everyone accountable to the massive reconstruction and generational (clean-up) required to repair what had happened; and 4) to use this period and experience to enhance future generations of the winning and survival spirit to be embedded within the culture – this is exactly what the Jews did after the Jewish Holocaust.
All you have to do is to look at the overwhelming attention that America pays to the Jewish Holocaust. It is very intoxicating if you are not Jewish. I am not suggesting that this is wrong, but what I am seeing is the hypocrisy that America has with the Black community in that it never acknowledges the Black Holocaust which was more extreme, barbaric, and lasted nearly 400 years (approximately 2000% longer) than the Jewish Holocaust. During the Jewish Holocaust, the Jews suffered and endured extreme and barbaric hardships including the mass murder and genocide of nearly six million of its group at the hands of Nazi Germany and its participating countries.
The victims and the culprits of the Jewish Holocaust have been memorialized, yet when it comes to the Black Holocaust there is not even an honorable mention. We can easily hold Hitler and his Nazi regime responsible for everything that they did to the Jews, but the same has not been for Americans who perpetuated this against our people. I contend that the number one reason why the Jewish people are so successful is that, while the Holocaust was absolutely one of the worst human stains in our history, they did not lose their identity or their culture in the process. Their names and the names of their ancestors, their language, their religion, their customs, and their traditions remained intact. Once the Holocaust was over, they fought to repair the damage that was done and to ensure that it would never happened again.
In order to restore our Black identity and culture, we must first recognize that it has been stolen and it requires that we begin to re-examine our history in this country. It is sad to say that most Black or white people have no clue. Then we wonder why the Black community is “stuck” in a social and economic quicksand. I will continue to draw attention to the plight of Black people in America by holding those responsible accountable. Sure, we no longer have physical plantations; however, when you come to understand the legacy of slavery (i.e. post-traumatic stress syndrome, structural disparities, institutional racism, etc.), you will have a better understanding and appreciation for addressing the core problem that we have internally.
I will continue to draw attention to our past and not to romanticize about our problems, or to put our people down because it is the truth. We must speak the truth no matter how bad things are. We are in a crisis in this country and it seems no one cares. The truth of the matter is that America has significantly created this problem and we should never let them off the hook. Our issues are deeply entrenched and we must stop looking and analyzing the symptoms. All of our issues can be traced back to the enslavement of our people in this country and the removal of our Black identity and culture. Sure, we must fight against the daily injustices that keep us in a perpetual state of defense, but we must also connect the dots of the current issues with our past – the legacy of slavery is our reality.
Brothers and sisters, we must rally and develop a very large voice to get this message back into the public square. We must get what has happened to us and who did it back in the public square. We have to challenge the ignorance about our existence in this country. We must challenge the general opinion that is held about Black people in this country. We must begin to tell the real story of America, not the glorified one that is told to uphold white supremacy; no, the gory one that enslaved tens of millions black men, women, and children in the most barbaric way in modern history.
We must renew our fight for “real” freedom, justice and equality in this country; something that we do not have right now. Real freedom in America is economic freedom and our start in this country puts us so far behind that it is impossible to catch up without America’s help. Real justice is the abolishing structural and institutional racism that denies the Black community from full participation in America. The civil rights movement was a start, but every one of those gains has been undermined and will require a new approach. Real equality will never be achieved until we have equal representation in both the good and bad of American life. We are currently oversubscribed in the bad and woefully undersubscribed in the good.
In addition to fighting external foes, we must begin to take on our fight internally, especially amongst our so-called leadership. Our fight is not just external, but also internal amongst ourselves. We must fight to restore our own identity and our culture by celebrating everything and anything Black. We must do all we can to increase Black pride in our community.