The last couple of days have been hard for all melanated skinned folks world over.
The systemic oppression is real, the changes are non existent or at best muddled and vague under layers of hate and bias.
But that’s not the entire story.
But maybe when we point the fingers or ask that the world see us, maybe it’s time we see ourselves too or consider the fingers are pointing back at us.
I grew up imagining a white Jesus. My siblings and I went to a catholic primary school and in the chapel next to our school were effigies/statues of a white Mary carrying a white baby Jesus.
Now I hear the arguments about the white man selling us a white Jesus and all that, the question what were you expecting? A Black Jesus from an Hebrew/White Mary?
That’s neither logically nor geographically nor ethnically feasible. Was I less black or brainwashed to imagine/believe Jesus is white? Does it really matter if he is white or black?
Anyways enough of the digression.
Regardless of history, and all… things are the way they are and our thoughts should be on what in the present should give way to the future we desire.
Number One: The Household/Family construct must matter.
The scourge of absent fathers must end! The baby mama boom must be looked at critically! A black man can have multiple baby mamas without any worries any more, somehow it’s Ok. Case in point, Rapper Future has just about 6 different women as baby mamas, his recently confirmed baby mama from a DNA test was greeted with adulation with cheers of “Go get that money Sis” ringing off across multiple comment sections.
Just how many broke, less popular, less or probably unsuccessful Future-like black men are out there, I can’t tell.
This quote by former US President, Obama remains poignant with meaning:
“We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison,”
This is not to in any way excuse the institutionalized oppression suffered by black folks particularly in the US.
It doesn’t excuse the racist and bias criminal laws, and economic stifling blacks have to endure.
However if you are up against a systemic bias, you win by building your systems to be strong.
Number Two: Either make #BlackExcellence real or don’t. Enough of the faux black excellence monikers.
Enough of chanting black excellence post material wealth/significant success.
Black excellence is not a moniker reserved for a Diddy, or a Jay-Z.
It’s not an exclusive for Denzel or Issa Rae.
It’s not a phrase to trend on social media when a Sadio Mané wins the FIFA Best Player of the Year Award.
Black excellence should at best be a philosophy a lifestyle demanding that we all as a people strive to make the best of all things and all tasks/situations we have at hand.
Whether you are dishwasher or a Fortune 500 CEO, black excellence should be a common thread from a strong culture connecting us all.
Black excellence shouldn’t be about being better off than white folks, it’s not about ‘getting one over them’
The idea that to be excellent as a black man requires that you beat a white man to it, is a narrative that Black America needs to bury.
Diddy, Jay-Z all made the fortunes dealing fairly and ethically with white folks, creating shared value.
They didn’t succeed at the expense of any white individual or organisation neither were they successful from 100% black patronage.
Looting, drugs, crime and ride-by shootings of black people by black people is not Black Excellence.
Who shot 50 Cent, Nipsey Hussle, 2Pac, Biggie Smalls?
Certainly not white folks, else we would have jumped out in protest across the streets of America… right?
The song “Black Cop” by KRS-One is deeply indicative of this lurking truths.
The black man didn’t create cocaine but he sure did push crack. White folks are not the ones selling us drugs on the streets, we are!(mostly, at least)
Is the black man doing menial jobs because he didn’t have an education or because he didn’t want to, or because he’s unskilled?
We need to realize that not all our folks will make it majorly into music, entertainment, the NFL, the NBA, Baseball league, Soccer(Football) and that’s natural. However, the ones in it should realize that it’s up to them to set the right tone and example for everyone aspiring, for those working corporate or menial job away from the glamour of the media and cameras. They deserve icons and now more than ever proper representation of what black excellence truly means not just manifestations of material wealth but critically the mentality and philosophy it evokes!
Number Three: Africa is not a photo-op, it’s your source, your roots. Respect the homeland, tend the homeland, elevate the homeland.
Dear black America you ancestors came out of Africa(at least most of them).
From young black Americans to established folks, the disconcerting trend is to look at Africa as either one country or an exotic destination for photo ops and all.
It’s sad, that in 2020 black folks have to be educated about Africa.
Black Panther was widely received because it gave a lot of us black folks the opportunity to visit the Africa we like/wish for from the comfort of our sofas or cushioned cinema seats. It was thrilling to see an African far advanced than the world of today because it fit with the narrative of “we got one over them”.
What happened to movies showing the injustice, corruption in Africa or better still the ones showing love sagas, dramas and all. Do they get that same rousing appeal? Or do they offend y(our) exalted ideals, do you look at such stories as ridiculous contraptions by lesser people than you.
If you ask any Black American today, they will tell you in a heartbeat that they are better individuals than folks in Africa.
Stop making visits to Africa just to share pictures that you were in the jungle or that you were giving meals to hungry kids on the edge of the Sahara.
Come to Africa with pride and humility and optimism. Relate with us, learn the culture and feel connected to your roots.
Today Africa looks to a ‘White West’ for foreign aid, support, machinery and weaponry critical for growth stability and human preservation.
How much of this contribution/transference is being led by black individuals in the West.
African countries are currently grappling with the dilemma of leaning too heavily or not on the Chinese, Americans, Arabs or Asians. When we picture these faces driving this dilemma they are mostly white not black…. at least ever since Obama left office.
It’s time Black America recognizes its connection to Africa and fluidly transfers its knowledge, skills, wealth to invest, build and transform this vast continent.
Yes, Africa has its problems…
But I will leave you with a picture, imagine we had 2 or 3 African nations with the economic, tech advancement and military might of a UK/France/USA ready to respond with Black soldiers to defend any black community under siege in the US or anywhere… just the same way a United States will intervene in Israel-Palestine conflicts or recently Iran protests…
Would we all be saying what we are saying now?