I felt it necessary to write about this topic because of the learning curve we Diasporians have to go through when we come to the motherland. This curve in essence is the getting to grips with different understandings, customs, and procedures so that we can connect with our brothers and sisters on the continent in mutual benefit and success.
Success here doesn’t mean using Africa to make an exorbitant amount of money in the guise of “doing for self”, without relating to the common people on the ground. Or frequenting those in power, to power grab positions of influence without local experience or qualification. Success surely should mean that the two parties find a way to work as one ultimately reaching a point of mutual benefit and progress for all of our people.
This writing is for both the Diasporian and the born African in an attempt to bring a better understanding between us.
In order for any Diasporian to really experience valuable lessons enough to be a guide to others and be an asset to Africa, WE HAVE TO AT LEAST LIVE HERE most of the time. Anything less is an insult to Africa if you want to claim to be an authority on African life. If however you don’t claim to be an authority then just visiting would make more sense.
No more should we in the Diaspora entertain members of the family giving lectures on Africa in our schools universities and colleges simply because they have been here a few times. Certainly borne Africans should also reject those who come from abroad claiming to be of some authority on African life without having their base on the motherland.
Time on the ground in Africa is something in my opinion immigration should also consider as merit when Diasporian assessments are made. In some cases nationality is mysteriously acquired by people who havent even contributed on resident permit levels which is a scandalous utilisation of corruption. Africa has to ask itself “How can those who are willing to abuse the country be qualified as members of the country?”
The truth is nobody can determine true life in any country. Especially if that country is a continent away without the knowledge of its everyday life and events. For us Diasporians especially those from the USA this is particularly true.
As descendants of Africa we tend to think we already know Africa because of the “we are in tuned with our culture” characteristic. The best of us in the diaspora foster this “I haven’t lost my connection to my roots” sentiment which is a thing of admiration, but also a hindrance from the bearer possessing the truths that comes with the real Africa.
So instead of adaptation to what is real taking place, and the replacing of misconceptions in our minds when faced with the reality, we instead assume arrogance unawares in some cases and blatant in others.
This has to be addressed amongst the various educational organisations in the diaspora. Let the family realise that on their return to the motherland YOU DO NOT KNOW HER. Nor do those who remain in the diaspora know her no matter what irrelevant scholarship they give each other. Misconceptions comes about through study of historical writings for the most part, and western media reports on the other. These only serve to further isolate any chance of meaningful mutual understanding and connection between the born African and the Diasporian today.
This is because by inference it suggests that Africa is not evolving or changing, and that somehow we can be qualified in the subject of Africa by reading a few books or watching bias reportage. This error along with arrogance leads to buffoonery when on the motherland, the acting as if we know when inside we know we are way off the mark.
So now your professor so and so in the W.EB dubois center for example strutting around and totally disconnected with both common folk here in Africa and also those in the diaspora its a crying shame and a disgrace. All organisation in Africa posing as ambassadorial of Diasporians to born African people should at least encompasses the entire Diasporian community to the best of their ability not just privileged Black America. Either this or be sentenced eventually to irrelevancy, untuned, by the very people you claim to represent.
It is very confrontational to suggest to the brother or sister that in fact you are not untuned at all. This characteristic and disconnection even continues when we have property business or we come to Africa often.
The only way to begin to relate, and understand, to truly share sentiment and advice, and to see each other equally with our born African family is to have an intimate knowledge of true African life in Africa. Of course, it stands to reason! How would you reconcile the utterances of one who claims to know the people of America and to be an authority on american life but has hardly been there? You would flatly reject this notion knowing the ever-changing dynamic of the USA cannot be captured simply by reading a book or frequenting well off aristocracy in America.
This chronic misconception can lead to odd behavioural patterns. Like the striving to dress more “African” than those who were born here, or adopting cultural customs and beliefs that we do not understand. I have seen black Americans engaged in this on quite a few levels some to the open ridicule and laughter of the locals. In fact it has gotten to the point where they will try to dictate to you that you should be the same. I have been told that I should grow my beard and not low-cut my hair in order to embrace my roots.
This unfortunately is nothing but trivia because even though we are descendants of Africa we are definitely not that African if you are talking about a social or nationalistic definitive aspects of that name. There is a credible argument that we are all Spiritually African however.
Needless to say we are family, in both the diasporian and the born African there is a spiritual connection and a common ancestor. This leads to similarities in the reality of our lives. Even though these realities may not be known to each group. They can be found in traditional foods, in the spoken words of the diaspora (patios), and in the general environment of the Caribbean. Similarities also can be found in the music that each group makes.
In some examples the parallels are surreal. For example the land buildings and environment of Jamaica’s hilly parishes and the rolling Akwapim hills from Larteh Mampong and Aburi are so similar that photography can confuse the locals in each country (Ghana and Jamaica). These are some cases that are clear evidence of kinship.
This connection however even though beautiful and compelling doesn’t put all hands on deck towards unity and building together. In order for us to unite with our borne brothers and sisters in Africa many conceptual stages of realities have to be mutually understood. The first of which is to know our kinship, but then we have to understand where our needs meet as ONE people. When this is done the practicalities of working together towards those needs also brings about unknown dynamics that have to be mutually understood for us to be successful in our work.
Things like fair assessments of people’s character figuring out how to practically work towards those benefits using all groups and a whole volume of critical actual fact assessments that will give us the necessary balance. This will allow us to exist with each other in the harmony of productivity and peace. Without achieving this harmony and peace we run into all kinds of trouble.
Examination of self
Most of what has already been mentioned refers to diasporians in general. But the truth is not all of our people in the diaspora are as equally unfamiliar with true african life. Indeed some are born Africans and some are the first generation from born Africans. These are those amongst our family obviously that know the most about real african life.
If we take them as one end of the scale when it come to actual fact knowledge in this endeavour then we have to humbly admit that on the other end of the scale is the African-American. They are the least familiar group to Africa amongst black people who were involved in the history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. This is true despite their proficiency in world media education. With these two extremities we have a more difficult task trying to reconcile sentiments customs beliefs and roadmaps towards the goal (unity of the entire family). So its intelligent to look in the family for other members who conceptually have middle ground. I believe those Diasporians that have a more balanced knowledge or the ability to be the link in the chain bringing black America together with black Africa is black Europe.
Lets take the UK for example even though the UK is just as far western in beliefs as the United States, the Diasporians there are not suffering the same levels of African hate because of Europe’s geography to Africa and the connection to the west Indies or back to Africa through parentage. This coupled with the fact that from about forty years ago west African people migrated in increasing numbers into the UK. This intimate contact with our brothers and sisters from Africa in Europe to a larger extent demystified the notions that are being sold to us by the worlds media about African people. In contrast the USA black population remains disconnected for the most part still entertaining negative and erroneous misconceptions about Africans.
In some instances these untruths misconceptions and rumours are vulgar and insulting to born Africans and really to other parts of the Diasporian community. vulgar jokes that are funny to black americans are simply insults to the rest of the black conscious world. What is also ironic is that given this truth some black americans incredibly would claim to be the most informed about the motherland discrediting the facts and the people who actually know.
Under the guise of comedy Jamie Foxx insulted the whole of Africa. But what is more sick and disturbing than his insulting rant for money fame and cheap laughs is the crowds mindset, actually thinking this was funny. This is not an acceptable mind for people to return to Africa with. If I where in the position of responsibility in an African government I would never grant citizenship to people who have this kind of thinking.
We Diasporians who love Africa have to make it known that we are all not in agreement with this insult and are willing to sacrifice to scrutiny and co-operation to decipher the good amongst us from the bad. If this type of procedure of intelligent scrutiny is not carried out we can all be tarnished with the same brush. Our brothers and sister born on the continent have a credible responsibility to guard Africa and its people no matter what colour the hostile are, and we should be with them to do so one hundred percent.
Black americans just like other groups are only qualified to represent itself to Africa. (Before I continue its accurate to say as we well know that there are some in the USA that are definitely not included in this analysis it’s just a pity that from the outside it seems that this ugly reality looks pervasive).
Now Jamie Foxx wouldn’t get away with this in most black communities in Europe or the Caribbean. Of course there are those who might fall into the same category there but it’s not as pervasive nor generally acceptable within those areas of the diaspora. For a prominent black public figure to perform this sickness in the UK it would mean that he wants to end his fortune and disconnect his fans.
I’m not trying to tear down Jaime Foxx as an individual because he is not alone he is a product of the society he grew up in. We can only assume that he is a man of intelligence a person who is well aware of the importance of his fame and acceptance. By his own calculation this mockery is acceptable in the minds of black americans enough not to warrant any damage of his reputation. His thinking wasnt incorrect either as this recording was made in the ascension of his career. Just think about that for a minute or two.
Foxx’s sentiments are reflected in many USA black entertainment performances. From the movies Next Friday to The Barbershop, whenever Africans are portrayed in black american entertainment they are ridiculed and made mockery of.
Unpalatable this might be to some but it’s the white elephant in the room that needs to be acknowledged and taken care of. Now of course the reasons for this dementia is the result of black Americans being in the possession of the enemy of our unity. The enemy of both those in the diaspora of African decent and of born Africans at home. They have adopted the sentiments of their former slave masters before the world in short.
Unfortunately this cannot be ignored especially by those African authorities who seek to be truly independent of damaging alien mindsets. Now we must be careful there are members of the black american community who are good and strong advocates of Africa and the African people. They can be located mostly in various organisations within America. They by no means fall into the category of those entertained by this type of Jamie Foxx like entertainment. They are those who Africa recognise to be of great benefit.
What we must learn from this is that different parts of our black nation in which we should ALL be very proud of has different areas and levels of qualification. These qualifications we have inherited through our various experiences and the experiences of those who brought us to this point of history.
if we restructure our thinking outside of the confines of white nationality we begin to realise we are one nation. Black americans have a particular value that other parts of the family don’t have, but in truth so do the other parts of the family. Each part integral to the other. What we as a people conceptually miss about the black experience on the planet is not the significance of black Africa or Black america but the key middle ground which is black Europe.
Black Europeans are the key players in creating the possibilities of unity throughout the whole family. Think carefully where else have you even heard the term “Black Europe”? Black Europe is real and it sits in the center ground of conceptual understanding between all parts in the mix. There is no part of the diaspora and of Africa that blacks in Europe don’t have intimate access and knowledge of. Simply because Black Europe is partly Black African and partly Black Caribbean along with Elements of Black Nations around the world.
This is why the UK government banned the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan from the United Kingdom. He having the ability to stymulate black Europe that would bring an unstoppable chain of events inevitably bringing and end to white supremacy’s hold on us in every corner of this world. This potentially would lead to our total unity. It was a key chess move by the enemies of Black Freedom and liberation.
I stood on the roof of the Brixton Recreational Center in London UK years after the ban during the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s United Nations Press Conference in 1998. We were frustrated that the signal coming from the satellite was not there allowing us to hear him live.
The technician was just as astounded as the members of the Nation of Islam present. he said the signal which was available everyday is simply not there. It was disconnected from space he declared!!!! This demonstrates the magnitude in which they will go to stop something in our favour. As the United Kingdom spawned the white supremacist world ironically the same area can potentially bring about the catalyst of the black world. Please read. (The Meaning of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time))
If you think of all of our great black leaders they never ascribed to compartmentalization of the black nation e.g white Nationalistic boarders. We have to admit whenever we think in those terms it has been to our disadvantage. We must now assume an all-inclusive and collective approach. Each department working for the good of us all.
Black Europe has been for the most part ignored in much writings concerning our struggle. Almost as if black people there don’t exist. I would go as far as to say without the black European there will be no reconciliation or unity between Black Africa and Black America. Think of Black Europeans as a stepping stone a bridge between the two furthest points in our family. The black European is not unfamiliar to all but the other groups are filled with preconceived and inaccurate ideas about each other.
How can this understanding be utilised?
Undoubtably it would take the formation of a road map using all three houses of our families. Our greatest minds would have to come together with actual local facts to be processed objectively and in unison for the good of all departments of the black nation. There would have to be a breakdown of national identity in our minds. Our identities would have to be hinged on something higher than social or tribal classifications. Spiritual recognition and nature goes with us even if we were born on the moon. I like the description given to the Most Honourable Elijah Muhammad of us. The black man is the Asiatic Blackman the owner the maker the cream of the planet and God of the universe. We need divine guidence and definition.
Even if this seems impossible now we must only validate or discredit any suggestion based on its factual merit and logical feasibility. We must never judge our ideas based on the characteristics of the brother or sister who brought the idea, or any other subjective perspective. The most Honourable minister Louis Farrakhan recently pointed out that its better to be free and theologically divided because after freedom we will have the opportunity to correct our differences. Its NATION time ONE NATION under ONE GOD is the goal.
I expect this writing to cause a lot of discussion, some of which will be positive critique some otherwise, but all will be valid if the intention is to see our people free from the shackles of mental slavery and white nationalism. This is why I also love the non white documented word DIASPORIAN, because it gathers us individuals as one across national boarders. The Oxford Dictionary authors can handle a diaspora but a Diasporian is their worst nightmare. let us ratify this word in our documents and use it without apology. Some time in the future we or our children will be drafting a constitution attached to these self-proclaimed definitions God Willing/Inshallah.
Brother Will Muhammad.
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