“Black people aren’t poor by accident. This serves the interest of somebody. The energy that we put into hurting each other is the energy that we can’t use to compete against other people. The stereotypes of Black-on-Black crime serve as a justification for other people to take advantage of us. But in a deeper sense, it serves to hide the criminality of whites. It makes us think that whites in America are not criminals and have not created a criminal.” Dr Amos Wilson
Black History Month should be used as a celebration that places considerable focus and attention on black communities everywhere. Our history as Black people should be about a recitation of key dates and lessons from key events that surround such dates. We should take Black History Month as our time to reflect as a Black world of people, to inform ourselves about the development of our race and future. Today Black people face many challenges, including understanding where we come from as Black people. The obstacles we face and the methods that we adopt to overcome are the history that dictate us today and in the future. For example, the economic setting and social setting which enables us as to move smooth.
Learning from history will enable us as a race to build bridges and form alliances that can prepare us for dealing with the present and meeting the unforeseen. Most importantly, it is vital for everyone observing Black History Month not only to focus on this month, but beyond. To reflect into the past and then learn from it. Black people at home (Africa) and in captivity (diaspora) from every socioeconomic background, gender and belief, must rise to the call for a cultural renewal and socioeconomic regeneration for Africa’s redemption. We cannot escape the political and psycho/socio-economic environment in which we exist. In the face of such difficulties and crisis, we as Africans have a need to reinvent ourselves by building strong foundations from the lessons learnt, create a new vision and mobilize our resources.
Today Africans and their descendants everywhere are celebrating and commemorating the abolition of African enslavement. On may notice that commemoration of this abolition brings about contradictory feelings from different stakeholders. Whenever this topic is discussed, what initially comes to mind is the descendants of enslaved Africans who suffered great physical and emotional pain and continue to suffer from discrimination and unfavorable living conditions, most notable in American and at home in Africa. Secondly, there are Europeans who engineered the capture and enslavement of Africans parallel to a process of political and cultural destabilization of the communities of African descendants, which was done through replacement of local practices, values and deities with European ones.
Therefore massive accumulation of capital and the creation of large banks in Europe and America drew massive profit from the unpaid labor of millions of enslaved Africans for well over 500 years. Such accumulation from African enslavement played a crucial role in financing the Industrial Revolution and helped economic development in both Europe and the United States. With the commemoration of the abolition of African enslavement, our former enslavers (Europeans) now celebrate and embrace new humanitarian values that are linked to post- modernity. At the same time these former enslavers still continue to enjoy the socioeconomic development bestowed upon them as a result of the enslavement period.
Thirdly, at the beginning of the 15th century we should also remember the central role the Catholic Church played in our enslavement by providing an ethical base to enslave Africans by stating that “unlike Europeans, Africans did not have a soul.” Therefore we as Africans must take the learning of our history seriously as we have a role to safeguard our cultures and values. We must remember that “he who controls the past controls the future, he who controls the future, controls the present.” It would be a fallacy to pretend that we have no past, and it will be dangerous knowing that one’s history is a vital prerequisite for development.
“…Free at last, free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!” this was the cry of Dr Martin Luther King in the 1960s, which still echo’s deeply in our hearts. However, the real question is how free we are now, two hundred and seven years later after the abolition of African enslavement? In real life, how free are we as Africans and Africans in captivity (diaspora). How free are Africans in America while trapped in the racism of American society, police killings of innocent black youth, destabilized family structures, poverty chronic unemployment, high rates of criminality and incarceration, self-destructive patterns, connected drug consumption, suicides and homicides? How free are the enslaved descendants in America, who provided unpaid labor to the manufacturing industries owned by European descendants? How free African countries are now, in the context of disabling debts, exploitative and unjust trade terms imposed by countries that control the global market and thus the poverty of developing countries? How is it that we can claim we are free while African countries are trapped between the restraints and disabling measures of institutions such as the notorious International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank and the exploitative claws of a western-controlled “free market”, which results in structural indebtedness and impoverishment? How free are African communities, who because of engineered markets lack the capital to finance development? Look how Africa resources are controlled by Europeans and the added value for their economies transferred to the foreign owners of production systems.
The current reality is that former colonies today exist primarily to fulfil the needs of the colonizing European power. The processing of products only occurs in Europe. Modern economic relations, mechanisms of protection and development of northern market and industries, exploration and marginalization of developing countries are still present in North-South exchange strategies. As a result, Africa produces a null tariff only to satisfy the needs of the Western (and Arab) world and support Western (and Middle-Eastern) development. With this in mind, Africa is being denied the opportunity to build the capital necessary to finance development, education, infrastructure, industrialization and healthcare.
One may ask. Where is the future of Africa and its subjects in captivity heading? Does it lie in the ways of tradition? The fact that many traditional practices were suitable responses to the problems of the past, within the technological, economical and social context of that time. Nevertheless, traditions are also both culturally bound responses for organizing communities as express in values and behavioral practices such as birth, marriage, passage to adulthood and passing in flesh and traditional values can be a tool to secure power and to influence of particular groups. In the context of its globalization of values, way of life, information and technological methods and markets, new approaches to problems we are facing are necessary.
It is unfortunate that some people remain captives of the traditions of the past, which for many is comfortable. But development is fundamentally about changes. It is clear that if you do what you have always done you will get wat you have always got. And in our case as African children what we have been getting is poverty and dependence, as opposed to socio-economic development. Should we then continue this way? No. Therefore, it is times that we must see to why many traditional practices need to be re-examined in the context of modern conditions and development. Equity consideration in a new democratic era is a must and mobilization of all human resources, independent of ethic belonging, gender, age or location is important. Today black people globally and locally under “imported paradigms” and readymade solutions, which we are partaking blindly.
In search for answers to our problems, it is vital to recognize, however, that most technological and financial solutions available (including trade agreements) have been developed by institutions of rich, industrialized countries, and such solutions are fashioned to their cultural, social and economic context, mobilizing and developing their resources for the purpose of creating wealth and welfare to their societies. Such solutions have hindered the development process and created new socioeconomic problems which include urban migration, ghetto life, unemployment, urban criminality and family disintegration.
Therefore, for us to claim we are free as African children needs critical analysis. We need to search for solutions for Africa’s problems, which can mobilize and restore African resources and provide alternatives to unsustainable consumerist living patterns, natural resources, management strategies and imported primary goods i.e. food, medicine, furniture, employment strategies and externally controlled markets.
“History teaches us that unity is strength and cautions us to submerge and overcome our differences in the quest for common goals, to strive, with all our combined strength, for the path to a true African brotherhood and unity.” His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I.
For any correspondence you can contact Brother X on email@example.com