No, this doesn’t mean that I’m going back to Africa.

Published June 22, 2015 by Sandee

When Africans sold slaves to Europeans, I imagine they didn’t know that it would turn into an evil institution. Slavery existed in Africa as a different institution than when it was introduced to the west. In Africa, slaves owned slaves who could buy themselves out of slavery and travel freely, etc.

Some people (including other blacks) think blacks and Africans come from inferior and barbaric cultures, and that we need to sit the hell down and appreciate what Europeans have done for us. But we didn’t need anything before they got there. And, please, I’m not referring to Egypt, where some of the people don’t even consider themselves black. Egypt has an ancient history that’s compatible to the way that Europeans think about “progress,” so black people here today want to claim that as part of our history, but most African Americans don’t come from there. I think we should find new ways of describing “progress.”

There was this African interviewed for Humans of New York who spoke about the degrading image of Africans covered in flies, begging and holding their hands out, helping to project a negative image. It has become part of the propaganda. But there are scientists, doctors, and engineers in Africa. Unfortunately, in the States, the stereotypical goal for blacks is still to become either a singer, dancer or sports star.

Nowadays, with the environmental issues that we face, and with the problem of fake food, etc., people can really appreciate the simple wisdom of those African proverbs that speak of mother earth. Certain indigenous tribes couldn’t even grasp the idea that anyone “owned” land, because it belonged to everyone. But now since the natural institutions of Africans have disappeared, superficially, it’s easy to blame them for a degraded state of existence, instead of remembering where they had come from, which a lot of us back-to-nature folks are trying to get back to.

And some African leaders have been corrupt — not to condone the behavior, but we’ve all been tainted with the idea of owning a lot of stuff (maybe it’s too late to turn back).

One culture isn’t better than the other. We should respect everyone’s contribution, without the underlying tone of hierarchy. It may be the only way we know how to relate to each other now, but it should change. We should have a different way of relating to the environment, and see simply that nature used Europeans, creating an environment that made it necessary for them them to move outward, to help us move closer together; as opposed to seeing one group as superior to the other.

It wasn’t innate genius in relation to others that propelled Europeans to start the swell of technological “advancement.”Africans and blacks are just as capable of learning and absorbing knowledge that inspires this kind of expertise.

But we all know of the practices that prevent that from happening, beginning with slaves and blacks being prevented from learning to read and going to school at the inception of this nation — this shit still exists today in subtler ways.

When people complain about racism, gun violence, and political corruption, etc., I think about how we just go round and round in circles with the same shit happening. Charleston, Newtown, unarmed black men being murdered — this is not the end. Now that we’ve figured out ways to get more resources to the masses with technology, we need to figure out how to distribute them in healthier ways.

Under the current market system, I don’t think it’s possible, because it requires cutting large percentages of the population out of the competition, and that involves propaganda. Or, maybe we should continue to promote a system that encourages murder, excess and degradation — and the use of anti-depressants to deal with it all. How sophisticated and advanced is a society such as this?

17 comments on “No, this doesn’t mean that I’m going back to Africa.

  • I never get into race on my blog (yes, the blog I haven’t written in almost two months), Sandee, but I have very strong feelings about all the crap that’s gone down in this country since Obama was elected president. I’m sure you remember the spin that his election was supposed to be about our post-racial society. If anything, I think that having a man of color as commander-in-chief has brought out post-racial bigotry in the extreme. An evil ignoramus loser with a gun acted out on his insane hate and launched a one-man terror attack on people that sounded like they were nine saints to me. I think about their murders which were as cold-blooded and calculated as what went down in Paris during the Charlie Hebdo attack, but no one over here is in any hurry to start a “I am Charleston” campaign and why is that? It seems to me it’s because the majority in this country is okay with it. Think about it: we allow anyone to have a gun, we allow any evil bastard to go on a shooting rampage, but as long as we’re not directly impacted by the latest home grown terror attack, we forget about it until the next one occurs and then it’s the same thing all over again. Outrage and high octane media coverage until the next big news story, maybe a weather event, grabs the headlines. As for people who are directly impacted and have lost loved ones in these attacks, and they try to take action, it seems to me that no one gets very far. The NRA is such a strong lobby. I even see removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse as an essentially hollow gesture brought on by fierce political pressure. Yes, I am all for seeing that flag go, but why has it been continuing to fly high fifteen years into this millennium? Why is that flag, and what it represents, a point of pride and not one of shame? It makes no sense to me. But it’s not just people in South Carolina or the South that I think are racist. There is bigotry throughout this entire country, even in fiercely liberal Manhattan. I have a friend who’s Asian and her father was born in China, but he’s lived in New Jersey for the past 35 or 40 years. She told me that in the 2008 election, he wouldn’t vote for Obama, the candidate he preferred, solely because he was black. What’s the basis of his disturbing bigotry? Simple answer: profound prejudice, but I know it goes so much deeper than that.

    I grew up in San Francisco during the Civil Rights era. I look back and think that was so fortuitous. My first friends, in a public school kindergarten, were four black kids, a pair of twin sisters and two boys who were cousins. We all instantly hit it off. We didn’t hang out with the white kids. We just hung out with each other and were all into art so we spent a lot of time in the painting room. They had never had white friends before and I had never known anyone black. We were all very curious about each other and we all wanted to touch each other. It was innocent, just our hands. I thought that black people would feel like leather. One of the boys thought that white people would feel like butter. So we snuck off to the cloakroom (yes, this was so long ago, it was the era of the cloakroom) just to feel each others’ hands. We were all amazed when we realized that we all felt exactly the same. It was very profound to me and I think to them, too. I also recall giggling a lot. When it was time for us to enter first grade, my parents pulled me out of that public school and they sent me to a Catholic school. I asked my mom why I didn’t have any black classmates anymore. She explained that it was because my new school was too expensive. Even at six I knew that was wrong.

  • Thanks for chiming in, Virginia. Like you, I generally shy away from writing about stuff like this, but I felt like getting this off my chest now. Yeah, it’s crazy the way it is.

    I read a NY Times article by a black journalist who said blacks go between feeling despair and anger, and I thought, I never despair. I don’t see things the way people commonly see them, I suppose. I have never felt like a victim, or helpless. When I was young, I thought everyone wanted to be black — maybe it was because of the times — I think we’re around the same age. My family just had a lot of pride, and I never heard any attitude about being victimized. And we loved everyone just the same. My dad was an artist so we met all kinds of people. Believe me, I’m not in any kind of denial or anything about what’s happening. Honestly, I feel like some of the perpetrators of this ignorance are more victims than anyone else.

    I think the problem, as I mentioned, stems from this idea that blacks come from an inferior culture, which is a falsehood. But we need scapegoats in a system that runs this way, where materialism is king — so I suppose we’re it.

    I’m fortunate to know quite a few black doctors, lawyers, professionals, artists, etc. I grew up with all kinds of people, and have seen white people who struggle as well. And now I’m in forums where I see these struggles of all people quite frequently.

    With regard to Charleston, In a way I feel sorry for people who have so much fear that it wells up and breaks out in violence — no matter what their race happens to be.

    I think we need to live differently and have some kind of an ideological shift in our thinking and in the way that we perceive the planet before any of what’s going on now changes. Unfortunately, I think it’ll keep happening. And regarding gun laws, if those poor little children who were killed in Newtown, didn’t change anything — that ate me up terribly — I don’t know what can.

  • I saw the news reel of Obama making the post mass shooting speech 14 times since his administration and that doesn’t include, of course, what’s not reported, and there are shootings every day in this country. It makes me angry and sad, and what you say above is true and profound…if the children killed in Newtown didn’t change anything, what will? There is too much greed and it seems to only get worse. The people in power don’t give a damn. Until someone does who doesn’t care about politics, I don’t thing anything will change either. I want to be more hopeful, because I’ve always been hopeful. Lately, that has changed for me. I’m glad you wrote this, Auntie. Wise words from you. xo

    • Thanks, Naima! Maybe all this stuff happening is for us to learn things from, because it never goes away and has always existed. It’s just compounded with the media sources that surround us now, all the hand-held devices and the ability for this stuff to be transmitted cyber-speed.

  • “Some people (including other blacks) think blacks and Africans come from inferior and barbaric cultures,” I think this rather describes segments of our white population just as succinctly. I often wonder just who comes from inferior and barbaric cultures that it is acceptable to be despicable to any other human being.

  • Africa has such a rich and diverse cultural heritage that most Westerners have totally dismissed. For one thing, most of us make the mistake of treating the continent like it’s one big homogenous whole. But there are so many different countries and peoples and tribes, all with different traditions and cultures. It’s so wrong to ignore and dismiss these differences instead of embracing and learning about them. After all, humanity began in Africa. We need to get smarter about the place where we originated.

    • That’s it, Mary. There’s so much diversity between all those countries. It’s amazing. Some of my family has been there. My brother-in-law’s from Uganda — my sister (his wife) and their kids went last September. She wants to move there — hahahaha! And my father’s been to a couple of countries there.

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