- >>African Holocaust
- >>Slavery in America
- >>Arab Slave Trade
- >>Jewish Slave Trade
- >>Slavery Revolts
- >>Modern Slavery
- >>Mental Slavery
- >>Culture Complex
- >>Rites of Passage
- >>African Agency
- >>Language & Africa
- >>Music and Dance
- >>African Race
- >>African Languages
- ANCIENT AFRICA
- >>African Kingdoms>>Ptahhotep of Egypt
- >>Business & Africans
- >>African Cinema
- >>War and Religion
- >>Art of Revolution
- >>Garvey Economics
- >>African Leaders
- African Kings and Queens
- African Marriage
- Made In Africa
- White Supremacy
- Business & Africans
- ICC & Africa
- Intellectual Property
- Libation in Africa
- Malcolm on Revolution
- African Fundamentalism
- Capitalism or Socialism
- Facts About Africa
- War and Religion
- Death of African Languages
- Garvey Economics
- Cabral Theory
- NGO and Development
- Garvey Legacy
- Willie Lynch Hoax
- Malcolm OAAU
- Ethics of the Reparations
- Afrocentrism Pseudohistory?
- Marley Film Review
- Abolition and Wilberforce
- Black Panther Critique
- Jews and Slavery
- Gay Rights
- Failure Of African Leadership
- Capitalism or Socialism?
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Failure to Engage
- Libya Invasion
- Dubois: Souls of Black folk
- Slavery in America
- Amilcar Cabral
- Agency and Africa
- Mis-Education of the Child
- African Revolt
- The Flag of African Cinema
- The Politics of Liberation
- White Supremacy
- The Horrors of 500 Years
- Africa and the Rise of Islam
- Why Kwanzaa
- Ptahhotep Ancient Egypt
- Seen But Never Heard
- African Classical Music
- South Africa: 10 Years On
- Music and Dance in Religion
- White Abolition of Slavery
- A Threat to Black Studies
- Art of Revolution
- African Influence in Barbados
- Origins of Voodoo
- Black Out White Wash
- Ethiopian Slave Trade
- Darfur Report
Until lions tell their tale, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter
– African Proverb
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will
– Frederick Douglass
The most pathetic thing is for a slave who doesn't know that he is a slave
– Malcolm X
Every man is rich in excuses to safeguard his prejudices, his instincts, and his opinions.
– Ancient Egypt
I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.
– Peggy McIntosh
What kind of world do we live in when the views of the oppressed are expressed at the convenience of their oppressors?
– Owen 'Alik Shahadah
We are not Africans because we are born in Africa, we are Africans because Africa is born in us.
– Chester Higgins Jr.
Leave no brother or sister behind the enemy line of poverty.
– Harriet Tubman
If we stand tall it is because we stand on the shoulders of many ancestors.
– African Proverb
If we do not stop oppression when it is a seed, it will be very hard to stop when it is a tree.
– ' Alik Shahadah
If the future doesn't come toward you, you have to go fetch it
– Zulu Proverb
When we look at how this deadly feat was accomplished, we see the dismantling of any and all mechanisms which preserved the continuity of the African people. Language, isolation, rituals such as marriage and funerals which preserve the integrity of African culture, griots and the institution of family were all attacked, this is well known and understood by most of us. What may not be well known or understood by many is that these institutions and more continue to be under attack mainly through imagery and media, so that in order to change the African consciousness, we must change the information that is perpetually poured into the African mind.
The specific information about how Black people came/continue to be in this current state is an important story to be told so that future generations will understand that it was/is not genetic deficiency and/or Divine decree which created our circumstances, but the advantage of human oppression that created the privilege of the few and the poverty of the many. It should also serve as a blueprint for prevention, because there is no successful society who understands and celebrates the culture of another, who does not understand and celebrate its own. What causes this? White supremacy is invisible to white eyes, it is certainly not invisible to us-- no more than the air is invisible to the flight of a bird.
Michael Tillotson states: "Unlike previous epochs in the United States, African Americans are not constantly reminded of inequality by fire hoses, attack dogs, lynchings, state sanctioned mob violence and various forms of overt de facto and de jure racial structuring. Because of this, the everyday human events surrounding African American life does not foster a critical consciousness of the enduring contradictions still present in contemporary American society." 
Racism has been discussed extensively and most agree it is something we should eradicate, but we need to not be given to a knee jerked or anecdotal observations to solve it. Racism is both a human defense as well as offense; it feeds on both ignorance of the other, and vulgar self-interest. Had Europeans come to Africa and met with a united people who mastered space technology, nuclear weaponry, and drove cars running on air, two things would have happened. A. there would be no perception of inferiority b. They would have been no opportunity for their vulgar self-interest. i.e. no racism. (Architects of Misdirection, Alik Shahadah) Racism just like other systems of discrimination rely upon structure. Such structure requires power - power that manifests through societal institutions (ie political, educational, and religious). Racism is not simply a matter of preferential tastes, biases or discriminatory tendencies.
Doesn't matter how many PhD's you have, how many houses you own, how many awards you have won. When you are out shopping, at a border crossing in the EU, on a plane, at an expensive hotel you cannot escape being concerned with who is watching you expecting you to steal. Then you are told you have a chip on your shoulder, it is all in your mind, well from 1492 - 2012 you still a victim of white supremacy racist canards.
The constant imposition of what is good for Africa by Western voices is racism. To suggest that Africans should culturally become more like Europeans is racism. To suggest that aspects of African culture are regressive in the face of Western culture is racist. Racism is domination of one race images and ideas and ideals even in territories where Africans are the majority. Racism also takes away the tools of self-determination by making the dominant race the source of all orthodoxy and standards. So it is racist when the experts on Africa are always White, and any African opinion outside of white approval is decried as fringe or controversial. And in this we see the constant "call to authority" that has the facade of being "mainstream" study but is really a re-stating of politically correct form of Eurocentrism.
Two types of racism to consider is the one that comes with a noose (KKK) and the more subtle racism that keeps African liberation just out of reach. The tools of this racism are wrapped up in policy and other forms of institutionalization. It relies on fine-print, standards, mainstream, verifiability, which allow the ugly face of racism to be hidden in doublespeak, obfuscation and bureaucracy. Its most effectively weapon is disengagement by dismissal and denial of racisms existence in those processes. It works by simply ignoring the existence of other systems of knowledge, institution, opinion other than those it sanctions.
The failure to engage conscious media on TV, is masked as broadcasters choice, the failure for places like UNESCO to engage authentic African projects is so deeply buried in policy it no longer looks like racism. And every organization will admit that somewhere between Earth and Jupiter institutional racism exists, but none of them will ever let on that it lives anywhere near their organization. So we know this racism exist, yet every accusation is denied and explained away. The victims know something is wrong, but unlike the visible noose, it is very hard to detect. Especially with the rise of tokenism that places insincere or under qualified Black faces in critical positions for the very purpose of superficially deflecting critique.
Institutional racism also creates the illusion of a meritocracy and it gives the illusion of tools for plurality. There is always a space for voicing dissent to a disconnected e-mail address. Or a complaint form that has so much process and criteria to meet that the threshold stops all protest. So every tool is a ruse, most are empty template default replies to any objection "Sorry you feel that way we will take it under advisement, but we have made every effort not to offend." It makes no difference how well prepare, well researched any position is in the face of the unlimited deniability of institutional racism. It always seeks to patronize the victim to make them look like a mad person, who is not worth engaging. Because these debates happen outside of mediation or the watch eye of the public, they are easily dismissed.
In academia racism seeks to control all areas of people activity and access to information about self. It sets up notions of "neutrality" which are monitored and controlled institutions of the dominant race class. And demands that oppressed people use these tools to access information. White racism fails to see the arrogance in itself and often repeats the same methodologies which are today decried. The constant attitude of qualification to speak to and/or write about Africans as if they were primates incapable of opinion of self while structures of study are set-up at all junctions to exclude or reduce any form of challenge to the white status quo is indeed, racist. Work is challenged for reliability when it is self-published or comes from publications not run by Whites. So the entire deck is stacked against the African to curb and lose any form of authentic study of self and the wider world.
Racism is an interruption of people’s right to determine their political and cultural destiny. Racism is mainly expressed by the dominant race class to the rest of the world. Therefore generally speaking the experience of racism is felt by non-white people. Ironically the new tone is for the dominant race-class to accuse disempowered people of being racist every time they try to identify and eliminate racism.
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Peggy McIntosh writes: I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions.
1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.
3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.
11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person's voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.
12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
16. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race.
17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.
18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.
19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race.
25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.
26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children's magazines featuring people of my race.
27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.
28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.
29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.
30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.
31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.
32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.
33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.
34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.
36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.
37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.
38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.
39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.
40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.
43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.
44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.
45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.
46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin.
47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.
48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.
49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.
50. I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social
No society can stick its head in the sand and deny the severity or prevalence of race bias. In all multi-racial societies their advancement is marked with greater sensitivity to race and the consequences of race.
He argued for their relevance to psychological and mental well-being and identified the impact of their absence and distortion. We need to be clear, that the power of imagery is no secret to those who are projecting the images we see and acknowledge consciously and subconsciously on a daily basis.
The ideology of particular characteristics of God; male vs. female, black vs. white, begin to raise a whole variety of questions because if God is just male that means that there are 50% of human possibilities that God is not. This means that you have cut off God’s possibilities and limited your concept, introducing an unnatural psychology to those who are women who would see themselves less favoured (based on natural human bias) because God is of a different gender. So what then, are the implications of racial characteristics being attributed to God? Of course, the problem of racial characteristics being attributed to God is not uni-directional. There are serious psychological implications created for people portrayed in the form of the Divine image. However, for the sake of this discussion, we will focus on the effect of racial images on Africans and the diaspora.
This program (internalized view of the Caucasian deity) determines who and what we are and we begin to believe that we have less human potential than one who looks like the image. So, the stage is now set for the cycle of self-fulfilling prophesy. Cambridge graduate, Edward Blyden eloquently wrote about this in the document entitled “Islam, Christianity and the Negro” in 1888, over 100 years ago and Carter G. Woodson made a similar observation in The Mis-Education of the Negro stating: “"When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.”
During the civil rights era, Black activists questioned the fact that textbooks, actors on T.V. and in movies, even mannequins in the department store did not look like them. Everyone from department store merchants to Hollywood was warned that Blacks would not patronize them if our images were not represented in their products, a testament to the understanding of the severity of the problem of images (or lack thereof). However the seriousness of the Caucasian religious imagery is revealed by the realization of the absence of concern about these images. Almost no one dealt with the representation of God and the entire heavenly host in Caucasian flesh. (The distinct exception is Rev. Albert Cleage in Detroit in the early 1960’s. Though he identified the authentic African contribution to Biblical history, he concluded by substituting a limiting Black image for the limiting white image. We must admit that this innovation was healthier psychologically than the prevalent white image)
Brilliant scholars of the mind, usually effectively critical, were unable to see (or address) the influence on a Black child, sitting at the dinner table with a Black daddy and a Black mamma having often overcome racist opposition to provide them with food; and over the table hangs a picture to which they bow their heads; twelve Caucasians sitting around their table at “The Last Supper”. There sits “God’s son” and all of his closest companions, Saviour of the world, who died for your sins and is your God. And not a single person, not even the cook, the server or the bus boy (roles that we are usually a shoe-in for), looks like the Black family on whose wall this image hangs. Some of the most verbal critics of racism and its consequences, even our most radical thinkers have been thoroughly incapable of addressing this issue, a testament to the controlling influence of these images. For even they are unable to openly challenge what they have come to believe unconsciously is actually the image of God. So, if the experts have these problems imagine what your twelve-year-old son is dealing with, when he has already endured eleven years of Sunday school pictures. Imagine our personal dilemma when we must challenge our own long-held image of the very face of God.
The consequence of not challenging this image is persisting dependency. Limited by the perception that creativity and innovation are the exclusive privilege of those similar to the image of divinity, Black people have difficulty thinking independently. When we lack creativity, we fail to tap into our own experience and reap the benefits of our God-given gifts. We fail to see the value in our own psychological effectiveness in enduring the psychological traumas experienced collectively as an oppressed people, as we applaud Freud. We ignore the feat of our own education in an environment which prohibited our very literacy, yet we stand by passively while our schools fail. Our lack of confidence in our unique experience and reality is rooted in the perception that we do not have equal access to the presence of the Creator because he does not look like us! This explains why we consistently seek out Caucasian leaders and authorities and reject the authority and leadership of anyone who does not possess these features.
The solution is obvious, African people must acknowledge the importance and power of imagery and exercise agency where certain groups that claim to represent our images are involved, because it has already been proven that if it is left up to another, what we will get. “The first sign of agency is the inherent power to define one’s terms of reference. Specific words exist for racism against Jewish people and US Congress monitors global anti-Semitism (Global Anti-Semitism Review Act), yet no such policies or terms exist for the greatest victims of racism. The on-going African Holocaust is denied, ridiculed, mocked and deemphasized daily without any global sympathy. How is it possible for 60 million people to have so many terms which articulate their self-interest, yet 1 billion Africans in their own home seem disabled in this capacity? But where is Home? Home is where you put your feet up. Home is where you are safe and loved and allowed to recover and grow. In China the Chinese are at home. They are surrounded by images of Chinese people, films by Chinese people, land owned by Chinese people, products made by Chinese people, the language is Chinese, the food is Chinese, and even the images of God are Chinese in China. So where is home where all of these things are true for Africans? "Without agency everything will impose on you; democracy, political systems, religion, media, language, culture and even technology. And you will not be able to assert self-interest in any of these spheres.” (Alik Shahadah) This is proven, because even in countries where Africans are the majority, it is ruled and controlled by the minority (whites), as seen in South Africa. And when the Black American population alone approaches the population at, near or larger than many European countries; we understand that there is no reason except for lack of creative will and self-abnegation that this is still the case over 500 years later.
We must learn to publically and unapologetically celebrate ourselves and our history; yes as African individuals, but more importantly as a community and as a nation. If Europeans can comfortably identify themselves with every image from Santa Claus to the Son of God in order to celebrate who they are, why should we not also communicate images (both real and imagined) to African people, something about our potential greatness? If we must have images of religious characters or a fantasy character that comes with gifts and good cheer, let them look like us. Let good cheer and salvation for our people come from Black hands and hearts. Look around the world at any culture whose minds are free and who engage in self-determined action and witness how they comfortably celebrate themselves and their culture in hundreds of ways. This celebration should utilize the energy of self-worth to motivate, inspire and improve self-preservation and evolution. Cultures and institutions put considerable resources into creating images and opportunities to sing the praises of their accomplishments. This process is an essential part of maintaining a free mind, but becomes even more fundamental in freeing a captive mind. Self-celebration then becomes a healing.
Everyone has a version of equality and justice to suit the privileges they inherit. The best dynamic is plurality and representation. The discontinuation of race-based privileges is a battle South Africa, USA, UK etc., is failing to win because the problem is not understood by the oppressed and denied by those who perpetuate it.
Our intelligence is questioned when we see Tom Cruise portray “The Last Samurai” and movies such as The Help, where “Black resistance is reduced to passive quiet dignity of a sort; self-discipline under undeserved suffering and humiliation; various expressions of impotence, like eye-rolling and talking on the side-and-sly” (Dr Maulana Karenga), are celebrated while films such as The Spook Who Sat by the Door are yanked from theatres and deemed potentially “too influential”—a testament to the powerful imagery of film. It is interesting that images of White America’s violent reactions to the Civil Rights Movement are easy to come by, yet the media continues even to this day to refuse to shine any light whatsoever on Black unity and strength. Instead, the BBC exchanges words like “freedom fighter” (except in attributed quotes) for “more neutral” terms such as; militant, guerrilla, assassin, insurgent, paramilitary and/or militia. The Help “is not the material out of which heroes and heroines are made, and is more the action of an alienated, abused and frustrated waitress than conscious witness and midwives of history, as many of the maids and other Black women were with Black men in the Black Freedom Movement, as well as those who struggled in their own way before it came. There are obvious lessons communicated to a Black audience by this film. It seeks to reinforce established order definitions of acceptable and possible resistance.” (Karenga)
Many senior leaders including Jacob Zuma have complained in the past that there is a general resistance on the part of the economic majority to play a serious role in the de-racializing of South Africa. During apartheid, race representation in media was almost 100% White. In 2011 our study shows that number has shifted to 80%, and if the international content is included it sits even higher. This might be an aspect of globalization, but that only makes the argument here even more solid, because if we already have over representation from the West then it is even more exigent that we be sensitive to it in Africa. And in being sensitive, we must begin to seek real answers as to “Why?” and not just say “well, we placed an advert and only white responded”. Because if you went out and placed an advert for opportunity everywhere in South Africa, it is proven that most that will access it will be white. Whites have the social and economic infrastructure to capitalize (at the expense of) the intended disenfranchised people. So it is no longer acceptable to say “we put out the opportunities, we can’t make people take them”. At the intersection of race and class sits mainstream media, operating as a business; thus following market logic with a bias toward lucrative audiences and a preference for NO economic downtime. So the higher priority is keeping the economy buoyant, like trying to fix an electrical problem without disconnecting the current. And all the while, African children continue to be bombarded with images that do not represent them.
The trend of white only hiring causes a misrepresentation of the ethnic demographic, particularly in South Africa where Africans are employed in TV adverts only in alcohol and HIV related products. Whites dominate everywhere else. Many Western countries have "inclusion quotas" for media which at least have the effect of creating sensitivity around the issue. But inclusion should not mean tokenism. Supermarkets like Checkers continue to hide in the loop hole of the law with bare minimum representation of the ethnic majority of South Africa. Had the process been sensitive to the race dynamic in South Africa there would be no need for mere tokenism to tick off a box. It appears big business is happy with the status quo which keeps wealth where it was during apartheid. They are loyal to minimum change to give the illusion of accountability. No legislation monitors or demands “race representation”quotas (a very powerful tool which influences people’s image of self and self-confidence) in media. And the little monitoring that does go on is an all-white expert controlled body called Race Institute. So for the sake of ticking race quota boxes they do the bare minimum. How is it easier to find more African (a minority in the UK) in British advertisement than in South Africa (where Africans are the majority)? Do not let the point be missed, that Africans and people of African descent have the right to control their own media images and to have access to all forms of media without discrimination.
In an essay entitled “Introduction: The strategic Intellectual Importance of Kemet”, Kimani Nehusi captures the cause for concern stating; A fundamental principle at stake in all of this is whether the Afrikan people, like any other group of people, should participate in the writing of their own history from a position of equality, which out of necessity must also mean from their own perspectives”. Nehusi goes on to say that “This idea of equality is supported by the United Nations who’s Convention on the Rights of the Child” calls for every child to know and respect her or his history and cultural identity as well as that of others. See http://wboesww.org for full text; as well as UNICEF and UNICESCO 2007) Further, it appears timely that this world body has declared 2011 the International Year for People of African Descent (United Nations A/RES/64/169.” This section is summarized by saying “However, despite claims of multiculturalism and other forms of equality, conscious and organized racism remains an aspect of life in modern Britain and the rest of the western world. Academia (and media, emphasis mine) is not immune to this inhuman scourge, which affects relations among people and generally lessens the well-being and the life chances of those who face discrimination.”
People are most concerned with what impacts their reality. So as long as those consuming the alcohol do not spill over into the rich neighbourhoods then everything is okay. Crime is the number one concern of whom- rich people. For the poor the number one concern is employment and without relying excessively on the ‘numbers game’, recent statistics underscore the need for equity interventions. According to the Commission for Employment Equity, in 2009 South Africa’s economically active population (EAP) was 74% African, 11% coloured, 3% Indian and 12% white. These proportions are clearly not replicated in top management structures across the country, in which only 20% are filled by Africans, 5% by coloured people and 7% by Indians. Sixty-four percent of top senior management positions are filled by our white compatriots. These data confirm, first, that transformation has not yet been achieved, and further, that current employment practices have not translated into discrimination against minority groups. The sectors that are least transformed are retail, motor repair services, wholesale, trade and commercial agents and allied services. These sectors also lack codes of conduct, or charters that map out employment objectives.
Cutting through the noise and static, all relationships start with being equitable and continue with it as well. African people need African representation, unlike those currently tied to public funds, which use slavery in its most sanitized and historically disconnected sense. We must come to a general understanding that all cultures are contributors to knowledge in a plural society. Not having unique sites as a resource, where so few exist, speaks volumes to UNESCO’s inability to engage and understand the issue of slavery and the inheritance of Eurocentrism. The same challenges of Diop by the institution, challenges of true representation, are still continued despite UNESCO claim to be challenging that. Silent respect is no respect at all. Speaking around issues with smooth language of invasion is the basis of all inequity. It explains why in the AU, tribe mates run entire departments or why the anti-Slavery society promotes all white liberators and is run by liberal whites. It is this evasive language that big business uses in South Africa to continue to be unaccountable to race reforms. Without proper tangible recognition of agency there is no basis for any partnerships. Being big, for UNESCO does not mean better, sometimes smaller means more flexible, more able to grasp on the ground information, definitely more trusted. A smaller society, more concentrated on a particular area means not so slow to turn into the wind of technology and able to understand on a dime, concepts like information dissemination.
There is a reason why societies such as African Holocaust are necessary to dominate the internet in areas of: African names, African culture, Arab Slave trade, African Holocaust, and African people. UNESCO can’t do that because it is separate from the people it claims to represent, distrusted for all the reasons listed here. So we do for self. UNESCO cannot service its mandate by continuing to operate within old circles and thinking, which alienates institutions and organizations which contain the heat and spirit of the people. UNESCO must evolve from this stagnating mentality and directly engage organizations with a unique commitment to the story of Africa and the story of slavery from an authentic position. It is as simple as that. . The world has changed. Social networking and direct people to people relationships have transformed all sectors. How can they seriously still stick with antiquated engagement models which all come up soft and white? Politics of inclusion.
Anything which publically represents African ancestors must be subject to challenge. Peer review keeps things in check. The current list is an injustice to resources, and a UNESCO mandate for interaction and representation is expected and anticipated. What does it say of UNESCO’s quality if it is only a “self-monitoring” group of elites, disconnected from reality? UNESCO is accountable to the people and organizations who do the real work in these areas; people who are independent of the noose of funders, governments and European agendas.
Creating agency and wealth for self will not happen by the click of a ‘like button’ but by having people who are sensitive and integrated into an understanding of economics and its applications in community. Abstract theory and rhetoric to this point have created zero wealth and more dependency, this is a fact, and as Shahadah says: “Do not get so comfortable in someone else’s house that you forget to build your own”. Practicing economic agency means, African people must also recognize how we have allowed others to profit while numbing our reality and rewriting our history for future generations. As African people it is important that we objectively analyse every aspect of our current condition and address our own deficit as well as that of current so-called leadership of our communities. How can we build for self when our very own African leaders hand over our wealth on a platinum and diamond encrusted platter to others? In Senegal, Wade gives $28 million to Korea to build an African monument while the Zulu pays R3 million to a Boer build a statue of the warrior Shaka Zulu. And when they felt that the first statue was made to look weak…they let him try again! How is it, with all of the talented African artists we still find a way to make someone else richer? Our leadership and methodologies are old-timey and out of tune, preferring to cling to the belief that overhead projectors are a revolutionary form of information delivery system; all the while failing to engage the next generation who are techno savvy but lacking in content and direction.” (Shahadah)
We can shout all we want and be closet revolutionary’s on YouTube and in blogs, but what does that do if we do not have the power to make things real? “Pan-Africanism challenges this powerlessness by fostering African agency. When Africans own and control land, resources, and images of self; then all other problems start to dissolve. But we cannot in one hand complain about the lack of positive images of African people and lament over opportunist media houses like CNN if we refuse to go into our pockets and support the few independent films we have. We either understand the power created via unity and the processes that go into unity, or die in unmarked graves forgotten to time. Make no mistake, the reason for the on-going demise of Africa is not because of the Arab slave trade, or the destructive European slave trade, or colonialism. These are all symptoms of a greater dilemma; the inability of Africans to build constructive spheres of self-interest around common challenges. Our fates are intertwined and our destinies are inter-dependent on us realizing that. We are not the 60’s generation that could only talk about Garvey. We are not the 30’s generation that could only talk about Booker T. We are a generation with the gift of hindsight. We have Malcolm, Garvey, Dubois, Nkrumah and Biko as examples. Given our current condition, working together can no longer be treated as a luxury. We can no longer quote Garvey and then hand our money to White people when we have a project, and we cannot make excuses and reassign responsibility. It is madness to be quick to see the flaw in others, yet only have excuses for our own failures. If you are complaining that Black people are not professional, or punctual or committed then you must first be 100% sure that you are not part of the group that you are complaining about.”(Shahadah) This is serious, and the time is now to focus on being progressive and putting away the childish ways of talks, unproductive conferences and lip service. And If our leaders no longer serve our interests, it is time for new leaders.
We do not irradiate racism by pretending it doesn't exist, for to do so is to engage in racism. It is like denying a person with cancer does not have cancer, what happens to that patient then? They die. And racism is the same, to ignore it is to allow the victims of racism to suffer indefinitely. And we do not fix racism by pretending that race is not an issue: African identity is on full public display for all to see.
Liberation and social development is not an event which comes to an end with the election of a new African president. The work of the greats such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Steve Biko, is not a terminal study with a final destination. That is a challenge which will extend to eternity, constantly tested and reviewed for equity and application. These greats were hated and marginalized in their time for daring to challenge inequity. In addition, we must redress this insidious habit of honouring people and separating them from their principles. Too often people are iconized and divorced from anything which speaks to their mission. So they call out Bob Marley's name and sing "One love" skipping "Buffalo Solider" or the meaning of Redemption Song. They talk about Biko but never interrogate the implications of his argument. They can’t defeat Malcolm as an icon, so they teddy bear him and try to handpick a "softer" Malcolm. They make the arguments of Malcolm seem only applicable to that time period. They give the illusion that with a Black President that Malcolm is a relic of a bygone era. This is what happens when we allow our history to be written for us absent of participation.
I am suggesting here that holistic solutions to inequities can be found in four areas: 1.) initiate legislation regarding “race representation” in addition to quotas. 2. Quotas should reflect the racial demographic of the country 3. African people are capable of self-representation; therefor anything which publically represents Africans and African ancestors must be subject to challenge by African civil societies independent of the noose of funders, governments and European agendas. 4.) Real accountability for monitoring groups who are currently majority white civil societies, policing white institutions and who, like all humans are not immune to bias and have been ineffective thus far.
We are in agreement in that; the solution to a race-based society which is full of inequity is to have monitors whose prime duty is to identify and insure that oppressed and marginalized people are protected by/from big business. Many so-called civil societies (Advertising Standards, South Africa Race relations) exist in South Africa and around the world, attending with varying sincerity, to equality. Where we part ways, is that majority of these institutions are run by White people. The attitude of big business, which has unlimited deniability is resentful and a clear sign of a neglectful and shameful attitude. We all must be honest to first identify race is a major factor, and if it is then take steps to fixing it. Part of any repair is an independent investigation into how companies perpetuate this bias. Because accident, or well-meaning have no merits when all the results come back majority white ("the accident of race dominance") especially in an African country where white is the minority. The governments, the civil societies should all play a joint role in challenging this problem. It cannot, in any balanced plural society be solely left to the white majority merchants to self-police- that is tyranny.
We must remember, acknowledge and utilize the scholarship and work ethos of the many African people, who currently dedicate their lives to the African histograph; heart, blood, sweat and too many tears…most struggling while ill qualified people jet around the world with no legacy or authority to represent Africa. This is a corruption that we must speak to and make a matter of public record so that accountability and transparency can be dealt with. These inequities should never be swept away or dismissed. It is impossible for there to be justice if there is absence of criticism (Wole Soyinka). Doing justice to the dead scholars is important—but what about the living who continue to fight? Diop faced some of the most terrible racism, but we recognize him today. Would his legacy not be properly served if we deal with the systems that existed and still exist today, systems that kill the African genius? The system which continues to trap the hope of a new paradigm between institutional discrimination and utter mismanagement? Our African scholars, authors, film makers, orators et al must be included in the discussion regarding our representation. No African on this planet should feel comfortable being ignored while ill qualified people take the praise for distorting our history. And people of African descent have the right (and equally important, the responsibility) to transmit to future generations their own histories written by themselves.
Additional Reading and Resources