AdviceIdentitysocial March 28, 2017 Alik Shahadah
True teaching is not an accumulation of knowledge; it is an awakening of consciousness which goes through successive stages.— Ancient Egypt
The discussion on African consciousness1)African consciousness is a term used in pan-African circles to discuss someone’s state of being connected to African history and African identity and acting in a way to bring about African liberation. While it is not monolithic it certainly has enough common characteristics to be defined. is evolving as each generation evolves the concept to align with our modern setup. And our understanding of ourselves it not static. It is not an attempt to do as the Ancient Egyptians did, but moreover an attempt for us to be African right now at this moment and be the best we can be. being “aware” of the world and our relationship to it and others in it from a humanistic ethical point of view where we seek to advance our humanityAnd while we draw from the past, we do not live in the past. The most critical moment in African consciousness is right now, because only right now do we have the power to do something about today and tomorrow.2)There is nothing we can do about the past, except learn from it. We cannot go back and interact with it. Any work we plan to do can only be done from the pov of now-this moment.
Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it– Frantz Fanon
Today African consciousness has become diluted and abused, and there has been a paucity of discussion around its virtues. Some see African consciousness as the opposite of Eurocentrism– it is not. African consciousness sits alone as our path as African humans and our development. It is not a path defined by negation or in reaction to Eurocentrism. While conscience is the moral aspect of one’s conduct which, strives to seek truth over lies—right over wrong, fact over fiction, justice over inequity, and morality over immorality. However, there is no conscience outside of awareness (conscious). And consciousness is so much greater than just having information. It is also an exercise in wisdom. It has an awareness component, a component that demands action and an accountability component.
Nike is the uniform for kids all over the world, and African design has been killed by Nike. Africans no longer want to wear their own designs.— MIA
Hate is not pride. True consciousness does more than react, it goes into the world and reconstructs African greatness in every area of people activity— especially economics,ethics and culture
A $20 dollar 32 Gig flash drive has on information– do not think we call it conscious. Consciousness is an awareness; a dynamic relationship between information, comprehension, and application. Throwing your fist in the air and shouting “Down with the System”, or having locks down to your back and Marley on a T-Shirt, Malcolm on a cap, is not consciousness if it does not travel so far to express itself in the family home. Even a record player can repeat a speech by Malcolm X and Nkrumah. But when you start discussing the policies and the need for Africa to industrialize and gain critical nation building skills they say there is nothing wrong with being poor.
So If it does not impose itself on the basic relationships critical for governing our lives and making us productive. (information without application) If it is impatient with process and respect, manners, truth and justice (when truth and justice infringe on self-interest). It is not conscious if it is not reflexive, balanced, tolerant or progressive. It is not consciousness when its only response to disagreement is vitriol and binarism. It is the patina of consciousness. It is worn in fair weather and has no hard weather characteristics in the storms of our world. It becomes a fad, a clique for isolated ideologies to gather for group therapy. There is no consciousness outside of a critical thinking. Consciousness serves to isolate and quarantine the world from callous ignorance and blinding stupidity mixed in with hubris and bigoted anti-intellectualism.
Liberation is not just a fight against White Supremacy, it is a fight against ignorance in all formats.
Different stages of African consciousness: Where are you in all of this?
1. Something is wrong
2. Being able to articulate and understand what is wrong
3. Becoming an agent in transforming wrong to right.
Consciousness is only content with truth, it does not sit well with myth-history, pseudo-history, open lies, poor scholarship, bad logic—regardless of who the beneficiary of error maybe. Consciousness has a permanent disagreement with error—period! It does not engage double standards, hypocrisy and self-serving one-way moral window. Conscious ask the question, am I a better human, or am I only the mirror of my oppression? Am I enlightened or just ignorance in shabby rags? Because this is all some disenfranchised people have become, oppressed and as wicked as the people who oppress them.
Conscious empowerment also means giving people the tools to think critically and act morally. A simple person looks at a problem and tells you only what is within the vicinity of their immediate senses and base emotions. A person of deep consciousness reads between the lines, sees the subtext, understands deeper motives, appreciates nuance, predicts five steps ahead, and offers a sagacious assessment beyond the boundaries of their senses—this is consciousness.
All human values are rooted somewhere(Ghazali), we cannot prove “right” and “wrong” by mere logic, because all values at some stage must be anchored in some fundamental elementary truths held by a conscious community. Consciousness has structure, it has ethics attached. What that means is at the foundation of everything is a moral compass, which governs behaviors and attitudes. It does not float around, and therefore holds people to some tangible values.
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity– MLK
A NEW AFRICAN (2020)
You can end oppression, you can bring in a new government, you can raise the min wage, you can bring roads into the village but what are you doing to build a new human being. And for all the so-called progress we see under the questionable banner of BLM ; for all the promises of reparations, are we able to create a New African? Because at the end of every event from affirmative action to police reform WE (the Africans) still need to marry each other, do business with each other, trade with each other, and take this thing forward. Only we can do that. CNN cannot do it, reforms to the law cannot do it, and recognition of Black Lives at the UN cannot do it. If we do not trust, love, value, and support each other nothing on this Earth can save us. What do we have to do to create a New African for a truly liberated and New African reality? This is what African consciousness is for.
Consciousness has many layers and this needs to be repeated. Some of our people know that Whites have and continue to commit atrocities against us so even them agree something is wrong globally. A level up in consciousness you start to deal in solutions. So not only are you saying “Whites and even our own people do harm to us” you now add “Part of the repair is to Buy Black, and tell our own stories.”. The level up from that is a massive jump to actually doing it. Now, even above this level is a the ability to reconstruct one’s identity based on African agency. Where we do not adopt or renovate ancient bigoted and antiquated colonial images of “what it means to be African,” but we construct our own– from our own worldview and autonomy. We definitely
do not clean up Nigger and Black and say BLM! Now African artist Burna Boy did a video call Wonderfully, clearly, he knows someone is doing something wrong to us and exercises a basic level of consciousness. I am sure he knows to hire an African to make the video which is part of the soln side of things. But can he in his mind construct a New African? NO !!! He goes and recreates the exact same image we have been fighting the white person for spreading. And we see this all the time. We complain about negative images of African Americans yet celebrate the Black-skinned director who showcases monolithic violent egotistical vulgar black males.
When we reclaim ourselves we are not reclaiming random rituals and customs, such as libation and calling on ancestors out of some romantic nostalgia. We are not reclaiming mud huts and animal hides, war paint, and spear chucking. Not because a mud hut is good or bad, but because it is not relevant to our modern way of life. If you can take those mud huts and make them viable and eco-friendly in our contemporary moment then fine! So when we reconstruct our identity we are not cherry-picking exotic themes from a Disney studio– we are rebuilding an identity that strengthens us in this world.
BLACK =/= CONSCIOUS
There is African consciousness and then there are black people who do not like being oppressed and we are NOT the same group. Our concerns intersect only when it comes to the specific injustice African 3)Sometimes their interest is just African Americans, not even Africans from the continent who face injusticepeople suffer from direct white hatred. While conscious people take issue with Africans everywhere, most vocal about black lives matter is very very local. While we see the broader oppression of all oppressed groups (Kurds, Palestinians, Native Americans, Mexicans, Indigenous Australians, Rohingya ) they have no interest in any of that. While two people might share the same concerns, it does not mean the motives for sharing those concerns are the same. Oppression is wrong–regardless of who is doing it. If American soldiers of any color want to invade Arab lands– it is as wrong as when White soldiers invade African lands. We cannot have it two ways. If apartheid is wrong, it has to be just as wrong in Palestine. If racism against a minority is wrong in America, then it has to be wrong in SA. Xenophobia is wrong always or never! you cannot have it both ways where it is okay or justifiable in South Africa but wrong in China.
BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL IS ANTIQUATED
We are beyond saying Black is beautiful and that is healing rhetoric from a bygone era. If anyone still needs that mantra then they are clearly not properly seated in African consciousness. Because having so-called black skin is not an accomplishment. You cannot reply to the developed world that makes final good, plans to put people on Mars, and say “Black is beautiful” is our contribution to humanity. Because everything requires we put a challenge before it. Black and Proud of what? Just having dark skin— is that the root of pride? It almost sounds like soft racism, because if all colors are beautiful (and they are) why are you humming that black is beautiful when no one else feels the need to shout yellow is beautiful, they just make beautiful drones and pianos.
At some junction we will have “black is beautiful” and another 400 years would have passed, maybe by that time all the rest of them have buggered off to Mars with Elon and left us here to fend for ourselves, and then we can wear “black is beautiful” we can bank Black is beautiful, we can type on a Black is beautiful PC and drive a Black is beautiful car.
And out of this therapeutic place in our history we get to the point where Black Lives Matter. Why do they matter? Because they matter. It is the same ideology of entitlement based on being born with pigment in your skin. It ends up making people lazy to development.
The Ancient Egyptians are not remembered for their dark chocolate skin color and curly hair, they are remembered for Giza and Abu Simbel, Thebes, and Saqqara. No one remembers Axum because the girls were pretty, they remember them because of the beautiful Obelisk. We forget our mission when we believe by some natural process we have some special access. But this is not a Marvel comic series and the effects of the sun on human skin is not a virtue.
Let me make it plain, whites don’t have to say white is Great they will show you. China doesn’t have to say Yellow is beautiful, they will show you. Nothing else matters. Your skin color is not an accomplishment!
We who hold on to higher values have ideals. They are moral precepts that guide us as human beings through this life. These values, contrary to popular belief do not make us soft, stupid, or weak. We do not need to lock hands and sing kumbaya and pray for a post-racial society to also have ideals for all humans. There is an ideal that all humans are created equal. All humans deserve the right to self-determination. Including White Bosnians with their blue eyes.
These sorts of beliefs shape our humanity and African identity. We forget that, then who are we? Now Whites have oppressed us really bad, so when some of them are oppressed should we say “Good, nothing to do with us?” When that Tsunami washed out Southern Asia should we say ” oh they do not like us anyway?” When we talk about what Native Americans have been through and are going through, should we remember that some of them hated us? That makes no sense. You must understand if you go down this path you surrender not only your humanity but your basic logic. Where does this type of thinking end? Our moral compass is set to RIGHT, regardless of which direction the wind blows. What is right and just in this world; For us and for all others.
Believing these things does not open us up to being exploited, like what happens with many idealists like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu because all idealism is not equal. Theirs is deeply flawed because it has no realism in it, it is failed because of a terrible understanding of human nature. It did not understand identity or as David Commingson said White Will to power. Their version of “humanism” left them devoid of true power. Now how do you self-determine and forget about African agency?
There is another ideology if you do not like this one and it is Neo-Darwinism mixed with Nihilism and with that ideology–if you want to run with it– means survival of the fittest. To Hell with the next guy just get what you can get and step on everyone. But before Africans consider their version of “black” + “power” just remember our current station as the underdog. So we will not be amassing any grand armies anytime soon to ever be in a position to use the stick over the rational mind or the pen over the fist. All tiny India needs to do is park one of its Achula class subs off the coast of Africa and press one button–we cannot even return with a stone.
WHERE WAS HUMANITY?
During the African Holocaust, during Rwanda, Congo and Sierra Leone, Apartheid South Africa, during the Jewish Holocaust, during the Native American Holocaust people spoke many languages: some European, some African, they came in all different religions some Abrahamic but some local. Some of them may have had African names and European names, they were socialist and some were democratic, some believed in Jesus—some called God Allah. Others were white as snow, and others where jetblue. Some worshiped Rog and Okokroko, and some held charms of their ancestors. Some were rich, some were poor, some had high social ranking, and some were indentured labor. Some wore beautiful African garments; some wore European rags.
But there is one thing none of those who engaged in the Holocaust had and that was humanity. Despite being a motley bunch, disparate in every way comparable they all shared in the abandonment of their conscience when they traded in flesh when they committed genocide against innocent people. It is therefore by this logic that the highest unassailable virtue of humanity is ethics.
What people are seeking for is not what is right, but what agrees with their preconceived belief system. So they agree with things, not based on merit, but how it makes them feel–this is not how conscious people operate. And it explains why slavery and other oppressive systems lasted so long. Because people listen to profit and discounted their humanity because what was right was uncomfortable. And we should never entertain is this romance of Good Black people vs. Bad White people. The wickedest European nation is only as wicked as its
power to do wickedness—their capacity for evil. Having dark skin or being the victim of racism does not automatically imply you are righteous or moral (two different conditions: being oppressed and being conscious). It just means one’s propensity for evil is limited by a lack of power.
We cannot discuss Kings in Ancient Egypt, Pan-Africanism, or the importance of language if we first do not, as a people, start with our ethical core. Who are we? Are we only our enemies in black skin, or are we the hope for a better world?
Not all words spoken were created equal: Some words come from a mind that has studied, from a body that has traveled a 1000 miles, from eyes that have witnessed, from a tongue that has eloquence, from a heart that has passion and from a soul that has sincerity–‘Alik Shahadah
BLACK INTEREST IS NOT AFRICAN CONSCIOUS
So all WS has to do is build a mall or give two black folks a job and they are the second coming. Sound like we are discussing dogs not humans: simple beast without the patina of sophistication. You can buy dogs’ loyalty with treats. What about the broader issues? They do not concern us in our isolated sense of what it means to be “blacks’. As long as I can get a job, I do not care how much war, xenophobia, environmental damage that a person creates. Do you understand the difference between black interest and African consciousness? You cannot be African conscious and support a person who creates maid jobs for you by creating death and destruction in the world. You cannot eat the fruit of xenophobia and also claim you are putting your tribe first. So as long as Zionism creates some jobs in Kenya and Ethiopia we will support their exploitation of Africa? Will we continue to let our continent be the playground for Africom just because it might profit a few African Americans? Black Americans in Iraq are no longer our concern, they are invaders first. Just like the Tibbu Tips of Africa, they have chosen as their occupation war and destruction. Their skin is of no consequences.
What are we all here fighting for? Is this what Malcolm X taught us. That is not “self-interest” that is being a devil. At some junction someone is going to profit from apartheid and slavery. But as long as your shallow interest is sated– to hell with the greater moral debate. Join Trump and build the wall and join Islamophobia if it helps ADOS get reparations. Now let us go back 300 years to Africa and explain “Black” self-interest. Local Black self-interest had no problem selling the “other” African into slavery. They were doing well from the trade in African bodies aka slavery; it brought wealth to their little village so they went along with it. Now tell me who are you? I am African because of something far more than crumbs from wickedness. If we fail to understand self-interest rather than shallow gains then we are pawns of oppression with a cheap price tag around our hearts.
KNOWING IS NOT CONSCIOUS
How come there are people who know more than me and you put together, have read every book by Diop and John S. Mbiti, Obenga and Karenga, they know colonial history, know slavery in Antebellum America, the history of Caricom, the independence struggle in Ghana and how apartheid ended in SA . Yet despite all of this when you look at their lives they show no signs of true living consciousness. They still got their girl children with Revlon in their hair at 3 years old and do not have the confidence to give them African names or put them in African clothes. Some of them even struggle with loving African women. When revolution calls their name– they cannot be found on the battlefield. Yet a guy/gal who only yesterday learnt that KMT means is ready to stand in the front lines? Understands to get involved and support the world that they want to see.
WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?
YOUR JOURNEY HERE
Best among mankind is he who brings benefit to others–Hadith
How did you find your path that lead you to become aware of a greater calling? Some read the Bible and got here, some heard Bob Marley’s music and came into consciousness, some came from Islam and found their call and purpose among the living. Some have socialist roots. Something sparked that desire to report to the front line and carry this heavy burden of being conscious and the responsibility of that consciousness. Different paths, but what matter most above all other considerations is we are here! There is certainly no pattern of hairstyles, beliefs, fashion, that we all share. If speaking an African language, worshiping African icons, wearing a two foot high Afro, and beating a drum were the virtues of consciousness, then the front line of this struggle would be represented by those personalities—it is not!
Consciousness has empathy, it understands that not everyone thinks the same. What works for me, might not work for you. We can discuss, and disagree and appreciate the priority of that disagreement within the scope of our urgent issues. So that we do not take silly issues and turn them into big ones. It cannot be consciousness if it cannot discern between a mild headache and a malignant brain tumor, so focuses on the mild headache at the expense of the brain tumor. Fighting over non-issues when the house is ablaze. So fighting over who worships what, and what someone should worship for true victory has not helped; Hoping/praying we would have know this by now.
When you wake up in the morning it is very difficult to get up and out of bed and face the day, the floor is cold, your bed is warm. Waking up is like the awaking of consciousness, it is a violent birth of realization— It is like withdrawal from years of lies. It is abandoning comforts of a slave and walking upright as a free human. However, the air you breathe is yours, the thoughts in your head are yours, and your path is yours. Most never get out of the bed that has now become their casket.
THE NAME OF YOUR VIRTUES
There are all kinds of pretty names for ideological and religious beliefs systems, which people are willing to disagree and defend with passion. Outside of the temples of worship, political gathering houses, ideological names, and cliques, which reinforce these beliefs, the challenge is how you apply these teachings in the real world is what matters most. They have no honor or adherence to the tenants of their faith when being honorable does them a disservice.
You can call yourself anything you want, but how do you apply honor when the situation calls for you to be honorable? How do you apply truth when you must be truthful, even against self-interest? How fair are you with justice when you are called to be just? If this is missing then what difference does it make what you call your belief system, if the teachings of that system are cast off like winter clothing in the inconvenient heat of summer?
HATE IS EASY
The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract –Oliver Wendell Holmes
Hate is easy, anger is easy. This is why negative news sells so face.The call to the spectacle, the thing the evokes the strong passions disconnected from the higher consciousness is easily manipulated. Consciousness is conscious of this, and resist the call. We must avoid extremes or you risk becoming an extreme contradiction. Those with the virtues of consciousness are the wise, they are accountable for the consequences of their words—the nefarious are not. If you throw hatred into a mindless mob they will cheer, but if you throw love—they will also cheer. If you are someone in a position of leadership then have the profound duty, and responsibility, of guiding– and not misguiding and exploiting, the people who trust you.
Any fool can say “F White people”, but how is that going to help you right now? After that what is your plan? After cursing them all they will continue to employ you, they will continue to make cars, put stuff in space, print books ignoring you, throw you in prison, make films about you, own business that sell to you. So much so, that if they were to “F-off” you would die in one week because of how deeply interdependent the most radical hater is on the White world. “Black” hatred does not bother White people as much as you think. It is like little ants shouting at a Blue whale. Far more difficult to be constructive, and leave something tangible and good in this world. So lesser men have always found hatred easier.
And this is what happened to so-called radical or populous Afrocentrism it ended up hating so much, there was nothing left to love. Because they hated the white man, the Arab for their role in African enslavement, then by extension they applied this hatred to both Christianity and Islam as extensions of these two groups. They obviously hated what appeared to be capitalism, they then hated socialism (for its European origins), the hate started to extend to everything that appeared to oppress Africans (formal education, democracy, etc). They realized native faiths helped enslaved just as much as the above religions, so they hated religion. They hated West Africans, Ethiopians, for their role in slavery. They then turned to African kingdom like Axum and hated them for “destroying” Nubia, they hated Songhai because they were Muslim and conquered non-Islamic Africans, they hated Askia, Umar Tall, for being “Arabized”. They hated Sankore, Timbuktu, Lalibella, Gonder, for being outcrops of “invader” religions. They hate everything Jewish and suspect the Jew in everything, but they equally hate Karenga, and all they label as traitors (including Farrakhan). Hate causes them to be twisted out of shape, because they want to love Malcolm but need to cut everything Islamic out of his identity–a pretty serious challenge, like pulling the green out of a leaf. So to do this they invent a Malcolm X and explain away Islam. The same way Eurocentrim reinvents Malcolm X without the revolution. The hate spreads without any limits until nothing is left but John Hendrick Clarke and Dr. Ben.
O you who believe, be upright for God, bearers of witness with justice; and do not let the hatred of a people incite you not to act with justice. Be just; that is nearer to observance of duty. Qur’an
Excuses make us feel good, it makes sense to our brains, oh that is why my world is so screwed up, it is because of those monsters over there. So stay in bed longer, take a holiday from building something, and smash all the mirrors in your house that reflect your own agency and accountability.
MATURITY AND GROWTH
It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it–Aristotle
Immature people cannot handle disagreement, even if that disagreement was over what shade of black to paint the roof. The mind lacks a way to rationalize disagreement and likewise the response is a base animal like either or reaction.
The African response to the world has been equally immature, and ignorant of reality. A movement which grew a lot in the 60’s and 70’s and then collapsed over night. A struggle lacking in reflexivity, and thus it gets repetitive. It has a false set of agendas, which it goes about with very antiquated methods. It picks on minutia issues, like people’s religion or hairstyle, over more salient issues like land and ownership, education and skills, neoliberal globalization and media control. It would sacrifice unity to show how ‘unconscious’ another person is. It is no wonder there are so many immature and inappropriate responses to these issues. Because if you pool of understanding is shallow, so too will your solutions be shallow.
If the world were just black vs. white issues, clear-cut right and wrong, one or the other, binary, it would be a whole lot easier to fix. Too often, we are met with shades of gray, a nexus of complexity, all kinds of caveats. Likewise, because of the complexity, we need sophisticated responses. And this is what consciousness instructs.
DECAY AND CORRUPTIBILITY
Remember there is nothing on Earth that is incorruptible. Even the Great Empires of the Nile-Valley suffered from serious corruption from time to time. Rome fell because it lost its way, and this is independent of external “invaders” and forces. Mighty Ethiopia has slipped, despite not being directly colonized and despite having a very strong notion of self. And all religions, belief systems, social idealism, etc—local or global suffer from internal corruption. We must always be reflexive at all times to make sure the ideals and virtues stay their intended course and serve their intended mission.
Know the truth and it will set you free — Bible
Conscious people are never exhausted in pursuit of the truth. But truth is not truth without balance. All political driven people, race-centric, etc claim to be telling you “the truth.” So they tell you the truth about African Americans and crime, African Americans and drugs, Africans and corruption, Africans and everything negative supported by reliable stats. Most of it is factual, but facts alone do not construct truths. The truth about the Jews, Muslims, or whoever, from the view point of their detractors is usually a collection of “facts” without balance. It is therefore rarely “truth.”
The truth about the truth is that you probably will not like all of it when you hear it. Truth comes in any direction and can come from anyone. Truth is not the domain of one continent or one race, or religion. Truth is universal you can even hear in a babies whisper. We need to seek truth wherever it exist, whenever it exist, from whoever is speaking it.
STATE OF IGNORANCE
Truth never needed company to be true, it is lies and error that needs a crowd to cheer it on
The state of ignorance is a slave state. And ignorance comes in Black skin, White skin, in every ideology, religion, and geography—it spares no one. To truly be conscious means to be prepared to interrogate every aspect of status quo, and if it is found weak to have no nostalgia about discarding it. Consciousness has a conscious process of interrogation and it always seeks to learn more; to reveal truths and have greater clarity. It is not consciousness if erroneous ideas and sentiments are still clutched on to in light of greater truth.
People are so confident in ignorance without a pause to reflect on what they are saying, and this is made worse with the rise of social media when uninformed people now have a massive audience of equally uninformed people to encourage and bolster further descent into blissful ignorance. They are pretty sure, but their inability to interrogate their so-called truths is compounded by bad cognitive processes, poor logic, poor rules of debate. The ability to accept and exchange new ideas in a dialectic fashion is also corrupted. They form conclusions based on their lack of knowledge on the subject. But what kind of conclusion can you gather if your input is ignorance?
The illusion of consciousness or historical perspective is the where two cents of info, or insight are spread thin to give the appearance of a revolutionary idea. Anyone can drop in the words “We need greater economic development and love of self” or quote Fanon and Malcolm. Does that mean they can apply and understand it? Like some love song lyrics sung by a 4 year old girl, without any comprehension.
It is sad when you see people who are totally brainwashed, confused and dysfunctional, yet think they are conscious and liberated, because they can quote what they think John Hendrick Clarke or Bobby Seale said. They think and work within the comfort of their own groups imbibing their own nonsense until it makes sense. Unfortunately they have followers. And you have to wonder what exactly is the difference between the fanatic born again Christian and the radical bigoted Black centric, or odious xenophobic nationalist? Because they seem identical in their methods and their attitudes. Both have no place in our New African future. And pity the fool caught in that mental trap.
Pan-Africanism is a centralized way of us uniting and using our conscious collective intellect to solve problems and bring out the best in each other. Pan-Africanism is not 1000 people doing their own thing randomly as fragmented people. We cannot grow if we are not prepared to listen and learn from our peers. Consciousness is an intellectual challenge peers place on each other to create excellence in each other. Today vulgar individualism blinds this exchange, where a challenge to make someone better is seen as a personal attack. But how can consciousness be attained in a vacuum where by its very nature it needs to connect to the broader community for its source of wisdom and information?
We live in the World and must resonate with that broader world. We need global progressive perspectives ventilated in a global intellectual community. Consciousness is not a race, a place, a time or a political party. It does not hide itself in the Greek world and shun the Islamic world. It does not live inside of Western Europe and shun India and Africa. It is not a concomitant of Black skin, nor is it confined to the intellectuals of the postmodernist era.
Rite to Speak (Scholarship)
Today we have too many scholars and intellectuals coming out of the woodwork. They have opinions on major issues under the illusion of freedom of speech. They are an authority after having 4000 fans on Facebook or 20,000 hits on YouTube. Verified by people who know even less than they do.
Freedom of personal opinion in private spaces is one thing but when you assume a public platform and become an “authority” that is a different thing.
- What wise man/woman are you quoting?
- (A look of confusion covers their face). Oh, it is my own opinions.
- Well then, who is scholar that instructed you, mentored you? They look even more confused.
- I do not have a scholar.
Even in the Islamic tradition and the Jewish theology and Christianity there is a system of ordination. In the Vodon religion, you do not just say you are this and call an audience. In Islam there is a chain of scholars going back 1000s of years. So all statements sit on the quality of your chain of scholastic instruction. Long before you lead you must follow, you must sit with patience and be mentored. Capoeira is followed in the same manner; Djembe drumming again follows the same tradition. But when it comes to the new era of social media and its plethora of unqualified paper and dummy organizations then the ancient system becomes neglected, bypassed by false prophets and charlatan. These are the gates of quality control which stood the test of time for good reason.
In Ancient Africa, as with much of the world–like Greece, no one spoke with any authority on any subject unless they could show you a chain of greater people who trained them. This is an Ancient African tradition—especially found in the griot tradition of Mali. If you want to learn the Kora you have to start with a master, you have to learn all the traditional pieces first. Long after that, after you have been verified by the elders you can start teaching and composing. Same in Martial arts you always have a Sensei. You cannot call yourself a master without being verified by an institution, just like you cannot be a medical doctor without some accreditation.
Now the logic of this is 10000 years old. These are proven traditions the world over. They cannot be skipped. Even the concept of a PhD or education is bases on this principle of Rites of passage of your ability to be trusted with a certain level of knowledge and the rights to speak as an authority on that knowledge.
The very Eurocentrism many claim to be escaping has engulfed them in a wave of senseless pride. They boast about Africa from a materialistic lens. The most notable thing is pointy mounds in Egypt. But what about the human development and the realization of cooperation and harmony it took to build those pyramids—is that not an even greater monuments? Build pride on our humanity and our Truth nature, hospitality and tolerance. Let us then Boast about how kind we are to our brothers and Sisters from Zimbabwe who are crossing the border.
Let us boast about how honest we are with our history, boast about how much truth we told and how tolerant we were of our neighbor who had a different faith. Take pride in how we rallied around our people when they have a crisis, or how we saved someone’s marriage by being justice and equitable. Build our pride on these things.
CONSCIOUSNESS IS NOT ONE SUBJECT
When we open up and explode concepts like consciousness, we can now better treat ourselves. Yes you are conscious, but are you conscious of the environment? Are you conscious about health? All these areas we cannot get 100% in, but it is better to be balanced than get 100% in history but fail ethics.
And understand consciousness (awareness) and right action with that knowledge is not one subject course. We all came to consciousness from different roads. We all seek a definable liberation. but some paths produce more fruit than others. But we are still at very different stages of growth. And it is even more complex because some people are 80% on identity, 24% on relationships, 2% on spirit. Some are 99% on business consciousness, 4% on African culture, 12% on Pan-Africanism. So there is no 100% all around conscious. What we must therefore be aiming for is a holistic consciousness: Health, Business, family, faith, etc. And tie all aspects of our development together. And consciousness demands that you stay conscious enough to check your conscious levels from time to time?
The pattern of change will never be uniform and no two people would process the same level of conscious experience. The uneven distribution thus makes it difficult to have bragging rights. Actually the concept of bragging about being conscious is an unconscious act, because that journey is a blessing.
OPPRESSION OR BEING OPPRESSED
What is our issue? Is it with the system of oppression or being oppressed by that system?–Tunde Jegede
People are concerned with the oppression oppressing them. Much less with the oppression, they place on others. This is human nature. Arab and Indian Muslims in the west decry the racism of the European, yet for years, they were oppressive to African Muslims, especially Muslims from non-Muslim families. Yet very little was done to vocalize and resolve this odious contradiction because it was not affecting their lives. Jews, terrible persecuted under Hitler’s regime, dehumanized, murdered, a few years later free from that physical horror created modern Israel and levied that exact same humiliation on the natives of Palestine.
They did not, for convenience, remember their tour in Nazi Germany and emphasize. So concern with a zealous understanding of their own plight they could not see they had now become the thing they hated so much. African Americans marginalized and oppressed in America, depicted in every evil way in the media, oppressed at every gate. But when the rage of White supremacy targeted Arabs and Mexicans many joined in the scrap.
Consciousness places a challenge at the head of this trend. To ask the question not who is oppressing me, but who am I oppressing. If oppression is the problem then we should complain about oppression, not complain because we happen to be victims of oppression. The human being by nature, cannot see his or her reflection in the moral mirror, which is innately biased to only reflect in one-direction—self-interest. Consciousness challenges this by posing a challenge at the head of every situation.
Consciousness is like a blinding light of pure truth, it resonates at a pure harmonic frequency inside of our heart, mind and soul. It can truly be said to be of God, because it is pure. It stands outside of the limits of human design and is the potential for something greater. To look beyond our human animalism and become more human. To seek resolution in virtues of truth and justice, wisdom and integrity. Truth and true consciousness are irreducible, hard fixed, and dependent on each other, to know one, is to know the other. This false consciousness is a burden on our movement, and our human potential. Because its root is darkness—not light. And the cure is 100% in the sincerity of the soul that desires truth, and development.
But you have to want to actually read, and engage in progressive debates, you have to open your mind and your soul for that transformation to come out of the unconscious slave state. And some do not understand that slavery is absence of knowledge, absence of balance, absence of humanity, comprehension, tolerance and sagacious insight. You cannot be Conscious and ignorant in the same temporal moment? How can you be “Aware” and “Asleep” in the same moment? Is it consciousness if you can you have vision and be blind in the same space? How can you not know and speak as if you know when you do not know? How can you speak truth, by using error?
Can you smoke it? Can you put it in a cup? Does it fix busted tires? Can you glue stuff with it? Can you use it as a refrigerant? Does it fuel cars? Then what is its use when we want to get on with the practical business of living? A problem of installing Windows 8 on a PC needs direct text, which speaks to the problem of the installation and gives clear steps to resolve the problem. Rhetoric is the language of motivation, and empty persuasion.
It is usually abstract and floral in nature. There is certainly a time for rhetoric in the spiritual lives of people, but we need to be crystal clear about how and when these tools should be applied. Because when a car is broken we do not need rhetoric, we need a mechanic. The failing economy or the poor educational standards in Africa do not need “Africans must be owners of their own history” given that it is true, then the next sentence should be specific in addressing the how when and where, and usually the how much.
CONDUCT OF THE CONSCIOUS
Loose tongues two seconds into a debate all kind of vitriol and nastiness comes out their mouth. There is no prohibition, no template of conduct. Yet they claim consciousness. Like if, it was sitting on the tip of their tongue waiting for a feather to drop. Ideally, that is the case, we are only human but this is how a conscious person tries to live and when you make a mistake, you have regret. And we must have the ability to keep that evil within. Everyone has elements of jealousy but you know yourself and hence check yourself and correct yourself. If one is operating out of one’s True Self, then no ugliness can escape through one’s lips because the Spirit is in control, period.
Two people have a dispute what is your role? What is your role as a person of enlightenment? To exacerbate the conflict or speak truth, justice and balance to the problem. And to do so in a way that is wise and restorative? This is not how many behave; there is a tendency to seek one’s own delight in the fray and use the opportunity for self-interest. But a conscious soul could not do this, it must resolve every conflict with a higher sense of having a divine role in the universe where they are accountable for every action in some higher scheme. Not only to the two in the dispute, because they might favor one over the other—but to engage honesty, wisdom, and apply justice within the limits of their ability.
Not everyone is ready, and don’t let the head wrap and triple barrel African name fool you— many of them are trapped in the same fanaticism that got the born-again in a blind rant (it is all the same disease of ignorance). So Africa comes through a distorted lens to amplify a cultist persona of a depleted identity. And while nursing an inferiority complex any unfavorable truth is blasphemous and by having a violent reaction to truth defines their uppermost state of consciousness. Love of self is defined by negation, not practice not knowledge not culture not true identity, but a band of people who are bitter at what has escaped them and thus defined the crumbs of their history like savage dogs who have never been fed.
What do you call a person that speaks two truths to seduce you into taking four steps back? There is something contradictory in a message of unity, which in its second breath tells you to hate your brother because he is different.Those hollow souls whose exterior is dressed up African but on the inside there is nothing; no hospitality, no humility, no morals, no ethos, no discernment, no spirituality. They debauch the wife of their brother, they steal the wealth of their sister, they condemn the Eurocentric lies to better promote the Black lies, they are duplicitous, and they care about a “truth” only when it aligns with their politics. These are the hollow people who surface is painted black, but whose core is void of anything truly African.
A collection of sound bites, a head wrap and a bad attitude about White Supremacy are the criteria for consciousness in some circles. Saying Jah Rastafari and speaking with a Jamaican accent and cursing Babylon is another criteria in another circle. Or skipping Catholic mass, and pouring libation and mumbling some ancestors name and rolling your eyes back in your head. But it does not travel so far to express itself in the family home.
There is no consciousness if it does not travel so far to impose itself on the basic relationships critical for governing our lives and making us productive. It is impatient with process and respect, manners and truth and justice when truth and justice infringe on self-interest. We cannot truly be enlightened if it is worn in fair weather and has no hard weather characteristics in the storms of our world. In the challenges that afflict real people in the real world. Where is the consciousness in the betray of a love and trust, where is consciousness when a promise given, is thrown to the wind without a blink of the eye?
Avoid extremes or you risk becoming and extreme contradiction. Some are masters of seeing the flaws in the Christian understanding of Jesus, but cannot see the stink anti-Africaness in their own life. What good is it we asked that African print you wear when you soul is cruel and vindictive and ignorant of Maat? What is the purpose of those orphan quotes from Biko, Fanon, and Garvey in-between bigoted message of disunity and suspicion? Where is your African Hospitality, morality, ethics, ethos, reverence, respect? Consciousness is not hot rhetoric it is these silent virtues of justice, truth, collective responsibility, creativity, life that operate actively on our lives and the lives of others.
Today, and for the rest of your life, you will encounter a situation and you will be faced with a choice (your choice). You will have the option to respond to the situation as an enslaved Negro, or as an empowered conscious African. It might be big — it might be small. Maybe someone needs a place to stay, or help with their new business, you might have to honor your word and lose something, or volunteer some time— who knows. Maybe you are the weak link in progress and have to admit your error and let someone else take over.
It might seem small in the moment— but it adds up. You might have a choice between buying a conscious product or some fast food, getting your hair done or tucking away that cash for your child’s education. You have a choice to engage in binary politics and fragment the hope of Pan-African unity for trivial gains. Remember it is a choice—Moreover it is your choice.
Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles;
Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances.
Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it.
Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?
Expediency ask the question, is it politic?
Vanity asks the question, is it popular?
But conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right– Martin Luther King, Jr
Many have no problem seeing their devotion within the walls of mosque, churches, temples, on sacred ground, in rhetoric, and at shrines. But what is more critical is how those beliefs transfer into the real world and operate as ethical systems in everyday life. What we must grasp is beyond any of these labels what are your values as a human being. Because it will ultimately come down to that. A war between consciousness and unconsciousness. Outside or race, religion and politics is your word your bond? Is family sacred? Do you respect the old? Can you exercise justice? Do you speak truth to error?
What consciousness teaches us is thank God for diversity. It is a blessing to find women in Hijab, and you can also find women with bald heads, or with locks. Thank God there is Orisha, Rog, Chuckwu, Engai, Allah, Jah, Yahweh. Thank God we have deserts and forest. Chinese and Indians. Thanks God for Norway and Inuit of the Northern extremes. Polar bears and Tigers, ants and hawks. Our higher consciousness wants to preserve this gift but some are so primitive they cannot see. How lucky are we, the conscious, to be able— in our lifetime, to visit all of this wonder, to taste Indian food to see the cultural wonders, to read from the intellects of the diverse Earth? But then you have some who celebrated diversity by dropping bombs on it. Conscious humans who reflect come to these kinds of conclusions.
The Qur’an says :
“God does not change the condition of a people until they first change what is within”–Qur’an, Sūrat l-raʿd
How then are we expecting to change oppression relationship with us, if we have failed to transform our relationship to oppression? Consciousness is the path out of the shadow of darkness into the light. The inner struggle (inner Jihad, Ahmadou Baba) transforms our relationship with the corrupt forces. But if we to are corrupt, then victory will always belong to the one with the strongest physical force, and that is not us.
Our journey (critical word) has many bus stops. Some stay on the bus and go the full journey. Some get of short and try to walk the rest of the way from remote locations (like black identity). The minute you take it to the real globalized world it vaporizes, it discusses a persecuted people, it does discuss a slave experience, but after that it runs out of oxygen and dies as a relevant way of any people of agency articulating their future, or their past.
So we say do not return racism with racism. Be balanced, be human, be moral, do right, and speak truth. Some make the mistake of thinking these things are said to appeal to broader humanity in the world of progressive agreement. But these statements are exclusively for our own African humanity —our own people’s development. The continuation of the journey violently disrupted by Holocaust and internal corruption. But the primary focus is on a equitable restoration of the African to a place of dignity. We do not want to be noble and poor, eating grass and righteous, while everyone takes our wealth away—that is not consciousness.
No one can liberate you; liberation is exclusively done by self. The process of self-realization (consciousness) is an integral part of liberation. Therefore, without that process no person is actually free.
One day this race war will end, one way or another. But the conscious war has been raging from the Dawn of Humanity to Yawm al-Qiyāmah or Judgment day: From day-dot to day-dead.
|↑1||African consciousness is a term used in pan-African circles to discuss someone’s state of being connected to African history and African identity and acting in a way to bring about African liberation. While it is not monolithic it certainly has enough common characteristics to be defined.|
|↑2||There is nothing we can do about the past, except learn from it. We cannot go back and interact with it. Any work we plan to do can only be done from the pov of now-this moment.|
|↑3||Sometimes their interest is just African Americans, not even Africans from the continent who face injustice|
|↑4||This is just an outline to demonstrate rough levels of consciousness, in real life it is far more complex than this as some people may be a different levels all at once. In their business outlook they maybe more advanced but less advanced in their political outlook|
'Alik Shahadah is a master of the Documentary format and progressive African scholar. Shahadah uses film for social revolution. A multi-award winning recipient including the rare UNESCO award for his critically acclaimed film on slavery 500 Years Later.. He is best known for authoring works, which deal with African history, social justice, environmental issues, education and world peace. He states his primary motivation for making these films was being frustrated with "Tarzan's voice" as the central narrator in African stories. He noted that while scholarship challenges these issues, the common knowledge of the majority is generally unaltered, writing alone is not enough, the ultimate tool for re-education on a mass level is film