I have been thinking about how to conceptualise an idea that I think most of you will be aware of, either consciously or subconsciously, but which I sense that a large proportion of the younger generations have not grasped. Now, I should make it clear that I think this lack of awareness is not the fault of the under 30s but is attributable to my generation’s failure to adequately teach them about how racism works, as well as the very skilled way in which Europeans continuously adapt and refine the way they express and operationalise the ideology of white supremacy.
I have previously written about why the idea of ‘Black Firsts’ seems to be so important to Afrikan people and long ago came to conclusion that it is because of the heartfelt, deepseated, aching desire of so many Afrikans to be/feel accepted by Europeans as their ‘equals’. The underlying thinking is that each ‘Black First’ proves to Europeans that we are capable of performing some task; or performing in some arena of life, as competently as Europeans and hence they should abandon their ideology of racial superiority. Of course this theory has been tested to destruction and proven to be utterly without merit, as the ultimate Black First, the election (twice) of Barack Obama proved.
The reason that Black Firsts don’t change they way Afrikans are viewed, no matter how talented the ‘Firstee’ is; or how conspicous their achievement, is because it is an idea that runs completely counter to the fundamental nature of racism. Racism is an irrational philosophy/ideology/religion, hence its operation is not impacted by evidence or rational arguments. Paradoxically, as well as being irrational racism is also rational in the sense that it is instrumental, which is to say that it helps Europeans to achieve their primary group goal; which is to exercise power and domination over groups they classify as nonwhite. Put these two things together and you can understand why Black Firsts never stood a chance as a tactic or strategy to defeat racism.
The above image, from an infamous Benetton advert, almost perfectly depicts the idea I am seeking to convey.
The easiest way to conceptualise halos and horns is to understand that viewed through the lens of the religion/philosophy/ideology called white supremacy; every Afrikan child is metaphorically born with a pair of horns and every European child is born with a halo above their head. In other words all Afrikans are born guilty until proven innocent and all Europeans are born innocent until proven guilty. The practical ramifications of this are that an Afrikan can make one slip in an otherwise blameless life and be condemned to unforgiveable, irredeemable guilt, whereas as European can live a life of exploitative abuse, and except in the most extreme cases, always have the possibility of redemption.
What this means is that the positive things you do can only help yourself whilst the negative things you do will damage other Afrikans. That is to say that your positive deeds and achievements are never generalised to the wider group by Europeans – except in areas of stereotypical Afrikan achievement such as sport and music – however your negative deeds or failures can be; and are, attributed to being part of a group that is designated as inferior.
I will illustrate the above with a real life story. I have changed some of the details to protect people’s identities.
Once upon a time there was an intelligent young Afrikan woman named Adeola who wanted to be a solicitor. She grew up in humble financial circumstances and went to a very poor school, however she overcame these barriers as well as the ubiquitous racism and graduated well from University. She then had the task of securing a contract with a firm of solicitors to undertake her articles and after a relatively short period she was successful in this task. As was her wont she worked hard and qualified as a solicitor. She had been made aware by her boss that she was the first Afrikan trainee solicitor that the firm had ever recruited and thus felt a bit of added pressure in the sense that she did not want to ‘let the side down’. Anyway her boss was very pleased with her performance and two years after she was recruited, and just as she was qualifying, the firm recruited Femi, another hard working young Afrikan. Adeola gave Femi the ‘don’t let the side down’ pep talk and sure enough Femi prospered and qualified without any hiccups. Adeola’s line manager was pleased with both her and Femi and the following year recruited Tunde, who was not quite so focused and methodical as his predecessors. Tunde was not terrible but he was definitely not good and one day, after he had made a bit of a cock up, Adeola’s line manager turned to her in exasperation and said “If I had recruited Tunde first I would never have recruited another black trainee solicitor”. She thought it was a compliment to Adeola, however Adeola had an epiphany; and started to understand the subtleties of how racism works. She saw that whilst the halo is not transferable the horns definitely are!
The above story took place some years ago and of course in 2017 no white manager would be as honest as the manager in the above scenario. However just because someone does not say something does not mean they are not thinking it or acting upon it.
The moral of this story; and this article, is that our achievements should be motivated by the desire to help ourselves, our families and our community. Trying to get Europeans, as a collective, to respect our humanity, intelligence etc. is a waste of time and psychological energy. The first respect is self-respect as an Afrikan and the ironic thing is that even those people who don’t like you will respect you if you have commitment and integrity. Remember, people can like you without respecting you whilst they can respect you without liking you and the latter is always preferable to the former, although in an ideal world most of us would choose to be both liked and respected. These are the things we need to teach our young people to prepare them for an anti-Afrikan world.
Article by Paul Ifayomi Grant
It happened for the first time when I was seventeen.
I was interning for a local politician in Fresh Meadows, Queens. The environment was a predominately white office perched in an affluent neighborhood. My parents were over-protective and would not let me go onto the street and hand out literature, so most of my time was spent handling office duties—and as I would learn, engaging office politics.
One day while inserting data, a young white man rehashed an event that happened at Howard Beach. Rather than give an overview of the event, he decided to recite a racially charged graffiti act verbatim. The epithet read “f*ck all you n*ggers.” After reciting these words, he looked straight into my face, seemingly searching for something that I refused to acknowledge by returning his piercing gaze.
A similar event would occur years later in an interaction with a racial psychopath I mistook for a friend. Similar to my first experience, my pseudo friend expressed outrage in the use of a racial epithet, yet took it upon herself to repeat her uncle’s use of the word n*gger. Like the previous incident, she too stared in my face as she uttered the term, a gaze I saw in my peripheral because I had refused her longing gaze. This same friend would go on to show me her white boyfriend dressed in blackface for Halloween. We have since lost touch, her face dissipated into a grudging appreciation for presenting a necessary evil to awaken my consciousness.
These particular incidents illustrate the antiracist efforts implemented by whites uncomfortable with black presence, working to transfer their discomfort onto the oppressed black body. This transfer is never painless. Rather it reflects the evil deemed necessary to maintain a fictive whiteness. The black body has historically been used a canvass for western anxiety, making the n word a common painting drawn on the black body to appease the demands of a white supremacist hierarchy.
Despite having the opposite effect, these incidents overtly functioned to distance the individual white body from their racist collective– an impossible, and disingenuous feat given the racial climate that defines America. It is this racial climate that predisposes any antiracist effort to inevitably help not hinder white supremacy.
Flash forward to this past semester. The setting is a writing course at a private university in New York City. To introduce a unit on critical queries I play Jadakiss’s “Why?” I am sure to play the clean version because as a black female on a journey to conscious, I have no place for expletives in my life let alone my classroom. Yet despite my efforts, when prompted to respond to a question in the song, a white female student stated “Why N*ggas can’t get no job?” despite the version played in class that stated “Why brothers can’t get no job?”
To which I responded “what did you say?”
She then proceeded to repeat the sentence and epithet. Every student in the class looked down. But, the worst is yet to come. When confronted about her word use she became combative and argumentative. This is the issue with the n word.
Is it an issue that white people use the n word? Yes. But this is not racism. It seems an essential component of oppression to preoccupy the oppressed with branches of racism and not the roots. Take for example the often unpleasant white and foreign businessmen that dominate black communities throughout America. Is it a problem that they are often unpleasant? Yes. Is this racist? No.
It is racist that the white and non-black foreigner monopolizes black economy—taking our money out of our communities. It is racist that the American system is designed to prevent black business ownership. Racism is the systemic action and language seen in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. It is the societal hierarchy white people observe in every aspect of western culture. Using the n word is yet another means for white people to assume their acquired hierarchy over black bodies. This student used the n word in the classroom of a black female instructor and fought for the right to use a racially offensive term–that’s racism. Bill Maher illustrated a similar dynamic in his use of the n-word Friday evening.
Bill Maher welcomed guest Senator Ben Sasse on his HBO show “Real Time” in which the pair joked about the fields of Nebraska. When invited to “work the fields” by Sasse, Maher responded “I’m a house n*gger” to a reserved laughter from his audience, to which he expressed his gratitude.
Was Maher wrong for using the n word? Yes. But this was far from the first racist comment Maher has made and won’t be the last. It seems his sexual fetish for black Women serves as a means to validate his racial insensitivity to those foolish enough to believe that having sex with blacks makes forgives their racist tendencies. The very house slaves that he references were both products and victims of the white slave masters, and it is this ignored context that composes the core issue here.
The historical trajectory of black bodies in this country is not funny. The means for initial western wealth, who received cyclical disenfranchisement in exchange for centuries of labor, is hardly a laughing matter, at least for those robbed. In using the n word, the white person induces a collective amnesia that when retrieved portrays the retriever as “living in the past” or “playing the race card.”
Blacks have yet to receive reparations or even inclusion into canonical history for providing the greatest sacrifice for this country, so it seems a fractional effort for the western world to retire an epithet used to verbally subjugate the black body.
So why can’t the word be laid to rest?
The answer is simple, it bears too much power.
Many will say that “n*gger” is “just a word” and blacks put “too much emphasis” on this word. But it was never blacks who put too much emphasis on a term foreign to their indigenous tongue. This was never our word, rather the word is conjured from white creation solely to conceptualize black denigration. Yes, it’s an issue that blacks use the word. But until the black collective maintains power in economics, media, employment and housing , they lack the ability to be racist. Furthermore, it is not the black collective who have issues getting over themselves, it is the white collective that expresses difficulty “getting over” their fictive placement on a stolen land.
The abducted African remains the foundation for western wealth, and their significance much like the emaciated and overworked bodies have dissolved into the stolen American soil. Yet instead of sprouting seeds of progress, this soil breeds a continued oppression of black bodies. This oppression is perhaps most evident in the western words implication that colloquial or comedic use of the term “n*gger” symbolizes racial progress.
Thus, in waiting for the term’s retirement, the black collective anticipates the impossible–for the white world to take a small step to relinquish their systemic power. The term was implemented as a means to maintain a position above the black body, and whites continue to use the term publicly for the same reasons. Maher, could have easily, and I’m sure he and the majority of whites do, used the n word off camera. The decision to do so publicly was because he could. Similarly, in my provided examples, each white individual used this racial epithet in a public place, drunk off a systemic white power that conceives every public space as subject to white domination.
The sadistic white mind— historically inebriated off power—assumes the height of racial psychopathy in staring into the black collective and calling them what every stolen opportunity, every stolen dollar, and every drowned, whipped, lynched, burned and raped ancestor symbolizes in past and present America.
Interestingly, this gaze into the black eye, is a central component of my two earlier examples. Notably, both acts seemed centered on not just saying the word to a black person, but staring them in the eye as they did so. I align said behavior with the traditional racial psychopath who looked blacks in the eye as they raped them, who looked as black flesh was chewed by dogs, who watched the life leave a black body during public lynchings. Namely, my mind thinks of the late Claude Neal and the white eyes that watched his flesh be torn from his body and jammed down his throat in a torture murder that lasted several hours. Let us not forget the white gazes that purchased the mutilated portraits of black bodies, and those who purchased black limbs ripped from their bodies in mob attacks.
White desire to induce and see pain illustrates white assemblage as contingent on black dismemberment—substantiating the white collective as what Dr. Bobby Wright labeled a racial psychopath who performs evil with no conscious.
Maher does a similar act in staring down the contemporary pain of the black collective, and mocking the very institution that proved a platform for his lucrative whiteness and conventional success. His ability to stare into the collective gaze of the black collective and use a term that jests the narrative of the abducted African violates the black body in the same manner as a lynching or rape.
Using the n-word is a socially accepted means to verbally assault the black body. The word does not function with the simplicity of an article, or the certainty of a noun. For the “n*gger” is no person, place or thing, it is an action. In a 2007 essay for The Atlantic entitle N*ggerization, Cornel West defines “n*ggerization” as the following:
N*ggerization is neither simply the dishonoring and devaluing of black people nor solely the economic exploitation and political disenfranchisement of them. It is also the wholesale attempt to impede democratization—to turn potential citizens into intimidated, fearful, and helpless subjects.
To use the word “nIgger” is an attempt to “n*ggerize,” to subject the black body to a verbal bludgeoning that ties the contemporary black body to a tree beside the ghosts of their ancestors, bare-backed and anticipating the physical wrath of white supremacy designed to force the black mind to mentally acquiesce to inferiority.
Therefore, it goes without saying that Maher’s apology is as insufficient as it is insincere. It also goes without saying that Maher should lose his job. Although it is doubtful that he was every deserving of such visibility anyhow. Nevertheless, whether fired or not, Maher’s fate will not stop racism. Who knows, Maher may have a clause in his contract that promises a huge payout if fired. He is also at the end of his career, and in addition to being a white man in America, it is guaranteed that Maher will not suffer, because earth is not hell for whites. Thus, it is not his job that the conscious community desires Maher to lose, it is his privilege.
Will the heat of hell change the setting? No, just as firing Maher will not end black suffering. If Maher does get fired the firing will function to imply that the world has “come a long way,” despite occurring in a world where Bill O’Reilly can get fired for “sexual misconduct” but cops are not fired for murdering black men, women or children.
It will also serve as the foregrounds for firing blacks who saying things like “white people,” “pass the crackers” or even “white privilege.” As an oppressed group, we must be sure not to misconstrue what appears to be an opportunity for progress for what it is—an opportunity. Nothing in America has been said or done for the sole purpose of helping blacks, and America proceeds cyclically not linear.
Welfare, affirmative action, diversity initiatives, financial aid, etc all function to aid whites, despite seeming to provide opportunities to the disenfranchised. Moreover, in accordance with the historical trajectory of a country established on the spilled blood of those labeled “other,” the white world will find a way to turn n-word, a source of collective black pain, into a gain for whites.
Article by CC Saunders
Most people think that wakefulness and consciousness are synonyms. That is to say, we think that to be awake, is also to be conscious. While it is most common for consciousness and wakefulness to occur simultaneously, in cognitive science however, these two terms have important distinctive definitions.
Consciousness is the state of being awake and aware, able to perceive, receive, and process stimuli and information from one’s environment. When you go to sleep, this is an altered state of consciousness, with limited, to no ability, to perceive, receive, and process stimuli and information from one’s environment. When Neuroscientists study the EEG brain waves of a sleeping person, they find that during a night’s sleep, a portion of the time is spent in the waking state, even though the person is not fully conscious. Parasomnia disorders such as “sleep walking” or “sleep talking” are examples of instances where a person is in a waking state, but not fully conscious. Daydreaming is another example of a mental state where a person is awake, but not conscious of their immediate surroundings. Conversely, Sleep paralysis is a condition where the mind is awake and conscious, but the body is not awake and unable to become active. What we can take away from all this is that
1. Consciousness and wakefulness commonly occur seemingly simultaneously
2. Consciousness also requires one to be awake
3. It is possible to be awake but not conscious
4. It is possible to be conscious and mentally awake but not physically awake and active
The preceding deliberation served as a primer for our discussion on the terms “Woke” vs “Conscious” as it relates to African American English Vernacular.
The term “Consciousness” in the Black community has a long and storied history throughout Africa and the African diaspora, stemming back to the early 1900s, and has to do with an awareness of one’s black identity, and nonconformity to mainstream social, political, economic, religious, and spiritual constructs. The UNIA, Moorish Science Temple, Nation of Islam, 5 Percenters, Hebrew Israelites, Ausar Auset Society, Black Panther Party, SCLC, and BLM, are all examples of black conscious movements in America.
The term, “Woke,” is an idiom that has surfaced in recent years, essentially referring to the same concepts, precepts, and principles as “conscious”, but with more of a focus on social, political, and economic awareness. In recent years, the term “conscious” has become associated more with a focus on historical, cultural, religious and spiritual awareness. The Activism of someone “Woke,” tends to be of a social, political, and economic nature, whereas, the activism of someone “Conscious,” tends to be of a historical, cultural, religious or spiritual nature. If we were to retrospectively apply the new definitions and connotations that the terms “Woke” and “Conscious” have taken on in recent years, to the aforementioned groups, then we could classify the UNIA, Black Panther Party, SCLC, and BLM as “Woke,” and the Nation of Islam, 5 Percenters, Hebrew Israelites, and Ausar Auset Society as “conscious”.
After a multitude of scandals erupting in the Black Conscious Community in recent years, and many Black people feeling critical of, or unserved, underserved, or unrepresented by the modern Black Conscious Community, in some regard, “Woke,” seems like a re-branding of “Conscious”. In 2017, the difference in the socio-economic disposition of Black People willing to label themselves as “Woke” versus “Conscious” can also be observed.
But if “Woke” has become used to refer to more social, political, and economic awareness, and “Conscious” has become used to refer to more historical, cultural, religious and spiritual awareness, then just like in cognitive science, it is most common to be simultaneously “woke” and “conscious”, that is to say, having simultaneous affiliation and interest in organizations concerned with both social, political, and economic issues as well as historical, cultural, religious and spiritual issues.
Also, just like the concept of Sleep walking and Sleep Talking in cognitive science, it is possible to be “Woke” but not “Conscious”, that is to say, have affiliation with, and interest in, organizations primarily concerned with social, political, and economic issues, and having no affiliation with, or interest in, organizations concerned with historical, cultural, religious and spiritual issues. These individuals are aware of the social injustices in the world, but have no knowledge of their historical past or traditional systems of spirituality.
And lastly, just like the concept of Sleep Paralysis in Cognitive Science, it is possible to be “Conscious” but not totally “woke”, that is to say, having interest in historical, cultural, religious, and spiritual issues, and having no interest in social, political, and economic issues. These individuals are fully aware of their historical past, have “knowledge of self”, and practice some form of traditional spirituality, but have no concern or activism in regards to the social, political, or economic injustices in the world.
Who knows what new terms will emerge in future vernacular, or what new areas of awareness may come to the forefront. In the foreseeable future, “Scientific Awareness” may become a movement of its own. Essentially, “Woke” and “Conscious” are mental states, and the ultimate goal is to become Active, with an expression of one’s awareness demonstrated through practical application.
Article by African Creation Energy
Who is black? What is an African? This is a question I have been thinking about the last few years. Mainly because I have seen many debates on YouTube,Twitter and Facebook on who is a black person. It’s a hot topic that just wont seem to go away. I think the fact that people are debating it must mean many of us are still very confused. Why is that? Why is the black collective so confused about our own identity? The video(above) is really good. I know for some it might seem offensive. But you can tell that the speaker has really analyzed this issue. It’s a very touchy subject that most black people want to run away from.
This picture(above) shows different African women around the world. And of course there are people of African descent in America,Canada and the United Kingdom. Some people say many of us are mixed raced people. Some say we come in different shades because of years of race mixing. I will address race mixing in part two of this series. I personally don’t think race mixing is good for the black collective. It seems to cause more confusion more than anything else. But I guess the real question is how is a black person defined? What do Africans look like? How are Africans classified?
Fellow blogger C.C. Saunders stated this about blackness:
“Blackness is not limited to a skin color, but it is a state of being, an incomparable experience prompted by skin color, facial features, body type and hair texture. Omitting any identifying attribute allots a significant privilege absent from the lifetime of any black person possessing these attributes in entirety. However, melanin, while a chief component of blackness, does not encompass the totality of blackness. To distinguish between black and melanated is essential to understanding blackness as a collective identity.”
Blogger Amos Magazine said this about African people:
“Prior to the enslavement of West and Central Africans, Africans had certain traits and certain biological markers that made them a separate distinct group. Africans prior to 1500 and prior to the infamous fictitious Willie Lynch Letter had traits. Africans prior to the invasion of Arabs, Berbers and other West Asian people had skin color from brown to dark brown. This is an African trait. Africans had one common hair texture. Yes, Europeans upon arriving in what today is called Rwanda did notice that many Africans were a lighter shade of Brown from other Africans. But they were not yellow or near white. They were simply a pecan brown color as compared to the dark chocolate color of the other group. They used these slight differences in order to pit one group against on another. Today, DNA* test (* because there are holes in this science) show that the Hutu and Tutsi were actually the same people and that Hutu and Tutsi were actually social status. Now Negros will use to in order to say mulattoes are Africans. ***(3star concepts mean this is something to pay special attention to) ***The Tutsi who were divided into people of a lighter hue of brown were not products of mixed raced sexual relationships. My opponents will purposely leave this out in order to compare a mulatto vs. an authentic African or an authentic disasporic Africans.”
Blogger Bhekizitha breaks it down from a biological standpoint:
“An African / Black person is clearly visually a “close” descendant of people from East Africa, a region comprised of countries now known as Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Their color variation ranges from bronze, dark reddish-brown, dark or nut brown, dark-chocolate color plus “peppercorn” hair.”
This video(above) is very interesting. I first saw this video about four years ago. It’s the author Supreme Understanding. He has authored books such as How to Hustle and Win,Knowledge of Self and Black God. I’ve read a few of his books. I must admit that he knows quite a bit about black history and African culture. But he’s not African…he’s an Indian man. Years ago I remember seeing him in a picture with his black wife. In this video he says that being black is color,culture and consciousness. So he’s saying it’s not just physical traits that make you black. So if a Mexican,Indian or Asian man listens to rap music,studies African culture and has a black wife…..that makes him black? So it’s just about having a black consciousness? This can create a problem in the long run.
This picture(above) is from Supreme Understanding’s website. It’s titled What is Black? Looking at the pictures you can see all these dark skinned people from India,China,Pacific Islands,Malaysia and Australia. But are these people really Africans? Or do they have racial admixture? Were the original inhabitants of Australia or India really Africans? And if so,what does it mean for black people today? I think black people really like to be all inclusive. We like hearing that our ancestors were all over the world and created civilizations. That’s very true to a large extent. And to many of us we have a dream of creating some type of racial utopia. A world in which all people who have some melanin are brothers and sisters. But this is not reality. There will always be racial and cultural divisions. Just because you have dark skinned people in India and Malaysia doesn’t mean they can relate to a black person in America. The culture of a dark skinned Aborigine in Australia is totally different than a black person living in Jamaica. I always promote black unity,black love and black power on this blog. But you can’t have any type of unity if you can’t even decide who is black and who is not black. How can you have any type of cohesiveness when there are no clear cut definitions on your identity? And this is why the video by Supreme is problematic. He believes that all “people of color” are fighting against a white power structure. Therefore we are all in this fight together. But my thinking is that why can’t we fight a racist society and still maintain our own unique racial identity. Why does everyone with a little bit of color have to be considered black? By making everyone black…no one is really black. Our unique blackness gets lost in the process. Chinese people don’t have this problem. They don’t accept just anyone who might have their physical traits. I’ve seen Hispanics with a yellowish skin tone but they are not seen as Chinese. I’ve seen people that were biracial(Black/Chinese) with slanted eyes. But just because they had slanted eyes,Chinese people still don’t see them as one of them. By doing this it helps them stay homogeneous. They are able to maintain their racial identity. And this is something black/African people must keep in mind when want to distinguish ourselves from other groups. By letting anyone claim “blackness” it devalues those that are black in the process.
We must be about the business of liberating the minds of Black
children. In order for that to occur, the minds of all Blacks who
interact with them must also be liberated. There is no other way.
It is relatively easy to educate Black children, even about their
Africanity. But, it is extremely difficult to reinforce the
education. Therefore, even sitting in the same classroom, white
children will be ‘educated’ and Black children will be ‘trained.’
The white child will be taught how to rule and the Black child
trained to be ruled. ‘Training’ is defined as teaching a group what
to think rather than how to think, making them dependent rather than
assisting in developing skills which could be used for independent
activity, rewarding behavior that operates against their group’s
interest, promoting individual rather than group achievement, and
instilling negative self-concepts and low self-esteem. The opposite
of the above mentacidal process (training) is education in which the
learning process becomes a liberating force.
Black independent schools are important not only for how they
teach but for what is taught. Their purpose of instilling within
Black children an ‘Afrikan Worldview’ is the most important activity
those children will ever experience. Black parents whose children
are not in independent schools should at a minimum expose them to a
well-structured supplemental Black educational program. Some of the
most dangerous Blacks in the world are many of those brothers and
sisters who finished graduate school ‘with honors’ and yet operate
against the interest of Blacks because of their eurocentric
orientation. The writer does not mean to imply that Blacks should
not attempt to achieve high levels of ‘training’ in white
institutions, but should be aware that it is not ‘education’ they