Recent news concerning the integration laws in the U.S. has sparked a sense of consciousness in the minds of America’s citizens. People have begun to discuss these matters openly once again, and there seems to be conflict among the citizens. The Supreme Court has begun to review the Brown vs. The Board of Education case, which grants integration within schools. There is word that the nation may attempt to segregate schools as they once were. This has angered the African-American community and has sparked conflict within the nation. One may empathize with the African-Americans with their anger; however, the facts must be reviewed. The nation’s education system is not truly integrated in today’s society. There are still today distinguishable schools for African-Americans and whites. Many of these schools have token members of the other race to dilute speculation, but the fact remains that America’s education system has never truly been integrated. The question must also be asked to whether integration is the best option anyway.
It can be agreed upon that segregation is the wrong route, but there are other ways to counter segregation. People have to remember how things were before integration. The African-American community had a sense of identity, the children had a desire to learn, and the overall morale of the African-American was one of great pride. Even though the fight against segregation was tough; it forced the African-American community to bond and stand strong. In the days after integration the African-American community vanished. Once the so called opportunities were given to the token African-Americans, they left the community and failed to look back. This rupture in the community only brought more destruction for the people of the African-American race.
The fight for integration was one that everyone in the African-American community thought to be the way to seek justice in America. The American corporations were forced to hire African-American workers, but there was a quota that was necessary for them to meet. After the quota was met the hiring of Africans would discontinue. This means that about ten percent of the African-Americans received these jobs and the rest of the community remained the same. This does not seem to be a huge problem; however, the Africans who started to work for these companies had a double negative affect on the African-American neighborhoods.
The primary problem was that the people who were hired by the large corporations were taken from the small businesses that kept the community striving. With employees gone to work for the corporations these companies were forced out of business. The fact that many of the African-American within the community stated to spend their money at the white owned businesses now that it was legal did not help the situation. The secondary crisis was that the newly hired African-Americans left the area to live amongst the whites. They felt that they were better than those in their former neighborhoods, so the bulk of the Black dollar was being spent in whit owned areas, while the Black community steadily deteriorated.
It is awful enough that the neighborhood had to be corrupted, but the education was another thing. Integration caused what Carter G. Woodson called the “mis-education of the Negro.” The integration of schools in the U.S. was forced upon the white schools, so one must figure that they would not be very helpful to the incoming African-American students. The parents in the African-American community should have been more cognitive of this fact. The Black students forced into these white institutions were prejudged and put into special-education classes for the learning impaired. The white schools that received the Black tokens were given money by the government to better fund the schools that were already wealthy, but did nothing to assist the underprivileged schools that continued to exist in the African-American community. This imbalance of funding caused many schools in the Black neighborhoods anxiety, having to try and educate students with lack of materials. As a result of this African-American students started to despise education and drop out of school. Many felt that an education was only fit for white students, and according to the American education system they were correct. After schools have lost a majority of its students then the school closes. This disrupts the function of the community. When there are not many educated people in the community then the neighborhood gets worse. Conditions of poverty increase because many of the children who drop out of school cannot get a decent job since they have no education. Those who do get an education could help; however, they don’t see a connection with their community. Again the white areas benefit from the Black dollar.
There seems to be a decreasing rate of self-respect in the African-American mind as a result of integration in American society. One must examine the entire situation and determine a proper evaluation of the facts. One’s perspective may perceive that integration was what the whites wanted all along, yet they had to trick the Black population into wanting it. Or maybe, the whites were going to benefit whether segregation would have continued, or with the implementation of integration. Because when one analyzes how things happened in actuality it all seems planned. It is human nature to want what is not available, and that was the tactic used in the integration plot. The African people were not allowed to do certain things that whites were. While making their racism so overt they knew that this would cause uproar in the African communities. Rights were demanded, but the fight was for the wrong reasons. The Africans fought for the rights to be able to eat and school amongst whites, instead of demanding the same quality of those thing in their respective areas. The want of what the whites had, played a huge role in the low self-respect found among many African minds today. If the policy of separate but equal was actually executed correctly one may be led to believe that the state of the African in America might be different today.
The destruction of the African community is credited in part to the results of the fight for integration in America. The African people have become so conditioned to the so-called American Dream that they have lost nearly all cultural ground. The African in America has no true identity. Many of them continue to argue over what the race should be called. It is incorrect to say that the integration policy is alone in making these things true; however, it was a major contributor. The African community in America was unified, and flourished considering the situations with which they were faced. People had a general respect for one another and there was a sense of peace in the African communities. The money stayed in the community, much like those of the Asians in America currently doing these things.
When people start to look for individual success, and neglect the entire group there is a division created among the group. The saying is “divided we fall”, and so it happened. The blend of races created a split in the African’s unity, and negativity was inevitable. Integration is not what is wrong here it is how it was practiced. Many thing look good on paper, yet get used improperly when practiced. The policy should have been separation instead of segregation, and interaction among the races instead of an all out integration of them. The policy only caused confusion, and trouble. Integration was the wrong victory because it ultimately led to the defeat of the African in America.
From Victim to Victory: N’yot Lamaj 10/27/06
While many understand black to be associated with many negative characteristics, these notions are not completely accurate. In fact these notions are not at all accurate. The term black was used by the European explorers to distinguish themselves from the African people, whose darker complexion was seen as a negative trait. These people are not Blacks, Negroes, Colored, nor niggers. These people hail from the continent of Africa, so they are to be correctly deemed as Africans. The African people have been the victims of the most notorious crimes ever committed in history. Africans were not only enslaved, they were stolen from their homeland, and were dehumanized. Many like to describe the struggle of the African community as the Black Holocaust; however, this is inaccurate. The Holocaust was another cultures fight. The term Maafa has become accepted across the Diaspora as correct terminology. Maafa is a Kiswahilli term that means disaster. The torture does not end there; the criminals went back and underdeveloped the land and the Africans that they hadn’t stolen. What is amazing about this people is, though they were the victims of all these horrible crimes, they still survived. Africans are the epitome of the term resilience.
The Africans did not openly accept the terms of slavery, or the thought of being inferior to their European counterparts. These people fought through every obstacle the Europeans presented. The crimes did not end with slavery because even when slavery was abolished throughout the Diaspora, the European continued to put the Africans through unimaginable tribulations for profit. The European man, as it seems, had and still has a low self-image, so in order to make himself feel better he put another group of people in a worse situation than his own. The African man knew that he was in no form or fashion inferior to the European, and though the road back to victory would be rough he would do everything in his power to regain his glory among men. The only obstacle that stands in the way of the African people is how they are to begin the process of reclaiming their rightful place among men. There seems not to be a very clear outline as to what should be done; however, one does come to mind. Apparently during the process that took place to create the African Diaspora (the enslavement of the people, and continental colonization); there were three major losses in the lives of these people. These edifying casualties include the identity, culture, and self-image/attitude of the Africans. The first step on the road to victory is the rebirth of the African identity.
Over the many years of their dispersal, and even back to the instant of when that first European man set sail for the shores of Africa there has been confusion as to what the identity of these people is in actuality. The misconception dates back to when the European man entered the land of Africa, and was as a result of his experience culture shocked. Richard B. Moore in his book, The Name “Negro” Its negative Origin And Evil Use, says that, “...But when the they saw the people south of the Senegal, who were of much darker hue and whose weapons were much less powerful than their crossbows and firearms, the Portuguese perceived the possibility of easy conquest and a lucrative slave trade. Thus they began to enslave the African people.” The mind of the European could not grasp the complex cultures of the African people, so he in turn deemed them uncivilized. Now of course the African did not feel that way of himself, but as the European started to colonize the land he in turn colonized the minds of the Africans, and gave them the European image of themselves. Now Africans see themselves through the eyes of Europeans, and so does the majority of the world. History is told from a European perspective in most cases. This brings up the point of Franz Fanon about the “educated negro.” He stated in his book; Black faces, White masks that, “The educated Negro, slave of the spontaneous and cosmic Negro myth, feels at a given stage that his race no longer understands him. Or that he no longer understands it.” Corruption is what this brought to the land because it is known that however a man feels about himself is the way he will act. Throughout the enslavement of the African people, they were conditioned into an inferiority complex, which made these people look down on themselves. The system was manipulated to favor the so called white man, and the Africans were moved to the bottom of this westernized caste order.
The African was made to have a negative self-image, not only physically but mentally as well. The view of beauty was in the influence of the Europeans. This conditioning started with the matter of complexion. The European’s white skin was said to be pure and beautiful and the dark complexion of the Africans was deemed as a curse. There was also a distinction between the hair textures of the opposing races. The hair of the Europeans was long and straight as opposed to the curly tangled texture of the African people. The hair texture and skin complexion of the African was taught to be ugly and, unpresentable throughout the enslavement on through the aftermath of slavery. This damaged the self-image of the African people as a whole because this was not only taught to the enslaved Africans but to the ones that remained on the continent.
This strategy also helped the Europeans in their attempt to divide and conquer the African people. The skin complexion of the African people varied and the Europeans saw this as a window of opportunity to separate this people. The lighter skinned among the Africans were treated better than those of the darker complexions, and due to the massive accounts of rape that took place during the enslavement era there were many of these people who were bi-racial. Due to this additional strain on the African people the attention was taken away from the European as the group’s common enemy. Now separate groups of Africans started to have conflict with one another, and the European was steadily easing himself out of the spotlight. He becomes more of a behind the scenes enemy, more like a puppeteer pulling the strings of everyday events. Soon he would reach his goal of his destructiveness being blamed solely on the African people themselves. The African people seemed to be down for the count with these tactics; however, the resilience factor was initiated in the Black Power movement during the 1970s. People began to see the internalized problems of the African people and stated to work on them. The Black Panther party started this revolution. The Black Panther Party (originally called the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) was an African American civil rights and self-defense organization, active within the United States in the late 1960s.Founded in Oakland, California by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in October 1966, the organization initially espoused a doctrine of armed resistance to societal oppression in the interest of African American justice, though its objectives and philosophy changed radically throughout the party's existence. While the organization's leaders passionately espoused socialist doctrine, the party's black nationalist reputation attracted an ideologically diverse membership base, such that ideological consensus within the party was difficult to derive, and differing perspectives within the party base often clashed conspicuously with those of its leadership.
Men and women stopped straitening their hairs, as they once did in the previous decades and started to wear their hair naturally. Skin bleaching was unheard of during this era and being Black was very popular. This was an Awakening period for the Africans. They had discovered the illusion of the European and were fighting against the lies constantly being told, even being taught in schools. This era was unfortunately short-lives because the American government refused to allow the whole of African people to awake from their mental imprisonment.
Aside from the physical inferiority, Europeans also taught that Africans were mentally inferior as well. This was combated during the Harlem Renaissance, and through the many accomplishments of numerous Africans throughout history. The Egyptian civilization alone could disregard this notion, and then one could speak of the amazing works of the schools in Timbuktu and even the Congo.# It is a fact that astrology was invented by African people in Central Africa. The mental inferiority plot did not work anywhere near as successful as the physical one. The identity of the African people was almost consumed by the European’s devastating plots, but the rise of he Black Power movement resurrected the idea of African pride. Even though the movement was abruptly terminated there ideals are everlasting, and there is a remnant group of this movement who can revive it.
There seems to be a general loss of African culture across the Diaspora. There are two apparent cultural values misplaced amongst the African people in their current state of being. These are the values of language, and the priority of life principles. The colonization of Africa that was done by the Europeans caused many changes in the different areas of their colonization. There were many languages throughout the continent, but these languages were disregarded after a nation would colonize that area. The nations of France, England, and Portugal were Europe’s greatest powers, so these three languages are the most distributed throughout the African continent. The Africans throughout the Diaspora were subject to the Spanish language as well because Spain was not into continental colonization, but more involved in the slave-trade. All of these nations were doing the same thing in different ways. A people have great cultural influence developed into their language, so the separation of language to these people was a drastic cultural set back. The Africans that remain on the continent still have connection with their native tongue; however, they are not prone to use it. The European influence in these nations has a greater influence than indigenous culture, but these nations continue to try to maintain their cultural values as best as they possibly can. The Africans that were taken abroad have absolutely no knowledge of their African origin and surely no knowledge of their native tongue. The removal from their homeland, and this put them in a worse off position of cultural ambiguity than those on the continent.
The Africans that have open access to their native tongue do not openly accept it because of the constant conditioning that took place during the colonization era. The cultural genocide that occurred, and that continues to occur keeps the people in a state of thinking of all things European as superior. The people do not consciously see the inferiority complex involved in using an opposing cultures language, but that was the intention of the Europeans all along. An awakening of African minds could cause scholars of this people to come together and create a common language shared by all African cultures to bring the glory back to the people. The African people were rich in resources and minerals and that was what attracted the Europeans. The European literally raped the land of all its goods. According to Dubois, “Colonies became the slums of the world. They were the places of the greatest concentration of poverty, disease, and ignorance which the human mind has come to know. They were centers of helplessness, of discouragement, of initiative, of forced labor, and of legal repression of all activities or thoughts which the master country feared or disliked.” The Africans nations eventually began to fight for their independence, but even after it was accomplished the nations could not escape the evil grasp of the European. Ghana, for example won its independence in March of 1957, and held a conference to announce its independence. The United States of America was invited to the conference. Dubois says, “The reason that Nixon and the representatives of the forty great nations attended this ceremony was because this free black nation has immense investment possibilities…The Imperialists ask: How can we control this wealth and keep the huge income from going to Black Africans? And Nkrumah asks: How can I keep Ghana from the clutches of world big business and yet provide work and wages for my people.” This was quite the dilemma, and the Africans across the continent were faced with it.
The priority of life principles is the other cultural set back caused by the influence of the Europeans. Many African cultures shared similar core values in their respective societies, and those that continue to live on the continent have managed to keep most of these social values in order. The Africans that were taken abroad have not had that ability. During the enslavement era there were many attempts to continue the practices of certain cultural rituals and such, but those would become suspicious to the Europeans and result in them losing most of these values over the years. In the current era of the world’s societies children and the elderly are considered to be liabilities; however in the majority of African communities having a family with many children is honorable, and the children themselves are a valued asset to the family structure. The elders in the communities of Africa are the most respected people in the social system, and they serve as sages and counselors for the village or town. Even after death the ancestors of the African people have much respect for their ancestors. The continual productivity in life is useful in any society regardless of the ethnic group, and the African culture understood this fact while putting it to great use. The faults of imperialism have taken these ideals away from these people and it has caused much confusion in what the purpose of life is other than making money.
The attitudes of the African people have suffered in accordance to the activities of the Europeans, but there continues to be the fact of their everlasting resilience. The ability to maintain life goals, and purpose shows that Africans cannot be kept down forever. The self-image of the African across the Diaspora today varies from those who despise the fact that they are African to those who would rather be African than anything else on earth. The strength of the African people is immeasurable. To be African is synonymous with perpetual life. The genocide that was brought forth on this people should’ve overtaken them; however it could not do so. The honor of Africa will soon return because the Africans will fight until the end of time to combat the entire struggle they were put through. There is no one word or phrase that adequately describes the entire essence of what it is to be African, but in an attempt to do so anyway Africans are people like any other, and deserves the same acknowledgement and respect given to others of the world.
AFRIKA FOR THE AFRIKANS; FROM VICTIM TO VICTORY
Known to be one of the most controversial words in the English language, N-I-G-G-E-R will today be exposed of its true meaning. This nasty word has lasted for well over four-hundred years, which I believe to be much too long. The white slave owners used this word to degrade and dishonor the black slaves. Throughout slavery the slave owners feared revolt, so they set up a system that made the slaves distrust one another. The first time which a black man would use the word n-i-g-g-e-r would be during slavery. This was when the master would give one slave an authoritative position, and allowed him to use the word against his own people to make him feel that he had power and that they were inferior to him. At the birth of this word it was used to plot black against black.
I was once blind to the effectiveness of this word. I once was one of those people who believed that in modern times blacks had liberated the word from its past meaning. We’d changed the pronunciation and the context, but the underlying meaning still existed or shall I say still exists. I can’t exactly remember when, but one day the veil was taken from over my eyes and I was able to realize the mental harm we inflict on ourselves when we are using that word. The system of the slave master is also still in existence. The former unified African has been tarnished and made into this cold, non-trusting “African-American” as we are so called. “African-Americans” are often compared to crabs in a barrel. When one crab tries to get free the remaining crabs pull him back down instead of helping their brother escape. It is said that there is no need to put a cover on the crabs because they will not allow one another to escape. It is sad to say that this is truly an accurate comparison to “African-Americans”. The use of the “N” word is just one of the crabby things we do.
What we as blacks fail to realize is that the word n-i-g-g-e-r even today continues to symbolize inferiority. This is now only in our subconscious mind though, so it seems not to bother us. However our subconscious determines what we become conscious of in our minds. We have been blinded all of these years as to what we are doing to ourselves. We are committing cultural genocide. It does not matter if you pronounce or spell it n-i-g-g-e-r, or n-i-g-g-a it holds the same meaning. Every time we use either of these words we are the crab holding our own brother down from escaping the barrel of inferiority. Even though we mean no harm, harm is being done.
In Conclusion, that word has not changed despite of our efforts to do so. I feel it should be stricken from any and all languages. Still today it is a living breathing root of the institution of slavery. Slavery of the mind is what it carries. The word n-i-g-g-e-r is a virus that binds the mind of us Africans. I have spent about a year examining this word and its meanings, and I have over this period of time been astonished by the power of words. We all must take off our blindfolds and see once again, and some for the very first time.
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African Unity Initiative
The mission of the Afrikan Unity Initiative is to foster a sense of togetherness across the Afrikan Diaspora through the three key components culture, education, and economics. We hope that through our efforts Afrikans at home and abroad will have quality living conditions, access to economic growth, adequate healthcare, and justice.