What we blacks have in common here in this country is our black experience. We don't even have a distinct black culture to bind us.
Yet, we've done our best to create one, but it doesn't have the singularity that comes with thousands of years of customs that are uniquely our own, as with the Jews and the Chinese, to name two.
To make up for this lack, we reached out to Africa, its traditions, and its vestures, and from that tradition we created Kwanzaa, and we donned dashikis-- once more popular than they are now.
We reached out to Mother Africa, and although she wasn't indifferent, her touch was nevertheless foreign, and strange.
That's when we knew, beyond cavil, we were children of another mother, sired by a father driven by one implacable goal: to relentlessly remind us of our inferior origin.
Those who owned us used the power of time and the whip to strip not only the skin from our backs, but from our hearts, our pride, the joy of life, and our hope to be free--free to be men and women united by families, and united by a common purpose.
From my early years, I learned one indelible lesson: If I wanted to survive in a hostile environment, I had to be adaptable.
I'm always amazed that we blacks have survived as much intact as we have, living as we are in the midst of a predominantly white society, enclosed as much by spatial barriers as attitudinal ones, attitudes that essentially state that we don't measure up, physically, intellectually, or spiritually to white superiority.
I applaud the resiliency of our people when they find themselves facing, daily, assaults upon their humanity, and their worth to the larger society--assaults that are subtle at times, and hostile at times.
I applaud our determination to build a world within a world, a black consciousness within a larger white consciousness, a black culture within a larger white culture, a black social relevancy above the station we've been relegated to, by a society that arrogates to itself all that is pure, good, and holy.
I applaud our strength in maintaining the "good fight," in holding tight to our sanity, and the integrity of our self-image, especially when that image is purposely distorted, and used to justify cruelty, and hatred.
True, our struggle for self-definition, and self-determination has resulted in pathologies--colorism and Tomism being two of them.
As disgusting as these pathologies are, they would be a lot worst, were it not for the daily affirmations of blackness that we have also cultivated within our own midst.
We are a strong people. That's why we've survived this long, beating back Jim Crow, and white resistance to black progress.
And many of us have excelled despite these obstacles.
We are a determined people. That's why we persist, although at times the burden our color brings weighs heavily upon us, and the obstacles seem insurmountable.
We are a resilient people. That's why we were able to adapt. We adapted in slavery, lest we perish.
We adapted to some of the harshest of realities imaginable.
We lived so that our progeny might live. We lived that we might carve out a culture, one unique to these shores, born from a common experience.
We lived so that a Marcus Garvey could live, that a Malcolm X could live, and a Martin Luther King.
We lived and hoped. We lived and hoped with an audacity of hope, that one day we'd overcome, that whites would overcome, and that with that overcoming, we would forge a new nation upon these shores, and a new people--True Americans, those dedicated to the American dream of freedom and justice for all.
Yes, I'm a dreamer.
But I have lived long enough to know that dreams do come true.
I have lived larger than I have dreamed, and, despite the obstacles, my life lived is the greatest dream of all.
I posted that for no other reason than to place a marker in the ground. While I would have said certain things differently and would have placed more emphasis on others - I do not disagree with the words said by my frequent debate adversary Black Diaspora.
I only get into trouble when I try to add VERBS and a MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK to the analysis that people like Black Diaspora render about our PAST.
"Black People Had Our Culture Stolen From Us In Africa" - True
This does not mean, however, that the various cultures in Africa, if left unmolested, would have mutated into a culture that today would be a model for human rights, women's rights and workers rights.
You see, few people would ding my friend Black Diaspora for having the "Magical Pre-Colonization Africa Syndrome". In as much as no present society or culture today is without some critical flaws as all of them are man made - this does not appear to demand any sort of temperance in the total acceptance of Black Diaspora's views. Instead with racial pride and unity we should accept these views, unchallenged.
"Black People Have Endured White Supremacy In This Nation And Have Survived" - True again!!
Dare I say, however - White folks did not try to put us all into ovens and kill us. The murders and assaults of one were often used to send a message to the others, lest they try and raise their heads up high, on a level equal to the White man.
Yes indeed we are still alive as a genetic phenotype. The genetic seed that was planted having endured the societal level oppression that we endured. We should not mistake this survival of the assault by racial profiling for evidence that the active HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT that our own people put upon those who live within our community is of an optimal state to allow us to achieve any of our permanent interests.
Here in resides the main points of conflict with Black Diaspora and others.
They are waging a fight against the SYSTEM
I am fighting (or at least I believe myself to be fighting) a struggle to bring consciousness to the FREEDOM that we have right now. The emphasis being that this freedom is merely a clearing in a field that used to have vines that had been suffocating us via its firm grip upon our neck. Failing to implement an EFFECTIVE "Human Resource Management" regime by which these potential resources are turned into components that each serve a critical function then freedom or enslavement - the outcome will be nearly indistinguishable with regard to our permanent interests. In one case our community interests were denied because some outsider suppressed our "self-determination", commendering it for his own purposes. In the other case it was the force of friction that lead to no net forward movement. This friction coming from the internal collisions as "free radicals" who were left to chart their own course bumped into each other. The energy used that was potentially used for propulsion instead being released as heat.
In today's society as we make note of young Black males that should be pillars of the community having morphed into a "Street Pirates" their present state is blamed upon the residue of the loss of our culture. When I view this situation it is clear to me that these young men are victims of benign neglect. Their one shot to have their world view framed into a more productive end was squandered. In this void has grown this destructive behavior.
Every investment product comes with the notice "past performance does not guarantee future results".
It warns the consumer that they should not make any particular assumptions about the future. Their job is to apply sound fiduciary management practices as they are ultimately responsible for their own money.
The frustrating part about those who spend more time focused upon our past and use our people's "survival" as proof of racial strength - far too often this is accompanied by a void in a workable management plan that we can leverage for future success during our period of freedom and self-determination.
Even more to the point - as I observer people who hijack the "Black Agenda" for their own ideological and partisan purposes (and I am NOT specifically talking about Black Diaspora) I am frustrated as too often their plan is not directed toward the benefit of the Black Community but instead in support of Black people remaining unified behind their particular ideology and party. The grievance about the past has more power to keep them unified and struggling against certain external enemies.
This trumps any notion that our best investment as a people is for us to make sure that we have developed the infrastructure that is needed to develop competencies within our communities as a people.
I keep hearing people asking for "solutions" rather than "criticisms" yet they seem to walk right past the obvious ones.