Friday, January 11, 2013

"Blacks Without Borders" -- the Pan-Africanism about which Malcolm spoke?

"Imagine, Affimative Action -- with teeth."

(I can just see my brother, Asa, shaking his head in the affirmative right now!)
















I think capitalism is a boil on the ass of human-kind, particularly since our Black bodies played such a large part in its birth and growth here in America.  However, this, is certainly what I thought we would do with it -- either here, or on The Continent if that's what we wanted to do (because I had, and still have no doubt, that we could!).

It seems these brothers and sisters took what they learned about it and went back home -- giving back, as they continue to prosper.  And as much as I hate that boil, I just can't be mad at them for that (okay, I gotta admit, the diamond trader did make me uncomfortable, because I immediately thought about -- conflict/blood diamonds, who owns the mines, who's doing the mining and under what conditions.  But, I can't ignore how she's not only ensured that African talent benefits from what she does, but that our African cultural heritage is at the forefront of her work as well).

Watching this documentary tonight, I'm once again reminded of Alex Raventhorne's comment on "...and yet they wonder why POC emigrate" over At the Bar:

"Stay where you are celebrated, reconsider where you are tolerated, and flee where you are persecuted."

Think about it Family...




14 comments:

Asabagna said...

Sis Deb, thanks for posting this. I had not heard of this documentary before and I was certainly "shaking my head in the affirmative" throughout. I was inspired by the hard work, sacrifice and tenacity of the people profiled. I celebrate all their successes, professional and personal.

As a people we need engage in all sectors of an economy and not ghetto-ize ourselves in the arts or social services. We can all use our talents to contribute to our overall advancement. However, like all people everywhere, there are those of us who are in it only for themselves and although it may not be right, from a collective perspective, it's okay, 'cause regardless of these selfish individuals, if we keep our eyes on the collective prize and do the work, we cam make a positive difference in the actual and real lives of others.

I will re-post documentary on AfroSpear.

Stay blessed as you bless others!

Deb said...

"As a people we need engage in all sectors of an economy and not ghetto-ize ourselves in the arts or social services. We can all use our talents to contribute to our overall advancement.

OUCH, Brother!

Though we all won't/can't be doctors, lawyers or CEOs, we all have something to contribute to our overall advancement -- the arts and social services ( as two of the men in the documentary both show) included. As you said, and I do believe, "as a people we need to engage in ALL sectors of an economy"... in order to do ANY kind of serious, nation-building.

As we've both agreed on a couple occasions, we don't have to always agree, but I do have to always be me -- and as I've written here before (http://lets-be-clear.blogspot.com/2010/10/few-ruminations.html) the word "ghetto" as it pertains to Black folk, not only makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck, it wounds (as it was meant to, by its originators) -- deeply. Using their labeling-to-demean tactics perpetuates white supremacy upon "the least of us" (from whom I m descended here in America) in the worst way. As Judge Lynn Toler made clear in the afore-mentioned post, I believe that, "Black is who you are, what you were and what you have survived. Ghetto is a state of being, something thrust upon you, something that happens to you." So, "OUCH!"

That said, the documentary has truly inspired me! And what I do know is true, at least for me, is that I'm tired of this foot-on-neck, bullshit here in America. I want to be a part of something that, everyday, speaks to my love for all of my "kinfolk" (the "skin-folk" like the Changeling however, not so much) -- a love that can be manifested with little, or no interference from white folk because, on the real, I don't believe many of them have our best interests at heart. And, as you said, "...like all people everywhere, there are those of us who are in it only for themselves and although it may not be right, from a collective perspective, it's okay, regardless of these selfish individuals, if we keep our eyes on the collective prize and do the work, we cam make a positive difference in the actual and real lives of others."

My goal IS the "collective prize" my Brother, and I'm stickin' to it!

Re-post at wil! :-D

Peace...

Asabagna said...

As Judge Lynn Toler made clear in the afore-mentioned post, I believe that, "Black is who you are, what you were and what you have survived. Ghetto is a state of being, something thrust upon you, something that happens to you." So, "OUCH!"

One thing Judge Lynn Toler left out which should be added (I believe) in reference to her definition of "Ghetto" is "something that we do to ourselves". A lot of us internalize, accept and gladly portray that which has been originally "thrust upon" us. It's time we take responsibility for that fact. Like you, I always gotta be me and speak the truth (as I see it) to a situation and as they say "the truth hurts", so I acknowledge and understand your "OUCH!"

Much love!

Amenta said...

Peace mi gente, I am not sure this is what brotha Shabazz was speaking on publicly since that era may not have dictated such.

I do believe privately this may have been the Pan Africanism he spoke of with close associates, because I am sure he had to understand the big picture which included all levels of Pan Africanism.

We are now at a time of Law and Commerce so this is an opening salvo and maybe only one cog in a giant wheel.



Anonymous said...

I saw this documentary and would love to go, altho my gifts are in the artistic realm, but are there countries offering dual citizenship to those of us desiring to emigrate?

Deb said...

Asa..."...as they say "the truth hurts", so I acknowledge and understand your "OUCH!"

Appreciate the acknowledgement, but no Brother, you did not understand my "Ouch!" if you thought it meant "the truth hurts." It was hardly that. It was a surprised response to: 1) your use of their labeling i.e. "ghetto-ized." Guess I just didn't expect that point-of-view from you, and 2) using it to refer to the arts or social services -- both very worthy endeavors, born out of a culture of unique self-expression (so much so, that it is constantly and frequently appropriated by others) and caring for one another (at least before it was twisted by the culture of white supremacy which demands that we view one another based on what we have vs who we are).

Interesting to note that two of the brothers in the documentary were social workers -- the first in Johannesburg and the other in Soweto. And while the diamond trader prided herself on her yiddish singing, her interests do seem to lean toward the arts as well. So I'm a little confused (since you were inspired the piece), why didn't you consider their endeavors "ghetto-ized?" Or did you?

"One thing Judge Lynn Toler left out which should be added (I believe) in reference to her definition of "Ghetto" is "something that we do to ourselves. A lot of us internalize, accept and gladly portray that which has been originally "thrust upon" us. It's time we take responsibility for that fact."

Not sure if you read the post which described why she made that statement. It came as a result of a Black man, married to a white woman who snatched him out of a car with another woman, seeking a divorce. The reason the brother gave for wanting the divorce, was that he felt that was "ghetto" behavior and said, "If I wanted ghetto, I would've married a Black woman."

Judge Toler was addressing his disdain for, and internalized self-loathing of, "from whence he came." So no, I don't think your addition to her definition is needed, though IMHO, it does apply to THAT brother, because he obviously "internalized, accepted and gladly portrayed" that which had been originally, and continues to be, "thrust upon" us -- the idea that (as Big Bill Broonzy sang about here: http://youtu.be/55w0DwZROjY ), "If you'se white you're alright, if yous'e brown stick around, if you'se Black get back." He definitely "did something to himself" in believing that white women were somehow intrinsically better than Black women and yeah, folk like him need to take responsibility for that fact.

We won't agree on the ghetto thing, I'm just happy to be clear on that. I happen to agree strongly with, and try to live my life in -- the way the first Brother from Harlem (Henderson) described his purpose in life from the 5:42 - 7:35 click in the first video, ending with: "Don't give up on 'em."

Much love back atcha!

Deb said...

Amenta...Hey again!

"I am not sure this is what brotha Shabazz was speaking on publicly since that era may not have dictated such. "

I feel you, Man. Like I said in the post, "I think capitalism is a boil on the ass of human-kind... However, this, is certainly what I thought we would do with it -- either here, or on The Continent if that's what we wanted to do." It's a necessary evil -- necessary, IMHO, only because that is, for the most part, how the world now works.

"I do believe privately this may have been the Pan Africanism he spoke of with close associates, because I am sure he had to understand the big picture which included all levels of Pan Africanism."

Again, I feel you. I think he totally understood how inclusiveof all levels of Black folk, the big picture of Pan-Africanism would've had to have been.

"We are now at a time of Law and Commerce so this is an opening salvo and maybe only one cog in a giant wheel."

True. Nada más que de paz a ti, mi hermano!

Deb said...

Anon...Welcome!

" I saw this documentary and would love to go, altho my gifts are in the artistic realm, but are there countries offering dual citizenship to those of us desiring to emigrate?"

You should not be deterred because your "gifts are in the artistic realm" -- we ALL have something of value to bring to the table!

I'm only familiar with The Gambia because I'd considered building a house there (still kicking around the idea of "Quitting America" myself), so I do know they offer dual-citizenship, particularly if you purchase property (which, like S. Africa is not nearly as expensive as it is here!). I can't say I know much about any other countries (but I believe Ghana had/has a program offering free land to African-Americans who want to return to the Continent!), but, my young sister, Ankh (from Cameroon), over "At the Bar" did an "Emigration" series on some African countries awhile back -- here's a link to a page that'll get you to some of them, just scroll through: http://www.ankhesen-mie.net/search/label/Emigration. Check them out, you'll find way more info than I can offer! :-D

In addition to the advice given in the S. Africa documentary, I'd say if you're serious about it, choose a country whose official language is English, or another language in which you are already fluent ( the British, French, Germans, and to a lesser degree, the Portuguese, Spanish, Belgians and even Italians all had colonies in Africa at one time. Hell, some of them act like they still do!) -- and then try to learn some, or any of the local languages spoken (being able to communicate, on both ends will be a very important part of the transition!); try to learn as much as you can about the culture of the country and its people because though you are Black, you ARE American (which brings with it, its own unique baggage (they all touch on this fact in the documentary)!; most of all, be willing to adapt and grow! Good luck!

Peace...

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the info! I will take a look at the other website and appreciate your advice. Peace & Blessings!

Deb said...

Anon...You're so welcome! Glad I could help in some small way.

Peace & Blessings right back atcha!

Asabagna said...

Sis Deb, I find two things somewhat interesting in your analysis.

First, you state that "So no, I don't think your addition to her definition is needed,"... but then you claim... "though IMHO, it does apply to THAT brother, because he obviously "internalized, accepted and gladly portrayed" that which had been originally, and continues to be, "thrust upon" us...etc." hmmm.

Second, why would you conclude that I don't believe the arts and social services are worthy endeavours!? Is it because I believe that as a people we are capable to achieve in a more variety of endeavours than what the dominant culture constantly portrays we're only good at: arts, social service practitioners and one I should also have mentioned, sports. The reason I was inspired by the documentary was that it showed our people being successfully engage in ALL sectors of the economy and society, including the arts and social services.

Now I am not one to only blame the white man and lay all our ills and shortcomings at the feet of white supremacy. In my own "labeling" of what is "ghetto", first and foremost, its a state of being that we as a people, (some of us to be more clear) do to ourselves.

As you get to know me over time, I hope you will be less and less surprised at my responses. Just keep in mind, although we are both of African descent, I am not born and raised in your United States of Amerikkka, so my perspective and sensibilities are in many ways much different from yours. For example, during my recent parental leave I watched a couple episodes of Divorce Court with Judge Lynn Toler. IMHO, that show had no empowering nor redeeming qualities for Black people. It was just another program that perpetuated and re-enforced the racist stereotypes regarding Black people... that we’re in fact “GHETTO”, regardless of who’s “labeling” one uses. So in spite of her seemingly enlightening words, ironically Judge Lynn Toler is a perfect example of what has been thrust upon us and at the same time, what we do to ourselves.

Blessings!

Deb said...

Asa..."First, you state that "So no, I don't think your addition to her definition is needed..." hmmm."

"Hmmm?" We were talking about two totally different things -- your "ghetto-ized" observation as something we do to ourselves and my observation of the disdain and internalized self-loathing of "from whence he came!"

"...why would you conclude that I don't believe the arts and social services are worthy endeavours!? Is it because I believe that as a people we are capable to achieve in a more variety of endeavours than what the dominant culture constantly portrays we're only good at..."

Nope, because you didn't include them in the "ALL" in your original comment, you separated them out and characterized them as "ghetto-ized."

"Now I am not one to only blame the white man and lay all our ills and shortcomings at the feet of white supremacy."

Neither am I, however, here in these alleged, "United States of Amerikkka" at least, I get how that state of being, thrust upon you, can crush folk stuck with poorly equipped schools & teachers; urban blight because owners in the hood (who more often than not, are from the dominant culture), don't give a shit about how those to whom they rent live, as long as they get their money on the 1st of the month; raging unemployment which can lead to a host of other conditions like not being able to clothe or feed your family, depression, no medical or dental care, etc., and/or -- how limiting it can be once it's been decided who people are, without knowing anything about them except for what is seen. I try to keep in mind what my Grandmama always used to tell us, "There but for the grace..."

Do some get out, without losing themselves to assimilation into the dominant culture, remembering on whose shoulders they stood to make that leap, reaching back to help those of us anywhere, who've not been able to do the same? Absolutely! Do some get out and lose themselves trying to assimilate into the dominant culture, forgetting upon whose shoulders they stood to make that leap and never reach back to help those of us anywhere, who've not been able to do the same? Again, absolutely! Seems to be plenty more of the latter than the former though.

Instead of judging, I meet folk where I find them and try to move go from there. Sometimes I can help, sometimes I can't, but I try. Though I'm in an agnostic place right now, I do remember both my Catholic and Baptist upbringing and I wonder -- What would've happened to the Samaritans and the "harvest of souls" had Jesus not only judged, but shunned the "Woman at the Well?"

"As you get to know me over time, I hope you will be less and less surprised at my responses. "

I think I will be. Like I said earlier, "We won't agree on the ghetto thing, I'm just happy to be clear on that."

"IMHO, that show had no empowering nor redeeming qualities for Black people....So in spite of her seemingly enlightening words, ironically Judge Lynn Toler is a perfect example of what has been thrust upon us and at the same time, what we do to ourselves."

Everybody has a right to their opinion, Brother. Unlike you, I've probably not seen a couple episodes. Rather than sitting in silence, I keep the TV on during the day, no matter what I'm doing (force of habit I'm sure). It was the brother's comment that made me look up from my laptop and delightfully, I caught Judge Toler laying his behind out! As for your opinion of Judge Toler, I think she'll be alright with what she's done to herself: http://www.divorcecourt.com/judge-lynn-bio/

Peace!

Amenta said...

""I think capitalism is a boil on the ass of human-kind... " Agreed, in it's current form. As I watched the film, I wondered (with the exception of a few of the business people in the film) what type of wages are these big time business folk paying the everyday clerk, dock worker or middle manager?

I think Asa is good to point out that by not being born and raised here in the U.S. that his perspective would be a little different. I, having personal contact with family members in the Caribbean and specifically JA, I can certainly understand his point. Class level in the Caribbean is the great divide, and it is totally open. Unlike in the U.S., the class divide is not so apparent but it totally exists, but not as visible. We have different make up in our society here in the U.S.

I feel the same is occurring in South Africa amoung the native South Africans and the incoming Americans coming to exploit opportunities (not always a bad thing), and aligning with and becoming part and parcel to the black upper crust of South African society.

I think we here in the Americas, which IMO includes the Caribbean islands, must, its imperative that we understand we are American. We, IMO, are indigenous to the land mass of the Americas and we should embrace it (I know we contest about this :-). My view is enhanced by the issue that arises between "African Americans" coming into South African and the actual Africans themselves. We are not African. Not like that, only in distant DNA. We don't miss the taste of Ogbono or Egusi. We don't crave slimy okra we like ours a bit tighter and not slimy.

Peace!

Deb said...

Amenta..."As I watched the film, I wondered (with the exception of a few of the business people in the film) what type of wages are these big time business folk paying the everyday clerk, dock worker or middle manager? "

I can't lie, that thought crossed my mind as well, especially with the diamond trader (particularly after the Marikana Massacres last year) and the doctor's wife (who felt it important to go on about the "maid's quarters") and her husband, the avowed "capitalist" -- but I tried to keep it positive. You're right to bring it up though, after all, though Black, they were taught their skills by those in the WHite Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy -- here. A few of them seemed able to shed the manner in which they were taught to do business here, and grasp the need to adjust to their new environment, but I can't say for sure.

"I think Asa is good to point out that by not being born and raised here in the U.S. that his perspective would be a little different...We have different make up in our society here in the U.S."

I can understand that, which is why I tried to explain. I have a couple Jamaican friends in Miami who had to learn about those "differences" the hard way.

"I feel the same is occurring in South Africa amoung the native South Africans and the incoming Americans coming to exploit opportunities (not always a bad thing), and aligning with and becoming part and parcel to the black upper crust of South African society."

You're possibly right, given how all of them repeated how they could "never have done this, or lived like this at home," or how Mandela lives just blocks away, or wanted a certain painting, or they were sitting down having lunch with him, etc. -- except for the brother working with the kids in Soweto, I didn't get that vibe from him. And you make a good point about the Black upper crust of S. African society. After all, Mandela's presidency, along with Truth & Reconciliation didn't bring nationalization of the country's resources which would have directly benefitted all of the people.

"We are not African. Not like that, only in distant DNA. We don't miss the taste of Ogbono or Egusi. We don't crave slimy okra we like ours a bit tighter and not slimy."

Oh-h-h, I understand that! I realized it fully on my trips to The Gambia. But I still think we can successfully work on that, "distance deliberately created" Baldwin talked about -- if we really want to (and I think we must). It's just going to take work, and some shifting of attitudes. And you're right about the okra soup! I like mine tighter and with shrimp! :-D

Peace Brother, appreciate the insight.

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