“I do have a job but I have to work tons of overtime just to be able to afford food, shelter & clothing. My father made it a point to teach me African American History. I was reading Langston Hughes and W.E.B. DuBois as a child. However no matter how knowledgeable I become about regarding the Black experience or the diaspora that does not really help me economically. I can’t eat history, it will not provide me shelter nor will it pay my bills. My reinvention consists of doing things I thought I’d never have to do to survive. Being degraded and dehumanized are not the reinvention I want. The price I’m paying is not worth it and believe me the cost has been and is very high. But it goes back to the point Asa made that Black unity is a farce. Just be down on your luck and see if any of your sisters or brothers come to your aid. People are only on your side when life is going well for you and you can do something for them. In this life we are truly alone.” dancingpalmtrees
You ever read something that moves from your mind, jumps into your heart and settles into your spirit? This is what I experienced when I read the above comment on a previous post. My first instinct was simply “WOW!” It literally shook me to my core, awoke me from a self-induced slumber to remind me that for some, life experiences are not simply the basis for intellectual dissertations or a Sunday sermon. That for some, maybe most, daily life is a real struggle. I knew this on an intellectual, cosmic level… but I actually felt it in her words.
So for a few days now I have turned the above comment over in my mind, savoured it within my heart and meditated on it in my spirit, contemplating on if and what I wanted to say.
My grandmother had a saying: “he who feels it, knows it” and this sister has dropped some serious truth here. There is nothing truer than what you experience, for it is the foundation of what you know… what you feel about your existence and relationships with those you engage with. Knowledge is power when you utilize your knowledge to empower others to first and foremost, meet their basic needs… i.e., food, shelter, clothing. Unity, like charity, therefore begins at home… with family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances… then onto community and beyond.
These are not the values of our current society. Individuality is the idol to be worshipped. Self-centredness is revered. Knowledge is power to empower and enlighten oneself… “to only get yours”. Caring about the needs of others is weakness for it competes and detracts from satisfying one’s own selfish needs. There is no value seen in unity… unless others unite to confirm and conform to “my” self-adulation… i.e., agree with all I say and believe… or to satisfy “my” personal wants.
I believe in Black unity. People of African descent worldwide have a shared history, as well as similar present day experiences, based first and foremost on the colour of our skin. Although we may have these shared experiences, we are not homogeneous in our beliefs and perspectives, but we don’t need to be to work for a common purpose. Our empowerment as a comm-unity is based on our unity of commitment… therefore what we need, first and foremost are people who are committed… not to a principle, ’cause just like history, you can’t eat principle and it won’t provide shelter and pay the bills… but people who are committed to do the work necessary to create a foundation for this unity.
This is where the truth in the sister’s statement that “Black unity is a farce” is right on point! Many will talk about being for Black unity but aren’t willing to put in the work, as simply as coming to the aid of a brother or sister, especially when they are down on their luck. Sure they are more than willing to engage in intellectual discourses on the Black struggle, share conspiracy theories, offer advice and bible verses for comfort and encouragement, but when it comes to actually do something… giving selflessly of themselves to provide food, shelter, clothing or whatever else may be needed… well that’s where the “I don’t give a fuck” attitude jumps out at you.
I have also found that many who preach Black unity are quick to “degrade and dehumanize” other Black people who don’t share their opinions and beliefs or view the world as they do. As I stated in a previous post, “working to unite with only Black people who believe as you do, whether politically, culturally or religiously, is neither work nor unity.”
What we need is a spiritual transformation, a renewing of our minds, before the reality of Black unity can be ever achieved. Seeking the truth within oneself isn’t a noble endeavour. It’s misguided and based in vanity. In fact, finding the truth within oneself is easy as it will be revealed in what you do to aid those less fortunate than you. That is the noble endeavour, the foundation of Black unity: helping others… and in doing so, the truth about oneself will also be revealed. The spiritual reality of Black unity isn’t about focusing within, it’s about reaching out.