|Doing For Self
7/20/2016 1:43:56 PM
By Hakim Abdul-Ali
My late father was a quiet, hard working man who I remember as being very kind and a soul who loved me, my mother and others very much.
I also remember something else about him that has stuck with with me to this very moment and that was that he told me to always be self-reliant and depend on no one else.
That's something that I still carry deep within my psyche whenever I think of African-American survival in the home of the free and the land of the brave. It's a sense of manhood teaching that only a parent teaches his children, and I glad my dad taught me it.
You see, my father, who was born in South Carolina almost a hundred-years-ago near the Ridgeland, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia borderlines, always believed in the power of learning, accomplishment and self-achievement. He grew up in a time of unspeakable racism and wanton discrimination that was horrendous, suffocating and real to people of color everywhere, but my father believed that with God's help, all things were possible.
When he married my mother, a fine and classy lady from Charleston in the early 1940s, they made a sojourn from segregated South Carolina to Harlem, where was I born in 1945. Their sojourns from the South was mirrored by millions of African-Americans fleeing from the South'a open bigotry corridors to the northern environs where they "thought" things would economically be better.
That may have been the case in some selected individuals' experiences seeking freedom in their new promise lands, but life was, is and always has been an uphill struggle for the majority of darker people of color in America and beyond, especially for the ever-conscious aware descendants of enslaved Africans. After almost five hundred years, that acknowledged pressing reality is an ever-growing stigma for today's untold millions of Black Americans who have to struggle to survive in a world of conflicting democratic political diatribes.
I don't know, but, again, it appears that so much has happened the minds of many of the Motherland's descendants, scattered from here to there as they are, until I don't think they get the message of what systematically is being done to them en masse. I've been writing about this for almost twenty-five years in print and living it all my life, and the question remains,"Black folk! What ya'll gonna do?"
From the no longer Black Harlem of today to the what ever happened to Watts in Los Angeles of yesterday, our political and economic realities are troublesome to the minds of many thinking "colored" folk.
It seems as though that we are psychologically hemorrhaging and destroying ourselves from within as many of us in Black America struggle to make it from day-to-day in a racially systematic hostile atmosphere of total indifference towards people of color with no relief or hope in sight and, get this, no body really seems to care.
That's the tragic invisible, lingering reality of having been victimized on those physical and mental slave ship journeys from Africa to hell and back. And, even now, that victimization among some Black folk is still there, destroying some of us still. With no knowledge of self, it's a shame but that is the reality that pervades the mind-sets of many of the world's scattered Africans to one degree or another. Some of us don't what time it is and could care less.
We must change that type of thinking from within and we shouldn't expect anyone to do it for us. My parents taught and told me many profound things about being Black and about living (and surviving) in a world of racism.
I've never forgotten them.
They emphasized that doing collective things for one's self and others was the essence of individual and Afro-family survival in our Harlem back then, and our later elsewhere, household(s). "Doing for Self" was an educational reality in my world, and it still is. Is it in yours?
Think before you reply?
I was taught from an early age that if I wanted something to be done, "I had to do it myself." That was the embryonic understanding in my soul's initiation into life that "Doing For Self" was the only way for me and other Black folk, oftentimes, from everywhere to get any worthwhile thing accomplished in the lands where twisted value appreciation of self only seemed to perpetuate European culture, beauty and standards.
Black pride was respectfully real where I grew up. No form of miseducation processing ever was allowed in my house because mom and dad were proud, educated and very Black. They knew the deal.
"Doing For Self" was a mantra within my house.
So, whenever my parents and past generational great Black heroes and sheroes, I think of one core processing that resonated from their words and lifestyles, and that was to be proud of being who you were created to be from birth. I also picked up from them that we must (continually) do for self in order to survive anywhere like everyone else does.
That certainly runs through seemingly every other culture and ethnicity with success, but to some "colored" folk in Black America, it seems to be distant and lost in translation. We can and must understand that "Doing For Self" is just not solely for other folk, but it's for us too.
"Are you there yet?"
"Doing For Self" isn't a casual motto. It's a lasting reminder that we've got to get busy and create Black economics that benefit us. That shouldn't be hard to understand if you take a serious look at the realities of today's current Black state of affairs. Just "look" around you.
Learn the values of what "Doing For Self" can and will do for you, your family and others. Support African-American businesses and see what effects if will have on everyone, including you. For today and always, that's, "As I See It."