By Hakim Abdul-Ali
It rained this past Monday in the Lowcountry sector of South Carolina where I live, and, as usual, my mind traveled to different inquisitive areas of reminiscent thoughts reflecting my “our-storical” past. I’m like that as my mood swings as an artist, a poet and a writer took root.
As I sat down at my desk in my abode, I gazed out of the window listening to the syncopated raindrops falling from the sky. Somehow, in my then steadfast, concentrated thoughts, I thought about why so many Blacks in America and elsewhere apparently seemed to be (still) so continually divided.
That reflection has always disturbed me to such a degree that I wondered inwardly when will the presumed utopian concepts of freedom, justice and equality ever come into fruition for the masses who identify as being descendants of the Motherland. It was and is a real, almost surreal, state of quandary for me as a productive thinker, artisan and writer, who’s always trying to invigorate myself and others with timely pieces and stimulating articles to uplift them from mental stagnation.
If the truth must be told, and that should always be the case, the flow of consciousness that hit me during last Monday’s rain was no more than what many in/of the Afro-descendant communities from throughout the world have previously felt, thought about and uttered. In a sense, “It’s Still About Seeking Clarity” in many ways.
I guess that you could say I’m only following what my Afro-conscious ancestors understood about the quasi-complexities of living under any type of unrealistic apartheid type of political subjugation. Many wily folk of today play dumb games of denials with their minds, thoughts and very lives when I say that last statement, but this calendar year is almost done, and many Blacks, Latinos and others are (still) questioning is this really the democratic the land of free for all and, if it is, where do you to find it observed and practiced across the board spectrum for everyone regardless of reputed race, creed or color.
As an observant thinker and, especially, whenever it rains, I seem to venture into an intensive realm of mulling over why so many Afro-descendant folk are (still) divided amongst themselves. I now ask myself that recognizing all along that other ethnic groups in this country and the rest of the world are binding themselves together for the most part in unity and celebration of their own various ethnic and cultural uniquenesses.
And what about the Afrikan-Americans? Hmm! Maybe, the answer lies right before our eyes if we only reflect upon colonized Euro-American “His-Story” for a little insight into what truly ails us as a divided people. Listen closely to something all ebony souls in this land should’ve known about “the conquer and divide syndrome” that (still) exists today in many lost folk’s mind sets.
Did you know, or seriously take the time to realize, that the Euro-American slave owners would purposely create hostility between the enslaved house workers of color and the enslaved field workers of color? This is very crucial to understand and ruminate on if one is (still) trying to seek clarity about why the Black American is (still) looked upon as less than human by many in this country, even to this very moment.
And, by the way, continuing on my breakdown of “the divide and conquer syndrome” of the Euro-Americans towards the enslaved Afrikans, the enslavers’ philosophies of implementation and activation were by treating one enslaved worker better, namely the house servants, than the field workers. These skillful bits of mental and psychological trickeries, established by the slave masters from you-know-where, created distrust and dysfunction between and among those enslaved folk of color who should have been working together for their freedom and liberation and not against one another as we so commonly (still) see today.
And, you may now wonder interested why so many Afrikan descendant folk don’t want to be identified as Black or work for unity. Call it self-hatred, or whatever you choose to, but please think about it deeply and then, again, deliberate why the cries of Black unity and Black Lives Matter are such urgent and paramount calls for all ebony folk to come together for our own very survival.
“It’s Still About Seeking Clarity” for many adrift-minded “colored” folk in our ethnic designations in America and beyond. Finding the tenable answers to our hatreds of self has become a cause celeb among consciously sincere, dedicated and forthright folk, who truly know that freedom and unity can never be had by wishing on a star for same to occur or take place.
Being a former Black History teacher and an ever-present Afrikan-American “our-storian,” I recall something of importance that novelist Ralph Ellison once said. Mr. Ellison, who died in 1994, uttered, “It is not culture which binds people who are of partially African origin now scattered throughout the world, but an identity of passions. We share a hatred for the alienation forced upon us by Europeans during the process of colonization and empire, and we are bound more by our common suffering than by our pigmentation.”
Being intellectually lucid and forever coherent about who you are as a unique and dynamic ebony God Alone created being is the first step in loving your own birth skin tone and natural hair, etc. That list that divides us could go on endlessly for wannabes and assimilators. If the shoe fits, then wear it. Need, I say anymore to that?
No, I don’t think so. So, towards the ideal of unity, we must (still) forever seek clarity about what constitutes being Afrikan, liberated and free in the first place because some of us from coast to coast don’t have a clue as to what liberation really entails and why we are phenomenally created souls.
To those who may be lost or unsure about the beauty of their creation, I offer that you not, or don’t, try to be anyone except who you naturally are. “Learn to love yourself,” and when you do that, there’s no need to seek clarity about your unity and legitimate identity.
Poet Nikki Giovanni said, “Most of us love from our need to love, not because we find someone deserving.” I’d like to add to that and close with an old Louisiana Creole proverb that states, “Tell me whom you love, and I’ll tell you who you are.” For today and always, that’s, “As I See It.”