By Hakim Abdul-Ali
I’m a brother of color, plain and simple, and that’s the way it is no matter how you, or others, view me. To be described as otherwise is not knowing that Afrikan descendant folk here in America have their very own unique stories to tell.
Because of that reality, I’ve always called Black folk’s stories “Black Our-stories,” but with a decided twist. To that end, I feel that we must never forget the legitimate, honest accounts of the Motherland and her scattered descendants everywhere and how they populated the globe in the first place.
I’m a very self-absorbed student lover of Afrikan culture and “our-stories,” knowing full well that “our-stories” must be carefully researched, critiqued and taught by concerned and committed folk of color first and foremost. This visionary point is becoming clearer and more visible with each passing new day.
Just by looking around our potentially great nation, and even viewing the rest of the “colored” realms of the scattered Afrikan Diaspora, you’ll see and understand why I say what I’m feeling now. From Port-au-Prince in Haiti to Gary, Indiana, to Mogadishu, Somalia, e.g., global Black miseries galore are obviously everywhere to be found, never too far from being out of sight for aware and conscious Black souls.
Being captured and enslaved as the Afrikans from all over the Motherland were centuries ago does not make for a pretty picture of self-sustainability, if one does not know his or her own true and licensed story. Writer and activist James Baldwin once said, “People are trapped in history (his-story) and history is trapped in them.”
I have to agree with Mr. Baldwin on that because as a former teacher of “our-story”and as an ever-current thinker of Afrikan consciousness, I know, all-too-well, the importance of acquiring and possessing authentic knowledge of one’s self and heritage. Some folk know what I’m saying is real, while many apathetic others in today’s confused, disconnected Afro worlds of existences, sadly, are openly covert deniers of being Black and proud.
It is “the truth,” and like I said before, the “his-storical” truth is the “our-storical” fact, and what I’ve offered so far is something that you can attest to or sweep it under the rugs of your self-imposed contradictions. The late activist, author and thinker Dick Gregory said, “American history (‘his-story’) is a myth and can only be accepted when read with blinders that block out the facts.”
So, as I discuss the importance of studying, knowing and implementing Black “Our-story” in our lives, we must be ever aware that knowing one’s “true” stories, along with the lies of other ethnic and religious groupings, who oppressed and colonized us, is crucial to that sustainability that I previously alluded to. Novelist John Killens brilliantly related that “Western man wrote ‘his’ history as if it were the history of the entire human race.”
Think about that, and if you’re of color and truly recognize miseducation for what it is and how it was used to miseducate Afrikans of color everywhere, then you should be able to see where I’m coming from in this article. I trust that it’s a much-needed wake up call to your senses, and I’ll refer to Mr. Killens once again, who also said, “A people must face its history (‘our-story’) in order to understand it.”
People of Afrikan descent, who were and are under foreign and colonial dominations all over the earth, have been spiritually victimized and are continually viewed as worthless second class beings, dangerous and sinister souls. From the streets of Philadelphia to the favelas of Brazil, ethnic Black lives are “his-storically” and painfully meaningless to today’s political racists and societal power elite, and some of us forget this.
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz said “History (his-story) is a people’s memory, and without a memory, man is demoted to lower levels.” Think about what this dynamic Muslim thinker said and tell me if anything has changed today for the majority of the universe’s Afro folk everywhere in the more than fifty years since his cowardly assassination.
I hope that you don’t take too long to answer that because precious time is running out Black communities all over the globe, and another not-so-secret global political “his-story” plan is being developed to forever destroy original Black folks’ culture, mores and heritage. And I wonder, does saying “Black Lives Matter” anymore really matter to anyone except the economically and academically disenfranchised while young Black males and other youth of color are labeled as dangerous and are becoming persistent targets for and of eminent destructions?
I’m concerned about this issue because this is the type of current “his-stories” which are unfolding for many inner city youth of color everywhere. I speculate if they’ll have the opportunity to make their communities and the world a better place for them to know and experience what being free is all about.
I even wonder whether experienced, knowledgeable young women know that they to have be “our-storians” in the making, as I ponder if they’ve ever heard of the courageous civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who said,”I had no idea that history (‘our-story’) was being made. I was just tired of giving in.” Prominent NAACP leader Roy Wilkens added, “History (learning ‘our-story’) and experience should not be ignored.
So, learning about Black “Our-Story” is a scholarly field of study that requires much work and cultivation from all of us because, in actuary, it’s the study of the origin of all “hue-mankind.” The great bibliophile of Afrikan culture, Arthur Schomburg, one uttered, “We seem lately to have come at least to realize what the true scientific attitude requires, and to see that the race issue has been a plague on both our historical houses, and that history (‘our-story’) cannot be properly written with either bias or counter bias.”
I’d like you to think about Mr. Schomburg’s views, especially, because, if you’re of color, racism and bigotries are often spread through abysmal lies, mythical falsehoods and colonial miseducation. I don’t think those points need further explanation due to the rampant existing “his-storical” biases and the ongoing systematically bigoted educational systems that have and still do exist in our nation and beyond.
Finally, I’ll politely ask a closing, menacing inquiry for your consideration. And that question is, “When is ‘his-story’ Not ‘Our-story?” Give it some urgent thought, but please don’t take too long. For today and always, that’s, “As I See It.”