I Ain’t Jackie but I Sho’ Ain’t Kunta

In America we have awoken to a reality that Martin’s dream has been just that for the past 50 years.  We dreamed bigotry was solved through integration.  We imagined progress was found through token achievements.  We saw visions of tokens take center stage.  But we had to awake sometime.

Watching “Dear White People” I am impressed with the relevance and genuine depiction of the complex reality that Black people face.  Who we are is and is not what has been spoken about us.  We are not the militant.  Not the ‘Uncle Tom’.  Not the sellout.  Not the thug.  We are Black.  In the United States of America we might be all of those things in a blink of an eye and none of them as we catch our breath.  In the end of the movie main character, Samantha White, states, “… dear white people .. never mind.”

Being Black is an exhausting confrontation of white people.  Too exhausted to even capitalize their Whiteness any longer.  We exist to confront, ignore, cower or despise the existance of white that makes us Black.  Not Indigenous to foreign lands, countries, tribes or cultures but American Black.

In my heart I know that the answer for our community is not in Jackie Robinson’s integration amidst hatred and harm.  Nor is it the ‘back-to-Africa’ of Marcus Garvey’s entail.  I believe it is in the loving embrace of ‘Big Mamma’s’ arms.  A time between enslavement and a man’s dream there lay a mother’s open arms.  Community.  Love.  Embrace.  Resources of faith, culture, heritage and most importantly family.  Resources that empowered generations of aristocrats that couldn’t take the neighborhood out of them.  From Baldwin, DuBois, SNCC, Madam Walker and Truth to King, X, Gregory and Ali. It is my humanity that my identity is found and fostered in the companionship of those who can see it.

The emotional and psychological exhaustion found in trying to education-ese to well intentioned white people, nice white people, on both liberal and conservative sides who would call themselves friends have depleted me once again.  Once again I expend my energies to educate, sharing concepts ignorant to their minds of convenience on a topic of leisure.  My reality.  While everyday feeling the joyous exhaustion of feeding my own community to inspire hope.  I desire to say as my dear Ms. White from my recently watched movie, “… never mind.”

Yet there is a calling that beckons.  The slow poison of racism, elitism, privilege, supremacy, affluence that runs through the very white veins of my neighbor calls for a sick twisted empathy.  Like the frog that cooks slowly in the pot on the stove.  To walk by and say nothing is to hate my neighbor.  Man was not meant to live their way and no amount of material wealth and piety can remove the waste of sexual violence, hatred, broken relationships, drug use, poverty, violence, depression that has saturated their community.  We are not called to humble lives of serving our common man because it is charity but because it is the antidote.

Who wants to love their enemy? Interesting Biblical statement that emplies recognition of an enemy while a responsibility to love.  Not condone but to be willing to share the truth.

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Which Way Did He Go, Which Way Did He Go?

Man’s migration out of Africa to populate the world has widely accepted throughout academia.  With the onset of White supremacy following colonialism and both the trans-atlantic and trans-sahara slave trades the discourse of man’s explorations has been largely Eurocentric.  The idea that civilized man was derived from “the North” is the dominant narrative.  Many now hold the idea that while Europe began its “enlightenment” period the rest of the world was still in its dark ages.  Despite such wonders as the pyramids, some prefer the explanation of alien forces at work rather than the acknowledgement of advanced civilization before the dominance of European rule.

In one area I challenge this is the migration of the native out of Africa and into the Americas.  The Book They Came Before Columbus by Dr. Ivan Van Sertima reveals multiple civilizations throughout today’s Africa and Asia (today’s = this was an imposed name after European conquest not how natives identified their regions) that had known of the Americas and consequently had been traveling back and forth for centuries before columbus “discovered” the land.

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In my travels to Vera Cruz, Mexico I was able to visit the museum of the Olmec Heads discovered throughout Central America.  The heads were found in astounding condition despite their age and revealed extremely distinct features.  The features clearly reflect people groups from throughout regions of the world.  Most specifically, the African and Asian features were undeniable.  The heads can be nearly 3 meters high, 4.5 meters in circumference, and average around 8 tons in weight.  My theory is that these great stone heads were geographical markers for trade.  In a time where gps remained allusive and travel times spanned seasons versus afternoons these geographical markers were essential to maintaining connections with distant communities.

The current thought is that these heads reflect Olmec rulers during the period of the Olmec empire.  The connection to Africa has been considered unfounded in reference to the indigenous people of the Americas.  With even a marginal amount of research the dark skin pigmentation, kinky hair and full lips thought to be confined to the continent of Africa is found in much of the indigenous populations spanning the entire continent.  Considering the already known understanding of human’s migration out of the continent of Africa the connection appears simple enough.

The question then arises how did humans first arrive at the Americas?  The popular thought is that the first humans traveled from Asia across a land bridge in Northern Europe into Canada.  One aspect that sparked my imagination was that during the ice age the water levels of the ocean had massively diminished.  This caused me to consider what the land masses of the many islands of the Pacific and Atlantic were during that time.  I believe that indigenous peoples were far more likely to have traveled the warm, tropical islands from across the Pacific and even Atlantic far more than across the frozen tundra of Northern Asia and America.

Though Europe may have been the last ones to the show, the party was certainly already going on by the time they arrived.  We may need to reconsider our origins from continental or Nationalistic titles to the singular group of indigenous people we’ve always seen but rarely recognized the connection they have represented to us all.