Problems and Solutions: Identity Purpose and Direction
There have been some responses to my essays stating my articles deal with problems and offer no solutions. I freely admit this may indeed be true, to an extent.
Although not many people can be all things to all people, I have attempted to focus on specifics in order to stimulate interest, research, and perhaps even stimulate activism. Each essay has ended in the term “food for thought,” which my mother used to say to me frequently. Her other saying was, “A hint to the wise is sufficient.” It took me a few years to fully understand her meanings, but it is what I am attempting to do.
We AUSA (Afrikans from the United States of America) have been so criminally miseducated that many of us are blissfully unaware, not only of our real problems but have been rendered ignorant to the cause of our problems. We are at the point at which so many of us will believe almost anything.
I have been blessed to have come in contact with individuals (scholars and activists) who have taught and guided me into a semblance of self-knowledge. I certainly cannot (and will not) claim to know everything nor to have all the answers. But I feel it is my duty to my people to at least share the information I have been given.
In the Rites of Passage Programs I co-created with my brothers-from-other-mothers, Joe Benton (Maa Kheru) and Derrick Jackson, we focused on teaching Identity, Purpose and Direction to the young people who were entrusted to us.
Teaching Identity was/is extremely difficult, because we AUSA have been intentionally taken away from our true selves in an attempt to create good slaves. Most AUSA are 4-8 generations removed from our Afrikan roots and have internalized the identities that have been assigned to us. Our kidnapped and enslaved Afrikan Ancestors were prevented from speaking their languages, kept from living in accordance with their culture, and practicing their religious beliefs. Thankfully, Afrikan culture was so powerful that even today we continue to practice the deep structure of our culture without consciously realizing it.
Interestingly, we found it far easier to teach identity to young people than to teach it to older people. Please understand, we teach young people HOW to think, not WHAT to think. We do not indoctrinate. We offer cultural knowledge they can use as they feel necessary.
Frequently, the realization of identity reveals one’s purpose. To that point I have identified one of the purposes of my life as being an information broker. I try to stimulate thought. My good friend, Listervelt Middleton, host of the celebrated South Carolina Educational Television Network, had two nicknames for me. The first was “Missionary to the Negroes,” because I was always insistent on passing on information I had learned to other people. I took the words of our earliest Ancestors wrote seriously, “Know Thyself.” Our later Ancestors, who were kidnapped and brought to the Americas enslaved, also left messages for us. One such message, “Sankofa,” is seen frequently on grates and other ironworks, on doors and fences.
Sankofa literally means “Go back and fetch it.” This is saying we cannot have a meaningful future unless we know and understand our past, or know our history. When they built these structures, usually in coastal cities like Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans, they were entreating us not to forget them and not to forget who we are.
The second nickname that Listervelt gave me was “Librarian of the Negroes,” because I collect and share books and articles with whomever seems interested.
These two nicknames describe my purpose. Everyone has a purpose. The brilliant revolutionary psychiatrist, Franz Fanon (who everyone should know about) said each generation must discover its’ purpose and fulfill it or betray it. I see my purpose as sharing information about us to us so recipients of that information can choose to act (or not) and how to act.
I sincerely hope I can stimulate further study and even stimulate or facilitate activism based on that information. But, even if my words or actions fall on deaf ears, and closed eyes, they may have planted seeds that might grow later. Perhaps they will stimulate conversations, discussions or debates in beauty parlors, barber shops, restaurants, meetings or even ball games. I have even been invited to speak at some events.
Purpose determines direction. When one discovers their purpose this leads to a destination. My desired destination is freedom for all Afrikan people around the world and the elimination of so-called white supremacy (white narcissistic pseudo-supremacy).
Food for thought.
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