My ancestors were slaves. Your ancestors enslaved them, and I will not allow you to forget it. You have gained significant advance from my enslavement, but I will not allow your advantage to define my aspirations. The labor and output of my ancestors have continued to accrue to you and yours, but I will not let that limit my reach.
There is a lack of acknowledgment of the harm that has accrued to the children of the Africans enslaved in the Americas. Among the children of the slave, there is an embarrassment to acknowledge our injury publicly. We seem to have a Stockholm syndrome, like illness. We see the harm but are too cowed to call it out and own it. Instead, we speak quietly so as not to embarrass the children of the enslavers. In so doing we are harming ourselves. We need to own the pain and lay it bare for all to see.
In our private space, we lay the blame and see the continuing injustice of slavery and the results of the accrued resources. We are disadvantaged, and those who deny such are free to do so. What is not acceptable is that we the children of Africa don’t speak more forcibly to the dilemma.
Maybe we don’t speak because we also see that we have caused ourselves almost as much damage.
The damage, as I see it, stems from our cultural denial of the trauma we continue to experience. We have learned from the plantation that we should speak quietly in the presence of the masters but loudly to our co-oppressed. In hiding the truth of our oppression from the children of the enslavers, we have harmed our own.
What is the harm? The harm I am referencing is that insidious self-hatred and disrespect we have for ourselves, and worse the hatred we have developed for all things we consider too much like our oppressors. In doing so, we have lost sight of the skills we need to succeed in a world created by the resources of our labor. We are our worse enemy.
The enemy, as I see it is a culture of self-hate. We treat our sisters in the same manner that the oppressors do and suspect our brothers in the same ways the oppressors did and do. We discourage our children from academic achievement because it looks too much like our oppressors, and in so doing we are allowing them to fulfill the predicted behavior that the oppressor have of them. A vicious cycle is in motion, and like our brothers who flogged us on the plantations, we have become the keepers of order.
This order means to keep us, children of Africa, subservient to the children of our enslavers. We continue to be the enforcers of the order imposed by our enslavers. It is time for us to wake up. We need to turn a new leaf, examine the world we are leaving for our children and determine to affect it positively. No one but ourselves can save us.