black woman and man yelling

Have you ever found yourself disconnecting from Africa (i.e “I’m not African, I’m American”)?

If you are Black in this country or anywhere on the planet, your roots are in Africa. This is not something to be ashamed of but rather a source of pride. Africa is the origin of all mankind. We are and will always be the first people.  The main reason that we as Black Americans are disconnected from Africa is because of intentional efforts to disconnect us from our roots. Africa has faced (and continues to face) oppression from Europeans just as America has. In fact, every country in Africa (except Ethiopia) has been colonized at some time by Europe and many still remain under European control. Once we eliminate the harmful thinking that separates us from Mother Africa, we can be more connected with her and thus become more unified, regaining our power internally and externally.

Have you ever found yourself disconnecting from other Black People (i.e “I’m not like them”, “I can’t stand those kind of black people”)?

 Much of our dislike of one another and disconnection is a symptom of psychological oppression. Before separating yourself from other black people, ask yourself why you feel the need to. No other race does this as passionately as we do.

Have you ever found yourself judging black people for problems they did not create (i.e poverty, ghettos, low graduation rates, extreme incarceration rates, etc.)?

When we begin to understand the true history of America and racism, we start to understand the problems of the black community more clearly. Sadly, most of us blame black people for things that were not created or perpetuated by us. We are labeled as “lazy,” “stupid,” “immoral,” “criminal,” etc. These stereotypes were created as justification for white society to criminalize black communities.  Once we awaken and understand the root causes of our problems, we will realize that we are still being oppressed while simultaneously being blamed for our oppression.

Have you ever found yourself playing into stereotypes just to please whites (“Yeah, she does talk loud,” “He is dangerous,” “Yes, we love watermelon and fried chicken”, “I’ll show you this dance”)?

Historically, we have found ourselves pleasing whites as a method of survival or status, even at the cost of our own dignity. Before we go and do something that is asked of us based on stereotypes or submission, we should ask how much that request is worth to our own dignity and how much it adds to the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes.

Have you ever found yourself judging or making fun of “ghetto black people”?

When we give into stereotypes of “ghetto black people” or “ratchet black people” what we fail to realize is that the so-called majority is applying these stereotypes to the whole race. Furthermore, differentiating between types of black people promotes division. This division is the enemy of our collective power.   

Have you ever found yourself judging another black person based on stereotypes from the media?

The media is and has always been a powerful influence in perpetuating stereotypes and influencing the way we are viewed. Just because we see something on the news or other media, doesn’t mean we should accept it as ultimate truth. 90% of the media is controlled by 6 entities. Those in control of media sources can manipulate the information and misinform us to support their agendas.

Have you ever found yourself judging black people who were attempting to stand up for their rights?

Black people often criticize each other when we attempt to fight for justice. This criticism is likely a result of internalized oppression and fear. Sometimes we are uncomfortable with standing up for our rights because we unconsciously fear retribution. Keep in mind that many black people also disapproved of Civil Rights Leaders for similar reasons. We must break through these fears and criticisms for the sake our survival.

Have you ever found yourself more angry at a black person than you were at a white person for doing the same thing?

This is because we have been taught to hate ourselves and each other. We cannot use the anger that we are afraid to unleash on white people only to unleash it on ourselves. We must focus our anger in the right place- on injustice- and use it to make positive change.

Have you ever found yourself not buying something from a black business because it didn’t seem “as good” as buying the something from a non-black business?

We have been taught to believe that who we are or what we have is not as good as other races. If there was ever a time to promote black business, it is now. Buying Black is a crucial step in improving our economic condition. See What You Can Do for more information.

Have you ever felt like being united with black people would affect your reputation with whites?

This is a historic notion and one based on fear. If any whites or non-blacks oppose Black Unity, it says more about them than about us. Ask yourself what fears do you have about black unity. No other people have been discouraged from unifying, why should we? In the fight against injustice, Unity Will Be Our Greatest Weapon.

Have you ever felt like you had nothing in common with another Black person because of their beliefs?

Manipulation and forced division has led many of us to feel different from the very people we need to be connected to. No matter what our differences may be, we all have something in common. That commonality is crucial, because we are all being oppressed for the same reason. In order to be free from that oppression, we must unite for the same reason.  We must emphasize our common ground in order to work toward progress.

malcolm x dashiki.jpg

“Whether you are a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Nationalist, we all have the same problem. They don’t hang you because you’re a Baptist; they hang you ‘cause you’re black. They don’t attack me because I’m a Muslim; they attack me ‘cause I’m black. They attack all of us for the same reason — all of us catch hell from the same enemy. We’re all in the same bag, in the same boat. We suffer political oppression, economic exploitation, and social degradation all of them from the same enemy.”

-Malcolm X

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