This author is coming from the Sakhu-Sheti
(deep and profound Afrikan thought) perspective that we, as Afrikans in
america can not and will not reach our full self-actualized potential and
power while mentally or culturally identifying with america by calling
ourselves Afrikan-americans, Black americans or the like. When challenging
long held, however false, beliefs, one must exercise care in addressing
the matter. One must also present enough logical data so that the reader
will begin to question why a certain held-belief may be false. The first
objective is at least getting people to question it. Once that has started
and they are honestly looking for truth and answers, if given enough clear
information, theoretically, that person may begin to incorporate the new
information into their own daily lives. Hence the importance of this chapter.
Our collective name has grave importance on how we view ourselves, how
others will view us, whose values we are in alignment with, whose culture
we are in synch with and who our allegiances reside with. From a Sakhu-Sheti
perspective, your collective name explains your deeper self, your most
profound self, individually as well as collectively. When discussions come
up on "what name to call ourselves," everyone flocks to "Black" or "African-american."
An Afrikan scholar born in america, who has dedicated his entire life unwaveringly
to restoring the history of Afrikans throughout the world, Dr. John H.
Clarke, has stated that your collective name should denote three things:
1) land, 2) history, and 3) culture (Clarke, African Society, audiocassette).
If we can agree on this one statement, let's put it to the test with the other labels. The term "Black" fails the land test because there is no physical place on the map called "Black Land"; it fails the history test because there have been Black skinned people all throughout history who have had totally different agendas and cultures, which leads into the failing of the third test, culture, "Black" does not give you "a general design for living and patterns for interpreting reality" (Ani, Yurugu, pg. 4). "Black tells you what you look like, but it doesn't tell you who you are or what you should do . . ." (Clarke, African Society). The same test could be applied to “African-american" with the same outcome. First, there is no place on the map called "Africa-america!" Second, the term would only deal with our history since we have been in this country, totally disconnecting us from the millions of years of history we have outside of america and three, when one understands "culture", its functions and how it operates, one can see the contradictory elements in one person calling themselves an "African" and "american" at the same time. It is nothing short of schizophrenia. This will be explained in detail later. Therefore upon further analysis, "African-american" falls short also. Based upon the above accepted criteria, the only legitimate term that fits all three is "Afrikan." (As a side note, many people attempt to debate that this is also of european origin, however, the jury is still out on this point. New information has surfaced which could probably lend an Afrikan genesis to the term "Afrikan." For the purposes of this writing, this author will use "Afrikan" until the jury has rendered its final verdict). There is a physical, geographical map placement for Africa; it has a history that spans at least 5.3 million years and we have a culture that is rich, unique, dynamic and ever-growing. Most people, however, have been told for so long that we are not Afrikan or be afraid of things Afrikan that her own children now, do not want to identify with the Mother. However, it is only with this conscious identification, only with her rebirth in the minds and spirits of her children that the children will be able to heal themselves, heal Afrika and heal Afrikans the world over. We have been running from home for 400 years, it is now time to come home, mentally, culturally, spiritually and eventually physically.
This piece will be bombarded with the same ole' tired rhetoric heard yesteryear, "Our forefathers sweat, blood and tears were shed on this land, and helped to build this country . . . blah, blah, blah." Upon critical perusal of connected Afrikan history, that which we created outside of and before america either hasn't or cannot be duplicated; it left other cultures awe-struck and dumbfounded and/or it was ten times greater than our accomplishments combined since our "Boat Ride". For example, the pyramids cannot be duplicated. Afrikan cultural genius built them and no other culture, with all of this money and present "technology" can reproduce them. Also, Afrikan societies are one of the only societies that did not need a police force; had no homelessness; had no starvation; we could not even conceive of words for "orphanages" or "old-folks homes" because we did not throw our young or old people away. These are just a few examples of the splendor which is Afrika. This is just a glimmer of that which is locked within all of Afrika's descendants- yet the key is a complete identification with the mother once again to reep her benefits and rewards.
We have had a hard time discerning who we are ever since we have had interactions with caucasoid people. Our experience in america has especially damaged us because we have yet to correctly, on a large scale, understand and counteract the process of de-culturalization that took place when we first arrived upon these shores. Deculturalization, as explained by Dr. Nah Dove is a process that deals with removing a people from their birth land, the prevention of their use of their own language, spiritual systems, rituals, traditions AND the constant inculcation of values and beliefs that undermine and devalue the integrity of that cultural group. (Dove, To Heal a People, 296). This process happened consciously in Afrikan people being educated by caucasoids and unconsciously by just being in european society without our own cultural identity intact.
This second point is also of mass importance because even though Afrikans call themselves “African-american”, this society is wholly european in its makeup, push and thrust. No one articulates this point more succintly than Dr. Kambon.
. . . the basic ideological and philosophical character of [a]merican society . . . is essentially defined by the [e]uropean worldview. This is because the [e]uropean [a]merican community effectively controls [ALL] of the basic institutions which formally define the [a]merican social reality . . . . the basic philosophy, values customs and standards inherent in the [e]uropean worldview form the core or frame of reference for the [a]merican social reality. The [a]merican social/cultural reality then, is [e]urocentric in its basic nature. It projects [e]uropean people, their history, philosophy, culture, etc., as the center of the universe . . . . to the extent that the [e]uropean [a]merican community effectively controls [a]merican society, it has been able to superimpose its worldview on other, non-[e]uropean communities (Kambon, African Psychology 60-61).
To the same degree that your understanding of and attitude towards Afrika becomes more positive, your understanding of and attitude towards yourself will also become positive. . . because you can't hate the roots of the tree and not hate the tree. You can't hate your origins and not end up hating yourself, and this is what the whiteman knows. This is why he puts so much time and energy in making you hate Afrika (Malcolm X, audiocassette)(emphasis mine).
How does one change non-historical, detrimental and european behavior? Mwalimu Shujaa in his quintessential article on Re-Afrikanization in To Heal a People discusses reality perception and knowledge integration. He borrows Wade Nobles and Daudi Azibo’s D-R-C model and expounds correctly. Deconstruction, Reconstruction and Construction along with Resignation are all phases one goes through when incorporating information into their lives. Resignation is the uncritical acceptance of information, Deconstruction is ones first critical analysis of information, Reconstruction is the gathering of new and corrective information or the “re-explanation of information”(Shujaa, To Heal, 62), while Construction is the creation of new concepts based on an internalization of the new information from reconstruction. While all four are important, for this writers purposes, Resignation will only be addressed. This is what African americans have been doing ever since they have been “educated.” ALL African americans who are not flatly denying history are looking at it uncritically and believe whatever caucasoids tell them. Shujaa penetrates the depths of this phenomena.
Due to the absence of critique, resignation does not facilitate re-Afrikanization; it does not contribute to the development of one’s knowledge of African cultural history nor does it help to clarify the African world view perspective. For Africans living in hostile cultural environments, approaching information with resignation actually ASSISTS the integration of knowledge that conveys white supremacy ideology and enhances the distortion of the African world view perspective. (62)