We have officially entered into a new era of Black consciousness. Not since the early nineties has there been so much momentum among the consciousness community. Activism, Pan-Africanism, Social Justice Advocacy, Ethnic Enlightenment, Knowledge of Self and Self-Determination are headlining the collective conscience of Black America. No need to sit around and romanticize about The Sixties. Open your eyes. You are reliving them.
When Beyoncé, the most influential entertainer on Earth, dedicates her Super Bowl halftime show to The New Black Panther Party, know that you are witnessing a groundbreaking awakening. When the best rapper alive, Kendrick Lamar, commits a “187” on White Supremacy and ignorance during his Grammy performance know that the 300 year old program of Willie Lynch is in danger of being cast into the waste bucket of time.
What we are witnessing is the seed implantation of a cultural revolution. Black youth are the cultural drum majors of the entire world. And when Conscious thought becomes the prevailing ingredient in our song, dance, dialogue and everyday life, our true greatness as a people will have been reclaimed and taken to the next level. The Black man and woman is God. Therefore, our culture must be a reflection of God consciousness.
If we are the cultural leaders of the world then we have a responsibility to lead with dignity. One of the reasons we have failed to do so is because we, ourselves, don’t know the difference between Black Culture and the Slave Culture that was forced upon our ancestors during 310 years of brutal, inhumane, psychological trauma on slave plantations. Malcolm X reminded us that we had been “robbed” of our culture. And since the robber never returned to us what was rightfully ours, we have mistaken plantation culture for our own culture. Let’s look at a few examples.
Let me “step on some toes” and start with the way we eat. First off, the consuming of what is traditionally considered “Soul Food” is not Black culture, but a spinoff of our slave experience. In order to survive, we had to eat the lowest quality food imaginable. Black people did not eat pork in the motherland. It was forced upon us and is still the source of much sickness and death among us. We ate the “pig’s feet” because that is all that remained after the slave master ate “high off the hog.” Yams (we named them sweet potatoes), collards, beans and rice were all on the menu of the plantation diet. We took the leftover cornmeal, placed it on a garden hoe and cooked it over a fire until it was done. Our ancestors called it “hoe cake.” Today, we call it cornbread. It is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Fried chicken and watermelon is not reflective of Black culture. Any food that is bad for your health and causes you to suffer unnecessary ailments, disease and death was more than likely adopted during the worst part of our history. African people are the people of the Earth and traditionally grow our own food. You are the best so you deserve the best. That includes the foods you put into your body.
Secondly, beating the hell out of your children in the name of discipline is not Black culture; but a carry-on of the slave tradition. When our ancestors angered the overseer we were tied to a tree and beaten bloody; sometimes for no reason. I, myself, am a proponent of the use of the rod when appropriate, but there is a fine line between discipline and abuse. Some of you beat your children (physically and verbally) like Kunta Kinte and think you’re being a good parent. This is NOT Black culture.
When the male slave was beaten, he often used his hands to cover his private parts in an effort to protect his “African jewels.” It became an everyday habit for him to walk around with his hand on his crotch. It signaled fear of the next beating and his desire to not intimidate the White slave master with his penis imprint. To this day, Black men and boys walk around habitually holding their crotches. This is not Black culture. This is slave culture.
During slavery, it was not usual for a child to be taken away from his mother and sold on any given day. This caused a “separation anxiety” that still exists in our community today. Mothers keep their sons in the home way past adult age fearing that they will leave and be swallowed up by the world; never to return. They breed the young Black male to be weak teaching him to “hush up when White folks is talking.” This is not Black culture; this is slave culture to the second power.
I don’t see anything wrong with family reunions, but we should know that this began in slavery, as well. It was the constant breaking up of Black families that created the need for reunions. As a matter of fact, family reunions were sad occasions, called “gatherings”, where everyone came together to console a family whose child had been “sold off.” When a loved one was sold to another plantation it was comparable to a death in the family. This is Black culture rooted in our slave experience. The truth is, family should maintain unity and communication year round.
During slavery, we were not permitted to have healthy families. BLACK LOVE WAS FORBIDDEN. The male and female were only used for breeding purposes. To the degree that we see one another as sexual creatures that can only provide pleasure for one another, we perpetuate the slave master’s ideas. When Black men see Black women as THOTS and treat them as such, we are going backward; not forward. When we make babies and walk away from them refusing to care for our offspring we keep slave culture alive and thriving. Black Love IS Black culture. Anything else is unacceptable.
Late at night on the plantation, Southern White men, who considered Black women “bed wenches”, would sit around and drink moonshine while the female slaves danced. Some of the female slaves were pre-teens. They would promise the girls favors and later have sex with them. What takes place in strip clubs across America is nothing new. It was a part of our suffering and is now mistakenly seen as a part of our culture. Not even. Anything that degrades the Black woman is rooted in slave culture. This includes when she degrades herself. We have got to let go of the darkness of our past if we are to grow into the brightness of our future.
Never use the term “picnic.” It is said to have been a term used when lynch mobs set aside a day to “pick a ni**a” to lynch while their families enjoyed an outdoor meal while watching. If you are quick to forgive White boys (like Dylann Roof) yet can hold a grudge with a family member for decades, you are effectively perpetuating the slave code of forgiveness. This is not Black culture. Twerking is not Black culture. Name brand loyalty is not Black culture. No; Adele cannot sing better than Whitney Houston (it’s irrelevant, but I’m just throwing it in here anyway). American holidays were celebrated because they were the ONLY DAYS OFF the slaves received in a 365 day period; not because we believed in Christmas, Easter, etc. Being deathly afraid when stopped by police is slave culture. Anything associated with fear is not natural to the original people of the Earth.
There are so many more examples I could give. However, I think you get the overall message. Let us be mindful, students, of the root of everything we do. We cannot have a Cultural revolution unless we recognize and get rid of the habits that colonized us and replace them with those that free our mind, body and spirit. Time dictates the agenda. And the time is NOW!!!