A while back, I made a video addressing many of the opinions on this site, in terms of the way the black community conducts it affairs; however, it turns out that YouTube has a 15 minute video limit, so I’ll have to reshoot it. But it has been awhile since I have posted so I will emerge from the woodwork with this. I do not think the issues that plague the black community are very well understood by many people, because the people who study this with PhD’s are often not black, and black people often judge communal issues superficially. That being said, at the end of the day, I think the largest problem plaguing black people worldwide is that we have lost track of our roots—even in the motherland. Thanks to slavery and colonialism, we have lost sight of who we are and have wholesale adopted other people’s modes of living. Needless to say, this obviously is not the most effective or efficient way to do things. Can you imagine just dropping what is natural to you and adopting what is normal for someone else on a day to day basis? While it is good to be out of your comfort zone for a little while and learn about how other people live, eventually you should return to what feels natural to you. They say those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but what happens when the good is erased? It doesn’t seem like we are repeating what we have lost, so perhaps we need some lessons.
Lesson one, historically, the reason white people have dominated the earth was because Western Europe was lucky, and they had the ability to modify others people’s ideas to work for them. So why can’t we? I am not saying we should literally go back to our roots. That would mean that all those years we should have been building and improving would be wasted. Then we would be behind. What I am saying is we need to adopt some practices of our African brethren and sistren where applicable, and adopt practices from our European brethren and sistren where applicable, and from everywhere else for that matter. We live in a globalizing world. Why should individual communities and countries make the same mistakes other countries have made in the past? That’s wasting time. As an older sibling, I always give the brother I live with any advice or heads up in life if I experience it first, so he doesn’t have to go through the same thing. We are not the first people to have hardship in life, but some simple research, knowledge of history, and pooling of resources would do us some good. Europe saw the potential for Chinese gun powder to be used as a weapon, while the chinese were using it to make fireworks. Anyone can see another use for something and apply it to their culture or community needs. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel; we just have to reappropriate it.
Lesson two, while Western Europe pretty much ruined just about everyone else’s culture through militarism and colonialism, remember, other people have rich culture and heritage that contributed to the current greatness of western culture. From sprawling empires to the concept of zero, if it wasn’t for other cultures and different kinds of people, life would be a lot different for everyone. So before you start thinking people of color haven’t done anything, remember, we have. White people are just really good at seeing how our stuff could be used to take their countries to greater heights. After a white face makes it “great” it is easy to forget where it came from. So don’t forget. The concept of zero as a number originated in India, gunpowder originated in China, and Medicine originated in Africa for starters, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. The fact is if a select few white people can look at fireworks and see guns, or a hole in the wall and see a business, we can look at our communities and see future possibilities too.
Lesson three, there are many practices that are hurting our communities, but instead of whining and complaining about it, we need to analyze them an come up with viable solutions that can be implemented. For instance, we say we need Justice. But what do we mean by Justice? Do you realize that what is considered Justice is shaped by the community/country we live in? So essentially, what is considered Justice not only varies, but in fact, it was handed to us. And we see how American Justice has historically worked for the black community. There are two kinds of justice: restorative and retributive. Through the Truth and Reconcialiton Committee in South Africa and the Kpelle Moot of Liberia, we see two examples of restorative justice at work. The Moots works in conjunction with the courts in Liberia, so I’m not saying we wholesale scrap what we do now, but we should supplement it with something more positive. Rather than living like an eye for an eye, we can stop acting like five year olds throwing temper tantrums and start coming up with solutions that heal communities rather than break them apart. This is only one instance where we can change how operate using what other societies use. Lesson three goes right along with lesson one; because, instead of trying to come up with original ideas, we could just adapt other peoples ideas. In fact, that’s exactly what Japan did in the Meiji Restoration. After Commodore Perry sailed into Japan with far more advanced boats and military capability than the Japanese, the Japanese decided that never again would a foreign power be able to force them to do anything. So they studied all the western powers, and adopted bits and pieces of what they liked from each country. In a 50 year time span they emerged as a world power just like Western European Nations. They even participated in WWII.
So overall, while this article is technically geared towards Black people worldwide, there is no reason everyone can’t take this advice. Seeing possibilities, adapting other people’s good ideas, and good problem solving is not limited to any race or ethnicity. I think everyone could use any of those skills both on a small scale and a large scale. The issue isn’t really a lack of solutions: it is a lack of resourcefulness. We are not using history and our resources to our ability, but I think if we start then then our lives, our communities, and our countries would be in a much better place.