December 17, 2004

Proud and Fortunate to be American?

Are we, as black people, proud and fortunate to be Americans? Should we or should we not be? What if I ask the question another way. Let us say that something tragic be felled upon a loved one such as your parents and because of that tragedy, you received something of worth or value. Should you then feel pride or fortune for having something that manifested only as a resultant of your parents suffering? I think most people of conscious would not, assuming that they loved their parents.

When black people lament that we are proud or fortunate to be American, we have essentially divorced ourselves from the time continuum and from the love of our ancestors, while living in a fallacious vacuum of a point in time. Such among us have essentially divorced themselves from the continuum of actions and reactions that brought them to exist in this point in time in the present, seeing America and their existence here as some sort of divine luck or fortune. They see America as an asset created with no corresponding liabilities, because the choose to only look towards the future, thus writing off the past.

Think about it. Honestly…. How can one be proud and fortunate to be black in America, as descendants of slaves, without also being proud and fortunate that 12 generations of your ancestors were oppressed to put you at this present state and time? Would we be here if not for our ancestors suffering? The answer to that is a clear cut no. If not, when we die and our spirits meet with our ancestors, how will we explain our feeling of pride and fortune to them? Would we say that we were glad that their lives and souls were tormented, just so that our lives and soul could live in the most wealthy and hedonistic society the world has known? How will those proud and fortunate black Americans reconcile joy in the spirit world as contemporaries with their ancestors?

No black person in America, who is a descendant of slaves, should be proud to be here or made to feel fortunate just to be here. There is no fortune for black people in the aggregate analysis. When one adds up the lives and years, the collective of black people in America is experiencing a net loss and a negative net worth. Black people have given far more than we have received in this land, while collectively, whites have profited and risen from the transfer of the difference to their benefit. This is not to say that whites have not worked hard, struggled and have not been exploited to one degree or another in America. Rather, it is to say that the beneficiaries of white exploitation has always benefited other white peoples, not blacks or Natives peoples. All exploitation funneled the assets and wealth into the white collective.

America continues to disrespect black people. This nation of ours has not even given a formal congressional apology for the enslavement of centuries or our ancestors. Without a formal apology, we can dismiss any thoughts that this nation will take responsibility to repair and rehabilitate what it broke . Moreover, not only should their be apology and repair, there should also be recognition given to the true value and impact that slavery has had upon the creation of the society that many now enjoy. Could it have happened without centuries of slavery to get this nation on its feet and position it into the industrial revolution? I think not. To not acknowledge this is to suggest that our ancestors sacrifices meant nothing and that they have died in vain.

I am not suggesting that black people should hate America. I think that we need to qualify our statements about our being in America to include the recognition of our ancestors. If God blessed America, did the spirit curse black and native peoples to create the blessing? I do not think that God works that way. I do not think that God would condone people lifting themselves up by virtue of putting others down. Thus, the proper perspective is not a point in time, but rather, the summation of time or history. When we exclude history from our evaluation of America and our lives as black people in it…..we kill the spirit of our ancestors. For as the African proverb states, “as long as you are remembered….you never die”. This is why in the true African tradition, homage and respect is always paid to the ancestors

29 Comments:

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Faheem said...

Those that love America will often use “comparative greatness” to explain the greatness of America. What I mean by that is they will say compared to this place or that place America is this or that. However, greatness is not measured by comparison it is measured on the merits of the entity that is being labeled great. Thus if America is going to be great it will have to earn it greatness by the way it treats its citizens, not by it treating its citizens better than citizens of other nations are treated. This is where America looses the title of being great; with the number of men and women in this nation without healthcare, without a home, and going to sleep at night hungry how can this nation be great? The rich and those empowered structurally by a government or nation will always see it as great, but those who are not rich and are not empowered structurally never see the nation they live in as being great and this is the reality of Black men and women. Remember the Bathist thought IRAQ was a great place to live.

If you couple that with the history of this nation and what it did to our ancestors so that it could in the position it is today and then to not pay respect to them or honor them with admitting the wrong of their actions only adds insult to injury. Even in their sick and twisted belief in manifest destiny they note that enslaving our ancestors was meant to happen and happen so that America can become all that it is today, but yet they still will not honor those who died in order for this nation to be what it is today. Our ancestors should be honored by us and by this nation for the hell they underwent so that America could be here today. Thus I agree, simply being proud to be an American as a Black person confirms the belief in Manifest destiny and tt is like saying our enslavement in this nation was a good thing and spits in the face of our ancestors who believed when they died they souls went back to Africa. How many Black men and women believe that today?

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

True indeed. Many people look frame their argument from the perspective that it is blacks who are lucky not to be in Africa. However, they forget that it was the Europeans who flocked to America from being oppressed by monarchies, aristocracies and others. They were the "tired and huddled masses who yearned to be free from their native lands". If America, was not taken from the natives and the land not worked by the African slaves...the greatest loss would be for whites. Who knows....Africa may have flourished if not for the trans-atlantic slave trade.

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

Noah...

For all those of us (Black people) who feel in whatever way that African Americans are lucky, "better off", or otherwise advantaged by being in America as opposed to Africa, it is important to note the centuries of brainwashing and lack of knowledge of Africa we all have...

The disappointing thing is how either the most ignorant or those most capable of having knowledge of Africa seek in so many ways to distance themselves even conceptually from Africa and our very ancestors some blasphemously (IMO) pretend to respect.

Anyway... I appreciate your blog and the perspect... and the proper respect you've tried to pay to our (collective) ancestors. Their struggle. Their loss. Their agony. Their role.

We owe a tremendous debt to them. And, I too, think that it's traitorous to pretend as if all they wanted to do and be is "American" (like White people). All these assorted attempts to take the AFRICA out of the African-American only goes to show White Supremacy has played a serious number on our collective minds.

The thing that troubles me is how we, in general, and those you speak of in particular don't see or are unwilling to accept our role to advance our struggle and the memory of our ancestors.

The disheartening thing to me is how even "Pro-Black"
thinkers (i.e. people on Black message boards we've all come across) fail to understand one very basic and fundamental truth when reflecting on the tragedy that befell our ancestors:

The first African brought to America in chains or otherwise forced into racialized, chattel slavery DID NOT want to "integrate" or even have "equal rights" under [White] American law...

It goes without saying (you would think) that what the very first enslaved African certainly desired most was a renewed connection to or with things African. Things that being African before slavery (in America... for us as African-Americans) represented.

It's really a very simple riddle. Our full human dignity can never be completely restored until we solve it.

 
At 8:25 AM, Blogger Scott said...

Noah said ... "Who knows....Africa may have flourished if not for the trans-atlantic slave trade."

Can you please clarify for me. How did the slave trade destroy the development of those who remained in Africa?

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger Faheem said...

Scott, I know how brain dead negro-cons can be but have you heard of this little thing called colonization? How about Colonilism? Do those words mean anything to you Scott? A better question for you Scott is would America be half the nation it is today withtout the enslavement of Black men and women? The obvious answer is no but I am sure a snake like character like you can slitther around the truth and find some way to explain how white folk are the best thing on the earth.

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Of all the points in the Op-ed....looked what Scott chose to focus on. Regardless of retarded or truncated use of intelligence...he goes on to buttress the theory of white superiority/black inferiority by alluding that no outside influence has caused Africas ills. He, like most white folks, want to propogate the believe that the problems of Africa, and indeed blacks in this world, are born of the black people, by the black people and from the black people. He want to leave the reader, or us, with the impression that Africa and Africans have never been and could never be a great people in juxtaposition with white humanity.

If you are indeed black Scott....you are a disgrace to your ancerstors spirits...at least the black ones. The only thing that they would likely give your credit for is screwing white women...but I believe you took it a step beyond what they would have done.

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Faheem just to clarify a bit of history, slave trade and colonization are not synomous. In fact when the slave trade was at its height very few Europeans went beyond having a few ports on the coasts of Africa.

Since I knew these facts, I was confused by the assertion that slave trade destoyed Africa. If he has said colonization I wouldn't have commented on it at all.


*****************************************

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scramble_for_Africa

"The Scramble for Africa was the period between the 1880s and the start of World War I, when colonial empires in Africa were acquired faster than anywhere else on the globe. It is the canonical example of the New Imperialism."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade
"n Britain, and in other parts of Europe, opposition developed against the slave trade. Lead by Quakers such as William Wilberforce the movement was joined by many and began to protest the trade. They were opposed by the owners of the colonial holdings despite this Britain banned the slave trade in 1807, imposing stiff fines for any slave found aboard a British ship. That same year the United States banned the importation of slaves. The Royal Navy, which then controlled the world's seas, moved to stop other nations from filling Britain's place in the slave trade and declared that slaving was equal to piracy and could be punished by death."

 
At 4:43 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

Since I knew these facts, I was confused by the assertion that slave trade destoyed Africa. If he has said colonization I wouldn't have commented on it at all. - SCOTT
----------------------------------------------------

Scott, man are you really that Intellectually Inept? Or is it your Whiteness (or White-likeness) showing?

Take a little bit of advice from me Scott. I'm your friend. You can't effectively debate on such topics if you have to look stuff up just to be poorly informed.

Common-sense reflection alone should tell you how the Slave Trade dealt a serious blow to Africa's stability-capacity. There's a simple word you can look up that can help you with this. It's called DEPOPULATION.

More specifically depopulation of perhaps core components of generations of people that would have sustained Africa and been better equipped (at least manpower wise, if not in genius) to fight against European colonization.

Since we're counting... That's two sustantial body blows Africa took... not to mention Africa's own internal dynamics and other outside forces that contributed to Africa's immunity or lack thereof...

Go to school, SCOTT. Learn something for a change. Like how to actually think (before opening your mouth).

--- Your friend, Nmag~ :}

 
At 6:31 PM, Blogger EG said...

It really doesn't show your point to attack someone you disagree with names and hostile comments.

Your comment about depopulation could be made without the indigities. Attack ideas not the person who makes them. You'll gain more respect.

 
At 7:56 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

EG,

You presume that I'm looking for "respect" from either you or SCOTT.

First, I don't even know who you are. So I have no reason to desire "respect" from you. And Scott.... Please!!!!!!!!

Don't try to lecture me. When and if this becomes your blog, then you can make those comments. When and if you police everyone's posts in like manner... then you can make those comments. When and if you took into consideration that I was talking to Scott and requested only his audience with my post then you can make those comments.

And, finally, when and if you considered my post to Scott within the context of an already established relationship, understood as respectful or otherwise, then you can make those comments.

I could have choose not to respond to your lunacy.
I could have been much more diplomatic. But when people like you, Scott or whoever make comments based on bias-laden pretenses that you think I should give a damn about... THIS IS WHAT YOU GET!!

Now, when you find the clause in my bio that says I post here seeking "respect"... then you let me know.

THANK YOU, EG!!

 
At 8:12 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

Hmmm... let's see...

FAHEEM said:
"Scott, I know how brain dead negro-cons can be but have you heard of this little thing called colonization?"

Hmmm... Guess what? Faheem somehow didn't get the fabulous lecture I got from you, EG. Why is that?
WHAT??? You can equally distribute you message of Show Respect To Get Respect?

I mean... Faheem certainly called Scott a name. And I can't understand how you classify my comments as "hostile". I used various terms of endearment. I like Scott. I like Scott a lot. :)

And the fact that you said my point "could have been made without the indignities" shows that my point was clear. When and if Scott (or you for that matter) wants to engage in an earnest dialogue, debate, discussion... that will be the time he or you will get some respect and straight to the point talk from me.

Until then... THIS IS WHAT YOU GET!!
If you don't like it then consider it "hostile".

To me, this is like Playing The Dozens. This is a (recreational) Art Form. I'm sorry if Scott (or you) can't take me figuratively Talkin' About His Momma! I'm sorry if my snaps make you (or him) not want to "play" anymore.

I know full well how to make any point I so desire... in any way I desire, EG. Again, your comments were based on the presumption that I desire Scott's (or your) respect. Diplomatically speaking... your assumption is flawed.

 
At 9:27 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Even though the primary subject matter of the thesis is not how the slave trade affected the African economy, I will answer it. Nmaginate already touched upon depopulation and I would like to augment his truth with another truth.

Let us take Europe, during WWII, and what happened to the economies of the major warring nations. Those wars took the economic growth away from those nations economy as people and resources were allocated to the war machines. After a 5 year period, Europe was devastated economically at the close of the war. It was not until the US and its “Marshall” plan, did the European economy get back on its feet….but never again to be the worlds leading economy as it was prior to the War.

Now, take that small example and magnify it 20 times. What was the effect upon the African continent, to the constant warfare that resulted from European demand for slaves? Remember, Africans had “Prisoners of wars”, who lived with the winning tribe as property. This was the penalty and risk of warfare in Africa. The Europeans then came looking for economic slaves to work the land in the “new world”. Thus, they traded with African tribes for their prisoners of wars.

These initial trades with the Europeans disturbed the balance of power, because guns were often part of the trade with the Africans. These weapons then gave tribes with guns the WMD of those times. In order for tribes to protect themselves and not be sold into slavery by other stronger, well armed tribes, they had to attack or raid other tribes for captives to sell for guns an other goods. Eventually, this snowballed into a level of warfare unseen before in West African history and it lasted centuries….producing an estimated 2 or 3 dead for every prisoner captured and sold into slavery.

Thus, not only was the population depopulated, those that were their were allocating to many resources to guns and not butter and hence, the economies became dependant upon warfare and the slave trade and not on other forms of commerce and trade, given the rich resources of the land. Eventually, the Europeans just took the land over and parceled it out European interest during the Berlin Conference of the late 18000’s.

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger Scott said...

Thank you Noah for explaining your thesis. That the slave trade caused wars that destroyed Africa's ability to develop. And how people couldn't avoid war because of the arms race effect created by the introduction of guns.

I know it was only a small part of your entire post. But I was the part that interested me the most which is why I commented on it.

 
At 5:44 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

I was confused by the assertion that slave trade destoyed Africa. - SCOTT
_______________________________________________________
Scott, are you still confused?

Why was initially so hard to fathom how Noah’s “assertion” could have been true (on a firm logical basis)? You do know that your question showed your ignorance or rather your inability to process information and Connect The Dots.... Don’t you?

Seriously, before you question something someone says and offer points-of-contention as you did here... you really should take time to think about what is being said and ask yourself, first, how it could be true instead of reflexively questioning things as if you have a knowledge base over and above the author that can cast serious doubt over what has been presented.
Your anal compartmentalization of information is not very becoming.

The fact that Colonization, as a historical specific event, began well after the TransAtlantic Slave Trade had reached its height in no way separates European Colonization of Africa from the Slave Trade. In fact, the Slave Trade was Part I to Colonization’s Part II. These events may be separated in your history books but they exist and extend to each other on the same continuum. In that sense, they can be regarded as a singular Act Of Racist Aggression.

At the most, they are but slightly different phases in the same process of White Supremacy.

But I guess your Frame Of Reference makes it had for to conceptualize that.

If you truly would have understood how Colonization destabilized Africa then the idea that the Slave Trade did so as well should not have been some foreign concept to you.

You should stop working under the notion that the brothers here don’t have defined, logical reasons for making the statements they do.

Whether you come from the perspective Noah/Faheem does or not the idea that the Slave Trade stalled Africa’s development should not have been something new or hard to imagine. But, I guess the human body isn’t suppose to skip a beat when it’s beset with a major viral intrusion... whether it’s contracted from outside germs, poor (internal) lifestyle/health or a mixture of both.

 
At 9:18 PM, Blogger Scott said...

NmagiNATE I have no problem showing my ignorance. That is why I will learn more and know more and do more than you will ever be able to accomplish.

But I am sure you enjoy your life of omniscience. I am sure you are as boring in real life as you are on the web.

 
At 3:47 AM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

Scott,

I guess you take this all so personal, huh.

"You will learn more..."???

Scott, the reason why I'm aware of things that make you call me "omniscient" is because I have long since sought to "learn more." One can also "learn more" by doing their own research when they are confronted with (apparently) new information and perspectives they have not previously considered.

CONSIDERED being the operative word.

No one should have to spoon feed you information you can research on your own. If you seek to learn as you say you do... then Noah or no one else on a blog should have to explain things they say for you to understand... (with your patented questions of disbelief).

In real life, I'm boring enough to do my own research...
Obviously, you find that too challenging.

(Also, in real life, obviously Noah, Faheem and myself have already "learned" what you are just now trying to get a grasp of. Obviously, that means we have been on this path to learning for sometime now. Another pretense of yours exploded... But don't be discouraged... I'm trying to challenge you to think and, more importantly, learn for yourself.)

PS:
Stop making posts that sound like a child.
"I will accomplish more than you..."

To that... be my guess Scott. I wish you the best.
This is not personal to me. You should leave you paper-thin feelings out of this.

 
At 4:06 AM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

"NmagiNATE I have no problem showing my ignorance." - SCOTT

And that's what you do entirely too much here when you state your opinions which are often times based on little or no knowledge or fact.

There's nothing wrong with asking questions. But, here, you didn't say:
"I didn't know that." or "How is that so... if"

Plus, none of us will play ignorant to your antagonistic posture here. Hmmm... Let's see. Noah and Faheem responded to your initial question within that framework. And, I have long since said you were here, like so many others that have come before you in various places using a similar tact, to get educated - wanting us to teach you while pretending that your ideological perspective is the most responsible and well-informed.

Real students learn how to shut up when the teacher is talking... and ask questions with some respect... Respect that acknowledges that the teacher already knows what the pupil does not.

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger Scott said...

NmagiNATE you are a joke. If you believe everything you say why do you waste time responding to my post at all.
You don't actually provide information. Its just noise so why should anyone shut up when you talk.

 
At 2:06 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Comments weren't working on you latest post I wanted to link to "My Grandmother Ain't Got No Son Named Tom"

http://www.averytooley.com/stereo/?itemid=273

from another member of the conservative brotherhood.

 
At 4:57 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

Scott,

Why do you continue to disgrace Black Conservatives with you COMPULSIVE LYING!!

EG acknowledged that I did, in fact, present INFORMATION by way of mentioning the concept of DEPOPULATION that seemed to escape you...
Now, EG commented on how he didn't like the STYLE of my presentation and how EG felt it would ineffective or counter-productive...

The least you could do is say something similar instead of making everything you say a gross exaggeration and fabrication of reality.

I waste my time with you because I'm just generous like that. I told you... I knew you were trying to get an education from us a long time ago. Well, I'm from the School Of Tough Love. And all you want to is whimp out.

As long as I'm privileged to post on this blog and as long as you keep coming here as you do... I will continue to waste my time teaching you! Call me a Lover Of Lost Causes...

 
At 5:01 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

Also... SCOTT, you should have learned by now that the BS you say about me doesn't phase me in the least.

I'm a "joke" to you because I don't buy your BS and I tell you about it at every turn. So go ahead and Laugh To Keep From Crying.

"I will accomplish more than you!"

Baby-azz... $%#&@$!!

 
At 5:44 PM, Blogger Scott said...

why do you almost always post twice when you reply to a post. instead of in one reply post ?

 
At 6:28 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

Why do you always dwell on NON-issues? Off the point sh*t?

Don't sweat the prolifics!

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

Testing... testing... 1... 2 (posts)

 
At 12:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nmaginate,
Your posts are most informative. I especially like the way you handled EG. I note that whenever you are directly on point, some white or negro-con will go the "you should be sensitive route". I wonder why they think Black people are looking for their respect? I have two words for these type of whites and fortunately for them, my own self respect restrains me. However, the first word starts with an "f" and ends with a "k".

 
At 5:16 AM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

Thank you, my Anon Brother/Sister...

I appreciate the show of support.

People like SCOTT and their would-be defenders, by design or default, like E.G. only entertain me. I keep telling them I like to Play The Dozens!

One day they'll get a clue.

Thanks again...

 
At 5:12 PM, Blogger KaDa said...

Sorry to butt in, but I have seen the best and worst conditions of other nations in the world. I can tell you for fact that there are billions out there who would love to be in the shoe of lowest class black person in US. America has way to go, but it is still the best system in the world that affords everyone an opportunity to “make” it. This opportunity is a rope that can pull you out, or hang you. I believe the choice is ours. History is an important teacher and we must learn from it, but it is important to live in the present.

 
At 6:03 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Kada, although we live in America, this blogs authors are PAN AFRICAN. That means we do not limit the scope of blackness and the effects of white supremacy to America. The poorest people of the world are black people. The poorest continent in the world is Africa. The rise of the West and the decline or stagnation of Africa was born from the same phenomenon of white influence that has caused inequality in America between blacks and whites. Our indictment is not against America, per se, but rather, white supremacy. Thus, although what you say is true, everything is relative and the context of this essay was on being American. We know that we have it much better that our black African brothers and sisters. But the reason that we do is born mostly from the fact that Africa would be a much better place today, if not for the actions of the Europeans upon that continent. Hence, if not for those actions by Europeans, few blacks would be in this nation today and most whites would not be hear either, but still in Europe.

 
At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kada,
I have also done a bit of traveling. I have learned that wherever the white man goes, he leaves a mess. Look at Iraq, Korea, Vietnam, AFRICA. There would not even be an Iraq but for England dividing the land in that area into sections for their own benefit. AFRICA is in its present condition because the white man has been there and is still there.

Comrade

 

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