"Get into the Know"
“I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves”.
As I reflect on the above quote of mother Harriet Tubman, I can’t help but contemplate the subject of consciousness and its effect on the overall outlook of people. A person’s consciousness gives meaning and substance to how one views themselves and the realities of any condition they find themselves in. In the first section of the above quote mother Tubman alludes to the fact that she “freed” thousands of “slaves”. In the context of the quote, thousands of individuals were removed via her assistance, from an environment of forced servitude and transported physically to another environment where they could be “free” to engage in activity that would appear more beneficial to them as an individual and not necessarily for the gain of another. Yet no matter where they went they were still prejudged and subsequently victimized based on the color of their skin. So free or slave they all shared a commonality,.... oppression. The only thing that varied was the degree. Mother Tubman expresses the concept that a large number of "slaves" were not consciously aware of the realities of their situation. They were able to accept slavery because they became satisfied with inequality.
Before we can define Afrikan Consciousness, let’s first define…
CONSCIOUSNESS: - to increase one's awareness and understanding of one's own needs, behavior, attitudes, etc., especially as a member, of a particular social or political group, the thoughts and feelings, collectively, of an individual or of a people, full activity of the mind and senses, awareness of something for what it is; internal knowledge.
To increase one’s awareness, one must first recognize that our current conscious condition is in error and that there is a need to elevate how we see ourselves in relationship to our environment. In other words, we must embrace our desire for both personal growth and our elevation as a collective. I believe it would be difficult for any black person who believe themselves conscious, not to acknowledge that the current state of Black Consciousness is in total disarray.
From my personal perspective, it seems that we have “drank the Kool-Aid”, that is the Eurocentric concept that individual prosperity is more desirable than our elevation as a people (greed is good). I would ask you the reader; what has been gained by subscribing to this mindset?
Are our communities growing and prosperous? Are our youth gravitating towards, and truly learning from, the government sanctioned educational system? Do stable families abound, thus providing positive examples for future generations? Do our young men have high esteem and view others as extensions of themselves and therefore understand the value of life, and everyone’s right to exist? No matter how high you climb up on the socio-economic ladder are there still those who will never see you as truly their equal?
Even the most self centered black person in the world would have to understand the black community is in crisis and if viable intervention isn’t applied soon, every individual no matter what their mindset, will be touched by it’s adverse effects, eventually. All I propose is that we consciously acknowledge that there are serious issues and initiate the process of beginning a positive, and lasting transition towards normalcy.
So what is Afrikan Consciousness? Before we define what it is, let me elaborate on what it is not. Afrikan Consciousness is not a desire to migrate back to “The Motherland”. It doesn’t mean that everyone should suddenly put on a Dashiki and greet each other in Swahili (although these things couldn’t hurt in reinforcing an Afrikan mind set). It doesn’t mean that we should hate everything or everyone who is not black or who considers themselves Afrikan (hate is a negative vibration and should have no place in anyone’s consciousness).
Afrikan Consciousness simply understands and embraces the concept of the village. It is the understanding that in a village everyone has purpose and is responsible to him or herself, as well as to the village itself. A village understands, there is always potential harm from a variety of entities, both internal and external and it takes the entire village remaining ever vigilant to observe and repel those dangers. A village understands the concept of WE over I. In a village, the elders are held in a position of respect, revered for their knowledge and experience. The elders understand their purpose is to instruct the young, thus ensuring that right knowledge is not forgotten and as a result, the village will continue to prosper.
There are those that will say that the concept of the village is “un-American”, that each person should lift themselves up by their own bootstraps. How do you do that when you have no boots? They will say that the village sounds a lot like communism or socialism. I respond, that there is a big difference between communism, or socialism and communalism.
We cannot remain slaves to media portrayal of who others say we are, to material self-interest, self destructive behavior, low self esteem, and fabricated religious doctrine. We must find the strength and commitment to overcome the indoctrination that has shackled our growth and progress as a people.
Educate yourself; don’t rely on another’s understanding!
In closing, let me just say that we are the only hope for us. When has any outside entity ever come into the black community without some ulterior motive? How long will we place our hopes on our so-called leaders and self-centered politicians for viable solutions to our problems? How long will we continue to imitate a culture that is foreign to our very nature?
We were once a people in tune to the movement of the stars, with knowledge of the workings of the universe. We mastered mathematics, and the sciences, but most important of all….
WE KNEW GOD AND EMBRACED THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF SELF.
My only hope is that one day, we will expand our consciousness and manifest our understanding
It's time to begin THE MOVEMENT that will shape our Destiny!