“Philosophers have long conceded, however, that every man has two educators: ‘that which is given to him, and the other that which he gives himself. Of the two kinds the latter is by far the more desirable ” – Carter G. Woodson
George Floyd has been laid to rest today, I have no doubt in my mind that history will remember him and what he has done for the global black community. May his soul rest in peace. When Africa was colonised and black people were taken into slavery not only was their normal day to day lives changed. Their future too was drastically altered. The mis-education of the black child remains one of the biggest lasting issues of colonisation and slavery and what scares me is the black child is the black future. If we do not address this issue now, then when?
Ever walked into a retail shop and whenever you leave the shop, you leave the shop thinking about how you should have been treated the same as other customers?
Generally speaking, the interaction between a black cashier and the white customer goes like this:
Cashier: Good day sir or madam.
White person: Good day to you, too.
Cashier: Would you like a plastic bag?
Do you get the picture? That’s not the experience of a lot of black customers, however. Normally I am greeted with a nod of the head to acknowledge my presence or nothing is said. If something is said, the first word is normally, “Plastic?”. Meaning would you like a plastic bag? It’s like they automatically assume my vocabulary is limited.
I find this behaviour very curious, and as a student of the human mind, I am interested in the reason behind behaviour more than the behaviour itself.
With that said, the history of colonialism often refers to an act by a group of people or nation where they invade a country, conquer, subjugate and enslave you. Other than that (not that’s insignificant), they simply make your history disappear to make it look like they conquered nobodies.
It is my belief that African history was functionally distorted to justify colonialism, oppression and slavery in a way that we (modern-day people) can’t fully comprehend today. Think about a time just over 100 years ago when black, African people were kept in zoos in London, Paris, etc.
Unimaginable, right?! I know.
That gives us a sense of the strength of colonial propaganda and how deeply it’d taken root in those societies and others. To the point that it was actually argued by hard science and people who consider themselves serious academics that black people were more closely related to monkeys than other human beings.Someone can have very high self-esteem, but very low interpersonal or group esteem. Tweet This
Today we can see that dishonest scholarship can be a tool for profitable foreign policy. So is the case in the past. History was distorted deliberately in particular ways. The strength of propaganda is still with us today even in people of African descent.
That leads me nicely to the next phase of this article. When people have a history, that makes them somebody. So, if you remove the history, the conquered become nobodies. And so, with your history gone, no one is lamenting the loss of that history.
They are physiological reasons why people would want to associate themselves with history. There’s a link between what someone thinks of themselves and what they think of their kind (race). Scholars differentiate between personal esteem, also known as self-esteem and interpersonal esteem (also known as racial or group esteem). Someone can have very high self-esteem, but very low interpersonal or group esteem.
The Black child has been highly miseducated after their past and history
Scholars like Robin Walker (big up to the OG) believe that black people have high personal esteem, but low interpersonal esteem. They basically think badly about other black people. He attributes that as the reason why black people are prone to fight, disagree, and conflict with each other.
Most black people don’t know their history because it has been removed. Books that document black history are either inaccessible, expensive or both.
The way to raise people’s group or racial esteem is to introduce them to their history. And if the history happens to be a great history; a history that people objectively can be proud of; they will see their people in a very different way to how they see their people at present.
The purpose of this article is to start building a balance between high self-esteem and low group esteem amongst black folk. The following bullet points will give an overview (snapshots) of a glorious African & Black history:
1. Ancient Egypt was black
Let that thought sink in for a moment. When people visit Egypt today and say, “we met some Egyptians”, they didn’t. They either met Arabs or Turks.
It’s not just Egypt, the whole of North Africa was conquered by Arabs and Turks in the middle-ages. Invaders moved into Egypt around December 639 AD. Everything before that date is actually black Egypt, yes blacks built the pyramids.
2. Nabta Playa
The only megalithic circle in Egypt and arguably the oldest astronomical observatory in the history of humanity. Scholars believe it was built somewhere between 7000 and 9000 BC. Possibly as old as 11,000 years ago. Think about that for a moment. The Nabta Playa is the first known example of an astronomical observatory in the world. In the book Black Genesis, the writers look at the relationship between this astronomical observatory and the evolution of the ancient Egyptian religion and its subsequent civilisations.
3. The Great Zimbabwe Ruins
I’d like to express my absolute awe for this beauty and without bias. The architecture of the Great Zimbabwe ruins reflect an extraordinary level of complexity and sophistication from a mathematical perspective and socio-economic system. In grandeur, the stonewalls of the Zimbabwe ruins are unparalleled. Some scholars even site this as a possible Ophir, the place referred to in the Bible in 1 Kings 10:22 where King Solomon would get his gold from.
4. Mansa Musa
According to Express.co.uk, Mansa Musa estimated to be have been worth £249bn, “ruled the Mali Empire (a large part of West Africa and including the city of Timbuktu) which provided half the world’s supply of gold from three huge mines. A devout Muslim, he established Mali as an intellectual hub of the world.”
5. The Great Walls of Benin
Dubbed the largest Earthworks prior to the mechanical era. At its height, it’s estimated to have been 12,875 kilometres of wall.
6. The City of Loango
We can see clear evidence of urban planning, streets, housing and if you look it up, multi-storey buildings. This particular city was some sort of early client-state of the Portuguese. This empire had an embassy in Rome during its height. It was located where we have modern day Democratic Republic of Congo.
7. The Songhai Empire
The Songhai Empire (also transliterated as Songhay) was a state that dominated the western Sahel in the 15th and 16th century. At its peak, it was one of the largest states in African history. In the 17th century, it is believed to have had over 70,000 people. To put it into perspective, 20,000 – 30,000 people lived in London at the same time.
There’s a lot more that ancient Africa and Africans achieved, but it is my belief that Africa’s history has been deliberately erased to make it seem like we were nobodies. We are forced to adopt a westernised curriculum that exalts the Cecil Rhodes and James Cooks of the world as crusaders. The same curriculum looks at our great heroes as tyrants and savages. King Shaka Zulu has now been hailed as a genius strategist at par with Napoleon, but years ago he was just an African barbarian.
So the black child is forced to look at their peers from a lens that degrades rather than props up, and you wonder why we do not trust one another. I’ll leave you with this thought; can we fully understand the human story in the globalised world without any real sense of the major parts of it?
Can we really justify a curriculum in Africa on anywhere in the world that teaches bout Henry VIII killing his wives than it does about, for example the African resistance Movement (ARM)? A militant anti-apartheid movement which operated in South Africa during the 1960s and what it achieved?
Can we really believe that there are more white superheroes in the Marvel Universe than black heroes? That Barbie is the standard doll for all young girls out there? If we do not change this mentality and the education system then our fight for emancipation will be long and hard. The black child is the black future, they deserve to be educated the right way and know their truth.
Hope you enjoyed this edition, as always, hope you and yours are safe during this time. Say No to racism in any form, speak out! Together we can change the future.