Do we believe that we are inferior? Have we taken on a different identity? Most people of African origin are likely to say, “I don’t believe that I’m inferior, I’m alright. It’s all this other Africans that have a problem. I haven’t got a problem. It’s them – they have all that negativity inside.”
I say every single one of us has negativity towards our blackness. I have it. And I know you have it. To a certain extent, there’s a kind of inevitability to the negativity.
I have a friend and she’s the kind of sister that people would say is a strong black woman. She has a natural, big Afro. She goes to work wearing the Kente cloth and a Dashiki. At some point, she was learning Swahili and used to go on regular trips from her posh house in Cape Town, to a small town called Chivhu in Zimbabwe where she was helping a group of orphaned children.
She’d also tell everybody about it and say, “…you know by the way I am supporting a family in rural Zimbabwe”. She did all the things that “you’re supposed to do” as a conscious African. But the “hate” was still there.
One day as she was coming out of her office building in Woodstock, a young black man decided that he was going to rob her. Bearing in mind that this sister used to do self-defence in various forms, kickboxing etc. When he grabbed her bag, she yelled, “What are you doing?”. She took the bag off him and punched him to the ground.
And when he was on the ground, she proceeded to kick him. The policemen (a white and black guy) who were probably doing their patrols as they suddenly appeared on the scene without any notice.
She was in the moment, punching him and screaming, “You black bastard!” As she was hitting me, she heard the one policeman say, “Let her finish…”, she realised what had happened. The remark stopped her dead in her tracks and had one of those spiritual moments and it occurred to her what she had done.
After that incident, she gave me a call and said, “Oh Takunda, I don’t know what came over me… As I was beating him, I actually enjoyed it. And I actually said black bastard”.
So, what I’m saying is that this isn’t just peculiar to her. This negativity towards other black people is really inside of us and it is deep. And for us to assume that we don’t have it is very much naivety.
(Photo by Idy Tanndy from Pexels.com)We have grown up with Hollywood movies and music. We’ve grown up with every single reference in the language in which we speak that refers to the colour which we say we are part of as negative. We have phrases like, “It’s a black day.” meaning it’s bad. “It’s a black lie. It’s a black night”, meaning it’s a dangerous night.
And everything that’s white is good, e.g “This is a white lie” It’s not quite so bad. A bride gets married in a white dress to show that she’s pure. So, these things are deeply embedded in our subconscious, I think.
In order to get it out of us, it will require a lot of work. It needs you to be honest and make an effort to love yourself as an African and most importantly love and respect people that look like you… in all shapes, colours, sizes, opinions, levels of intellect, etc. Read the glorious history of the African people. That seems to have a positive impact on our group racial esteem.
Be patient with other African people understanding that we find ourselves wherever we are for a reason. There’s a context to everything. As men, love the African woman as she’s born with 3 strikes, so to speak. Appreciate and honour her.
Segun is a budding, freelance writer for Newslibre. He loves football, basketball, books, music (all things Birdie and flirts with a bit of Jazz), Philosophy and is an ultra-marathon runner.