Hating your Roots
We don’t see much of Pan-Africanism being talked about as a political ideology for the plight of black people anymore. In fact, it can be said that Pan-Africanism was last talked about as the pathway to lead the way during the black power movement in the late 1960s-70s with the likes of Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, John Henry Clarke, alongside with Pan-African organizations such as Organization of Afro-American Unity, Organization of African Unity, and The All African People's Revolutionary Party. The goal of Pan-Africanism is to unify all black and brown people of African descent and to free the continent of Africa, homeland of all Africans, from imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, Zionism, and micronationalism. Once Africa is free from these evil forces, then so will all Africans from around the globe. When I say all Africans from around the globe, I don’t just mean specifically mainland Africans. Freeing all Africans includes the so-called African Americans here in the U.S, Central America, Latin America, the so-called Middle East, Asia, and India.
The first step to unifying all of these Africans spread throughout the globe is having all of us be able to accept that we are all Africans.
Why is the fight for Pan-Africanism such a struggle? Pan-Africanism is a struggle because all Africans around the world fall under the tool of micronationalism. What micronationalism does is it causes people originally from the African continent to not identify with their true, natural selves and isolate themselves from those who look like and come from the same place they do. Not only is micronationalism seen amongst Africans in the U.S and in southern part of America, but the continent of Africa has been split and separated as well.
The African brothers and sisters born in Africa only care about the country that they’re from and the people there, as opposed to caring for all Africans. A huge reason why the Black Power movement ended on a sour note is due to micronationalism. The younger so-called African American brothers and sisters embraced Africa and embraced pan-Africanism, whereas a lot of the older generation only cared for the civil rights struggle and wanted nothing to do with Pan-Africanism. This is because they only considered themselves to be African-Americans but not African, and they held the idea that Africa’s struggle wasn’t the same their’s in the U.S.
When asking Africans and so-called African Americans about one another, the feedback is very negative. A lot of Africans feel as if they’re better than the African American because they still have their culture, history and traditional language, whereas the so-called African American does not have any of those due to slavery. The so-called African Americans feel like they’re better than the Africans because they believe that Africa is one big jungle and the people living on the continent are all living in poverty, with no human rights. This is an ongoing battle between all people of African descent. Even the black and brown people in the Caribbean disown their African roots by saying things such as, “I’m not African, I’m West Indian” or “I’m not African, I’m Jamaican.” Black and brown people from different parts of the world have a negative perception of each other for a deeper reason than all can understand.
Why is it that the so-called African American takes such offense when someone called him or her African? Because we have been taught to hate ourselves and everything about who we really are and where we come from. White supremacy's excuse for the enslavement of millions of Africans was that we were uncivilized in Africa. It was taught to us that back in Africa we had no religion, we had no set principles, culture, and that we were savages. It was taught that in Africa we lived in the jungle with animals and we were so barbaric, we practiced cannibalism.
By Africa being this “evil” place, slavery was supposed to be a good thing for the African slave. This is part of the western imperialist agenda to keep black and brown people from uniting. When African Americans disassociate themselves from Africa, they are rejecting themselves. As brother Malcolm X, founder of the Organization of Afro American Unity, said, "You can't hate the roots, but say you love the tree."
We can't say we hate Africa while at the same time say that we love ourselves. Once we realize that the condition of hating our own roots is part of the plan of the white power structure, then we can start making our first steps towards unification. Several of my friends who were born in Africa are taught the same misperception. A friend of mine from Zambia told me that back home in Africa whenever they show African Americans on television, they show images of us as uncivilized thugs, pimps and prostitutes. Over here in the western world we see images of Africa as nothing but poverty stricken and disease infested. This is why we have a caution when we are around each other. We see these negative images and accept those images without really looking into it ourselves. This is how well micronationalism works. Once the oppressor can divide the people it becomes easier for the oppressor to conquer.
When teaching about the ideology of Pan-Africanism, we have to dig deep on teaching the importances of loving our roots.