Following the unfortunate killing of George Floyd, the Black Activism in us was invoked yet again. Truth is, as black people the biggest changes will need to come from us. Real, meaningful and everlasting change/freedom is mostly earned and not given by oppressors unto those who are oppressed.
We cannot expect complete change to come from those who benefit from these systems that oppress or undermine us. Whether by well-meaning allies or from the goodness of their people’s hearts. It is an unpopular opinion but what is given to you can easily be taken from you by s/he who gives it.
For most of the insufficiently exposed non-black world, some of the assumptions made on average when they see a black person especially Africans are that ..
1. We are poorer than they are (if they are wealthy its because of drugs, sports, corruption, theft, music)
2. We want to immigrate/settle in their country
3. We are less educated or not as smart.
4. We probably have some hidden agenda or ill-motive.
And frankly you can’t blame many of them for thinking like this when all they’ve seen in their media are starving kids in war torn Africa begging for a donation… or US exported media culture depicting black men in negative roles like drug dealers or poor young men who’s only shot at wealth is through entertainment or sports.
These perceptions and ideas are so deeply ingrained, at least in my experience, I’ve noticed a couple of times there’s discomfort or unease when some have talked to me in public …. Like they don’t want to be seen next to a Black man.
The most painful bit is when we inherit & apply the indoctrination on our own and in our own countries. Our governments take white people’s proposals and ideas more seriously than our own…. We are quick to give tax breaks to foreign investors than capital to our enterprising youth whom we look at with contempt and mistrust. White people getting served much faster at our Restaurants…. Etc..
Rather than focus on complaining and ask them to change for our sake, why can’t we examine this, break it down and chart a way forward. If we do this, you’ll realise its down to respect and economics.
How Asian people are perceived especially in the US has greatly improved over the last century as China and India have risen….. True there’s the history of slavery and Jim Crow laws in the US but you can trust that any Government will have to listen if a powerful Africa speaks or threatens action against Nations that mistreat black people.
We know part of the reason Zimbabwe is suffering Sanctions is because Mugabe took back land from White Farmers. You saw how Trump tweeted about South Africa’s similar plans showing intent to do the same to them simply because it would affect white UK descendant non US citizens well knowing how this land was originally acquired.
Now while our brethren are killed en-masse in the US, what are and can our Black Governments even do?? Even these protests can only be done in ‘free’ western nations. I told a friend, if we dare try these protests in Arab nations or China where we’re treated far worse, you’ll see how our lives matter…
Thats not to say that protests don’t work, but they do in those Western nations because of systems put in place by others and not us. And as much as we should exploit those very systems … we should know that real change lies with us.
We will not be as respected if most of us are poor. If many of us still die of preventable diseases - if we’re risking our lives in dinky boats to cross the Mediterranean because there's lack of opportunity in our nations. When we economically uplift ourselves, get our own Nukes, make our own medicines, cherish/modernise our own languages, cultures and technologies, then we will be respected.
Black Americans will want to associate with us and not call us booty-scratchers. The Image of a black man in popular media will change because we will also be pushing our own media onto the world. Wake up black child! The only thing to guarantee your future is your birthrate. Haha
This article was penned by my friend, Asiimwe Paul.