CAN AFRICA AMERICA BE SAVED?
Where do I begin and how do I express my disbelief, outrage and pain when I examine the current condition of Africa America.
I am blessed enough to have experienced as a child, the politics of the Black Panthers, Stokeley Carmichael (Kwame Ture), Angela Davis and others who advocated a radical change in America that would bring about the fair and equal treatment of Black people. I am close enough in history to be among those students who were given the opportunity to attend college inspite of the inferior education we received at our respective K-12 educational institutions.
The curriculum I learned in college was pregnant with African American history and culture, and the professors that taught these subjects provided the support network we needed in an often racially hostile university environment. If we examine, our history as Black people, internal support structures were often the key tools that helped us cope and succeed in life.
One of the primary vehicles for learned coping strategies for us as a people has been the church. It is often within the context of the church that the “Big Mamas”, who often held the family and community together, were born. The church typically provided the needed friendships, inspiration and emotional support to help African Americans cope within a racially hostile and violent nation. Many of the churches were also the organizing bases for civil rights leaders and activists who bravely fought against racial inequality and terrorism. However, changing political directions occurred in the lives of Black people and new choices began to slowly dimension our belief in this traditional institution. As a result, we found ourselves in a new reality where we were vulnerable to internal and external conflict and strife.
The decline of the church as a key vehicle for the learning and perpetuation of traditional African American coping strategies occurred as part of a process that began nearly 50 years ago. What I am about to write I expect to be unpopular, but I have held my written voice for too many years and as Fannie Lou Hamer said, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired” of my own silence. So now I going to finally put to paper some of the ideas I entertained as a graduate student about coping strategies and the factors that led to their decline within the African American community.
I believe the demise of traditional African American coping strategies were a result of both the Black Power and Women’s Movement. In terms of the Black Power Movement, this occurred when the young leaders of this movement rejected the values and traditions of the older generation, including God, religion and the church, and promoted new ideas often foreign to their own history and culture. I too loved the Maoism, Marxism and African socialism, but they were all incorporated from foreign values systems that often challenged the very premise and foundation of our African American traditional coping system.
The outcome may have not been so tragic, had the younger radical leaders replaced them with new coming strategies that could be passed on generationally. However, because of fierce competition and sometimes deadly conflicts between black power and/or black advocate organizations those common threads that could have created and sustained new coping strategies relevant to a post-Civil Right community never materialized. As a result, what we have today are African Americans actively and proudly participating in their own genocide. I believe this to be a tragic, direct result of the loss of coping strategies that provided identity and support to us individually and as a people. Additionally, the relationship between the loss of coping strategies, and the growing tendency of African Americans to deny the existence of the very racism and racial terrorism that impacts their lives, is growing and worth exploring.
This is the first of a series of articles on African American coping Strategies and African American genocide that will be introduced weekly. The next article will explore in greater details the ideas introduced today in particular the role of the Black Power Movement in the demise of African American traditional culture. This is also the subject of my upcoming book, African American Traditional Culture: Legacy and Lessons©. Additionally, the role of feminism and the Women’s Movement will be introduced as other contributing factors in the decline and demise of traditional African American coping strategies. Until then stay blessed, and remember no matter our condition, God is in charge.
Victoria Nettles is a writer and entrepreneur. She has a Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Spiritual Psychology. Ms. Nettles taught Political Science for 15 years before beginning her career as a Freelance writer and owner of Stepping Stone Jobs. You may email her directly at LFSpiritualM@gmail.com