RACISM: 4TH GENERATION DIAGNOSIS AND PERSPECTIVE, by Kifon Emile, M.A.

 

Man Without a Tribe

In its simplest form, racism is discrimination based on the color of one’s skin. ‘The Fourth Generation Diagnosis’ [4G] will present the issue of racism by defining it as a historic process.

The process itself is put in place when a particular discriminatory paradigm is structured to govern the black race.

The structure aims to govern at any given time while it also elaborates a perspective which derives from its basic assumptions.

Generally, contact between different groups of people is usually characterized by polarization and its resultant tension. That tension is more likely to be greater when the distinguishing difference is race. The 4G diagnosis shall examine the case of racism particularly black people.

Over time, discrimination against black people has gone through four phases. The first phase was prior to 1884 before the present territorial boundaries were formed during the Berlin conference generally called the scramble for Africa.

During that period multipolar tensions existed between big and large tribes and ethnic groups. There also existed multipolar relations between a few empires, namely the Mali, Ashanti, Sokoto, Bamoun, Oyo, Kaabu, etc.

The ideological assumption of the colonial structure was expressed in a simple proposition: ‘Black men are primitive, uncivilized and in some cases not human enough’ [he did not have a soul, others claimed]. As a result of that assumption and its corresponding propaganda, Africans were treated, more or less, like other animals. There one purpose was narrowly defined as being of use to his conqueror.

Outside Africa, the story was the same. Blacks were made to be slaves till 1833 when it ended in England and in the United States when it was officially made illegal in 1865.

Under the two structures, the logic is the same. A was subhuman to be at the service of the superior human(s). Both structures were operative despite the fact that one group of Africans were in a foreign land and the other group of Africans were in their own land.

The second phase of discrimination was from 1884 until the 1960s when the new colonies of Africa got their independence. The second phase was also operative in the Americas from 1865 till the 1963 when segregation ended.

The discrimination paradigm was the same for the black race irrespective of the tribal region. It was admitted that Africans were human but with limited intellectual capacities. For example, in America, blacks were defined as 3/5 of a person while in Africa Africans were given just the limited potential that would enable them to better serve their colonial masters.

Thus it was concluded that there was no need to teach black people the sciences because either they could not understand science or conversely blacks would cease to be a servant if he had the same skills as his master.

 It is important to note that once the slaves were set free in the United States [1865], the whites still needed labor and resources. The plan was simple, instead of bringing more labor force into the America, they said: “let’s colonize them in the various southern states and make them work for us”. Such a internal colony would come to be called ‘sharecropping’.

Meanwhile in Europe, the Berlin conference was held. It divided Africa into pieces of flesh on which the western nations would feed. It is during this period that we could see many plantations being created all over Africa. In Cameroon, the first plantation was established by the Germans in 1907; that is, two decades after the Berlin conference.

In reality, the slave model industry that existed in the Americas had been transferred to Africa. In other words, there was no need to transport people into the new American continent anymore. Taking the war into the opponent’s land, into the heart of Africa, was the strategy. It was a more efficient method and preempted civil unrest in European nations.  

While blacks were segregated in the Americas, Africans were strategically segregated from white colonists and other tribes, but in their own land.

After the new territories got their independence in the 1960s, another system of neocolonialism was established. The new leaders were poorly educated on European strategy. They ignorantly signed military alliances with the west [Senegal], joint monetary policies [Cote d’Ivoire and Franc CFA as did all the French colonies], obliged the new government to consent with the colonizers for the appointment of new leaders [Cameroon], to hold the colonizers as privileged partners of trade in arms, public contracts and education etc [Cameroon, Guinea Conakry, and most of the French colonies], although they would be the worst partners when it came to concessions and progress.

This was the third phase of discrimination based on a strategy put in place to exploit Africa. This phase is marked by a skillful indebtedness, limiting economic possibilities and an unfair trade system called ‘free trade.’

Also, while segregation in the USA officially ended in 1963 the same pattern applied to African nations and remains the same infrastructure that was and is applied to blacks in the USA and other parts of the world, e.g., live in high debt, limited economic prospects, unfair deals disguised under the slogan of land of the free.

What is most important about these stages is that despite the fact that they underwent the same types of marginalization over different territories, the methods of struggle were similar.

Mountain of Africa

In some cases, they worked together. For example, W.E.B Dubois had championed the cause of African independence and worked with the newly elected leaders towards the construction of a free and better Africa   and for its children. It should be stated that during the Pan-African Congress in 1921 [Belgium], W.E.B. Dubois was present and he had always worked for the Pan African vision.

In 1927, a similar conference was held in New York where he was also present. He even represented Africa in the U.N.O. in 1946 through the N.A.A.C.P. after a dialogue with Walter White.

In the fourth generation diagnosis, Africa is on a different stage: no longer considered subhuman [1st stage], or just unfit to mingle with others [2nd stage] or should be openly discriminated against or cheated [3rd stage]; it is a stage where he is considered to be like all other human races but must prove himself, else he remains what he was considered to be.

This stage is the post neocolonialism in Africa, post social cruelty and institutional cruelty in the West, at least openly. More clearly, in the 4th generation, any African can create his own business and make it as big as he wishes [Dangote:23 billion net worth in 2014]. He is free to build his own school and teach what he wants, create industries and change his life as well as that of his fellow citizens.

In the West, the blacks are also on the verge of doing the same things; to establish themselves to some extent, the way they want and to attain the success and freedom they desired.

But the methods deployed by the west to subjugate have only changed forms. Therefore, in this 4G stage there are important questions that need to be asked. How much has the white man changed to make race relations better?

In the case of Africa, he is determined to get mainly natural resources after the trade of humans has become less viable.  It follows that, he has not changed his purpose that much. Also, how much have we Africans changed in order to oppose him more effectively?

This is the most important part. As it shows, we Africans have not changed that much! In fact, are we more united than before? Have we learned his secret on how to produce great weapons including the ultimate weapon – nuclear? Have we mastered his craft in creating things, changing materials into bright nice objects? Have we established the rule of law so that all feel protected? Have we stopped killing one another? Have we reduced our recreational habits in order to replace them with inventive and creative ones? To all these questions, the answer does not soundly strike the positive note.

It is rightful therefore to ask which is easier: to continue asking the other actor to change even when he shows unwillingness, or to change ourselves following a pattern that will automatically oblige the other to bow and comply?

Common sense opts for the second while at the same time it remains legitimate to call both parties to dialogue, to requests for reforms, and to apply political pressure to adjust for a more proportionate distribution of the wealth. It is also most necessary and urgent to invest in the right options: in ourselves and in each other.

The 4G Diagnosis addresses not our fathers who inherited the independence legacy, not for those who fought against segregation in the West under its brave leaders like Martin Luther King Jr and Malcom X. The 4G is a discourse to us; it is the heritage of all the former three. We know the opponent; we know that we cannot oblige him to do all we want. But we know what it takes to change ourselves for the better; and we know the weakness of the other.

Mount-Kilimanjaro

We have discovered our potentials and we know what is keeping us down. We have come to understand that we can’t continue to blame others forever on what happens to us.

We have seen friends like us from Asia, south America and even the West, at times, less intelligent, but who nevertheless have great industries, have organized businesses, have stable families and have stood up to defend their own all the time. It is no one’s responsibility to defend us or to make us prosperous but ourselves.

In the 4G discourse we hold that, as W.E.B. Dubois championed the cause of Africans and their progress, it should be the responsibility of Africans to champion the prosperity of blacks outside the continent especially those who underwent slavery. But how can this be accomplished?  The answer is a simple one.

The answer is for us to build a great Africa. A peaceful, loving, united Africa wherein others can identify themselves with it without second thoughts and without shame.

The reason for this proposition is a key aspect in the 4G diagnosis which should be stated clearly: so long as Africa is poor, divided, exploited and at war with itself, others of African descent shall continue to be seen with the same disdain. We hold the responsibility to make a change. We shall solve the problem of racism by solving the problem of Africa, to a greater extent.

During the Japanese invasion of China [1937], the brutality was beyond measure. Chinese were slaughtered like sheep and maltreated like sub humans. It was a time when the Japanese had developed the idea of co-prosperity sphere which established their racial superiority. But today, when there is a slightest disagreement between china and Japan, the Japanese are the first to propose peace talks while the Chinese are quick to displaying war planes as a show of force. There has never been respect for other nations/people except when they rise to the status of power: military, political, industrial and economic. 

Our forefathers have fought the most difficult battles: against slavery, against segregation and against popular normative discrimination. What fight do we have today? Just to love one another more, protect each other, educate each other, and built our economic and political power.

Also, the 4G analysis presents the black question as a singular problem. It is not by solving one’s individual problem that the black question shall be solved. It is not an American problem, a UK problem, or a Ghanaian problem. While blacks are not allowed in certain areas in the US, in Kenya today, Africans are denied access in a Chinese restaurant inside Kenya during certain periods of the day. Not even Barack Obama as a president of the USA is safe from racism because he connects to that same group that suffers the same prejudices.

It is not the individual saving himself that the group shall be saved; it is the group saving itself that every individual shall be saved. But in order to do so, each person has to be the best he or she can make of themselves, for we cannot invest in corruption, idleness, and greed then expect the group to be at its best in relation to us.

It is a singular problem also because the blacks abroad cannot be fully liberated when Africa has not liberated itself, and for Africa to completely liberate itself, it must envisage unity of all its descents and elaborate strategies for their protection and prosperity.

The 4G is you and I. It is a generation that wants to create its own heroes like the Luther King Jr, Malcom X, Nkwame Nkruma, Mandela etc. It is a generation that is more open, that wants to assume responsibilities and make a change. It is a generation which holds that its potentials and positive possibilities cross in their time.  

That greater progress shall be achieved and that the history of the black race has not been completely written because a brighter part of it is still to come. This brighter part lies on him to create. And by doing so, he shall gain the respect that had been denied to his ancestors. It is a generation which believes that the relation between peoples/races is influenced significantly not by how they look but by what they have achieved. It is a power and materialistic dynamic where those with the instruments of power gain respect naturally: arms, money, and law.

It is our responsibility to leave to the 5th generation a legacy of which that they can be proud. One which will make them all believe that the story of the black man will not always be the same. That it will not be a story of occupying the last position in social hierarchies everywhere in the world.

It is a stage at which he and she shall rejoice at being at the top; for men and women do not generally feel morally compelled to respect others; but they are compelled to respect what others have achieved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFRICA: THE WORLD IS WATCHING US, by Kifon Emile

E.C.  Picture Out of Africa

“The world is watching at us, as we move through this highway of history, with thoughts that we commit the same errors of the past and somber into doom. Vigilance and governance is the key if we shall cross safely into the promise land of greatness.”

Ultimate Governance Code

It is not too long ago when we were the cradle of the world’s finest civilizations [3000 BC]. Men thronged from all over the world to come and to learn, admire, and contribute to the intellectual edifice that our people had designed through hard work and diligent ingenuity.

Even though most of us migrated to the south, we still kept the spirit of hard work and sacrifice. During this time, the world was still three dimensional. There was the North, Hellenistic; the East: mystic; and the South: holistic.

They were the dominant cultural standards which defined for us our perspective of the time. The world could be appreciated either through the rational model of the Hellenistic world, or through the mystical Asiatic model or again through a more comprehensive approach that considered the real as a whole comprising all models of reality.

After about five millennia, the world is now barely two dimensional. We can measure a predominance of the Greek world view harbored in the West and a very minimal reference to the Asiatic East. Or more strictly, the world has become one dimensional.

That two dimensional rational model characterizes capitalism, democracy and the instruments that go with them, e.g., debt money, industry, rule of law, human rights etc. It is a long process through which our role has been systematically reduced through the application of engineered strategies ranging from the cruelest to the most diplomatic the world has ever known. The consequence is that we are now more subject to state power and its police instruments of execution on all fronts.

But what actually went wrong? And what led to our decline and prolonged subjugation?

The genealogy of irregularities over thousands of years differs in variety and intensity from place to place. But some of these remain outstanding and are worth mentioning.

It should be mentioned that since the fall of the Egyptian civilization and other empires which had relative strength over its territories [Mali, Zulu etc], most of our societies were very vulnerable due to the limited educational, military and economic adaptation.

The educational limits were characterized by the fact that most of us had an oral tradition wherein detail knowledge was easily lost and its transmission often led to distortions and misappropriations. Knowledge is a cumulative process of experiences. Oral traditions made it hard and eventually impossible to build and enrich present generations with past experiences. This explains why the same errors were committed repeatedly by different people over different periods.

Military weakness was another vulnerability that exposed us to our neighbors and also put us at risk to foreigners against whom sticks and stones could do very little. Even though not all battles are won with weapons, having them always constitute a source of defense.

Concerning the economic strength, most of our economic activity was based on natural harvest: harvesting from nature, doing subsistence level agriculture and the primary mode of trade by barter. But what is more?

We created endless divisions among our own people in the name of tribes. Some were friendly while others were made to be enemies.

Like most cultures, tribes have always existed but they become dangerous when they become the sphere within which we define humanity, charity, justice and love. In such an isolated and free floating sphere, the other tribes naturally loses inherent human rights because he doesn’t belong to a particular tribe that holds a strategic power over a given territory.

It is precisely this artificial boundary that was exploited by the west when they landed on Africa in search for labor and minerals. None of our societies were left untouched. Everyone suffered the consequences of ignorance, division, and greed and the failure to have established a viable functional economic model not only made the trade of humans seem profitable but also normal.

But the world was watching us…hoping that we would learn from our past mistakes and make better decisions. We didn’t. And when we did, we never did so effectively. That is why the same people had to come back and domesticate us in our own homeland – what others call colonization.

Again, we were subjugated using the same old schemes by the same people while some of us saw in them good people who just wanted to make us better. Make us better?

The old tricks worked. Our knowledge failed us and our know-how didn’t defend us sufficiently. But then, we should remember there is no society that has not been penetrated by the western powers at varying degrees with the same objective.

Happy African Children

 

Thanks to the bravery of some among us, independence was won through blood and iron. Those brave ones have always existed but in most cases their merits are not illustrated enough nor appreciated even though they have served great causes over centuries.

From its very beginning to this day with independence, we came to understand that things shall change. We have come to understand that we have learned the game and that we now take our destinies seriously and put our fate in our own hands to make a difference in governance.

In other parts of the world people also fought for their independence and won it. Now it is time to give an account of our character and on what we have done with the power we have acquired, to educate our young, to expose them to freedom, and to transfer our natural resources to them.

At an age when most people have made tremendous progress, it is now our turn to make the moves that will raise us up.

The laws of nature have been deciphered; information has been made abundant and available; technology has been made cheap and easy to learn; and many great things have been discovered. Above all, we have men and women who have studied in the same schools as others and given the same practical skills. Today, ignorance cannot be tolerated as an excuse!

No one has asked us to discover gravity, it is has already been done; to invent laws of physics; to land on the moon; or to discover the cure for Ebola. No one has asked us to do these things but they watch us day and night.

Our greatest discovery lies simply in learning from our mistakes. To create cultures of good governance instead of ethnocentric ones; to apply the rule of law; to transform our own resources for the benefit of our own people, build good roads, schools, hospitals, take care of the sick and old, protect the weak and fight the opponents of yesterday, get unified, eliminate war and live in peace as children in one family. Is that too much? Just being what we are called to be by the natural principle which unites us all?

If we cannot do these things, then we are only justifying the fact that the others were right in all the wrongs they did to us and that we have confirmed that we are incapable of managing our own lives.

Africa Children Watching

 

I am Africa.  I watch over you and shall watch over you.  All I request of you is to change your ways and be a better African for yourself, your children (home and abroad) and in the world.