Let us state right away that most Africans are blacks and that what I write applies to Africans and other black people from around the world. This essay does not just apply to African Americans.
There are men and women who are black and proud. These people may live among fellow blacks in the ‘hood or have moved out to a suburb but their hearts are with their fellow blacks. They belong to black churches, black professional organizations, black political movements, and are proud to be associated with most black endeavors. These black men and women were in the fore front in the fights against slave trade and slavery; revolutions in say Haiti in the 17th/18th century; against Apartheid in south Africa and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe; were front and center in the independence struggles of Caribbean and African countries after World War II; front and center of Equal opportunity struggles in USA and the rest of the world; struggles for inclusion in the general lives of the modern societies.
In fighting these fights these proud and black people sometimes gave up their lives, were sentenced to long prison terms, lost their families, or limbs, or economic resources, or other valuable things in life. Some merged stronger and did a lot for humanity including their oppressors, some were/have been forgotten. Some are even judged or seen in bad light by those who know no better.
The lives of these brave men and women have spanned the period from late 14th century to present. They include political leaders, inventors, musicians, Church men and women, athletes, business leaders. A few of the recent names would include Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, Zik of Africa, Dubois, Puissant, Robert Mugabe, etc. These fighting men and women used all kinds of weapons, establishing black institutions of learning, black Churches (e.g. AME), non-violence/civil disobedience actions, revolutionary activities including bombings to draw attention to sufferings of black people they are/were leading. The black and proud men and women would be about 75% of the estimated 1 billion world black population.
But this essay is not about these patriots.
There’s another 20% of black population who want to be seen as humans. They are not proud or ashamed of being black. They do not see people from color/culture perspective. They live their lives as part of humanity which is neither black, white nor colored. They would support black causes when they perceive the issue justified but are often far from the scene to perceive it properly. They go to work, come home, and take care of their families the best they can. These people are also not very much involved in other struggles such as poverty, healthcare or eradication of diseases. They are just plain folks.
This essay is also not about them.
We are now down to the last 5% of black population. These folks are my fellow blacks who are ashamed to be black. They, everyday, course when they look at the mirror and discover that they are still black. They very much want to be white; to be part of the winning side. They do not talk black, walk black or want to be associated with anything black. If they were from, say Nigeria, they would deny the fact or introduce themselves as "came from Nigeria" (they are not Nigerians anymore); they would not be part of any black activities or endeavors; they most likely live in a lily white enclave or as close to it as their resources would allow. They cozy up to white folks who immediately discover their desire to belong to the white society, and who immediately find them useful as “tokens” to be invited to segregated events. Their main purpose in “including” them among their friends is as protective armor from their liberal friends who might accuse them of being bigoted. These blacks return the favor by constantly publishing their pictures in these events and asserting that they belong to this and that association as the “only black,” the only African,” the only 3rd world person, depending on the image they want to project at a given moment. In a bid to hide their inferiority complex these men and women use two major tools. The first tool used to a devastating effect is they portray blacks in poor light or put a damper to any achievements of black people, a job that ingratiates them to their white friends and makes them members of the inner circle. It is a job their benefactors are unable or unwilling to do. Let us say that a report comes out that Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa. They would quickly publish a rejoinder that Nigeria does not have running water; that Spain which is increasing its purchases of Nigerian crude is more or less a 3rd world country herself and not a strong member of EU; that Nigeria has unemployment figures in astronomical ranges and such other factors that do not challenge the stated fact that Nigeria’s economy is the 13th in the world and the largest in Africa. The report NEVER stated that Nigeria is now equal to USA or that Nigeria is the God’s Kingdom on earth. One would expect these educated and articulate blacks to challenge the numbers by showing that based on other factors, the ranking should have been lower than 13th, say 23rd. If the “March Madness” shows a dominance of black athletes and a commentator known for his sympathies for black courses uses the opportunity to demand more equity in sharing the resources from college athletics with blacks/students, a single sentence is taken out of context to show that blacks are slaves and advertise the comment as such. Anything that shows blacks as dumb, as lazy, or as unsuccessful would be “good news” to these my brethren. Such items get them closer to the inner, inner circle. They are doing their job very well.
I once read where one of them said that Achebe’s books were no books at all. That at best they were pamphlets because of their sizes. I tried to show him many “Great Books” of considerably shorter number of words but I did not make much impression. To them black is ugly, not up to par.
The second weapon my folks use in demeaning Blacks is superiority/inferiority claims. They pull down any black who has achieved or is about to achieve something great. I already mentioned the undermining of Achebe’s work. The others are in similar vein. If Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is said to have been a top World Bank executive these folks describe her job at the bank as a desk job, as nothing to write home about. They pull her down in a breath. No black person has risen to any level worth talking about. Not even Obama’s presidency of USA fazes these folks. He is the least of American presidents, his knowledge of international affairs, his economic policies, his political skills are all kindergarten level abilities. Susan Rice was a failure at UN. They will never raise a voice of praise for any black achievements. These blacks belong to what Spiro Agnew called “nattering nabobs of negativity.” On the other hand these blacks very modest achievements are put up above the high skies. One person that I know has written more than 45 books and is the best psychologist in the world, another has been responsible for everything that Texas has done in the last 20 years and served/s in all boards of great importance.
What is most amazing about these people is their resentment of those who try to serve in modest ways. They have problems if you are president of Black Attorneys or president of World Igbo Congress. They speak from both sides of the mouth. Call them to help raise funds to provide schools or health care to the community in Nigeria and you will hear that the service is what the governments we elected should be doing. This call would seem like they support big government. At other times you would see them demanding that Nigerians are relying too much on government which would make them advocates of limited government. They speak according to what they think would make their masters happy. You will hear them speak of how they lifted themselves by their boot straps. Yet records show that they get to where they are by the efforts of their parents or government scholarships. But they are not willing to help their brothers and sisters get to where they are and they would not serve in governments to help others get the benefits they enjoyed.
Do you want to know a foundation member of this group? His name is Clarence Thomas. As in the Justice of the Supreme Court of United States. But he is not alone. He has imitators all over the place and some are even from Nigeria.
The next question is if you are black, do you know in which group you belong? As for me when the black and proud saints go marching in, Lord I want to be in that number.
You make your mind and behave according to your own beliefs.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
April 8, 2014