The current crisis in America and the world requires that we as African people take a deep reflective look at our condition in light of the streams of violence in our communities.
Day in and day out we can observe the increased number of African people killing each other, mentally and physically abusing each other, stealing from each other, being dishonest with each other, and the list goes on and on. These negative incidents occur, in part, because segments of the African community in the United States are disconnected from the moral and ethical traditions that have characterized relationships among African people in the past.
The problem with segments of African people in this country being disconnected from the great contributions of African people to the civilizations of the world has resulted in far too many of us believing that the current situation we find ourselves in cannot be changed. Many African people believe that the condition of African people in America is permanent and there is nothing we can do to change our circumstances. Therefore, this disconnected group of African people has chosen the easy road. They travel on the road of cooperating and collaborating with the forces of white supremacy who continue to demonstrate they will do any and everything in their power to keep African people in this country, and the rest of the world on the bottom. This has resulted in many African people in America (and the world community), developing a “bottom mentality.” In other words, many of our people buy into whatever the white supremacy forces feed us through the media, (mis)educational institutions, and religious institutions.
What we are constantly being fed is that we are on the bottom and we will remain on the bottom. What the white supremacy forces offer individual Afri-
can people in America, is that as an individual you can get off the bottom if you join us, if you “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” Never mind your group, your family and your cultural ties, “there is nothing that can be done with those people. Join us and everything will be allright.” If you join us, “you can obtain a good job, buy a nice house in a good neighborhood, buy a nice car, take nice vacations, and some of you, whom we choose, can even live with us.”
We were not always like this as a people. We did not have a “dog eat dog” mentality and this is what we must examine as we continue to struggle to overthrow the system of white supremacy and its impact on us as a people.
The Creative Force of the universe has endowed us with the capacity to make great contributions to the world. A simple inspection of the ancient Nile Valley civilization of Kemet (Egypt) should inspire all African people to respect their history and to hold themselves in high esteem. Kemet and the Kemetic people, our ancestors, were the creators of math, science, architecture, writing, governance, astronomy, astrology, medicine, art, and so much more. The Kemetic people amassed great wisdom that was left as instructions written in Medew Netcher (Divine Speech) or what Europeans call hieroglyphs.
One place we can examine this ancient Kemetic wisdom is in a book entitled, Selection From the Husia: Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt. The Husia gives insight into how our ancestors viewed life, death, human relations, marriage, parenting, use of power, God, family, and the standards of moral and ethical conduct. Reading these spiritual texts elicits strong feelings in and for African people in a most profound and spiritual way. Peruse these words from the Husia: The Book of Ptah Hotep:
“Do not terrorize people for if you do, God will punish you accordingly.
If anyone lives by such means, God will take bread from his or her mouth.
If one says I shall be rich by such means, [he] she will eventually have to say my means entrapped me.”
This passage continues:
“If one says I will rob another, he will end up being robbed himself. The plans of men and women do not always come to pass, for in the end it is the will of God, which prevails. Therefore, one should live in peace with others and they will come and willingly give gifts, which another would take from them through fear.
Written about five thousand years ago, the wisdom of these words of instruction should cause African people to reflect on their significance as we struggle to create a greater good for our race. The wisdom of our ancestors should give us the inspiration to rededicate ourselves to the continued struggle for the liberation of African people worldwide.
As a race of people our survival and development is dependent upon each other. A greater responsibility is placed upon those of us who proclaim the African Way after the ravaging of African civilizations, African culture, African minds, and African lands.
As I have repeated many times in previous columns, we have a responsibility and a duty to our brothers and sisters to build institutions based on African spirituality, ethics, and morals, and give back that which the Creator has given us, “All Life, Power, and Health, like the Sun Forever.”
I urge all African people to take a meditative moment and look deeply inside of ourselves as a people. Let us restore what the ancient Black people of Kemet called Maat: Divine Order, Harmony, Balance, Truth, Justice, Righteousness, and Reciprocity.
We had, and lived by Maat before the coming of Europeans. We must return to the ways of Maat so we can survive the white supremacy genocidal onslaught. We must look deep into ourselves! And as our respected ancestor Dr. John Henrik Clarke often said, “If we did it once, we can do it again!” In view of what is happening in the world, we must never lose sight of who we are and our condition.