This language certainly served to dehumanize Europeans, but that has to be placed within its proper context. In the 1950s, there had been no mass African independence movement. No civil rights movement in the U.S. and Caribbean. And certainly, no Black power and Pan-African institutionalization. In those days, the narrative and image of Tarzan represented the dominant image of Africa, even to many people living inside the continent. Of course, all of those issues are still very much alive today, but due to the relentless struggle our people are waging, there are also many healthy counter narratives at play today on all levels of our existence. In the 1950s, this was much less so. By doing what he did, Malcolm, and others, helped plant the seeds of deconstructing that colonial mindset by knocking the Europeans down several notches so that we could see them as they really are, fallible, highly confused human beings like the rest of us.
Malcolm's methodology also had a purpose. He was working to recruit our people into a movement that was based on expressing the virtues of being African people. Within this analysis, the work of Malcolm and others makes sense from an anti-colonial standpoint, but what we are seeing today is an aberration of what Malcolm was working to accomplish. Today, Africans, particularly within the Western Hemisphere, have adopted some of the most strange and far out conspiracy concepts and theories. We were never from Africa. We have been in the Western Hemisphere for thousands of years. We are not even biologically and/or culturally connected in any way to Africa. These are some of the ideas that are floating around out here today. At the base of much of this thinking is the unstated assumption that by creating this fictitious history for our people, we can create some new context for who we are that somehow rises us up to the level that we secretly see Europeans occupying. Much of this philosophy is rooted in a core belief that Europeans are the basis from which human progress must be judged. This is true of even the most "Black" and/or even African philosophies operating out here today.
These conclusions can be reached because these philosophies almost always come with some disclaimer against European culture and ways of life. As if these pseudo cooked up philosophies offer us a pride that we need because we don't have it anywhere else. And, the reason we can easily conclude that these beliefs are rooted in anti-African thinking is because none of these people, and I mean not one of them, possess even the slightest understanding of African history, tribal histories, cultural perspectives, and certainly not political developments and class struggles. Nothing. That's why their beliefs don't even match up with material reality. For instance, if it was true that most or all of us were always in the Western Hemisphere, where are these people who can prove that their families have roots going back thousands of years here? What were their names and what culture did they have? I don't know about you, but I've never met a single person who can meet any of that criteria. Ninety-five percent of everyone has a European name and some physical family history in states, regions, countries, in the Western Hemisphere that clearly practiced chattal slavery.
We believe what's actually happening here is our people continue to harbor significant shame in being African. We shouldn't blame our people for that. We have been systemically told that Africa is a place where those who are losing the challenge of life live. Its a place where all the disease and poverty exists. This is dominant thinking in the world today and not only are our people not immune to it, we are the most susceptible to it. Marcus Garvey told us that its impossible to hate the roots and love the tree so with such a lack of understanding about Africa, what our people do instead is make up a false identity to compensate for our feelings of alienation and desperation. And, since we correctly interpret that much of our suffering, at least to the level of being active accomplices in it, results from European people on all levels, we continue to harbor great anger towards Europeans for permitting and often contributing to our trauma. As a result, we find it necessary to include within our fantasy identities a special rebuke for those White people who created the conditions that require us to live this false life in the first place.
I was arguing with someone once who was trying to tell me that my Pan-African organization, because we did not have an anti-European position and because we supported the Irish Republican Socialist movement, was actually not a pro-African organization. Their position was that our positions compromised our commitment to our people. Of course, this person belonged to no organization. Also true, they had no passport and had never traveled anywhere outside of a few colonial states within the U.S. I asked them why they hadn't saw the need to secure a passport and travel to Africa? My point, which I'm quite certain they never understood, was if they were so anti-White, it would seem to me that their first priority would be going to a place where no Europeans existed. I told them I was in the Gambia once and didn't see a European for weeks. I had similar experiences in other countries so I would think they would be at the front of the line to get there, yet I couldn't even get this person to follow through on filling out paperwork to get a passport. Even after I volunteered to pay for it for them. After extensive back and forth struggle, I have to give this person credit for finally admitting that their apprehension was based on fear. Beyond the one book I sat and read with them in which they struggled greatly to get through, I knew they had extremely limited understanding about anything about Africa so where was this fear coming from? That 500+ years of conditioning is where it came from and its manifested through oral misinformation passed down, the backward information we "learned" in school, and through every institution in this society. Even many of our family members born and raised in Africa, dedicated to using every ounce of their existence to get to Western capitalism, play a significant role in perpetuating confusion about Africa once they get here.
This system makes us hate ourselves and to compensate for that, we make up things because we lack knowledge of our true history. Then, in addition to that dysfunction, we act out our anger towards Europeans by building superiority over Europeans into our new world views. Although completely understandable, all of this is counter productive. There is no need for us to create a false history. We are without question African people. The moment we embrace that and stop trying to be anything except that is the moment we can truly grasp who we are in this world so that we can begin to seriously do something about it. We grasp the truth by challenging the backward narratives that have been forced upon us. And to do that, its going to require us making a commitment to engage in serious study of our history. There are no shortcuts. Reading unsubstantiated debris on the internet cannot substitute for comprehensive study. We have far too many giants of Pan-African literature for anyone to attempt to use ignorance as an excuse for argumentation. Start with Marcus and Amy Garvey. Walter Rodney, Franz Fanon, Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Ture, Amilcar Cabral, Steve Biko, Mangaliso Sobukwe, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Malcolm X, W.E.B. DuBois, etc., etc., etc. Scholars like Rodney and DuBois provided us with all the historical evidence needed to build up our respect for Africa, but if we don't read it, we will never know it. Once we have that solid foundation where we understand Africa's enviable and proud history of humanism, collectivism, and egalitarian societies...Once we know of the courage, resilience, and civilization of our people, we will learn to stand on our own real life merits. We will no longer compare ourselves with Europe and her children, whether done consciously or not. We will scoff at anyone who makes an attempt to separate us from our Mother - Africa. And most importantly, we will start to see the necessity to defend our mother as we will understand that our mother has the key to our future development in ways that dwarf any concept of these fake identities being able to compete with. Plus, a Pan-African reality provides us the muscle to ensure our dignity is respected and protected. With that in place, we will no longer have the need to be angry at Europeans because they will then be required to respect us in ways we have never imagined. And, we will respect ourselves in ways we have never imagined. Instead of believing in anti-human fantasies, its time for us to work to make our reality what its intended to be.