This phenomenon is much more than a question of fashion. Its also much more than white people being insensitive and hating African people. Make no mistake about it. This is a political struggle. And those of us who understand cultural imperialism as a component of political imperialism understand exactly what that political struggle is based on. As is stated often in these writings, the capitalist system throughout the European dominated world e.g. Canada, the U.S.,s-called Israel, Australia, and Europe, was developed off of exploiting Africa. The entire myth of white supremacy - of which this entire society is based - was created to provide a justification for the raping and plundering of African and Indigenous peoples in Africa and the Western Hemisphere. In other words, the ability of this system to successfully subjugate us is grounded in its ability to completely diminish the significance of Africa. To create the impression that Africa, and therefore African people, have contributed nothing to world civilization. The imperialist knew/know that if they get people to believe this than Africa and her children are dehumanized in the eyes of Europeans and everyone else, including Africans. Once this is the dominant reality, it becomes possible for the system to do whatever it wishes to us because we are less than human. its important for serious students of white supremacy to understand this because this analysis provides the logic of why our people are systemically treated as sub-human e.g. shot down in the streets, criminalized as common practice, and disrespected as day to day policy. If you don't understand the core reasons why this happens you will be confused into accepting imperialism's narrative that the problem is simply one of attitudes, meaning that white supremacy isn't a system, but simply what someone feels on a given day. Once they get you to believe their version then you begin to see the problem as simply an emotional and subjective problem, meaning it can change with the wind. Clearly, a 500+ year problem that is worldwide and consistent is much more than something that changes with the wind.
As our great son of Africa Sekou Ture expressed so clearly in his still groundbreaking writings on African culture as a tool for liberation, and as other great minds like Franz Fanon have made equally as clear, the key to our liberation is our ability to regain the integrity of our culture. Follow this logic and you will be able to comprehend why the sight of African youth with afros with picks in them is frightening to many white people even though they themselves cannot explain why they are upset at a hairstyle and a comb. Follow this logic and you will understand why these schools react the way they do even if to some of the youth wearing the hair styles its just a fashion statement. Anything a colonized people do is political. In fact, the minute you walk out your door in the morning you are committing a political act because the system seeks to destroy you and/or completely subjugate you. So, once you appear, you represent the potential of doing more. Of standing up for your dignity. That's why the very existence of African people during the last stages of imperialism is an act of resistance. And even though most people have never thought of what I'm explaining to you right now, if you think seriously about it, it makes sense why people react to these seemingly harmless things the way they do. Since this system has been built and maintained by exploiting Africa, that will always make Africans the X factor in this system. We are the one group who's existence is always up for debate. Whos behaviors are always unpredictable. Will we side with imperialism or not? We are the ones the system is not sure about and that is why they lean on us so hard. That's why they repress us the way they do. And when we respond by reflecting who we are, the system sees that as resistance, and really it is, even if the act is unconscious. Imperialism is smart enough to realize that an unconscious act today can become a conscious act tomorrow. Especially since our enemies understand that even the unconscious acts are coming from a conscious place. No one was wearing anything African before the African independence movements and the subsequent Black power movements of the 50s and 60s. So, that means the fact people wear these hairstyles today is without question a political act.
The other element to this equation is that because African people are oppressed and lack power, the system of imperialism is able to disrespect us and our babies and we have no organized way to stand up to this disrespect. Instead, we get upset and our usual course of action is to demand justice from the very institutions that are perpetuating the injustice in the first place. In some ways, this entire process reinforces our being a subjugated people, especially when our devices to protest are controlled by the forces that oppress us. This is the reason Pan--Africanism is without question the key to resolving all of these problems. One unified socialist Africa will provide the muscle and ability of African people to control the sources and forces that govern markets. That structure societies. That establish culture. Once we have the ability to do that, we will no longer be in the position where imperialism is able to define our conditions. Imperialism defines the beauty standards for the world because it has the power to do so. Once we can determine our own destiny, we will then also have the power to do that for ourselves. This reality will alleviate the situation where we are dependent upon imperialism to recognize us which is like an abused person waiting for their abuser to recognize them. It cannot happen under that context. This is what Ture, Nkrumah, and Fanon wrote about. And this is why their African cultural analysis provides the added ingredient to our revolutionary ideology that Marx, Lenin, and Engels could never supply.
And as for our youth, we realize many of you are outraged when these stories arise, and you should be. And, of course, we share the outrage, but we also are excited by these challenges because we understand that struggle is dialectical, meaning as Nkrumah said the world is a series of forces in a plenum of tension. This means every cause generates an effect. So, this struggle over hairstyles seems to be one thing on the surface, but what is really happening is African youth are challenging the grips of imperialism on us as a people. And as they stand up to resist more and more of our youth will do the same. And the more this spreads it creates the exact conditions where our people begin to understand that claiming our culture is claiming our dignity. They also begin to understand that the only way we can hold unto that dignity is by achieving the power to enforce it. Africa and her liberation is the key to that power. She is the only key and these occurrences are daily reminders of just how close we are getting to that ultimate showdown.