I complain not about any of this because after taking so many blows I've come to realize there are probably no blows I cannot take. This has strengthened me in ways most people probably cannot imagine and I see that as a benefit and a resource in the fight(s) we have in front of us. So, I'm going to tackle this issue with as much diplomacy as I can while still managing to address my spiritual need to stand up for myself, and anyone who is unquestionably victimized by this same unfortunate phenomenon. This isn't easy, and it will certainly further cement the feelings of alienation I often feel, but consequences have never stopped me from doing what I believe to be right, so...
I've been back in Sacramento not even two months now. And, I love being back here. The strong cultural elements that exist here are feeding a long starved soul. I'm thankful to be back in California for so, so, many reasons, but one thing is bothering the hell out of me. In the two short months I've been back here, on four different occasions, people who I haven't seen or talked to during the entire time I lived in Oregon - 10 years total - have told me the same thing. All of these people, Africans active in this Sacramento activist and/or artist/cultural community, have told me that the only thing they knew about me during that 10 year period is that I dating someone who was not African. This type of revelation wouldn't mean anything if I was a guy who's life consisted of going to a job, watching ballgames, and buying several six packs per week. No shade against that guy. Its just that he's never been me. My life has always been dominated, at a great personal price to me, to engaging in organizing work to liberate my people as a contribution to liberating all of oppressed humanity. That means that there was never a period of hitting the clubs on a regular basis. There was never a period of indulging in recreational drugs. There were never any hangovers. No period of getting away to get high. There has always been the constant work to engage in working with people. That means there has always been the constant follow up with people and having them stand you up. In fact, I can say confidently that I've been personally stood up thousands of times. That's part of the work. Just like its part of the work for people to see you and reach out to repeatedly to provide a service request for them. Counsel them on problems. Mentor their children. Intervene in conflict to have difficult conversations and/or even violent intervention. It matters not that none of these people have any intention of being there for you for even the slightest thing. Regardless, I've been there to do all of that, often and consistently over the years. I've been there to build. Have it knocked down, and build again. I've been disappointed more than an entire generation of children who learned Santa Claus is a lie, only to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep working. I've been disrespected so many times that I've come to expect it. And the efforts to engage in personal undermining, discrediting, and sabotage. This has been so common that I consider it a regular part of my existence.
I say all of that to say that I established a very consistent track record of doing all of those things for the struggle in Sacramento before I moved to Portland, Oregon, and did the exact same thing. And I didn't do it for five minutes. i did it for years and continue to do it. So, anyone who knows me knows all of that. This is why it is completely insane to me that not one person, not two, not three, but four different people, in less than two months, could tell me that all they know about what I've been doing for the last 10 years is betraying my people because I dated outside of my race. None of them knew anything about the School of African Roots (SOAR) in Portland that I played a critical role in creating. None of them were familiar with the free breakfast program I played a major role in initiating and maintaining that existed in consistent fashion for a year and half, leading to the elevation of SOAR. We fed hundreds of children's stomachs and minds and that school is continuing to do that. Of course, there would be no SOAR without the All African People's Revolutionary Party chapter in Oregon which is going strong with young African members from all over the world. There was no A-APRP in Oregon before I got there and all those things I described above happened in my life in order for there to be an A-APRP in Oregon today, but none of these people knew anything about that. No one was aware that I had written and published three different books during my 10 years in Oregon. No one had heard a peep about how on numerous occasions, at great physical and psychological damage to myself, I had helped lead protection of the community against armed white supremacists. There would have been crickets had I mentioned that I got in physical fights and got pepper sprayed by police, and pulled over and harassed for nothing on 10 separate occasions, because of the housing justice work I did to ensure that older Africans were not illegally evicted from thier homes. And, the astounding thing is that the school, the A-APRP in Oregon, the breakfast program, the books, all of it, came with extensive media, social and mainstream, whereas I don't think my dating life had any of that. Yet, that news, without any work attached to it, spread faster than all the hard work I was doing combined. And apparently, all of my people here forgot the work that was carried out before I left California in 2007 because had they remembered, they should have thought to consider that I had to be doing more in 10 years than dating - outside of my race.
Please don't misconstrue all of this to mean that I'm sore just because I haven't received any credit I believe is due me. Or, that I think I'm beyond a critical assessment of who I date. I accept all of that. I've spent my entire adult life involved in independent revolutionary political organizing. And if there is one thing I've learned in the last 35 years of doing this work its that this imperialist system is systemically designed to ensure people like me not only never receive any credit, but that we be judged as clinically insane by the majority people operating within this society. And, I think the discussion about interracial dating is enough of a valid one that I even made it a central part of both novels I wrote, but the people who criticized the fact I have a European woman in my book, never read them, so they missed that. Anyway, I'm comfortable in these spaces. I not only know the credit isn't coming, and yes, that means doing work just to have others take credit for it. I also have reached a place where I really don't need it. I have sufficiently evolved enough within my Nkrumahist/Tureist ideological development process that I can tell you confidently and honestly that my best moments are seeing people rise up against oppression and I'm most happy when I know I made any type of contribution to making that happen, despite whether anyone knows that contribution or not. We are so oppressed that I love to see my people come up which is why all of this is so painful to me because I always wish people the best. The most happiness. And I still always assume, as naive as you may think it is, that people have my best interest like I have theirs. I know better, but that faith in my people is a significant factor in driving my passion for the work, so I don't ever want to become cynical, jaded, and distrustful as I've experienced people being towards me and many others.
Unfortunately, this all comes down to the fact that as oppressed African people we still, in 2017, have a very difficult time believing we can win as a people. In spite of how good we look in our cultural attire. How confident we may seem. No one can convince me that the masses of us still don't believe the master is better. I can expertly analyze this system and the evidence is overwhelming. If it were not true, we wouldn't behave like this. We would behave in the way that confident and healthy thinking people would behave. That would mean supporting and encouraging the positive. It would mean demanding to hear and find the positive that our people are doing instead of being completely satisfied to believe trivial things about one another. It would mean being interested in what's being done to win our liberation instead of who someone is dating. Yes, I'm saying that the people focused on who someone is dating are exposing themselves to an experienced organizer like me as someone who isn't involved in organizing our people. That's especially true for revolutionary organizers. Because so much of your time - at least 95% of it - is spent in environments you don't believe in (because you are in the work of moving your people) that you already know that you have to learn that in order to build the relationships with one another we need to build to get stronger, your ego cannot get in the way. That means you cannot focus on your personal beliefs because once they clash with the people you are organizing, you can't build any longer. So, you have to make a commitment to putting your ego aside and when you learn to do that, you start to grow and realize a lot of what you thought was important isn't important at all. You start to get to know people different than you and you come to understand that the differences with them you thought were critical actually have nothing to do with us coming together to liberate ourselves. If you really do the work than you know that. If you don't do the work than all that's really important to you is what you think because in your tiny world, that's all that matters. To those people, ego means everything and they will hold unto it at the risk of death because they really don't believe liberation is possible anyway so why not hold unto our personal ethos. At least that gives you some sort of dysfunctional energy boost.
I'm not going to get into who I'm with because its really none of your business. My dad told me years ago that he never made decisions based on people who "didn't put food on his table" and I live by that philosophy as a principle. The point of this is to express that despite my desire to say I don't care what my people think, the way people treat me matters and it hurts, but don't confuse that to mean it will influence or stop me from moving forward because I'll be doing this work as long as I live. And, I'll be doing it in my Pan-African revolutionary lane that entire time. So, yes, there people outside my race, among all the other things I did and do for my people. If that makes me a traitor to you I hope you can get over it and see the larger picture. In other words, if you truly love your people like you claim you do, than don't sabotage the work I'll be doing. That work will be good work. Necessary work and its about our people. Not me. Not you and your all important opinions. Its about our people. Take a second and soak that in. When you die the people at your funeral won't be talking about how much money you had or who you dated. They will be talking about what impact you had on their lives. I know that people have to say I had a positive impact on their lives so I'll go with that because whomever I'm dating will be giving me what I need to fight the beast that is oppressing our people. Instead of tearing down those of us who are sacrificing a lot, maybe you can mature a little and learn how to provide support to those who are waging the fight in ways you know damn well you don't possess the courage to carry out.