The example of a paradox we will focus on for this piece is this social media (Youtube) inspired confusion floating around the anti-study circles within our communities. This school of thought by some Africans (people of African descent) who live somewhere within the Western Hemisphere, most prominently within the U.S., is that they have no historical connection to Africa. Instead, these people claim that their heritage and linage has always existed within the Western Hemisphere for thousands of years. The only evidence these people ever present to validate this position are ancient historical landmarks like the Olmec heads in Southern Mexico. These heads, built thousands of years ago, clearly display African facial features, so to these Youtube PhD’s this represents evidence that Africans have always been here. We won’t dwell upon the fact that these people completely ignore concrete research and analysis by noted scholars like Ivan Van Sertima. In his classic book “They Came Before Columbus” Van Sertima, expertly argues with substantial scientific evidence that Africans and Indigenous peoples, as well as people from Asia and Europe, engaged in consistent trade long before colonialism. In fact, Van Sertima and many other scholars like W.E.B. DuBois, Yusef Ben Jochannan, Cheikh Anti Diop, and John Henrik Clarke, make the same arguments that monuments like the Olmec heads represent symbols of honor that were either built by the visiting Africans as tribute to their Indigenous trade hosts or were built by the Indigenous peoples to serve as honors to their visiting guests. I have been fortunate enough to sit down and talk to Van Sertima and Clarke so I was able to confirm directly from their lips that this was the intention of their scholarly work. Not, to suggest that Africans were not Africans and have always been in the Western Hemisphere. Another faulty claim these people make is the supposedly absence of physical evidence of slave ships. This is such a weak argument its astounding that we even have to have it today with Africans. Shipping experts have published analysis of the disintegration process sunken ships experience for decades now. And, even if you don’t know about that scientific perspective, virtually all of us understand that anything submerged in water, especially harsh salt water, for a period of time is going to experience disintegration of its particles. That is all true despite the reality that its not as if there have ever been any concerted efforts made to retrieve evidence of sunken slave ships. That has never happened.
Still, its quite clear within this anti-intellectual, social media earned PhD environment that dominates today that these basic facts won’t matter much to these people. So, I had an idea. Since so many Africans are getting these DNA tests that trace your family’s genealogical histories, and so many people are spending money and believing in this process, it would seem like this phenomenon would provide the appropriate research to clear up this question once and for all.
In other words, all of these Africa-denying Africans who are getting these DNA tests, all you have to do is publish the results of your testing. To validate your claims of absolutely no psychological and historical connection to Africa, from a scientific basis, there should be a significant percentage of you who are able to present test results that confirm no connection to Africa – right? Since these people are claiming upwards of 50% of us here in the Western Hemisphere who have no connection to Africa, proving this based on these tests should provide us the evidentiary basis to put this argument to bed once and for all. You are not Africans. You are something else – right?
Of course, we are dialectical and historical materialists here which means we don’t operate within fantasy worlds. We recognize and respect the historical and scientific laws of the universe we live in. As a result, despite our sarcasm above, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that these people cannot produce DNA tests disconnecting themselves from Africa. Certainly, we know the history of the Aboriginal people of Australia and the Dalit people of India (the so-called “Untouchables).” These are African people, but their journey is different. Unlike us, they did not leave Africa through the transatlantic slave trade. They physically left Africa under much different historical circumstances thousands of years ago, but each of those peoples realize how they are. They know they are Africans despite being removed from Africa so long ago. The Aboriginal Rights Society and representatives from the Dalit participated in Pan-African Congresses designed to bring African people everywhere together so these folks have never advanced conspiracy and fantasy tales about who they are. The related point of the Aboriginals and Dalit is that certainly, there will be a handful of our people who indeed do have histories that extend far beyond colonialism, but we refuse to sit here today and pretend that this is anything beyond a very small, negligible portion of our people in the Western Hemisphere. We cannot carry on this travesty to appease Africans who are ignorantly ashamed of our actual history.
There are multiple reasons for this dysfunctional thinking. First and foremost, when you find an African in the U.S. who is peddling this fiction, we will guarantee you that you will be dealing with an African who has absolutely no understanding of Africa’s history. And, we mean a person who hasn’t read one book about Africa, not one. This is a critical point because the capitalist white supremacy system has spent centuries perfecting its dehumanization of Africa and African people to justify the construction of the capitalist empire. Consequently, when Africans and everyone else doesn’t study true and objective African history, its unavoidable to be swept into the anti-Africa propaganda that is designed to create a mentality among us of shame and resentment. This is the design because if we respond this way we will never see our continued and future necessity to connect with Africa and our inability to see this will always prevent us from recognizing the methods in which this capitalist system continues to build its wealth on exploiting Africa while they keep us convinced that we have no wealth because we are not like them. The shame at not being them has convinced us to avoid Africa and instead make up fantasy. Or, to create a more palatable history instead of us seriously learning about our own true and proud history. For us to connect ourselves to the Americas because it is in this country where “success” has been achieved. Meanwhile, the glorious history of Africa’s great contributions to world civilizations, forms of spiritual worship, and our great resistance at all times to colonial intrusion into Africa is available for all who desire to learn it, but its always much easier to instead just watch Youtube videos and be entertained isn’t it?
Secondly, this fictional account of our history is so utterly disrespectful to the wonderful legacy of our African ancestors as well as that of the original and only true Indigenous people’s of the Western Hemisphere. With the dire conditions our people face, its far past time for children’s games. Its time to either put up or shut up. You can’t produce mass test results proving no connection to Africa because no such proof exists. You are Africans and its time to embrace that and challenge the backward thinking (reaped in ignorance and shame) that is represented by stupid statements by people like Kanye West when he said that slavery “sounds like a choice.”
I have no interest in obtaining a DNA test and more than likely, I probably won’t ever have that interest because I’m a Pan-Africanist which means I claim my mother Africa proudly and completely from Cairo to the Cape. From Nairobi to Nigeria. I love being in Africa around the Akan, Wolof, Mandinka, Ashanti, Kikuyu, etc., and having them claim me as one of them. Its all true to me because I know my future and Africa’s future are inseparable. And, I also know that no tests, snake oil salespeople, pretend reparations advocates (who only wish to enrich themselves), or fake profit driven Pan-African Black power pimps can do or say anything to change this ill-refutable reality. I only want that for you, but like anything worth having, it requires you putting in the work. There’s no pride in being ignorant, especially about our true and proud history.