The human mindset is the biggest battleground on earth. World Wars have been and are, to this day, being waged in our minds and it is very clear that in order to have any meaningful progress, as an individual and as a social group, the battle of the mind must first be won. Sadly the African mindset has taken significant losses in this war so much so it is barely holding the line. Through violent invalidation, confusing and disempowering indoctrination the mind of the African has almost been completely erased and has subsequently been reprogrammed with a deliberately packaged set of beliefs and whitewashed knowledge that ultimately render him or her an unassuming biological component to be used, almost machine-like, for the convenience of other races. This emptying of the black being into a programmable shell can be attributed almost entirely to the erasing and/or distortion of the African identity.
Identity – what many profoundly call roots – is the fundamental paradigm within which we live our lives. It is what we feel can be personally associated with us; things we feel we own. It is the concept of ourselves that fuels our movement as we naturally go to great lengths to protect, nurture and express it.
Many elements form part of our identity; the more obvious being our personal characteristics like our physical appearance, talents, mannerisms, belief systems, failures or achievements, displays of moral, leadership or technical proficiency. However, our identity is not limited to our personal characteristics only. It also comprises of everything else that we feel represents us including other people – past or present– and their belief systems, failures or achievements, displays of moral, leadership or technical abilities.
Our association with these Identities can be reinforced (validated) or distorted. If reinforced we form positive perceptions of self and take actions towards nurturing, expressing and protecting that identity and consequently ourselves. If however they are distorted we experience negative self-perceptions that cause us to take actions that minimise ourselves. Ultimately our identities can either empower or disempower us depending on our perception of them.
Unfortunately our perceptions of our identities are capable of being manipulated. Enter white supremacy: in order for white supremacy to truly exist, and not have the world staring at it with disdainful amazement, it is important to destroy the identities of the melanated people – more specifically their perceptions of them – and make them aspire to associate themselves with a fabricated white superior identity.
This has been done in various ways but all of them make use of a form of violence together with a deliberate manipulation of memory – i.e. indoctrination. Violence seeks to erase what is all ready there and includes physical destruction of those aspects that positively reinforce African identity such as monuments, technology and other forms of infrastructure and lastly the individual African’s body. Once that violence has taken place then the memory of that violence is manipulated as if it never occurred and that the dysfunctional status-quo has always existed and it exists solely as a product of the victim’s natural inferiority. The victim is then deliberately taught to identify and associate themselves with that self-same dysfunctional status quo. This cycle continues throughout every generation, with each generation gradually forgetting parts of its identity and subconsciously attempting to disassociate themselves with blackness whilst simultaneously attempting to associate with a perceived positive white – a processes now known as assimilation – and begins to take over in inflicting that very same violence and memory manipulation on itself; this is the willing slave generation, the true second-class citizens, the completion of the human-as-a-systematic-labour-component project.
This is the stage where the phantom idea of white supremacy is at its peak. At this point the identity of the African is so broken that they believe that nothing good has ever been done by them and subtly or overtly long to be white. But because white supremacy does not even want them to have any form of positive identification it constantly asserts how they will never be good enough thus condemning them to a perpetual validation-seeking state. In reaction to this, that group then wants to assert their own equality but with self-defeating ignorance, shame and/or disdain for their roots find themselves not being able to mount any sort of defense except one based on consumption – with the delusional belief that power lies in consumption as opposed to production.
How then do we solve this identity crises? Well if any part within ourselves believes that white supremacy is an inevitable and natural occurrence – therefore valid – then there is no real reason to solve anything. There is no need to even try and affirm who we are as it would be a pointless and even unnatural exercise. However this is where historical context becomes critical and why many a black conscious Pan-Africanist will painstakingly research the past and observe the present in order to place in universal context the true African identity from its greatest achievements to its worst failures and if they come to know, as I do, that our African identity is filled with an unmatched amount of historical precedents and superlatives; and also understand that our identities are under a deliberate and constant attack then resistance is the only logical solution. If resistance is the only solution, as many who are finally waking up to what is going on are coming to realise, we need to understand where the focus of the attack is in order to focus our resistance. Are only some of our clans, nationalities, shades of blackness, languages being attacked? No these are just individual manifestations of the same African identity; the focus is much bigger than that. In fact, the attack is on the African identity itself. Therefore all clans, nationalities, shades of blackness, languages associated with Africa are scheduled for eradication – at different times maybe but none holds any special place especially in the eyes of white supremacy. Seeing as this is where the real war is being fought it would make no sense in focusing your resistance on anything other than being authentically Pan-African – embracing all clans, nationalities, shades and languages as one African identity . Therefore validating your authentic Pan-African identity is the single most revolutionary thing you can do and it will set you on the path to acquiring the necessary amount of black power and the freedom it enables.
By Marena ‘Wa Ditlou’ Mothoa