Picture this: A global black population that can all trace their ancestors back to one original continent, to one single ancestry, who are closer related to each other than they are to anyone else alive on this planet today. From the outside looking in, you might be so inclined as to think that the sense of brotherhood within this community was second to none.
Guess again, my melanated friend. An African black can’t empathize with the plight of a Caribbean black, just as a Brazilian black doesn’t feel one way or another about a European black.
Black people don’t see the universal interconnectedness of their unique struggles in a white dominated world. They can’t see this, even when it’s staring them directly in the eyes, because of the lasting effects of colonial conditioning. They don’t want to see it because they’re happy in their individual corners of the world, keeping their heads down and trying not to rock the boat.
They don’t understand that the white man who colonized their ancestral homeland is the same one who stole their long lost brothers and sisters in the dark of night, with nary an explanation nor a penny in compensation given in return.
They can’t imagine that the white-washed religion that they worship today was distorted from its origins and used primarily as a means to an end; that by stripping them of their culture and native belief systems, the colonizers were able to re-mold the psyches of the oppressed to view their captors in a favorable light.
Over the course of generations, the global black village was slowly subverted into elevating the image of the pale invaders to a God-like level. Little did they realize that, in doing so, blackness had no choice but to take a backseat to the overly fetishized white skin which now sat firmly in the driver’s seat.
This conditioning was vital to the establishment of an international racial hierarchy and the perpetual placement of melanin-deficient folks at the very top of that hierarchy. The concept of whiteness, as orchestrated by both colonizer and imperial regime alike, is what allowed a global minority to achieve and maintain dominance over the black and brown majority. This intentional division of black folks has always been a pivotal piece in the white supremacy master plan.
Slave masters often employed this psychological tactic by separating entire family groups of slaves and selling them off to different plantations. They knew that African cultures and religions were almost entirely based on communal practices. By separating closely knit family groups, slave masters broke the bonds that gave their slaves the willpower to fight against subjugation every step of the way instead of simply succumbing to the crushing weight of bondage.
Once you strip a person of everything they’ve ever known and loved, all that remains is a docile shell of their former self which can now be gently coerced into a life of slavery with little resistance. As the old adage goes, you must divide in order to conquer. A closed fist can do a lot more damage than an open palm; similarly, a divided peoples are much easier to rule over than an organized collective.
We were originally divided by white propaganda, but continue to remain divided because we choose to perpetuate those divisions amongst ourselves. All they did was plant the seeds of division in the soil of our conscience and we gladly provided (and continue to provide) enough water for an entire forest to blossom and bear fruit.
Colonialism never ended on the continent because it evolved into a much more insidious form, just as Western chattel slavery morphed into the prison industrial complex in the US today.
Whereas all that the colonizers needed to steal resources from the motherland in the past was a musket in one hand and a bible in the other, they now invade major African cities armed only with the pretense of humanitarian aid and a high interest loan agreement smuggled into the fine print.
Even though we are given the illusion of freedom in the diaspora today, our fate lies entirely in the hands of college educated white men who write laws designed to target our blackness, and high school educated white men who enforce those discriminatory laws with equal parts violence and impunity.
You often hear rappers waxing poetic about how, if they didn’t have rap, they would have ended up either dead or in jail. The sad reality is, chances are that they’ll still end up incarcerated or cut down in the street by a flurry of bullet-sized, melanin-seeking missiles regardless of their current occupation or socioeconomic status.
Just as our bodies were only useful to white supremacy for the purposes of unpaid labor in the past, so, too are we equally as disposable when we fail to meet production quotas in the present. The price of our lives is still remarkably low, regardless of where we happen to live when that auction bell tolls and our name is called.
Despite the glaring similarities between black oppression in every corner of the world, we are still somehow unable to connect the dots. It’s as if a soft, milky haze is shrouding our ability to perceive that an injustice done to one of us is an injustice done to all of us. While we bicker over cultural appropriation taking place back and forth between the various iterations of blackness, white supremacy continues to indiscriminately plunder our lives and pillage our crops .
This system of racial checks and balances has, in effect, created a perpetual motion machine, wherein we provide all the energy needed to sustain our own subjugation by continuing to reap the seeds of division that were sowed by the first white hands that ever reached the untameable continent.
Until we realize that the reality of black struggle is a universal one, until we begin to organize and strategize means of self determination across self imposed and white dictated borders, we will never release ourselves from the yoke of global systematic oppression.