Are Black people created in the image and likeness of our Creator? If the answer is yes, then let us consider the implications of “double consciousness”. “Double consciousness,” as defined by W. E. B. Du Bois, “is looking at one’s self through the eyes of other.” Other is, America, i.e., white America and its contempt and maltreatment of Black people.
White American culture is the source of modern-day oppression. The oppression of Black people is justified in white culture because it is the history of the other, it is the history of white supremacy.
White American culture upholds that America is a place of true justice and freedom for all, although, inherent in this declaration is the silent oppression of Black people.
Oppression takes the form of racism, and racism takes the form of oppression; it is present in all of America’s institutions.
Racism is faith-based; it affirms that the white race is glorious and pure and that the black race is defective and depraved. The goal of racism is to deny justice, equality, and freedom to Black people.
White America strives for the loyalty of whites and Europeans, indoctrinating them into white America’s justification of white supremacy, and black inferiority.
Black people who understand racism in America have had to wrestle with their love for the country, considering who and what it stands for.
Even though Blacks fully oppose white Americans on issues of racism, in many other ways Blacks support and are a part of American institutions that historically oppressed them, and fostered doctrines of racism.
Beginning in the 1960s, amid protest seeking an end to Jim Crow laws and social exclusion, emerged an articulate, fearless class of Black intellectuals. One might ask where are their voices today?
The writers of African Time said the following:
“The road of least resistance was taken by African American intellectuals in the late 1960s and early 2020s; an era characterized by assassinations of Black leaders, effective governmental counterintelligence operations, and the growing internal need to remove threats to national security through other means. When offered opportunities to teach students at predominantly white colleges and universities, the intellectually inclined Black activists opted to pursue the road of esteemed professor.
For Black people at historically white colleges and universities, this meant a life of posturing, talking, moving from one speaking engagement to another, watered-down integration politics, and at the very least, an inability to carry out work that has meaningful, future-oriented implications for the Black race. The Afrocentric intelligentsia agreed in practice to neither understand nor change historical and contemporary issues and processes, but to militantly but also comfortably adjust to it.”
Double consciousness is present in the loyalties that Black people have of themselves, and the country they live in, i.e., America.
Black people, like all people, view themselves from their own unique perspective, however, they also see themselves through the lenses of White America.
Du Bois says, “One ever feels his two-ness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, who’s dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
Du Bois, concluded that, “From this double life every American Negro must live, as a Negro and as an American.”
In 1963, Du Bois became a citizen of Ghana. And on August 27, of the same year, he died. He died on the night before the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King led a eulogy to Du Bois.
Putting aside the complexity of double consciousness for a moment, I believe that in the revelation of self-consciousness lies a treasure chest of power and resources. For, self-consciousness affirms that Black people are created in the image and likeness of their Creator.
The Creator endowed Black people with the ability to govern themselves, that is, to manage and control their bodies, minds, and souls; as well as the world in which they live.
Black people can choose to be authentically Black, so that, in choosing to be Black, Black people acknowledge that they designed and built civilization as we know it today. Therefore, Black people have the ability to restore the ways of civilization and set the world free from the tyranny of white supremacy.
Black Cultural Empowerment
Cultural awareness jumped out at me as a young adult on one of my frequent visits to Teague, Texas, a country town with a population of fewer than six thousand people.
While in Teague, Texas, visiting my mother’s mother, culture, family, and community were given meaning.
I was only there for a few days, and every morning, about 5:30, my grandmother woke me up and asked me to sit on the front porch with her while she sipped on coffee and shared stories of her understanding of God.
Even today, her words are alive in my heart. Listening to her gave meaning to my life; it opened me up to the presence of my ancestors, who I had never acknowledged. It was there that I began to understand the path I traveled in coming to life.
Her words resonated with survival techniques, and empowerment. Her words represented the wisdom she carried in her heart, in her consciousness and unconscious mind. My life of learning can be summed up in the lessons she taught.
She did not have material possessions to give, but what she gave me was more valuable than the things people live and die for in today’s world. Spiritual consciousness, humility, decency, loyalty, faithfulness, respect, pride; these things she gave me to embed in my heart.
In our time together, we became one. Neither male nor female; neither old nor young, just one spirit connecting us to one another. It was with her that I realized that human beings are more than flesh and bones. As our spirits enjoined we entered the realm of past, present, and future generations, all present in her sound, her words, her voice.
As I learn more about Africa, I am drawn closer to my grandmother, as it seems that Africa was like a fire in her bones; a fire that burned with knowledge, power, and fearlessness.
Sitting there on the porch, my Grandmother told me a story about her Grandfather, my great, great Grandfather. My Grandmother was born in 1903, and it was in 1983 that we were sitting on the front porch talking.
Her Grandfather, who was born before slavery ended in the United States, was a free man. He was able to earn some money and purchase some land there in Teague, Texas.
He and his neighbors got together and built a church. No sooner than it was built, White people got together and planned to burn it down. She told the story of my Grandfather and their neighbors on top of the roof of the church, with guns fighting off White people who had guns and torches trying to burn the church down.
In the aftermath, my Grandfather had to sleep with his gun and carry it everywhere he went. Though he valued his life, he was known for his loyalty to God, family, neighbors, and community; all of which he would protect with his life.
Black culture is present in my brief reflection!
Black culture psychologically, emotionally, and physically elevates Black people; it is the foundation of our confidence; it makes us proud people.
Black culture is the language and substance of Black life; it proclaims that Black people are very special. It validates that Black people are the original people of the earth.
Black culture is embodied in our natural ability to make music, and create ways to dance and groove to the music. Black culture communicates with Black people enabling them to experience joy, happiness, suffering, sadness, and the struggle of other Black people who have lived, live, and will live on earth.
Be On Guard
White people passed laws saying that Black people were not full human beings. Black people were exploited and excluded from all things human because of their race.
White people created an American ethos that denied the existence of Black culture in America. Their intention in removing culture and value from the lives of Black people was to pit Blacks against themselves.
Whites supremacy advocates that Black people are biologically inferior, culturally inferior, and socially deprived. As such, the American way of life cannot help Black people who are on a path of social annihilation and self genocide.
For Black people to believe that White people will abandon the oppressive structures they have built is pure madness. Here in America and the world over, White people intend to keep Black people powerless.
Social institutions are designed to covertly manufacture shackles that marginalize and oppress Black people.
Horatio Alger was a novelist. He was born in 1832, during the days of slavery; he was White and wrote several novels for young white males.
A myth evolved from his novels: The myth asserts that individuals who are hard-working and who live exemplary, pious lives can always achieve and move up the economic and social ladder.
At the root of this myth and its place in society is the notion that Black people are responsible for their failure in America.
The irony of this myth is that it was written at a time when Black people worked sixteen-hour days with no possibility of moving up the socioeconomic ladder.
To support their delusion, White people point to Hispanics, Asians, and other immigrants to foster the narrative that hard work will allow people to move up the socioeconomic ladder.
However, the creation of minority grouping does not account for centuries of slavery and oppression Black people endured in America. Today, we hear more about LGBT rights than we do about the rights of Black people.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, minority grouping is a tool in the hand of White people to mitigate and facilitate indifference toward the centuries of torture, murder, and inhuman treatment of Black people in America.
Minority grouping, as well as, talk of multiculturalism, camouflages the atrocities Black people have suffered in America; and, covers up the debt that America and other European nations owe exclusively to Black People.
Integration has had the effect of changing the cover of the book, with no changes made to the book’s content. Black people can live in some neighborhoods with White people, go to some schools, and socialize in some parts of America with White People.
Even so, American social, economic, and cultural power is controlled by White people. Integration has painted over Black culture and history. Integration and its proffer of a color-blind society is a deception.
Integration dismantled the Black baseball league, facilitated the gradual disappearance of Black-owned businesses, removed role models and mentorship from Black communities, and more.
Integration as I have experienced it in America ambushed Black culture; it is used to repress, oppress, divide and marginalize Black people. Integration makes Black people invisible and guards the lies white people tell themselves.
For example, while ignoring the debt owed to Black people, white people declare that America owes a debt to white men, because they built the country. Therefore white men are entitled to all of its fruits, i.e., financial resources, institutions and levers of power.
Harriet Jacobs, Incidents In the Life of a Slave Girl: “On one of these sale days, I saw a mother lead seven children to the auction block. She knew that some of them would be taken from her, but they took all. The children were sold to a slave trader, and their mother was bought by a man in her own town. Before night her children were all far away. She begged the trader to tell her where he intended to take them; this he refused to do. How could he, when he knew he would sell them, one by one, wherever he could command the highest price? I met that mother in the street, and her wild, haggard face lives today in my mind. She wrong here hands in anguish, and exclaimed, “Gone! All gone! Why don’t God kill me? I had no words wherewith to comfort her. Instances of this kind are of daily, yea, of hourly occurrence.”
White men treated black people like they were human capital. And so, capitalism began with enslaving black people, which allowed white men to grow and produce products without incurring labor cost, and without having to lift a finger.
As the white man is propagating capitalism all over the world, know that capitalism has no need for Black people. Capitalism has no need for people who have been made obsolete for production, manufacturing, and serving white people.
Speak with the few Jews who survived Nazi Germany, the Indians who survived genocide here in America, or the Indians who survived the genocide in the Caribbean.
History is replete with examples of the white man’s tyranny; it has taught us that freedom will not come to people who passively hold faith that white will relent in their blood-thirsty quest for wealth, power, and control.
Black people are facing an existential challenge; the challenge to take control of their own lives and future.