Marcus Garvey and the Modern Blackman


“Every African-American in the United States needs to move their money, family, knowledge (sic) back to Africa w(h)ere you will be treated like the royalty you are. You don’t deserve this treatment. This is not your country.” Akon, Senegalese-American singer on perceived racism over the acquittal of George Zimmerman for killing a black teenager, Trayvon Martin.

If we stare longer into the global map of racism, we may realise that Africa is responsible for the humiliation of its dark-skinned people and descendants worldwide. If we stare longer into the sociology of Black people, we may realise that racism is perhaps a deserved punishment for our inability to build a single country years after the ideologies of Marcus Garvey, the intellections of W. E. B. Du Bois, the disobedience of Rosa Parks, the protests of Martin Luther King and the agitations of all the provoked black ancestors in post-abolition Americas. We do not need to stare longer to understand that racism is justified by the ostentatious inferiorities we Africans wear in disobedience to Bob Marley’s call—“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery!” Oops, Marley actually inherited those words from Garvey, Garvey who asked his people to move back to the Homeland – Africa!

Of course I’ll understand if you don’t know Garvey—in present society, history books are reserved for the misfits! But those who remember a dreamer like Garvey are simply seeking sympathies and attention to a collective failure; spell it out, any Blackman who remembers Garvey is destined to end up on the laps of misery. Garvey was a good guy, in whose memory I always shake my head as I reflect on the confusions and amnesias that occupy the worlds and homes of the Blackman today. He understood the need to reconnect with one’s ancestry, to be in a world in which the colour of justice is in the shade of the colour of your own skin. Garvey was a social prophet who died wishing Black Africa had dotted the White Man’s ‘t’ and crossed his ‘i’.

Perhaps it’s a good thing that the Black people in Americas refused to heed Garvey’s wish in that phase of our history. So we may praise that setback for forestalling those Back-to-Africa campaigns, because there wouldn’t have been many exceptions today in our attempts to convince the world that not every African leader corners taxpayers’ money to Switzerland while dependent citizens pine away, as we witness in our politics from Abuja to Kinshasha. We must celebrate our convictions, that racist geneticists could not scientifically prove that absence of intelligence among many African leaders is genetic. The Mandelas have managed to frustrate that stereotype even though South Africa is still not a land of privileged Blackman. There are exceptions, and there are also enough statistics of evil white men who wrecked humanity. But no evil would ever be bigger than conspiring to loot the resources of a nation in need; this is where the black leaders, especially of this era, lose it. And this is where they become easy pawns of contempt and racism. If you want to fix racism, fix yourself, fix your people and fix your country. There is no shortcut to stopping these humiliations of the dark-skinned race in Americas, Europe, Asia and Arabia. Racism is a psychologically acquired prejudice, it’s a feeling that comes with realisations that your own people, having built what the others couldn’t or haven’t, must indeed be superior. Commonsense!

This acquired prejudice is applied in our institutions, and our very interactions, where an excelling Blackman is seen as either lucky or deviant. It’s this same feeling that inspires even African men to shamelessly refer to the most beautiful of their women as “African Beauties” or “Black Beauties” – this depreciatory epithet, we don’t seem to know, gives away that, though African or Black ladies are largely ugly, some are indeed beautiful. Why aren’t there European Beauties, Caucasian Beauties, or even White Beauties in the lexicostatistics of the White race?

These are the reasons I was not particularly surprised by the verdict of the George Zimmerman –Trayvon Martin trial. Young Martin was killed in a world where the colour of justice is still white, and there is little we can do about it. I don’t know why “resident” Africans suddenly developed sensitivity to inhumanity when we have celebrated worse evils in our polities. The Zimmerman trial is not any strange to our people. The acquittal of Major Hamza Al-Mustapha after almost 15 years in prison is a bigger joke than Zimmerman’s, for in the case of the latter we know the politics of race there in which the Blackman is always guilty until proven otherwise. This is as a result of the unfavourable statistics of Bad Guys among the black communities. Institutions don’t work with truths, they work with statistics, and as long as statistics remain the major tools of interpreting a people, the black people are forever criminals.

To demand to know what subjects the Black race to this level of moral collapse despite the churches and mosques seeking to reconstruct the spiritual morals of a people with no traceable ancestry is a futile mission; our poverty and economic frustrations fuel our desperate and criminal quest for survival. The gangster culture, which actually exists among other races, becomes an escape for the hopeless black youth in America, and the statistics of this incriminated and killed Trayvon. Yet the exemplary African-American models that condemned the criminal culture of black inner city communities are seen as “player-hating” morons. Classic response was one by rapper Nas to Civil Rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson. “You ain’t helping nobody in the ‘hood and that’s the bottom line.” Simple!

Now who helps the unfortunate blacks in America’s ghetto-hoods? Black Africa? Hell, no! Akon’s outrage may be absurd, but it revives the memory of Garvey and how, about a century later, there is no single Black African country capable of granting the marginalised blacks a home. In fact, native Africans are dying to replace Trayvon Martin. It’s really depressing to think about Garvey in this trying time. May God save us from us!

Gimba Kakanda
Blueprint Newspaper (19/07/2013)
@gimbakakanda (On Twitter)

3 thoughts on “Marcus Garvey and the Modern Blackman

  1. A well written piece.

    Unfortunately African nations still allow outsiders to operate divide and conquer tactics. Leaders start off well, then enter “top dog mode”, believing that it is their way or no way!

    “My Name is Marcus Garvey” A bite-sized introduction to e-book (available on Amazon)

    At present its all about finding and associating with “Like Minded People”.

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