Undoing the colonizer’s language is perhaps one of the most important tasks we as revolutionaries can undertake because it is through and by language that we form concepts and ideas about ourselves and the world we live in.
One of the major objectives of the colonizer mentality and activity, aside from the profit motive and the oppression and suppression of people to serve that end, is the disassociation of those people, and in particular the people from the African Diaspora (16th– 19th Century, c.a. 12 million people), from our historical roots, i.e., to dislocate us from our heritage because without knowledge of our heritage, we would have no claim to legacy. There is nothing more detrimental that has happened to the African community in American than the systematic dismissal of our legacy. By legacy what I mean is that which we transmit to the next generation and generations thereafter such as, capital, land, and companies that remain within the African community’s hands. Instead, what we have been given and what has taken its place is the love for one’s self, that is, individualism. A love for sneakers and cars and many other things that perish with their Planned Obsolescence and are not intended for inheritance and to be transmitted from one generation to the next.
This is the antithesis of legacy and is an American ideal, not an African ideal and is the foundation of capitalism, which is the force that systematically pits us all in competition and against one another. However, while it is observed that many of the so-called lower classes are in competition with one another, and the African community is most in competition with itself for favor in this society based on white-supremacy, what is almost unnoticed is that White Americans understand the system and have knowledge and appreciation for legacy; thus, they, and especially the top 10% of the wealthiest in this society, transmit capital from generation to generation because they have knowledge of where they came from and thus a direction for the future. There is a serious disconnection between what we are being told and what is happening beyond our notice. Those in the top 10% and especially in the 1% of this capitalistic society do not want us to think about the future generations and do not want us to have ownership of capital because the more capital we possess and transmit between generations then that only means that is the less capital that they have access to, to control and keep within their families.
There are two things that if I am correct, then you are asking yourself right now and that is, (i) Why does he keep referring to the African community and, (ii.) How did they accomplish the destruction of the concept of legacy? Well the two are intricately linked and based on conversations that I have had, it is my suspicion that you are not going to like what I have to tell you because it is going to question the very foundation of your indoctrination in this society. It is the term “Black”. Now during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s-70s and the Black Power Movement, the term Black was reclaimed by an oppressed people and took what was once a derogatory term and owned it. This was something that was necessary and a natural response to being associated with a negative label. However, the term “black,” has simultaneously removed us from our connection with our heritage and disconnected us from the knowledge of who we truly are; Africans.
This is not meant to infer that the Black Culture which has emerged in American society or any other society is not important because that is simply not true. However, it is an attack on the colonizer’s language and indoctrination. Instead of labeling us African, which is a continent not a country or nationality, or by a country of origin such as, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, or Congo and thereby keeping us connected to our heritage they selected an arbitrary term, “Black,” to call us. I have never seen a black person and I am willing to bet that none of you have either. Although, I will accept that we have all seen many people of varying shades of brown, some of who are darker than others, but never a black person. Thus, we have been labeled arbitrarily with a term that has nothing to do with who we truly are and for just as long as we continue to accept and use this definition of who we are, for just that long will we remain disassociated from our heritage. And not being connected to our heritage we will not have a reason to fight for our future.
What they do not want is for us to come together, the entire African Diaspora and recognize that we are all African from many different African countries, but all sharing a common identity and heritage because we are all over the world and supersede state and national borders. Our power unified is much greater than any state by itself because we have infiltrated all levels of the hierarchy and echelons of the societies in which we now live today, and this is so even within the United States. They have power for only so long as we remain separated and in competition with one another as actors within the capitalistic system and it is the term “Black” which separates us. Once we can remove this term from our vocabulary and move beyond the colonizer’s language and see ourselves for whom we truly are, then we can begin to move forward and build our communities together.
At this point we can begin to focus on our legacy, i.e., the capital we are transmitting to the next generation and the generations thereafter. As we build our community infrastructure and begin to focus on financial security we could start our own banking system to provide more of us with the necessary means to gain access to capital. Couple this step with an educational component to teach fiscal responsibility and entrepreneurial practices that will sustain a business in this capitalist society our people will prove to be successful in transmitting ownership from generation to generation. As our communities begin to build the necessary capital we can begin to operate our own educational system so that we are no longer learning only the colonizer’s lessons, but are also instructing our youth and connecting them with our heritage and arming them for life in this system.
Most importantly, even if the formation of our legacy is a little different than what I have proposed, is that reclamation of our legacy does occur. This will occur through reclamation of our heritage and this will be done by destroying and denying the colonizer’s language about us. We are not “Black” we are “African”. This hurtle challenges an indoctrination of our people that is now comfortable and broadly accepted by many and will be difficult to dislodge. But this is not a hurdle that is impossible to surmount, if we put our hearts and minds to the task.