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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectIts Cool...
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=23838&mesg_id=23867
23867, Its Cool...
Posted by poetx, Fri Jun-09-00 08:41 PM
>>as a writer, i'll switch up
>>and use AA every once
>>in awhile, but as has
>>been pointed out, even the
>>word "African" can confuse matters.
>I don't see how the word
>"African" confuses matters at all.
>I'm sure you've heard the
>term "Western Civilization" drummed into
>your skull countless times, and
>there's virtually no challenge to
>the validity of the term.

i challenge the term "western civilization" almost every time i encounter it, but thats another matter. what i meant by "confusing the issue" is that "African" means so many different things to so many people that one has to be very certain of the speaker, the listener(s) and the context (more specific than i wanted to be posting at 1am in the morning). if i'm listening to say, someone steeped in the language of Black Nationalism, and i hear "Afrikan", i understand that they are probably referring to the universal African, the people of the diaspora, which could just as easily be a sista from St. Louis as a brother from Congo. someone who doesn't understand that context may just as easily assume the speaker's use of "Africans" refers solely to the current inhabitants of the mother continent. yet another self-described African American may feel some need to distinguish himself from a recent immigrant from Nigeria (would that Nigerian then be African African American, or a Nigerian-African-American?).

even more intriguing, to me, are the descendants of white (English, Boer, whatever) colonists who've enjoyed the fruits of centuries of exploitation and now call themselves Africans. like the landowners in Zimbabwe who don't want to address the sins of the father...

>I have no quibble with
>Africa, whether the term is
>indigenous or not ("Black" is
>not an "African" word, as
>far as I'm aware).

i have no quibble with Africa either, (i'm a proud African), just pointing out that the vast differences in peoples understanding of who is African (due to the influence of education from Western Civilization) further complicate the already complicated issue of self-identity for people who've already been confused for centuries.

>> its cool to the
>>extent that it makes us
>>think about Africa when we
>>otherwise wouldn't, but in a
>>lot of cases, it promotes
>>the whole "continent as country"
>>bullshit that trivializes the tremendous
>>diversity of culture and shared
>>experience that exists among non-white
>Pan-Africanism promotes the whole "Africans-are-Africans, no-matter-where-they've-ended-up-in-the-diaspora"
>bullshit. It does not "trivialize"
>anything. Do you think Malcolm,
>Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba etc.
>were trying to "trivialize" their
>individual cultures when they adopted
>that term?

*aargh* that's not where i was going with that statement, which is why i qualified it with "its cool to the extent..." what i was addressing was the mainstream mindstate, under so-called 'western civilization', which differentiates and affirms Culture, Nationality, History, etc, only when dealing with European people, but insists upon dealing with others in the most broad and generic sense. Indians are not Sioux or Dakota or Chocktaw. Asians are not Korean or Vietnamese or Chinese. Hispanics are not Venezuelan, Peruvian, Chilean. they are a bunch of folks who just fit into a big fuzzy groups of other-ness, to be discussed when there's nothing going on in the Balkans.

i consider myself pan-africanist and black nationalist, and certainly wouldn't be contradicting Lumumba, Nkrumah or Malcolm. but an acknowledgement of our (Black people's) similarities across the diaspora needs to be accompanied with a knowledge of self which is largely absent among the 30 million or so of us trying to figure out what to call ourselves. and the assumption that i make in answering this post is that we're discussing what the masses should call their/our-selves, and why. intelligentsia and academics (not necessarily the same) are going to have their favorite terminology regardless, the issue is really what most of us should call ourselves, and why. and that said, i still feel that Black is more universal than African American (Black vs. African would be a different discussion).

>>y'all can tell the difference between
>>and Englishman, a Scot, a
>>German, a Spaniard, an Italian
>>and a Frenchman no doubt.
>>but can you do the
>>same for a Senagalese, Ethiopian,
>>Nigerian, Ugandan, etc.?
>Who is "y'all"? I can tell
>the difference between all of
>these culture, and I'm pretty
>sure I'm not alone. This
>is an odd blanket statement.

"y'all" is not you or me, individually. "y'all" is us, the masses of folks in this country who consider ourselves Black and/or African American. americans can't even find our own shit on the map, and our education in "western civilization" has made pretty sure most of us (and i'm confident in that generalization), have been taught not to view black folks on the same plane as white folks. witness the use in the news and media of terms like ethnic vs. tribal. spiritual vs. animist.

> reasoning,
>>i used to think it
>>was aight as a synonym,
>>at the least, and could
>>be useful in awakening some
>>type of pan-african consciousness. but
>>what quickly ensued is that
>>you had folks loving it
>>because it allowed them to
>>affirm and emphasize the "American"
>>part (after 400 years, if
>>muhfuckas haven't caught on to
>>the fact that we're 'american',
>>they really ain't gonna get
>>it no matter what we
>>call ourselves). others of
>>us quickly coopted the symbols
>>and trappings of africana, without
>>any deeper analysis or understanding
>>-- so it is that
>>we got preachers that drape
>>a little kente cloth around
>>the same ol' king james
>>shit they been talking for
>>besides, like the race names of
>>many other non-white peoples, the
>>term African is not indigenous.
>>we never called ourselves Africans
>>in antiquity (i've read in
>>several places that as far
>>as historians can tell, the
>>word originated centuries ago with
>>a slave named Leo Africanus...).
>This is wrong. If you want
>a detailed explanation, I can
>give it to you, but
>I don't want to hold
>up this thread.

cool. show and prove. like i said, i saw it cited in several places, but now with enough evidence behind it for me to take it and present it as fact.
>>"Black", a name derived from an
>>exaggerated physical description of
>>skin color, actually has deeper
>>roots then most of us
>>realize. some of the
>>ancient names from indigenous "africans"
>>referred to themselves as "people
>>or children of the sun".
>> place-names like "AlKeBuLan"
>>and "Kemet" actually translate to
>>"land of the blacks" (Kemet,
>>of course, being the name
>>the so-called Egyptians gave their
>>own civilization before the Greeks
>>gave us "Egypt" or Aeigyptos,
>>which means land of the
>>sun burnt people, by the
>This is also wrong. "Black" is
>not at all an exaggerated
>physical description.

semantics. its a phenotypical description. yes, some of us still fit the literal description perfectly well, i put the word in there as a hedge in case somebody replied to say, "not me, i'm high yella". due to circumstances i don't need to discuss, we don't all fit the physical description anymore, but the term still signifies a mindstate and a genetic and cultural link. adam clayton powell was black. Clarence Thomas look black, but he somethin else.

I don't know
>about you, but I'm "Black."
>Several of my relatives are
>Black. And millions of people
>across the face of the
>earth answer to that description
>too. "Aeigyptos" does not mean
>land of the sun-burnt people.
>That's Aethiopia.

got me. again, i didn't have time to dig out "Civilization Or Barbarism" when replying to your post, and yes, Aethiops is actually the land of the sun-burnt people. Kemet, or Kmt, does however mean land of the blacks.

> unlike the appellations, "colored",
>>"negro", and "nigger", we actually
>>gave ourselves "Black", and it
>>turns out to be the
>>most historically appropriate way to
>>address each other without excluding
>>huge sections of our extended
>>family tree from the discourse.
>We DIDN'T give ourselves the appelation
>"Black". Why do you say

yes, i'm fully aware that the word "black" itself is English, and no more indigenous than the etymology of "African" - i was merely pointing out that we do have some history of self-identification by phenotype, so there's nothing wrong with the concept of us unified in "blackness". (the negative connotations of "blackness" in english and other european languages is a whole 'nother post).

>>so, if i need to be
>>specific, i'll go there. when
>>discussing Roy Hargrove's (or Dizzy
>>Gillespie's) musical influence, the designation
>>Afro-Cuban is significant. but if
>>i'm building with somebody on
>>global politics and economics, we
>I hope I've clarified some stuff.

yes, you did. hope i did to.