What black history?

Nations have names!

Franklin
Johnston

Friday, February 08, 2019

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Prejudice by blacks on brown people runs deep in the African Diaspora, yet blacks love brownings. But to some blacks they are not black enough, yet to whites we are all black. Blacks fight one war, but brown people are bruited by both white and black.

Black History Month is dead, but why Reggae Month when every day here is reggae day?

Prime Minister, good sense is February, as Math Month, Science Month, or Jamaica History Month? Our ancestors are from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Gambia, etc, so we could feature their history each year during Jamaica History Month.

Black history was created by Americans needing comfort from memories of evil white slavers, so many were angry at My Great-Grandfather, the Nigerian Slave Trader, by Adaobi Nwaubani, as she exposed evil black slavers. “Nwaubani Ogogo was a slave trader who gained power and wealth by selling other Africans across the Atlantic. 'He was a renowned trader' my father told me proudly 'he dealt in palm produce and human beings'.” ( New Yorker, July 15, 2018).

And we know “ohu” (descendants of slaves) are still loathed in Africa. The Jamaica Observer should publish it in full as we have books by Sherlock, Williams, Rodney, Bryan, but zero on slaving by Africans.

When Marcus Garvey wrote, “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots,” was he serious? Jamaicans with roots in China, Europe, India, Syria, etc, can read their history any day, but for the 92.1 per cent of us Garvey's aphorism is useless, as Africa will not write any. So, archaeology, tales of sailors, governors, missionaries, books — all white — have been our sources.

Garvey said “know your origin”, so which African in genetics, DNA, neuroscience is mapping the black genome? Which black Darwin is writing origin of our species? Don't hold your breath, check all-white Ancestry.com.

Garvey said “know your culture”, ideas, customs, arts, but what African books speak to these or work ethic, innovation, values, artistry? We know Anancy, obeah; we sing, dance, run, carve figures with large penises; is this our culture? We unpack low productivity, a penchant to rage, rapine, violence, random breeding with no child support; is this our culture? Female genital mutilation is high African culture. Do we embrace it? Last month a couple from Ghana was jailed in London for carving their four-year old daughter's vagina with a kitchen knife. Animals! Blacks flee Africa by a new middle passage and are sold to Arabs in Tripoli or die crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. Déjà vu?

All of us may be born equal in biology and potential, but whites are superior in performance and results. Was this always so? Africa must write its history up to 650 CE when Muslims invaded, or 1400 CE when Europeans arrived, so we compare works. We are not blameless and need a 'History of Jamaica 1900 to 2000', as there are conflicting versions of our decades of failure. Edward Seaga writes his story ­— a good read, but we need 360-degree history. We see no sustainably prosperous black nation, yet Caricom, Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) are all-black clubs. Can history say why our leaders chose losers? Not one brown nation in CSME, so Caribbean agencies are xenophobic; black English with black Haiti in tow — racist? Our future is to create nimble, non-racial economic history with America or Canada, Dominican Republic, or Nigeria as direct air and sea logistics work well with market size. We can change the trajectory of Jamaica's history.

 

Jamaican roots may hurt Kamala Harris

US presidential hopeful Kamala Harris is being 'dissed' for her Jamaican roots. It's the diaspora from black-ruled islands vs American blacks, so pray it does not get legs as xenophobia will hurt us. The enmity against Kamala by local black media not networks as CNN is real. That her Jamaican family is elitist, not American 'street'; the prurient analysis of her father's skin, scion of a slave owner, and like Obama “40 acres and a mule” is not in Kamala's DNA. Second, will be her treatment of black miscreants as prosecutor and attorney general. Next, her 'law and order' stance, such as support for the death penalty in an often all-black California death row. They all prove Kamala is Jamaican and Indian bourgeoisie, not American black.

The antipathy to Jamaica on black talk shows since Kamala emerged is unusual. West Indian politicians thrive on East Coast migrants, not West Coast blacks who say they are uppity, into The Queen's English, un-American. Garvey taught them black pride, but Malcolm X, Sidney Poitier, Stokely Carmichael, Louis Farrakhan of West Indian roots are all dissed by modern black youth. A raw, xenophobic fissure now exists. They say Barack Obama was a half-white, foreign-fathered wannabe black, so they have not yet had a black president and Kamala is not it. Expect some black on black volatility going forward, and Trump may not be the only jingoist. Stay conscious!

 

Franklin Johnston, D Phil (Oxon), is a strategist and project manager; Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK); and lectures in logistics and supply chain management at Mona School of Business and Management, The University of the West Indies. Send comments to the Observer or franklinjohnstontoo@gmail.com


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