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Monday, December 26, 2005

Umoja!

Today is the first day of Kwanzaa, a celebration of African culture, family, and community; the word "African" in this context refers not only to the continent, but to the Diaspora as well.

There are seven days of Kwanzaa reflecting the Nguzo Saba, or Seven Principles. Today is the first day, Umoja.

Umoja=Unity

Y'know, I don't think that we've been very united as a people recently. There's not even a general consensus about who we are; whether it be Black, Afro-American, African-American, African, or some particular nationality, a different Negro on a different day will have a different term for their self-identification. Slave descendents in the U.S., Africans immigrating to the U.S., and Caribbeans seem to be split right along the triangular trade routes.

"I'm not Black, I'm Nigerian." That's the response I got from one person when trying to sign them up for the Black Student Union while in college.

"I don't know nothin' 'bout no Africa." That's a paraphrased oft-used response by many us who are descendents of slaves in the U.S. when asked about African heritage. Substitute "you" for "I" when addressing the person raising the topic.

"Black Americans are lazy." That's a comment I've heard is frequently expressed by some of our more successful Caribbean brothers and sisters.

There is no doubt that strong cultural differences exist between Africans in North America, African is South America, and Africans in Africa- but we're all still Africans. We face many of the same issues: health (especially HIV/AIDS), violence, & economic develoment. Of course the topics named are broad and vary from community to community, but all Africans in the Diaspora face uncertain peril if things continue. It is not inconceivable that our populations could be severely diminished if not extinguished.

Don't think it could happen?

Ever think about the millions upon millions of Native American Indians that used to populate the entire North American continent? Native American Indians now constitute less than 1% of the U.S. popultion.

The sky is not falling and this is not a doomsday type thing. However we do need to wake up and get with the program. Peoples all over the world are continually planning for their survival except for us.

There may not be only one solution to all of the problems, but I fully believe that we can be successful if we all work together recognizing our common African heritage and view the future through the lens of our common interests.

Umoja

Emancipated by Talib @ 2:33 PM

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