What’s happening!  Now that I’m finish picking out my ‘fro and turning down the music on my 8-track, let me type what this blog is designed to encourage you to do: it is to encourage you to turn back the ships.  This means behaving and thinking like the Afrikan people we used to be before our Ancestors was violently kidnapped from our own Homeland, which is still Mother Afrika, and forced onto ships that sailed westward. Look, we did not come here on our own, which is to say that we did not find an international travel agent to book us Carnival cruises to sail the seas and find another place, then stay there. You see, we got to turn back those ships! Got to get back home!  If not physically, then spiritually, intellectually, behaviorally, even nutritionally. Yep, we gotta stop eatin’ mac and cheese and roman noodles and Kool-Aid and ham hocks and white bread.  It tastes good, but it ain’t good for the body, can you dig it?

     It is often said by European-Americans  (white people, remember, trace their roots back to Europe, just as we trace ours to Afrika)) that we are all the same.  No we ain’t!  Well, at least we weren’t always the same.  We had our differences back in Afrika.  For example, did you know that in Afrika the first pronouns a child usually learns are “We” and “Us”?  Now, the first pronouns white children learn in the West (America, Europe) are “I” and “Me”.  You do not have to know pyramid-building science to understand that a society in which the pronouns “I” and “Me” are dominant, is a society where the individual is more important than the group, as indicated in the phrase, “Man, look, I got mines, you get yours,” which we’ve heard people say all the time, right?  Now. on the other hand, in a society where the pronouns “We” and “Us” are learned first, you will see people working together to make certain EVERYONE is happy, that EVERYONE gets a piece of the pie.  I am not saying that in Afrika the individual did not matter.  I am instead saying that the INDIVIDUAL WAS NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE GROUP, AND THAT INDIVIDUAL NEEDS DID NOT COME BEFORE GROUP NEEDS.  Do you understand now?

     Back in Europe’s 1600’s, there was this guy, a French dude name Rene’ Decartes (pronounced Ra-nay Day-cart).  If you had the opportunity to study philosophy in high school or college, you learned that this guy was a math genius, real smart, you dig.  Well, one day, he put on his philosophy hat and asked the question, “How do I know I exist?”  Then he walked around outside to think, and came up with this famous answer, “I think; therefore I am.”  Now, what he is saying is that because he can think, and can doubt, this means he must exist, by golly.  Duh.  If you thinking about getting your hands on a bowl of brown rice and red beans, you must exist, right?  I mean, if you stuck in a wooden box six feet below the crab grass growing over your resting place, you can’t possible be thinking about suppertime. 

      Anyway, fast forward to the 1900s, and this Afrikan philosopher named John Mbiti, from Senegal, took a look at what Rene’ wrote and and John said to hisself, “Ok.  Kool.  But the Afrikan would never use those words.”  Instead, Johnny M. came up with this, “I am because We are; and since we are, therefore I am.”  Notice the difference?  Rene’ words keep emphasizing “I”.  John’s words keep emphasizing equally “We” and “I”.  In other words, there is a balance between the two pronouns, as neither dominates the other, though in traditional Afrikan societies, the group was more important than the individual.

     I’m tellin’ ya’ll.  We as a people are not who we used to be.  You is different now.   You is Toby.  Ooops, I mean, you somebody else, yo.  We don’t recognize ourselves anymore.  And the schools ain’t tellin’ us who we used to be.  Wait.  Let me take that back.  The schools tell us we used to be slaves.  C’mom, you know what I’m talkin’ bout.  In those history books there is always that picture of Afrikan men, women, and children chained together and being marched through the jungle.  Remember that picture?  their heads are bowed down in shame and defeat and hopelessness.  Yea, THAT picture.  So, with THAT picture its like we was ALWAYS slaves, from the beginning. WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   It is rare to see history book drawings of Afrikan people living peacefully in villages surrounded by a river or stream, fishing, cooking, children playing hide and seek, teen boys kicking a grass ball around and trying not to appear eager to look and see what the girls are talking and laughing about, Elder Men in a circle discussing village law and order, teen girls gathering crops and sneaking peeps at the boy they want to be with.  The reason why you don’t see such pictures is because you might get the bright idea that, compared to where you live now, something ain’t right, and you want it right because those way back in the day times appeal to your sense of what happiness should look like, your sense of Afrikaness, of being with fellow tribe members, in harmony with each other and with Mother Nature.   Oh yea, we had our tribal wars, usually over land to plant more crops or feed the cattle, or even to avenge the death of a fellow tribe member who “accidently” got stuck with an arrow by another dude from another tribe. But every human society since the beginning of time had such conflicts; its a part of different peoples living and sharing the land, trying to get along, which they did most of the time.

     Ok.  That’s enough for the day.  Read it and leap towards the stars in the joy of having learned something about who we used to be in our own Homeland.  And while you are at it, pass this blog on to somebody else.  The more people we can get to unchain and then storm the decks, the greater success we will have turning back those damn ships.   You down wit it? Then give me five!