Taking the easy way out: White saviors and Black education

Black children don’t need White teachers who believe that they are saviors. Black children need the system of White supremacy to be annihilated so that problem of structural racism can be addressed definitively. Sadly people are more interested in being domestic missionaries in Black communities than dealing with the system which creates and sustains conditions of oppression. This is, after all, much easier and much less dangerous than confronting White recalcitrance, privilege, and hostility.

To put it more clearly, Black folks are quite capable of solving our problems. We are, unfortunately, beset by a system which has worked in wondrous ways to constrain our capacity. One fine example of this is the assassination of Black leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His death is hardly anomalous, but is merely an echo of the global tyranny rained down upon Black leaders who have had the audacity to insist that African/Black land, labor, and resources were theirs to use as they would; that Black folks have, like all other people, a basic right to self-determination. These assassinations were the opening salvo for more destructive campaigns which have effectively crushed movement after movement for self-determination domestically and around the world. It is the height of hypocrisy to revere Dr. King, while failing to recognize the call for radical social transformation that he advocated for when he said, “The dispossessed of this nation – the poor, both white and Negro — live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of the persons who are their fellow citizens, but against the structures through which society is refusing to take means which have been called for, and which are at hand, to lift the load of poverty.”

Again, Black folks don’t need White missionaries. We need liberation, and White folks desirous of “making a difference” should start by dismantling the system that benefits them and hurts us so greatly. Their unwillingness to collectively embrace such a struggle is proportional to their irrelevance to our efforts.

Imani (Faith)


There is an African proverb that says “We must act as if it is impossible to fail.” This means that we cannot allow fear and doubt to diminish our spirit. Success is not just a matter of physical action, but it is also a matter of mental clarity and spiritual resolve. By mental clarity I am referring to the quality of a mind that is at peace, untroubled. Spiritual resolve is the intense focus of one’s entire being, an inner resonance that delivers a sense of affirmation that one’s actions are just, one’s path true. Faith therefor is our ability to both overcome the fetters that might sap our will, in addition to our capacity to cultivate a character of determination. In this sense, faith is not simply a matter of belief, but is also a living practice, the elimination of doubt, fear, worry, disbelief, and the like through the regular engagement with and affirmation of reality.

For us this reality is quite simple. Watu wetu ni katika vita! Our people are at war, and have been since the beginning of the Maafa—the interrelated processes of slavery, colonialism, and their aftermath. Imani or faith provides the resolve and clarity to press on, to carry on struggle, to thrive to succeed despite the seemingly impossible odds against us. Imani is a belief in our highest potential, a belief that nothing can stand against us. It is a belief that we, when fully determined, are incapable of failure.

Heri za Kwanzaa.