On the African origins of African Diasporans (including Africans/Blacks in the United States)

To whom it may concern (including those who are in denial of this): Our food, language, music, dance, historical narratives from the antebellum period, combat arts, spiritual traditions, healing modalities, DNA, and so on are clearly African derived. These are not matters of opinion, but reflect the empirical reality.

On the Consequences of Silent/silenced Men

For example, one recent study found connections between stress and prostate cancer. They report:” Researchers at Loma Linda University Health contend that the disproportionate amount of chronic stress African Americans face is partly responsible for the alarmingly high incidence and mortality rates from prostate cancer observed in African American men.”

Of course, we also know that stress, as a long-term experience can greatly erode one’s quality-of-life, resulting in a shortened life-expectancy. A Pro-Publica article reports that: “Sherman James is a social epidemiologist who has spent the past four decades exploring why Black men have higher rates of diseases that lead to shorter lifespans than all other Americans.” The article continues, “His conclusion is that the constant stress of striving to succeed in the face of social inequality and structural racism can cause lasting physical damage.”

Furthermore, mental health challenges have particularly adverse impacts on Black men and boys. Citing a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, an article from Forbes states, “A 2021 JAMA study revealed that Black men had a larger increase in suicide attempts than any other racial group. It also found that suicide rates in Black male adolescents increased by 47% from 2013 to 2019. Black suicidologists say it’s partially due to racism.”

Returning to my initial point, I cannot fathom how a silent (or silenced) group can help themselves, help others, seek help, or meaningfully exist in community. I may be mistaken, but I believe that for Black men, such silence could be deadly. Suffering in silence is a sure fire way to expedite a decline in one’s mental and physical health. I think that rather than men, specifically Black men, being silent, we should be actively engaged with people that care about our health and well-being. Being silent, particularly given the many challenges that we face could be fatal, as, like the African American proverb says, “Closed mouths don’t get fed.”

Black Male Suicide: A Silent Epidemic

Black Men Have the Shortest Lifespans of Any Americans. This Theory Helps Explain Why.

Cumulative stress in African American men may contribute to prostate cancer health disparity

Climate disasters as social entropy

Over time, the capacity of states to respond to climate disasters will diminish. The frequency and scale of those disasters will increase, eventually resulting in a situation that has already become normal in some parts of the US and the world, wherein people–living in the milieu of partial recoveries–struggle to carry on their lives in the midst of the detritus of environmental catastrophe. The long-term consequence of this, of course, will be a decrease in security, health, and well-being. These things are, I believe, inevitable. However, actions can be taken to reduce these vulnerabilities and to make local communities more resilient and self-reliant.

10 Questions for so-called Black Native Americans (i.e., those who deny that we are of African descent)

1. If our ancestors aren’t African, why do we primarily have West African haplotypes? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4048334/

2. Why do we eat African foods? How did these crops get to the Americas? https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/how-enslaved-africans-influenced-american-diet/4816356.html

Why is our diet not identical to the Native American diet? Consider, for instance their relationship to corn in contrast to ours?

3. Why do we speak a language (AAVE or Ebonics) that has African syntax, rather than the syntax of Native American languages? https://www.academia.edu/17776766/Africanisms_in_Contemporary_English

4. What is this and how did it come to America? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banjo#/media/File:Bluegrass_banjo.png

5. The earliest Muslims in the US were Blacks. Where did they come from? How did they get here? They said that they were brought on slave ships. They actually told their stories. Were they mistaken or confused? https://nyupress.org/9781479847112/servants-of-allah/

6. Many Africans in the 18th and 19th Century used the term African in the organizations. Examples include the African Lodge, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the First African Church. Many of those who lived during these times were taken directly from Africa or had forbears that were. Were they mistaken? Were they confused?

7. Many African Americans gave their children African names. Why didn’t they give them Native American names? Were they confused about where they came from? https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/names-and-naming-african

8. Many Africans wrote narratives of the experience of enslavement. Where are the period narratives that affirm that we are, in fact, native to the US?

9. If we are native to the US, are Afro-Cubans, Afro-Brazilians, Jamaicans, Haitians, Afro-Columbians, etc.? If so, why does so much of their culture also derive from Africa? Such similarities defies coincidence do they not?

10. Why are our fighting traditions African-based? Why aren’t these methods of fighting found amongst Africans and not the indigenous population of the Americas? https://uscpress.com/Fighting-for-Honor

The reality is that our relationship with the indigenous population has been complicated. We have collaborated with them (i.e., in instances of insurrection), extirpated them (i.e., as in the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers), and been exploited by them (i.e., as in slavery). However, we are not them. We are Africans.

To quote Edward Wilmot Blyden, “Your place has been assigned you in the universe as Africans, and there is no room for you as anything else.” The embrace of such a sublime reality as our inherent Africanness is the very foundation to our regeneration as a people.

Impoverished notions of freedom

African/Black people are strongly encouraged to embrace a notion of freedom that centers on the self-interest of the individual, rather than one wherein self-determination and sovereignty are our principal objectives. The former striving is reinforced across the cultural landscape, while the latter is portrayed as an unattainable myth or heresy.

Bridges, not walls

IMG_20190530_191323742 (1)
Given the salience of alienation in this society, it is unsurprising that the politics of atomization retain such popularity. In these times one could simply manufacture identity constructs or conspiracies or political agendas that no matter how mad would attract a following.
What is perhaps lost in the headlong rush towards division ad infinitum is an appreciation to the degree that such actions erodes the basis of community. Absent this, our capacity to exist as members of a society greatly diminishes. Further, our resolve to act in concert towards desired ends (such as addressing climate change, which threatens to nullify our species or to empower our communities) cease to be viable.
The politics of atomization has proven itself as an expedient means to garner attention and to rally the disaffected given that it peddles in fear and loathing. Alternatively, it has not proven itself sufficient to compel people to act towards a broader vision of the future based on hope, mutual respect, or a recognition of our interdependency. In its most grotesque forms, solidarity is decried and disunity is lauded. Such thinking dismisses Pan-Africanism as an anachronistic fiction, while identity constructs based on our subjugation by European settler colonists or our descent from those whom they enslaved is considered cutting-edge, if not radical.
I am reminded of a Swahili proverb that states “Bora kujenga madaraja kuliko kuta.” It translates into English as “It is better to build bridges than walls.” Indeed, we need to build the bridges that will carry us into the future.

The Ancient Aryan Concept of Freedom

In Essays in Ancient Egyptian Studies, Jacob H. Carruthers wrote, “The Greek concept of freedom which is also characteristic of the Aryan way, is drawn from the concept of the Chief God (Zeus or Wodin) who is completely free to do as he wants, e.g. to rape any goddess or woman, to exploit or destroy any god or man according to his whim.”

Though some may not see the relevance, this is what we see all around us in the west deployed as a form of absolute freedom or hyperrelativism–a contemporary discourse with ancient roots. It is a freedom from all constraints. A freedom to pursue infinite hedonism or depravity.

In the our day, such a notion of freedom has been hailed as radical or revolutionary but it is neither, at least from an African worldview. This acknowledgment begs the question of how freedom might be conceptualized with human well-being and communal flourishing as central concerns.

Yorùbá philosophy and personal development

There are a variety of recommendations for personal development that recur in the Odù Ifá, a text of Yorùbá deep thought. These are listed below.
1. The cultivation of wisdom as a means of transcending suffering and difficulties.
2. A willingness to confront life’s challenges.
3. A commitment for doing good and acting to promote good in the world.
4. The maintenance of calmness and allowing for such calmness of mind to inform our deliberations.
5. Being attentive to important matters.
6. Recognizing that humanity is best and fully expressed by the practice of good character.
7. Recognizing our social obligations–that is our inescapable duties to the world around us.
For more insight on Yorùbá philosophy I recommend Odù Ifá: The Ethical Teachings by Maulana Karenga, Ifá Will Mend Our Broken World by Wande Abimbọla, and African Philosophy: Traditional Yoruba Philosophy and Contemporary African Realities by Segun Gbadegesin.

The circular logic of conspiracy theories (the bizarre idea that Black people are indigenous to the Americas or our continued flight from being African)

I was attempting to explain to a brother who insists that African Americans are indigenous to the Americas that if this was true, our DNA would as dissimilar to continental Africans as the DNA of Blacks in Asia and Australia. I don’t know if he understood my point, which is that a separation of tens of thousands of years would have occasioned mutations that would have greatly differentiated us from our counterparts in Africa. We wouldn’t take DNA tests and have shared DNA with people from places like Ghana or Nigeria for instance.

Of course there are other elements of these arguments that are deeply flawed, but I found his perspective to be consistent with that of most people who I’ve encountered who believe all manner of conspiracy theories–1) documented evidence is fabricated by some seemingly omnipotent and hidden malevolent force, 2) unreliable and anecdotal sources are regarded as concrete evidence, and 3) a circular logic posits that a lack of evidence in support of the theory is evidence of the existence and scale of the conspiracy.