THE RE-EVALUATION OF CULTURAL NATIONALISM
Part 4: Original Concepts: Change or
The position and
allegiance to one's culture has always held a prominence in the lives of the different
people that inhabit the planet earth. For Blacks and Africans in the Diaspora
culture has held a unique place because of the historic circumstances of the
people. It is recorded that those kidnapped from West Africa and taken to the
Americas were for the most part deprived and cut off from their previous
Thus, by design and planned action the previous African culture began to dissolve. However, culture is not always tangible. Therefore, much of one's culture is within and comes by way of genes and ethnic origins. Meanwhile society and the environment in which you live also influence culture.
As the land that came to be known as the United States became settled by various groups, from around the world all of the various people had cultural roots. For the most part those that did not have a history of slavery adapted their culture to this new environment. Usually there was no serious threat to the ways of the old country. However all foreign cultures that have come to America have not kept all of the cultural values of their homeland.
Therefore it is not logical to think that Blacks in America should now attempt to adopt many foreign African cultural values. What is the utility of trying to be more African than the Africans? Will acting and looking African make us more liberated? Also can Black Americans think like Africans? Does culture have anything to do with how one thinks? Thus if one thinks like an African, is he African? However if one thinks like a Black American, is he a Black American? Therefore, is it possible to think within the realm of both cultures?
Meanwhile, the culture for Black folks was compromised by slavery. Hence, there became a great emphasis on a culture that was lost and stolen. Meanwhile, this legitimate cultural pursuit turned to Nationalism and a road map for Black Liberation. Culture no doubt is important in the struggle for Equality. However it is folly and foolish to think that merely embracing our African roots will liberate us.
What were the original concepts of the Cultural Nationalists? Have they (Cultural Nationalists) changed or have they made a transition? The most prominent concepts of the first Cultural Nationalists reside in what we describe as the cultural components.
These components of culture are:
1. Self expression through culture.
2. The celebration of African festivals and holidays.
3. Relate to all customs and traditions of Africa.
4. Culture is the most important part of the Black Liberation Struggle.
Also prominent in the Cultural Nationalist philosophy is the Race/Ethnic and Economic components:
1. The dismissal of the term Negro and the acceptance of Black or African-American.
3. Mis-trust and hatred for White people.
4. Black Capitalism.
5. The confusion of race over economics and class.
The component that involves Nationhood and Politics:
1. Back to Africa.
2. Blacks a Nation within a Nation.
The final culture component fertilized the field of Uncle Toms and Black on Black discrimination. We describe this component as Charlatans Row:
1. Black Elitism.
Many of these cultural components still exist in the hearts and minds of the Cultural Nationalists of the year 2007. However, some of the components have found little support from their inception as a part of Cultural Nationalism as a philosophy and tactic for Black Liberation. With regard to Race and Economics there is still confusion over the prominence of economics over racism. Present day Cultural Nationalists have dismissed Black for African-American. They still have a great hatred for White people and anybody who does not share their views. However, it remains to be seen if they are still truly anti-communist. With respect to the component involving nationhood, they have no present program that sponsors a back to Africa Campaign. Also it is not clear if they still feel that separatism will solve the problems of the Black masses.
On a final note on Charlatans Row: The present day Cultural Nationalists are still elitists and opportunists. Their elitist arrogance is self-defeating. Meanwhile, it attacks the basic foundation of Black Unity.