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                                              From The Ramparts

                                               Junious Ricardo Stanton

                                            Ethnocentric Consciousness

  

            "If we look at our relationship to the Koreans, to Dominicans to other groups we will see the same relationships where these groups have entered into the Afrikan American nation, set up shop, and shipped out its wealth day by day, night by night. Yet the Afrikan American entrepreneurial nation is not permitted to set up shop in their midst, is not permitted to carry wealth from their nations. They then grow fat  on the surplus they gain from the Afrikan American nation. This means then that of we think of ourselves as a nation we must protect our internal markets from the intrusion of outsiders. We must not permit them entry into our nation. As I look down 125th Street (in Harlem) and see our people locked out on the outside, I agree with our vendors that if black men and black women cannot make a living on that street then no other people should be permitted to make a living on that street. We are not obligated in any kind of way to feed the children of other people before we feed our own!" Amos Wilson Afrikan Centered Consciousness Versus The New World Order Afrikan World Infosystems page 124

 

            As  this election cycle (some call it a circus) plays out it should be abundantly clear to us that as a group of people we are on the margins of this whole thing. Dr Ben Carson's brief participation as a candidate on the Republican Party aside, this election makes it crystal clear all we do as a people is talk and maybe vote. But by now it is becoming obvious that in most cases, particularly during presidential campaigns voting is a farce and a sham.

            Voter participation is up in 2016 for the Republicans because Donald Trump is in the race, he has name recognition and his message resonates with whites who feel betrayed, disaffected and alienated from the system , they are people who see their nest eggs and their future dwindling or gone altogether. They feel helpless and in many instances powerless. The see the system is not on their side.  Research is bearing their feelings out, the findings clearly show this system is not responsive to their wishes or needs.  "A new Pew Research study reports some 61 percent of Americans feel bothered 'a lot' that 'wealthy people don’t pay their fair tax share'. Besides just campaign finance reform, poll, after poll, after poll, after poll, after poll, after poll, shows most Americans also favor raising taxes on the very wealthy. So if Congress is supposed to represent the majority of the people in a democracy, why haven't they raised taxes on the wealthy — or reformed campaign finance laws? It's because members of Congress usually do the bidding of their biggest campaign contributors (the wealthy), those who would see their taxes increased. Not to mention, wealthy members of Congress (meaning most) would also see their own taxes increased." Studies Show Congress Favors the Rich, Bud Myers http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/studies-show-congress-favor...

            The system is rigged against common folks. In addition to the class dynamics we also have the issues of color, race and racism to contend with.  We are so accustomed to it, we fail to acknowledge it in our personal and collective lives, because we have been duped into acquiescing to it and accepting it as our norm.  The leaders the white oligarchs have  foisted upon us do not view the structure and operation of the US system from a ethnocentric perspective, they lump everyone together in an assimilationist agenda which is a huge mistake. The framers of this system were rich white men mostly White Anglo Saxon Protestants, members of secret societies such as the Scottish Rite Masonic Order. The early colonial population included a smattering of other ethnic groups such as the Jews, Swedes, Dutch, Irish, Germans along with Native Americans and Africans who were excluded from citizenship. The white ethnic groups tended to live, trade and socialize with each other (if they weren't indentured servants) then outreached to a larger community once they established their own bases of operation or business.

            Africans from various tribal groups mostly from West Africa were kidnapped and brought to these shores lumped together and forced by law into subordinated, dominated non-citizen status from colonial times that carried over once the colonies broke free from England and set up their own government. It took centuries of agitation, struggle and sacrifice to dismantle slavery and the subsequent forms of quasi-slavery the ruling classes imposed upon us following a very brief period of integration and citizenship called Reconstruction.  

            Our African tribal and cultural heritage was obliterated by the slave experience. Unlike European Americans most of us have no idea what areas of Africa we originally came from, what languages we spoke or what spiritual traditions we held. What little we retained was mixed in with the norms of whatever European or Native Americans we lived around. For the most part the European oppressors forbade the retention of African norms and culture and did everything in their power to stamp them out via ridicule, Euroentric indoctrination and violence.

            With the end of slavery and the imposition of color and racial apartheid in America, we attempted to forge some semblance of self-sustained community and identity. We called ourselves African, colored, Abyssinian, Ethiopian, Negro, Afro-American, Black and now African-American. We've attempted to raise ourselves up socially and economically, we started all Black towns when we left the South and migrated West and we returned to Africa to resettle and start over there. We've struggled to forge a place for ourselves here in the midst of virulent oppression and hatred. We've met struggle and obstruction at every turn.

             Despite the unrelenting violence visited upon us, the willful destruction of incorporated Black towns (yes we had our own towns in the Mid West and West after the War Between the Sates), whole African-American sections of white towns like Tulsa Oklahoma the countless attacks and race riots visited upon us, we persisted.  Leaders like Martin R. Delaney, Booker T. Washington Marcus Garvey and Elijah Muhammad urged us to be self-sufficient, proud of who we are and to build on our greatness.  Two generations out of slavery we were attempting to build a viable economic infrastructure in the midst of vicious state sanctioned and enforced racial oppression.

            We were on a roll. In the early 1900's we had more back owned banks and insurance companies than we do today! Unlike today, Black leaders in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries called for building businesses and creating economic opportunities for our people. In 1898 John Hope said, "To the finite vision, to say the least, the policy of avoiding entrance in the world's business would be suicide for the Negro. Yet as a matter of great account we ought to note that as good a showing as we have made, that showing is but as pebbles on the shore of business enterprise." Hope served as President of Morehouse and Atlanta Universities and was a staunch advocate of Black entrepreneurship.

            Men and women like John Hope, Booker T. Washington and Madam C.J. Walker thought in ethnocentric terms, they realized we live in a pluralistic society made up of numerous ethnic and racial groups who have their own social and economic organizations and institutions and they wanted Africans in America to thrive and be able to stand on our own economically. They promoted business and entrepreneurship as a means of  elevation and advancement.

            Today we need to rethink and reenergize that philosophy, strategize and work towards being self-sufficient and forming a viable economic base within our communities. We have to think in terms of service, supplying the basics such as: start up capital, savings and thrift promotion, providing food, clothing, shelter and land ownership so our people can thrive instead of  just being consumers and spenders. This will require a group or ethnocentric orientation, a consciousness of thinking doing and being for self based upon our love of ourselves and our people! If we don't ,we'll end up worse off than we were during slavery: dependant, deprived and dominated but without the righteous leadership that pushed for self-sufficiency.

 

                                                            -30-

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