I was assisted in writing this post by a beautifully delicious bottle of Bread & Butter Cabernet Sauvignon 2018. Bold and silky. Balanced structure. High Napa Valley class at a decent price. Dried cherries, lychee juice, blueberries, chocolate, vanilla, tobacco. Medium acidity. Soft tannins. Medium but slightly dry finish.
The ineradicable ethno-continental severance was established in 1619.
“The native land of the American Negro is America. His bones, his muscles, his sinews, are all American. His ancestors for two hundred and seventy years have lived and labored and died, on American soil, and millions of his posterity have inherited Caucasian blood. It is pertinent, therefore, to ask, in view of this admixture, as well as in view of other facts, where the people of this mixed race are to go, for their ancestors are white and Black, and it will be difficult to find their native land anywhere outside of the United States.”
I was prompted to write this post in response to a Facebook post neatly and logically laid out in ten paragraphs, that was published on October 8, 2020 by esteemed Chicago resident Salim Muwakkil.
This post was originally written prior to the ADOS schism. My responses have been updated by replacing “ADOS” with “Freedmen.” I did not change Mr. Muwakkil’s statements or questions.
For those that do not know who Mr. Muwakkil is – he is an American journalist based in Chicago. He is a senior editor of a magazine called “In These Times”, and an op-ed columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Mr. Muwakkil writes on Black issues, Chicago politics, Middle East politics, and United States foreign policy.
He is a popular commentator and interviewer in Chicago radio. Currently a Crime and Communities Media Fellow of the Open Society Institute, he also teaches a seminar on race, media, and politics for the Urban Studies Program of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. For many years Mr. Muwakkil has been (and still is) a cultural, political, philosophical, and journalistic asset to Chicago.
And he loves jazz.
I do want to establish at this point, that yes the gentleman’s name is “Salim Muwakkil” – but lineage-wise, he is a Freedman on both sides of his descendancy. He is also thoughtful, fair, logical, and open-minded to the extreme. Therefore, I want to use this post as a respectful and slightly corrective response to his post.
Let’s get started:
“The ADOS (American Descendants Of Slavery) movement has caught on like wildfire in recent months. The brainchild of Antonio Moore and Yvette Carnell, two kindred spirits who connected via the internet, the movement seeks to specify the identity of those victimized by United States chattel slavery and its legacy, and to push for the specific solution of reparations.”
Entirely Correct. No rebuttals or clarifications needed here.
“However, it seems a contentious relationship has developed between ADOS acolytes and Pan-African enthusiasts. The bone of contention seems to be the role of the African continent and Diasporan Africans in the ADOS struggle. Observe our traditions, the Pan-Africanists say: Blyden, Garvey, Padmore, Carmichael, Malcolm, Farrakhan, Chisholm, and countless other non-ADOS were crucial to ADOS progress. Our struggle is one: the liberation of African people wherever they’ve dispersed.”
In actuality, the contention began with the Pan-Africans. They had and have a problem with our self-directed ethnic carve-out. The gate was closed and locked. Done without the permission of the rest of the Diaspora. Our self-identification as Americans was particularly galling. And then the last straw was our declaration that American reparations should not be universalized.
So – they came after us. Their only argument is that they are “long-standing” organizations. And in their view, their “long-standing-ness” automatically confers upon them being the only “legitimate” voices regarding reparations, with no other qualifications that could be deemed reparationally productive. That shit.
I have yet to find out exactly who and where this accrediting organization or group is that issues stamps or certificates of legitimacy to reparations groups. Or do you have to just be “long-standing” for “legitimacy” to be automatically conferred? How long? The majority of active Freedmen members are between the ages of 19 to 35. They did not know who the Pan-Africans of NAARC and N’COBRA were.
Thirty years ago, the core Freedmen activist demographic were either not born or still in infancy. Additionally, and ironically, this “new breed” are the same ages that the present day Pan-Africans were when they joined or founded their particular organizations. Disingenuous Bullshit? But! That answers the strange but common Pan-African question:
“Where were you thirty years ago?”
The older Freedmen boomers in our group had to explain to the youngbloods who these folks were. So, as they came at us – the young ones came back at them. The young ones started doing exhaustive research on Pan-African-centered reparations organizations, and they did not like what they saw. This quote from the NAARC (headed by Dr. Ron Daniels) website is one example of what they didn’t like:
“We strongly affirm the right of all people of African descent in the United States to receive reparations, irrespective of when they arrived here or their country of origin.”
No differentiation? Everybody? Just show up and show up “Black?” Respectfully Sir – this is some of the most monkey-minded shit I have ever heard inside the conversation of reparations. And the youngbloods thought so too. The Diaspora is just gonna come here and have a party on the Freedmen dime? On the backs of OUR grandparent’s suffering and deprivations? That’s what we’re doing? Where did this “right” come from? What is the basis for that “affirmation?” Then we have an “irrespective of when they arrived here” thing going on. I think I get it. WOW.
I could imagine that NAARC and N’COBRA are gonna set up nice little kiosks in the international terminals of airports. That way, the moment a member of the Diaspora deplanes he can apply at the kiosk and get his first reparations check cut before he leaves the airport. I can see travel agencies specializing in “reparations tours” – enabling thousands from the Continent and the Caribbean to “fly-in” daily and get that “affirmed right” converted into a nice, crisp, cashable check.
A lot of those agencies will open in Evanston, Illinois.
Below is another quote that bothered the young folks that are Freedmen activists. This next quote bothered them because we as an organization believe that direct payments from the United States Treasury to the descendants of American slavery, is the best primary course for the distribution of reparations – not some “authority” deciding on macro plans and doing micromanagement of dollars on our behalf.
Here’s the quote:
“Therefore, we renew the call for a National Reparations Trust Authority to be the repository, custodian and administrative body to receive monetary and material resources, allocated by offending parties, as restitution to repair the damages inflicted on the sons and daughters of Africans in America during centuries of oppression and exploitation.”
Huh??? Us Freedmen can individually handle as the rightful inheritors, our own money and resources. Trust me. A “Trust Authority” can’t be trusted. You’d better understand where they’re going with this. Not good. I never made any “call” for this. Did You Sir? We don’t want or need Pan-African style resource paternalism, oversight, administration, programs, initiatives, advice, allocating, none of that. “We ain’t doing ‘Wakanda’ motherfuckers.” We are not gonna be revisiting “The Book of Madoff” Sir. Not Here.
A “council of NAARC elders” (!?) is not gonna be tricking with the money. This will open up a repeat of the “Freedman’s Savings Bank” debacle (look it up – it’s teachable). If we allow it this time, it will be Black folks stealing from us in the trillions instead of white men stealing from us in the millions.
We are not going for that Shit. Nope.
I think that the “National Reparations Trust Authority” is intended to be used by Dr. Ron Daniels (NAARC) and Kamm Howard (N’COBRA) as a conduit to ship Freedmen reparations resources to the Caribbean and Africa. And CARICOM – led by Dr. Hilary Beckles, is a participating part of the set-up. Criminal. Any probable distributions to Freedmen will be diverted and tied-up in NAARC and N’COBRA run reparations “programs.” Those individual “programs” will be managerially pimped by hand-picked Caribbean, American-lineaged Pan African, and Continental African immigrated and lineaged “professionals” and “experts.”
They will be doing “studies” and “reports” while being highly compensated with YOUR money. YOUR reparations resources. Freedmen type folks won’t get a dime. Reparations will managerially and administratively be given to every Diasporan – But Us. This is just a reasonable speculation based on their [CARICOM] stated collaborations with NAARC. And myself just adding up an obvious two and two.
Can we see what that equals?
What is the goal of their collaborations? That is what we all need to ask Them. I also speculate in this way because of my observations of the careful evasiveness of NAARC and N’COBRA officials to offers of participation in open dialogue with people that may have different or opposing views. We’ll see.
We must always remember that anything is legislatively possible. As an example – look at all the resources and special considerations that are being received by DACA. Given to them via Executive Orders, and will eventually be legislatively locked-in by our government. And they are not citizens. This terrible platform can possibly be written into a reparations law via HR40.
NAARC and N’COBRA, as “long-standing” organizations have many connections and associates in government that they have cultivated over the years, connections that Freedmen organizations as yet does not have. And the Congressional Black Caucus at this time represents and advocates exclusively for the Latino community, Asians, and illegal immigrants. Gone. So we can’t work with them. Therefore, we shall always remain vigilant for our people.
We will keep being the loud voice in the room.
I am glad the question of “roles” was brought up. African Continentals or Caribbean Green Carders have no business being involved in this Freedmen to American government demand for reparations. No “role” or “say” whatsoever. How? Africa has no more of a role in this issue – than they had a role in stopping Bull Connor and his police dogs. Than they had a role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. African Motherfuckers were nowhere to be found Then. I don’t remember any “role” that Africans played when lynchings needed to be stopped. Couldn’t be found. But now that the question of money is on the horizon, Africans need to step into the Freedmen’s negotiating room and play a “role?” What “role?”
Get the fuck outta here.
This is a completely domestic economics and justice issue that has absolutely nothing to do with the Diaspora. I don’t understand why the Pan-Africans are trying to shoehorn the Diaspora into this. Is there a plan? The Diaspora certainly does not (rightly) allow Freedmen to meddle, advise, or assist in their internal domestic affairs. We can’t even try it. They are grown folks with their own issues. And so are we. – So are we.
The quote below is from Dr. Hilary Brown – he is the Program Manager of Culture and Community Development for the CARICOM (Caribbean Reparations Commission) Secretariat, which is located in Turkeyen, Guyana. Ahh… That’s in South America. The quote below is an e-mail response to an e-mail that was sent to him by then ADOS Chicago Chapter President, Marlon Watson on September 17, 2020. That e-mail was regarding the possibility of reparations reciprocity between the Caribbean and Freedmen branches of the Diaspora.
This is how Dr. Brown responded:
“The CARICOM Reparations Commission is advancing the case for reparations for its Member States in the Caribbean. We do not cover persons in the United States directly. However, I’m not sure if you are aware that a National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) was established in 2015 and they are very active working on reparations claims for African Americans, including putting through a reparations bill in Congress, hopefully this year.
We are in touch with and collaborate with them. You can get more information on this initiative by googling the name of the Commission or going on the website: ibw21.org.”
Well, glad to know these guys collaborate. I’m asking again: “What are they ‘collaborating’ on?” What? NAARC wants reparations from America to be open to all members of the Diaspora. Even going so far as to “affirm a right” to reparations to all folks of African descent that come to the United States. At the same time, CARICOM is making it clear that their reparations program is exclusively for those Diasporans that have a lineage of enslavement within their Member States in the Caribbean. Notice. They do not “affirm a right” to reparations to all folks of African descent that come to the Caribbean. There’s a “collaboration” here Sir. OK? To do what? One program is open-ended. One program is closed-ended. Remember: There’s a “collaboration” here. And that’s what he said.
No “affirmed rights” for Freedmen type folks as far as CARICOM is concerned?
Does CARICOM practice Pan-Africanism? Doesn’t look like they do. Especially when it comes to their potential reparations. Now – this might not be Sir – but it looks like a set-up. Until I get more direct information and good understanding – that’s how it looks to me. I always see CARICOM folks in the states, running with NAARC and N’COBRA folks whenever they have events or hearings, large or small, from California to New York, regarding reparations.
Sir Hilary Beckles (Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Committee) and his folks were at the United States House Hearing On Reparations on June 19, 2019. Insertively taking up a bunch of seats that should have gone to Freedmen type folks. “Collaboration?”
Well, that is what some collaborations do – they set up “set-ups.”
To reiterate the point. The NAARC and N’COBRA plan opens reparations resources to ANY member of the Diaspora that arrives in the United States as an immigrant or as a visitor. The CARICOM plan is closed – PERIOD – to Freedmen. Limited to those that have citizenship and a slavery lineage that occurred within the Caribbean. And they collaborate. How does that look? What is going on here?
The great liberation soldiers that were mentioned in the article? Yes! Those Diasporan Africans involved with the Freedmen struggle are undisputed heroes of mine. Any of these guys would have had a place in my home if they needed it. Let’s get that straight. OK? At the same time, we must understand two things, along with one exception. One of the reasons that the folks on this list are heroes of mine is that they VOLUNTARILY came Here. Re-aligned their minds Here. They joined their passions and energies with us. They then indisputably did the work.
Voluntarily Sir. Their lineage was not injured Here.
And the countries they originated from rejected their political ideas.
Anyone that came here on a regular boat after 1865 – during Reconstruction, during Jim Crow, during the Civil Rights Era – and I don’t want to sound cold or insensitive. But Here, I will necessarily be coldly objective: If something happened to them, after coming here, that’s on them. — That’s Their Responsibility.
Anyone VOLUNTARILY coming here during any of those periods, knew they were coming into a racial shithole before they got off the boat. Full Knowledge. They were not chained and dragged Here. Their antecedents were not the victims of a 400-years-long wealth transfer Here. They had and have an escape in reserve to repatriate to if things got or get too hot Here. And those good folks in many cases coming from African and Caribbean countries that have not – and will never offer dual citizenship for Freedmen.
They or their lineages should not get reparations from America. Period. Dr. Ron Daniels should use his own money for that. Every person or their subsequent descendants that were mentioned (with the exception of one) would be properly covered by the CARICOM program. Eligibility through the CARICOM program travels with those persons and their descendants, no matter where in the world they may be at present.
Sounds fair to me.
Here are their lineages:
- Edward Wilmot Blyden (at birth: Danish St. Thomas – now U.S. Virgin Islands)
- Marcus Garvey (Jamaica)
- George Padmore (Trinidad and Tobago)
- Stokely Carmichael (Trinidad)
- Louis Farrakhan (St. Kitts and Jamaica)
- Shirley Chisholm (British Guyana and Barbados)
The exception to this list is Malcolm X. He actually falls under the Freedmen eligibility standard. His mother, Louise Helen Little (nee Norton) has a Grenadan lineage. His father, Earl Little is a Freedman, being descended from the institution of slavery in the State of Georgia. You only need one line of descendancy from American slavery.
While we are on the subject of Malcolm X – CARICOM is not the only instance of Diasporan closed-gate policy when it comes to Freedmen. Africa is just as bad. In the summer of 1964, didn’t Malcolm X go to Cairo to meet with thirty-three heads of African states regarding raising the question of the persecution of American Black folks to the United Nations? His intention was to add an international dimension to our domestic struggle in the United States. He presented an eight-page memorandum to the heads of state at the Cairo conference requesting their support. Malcolm encountered cold resistance from those officials to his request.
“Some African leaders at this conference, have implied that they have enough problems here on the mother continent without adding the Afro-American problem…”
Oh. OK. In the broadest sense, isn’t that the same “closed-door” bullshit that we get from our Caribbean “Brothers and Sisters?” Huh?
And lastly. American domestic reparations advocacy and Pan-Africanism are CLEARLY two different things. To be discussed inside two different rooms. Located in two different buildings. Situated within two different countries. On two different planets. Whenever you attempt to bring the two together – you will find yourself dealing with a muddled, undifferentiated, toxic, mess. Confusion.
Kinda like what you see right now.
“ADOS advocates might respond: ‘but non-ADOS Black folks have also managed to extract a disproportionate advantage from the changes some have helped wrought.’ For example, Affirmative Action benefits designed for the victims of slavery’s legacy in this country have been disproportionately awarded better positioned non-ADOS Black folks while the designated beneficiaries go wanting. The ADOS iteration of the Black Diaspora has distinct grievances related to the specific conditions of enslavement and the consequent Jim Crow institutions. Other Diasporan Africans incurred injuries specific to their conditions.”
Correct. That is consistently our response. But to be fair, access to certain benefits and set-asides that should be exclusively for Freedmen are not the fault of Black immigrants. If the door is opened – hungry people are gonna get what they can get. Always. That is human nature. This is the fault of the United States Government in general and our Black elected representatives specifically.
This is racism-white supremacy at work. The “keep those [Freedmen] niggers on the bottom project.” How? By putting Black immigrants over us as a strategic preference. To lock out Black people through not discriminating against Black people. But just use the “right kind” of Black people to accomplish certain primary, secondary, and tertiary racist goals. We do not have to reiterate what those racist goals are. They are well known to those of us that pay attention.
Racism-white supremacy knows that there has never been Diasporan unity. And probably never will be. Look at Africa – it’s a mess. That mess was mostly created by five main things: Corrupt African governments, the vestiges of colonialism and post-colonialism, centuries-old inter-tribal conflicts, current neo-colonial Euro-fuckery, and centuries-old inter-religious conflicts. “Pan” with what my Brother? Now we’ve got Chinese money and plans in the mix. And none of that is gonna end anytime soon. There has never been any true operational unity on the African continent. Racism-white supremacy only and easily makes use of the universal Black inter-ethnic disunity that has existed for centuries. Continental African disunity is partly what caused our antecedents to be enslaved in the first place.
It is not the “Pan-African” job of Freedmen to fix this shit. And fuck repatriation.
Before we go to the next paragraph – I do want to say that there is an emotional and inter-ethnic component to this statement as well. The great majority of Black immigrants do not identify with, relate to, or connect in any way to Native Black Americans (Jamaicans and Ghanaians are the exceptions). All ten million African Diasporans In America stay separate from us. When Black-targeted opportunities make themselves apparent, they [Black immigrants] practice what I call – “the Blackness of convenience.” A type of code switching, if you will.
An intentionally deprivatory practice towards and against Freedmen.
When it is time to participate in benefits that are specifically offered to Black Americans, they queue up in the “Black” line, not the “immigrant” line. They are “Black” at the moment they make out the application, they remain “Black” through the processing process, and will remain “Black” up until they receive the check.
After they get that check and “level up” – they then consistently revert to being “Nigerian” for example. And will switch back to the same noxious attitudes, speech, and actions towards Freedmen that the white supremacists have. Here. In some obvious cases, they have no problems with assisting the supremacists in burying us (literally). No operational “brothers” and “sisters” can be found Here. No more than inter-tribal “brother and sister” relationships can be found in Africa. They want nothing operational or relational to do with us. Nothing.
But they should get American reparations?
“Akata” martini anyone?
“Tit-for-tat it goes. But this is really a case of what psychologists call ‘the narcissism of minor differences.’ By that, I mean that the ADOS movement is, in many ways, a natural extension of the Pan-Africanist impulse – part of which was to connect to an ancestral identity that had been severed by the Trans-Atlantic trade of enslaved Africans.”
The re-connection to a severed ancestral identity is a perpetual Pan-African enterprise. That is where their energy is directed. And that attempted re-connection is what shapes their worldview. Their reparations philosophy and policy is an extension of their Pan-African ideals of flat-Blackness. But shaping a domestic legal-legislative justice claim and nurturing Pan-African collectivist impulses are two different things. And those two unrelated things in no way can be brought together and be operational. At this point – please don’t get me wrong Sir. I fundamentally love the IDEA of Pan-Africanism. I wish it were operational at all possible levels. And I am, at least intellectually, still a hopeful Pan-Africanist. Yep.
At this time, though, Pan-Africanism is not operational. And if Pan-Africanism is not for-real operational and reciprocal for Freedmen in the seven areas of:
- and Security
I don’t know what we are “Pan-Africaning” about Sir. I ain’t doing no fu-fu with anybody. I gave all my daishikis and kufis to Goodwill. It would give the Diaspora and myself, true confidence and a visible basis to work from, to see a general Pan-Africanism go operational in Africa first. Starting with African governments.
Right now – the most anti-Pan-African location on earth is Africa.
We have issues to deal with, and goals to accomplish Right Here. And any energies or attentions towards Africa and the Diaspora at this time are essentially wasted. What for? Accomplishing actual American – domestic reparations is So full-time – Freedmen do not have time to connect with and participate in Diasporan dynamics or attempted Continental re-connections. That, right now, is just unneeded stuff that it makes no practical sense for Freedmen to take on.
Perhaps that is where NAARC and N’COBRA made their mistake. Spending too much time in South Africa, instead of spending that same time on South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. That time, would have more productively been used to enlighten the man in the street to their right to reparations, and how to advocate for it. We going to the “World Court?” For What? Plenty of stuff to do Right Here.
Look at what is on the Freedmen plate:
- Political Education
- Voter Registration
- Reparations Education
- Freedmen Membership Drives
- Economics And Stratification Education
- Freedmen-Produced Weekly YouTube Shows on Politics
- Engagement With Legislators
- Freedmen-Produced Podcasts
- Administration Of Chapters
- Monitoring of NAARC and N’COBRA Activities
- Correcting The Results of NAARC and N’COBRA Activities
- Doing a Freedmen Book Of The Month Assignment
- Improving And Expanding Our Computer and Communications Technology
- Containing “Local Reparations” Fuck-Ups
- Collaborations With Churches
- Encouraging People To Participate In The Census
- Engagements With Political Parties
- Getting Freedmen Identity Bills Passed At The State Level
- Collaborations With Legacy Civil Rights Organizations
- Self-Directed Political Education
- Grooming And Running Our Own Candidates
- Engagements With Domestic Media
- Talking To The Man In The Street About Their Right To Reparations – And How To Advocate For It
We be busy. No time for trips to Durban, South Africa. For What? What can I take from Durban that I can reparationally use here? In these United States? Whom are we talking to from there – that the United States Congress is bound to respect?
No stomach for trips to The Hague, Netherlands, to accomplish domestically useless judgements affirming reparations from the World Court. “We in New York?” Well, we can skip a stop and have lunch instead of wasting hope at the United Nations. When was the last time the United States heeded anything from the United Nations? Please. What they gonna do? Make Us? And then we must go to our jobs, and feed our children, and wash the dishes, and, and, and.
Another thing about the United Nations. All of the countries that are members of the United Nations are more or less controlled by the United States. And that reparational can of worms cannot in substance be opened there. All of the nations involved in that body are against Freedmen-type African Americans, including the governments of Black African and Caribbean countries. A waste of time.
So, as a realistic and practical Freedmen organization, our time is most productively spent domestically. Our Blood and Bones and Pain are Here Sir.
No time for Pan-Africanism. No time for Africa. And as far as the NAARC and N’COBRA suggestion of re-connection through repatriation – I would suggest that they tell the two point one million African immigrants that live in the United States to go home First. Really. If Africa is so great – what the fuck are two point one million of those motherfuckers doing Here? And millions more trying to get Here.
I don’t see or know of any Africans cancelling their Green Card applications. Or renouncing their cards if they already have them. And I don’t think I will. Why would I relocate to a place where the folks that already live there are trying to leave? I also notice that the Pan-Africans that propagate this bullshit are all still living comfortably in the United States (with 24 hour running water – consistent electricity – good internet – and white women). When are they repatriating?
I can only believe that there would be a benefit to relocation when I see with plane tickets, those all-knowing and vociferous Pan-Africans repatriating by example.
The four point five million Caribbeans living in the United States that may be in opposition to Freedmen goals can go as well. We can help them pack. Drive them to the airport. Don’t like the attitude? Get the fuck out of our business.
The “tit-for-tat” that was mentioned is really the energy and pugilisticness of youth. Amplified by the accessibility and reach of social media. I understand what is meant. But that is going to change quite soon. We are about to shift gears.
“The ADOS movement acknowledge that severance. But rather than attempt an awkward re-connection to Africa – awkward, because we’ve become culturally estranged – they’ve concluded that we’re a separate iteration of that Diaspora and should proudly affirm our specificity instead of shamefully rejecting it.“
There is nothing wrong (or against anyone else) with exercising the right to name and define oneself. Trinidadians and Senegalese can wave their flags and affirm their national origins all day. I never see any Pan-African pushback when others in the Diaspora affirm themselves. But we Freedmen cannot affirm our self-established identity? Cannot be “cultural nationals” in the land we shaped and enriched? We have built the foundation of the greatest country of the millennium. If there is a problem – that problem needs to be explained. By the Pan Africans. Why shouldn’t we affirm our specificity? (Oh – that was not rhetorical).
Yes – we are: A Separate Ethnic Entity.
Because that is the truth.
Africa is the entity that is responsible for that “severance.” They Did Sell us. So that makes an African re-connection a little complicated. You Know? Subsequently – we built the economic and cultural foundation of the greatest country in the world. Now, we are finally and rightly proud of what our forced investment Here has created. Finally embracing our Heritage, our Lineage. Our American Truth. And now, we are rightly demanding a return on our extraordinary economic, cultural, and lineage investment. Like Americans In Truth are supposed to do.
It is now Business at this point.
And there is nothing about or in us to “shamefully reject.”
“This is not an unreasonable conclusion. I’ve made similar arguments pushing the notion that African-Americans are in fact a new people; a product of ethnogenesis with a specificity that distinguishes us not only from the European-derived majority but also from other Diasporan Africans.”
I agree. A new people. And a New culture. African culture did not protect us. African culture captured and sold us. Remember?
“The brutal institution of chattel slavery and the indignity of plantation culture was, for generations, the cauldron of our ethnic formation. White supremacy was conventional wisdom and our cultural preferences and aversions were shaped to accommodate that racist status quo. It was a peculiar history that produced a specific people who were conditioned (and injured) by an inheritance of generational depredation and flagrant cultural insult.”
I agree here as well. And now we must be insulted by Pan-Africanism.
“Only a massive compensatory effort can address the myriad injuries inflicted by that history and only a program of reparations can encompass the necessary scope for that effort. On this issue of reparations, ADOS folks and Pan-Africanists concur. Where they part is whether the specific injuries of our accrued disadvantages demands a reparations claim distinct from other Diasporan Africans. On this, both sides should pull back a bit from the rhetorical battleground and cool their hostilities in an analytical chill.”
“… a massive compensatory effort?” Absolutely. “… whether the specific injuries of our accrued disadvantages demands a reparations claim distinct from other Diasporan Africans.” With all of the Ph.D’s and Master’s degrees running around in Pan-African circles – it would seem to me that the necessity for separate and distinct claims would be a no-brainer.
Or – they may be too inappropriately educated to understand.
Or – maybe something else is going on.
Look. Just an example: If a single individual was robbed by five different and unrelated robbers at five different times and places – would it be justice if the judge decided to consolidate all the robberies and then lay all the penalties that must be served on one single robber? And then allowing the others (like Portugal) to be let go? How does this make sense?????
All robbers are not responsible for all robberies. Justice must be equally dispensed to the victim AND the perpetrator. Making America responsible (!?) to pay for the entirety of Diasporan enslavement and subsequent racist deprivation is not justice. America cannot be the default resource to repair all Diasporan injuries from slavery worldwide. America’s money – is also my money. I don’t owe Jamaica. Why should I or we pay Jamaica? And eventually, when this issue is congressionally hammered out – now this is legislatively possible to be sure – but this would not be a good look politically for any Congress. And the American people won’t go for it.
At the same time, I again recognize that: “Anything is legislatively possible.” The reality is that a Diasporan reparations program demand would never be taken seriously by the United States Congress. Especially the Republicans. And by making a serious demand for reparations in that way, pushing this idea to thinking white legislators, would seriously kill reparations. HR40 seems like it is designed to kill reparations. The United States will not obligate to pay Jamaicans Here or There.
This is something the Pan-Africans don’t seem to understand.
All reparations claims per injured group should be respectfully distinct and unique. Reparations demands are distinct and unique for every other group. How is our reparations situation any different? And why should it be any different?
A reparations program for Freedmen would have to be massive and vast. But, potential reparational resources are still and will be finite. Yes. The United States has the economic capacity, and potential political will (we hope). Along with the legal and constitutional wherewithal for properly covering the restitution of American Freedmen claimants only – but not any claims of the Diaspora. This stupid Pan African demand only confuses things.
“…both sides should pull back a bit from the rhetorical battleground and cool their hostilities in an analytical chill.” Maybe. Maybe not. At the same time, NAARC and N’COBRA are doing a lot of incompetent things behind closed doors that we did not appoint or elect them to do. Things that will affect myself and the lives of thirty plus millions of other people. OK? They don’t report to me or the public about what they are actually doing. They have an arrogant, dismissive, non-engagement policy towards Freedmen and any other individual or organization that speaks in specificity. Any media appearances by them consist of words upon words dispensed that don’t match their behind-the-scenes actions or publicly-stated web platforms. Confusing and slippery? This is Pan African intentional Sir.
Therefore, we must keep them In Sight and On Blast.
The rank and file within those same organizations don’t seem to know or understand what the officials are doing. They unfortunately are being fooled – right along with the general Black public. The hot rhetorical background just brings things that are hidden or obscured right out front and rendered in a clear political focus. NAARC and N’COBRA’s problem is that in the past two years an analytic “look-see” has finally been focused on them, and the previously unenlightened, but directly affected are not liking what they are seeing. Nothing to see to like.
They [NAARC and N’COBRA] are angry about the covers being pulled back. The monitoring and contentiousness you see from Freedmen keeps a light on them and prevents them from doing more damage than they have already done.
Reparations is a political issue. This is no more contentious than Fox News.
“Although it’s a step in a clarifying direction, the ADOS acronym is not quite precise. Also, the pugnacious rhetoric of some ADOS acolytes (perhaps it’s the fervor of new-kid-on-the-block conversion) is needlessly contentious and seemingly oblivious to the debt owed to those who paved the way for ADOS’s emergence. There’s a divisive potential that is troubling.”
“… the ADOS acronym is not quite precise.” Ahh… That possible imprecision could be there from a technical standpoint. Maybe. I will leave that open. But even in its possible imprecision – it cannot be denied its attention-getting power as a hashtag First. It has demonstrated an ability to call, raise, and rally young, and not-so-young folks in the thousands (hopefully – soon to be in the millions) to support and advocate for a single cause Second.
And despite its possible imprecision, every person that knows of it at this point knows precisely what it means, knows precisely whom it is indicative of, knows precisely what we do, and knows precisely what our aims are. Correct?
It cannot be denied that hashtag ADOS was good for marketing.
So, imprecision (if there) in this case is fine. On-the-money-precision in acronyms and their expansions can be reserved for the actual legal-legislative documents that will be drafted once reparations is passed. Words like “Freedmen” or “United States” could be inserted, or changed, et cetera. We will see if that is necessary once we get there. And once we get there, our legal and legislative professionals will make sure that the labelling and document language is on point. And besides – the foremost group for reparations advocacy as of now is called: “The United Sons And Daughters Of Freedmen.” We individually label ourselves as: “Freedmen.”
This is politics Sir. Politics is divisive.
We are not oblivious to the debt owed to those who paved the way. We are at present doing more study of the history of reparations. Who did what? What was their basis and philosophy? What did they do right? What did they do wrong?
They did what they did. OK – why don’t we have reparations now?
Our core membership is quite young (19 to 35). The need for reparations came up within (the then) ADOS mostly without a focused reparations history basis. That conclusion (the need for reparations) came about due to our own studies and discussions on race politics, economics, and stratification theory. We did and do up-to-the-second data. We do not do derivatives from the history of reparations movements. We don’t process here and now reparations necessity from the recognition of certain historic figures. So, in one sense – there were no shoulders to “stand on” Sir. Because those historically established and esteemed shoulders were not sought for, nor needed in a technical sense. At the same time – Freedmen are heavily steeped in Black American and reparations history.
The economist that we reference most of our studies from and to – Economist Dr. William A. Darity Jr. as of this writing is still alive. We did not “get” anything from those prominent in reparations history to shape our conclusions. Our conclusions came to be from the conclusiveness of the data. So, in the many broad senses available (especially in the historic sense), there was no debt to pay.
The Freedmen “just the data” track over here, and the track of the combined histories of reparations over there, independently came to some of the same conclusions differently. No one civilization discovered or “owns” fire. All civilizations have came to the same knowledge of combustion differently but independently. They all have independently agreed on fire’s nature and utility. There is a clear and honest disaggregation here when it comes to the informational paths that were taken to understand and do reparations scholarship, research, advocacy, and policy creation. The important thing is that we reached the same conclusion – the conclusion is the necessity for reparations.
Our Freedmen reparations path was of course, different, but no less valid. We rely on hard historic economic and stratification data. Deriving from the foundational asset and wage accumulation numbers from 1619 to whatever day, month, and year you are reading this post. Then continuing on – to the final legal/legislative assessments from 1776 to whatever day, month, and year you are digesting these words Sir – not the histories of reparations movements.
And to spend too much time with reparations history with no numbers to recalculate in substance – is to actually waste our good time. I am not saying that us knowing and analyzing at least some of that history is not necessary though. Because contrary to what some might say, we do that as well. Our opponents say: “Y’all don’t know enough” – this is a popular Pan African refrain we hear ad nauseum. That kind of thing. And there may be some truth to that assertion.
We don’t know enough about the things that we don’t have a reparational need to know. You see? The things that don’t add in substance or clarity to our reparations argument, calculation, or conclusion. But in reading those histories that we have taken the time out for, we are taking careful note not only of the reasons, but also – of what not to do. That’s a good thing. That’s why we study history. Right? At the same time, 90% of the young folks involved in ADOS advocacy (at the time) did not know whom NAARC and N’COBRA were.
They did not understand why they were so hostile towards us. Instead of the NAARC and N’COBRA leadership coming on board as reparations “elders” (putting that “ujima” into practice – Right?) to help out all those young people with their reserves of historical knowledge, experience, and connections. Instead. The “elders” openly disparaged those thousands of eager – motivated reparationist youngblood activists and then gaslighted them as “movement hijackers.”
We [Freedmen] were never steeped in reparations movement history in the beginning – because we were and are still too busy with right-now reparations economic theory and its finalizing calculations, along with the development of and execution of reparations politics and potential reparations deployment.
We are studied in reparations “whys” and numbers and projections. There is barely any talk about “Queen Mother Moore” or “Callie House” at Freedmen gatherings. Not that these figures are not important or to be unjustly minimized. OR – that we don’t study, analyze, or speak on reparations history. But that’s just the way it is. There IS within our circle a lot of talk about “wealth gaps,” stratification data, constitutional legalities, program structuring, policies, equity, redlining, political engagement, the Census, Freedmen membership numbers, Black buying power and credit, reparations policy, social media utilization, that kind of thing.
No libation-pouring, or calling on the ancestors, or drum-beating. Not needed.
“Pan-Africanists, on the other hand, should be applauding ADOS folks for advancing the logic of ancestral acceptance to the Americas. For too long, Pan-Africans have valorized the (partially romanticized) history of a composite ‘Africa’ while diminishing and even ignoring the amazing struggles of the folks at home; the ADOS folks.”
We appreciate this paragraph. There seems to be in Pan-African thought, a general devaluation of the Black struggle here in America. We’re trying to talk about the particulars of Martin Luther King’s politics and the over-scholarized Pan Africans drag us over to Mansa Musa. We try to discuss the subtleties of Brother Elijah Muhammad’s reparations philosophy, and the booked-up Hoteps take us to Egypt.
Quite frankly, We don’t relate to that anymore. We don’t want to think about Egypt. Especially when there is so much more that we need to know about Ella Baker, Wyatt Walker, and Hubert Harrison. Those people. More to learn about American politics. More about crafting a here and now reparations strategy so we can get this recompense done. NOW. The Freedmen are a diamond forged by the heat of hellfire and pressure of oppression. An indestructible conflict stone thrown into the here and now to continue and complete a just advocacy.
Thumbs Up Sir!!! For posting fair observations and suggestions.