by Dr Boyce Watkins
I am sure this statement might ruffle some feathers, but here it goes:
I get nothing but love from the brothers and sisters in this community and many of them are among the most intelligent, capable, loyal and free-thinking people I know.
Every group has its awkward apples: Whites, Jews, liberals, conservatives, corporations, academics, you name it. This leaves me deeply disturbed about the idea that some people are using Umar Johnson’s video as an excuse to say that this is why they don’t support the movement toward black liberation.
The fact is that you should be committed to the idea of black strength, which is never embodied solely by any one person. Ever!
What we are doing is historic. It is powerful. It’s going to change our community for the next 10 generations. It is far bigger than any one person, any period of time or any specific ideology. It’s about all of us believing in the power of black educational, economic, social and political independence, committing to black excellence and winning the 400-year battle against white supremacy.
We might think we are important, but we are but a blip in time. We have our short window of opportunity to plant seeds, start empires, establish traditions, and transform ideas. After that, we’ll simply grow old and die, and young people will take over based on the lead and example we’ve set for them.
If we do this right, we can change the world and the future. If we do it wrong, we will simply pass down the very same dysfunction that has kept us incarcerated for nearly half a millennia.
While I don’t know if I quality as a pan-Africanist (I’m just a black man who tries to speak the truth), I can say that many members of the conscious community have been loyal supporters of our work, which puts them light years ahead of many of the assimilated black people who believe that my work is inferior because I have black skin.
I also suggest that we encourage those who care about black people to support the voices of women. Far too often, we push our sisters to the back when they need to be out front. Too much testosterone has ruined black leadership for centuries and it’s incredibly important that our leadership structure be consistent with the promotion of the strong black families we are seeking to create.
My point in saying all of this is that we need to get over ourselves, focus on building and remember to love ourselves even when prominent people disappoint us. The fact is that if we can work on building brick-by-brick, educate ourselves and each other, and come together with love and ferociousness, we can strike the fear of God into the hearts of those who seek to oppose us.
That, to me, is what being black and conscious is all about. When the black community is rebuilt, it will be done by conscious black people, not those who’ve overcomitted to assimilation.