The persistent global “race” wars: White against Brown, or Black against White, makes it politically incorrect today to affirm that “Racism” is based on ignorance. Particularly; if we consider the on-going race tensions, racial profiling, race crimes, and clash of Civilizations: Muslims Vs Christians, Hindus Vs Buddhists, etc. However; what other ways can one consider appropriate, to pass the message in this age of readily available online MP3’s and video streams hence, my choice of “music as a weapon to spread the message” – apology Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
In 1979; after a three week tour of Nigeria’s major cities with the African-American vibraphone player Roy Ayers, Fela co-produced (with Ayers) an album titled: “Music of Many Colours”. Fela’s contribution to the album titled: Africa Centre of World, is a song about Africa being the cradle of today’s civilization. Recorded; twenty-one years after he left Nigerian shores to study music at London Trinity College of Music, according to Fela, the ignorance of the Western world at this time was still very much evident. Englishmen, who were not aware of the ape-like origin of man, used to come-over to him to find-out if he got a tail like apes and monkeys.
For him, it is only ignorance that could be the reason for such dumb questions. An ignorance that is built on proclaiming a White Supremacy, wrong information, and wrong education designed to affirm a so-called Western Civilization. Fela points to Africa’s place at the centre of the world map as not by accident, rather because Africans were the first people on earth. We all are aware that territory has been man’s major reason for going to war, he affirms that if Africans occupy the best area in the world, this is not by accident rather Africans must have been the strongest people to occupy the centre of the world.
Roy Ayers contribution to the musical collaboration is 2000 Blacks Got to Be Free. In this song; Roy says he like many other black men, have a vision, coupled with a dream that: ‘…by the time the year 2000 comes around, Africa would be united and free’. He knows, or better he hopes, that everybody in Africa and the Diaspora will be knowledgeable about Africa. By the time the year 2000 rolls around, we will all have our minds together he concludes. Unfortunately, this is not the case as Africa and Diaspora Africa remain divided, more than ever and it is one reason for the persistent racism against Black People.
Thanks to the advance in science and human anthropology today, to base ones political positions on skin colour alone is nothing but racism - an ideological justification to explain away the domination of one group by another. There is one human race, anybody talking today of different human “Race” does so because of personal bias or the intention to perpetrate the domination of one group of people over the others. At the time human anthropology had not quit evolve to the extent at which it is today, there were two theories confronting each other regarding the origin of man.
The mono-genetic theory had its defenders who claim one source of origin for mankind. The idea is that man was born in one place and as he moved to other parts of the world, subjected to different atmospheric changes he became transformed. The second is the poly-genetic theory, which contended that man was born in Africa like in other continents such as Asia and Europe. They based their “scientific” claims, on the Piltdown man - a fossil fabricated piece-by-piece in 1912 by an English geologist Charles Dawson who claimed he dug them in the fields at Sussex, England. Defenders of this theory pointed to the physical differences in humans to justify their claim.
On the surface it makes sense, looking at the different external characteristics of man. However under a close scrutiny, this theory falls apart if we remember that scientifically speaking, nature does not create the same being twice.
In the animal world (which humans are a part of), through-out evolution of animals when it is created, it evolves either to become something else in the process of survival or disappears – but he is never created a second time. Take for example the evolution of larvae to butterfly, or the evolution of Homo sapiens to Homo sapiens sapiens in the case of human beings. Human evolution we know today is from the great monkey family.
This brings us; to the question of physical differences in humans, which can be explained by what is called human phenotype. The phenotypic variation in human beings is a fundamental prerequisite in the evolution and natural selection of humans - hence the reason advocates of mono-genetic origin claim one source of origin for mankind. The idea is that man was born in one place and as he moved to other parts of the world, subjected to different atmospheric changes he became transformed.
Despite the external transformation of humans, if we couple any male member of humanity with any woman from any part of the world, the evolution and natural selection of humans will pursue its natural cause - proof that we belong to the same human race. That is why for example, a male zebra from any part of the world coupled with another female zebra, from anywhere in the world will produce nothing but zebra because they belong to the same animal race. Scientifically speaking, it is known with all certainty that nature doesn’t create anything by chance it is for that reason, that human born in a sub-equatorial region was given melanin to protect his or her skin.
It is clear that any member of the human community born in the region south of the equator could not have survived without the pigmentation of skin hence the first-man had to be BLACK. The physical difference in humans is as a result of migration. Man was born in Africa and as he moved to other parts of the world, subjected to different atmospheric changes he became transformed.
Thanks to the scientific skills; of African scholars like Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop who for example, invented the chemical process to test quantity of melanin in the skins of Black people who had died thousands of years ago.
By this process, he could prove without the slightest shadow of doubt in a scientific manner, that the mummies that were excavated in Egypt belonged to Black people. Prior to his works, the scientific world was divided on the true identity of the mummies from the Egyptian Pharaohs – some claimed that they belong to Semites, Caucasians, or whatever but African. Thanks to Dr. Diop’s works, he was able to prove that the quantity of melanin present in the skins of the tested mummies could only come from a Black person.
In my humble opinion; one reason why Africans from the continent and those from the Diaspora, have not found a rallying point to motivate us into action is that we copy the vocabulary of others in our struggle to liberate our continent from the legacies of imperialism and colonialism. If we looking for change in human relationship in the 21st Century; it is time to stop playing to the divide and rule tactics that allows the system to continue to exploit the majority. I believe if we looking for means to advance the Black struggle; it is time to stop playing to the divide and rule tactics that allows the system to continue to exploit 99% of our people suffering while 1% is smiling.
Like I mentioned in an earlier post, we have to avoid the mistakes of the past, it is necessary to put aside things which have neither head nor tail in the 21st century. If we are serious about African Unity, we cannot continue to do things in reverse manner. We all are aware that one cannot wear a jacket inside-out, the same for trousers – they cannot be worn in reverse. We can learn from the mistakes of the past, Malcolm X for example began to realise towards the end of his life, that some whites are more serious about black liberation than some other black people are. To base your political positions on skin colour alone is dangerous; racism is an ideological justification to explain away the domination of one group by another.
If we are to continue the “race man” attitude, we will only chase away people who could do more for the Black struggle!
To conclude, like Marcus Garvey: “I have no desire to take all black people back to Africa; there are blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there”. It is also important like Bob Marley sang in his song Rat Race: “It’s a disgrace! To see the human race! In a rat race!”