By AL CALLOWAY
Black on black violence, distrust and hopelessness, buttressed with miseducation, including a lack of self-knowledge, is the conscious manifestation of self-hate – hate of the mirror image of self and one another as a people. Crowded together in deteriorating inner city neighborhoods with uber scarce resources of any kind, surrounded at all times by the human misery of people who look like the mirror image, takes a heavy toll.
So I’ve always loved the brilliant Michael Jackson anthem “Man in the Mirror” for its profound truth and wisdom. The song’s refrain or bridge pounds like a heartbeat with reality:
“I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change”
Michael was so correct. The way up is to get up! Your surroundings are your environment, not your mind and not your spirit.
Present day American people of African descent, are all the progeny of long gone Middle Passage survivors of the horrendous Trans-Atlantic African =Slave Trade, whose strengths course our genes. Slavery was their Calvary, their Cross. And they gave us life. The universal order that our suffering ancestors prayed to through a multiplicity of languages, cultures and religious forms, delivered the promise of a future, and every tomorrow is yet what that future is.
Love is that person in the mirror, the “you” that must be known as a gift of the spirit world, of Creation. (Things that humans manipulate, or what is called invent, already exist to be brought together, some in manifold ways. These developments increase our comfort and inspire humanity forward.) Without love of self, that person looking in the mirror is lost to the world; is lost to all beauty and is lost to his/her self.
There should be no wonder that having no knowledge of one’s history as a people is an antecedent of self-hate. It is therefore simply logical to seek out those who have that knowledge and devise a method for it to be dispersed – in the final analysis, everywhere. Ignorance of the chronological history of Africa’s past from the beginning of humanity must be erased.
Everything concerning the future of our African Diaspora is dependent on each black person in the mirror — you and I, we and us. Michael Jackson has led us into the future with clarity and honesty. In the first verse of “Man in the Mirror”
Michael Jackson sings:
“I’m gonna make a change, for once
in my life
It’s gonna feel real good,
gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right…”
Our black and white, Arabic, Hebrew and Asian scholars that hide in the prestigious dungeons of academia and temples must be sought out, their works read and disseminated and made plain for all to learn from the ancestors. There is so much ancient African philosophy and other writings, art, mathematics, science including astronomy, architecture, engineering, world travel by sea and much more.
Undoubtedly, in order to make African people great again, knowledge of self is vital. To see your likeness in ancient African ivory, bronze, stone and wood- carvings and painted on pyramid walls untwist the mind and embolden the spirit. When one reads of great African cities and universities that existed before the advent of European domination, inspiration has seeped in to displace despair.
Hopelessness is a warm but diseased cloak, strewn over the shivering nakedness of our ignorance as a once enslaved and colonized people. It is not safe covering; it sickens and kills the black body politic, the veritable African spirit and creativity. Knowledge gives warmth from the inside out and not only lasts a lifetime, but is passed on through generations to come.
When we learn to really love that person in the mirror, we will change our ways.