The question "Who is this Negro, who is this Afrikan?" will be examined with detailed attention being given to the role that archaeologists, anthropologists and the traditional intellectual community played in the attempt to deliberately wipe out the Afrikan image, and how the various media sources like television, Hollywood, the radio and newspapers conspired to create a new personality called The Negro.
Many have heard the term Pharaoh, but how many would recognise one if it were displayed before the eyes? Egyptian Pharaohs and Egyptian Kings will be revealed in a way that Hollywood would never let you see them. In addition, what took place in the white mind that caused it to try and rearrange reality and history to suit the political, economic and psychological needs of the time will also be analysed.
Slavery was engineered utilizing two basic methods; one was the physical element and the other was the mental element. The physical component of slavery always had to be backed up with the mental part, and the slave masters accomplished this by intentionally conniving to achieve several of the conditions identified as follows.
- To eliminate the memory of the enslaved people, [otherwise physical slavery would not be acceptable or survive].
- To wipe out the sense of group identity, [otherwise unity would become possible and slavery would be that much harder to achieve].
- To destroy the ability of a people to observe and practise their cultural traditions, [because when cultural traditions are practised together they become another source of creating an identity which produces unity that could lead to resistance].
- To dictate the socialization process and the direction of education, [by controlling the media, religion and education so that what goes into the slave brain is determined by what the slave master demands].
- To manipulate the monetary and fiscal resources, [because with wealth, all these other deficiencies could be corrected].
These are specific methods or rules that are typical of all systems of oppression. Note that the first three rules are basically psychological, because the issue of memory, identity, and cultural practices are linked to psychological procedures.
Memory in this situation refers to group history, because if a group of people should lose their memory they will become amnesiac and have difficulty accepting their culture, in other words, they will develop the same type of mental processing problems that a person with amnesia has.
These controlling techniques used by the master over the slave contain psychological components, the results of which can be categorized as a set of psycho-dynamics of oppression, that is, one begins to observe perceptual distortion, and starts to accept the denial of reality where one clearly sees the facts but refuses to accept them.
The projection of blame or blaming the victim for things that are perpetrated by the aggressor is another psychological symptom, including the projection of oneself as superior or as white supremacists can be deemed as delusions of greatness, because one group of people is not superior to another although they may feel that way. These all make up the psychological components of an oppressive system.
Euro-Americans were very successful at distorting the experiences and images of Black people and in changing the way Black people acted to a great degree. However, they were not totally successful in removing the "Afrikan-ness" from the Black people, since a large portion of that Afrikan behaviour still remained intact.
For example, many Black people continue to act very Afrikan as can be seen in the traditional churches where the songs and dance movements are performed, without being able to identify what is truly Afrikan since it is treated as merely Black or Coloured. Therefore some practices or customs were not totally eliminated but were disrupted and so distorted that a comparison between what used to be Afrikan cultural behaviours and what are present day Black cultural forms can no longer be easily recognized.
Psychologists who study behaviour modification admit that through a system of rewards and punishments, the learning that people and animals understand can be controlled, but they also admit that if a person is aware that through the behaviour modification process where someone else is trying to control this behaviour, then it does not work so well.
In the case of Black people, the majority were not aware of the calculated and deliberate methods used by slave owners to control these "de-Afrikanization" processes, not only were they unaware, they actually played a major part in it and even assisted by identifying with the aggressor, where the person at the bottom began to connect with the one at the top level and started to copy those behaviours, believing that imitating those who are involved in these activities was the right thing to do.
A similar thing happens with cross-over music where Black performers, hoping to get a wider share of the white market, will try to cross over by trying to sound less Black, but it rarely ever happens the other way around where a white performer will cross over to play Black music. They will play the music but they will also attempt to rename or re-define it so that eventually it becomes white music. Take for example, Elvis Presley who was trained by Black people which made it part of the reason why he became one of the top musical heroes in America while singing Black music.
Other musicians like The Beatles also admitted that they tried the same thing. This is just one of the ways that Black people are "de-Afrikanized." When your audience has changed and your own people are no longer the main audience, if the music that was created to reach out to your people in the churches, the night clubs and so on sounds good to other people, they will purchase it, but by having a much larger audience will mean that very soon you will no longer be playing to your people alone, so over a period of time the music will begin to lose its life.
The same thing also happens in the technical field where for example, the Afrikan way of producing music is not by writing it down, neither is it produced separately with the saxophonist locked away practicing all day alone. It is normally a very important group experience, because the audience is a very important part of the performance and must be present to spur the musicians on.
But the way that music is produced technically these days is by isolating the performer from the audience, but more noticeably, the musicians are also isolated from each other, with one musician placed in a cubicle with headphones on, meaning that he no longer has an audience once the recordings are being done in a studio. So the methods that musicians used to produce music are no longer utilized, and if this format continues over a long period of time, eventually this tradition will soon become extinct.
Those musicians who engage in cross over music by using this method to produce it will in due course have to return to the sources whenever they need new inspiration and vitality. In other words, they will either have to go back to the Rastafarians in Jamaica who do it in a different way, or to the Black churches for inspiration, or even to the poverty stricken ghettos because there is where the creativity continues to exist.
In order to correct the image that has been presented about Black people, it would be necessary to return to the original source material to obtain the primary source data whenever possible. Black people need to return to their roots because it is important to explore the smallest aspect of their customs in order to have a foundation to stand on, and to participate as equals in the world.
The original human civilization and existence began on the Afrikan continent, and this fact will be proven through the use of pictures and words as this is an important point that needs to be stressed in order to correct the distorted portrayal of Black people.
© John Moore - Barbados, W.I. (March 2000) ©. All rights reserved.