Dear Fellow Black People,
Have you ever delivered one of the following admonitions to another Black person? “See, [xyz bleak or oppressive situation] is happening because Black people don’t know their history”? Have you ever said, “if Black people just knew their history, we wouldn’t be in [xyz bleak or oppressive situation]”? Or something of the sort?
If so, do you usually follow that statement with something about Egypt? Or Mansa Musa? Or the alleged multitudes of “kings and queens” that lived in pre-colonial Africa?
Or, if you don’t go the Egypt/Mansa Musa/kings and queens route, do you say something like, “See, Black people don’t know their history. We were the first humans and therefore should carry ourselves as the originators that we are”?
I’m not here to argue the validity of either set of historical claims. I’m here, rather, to ask how mentioning those aspects of our history are relevant to getting us out of the [xyz bleak or oppressive situation] we’re currently in. What action does that inspire today? What does awareness of those parts of our history do for a Black person living in 2020, other than give them warm feelings and a sense of pride? What is the actionable takeaway?
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