Monday, July 20, 2009
Folks' been asking why Ghana? Black folks. Kenyans, especially, since they feel an even more personal pride for Obama. But our latest prince did what few Blacks do-- called out his race on their own shortcomings. In this case Africans, for corrupt governing and victim mindset. In other words, he went there! Where so many Blacks oversees and right here in the U.S. don't like to go. Because it means admitting our negatives, not using colonialism as a crutch, accepting responsibility for our part in our collective demise. It's one thing to proudly place an Obama portrait on our wall, but are we using that same pride to work on our personal selves? Challenging our local leaders to address the ills in our hoods? Addressing internalized racism and hyper-masculinity? Raising our children to be reflective, considerate citizens of the world? Or are we expecting Obama to do it for us?
So that's why our beloved prez chose to make his very first sub-Saharan visit Ghana and not Kenya or even Nelson Mandela country. He wanted to make the point that African leaders have a responsibility to use their governing power and financial aid as a means to pull their people out of poverty and victimization; not use their titles and funding to masturbate their egos and throw cocktail parties while the masses suffer. He also seized the opportunity to bring The Point of No Return to the public school curriculum, if not our living rooms. Because prior to this historic visit, the point of no return was merely a popular tune from a Broadway show.
The world needs an image of Africa that is democratic, progressive and socially responsible. And a Black kid in Brooklyn or Compton needs to see this in his immediate community, so he doesn't buy into the hype that self-hate is normal.
"Dollars we'll gladly accept", said John Kofi Agyekum Kufor, Former Ghana President. "But the most profound gift President Obama has already given all Blacks, and particularly African Americans, is a psychological breakthrough."
My breakthrough is to remind myself that there were more Whites at anti-Apartheid rallies than Blacks, of the times I've seen some of us throw their dirty diapers out of windows, and how we dissed Lauryn Hill for choosing substance over bling.
What's YOUR breakthrough?