Are Black people created in the image and likeness of God? If the answer is yes, then let us consider the implications of “double consciousness”. “Double consciousness,” as defined by W. E. B. Du Bois, “is looking at one’s self through the eyes of other.” The other is America, i.e., white America and its contempt and pity for Black people.
White American culture is the source of modern day oppression. Oppression of Black people is justified in white culture because it is the history of the other, it the history of white supremacy.
White American culture upholds that American is a place of true justice and freedom for all, although, inherent in this declaration is the silent oppression of Black people.
Oppression takes the form of racism, and racism takes the from of oppression; and it is present in all America’s institutions.
Racism is faith based; it affirms that the white race is glorious and pure, and that the black race is defective and depraved. The goal of racism is to deny justice, equality and freedom to Black people.
White America strives for the loyalty of whites and Europeans, indoctrinating them into white America’s justification of white supremacy, and black inferiority.
Black people who understand racism in America have had to wrestle with their love for the country, considering who and what it stands for.
Even though Blacks fully oppose white Americans on issues of racism, in many other ways Blacks support and are a part of American institutions that historically oppressed them, and fostered doctrines of racism.
Double consciousness is present in the loyalties that Black people have to themselves, and the country they live in, i.e., America.
Black people, like all people view themselves from their own unique perspective, however, they also see themselves through the lenses of White America.
Du Bois says, “One ever feels his two-ness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, who’s dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
Du Bois, concluded that, “From this double life every American Negro must live, as a Negro and as an American.”
In 1963, Du Bois became a citizen of Ghana. And on August 27, of the same year he died. He died on the night before the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King led a eulogy to Du Bois.
Putting aside the complexity of double consciousness for a moment, I believe that within the revelation of self-consciousness lies a treasure chest of power and resources. For self-consciousness affirms that Black people are created in the image and likeness of God.
And the dominion granted to Black people over the earth places them in control of their bodies, minds and souls; as well as the world in which they live.
Black people can choose to be Black where ever they are, and to choose to be Black is to choose to be created in God’s image. And being created in God’s image, Black people can create a new world, the framing of which lies within their hearts, minds, and souls.
Black Cultural Empowerment
Cultural awareness jumped out at me when I was a small child visiting the little town of Teague, Texas. I recall traveling from Los Angeles, California with my family to that little country town, population of less than six thousand people.
Their in Teague, Texas, while visiting my mothers, mother and Grandmothers, i.e., three generations of Black women, Black culture came to life.
We were only their for a few days, and every morning, about 5:30, my grandmother woke me up and asked me to sit on the front porch with her while she sipped on coffee and shared stories of her past, which were testimonies that reflected on the presence of God’s Spirit interacting in their lives.
Even today, our conversations are alive in my heat, mind and soul. Listening to her gave meaning to my life; it opened me up to love for God, love for family, neighbors, friends, home, town and country; it gave meaning to who and what I am.
Her words resonated with survival techniques, and empowerment. Her words did more to enhance my life, then the lessons I was taught at school.
She did not have much, but what she gave me was more valuable that money and material prosperity. How be behave, loyalty, pride and respect were handed to me to embed in my heart, mind and soul.
My grandmother was able to transfer a part of herself into me, which taught me that human beings are more than flesh and bones. Her spirit reached into my spirit and we became one. In this way, it is my belief that we connect with past, present, and future generations, which is the essence of Black cultural empowerment.
When I go on the internet and look for articles and images of life in Africa, I find images of life that mirror life sitting on the front porch with my Grandmother.
Sitting their on the porch, my Grandmother told me a story about her Grandfather, my great, great Grandfather. My Grandmother was born in 1903, and it was 1967 that we were sitting on the front porch talking.
Her Grandfather, who was born before slavery ended in the United States, was a free man. He was able to earn some money and purchase some land their in Teague, Texas.
He and his neighbors, got together and built a church. No sooner than it was built, White people got together and planed to burn it down. She told the story of my Grandfather and their neighbors on top of the roof of the church, with guns fighting off White people who had guns and torches trying to burn the church down.
In the aftermath, my Grandfather had to sleep with his gun and carry it everywhere he went. Not only did he value his life, but he was know to value and protect the lives of his family, neighbors and community.
Black culture is embodied in this story.
Black culture psychologically, emotionally, and physically elevates Black people; it is the foundation of their confidence; it makes them a proud people.
Black culture is the language and substance of Black life; it proclaims that Black people are very special. It validates that Black people are the original people of the earth.
Black culture is embodied in the natural capacity of Black people to make music, and create ways to dance and move to the music. Black culture communicates with Black people enabling them to experience the joy, happiness, suffering, sadness and the struggle of other Black people who have lived, live and will live on earth.
Be On Guard
White people passed laws saying that Black people were not full human beings. Black people were exploited, and excluded from all things human because of their race.
White people created an American ethos that denied the existence of Black culture in America. Their intention in removing culture and value from the lives of Black people was to pit Blacks against themselves.
Whites supremacy advocates that Black people are biologically inferior, culturally inferior and socially deprived. As such, the American way of life cannot help Black people who are on a path of social annihilation and self genocide.
For Black people to believe that White people will abandon the oppressive structures they have built is pure madness.
Here in America and in the African Diaspora, White people intend to keep Black people powerless.
Social institutions are designed to covertly manufacture shackles that marginalize and oppress Black people.
Horatio Alger was a novelist. He was born in 1832, during the days of slavery; he was White and wrote several novels for youth, i.e., young white males.
A myth evolved from his novels: The myth asserts that individuals who are hard-working and who live exemplary, pious lives can always achieve and move up the economic and social ladder.
At the root of this myth and its place in society is the notion that Black people are responsible for their failure in American.
The irony of this myth is that it was written at a time when Black people worked sixteen hour days with not possibility of moving up the socioeconomic ladder.
To support their delusion, White people point to Hispanics, Asias and other immigrants to foster the narrative that hard work will allow you to move up the socioeconomic ladder.
However, the creation of minority grouping fails to account for centuries of slavery and oppression Black people endured here in America. Today, we hear more about LGBT rights than we do about the rights of Black people.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, minority grouping is a tool in the hand of White people that fosters the marginalization and oppression of Black people.
Likewise, minority grouping covers up the debt that America owes exclusively to Black People.
Integration has had the effect of changing the cover on the book, with no changes made to the book’s content. Black people can live in some neighborhoods with White people, go to some schools and socialize in some parts of American with White People.
Even so, American social, economic and cultural power is controlled by White people. Integration has painted over Black culture and history. Integration and its proffer of a color blind society is a deception.
Integration dismantled the Black baseball league, facilitated the gradual disappearance of Black owned businesses, removed roll models and mentorship from Black communities and more.
Integration as I have experience it in American, is recorded in my mind as a cultural ambush; it is a party to the repression of the Black people in America.
A noted military strategist once said, when he was preparing to do battle, “If you take risks, you may still fail. But, if you do not take risks, you will surely fail.”
The history of America teaches that Black people are invisible; and that they are submissive, good servants who contributed nothing of value to America.
American history teaches that, America owes a debt to white men. White men built America, therefore, they are entitled to all of its fruits, i.e., financial resources, institutions and levers of power.
Herein lies the reality of racism, a reality that White people ware as a badge of honor. It is a form of idolatry; it makes a mockery of the biblical story of creation; it makes a mockery of the greatest commandment, “To love your brother as I have loved you,” and paints a White man as God.
When racism is transformed into modern day idolatry, and racism is what controls economic and political power, as is the case in America, it results in the repression of Black people and suppression of their culture and identity as God’s chosen people.
Black people, in the words of Booker T. Washington: “we can be one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.”
As a nation of Black people their is a need for solidarity. As a people we must study the lessons of our predecessors, understanding that if we repeat their mistakes, we can expect to get the same results.
We ought to protest against negative media stereotypes. We need to combat racist legislation at all government levels. And, we must engage the political process to help and empower Black people, their institutions, culture and communities.
Freedom has no meaning if Black people passively wait on White people to give them a hand up. Black people are facing an existential challenge; the challenge to take control of their own future.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”