Black People Must Reject Slavery as Their History in 2017 – Faustina Anyanwu
“Faustina refuses to accept that black history should be based on slavery alone. She argues that it does not only undermine the achievements and contributions of black people, it also creates an aura of inferiority and low self esteem for the young generation.”
History is “the whole series of past events connected with a particular person or thing.” (Google.com). History defines people: it traces their roots and identifies a people, place, or thing. In making these definitions to keep account of a people’s heritage, one tends to use these stories to empower, inspire, correct and create a better story as one goes.
I grew up in Nigeria. Although we were aware of the account of slavery and its vicious impact on not just the black race, but on the entire human race, we were never subjected to the mental torture of dwelling on it and seeking pity. The story as we knew it then was to teach us about the mistakes our ancestors made at the time and, of course, seek ways to create a better future for ourselves so that such history could never occur again.
If you take a look at the history of the world, you will notice that almost every race and people have at one time been overpowered and enslaved – brutally most times – and subjugated to serve others. It is not only black African people that have been enslaved. For instance, Britain was at one time enslaved by the Romans for 400 years. The Irish were enslaved by the British for several years. The Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians for 400 years …and so forth.
Black enslavement is probably the most recent in history, but that does not make it necessary for us to bombard our children with such barbaric and disempowering history without mixing the accounts proportionately with the stories of who we were before slavery. It reminds me of Maya Angelou’s saying, “It takes more than a horrifying transatlantic voyage chained in the filthy hold of a slave ship to erase someone’s culture.” So, as others try so hard to erase who we are, we must not help them do it better and faster. The tragedy of doing this is that this horrific history will sooner repeat itself.
When it’s made clear that you are not the only one who has made a grave mistake, then you do not beat yourself so hard. Rather, you look to see how others came out of it and re-established themselves. When giving an account of the history of world slavery, it’s important that all times of people’s slavery be told. This will not only answer the deeply sad questions in young black minds, but it will rid them of the embarrassment of feeling inferior to their fellows who may see them as being people of weaker race. Of course, who wants to associate with ancestors who were foolish enough to just let their people go into slavery without putting up a resistance? Who wants to associate with ancestors who didn’t have a life before the white people discovered them? Who wants to associate with a history of only negatives?
We need to hear of warriors like Shaka De Zulu, Africa’s great heritage of early civilisation with its trade partnerships with Arabs and Asians long before the arrival of western people. We need to bombard our children with information about how cultured a people we were and still are. We need to tell more of the stories of how even during slavery our ancestors’ resilience and wisdom earned them a great standing in history. We need to focus on how far we have come as a people to become the salt that has given the entire world culture a taste. We are people of great intellect, wisdom and culture. Before, during and after slavery black people have always been great people. These stories should occupy most spaces in black history and must be incorporated in the daily history of the world and school curriculums.
There are so many ways to defeat a person, but the most dangerous way is to conquer the mind. The most effective way to do that is to distort the person’s identity through false accounts of their history. Now, before one accepts an account of history about himself from another, he must first find out what benefit this story is to the teller and to themselves. Therefore, it is hugely important that we are aware of what information we accept for our children, and we must be aware also of why that information is necessary.
In view of the above, I have come up with my three way test to do before allowing any information into your mind; this test can help you to sieve information and understand the motive of the teller.
1) Is it logical?
2) Does it promote the interests of humanity?
3) Does it inspire vision and purpose?
If any of the above answers “no” then there’s no need for such information.
A people’s history is a continual daily account from the beginning and is on-going. One wonders why it’s necessary for black people’s story of identity and heritage to only be told in just one month every year – and in that one month, our children are subjected to the belief that their story started with slavery. We don’t see the world the way it is, we see it from who we are. People who don’t know who they are will never progress. Black people are not slaves and we are not descendants of slaves. No black people should ever accept that they are descendants of slaves. In fact, black people must find it offensive when they are referred to as slaves or descendants of slaves.
It is these continued disempowering stories that have given birth to what we see today: our children behaving like they have no roots and succumbing to the negative narratives they hear of themselves as hopeless, lesser human beings who need to be rescued, helped and pitied. If our children do not know who they are, they are easily recruited to be criminals, gangsters and people without vision and direction. We should never accept the stories we are told or help to tell the stories that continue to plague us as a people. When people’s identity is distorted it’s like a disease, and they will never recover until the right medicine, which is to find themselves, is given. And guess what … your oppressors have hidden this medicine far out of sight. It’s now your responsibility to manufacture the right medicine for your survival.
Global Seven News
By Faustina Anyanwu.
About Faustina Anyanwu
Faustina Anyanwu is the co-founding editor of C. Hub magazine, the first and only Afro-creative magazine in the UK. She is the founder of Divas Of Colour International Women’s Forum, the largest gathering of the world’s most powerful women of colour from around the globe.
She is a strong advocate of changing the narratives of black people’s history by promoting the positive contributions of black people and making sure our stories are proportionately accounted for.
She’s a wife, mother, entrepreneur, writer, speaker and mentor. Widely known as a no nonsense woman who makes sure she does not mince her words. Fearlessly making sure that the minds of our young black youths are adequately protected from stories that seek to destroy them.
You can keep up with Faustina’s work via her magazine – www.chubmagazine.com on Twitter and Instagram @fauntee and Facebook – Fauntee