By Lenrod Nzulu Baraka
Increasingly, Black American YouTubers are uploading videos exploring the strained relationship between Black Americans and other national and ethnic groups both inside and outside of America. While it is true that Black Americans are some of the most popular global trend setters, it is also equally true that Black Americans seem to get under the skin of people all over the globe.
As the global community continues to be outraged by the atrocities being committed by the state of Israel against the Palestinian people and equally scandalized by the unrepentant, unqualified support extended by President Joe Biden to the Israelis, Black congregants of the Mother Emanuel Methodist church can still be heard shouting, “Four more years,” in support of the Joe Biden administration.
It cannot be argued that there isn’t much African American dissent from the politics of the Joe Biden administration vis-à-vis the support of the Israeli atrocities being perpetrated in Gaza. What is somewhat inexplicable are some of the statements of Black faces in high places in the Joe Biden administration which suggest that these Black faces in high places are totally supportive of the aims and objectives of Caucasian supremacy and Caucasian settler colony philosophy.
At least one very prominent African American activist in the person of Dr Omar Ifatunde has made it clear that his mission is to fight for Black rather than Arab liberation. Those of this school of thought are using the plight of the Palestinians as a teaching moment to remind people of African ancestry that Arabs have historically been anti-Black and preceded the European in the enslavement of Africans. Anti-Blackness among Arabs is a conversation that must take place between Arabs and people of African ancestry, but this moment may not be the best time for such a conversation.
The image of Black Americans has been severely tainted by their conspicuous presence in the American military and in recent times at its highest levels. Colon Powell’s lending of his credibility to promote a false claim about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq certainly was not his finest hour. The involvement of Black American troops in the killing spree that left close to half million Iraqis dead did little to enhance the international image of Black Americans.
Wherever the American empire unleashes its imperial forces on nations, Black American faces are seen among the military enforcers of America’s imperial will. Black American troops were deployed to Europe to fight in a war that was falsely marketed as a war to make the world safe for democracy. African American troops on returning to the US quickly comprehended that they had been duped into fighting a war to make the world safe for hypocrisy. Hardline racists in Europe and America must have laugh themselves to sleep at night thinking about the lunacy of Black Americans fighting in a war between nations that were prepared to treat each other’s prisoners of war better than they were prepared to treat Black American soldiers.
Black American soldiers have been complicit in the killing of Europeans, Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghans, Somalians, Libyans, and should American troops get drawn into a wider Middle Eastern war presently, it is quite likely that Black Americans will join the Israeli Defense force in raining down fire and fury on Lebanese, Jordanians, Yemenis, Palestinians and whoever else decides to join the fight on the side of the Palestinians.
Blacks in the military and Blacks in high places who enforce the imperial will of the American Empire are not the only sources of antagonism between Black Americans and the rest of the world. In recent times, as the issue of reparations looms larger on the political radar, a school of thought is emerging among Black Americans that propounds the view that Black people who are descendants of slavery in the US should be treated differently to immigrant Blacks living in the US.
American descendants of Slavery or ADOS as the movement is called is seeking to gain special recognition for Foundational Blacks or Black Americans who are descendants of those enslaved within the United States. Promoters of ADOS argue that immigrant Blacks and others have been benefiting from policies that were designed explicitly to help Black Americans who are descendants of American slavery.
The goals of ADOS are quite understandable but the rhetoric of the movement is already creating some waves among the immigrant Black community in America. ADOS has the potential to further factionalize the Black community in America. This could potentially be politically disastrous for the Black community in the US which has already lost its major minority status to Hispanics. Any movement that further divides Black people in the US will only serve as a set-back to the Black agenda in the US.
Black Americans or Foundational Blacks as some prefer to be called these days have a lot to offer the world. They are the richest and perhaps the most privileged group of Black people globally. As such therefore, the global Black collective expects Black Americans to be the shakers and movers in the revolution to resurrect Black civilization. Foundational Blacks in America should therefore become settled in their minds about whether they are, first and foremost, Americans and all that this implies, or whether they constitute an integral part of the global Black collective and its struggle against Caucasian supremacy. Finding the sweet spot between these two identities will perhaps be the greatest challenge for Black Americans in the coming years.
Lenrod Nzulu Baraka is the founder of Afro-Caribbean Spiritual Teaching Center and the author of The Rebirth of Black Civilization: Making Africa and the Caribbean Great Again.