As far back as I can remember, I have considered myself as a person who is very aware of racism/white supremacy, social prejudice, and the evils that have been perpetrated onto Black/Afrikan people through the largest crime committed in human history, the maafa, which dispersed us into many of the disparate locations that we now refer to as the diaspora. The term that has been popularly used to refer to a racially aware person of Afrikan descent is “conscious”, which is defined in this context as being awakened to racial injustice and white supremacy. The newer, trendier term for this type of person, that is now in use for the social media, hashtag generation is “woke”, which is essentially a synonym for “conscious”, in the general sense, as well as within this context. The term “conscious” is a term that I have accepted for myself throughout the years, without closely examining what it actually means in a deeper sense to be “conscious”, as well as examining the “conscious community”, who positions themselves as the flag bearers for consciousness within the larger Black/Afrikan community. So exactly what does it mean to be “conscious” or “woke” in 2017?
The truth, in my view, is that those terms mean whatever the person using those terms want them to mean, which essentially means that they don’t mean much of anything within the context of the liberation of Black/Afrikan people. Although there are still some people who consider themselves as a part of the “conscious community”, who still uphold a no-nonsense, race first ideology, that I originally assumed consciousness was all about, for many people, being “conscious” has been stripped of all undertones of Black liberation. Many of the people who reside within the “conscious community”, and especially many of those who use the term “woke”, align themselves with and espouse anti-Afrikan, integrationist, “intersectional” (the idea that racism/white supremacy overlaps with women’s rights, lgbt rights, kwk) politics, which in many ways are diametrically opposed to the liberation of Afrikan people from the demonic system of racism/white supremacy. Many also take part in gender politics and finger pointing, which is and always have been poisonous to Afrikan people within the system of racism/white supremacy. The group “Black Lives Matter” is a good example of intersectional, integrationist politics being wrapped in an Afro-centric blanket. There are also some who claim to be conscious or woke, who will argue vigorously in favor of interracial relationships and race-mixing, or who themselves have non-Black partners, which to any sane Afrikan centered individual should be an unquestionable no-no. And since the definitions of these terms change depending on whom you are speaking with, and there are no definite, iron-clad definitions and standards for “consciousness” to uphold, then who is to tell them that they are not conscious?
There are also many different religious and spiritual ideologies within the so-called “conscious community”, which in itself is not a bad thing, but it causes even more confusion as to what all this means. Far too often a person within this community’s religious or spiritual beliefs seem to come to the forefront more so than a desire for Afrikan liberation, which I’ve always felt was supposed to override everything else. This causes unnecessary, time wasting, distracting, intellectually masturbatory debate and/or friction. When some within the community wrap themselves in a Pan-Afrikanist, Marcus Garvey-inspired, RBG philosophy, which is fairly neutral in terms of religion, another claims Kemetic spiritual systems as the true spirituality of ancient Afrika that we must reclaim and return to, another claims that Islam is the Blackman’s true religion, but yet another person within the same community contends that they/we are not at all Afrikan, but a part of a “lost tribe”, and actually declare Afrikans as their “enemies”, and all consider themselves equally conscious, then that raises even more questions and confusion about what consciousness is all about, what does it mean, and what are the actual goals of the so-called “conscious community”, rather than what we all assumed, which is the liberation and sovereignty of Black people.
Worse yet there are some people within the community who give the impression to those who have a bit of street smarts, that consciousness and Black empowerment is little more than a hustle, and a way to fill their pockets. Making a profit within the community, and supporting business ventures within the community is not a bad thing, and in fact is a great, fantastic, revolutionary thing, if there is a service, a product, or some crucial information that is constructive and needed, being provided. But there is an undeniable street hustler-bordering on scam artist culture that has permeated the conscious community, in which there have been several instances in which people that had put their trust into certain individuals were scammed out of money that they had paid for certain products and/or services that they never received or that did not work. This, needless to say, greatly lowers the confidence that Black people, who the conscious community are supposed to be uplifting, have in the community itself, as the community now has a reputation among some as a group of fast talking con-artists, selling the people empty promises and lies. This leads many of the people to ask the question, “If we cannot trust the conscious community, the people who are supposed to have ‘knowledge of self’, wisdom and love for Black people, what chance do we have against white supremacy?”.
In conclusion, I just want to say that there either needs to be concrete, iron-clad standards for what constitutes consciousness, or there needs to be a more thorough, more exclusive, less ambiguous name and/or title for this movement/community. For instance, the Irritated Genie has stopped calling himself a Pan-Afrikanist or Black Nationalist, since those movements, according to him, have been taken over by undesirables who engage in anti-Afrikan, anti-life behavior. He has taken to simply referring to his movement and ideology as Straight Black Pride, which is very unambiguous and straight forward. Just looking at the title itself, you are very aware of what the standards are, and if those standards are not met, then you are not a part of that movement, period, point blank. I also like the suggestion by internet radio show host Renee Black, who has the idea of just terming the community/movement as the “race first” community/movement, which is a nod to Marcus Garvey, who I believe popularized, if not coined the term. Again, this is very straightforward, as it says in the name itself that if you are not race-first (Black first), then you simply do not qualify for this movement. That means no intersectionality, no unnecessary mysticism or religiosity that gets in the way of the objective (combating systematic racism/white supremacy), no miscegenation, no scamming, and no nonsense. Just the way it should be.
Brother Osei 21st Century Race Man