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Wisdom of The Elders: The Right to Define

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This series celebrates the accomplishments and explores the wisdom of our foreparents.
The Story
In a previous post I addressed some of the fatal flaws of the Black Power movement. In that post I suggested that part of the problem was that the movement began to blend into the Black Liberation movement which believed that the only way Black people could gain political and economic power was to unify themselves into their own nation. I don’t oppose that idea; however, I felt that the Black Power movement by itself held a philosophy that offered Black Americans the chance to begin to define themselves in relation to and within the United States.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/kCriMHHKqRM]

Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) speaks about the power to define
The Problem

The problem is that we are living in one of the most un-creative, copy cat, cookie cutter eras in our country’s history. Take for example the huge numbers of movies that have been released in the last decade. So many of them are remakes or revisionings of older creations. Our institutions are nostalgic and have lost their innovation (such as the higher education system). All around us the system seeks only to reproduce itself and in doing so we have lost the imagination and vision that brings greatness and progress.

For the Black community that means stagnation and arrested development. We have ceased to make the gains of previous generations because we are reluctant to question the status quo. We are afraid of getting it wrong. We are un willing to exercise our power to define.

The Power to Define

Ture’s speech embodies the core of the Black Power movement’s philosophy and sums up what is most needed by the Black community: the power to define.

In another post I discussed social consensus. I believe it is social consensus that often defines who we are. We measure ourselves against the accepted public opinion about things like what it means to be successful or what it means to be beautiful and we build our identities from there. However, much like Ture suggests, Black people have to exercise their power to define themselves. We have to begin to confidently assert this ability and even though it may, at times, contradict public opinion, that does not make it bad or wrong (terms I detest using).

The Point

When we begin to define ourselves, the world around us begins to reel because we are refusing to be placed in a position dictated by the whims of those around us. Kwame Ture’s speech teaches us that there is power in our ability to define ourselves and those who seek to control us or who are too afraid to create themselves will find our audacity offensive. But the audacity to live one’s life on their own terms and create one’s identity by one’s own definitions is not offensive or condescending; it’s an imperative. It is an imperative that our generation must heed.

I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,

An Angry Black Man

3 Comments on Wisdom of The Elders: The Right to Define

  1. Yes! “there is power in our ability to define ourselves”

  2. Congratulationz i have nomenated ur blog 4 tha Peace and Justice Award ck it out here http://moorbey.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/peace-and-justice-award-thank-you-dear-kitty-some-blog/

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