Pro Blackness - Racism or Anti-Racism? | Timeyin Oritsesan
PRO-BLACKNESS: RACISM OR ANTI-RACISM?
Have you ever been made to feel guilty for wanting to create or occupy Black-only spaces? Have you ever been falsely accused of racism for being Black and proud of it? Well, you’re not alone.
Many times, Africans are pressured or intimidated into changing our stance from Black to “Black, Asian & minority ethnic” (BAME) or “People of Colour” (POC), but it’s time we left these vague terms in 2018. In 2019, we’re calling a spade a spade. We are saying Black when we mean Black and moving boldly towards coming together and fixing our issues to make progress as a unit.
“POC” or “BAME” issues are not the same as Black or African issues. Black people have a very unique history and standing in society, that is easily distinguishable from those of white European, Asian and Middle-Eastern decent. Furthermore, racism and anti-Black sentiments are rampant in every one of those racial groups. But it’s interesting that, when Africans come together and organise to fill a unique need that isn’t being met, it brings backlash. The question here is, why? Why do non-Black groups feel so threatened by displays of Black Pride and/or Unity?
It could be that, if we unify and begin to do and build for ourselves, that means we will no longer be serving and helping to build the institutions and economies of the dominant society, which will ultimately bring about a shift in global racial power dynamics.
Or it could be the misuse of language. People tend to conflate being racial and being racist. As a result, there are those who falsely conclude that pro-Blackness equates to anti-whiteness and thus become threatened. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Pro-Black organizations do not claim superiority over any other racial groups. All human beings have equal standing before God and no person is worth more or less than another.
Unfortunately, 19th century Europeans created a system called racism that boils down to power. In order to be racist, one must think that their racial group is superior to others and must also have and exercise the power to withhold resources from and exploit other racial groups. Pro-Blackness and groups that represent this stance are never about spreading hate, instead, they are in the business of expressing love and appreciation for their own race whilst providing a safe space for Black people to organize and fortify themselves against the undeniable RACISM that has been perpetrated against us for centuries until this very day.
In response, some may argue “what if white people, did the same thing and began forming explicitly monoracial organizations?” But the truth is, the vast majority of goods, services and institutions are already targeted towards white people and their continued advancement. Europeans have been practising ‘Race First’ politics for centuries, and it is now like an unwritten code subconsciously followed by all within that racial group. The difference, however, is that the European brand of racial unity also came with racism. It cannot be denied that white racial unity has been supplemented by the implementation of psychological violence and terrorism against African people.
To this day, the system is doing what it was designed to do—divide, exploit, harass and ultimately destroy Black people. We didn’t create this global system but we must survive it, continually resist it and ultimately overcome it. What better way to do this than by banding together to create safe spaces where we can plan, discuss, network and take action for the sake of our psychological, cultural and economic survival moving forward?
Timeyin is a former elite international Scholar-Athlete. Having represented England on the international basketball scene, she also won a full scholarship to attend Florida International University, where she completed a BBA in International Business. She is also a SOAS Masters degree holder, lover of basketball, books and all things African-centred. Timeyin is an avid reader and lifelong student of Black Studies, Former Chief-Editor and contributor at the Centre of Pan-African Thought and current Radio Presenter with Colourful Radio.