The Souls Of Black Folk

Founder’s Note / Jul. 6th, 2021

I often wonder about the line that separates the Black bodies living in Africa and those outside the continent, especially those living in the global west.

Before I ever traveled outside of the continent, I gathered my information from television screens (“the tube” as narrated in the movie the Network) occasional reading and largely by returnees and their observers, either those who lived in the continent before by way of Nigeria and left (as some would term escaped) and those whose ancestors were forcefully taken and wanted to be reconnected.

I look at myself and those around me and wonder if we do Black the same? African the same? Nigerian the same? These questions have burdened me for a very long time, for as long as I have come to the realisation that the tube only cares for capitalism – so I must find my truth wherever I can. Then what I see as an outcast, you see as belonging and we are made to only focus on our differences and forget the line that connects us and makes us whole.

The institutions designed and left in Nigeria and other parts of Africa have people that look just like us running them and the institutions in the global west have white people running them so it is easy to just conclude that these systems aren’t the same, that we are oppressed differently. But then when you begin to look closely at the dots, you will surely see a system designed for us all to fail, no matter where we find ourselves. So I no longer wonder about the line that separates us; I no longer wonder about who truly is kin. My gaze is on space, who enters, who doesn’t, who feels safe and who doesn’t.

This system has forcefully used Black bodies to torment other Black bodies and likewise Black bodies through survival and the gains of capitalism have been used to disenfranchise Black society, be it in Africa, Europe, America or Asia. We have been outlined as “other” and we are left to find water in a dry desert.

“Alas with the years all this fine contempt began to fade; for the worlds I longed for, and all their dazzling opportunities, were theirs, not mine. But they should not keep these prizes, I said; some, all, I would wrest from them. Just how I would do it I could never decide: by reading law, by healing the sick, by telling the wonderful tales that swam in my head,-some way. With other black boys the strife was not so fiercely sunny: their youth shrunk into tasteless sycophancy, or silent hatred of the pale world about them and mocking distrust of everything white; or wasted itself in a bitter cry, why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house? The shades of the prison-house closed round about us all: walls strait and stubborn to the whitest, but relentlessly narrow, tall, and unscalable to sons of night who plod darkly on in resignation, or beat unavailing palm against the stone, or steadily, half hopelessly, watch the streak of blue above.” (W.E.B Dubois – The Souls Of Black Folk – Page 2)

How does the world atone for what has been done and continues to be done to Black bodies? Why are Black people burdened with the idea of making space safe for non-blacks? Specifically, why are we burdened with white fragility?

Why do we bother to think about your feelings? Why do we as a country / continent bother to think about governance from your point of view? Why do we still tether towards what makes you comfortable?

Where does true freedom lie for Black people consciously and unconsciously?

What does Langsland and Bell truly mean when they say this “We always try to avoid sentimentality, preferring to be slightly detached while we present our work as a kind of evidence. We realise that with such subject matter, it is paradoxical, especially as it calls beauty into question.”

Why are we asked to let go of history when we begin the race conversation? As a white person, should you be allowed to remove the emotional attachments and sentiments that come with a racial past? Are we not still dealing with the effects of those pasts?

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