Published in May 2017

State of Africans in the Diaspora: How did we get here?

How did Black/African people get in this state? I would say one word ignorance. We forgot who we were, the way we did things, the way we thought and acted with one another, the way we proceeded in the world, that cultural ignorance has a lot to do with where we are now.

We also got here because we forgot our struggle and our experience, the reason we breathe here now is because folks who came before us died and sacrificed their lives. We did not get here through the benevolence of white folks and we did not get here by voting. We got here because people protested with their lives for better conditions for African people.

The third ignorance, is the ignorance of white supremacy, it is the ignorance of not understanding how the world in which you operate actually exists. We are losing because we are trying to equate the African struggle with everyone else’s struggle. You can respect the femininist fight, you can respect the LGBT fight, you can respect the Arab or East Indian fight, you can respect all these cultural fights but, you do not put them on the same playing field as yours. If you are an African there is a stage in your struggle that neither the LGBT, Feminist, the Arab, the East Indian or the Latino ever had to experience. They went from oppression to fighting equality and acceptance. The African did not go from oppression to fighting for equality and acceptance, we had a third stage, and that stage was humanization. We had to prove we were people before, we could fight to be equal, we are not fighting for the rights to cohabitate with someone, we are not fighting for equal wages with men, we are not fighting for the rights to have our culture accepted, we are fighting for the rights to exist, to live, you do not let another group's mission make you think, that it is has important as yours, we suffer because we are not our own priority yet, we make everyone else's mission more important than ours, we suffer for not being unapologetically African.

By Dr. Umar Johnson