Thoughts from a Frustrated Black Woman Part 1
With all that is going on in East Africa and the rest of the world, Aretha is getting driven into politics.
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First published: November 28, 2005
I’m usually not quick to write anything political, but the recent unfortunate events throughout our globe have involved many participants of the black race, and the results of these incidents have troubled my mind for the past few weeks.
These events have made me ponder how did the universal black race exercise their freedom positively in these testing times in the world. And when exercised, how did their revolt and resistance improve their circumstances in the world and the race.
Because if freedom is the road to achieve global unity and peace, then it is traveling in a world that is inevitably full of rage, division, anger and hatred.
October was a time when I was caught up in place of peace and serenity. My church in Uganda, Calvary Chapel Kampala, along with Makerere Full Gospel, Kampala Pentecostal Church, Seguku Worship Centre, organized a crusade, which involved for the first time unifying the body of Jesus Christ in Kampala in order to teach the gospel of Jesus through live gospel band music, spiritual songs and sermons at Nakivubo Stadium. It was a grand event filled with spiritual enlightenment, understanding the bible, ministering to the unsaved, while building relationships.
The name and theme for this event was “Living in the Last Days Crusade.” The purpose of event was to create an awareness of the troubled times in which we live, and the hope and expectancy of the return of Jesus Christ.
So during the crusade, about over 1,000 of my fellow Americans and Ugandans were able to engage in fellowship, worship, praise, and prayer together. As a black American, it was a unity in love and brotherhood that I have unfortunately never witnessed nor experienced before. I heard it could happen. But like most things in life, you can never truly understand unless you have experienced it for yourself.
Even though there was a little strife from the Islamic community about our crusade, (since it was during the period the Muslims observe Ramadan) and the stadium was next to one of its temples, we were still able to minister to Muslims and have peace. For me, the time was somewhat of a fantasy. I was indulged in prayer and celebration of the harmonious tidings that were being produced out of this crusade week in Kampala.
Meanwhile on the other side of town at Namboole Stadium, more Americans, actually the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) had came to Uganda to have a history-making, first-ever live broadcast outside the United States for its “Praise the Lord” telecast, that was televised on local television. The show’s event drew in over 2,000 attendees, according to local reports, and lasted more than 9 hours. In addition, President Yoweri K. Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni were also in attendance.
After these events, I was full of hope that Uganda and the world could come together to see past race, creed, political views, sexism, ageism, and color. I started to imagine the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. manifest and conquer hearts to convert and change for love and righteousness. I envisioned the universal black race engaging peacefully with others on an equal social, religious and political scale.
I really thought I saw utopian socialism in the world becoming a reality. Because for the first time, I saw hope during many hopeless times.
Boy, was my head in the clouds.
Later, I was praying for Jesus to come back right now because right around the corner I saw the evidence that we are definitely living in the last days.
Black or White?
On the other side of the planet, the Nation of Islam and several celebrities, dignitaries, activists and supporters were participating in the Million More March in Washington, D.C. in observance of the initial Million Man March that occurred 10 years ago at the same place. The agenda this year was, according to the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, “hopes the Millions More Movement will be a day of empowerment for all African Americans.”
Then, I was suddenly disenchanted about our world’s future when I read an interview about the march on Black Enterprise.com. That’s when I realized that world peace is still being fuelled with impartiality, unpractical views, and racism.
When asked what do African Americans need to do to achieve economic parity, Farrakhan said, “We spend too much trying to keep up with the wealth of white people. We spend foolishly and save very little…Once we start becoming a nation of producers, then we can keep some of that [buying power] in our communities. Then we will become a very strong and vibrant economic community.”
Then, the 72-year-old leader said he wanted to leave a proud legacy after his death.
“I hope that my people see me as a person that loves black people and was willing to speak the truth and give my life,” he said. “If necessary, to see our people free not only in America, but wherever we are found on the earth.”
The constant battle against black and white is still holding strong throughout the world. Even in Uganda, too, where it is heard constantly on the radio or read in the newspapers that President Museveni is ensuring his nation that the donor and foreign community will not get any leverage in the political arena. In a way, Museveni and other politicians are striving for Black Nationalism, meaning Uganda is for Ugandans. There is no room for unity, equality and participation from foreigners when it comes to constitutional, regional and local laws and decisions. However, the politics of Uganda are not reluctant to allow allowances, grants, donations, investments and other financial incentives to support a black Ugandan state. In exchange, Uganda has been able to establish a popular international investment community and export market.
And yet, in America, black Americans have been free for a little over 400 years, and some of us still haven’t understood that we need to band together, but not to diminish relations with other nations. Farrakhan is expressing the ideal of sole Black Nationalism, with the notion of not having any partnerships beyond the black race.
Even though I may not agree with all the political and social ramifications that resulted in Museveni’s administration, I respect his vision of a Ugandan-led state after years of bruised internal affairs from British rule.
But I respect President Museveni’s honest—yet very discreet—notion that Uganda would not be where it is today economically if it wasn’t for the financial contributions from its international neighbors, which happens to be largely from Europe.
Since living in East Africa, I see the bureaucracy of Africans working with the global community. It’s a give and take. And, it’s the same in America. It’s an “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine,” mentality.
I have realized it’s not exclusively a race issue. But, it’s not really a money issue, either. It’s a status and power issue that leads to knowledge and leverage in getting what you want.
We, as a people, not just white or black, but as humans, must realize that we can’t keep walking around with our eyes wide shut.
In order to be free, we have to use our freedom by utilizing one another. If we acknowledge that we have boundaries, yet similarities, then make the most of the similarities to get results and benefits. It may be an obstacle at the beginning, but we will have the freedom to either gain power, or the freedom to stay where we are, or the freedom to back down.
The idea is to have the freedom to have a choice.
I was raised to think that black people, universally, didn’t have a choice, yet we are free. So, this is the reason why the comments from Farrakhan annoyed me. He is conditioning some black Americans to believe that we are not free because we don’t have a choice. This is just like another ideal in America that if one gives into pervasive racism and the fear of believing there are limited opportunities for success, one race will earn too much prestige and power, leaving nothing for the rest of the races.
But, we do have a choice. All black people have a choice to work not just in the black community but also within all communities to gain economical freedom, power and wealth.
But the questions are, do we really want it? Do we really want to work with others to get it? Can we really do it?
Click here: Thoughts from a Frustrated Black Woman Part 2
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First published: November 28, 2005
She has written, edited and been featured in the Detroit Free Press, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, the East African, New Vision, The Daily Monitor, Vibe, and other trade magazines and newspapers.
Living in Uganda as a resident, she is actively involved in the Uganda writing arena, local church activities, and volunteer organizations. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.