Brother Diallo, do you think it’s essential for black liberation to learn to speak African languages? Most black or African people around the world speak oppressor, invader and colonizer languages, such as French, English, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, German and Arabic. There are some news reports saying it might be beneficial for future Africans to learn to speak Chinese. Thoughts?

Shit, I hate to say this….but….Naw, it ain’t essential.

Now, before you report me to the Coon Police just allow me to explain my view.

There was a time when Africans only spoke African languages, and that alone didn’t protect us from invasion, colonization, and enslavement.

It is well documented that enslavers would mix groups of Africans from different language groups and nationalities in order to prevent rebellions, and those nations that captured and held Africans in common cultural and language groups had more rebellions and disruptions than those that divided and dispersed Africans from their common language groups.

The US enslavers bought Africans on small scale markets to work on individually held agricultural plantations within a Colonial Settler economy.  The Carribean and South American enslavers bought Africans in “bulk,” entire shipments at a time, to work large-scale, industrial agricultural enterprises within an absentee landlord, Traditional Colonial economy.  So the Carribean and South American enslavers had more frequent and successful revolts than the US did.  Both populations of Africans resisted, but one group was better positioned for resistance.

This has lead many scholars to conclude that common language was a key factor then, and thus a key factor now.  In my own study, observation, and experiences I distill it down further: it’s wasn’t the particular language, it was about fundamental communication.  Not just speaking the same language, but deeper communication, common outlook, understandings, goals; spoken and unspoken communication; if you got that, then you have a foundation to build on, if it’s lacking, then you can speak all the African languages you want and stll be fully colonized, enslaved, or oppressed.

As long as we are able to fully communicate, and we have the drive for liberation, it don’t matter if we talking Dinka, English, or in binary code.

I know this may be harsh for many Afrocentrics, who’ve invested so much of their time, money, and egos into learning African Languages, and securing traditional African clothing as symbols of their enlightenment and liberation; but when you really get into the Afrocentric community, you’ll find that most of that shit is cosmetic and is not being practically applied to any level of Liberation Struggle and Revolutionary Organizing.

Much of the shit Afrocentric members of the African Diaspora do is about ego inflation (aka: Healing Oppressions Wounds).  They use their African Languages and “Garb” to set themselves above and apart from the Black masses, yet it grants them no more power, unity, or freedom than the Black masses who only speak broken English and wear the latest Hood fashion trends.

So effective communication is essential, but even more essential than all of that is an unbreakable determination to be liberated and to liberate our people; if you have that determination then any and everything at your disposal will be an instrument or tool for your liberation; from a rusty machete, to the colonizer’s language, to an online course in Swahili, everything.

If you lack that unbreakable determination to secure liberation, all the African dialects, languages, Garb, and headwraps in the world will not move you closer to liberation.  

I know many scholars, that I fully respect will disagree with me, but dems be de facts. I don’t discourage you or anyone from learning everything you can about African, the African Diaspora, and our overall history, and learning to speak as many African languages as you can.  I just caution people from imagining that there is any inherent liberation in that, I wish there was, but unless you Revolutionize your life, your culture, our organizational efforts, they there will be no freedom to come.

Also, Cosmetic Africanity can be an obstruction to Freedom, cuz these Afrocentrics think they have already reached the Promised Land, so they are not willing to risk their comforts, offer their time, or give their lives for to fight for what they already think they possess; which is African Liberation.  They on some “my mind is free” bullshit, and thus lost to any real struggle.

I see more people seduced, and distracted by Afrocentricity then I see being motivated and driven by it.

Oh, and this is my community I’m telling on, the circles I’ve traveled since I was 14 years old.  So I’m not speaking as an outsider to the Afrocentric/African-Centered/Conscious Community, I’m speaking as a Vet in the community and the struggle.  But I take the position that if you can’t or are unwilling to turn a critical eye inward, then what you stand for is shit.