(ThyBlackMan.com) Many of us point to the accomplishments and contributions of ancient African science and philosophy as proving the worth of African peoples and as reasons for us to be treated equally. Others of us see these things as the rationale for us to take pride in our African heritage, and as a spur for us to go out and develop our own institutions and associations of every kind.
The former group notes the myriad ways we have been mistreated down through the centuries as a long running, ever expanding petition for freedom and justice. The latter see that as why we should do for self, and protect ourselves and our communities from a people who will never treat us fairly.
The two camps also have contrasting takes on African American accomplishments in the arts. Whereas the first takes great pride in the accomplishments, renown and success of African American artists and athletes, the latter points out that Black arts and culture are almost exclusively under the control of others and their products used to stereotype us and channel our youth in a destructive manner.
However, there is a third perspective in all of this. African scientific and philosophic accomplishments need to be recognized because Western science, shorn of its appreciation and understanding of its African roots, is systematically destroying the planet. As for the ways in which we have been mistreated, they must be corrected if America is to be what it claimed to be back in 1776. Unless and until that happens America, the Promised Land if there ever was one, will continue to rot at its core promoting inequality and injustice at home and abroad, and the external wars and internal conflict that generates will produce Armageddon.
As for African American arts and culture, it should be seen as American arts and culture. The folk culture of a people always is generated from the bottom, and we are at the bottom today. But we are, nonetheless, the people that began humanity, civilization, science and philosophy. All other peoples are our children. That’s why they imitate whatever we do. We badly shortchange ourselves, and doom humanity, if we but seek economic parity. The wages of sin is death. The creators of civilization must save civilization. But how?
To begin with, which parents are afraid of their children? Those who have foolishly lost control. How do we regain it? That is the question. That is the riddle we must absolutely find the answer to. However, the ancients did leave us a clue, the supreme directive for each of us to individually think about and resolutely act upon. KNOW THYSELF.