A couple years ago, I was having a debate with a colleague of mine about slavery. It was her position that Black/African people need to “get over” and “move on” from slavery and stop blaming white people. After all, she argued, many Africans who were sold into slavery were captured and sold by fellow Africans.

 She then proceeded to ask the question,

“do you think that there is something
inherent to Africans and their descendants
that they are unable to resist the temptation
to “sell each other out?”

Jean-Claude-ToviaveWhile I rebuffed her comments at the time as utter ignorance, the recent story about former tennis pro Jean-Claude Toviave, who is also African, and his conviction and sentencing for fraudulently bringing in and enslaving four young children from Togo in his Michigan home, brought me back to my colleague’s question.  How could a man like Mr. Toviave, who I am sure is aware of the detrimental and dehumanizing affects of slavery, engage in such heinous and deplorable behaviour? How can he, as a Black man who lives in America, enslave children who look just like him? Children who could be his own? Does his status as an ex pro tennis player and acquired material possessions and wealth take precedence over his social responsibility, not only as a human being but also as a Black/African man? If he engages in slavery of African children, if he were to have a racist encounter while in America, does his position as “slave owner” exclude him of the right to cry foul?

We see the divide everyday within the Black/African community. Black on Black crime continues to rise. Many often complain of a lack of unity and cooperation within the African/Black community. However, while many of us keep complaining, very few have proposed feasible solutions. This mainly stems from our inability to concretely identify the root cause/causes of the apparent need within the Black/African community for self-aggrandizement over communal responsibility.

Within the Black/African community we often refer to each other as “brother” and sister” regardless of our blood relation. Yet, many of us continue act as if we have no social responsibility beyond our selfish needs.

The questions then still remains, how do we remedy this?

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Nickname: Queen of Kings. "I tell it as it is"

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