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From The Ramparts

 Junious Ricardo Stanton

 Wisdom vs. Foolishness


     “People do not take you seriously if you do not take yourself seriously”- Dr. Naim Akbar


            In his book Chains and Images of Psychological Slavery Dr. Na’im Akbar addresses the continuing after effects of African enslavement and the deleterious impact the Western desecration/dehumanization process has had on African people. In the section called Psychological Legacy of Slavery, Dr Akbar examines various aspects of the enslavement ethos and resulting pathologies they generate even to this day.

            One maladaptive response to oppression and enslavement is that of “the clown”. He says, “It is easy to observe that man exalts in his superiority over lower animals by teaching them to do tricks and being entertained by those tricks. In much the same way the slave owner prided himself in his superiority by being entertained by the slave…Using a person for your clown has always been one of he major ways to assert your dominance over a person.” Page 18

            While Dr, Akbar raises salient points when he discusses the enslavers’ attacks on resistance and righteous black leadership to keep us subservient and passive, I want to focus on the clowning of our people, reducing us to buffoons and caricatures of our divine selves.

            To be successful enslavers must beak our spirits to discourage any attempts at rebellion, liberation, self and group restoration and transformation. One of the ways they do it is by openly rewarding behaviors that maintain their illusion of superiority, promotes our inferiority and stifles any attempts at obliterating the existing power advantage enjoyed by the enslavers.

 This is why they denigrate our heroes like Nat Turner, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Noble Drew Ali and Elijah Muhammad and revise or trivialize the accomplishments of people like Ida B Wells, Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X.

            Today our modern enslavers, our psychological jailors reward “entertainers” who push the envelop, by acting more ratchet, profane and ignant while the system makes sure conscious artists struggle to get exposure. On the other hand we see them rewarding Blacks who openly work to maintain white domination and empire over their own people and the world.

            In this Eurocentric social/political milieu we have been conditioned to believe the only way to “succeed” is to emulate Europeans, in other words don’t be who the CREATOR made you, be a fake and a fraud. This process leads to psychological distress, self-debasement and is expressed in the myriad maladaptive responses to oppression and  the menticide we see in our communities and around the world.

            Being divine souls we do have a choice; we can continue to be the white man’s clowns and lackeys or we can resist and return to our ancient African wisdom and apply our wisdom teachings that are thousands of years old. We can hold fast to the ancient admonition “Know Thyself” and begin the journey of self-discovery, re-Africanization, self- actualization, self and community repair.

            African people have always valued wisdom; which has nothing to do with formal education (indoctrination). Our transplanted ancestors who were denied formal education here called wisdom “mother wit”. In Africa we had long traditions of cultivating, rewarding and celebrating wisdom, good character and righteousness and leaving a legacy promoting those virtues. The oldest writings in the world addressing and promoting good character are found in the African Nile Valley’s Teaching of Ptahhotep, The Book of Coming Forth By Day and the Book of Creations. In the Nile Valley writing, Mdw Ntr (what the ignorant Greeks called hieroglyphics), was considered sacred, a means of cultivating good character and godliness.

  Africans throughout the continent also used oral instruction as a means to inculcate and cultivate wisdom and good character. Fables, parables and stories were used to teach valuable lessons, stimulate wisdom, good character and social harmony. Anansi the spider was a common story telling character in West Africa.

Let us return to valuing wisdom and good character and abstain from foolishness and the cultural treachery that dishonors us and our ancestors.




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Thank you for posting this excellent article.

We are brilliant at entertainment and SO many other things!

I would like to draw a distinction between entertainment and "cooning and buffooning". Cooning and buffooning, or clowning, is a survival strategy which was adopted during slavery and post-slavery.  It is hopelessly outdated now.

For a highly entertaining example of "cooning and buffooning", check out  Harry Belafonte's brilliant performance in Buck and the Preacher.

Well said, Zhana.  Let us not forget that we used several survival strategies when it was neccessary.  Perhaps it is still neccessary under certain circumstances.


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