A Case for Black Separatism...
I write this not only as an African American male, but as someone different as well. The experience hitherto described is one many African Americans or Black People can relate to. Don’t you occasionally look at some of the people we share a culture with and see nothing being shared? The staunchest Black republican doesn’t see a reflection of himself in a Blood wondering aimlessly around a New York neighborhood. The Black liberal posting tweets about injustices LGBT people face has nothing in common with the Black Nationalist posting about community injustices all Black people face. Some may say that they share a desire for justice, but when you break down the kind of justice they are looking for, the justices do not resemble one another.
This begs the question: why are we even a we? African Americans are the only group I know of with members that look down on being exclusive to each other.
Separatism is too harsh a word despite the title. When groups of people like Nigerians divide themselves by culture, they do not necessarily see themselves as a people divided. You can be Igbo, Yoruba, Bantu or whatever else and still be Nigerian. It is not that they give up the larger association, they narrow it down by a lot. The Chinese share in these divides, as do the Italians, South Africans, Arabs, and nearly every culture alive today. African Americans do not share in this.
Groups like the Nation of Islam or sporadic groups of Hebrew Israelites represent this idea, to some extent. However, they are not quite on the level of the African cultural entities mentioned earlier. Although both names boast numbers, they are not seen in the same light, and nowadays, they are even looked down upon by many African Americans. “Blackness” is looked at as an inclusive thing; everyone with our skin color is “one of us” to some extent. The problem with that is diversity, ironically. As North America becomes more diverse, the mindsets that brought African Americans so far are not suitable for everyone labelled Black now.
Perhaps Black People should not attempt to unite as one race because humanity is the only race. Cultural bonds are what truly draw us together at the end of the day. Is your skin color why you have the friends you have, the passions you choose, or your interests? For me, skin color is not why I embrace Hip-Hop, anime, arts or anything else. I am who I am because this is who I want to be. No one should feel obligated to put up with another individual because of skin color, and no one should see someone as anything special because of skin color. I believe that now is the right time for Black People to divide and reform, to come together apart from one another. The idea is not to separate from your racial identity, but to form new ones.
In conclusion, maybe we are stronger apart than we are together. Maybe we, as a people, will experience new kinds of growth if we stop considering ourselves as a people. Maybe being an African American shouldn’t be seen as a cultural identity in and upon itself, and we should define ourselves by who we are underneath the skin definitively. Separatism doesn’t have to be a bad thing.