The king of Portugal cannot give me that which already mine! This is one of the most pithy lines from the movie Quilombo, which is a Brazilian maroon colony. In this particular scene, we witness a clash of generations, through which Ganga Zumba - the elder - wishes to negotiate with the Portuguese colonists so that Palmares might enjoy peace and grow. On the other hand, Zumbi - the younger - is not at all interested in negotiating. As far as he is concerned, the king of Portugal has nothing to offer.
Today, we find ourselves in a very similar situation, in the sense that the system has offered us everything it can. We have Africanized Christianity, the Ivory Tower and the corporate world as much as we could. Now it is time to accept the limitations of mainstream America. What we seek is not where the White world would have us to believe. That is, everything in entertainment, education, religion, religion, business and politics seems to point to assimilation as the solution. But the truth is, mainstream problems are not the same as ours. Of course, the human condition is filled with universal experiences. But there are also multitudes of problems that are particular to Africans born in America. These problems cannot be solved by assimilating. They require solutions that are consistent with our history and culture.
There is no hope in further integration. Our only salvation is in self reliance, what the Yoruba call alatiise. It means solve your own problem! It is a praise as well as a push. Right now, I using it as a call to action: Alatiise! It is not a question of conflict or confrontation with the White man and his world. It is really a question of self acceptance and organization according to the imperatives of reality for Black people in this country and around the world.
There is no more value in fighting, demanding and resisting. Instead, let us pull back, regroup and get organized around solving our own problems: Alatiise!
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Live the Medicine
Obafemi Origunwa, MA
Thought leader, Ifa priest and author of four definitive books, Obafemi Origunwa inspires metamorphosis through living the medicine that will heal your life and heal the lives of the people you're destined to serve.