Following the publication of “Defining the ‘African family’ in the Global African Diaspora“, many of you have been e-mailing me to share your comments on some of the points I raised. One of the most significant contributions came from Delroy Washburn, chairman of the Federation of Reggae Music (FORM).
Here is the message he sent me:
Some years ago I found myself in a similar situation to the one which you described at a Pan-African celebration where I was invited to sing. It was a Kwanzaa celebration in Hackney where a White grandmother brought her mixed-race grandchildren to participate in the celebration. She was stopped and heckled at the door.
I went over to ask the doormen what the problem was and he said that the White elder could not be admitted because it was ”strictly a Black Family affair”. I could not understand that level of ignorance and like you I told the organisers that if the Elder wasn’t going to be admitted I was going to take my leave and go home. Another brethren, a poet who was also due to perform took sides with me and the whole meeting erupted into a farce.
I left subsequently and was utterly annoyed at the level of ignorance demonstrated by these people. The argument that you pose is serious and needs to be addressed sooner than later. Like you I recognise the contribution of fair minded White people many of whom laid down their lives in the struggle for African Liberation. This is something that I think that many ignorant people among us need to understand and come to terms with.
First of all, I would like to thank Delroy for his comment on my ‘defining the African family’ blog.
There are certain issues which we, as Africans in Britain, do not confront because of the spurious belief that ‘we should not wash our dirty linen in public’ and this is one of them. Another one, more deadly of course, is the infamous ‘no snitching rule’ that coerces people into being complicit in the murder of our children by shielding murderers and hiding guns or information about where guns are kept, thus allowing for the use of the same weapon in multiple murders.
If we act ‘in solidarity’ with backwardness, oppression and injustice, we take on the same mantle as those we believe to be responsible for our condition. The struggle for freedom necessitates that we HOLD ONE ANOTHER TO ACCOUNT in defence of freedom and our hard won rights and not collude with backwardness under the guise of ‘not washing our dirty linen in public’.
Peace and Progress!
And do keep your comments coming! You can post them on my Facebook page or on the comments area below.
Picture (home): “African Diaspora” by beautifulcataya (Flickr – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)