RECLAIMING SOCIALIZATION: A LIFE OR DEATH MATTER
By Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III (Nana Baffour Amankwatia II)
The hardest writing for me is the short essay. No full explanation is possible and generalizations require explanation, elaboration and documentation. Nevertheless, I write here about one of my passionate concerns. It is about nothing less than the survival of African people, and especially about self-determination.
African people everywhere are truly at a defining moment in our long history. We have the oldest and best-recorded history and culture in human history, which includes a deep spirituality, great creative genius, and a commitment to our collective well-being. We have ways of life that rival any tradition on earth. Much of this tradition remains within our communities at an unconscious level, or accessible to us with a little effort.
At one time we were whole. We knew ourselves and had a sense of our past, an appreciation of our culture and a sense of our common destiny. We assumed full responsibility for the socialization of our children and of our community in general. That gave us a strong collective identity, bond and a shared direction.
Segregation, Colonization and white supremacy ideology had a devastating impact upon us. The greatest impact of all of these evil forces was the assault on and damage to our core views, a loss of clarity about who we are, a loss of our family bonds and social fragmentation; mainly because of the loss of control over the socialization of our people. Nothing is more central to our existence and survival than that. Without control over our socialization, there will be no politics, economics, even spirituality or anything else that is vital for us as a people. We will become the ultimate individual dependents of those who do control their own community socialization. By socialization, I mean schooling, training, education, and above all the intergenerational transmission of our culture.
Today, all over the African world, our children and we are being raised almost totally under the authority of and even hands on leadership of others. Traditional spiritual and community leaders have been replaced by non-African leaders of thought and action. In the United States, it is hard to find anyplace where our children’s primary service leaders are within the African family. Forces outside our communities control virtually all socializing agencies and structures such as daycare, early schooling, public schools, higher education, mass media, entertainment, public policy, etc., ultimately. Many of those who control the agencies and leaders of our socialization have shown little or no support for us, for our potentiality or for our destiny. This condition came upon us gradually while we slept.
Even now, with fragmentation and disunity in our communities, we still have the power to reclaim control over our socialization of our children and re-socialization of ourselves. We can transform ourselves at any time of our own choosing. It merely takes a decision to do so. For that we must be awake, critical and informed about our context and ourselves. We must understand what has happened to us. We must know where to go for leadership that places our issues at the center of all efforts. We have not yet failed the do what is required. We have not been trying to do what is required. We are busy “surviving,” accumulating, and wasting our precious time and resources. We have abandoned responsibility and activity. This condition must change immediately.
(Also see Asa G. Hilliard III, The Maroon Within Us: Lessons on African American Community Socialization. and Asa G. Hilliard III, SBA: The Reawakening of the African Mind. )
Please review some of Dr. Hilliard’s numerous lectures on YouTube for an excellent overview of our history.