Dr. Ray Winbush (courtesy photo)
Since some of the Democratic presidential candidates brought up reparations in an attempt to attract the Black vote in the 2020 race, this polarizing subject has been at the forefront of dialogue about societal conditions people of African descent face in the United States. On Juneteenth, members of the U.S. House will further discuss the possibility of reparations during a hearing featuring Ta Nehisi Coates and Danny Glover as public witnesses.
The most interesting aspect of the reparations discussion has surrounded the schism between Pan-Africanists and those designating themselves as American Descendents of Slavery, or ADOS, about the origins and future direction of the reparations movement. This battle, as far as this grassroots journalist is concerned, has revealed severe miseducation about Africans in the United States that has hindered ongoing efforts for Pan-African self-determination – social, political, economic, and otherwise.
Despite overwhelming evidence that has proven different, members of the ADOS movement, led by Yvette Carnell and Antonio Moore, have attempted to take credit for pivoting national attention to reparations. In the process, they’ve made clear that they want nothing to do with Black people whose ancestors didn’t experience chattel slavery in the United States. Like other people of African descent who haven’t employed a Pan-African ideology, ADOS members identify with their nationality, rather than their race and global connection to the millions of Africans worldwide — all to their detriment, and ours as a collective.
This unfortunately prevalent mindset sits at the foundation of a nationalistic political organizing strategy that has become more common in the age of President Donald J. Trump. Whereas white supremacists, known as white nationalists, in the United States have united with their counterparts in Europe and other places in ostracizing the “other,” members of the ADOS movement have separated themselves from all other Black people. In doing so, they have absolved themselves of their African heritage and any likelihood of forming an international coalition that tackles the System of White Supremacy more globally.
ADOS members also denied themselves an opportunity to organize globally against the United States and other world powers that have united in denying rights and freedoms to people of African descent all around the world.
Dr. Ray Winbush, the AllEyesOnDC guest on May 17, spoke about this multi-generational tradition to bring the engineers of this global white supremacists system to justice for their human rights violations — whether its enslavement, Jim Crow segregation, colonialism, land grabs, and anything else under the sun that destroyed potential for multigenerational wealth in African communities across the world. During his appearance, he also spoke about the Durban Conference in the early 2000s and the scholarship of Randall Robinson and Ta-Nehisi Coates that strengthened the call for reparations — beyond a study of the concept, as introduced in legislation by one-time Representative John Conyers. Dr. Winbush went back further to the case of Belinda Royall, who successfully petitioned for reparations after escaping enslavement during the 18th century.
As Pan-Africanists gear up to converge on Detroit for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in the Americas (NCOBRA) Conference on the weekend of June 20, it’s essential to understand the shoulders on which the people behind the reparations movement stand. Additionally, its essential that organizers, as Dr. Winbush suggested, take an inventory of the tools at their disposal in realizing this goal. In presenting these facts, The AllEyesOnDC Show presents a platform for a balanced and honest discussion about reparations, and a call for people of African descent to dedicate their resources and services in the endeavor of securing what’s due to a historically oppressed people.
How that payout looks remains to be seen, and has also been a topic of discussion. However, it’s important that people of African descent understand that similar struggles have taken place, and continue to unfold across the world.
Despite what members of ADOS would like Black people to believe, there are race-conscious people fighting similar battles on the African continent, the Carribbean and elsewhere. Accepting that as fact provides opportunity for additional research and collaboration so that Africans in the United States can get some international backing that will pressure the U.S. government to pay what it owes to descendents of the Maafa.