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.
June 15, 2019 at 9:37 PM
Wow, you Pan-African zealots are out here in full force disseminating patently false propaganda – just to undercut the ADOS movement to prop yourselves up to take the lead away from the people that picked up the case for Reparations where your group stalled, and you still don’t get it. The reason your group stalled was because Africans on the continent were not interested in the plight of the descendants of the very people their descendants sold to Europeans. (See the referenced sources below)
“The historians John Thornton and Linda Heywood of Boston University estimate that 90 percent of those shipped to the New World were enslaved by Africans and then sold to European traders. The sad truth is that without complex business partnerships between African elites and European traders and commercial agents, the slave trade to the New World would have been impossible, at least on the scale it occurred.” – Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (New York Times: Ending The Slavery Blame Game, April 22, 2010)
Further, ADOS or (American Descendants of Slavery) is an identity based on lineage -shared historical experiences. In America, we have had a distinctly unique historical experience that no other group has had, and did not share in. We’ve been here in bondage since 1619 (widely recognized, although Spain brought slaves here as early as 1526 – they couldn’t sustain a colony). That’s 400 years!
In the words of Dr. John Henrik Clarke, every group is shaped by environmental conditions, cultural traditions, and by extension, this must include the social/societal conditions in which they exist. ADOS were made to endure conditions on fundamental existential levels that made us different from our origins – unique in the fact that women were forcibly raped – bred and the mixing of the bloodlines, severed the homogeneity we see in Africa among tribes. We were irrevocably mixed with Europeans, lost family, culture, traditions, customs, language, spirituality, all knowledge of Self. That bell can’t be un-rung. This is part of the fount of our uniqueness, and a sound basis upon which an identity must be built.
We are vested in America – a country built by our ancestors, constructed on the plundered bodies of our people, not people in Caribbean, not people in South America, not people on the continent of Africa – they do not get to claim our Reparation, our justice claim, our birthright. We have blood equity here, 400 years worth. That is clear cut, there is no debating this clear delineation for the claim to move forward. It should not be conflated with justice claims by any other groups in other countries. We are going to the United States government for what it did, and what happened here in America – to a documented, specific group of people. We can support each other’s claims without the distortions Pan African zealots have begun to introduce. You are treading on thin ice with these deliberate distortions about what ADOS is and what it is not.
Pan Africanists should be celebrating and supporting ADOS, not assuming the role of surrogate adult over a generation that has found its footing in progressing our group forward. African’s don’t subscribe to the precepts of Pan Africanism, they never have. They had to be convinced to do so – they didn’t want to be burdened with our troubles. (See the excerpts below)
Passages in Malcolm X’s memorandum indicated that he had encountered resistance to his idea: (New York Times Archives: Malcolm X Seeks U.N. Negro Debate; he asks African States to cite U.S. over rights, August 13, 1964)
“Some African leaders at this conference,” he said in his memorandum, “have implied that they have enough problems here on the mother continent without adding the Afro‐American problem.
“With all due respect to your esteemed positions, I must remind all of you that the good shepherd will leave 99 sheep at home to go to the aid of the one who is lost and has fallen into the hands of the imperialist wolf.