Not long ago, a certain smart, handsome, well-educated, and promising young architect wanted me to be his girlfriend. He gave me all the care and attention I deserve. But I refused to be with him because he was not a conscious black man. He wined and dined with his international clients (a mix of Europeans and Americans) who explicitly told him that ‘NEGROES’ are lazy and dumb creatures, and that he was one of the few exceptions they had come across. I asked him what his reaction was when they made those expressions.
But, instead of answering my question, he rather asked me what I expected him to do. So I told him what I expected him to do. I expected him to stand up for the dignity of his race. I expected him to remember me in that moment and tell them they were wrong. But my sweet architect prospective boyfriend expressed how strongly he agreed with his clients’ demeaning expressions of the black race because he himself thinks that “we blacks are lazy people”.
He also told me how he didn’t find anything wrong with their use of the word “negroes” because, after all, black rappers have used the “N” word countless times and we all enjoy their music. He did not see reason in my point about the importance of black representation everywhere and how he has a sacred duty to represent and defend black dignity whenever he is confronted with the challenge to do so.
Sadly, we had to argued over this. I looked at him with pity. Because, before me stood a brilliant black man who was already defeated in his own mind. Before me stood a black man who could not stand up for his kind in his sphere of influence … his own small corner where he had a lot of leverage and control. He was simply unconscious and unteachable. And that was the end for him as far as I am concerned.
The attached publication shows that some 178 years ago, people who looked like me – black human beings – were properties of other human beings who felt “more superior”.
14 years after this advertisement, the emancipation proclamation was passed in the US to free enslaved people.
The world has evolved so much since the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation. Protection of human dignity has become a jus cogen norm in public international law. Physical slavery is prohibited everywhere. But the remains of the effects of physical slavery and associated subtle superiority complex of some race continue to linger in the hearts and minds of many people in our 21st Century world. Sometimes, it is in the subconscious and it comes out in conversations, expression of identity, and in our choices.
When I gave up on this young, affectionate, and handsome brilliant architect, I didn’t think of myself. I thought of my kids. I do not want my children to grow up around a father who does not believe in the dignity of the black man like I do, and is unconscious about the woes of his race. I do not care that it would take him a while to catch up. It’s a deal breaker.
1. Formal education is not enough to be conscious about one’s identity and dignity. Identity crisis is real. Self identity is a conscious and difficult journey one must explore by all legitimate means possible.
2. Love has very little to do with feelings. It has a whole lot to do with decisions.