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Now let’s get to business.
So all along, I’ve had this idea that my first blog post would discuss the concept of consciousness. I actually got a little anxious sitting down to write it and possibly it was for a good reason. It wasn’t until last night while wearing my cute Jack-o-Lantern dress that I had to ask… “Am I really as conscious as I think I am?”
What is consciousness might you ask? Within Black Psychology (the study of Black people’s behavior and mind), it can be defined as a pursuit of self-knowledge; sense of love and appreciation for one’s African identify. (Kambon, 2003). Many Black psychologists have theorized that we loss our sense of consciousness through historical amnesia as we were taken from our land against our will and forced to assimilate into a culture unlike our own(Should you need a history lesson, I’ll be sure to create a book list soon). Psychologist Amos N. Wilson even went on to state “To manipulate history is to manipulate consciousness; to manipulate consciousness is to manipulate possibilities; and to manipulate possibilities is to manipulate power (1993, p.2).”
Such information alone helps us to understand why we are where we are now. How many of us can say prior to 23 and me, Ancestry and other DNA tests alike that we knew exactly what part of Africa we are from? That we were fluent in our native language and adhered to all of the customs of our native country?
As many of us sit here looking from side to side for someone to raise their hand, we have to admit that it is sad. I will never forget attempting to have this conversation with a woman whose reply was “Well go learn your native language, honey!” She must have not known that those are fighting words, but thankfully I was able to woosah a few times and calm myself down.
Within recent years we have seen an increase in the plight of consciousness, which warms my heart. I love to see the natural hair, waist beads, Ankara print clothing and all that. I love to hear people referring to each other as Kings and Queens. I love to see how proud people are of their skin tone. Even so, the question still remains, “Am I conscious?”
To me, it seems as if our sense of consciousness has now become a source of competition. Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, everywhere I turn around, I see people arguing about how someone needs to #staywoke or how someone is a conspiracy theorist. Meanwhile, I’m just sitting around thinking apparently I’m sleep.
What it all boils down to is that our sense of consciousness is based upon our life experiences. While the hope is that everyone has access to information that was once hidden, the fact of the matter is that we all interpret the information the way we want to. Everyone will not be able to excel to a higher level of consciousness until they are prepared to learn more about their history and how it guides the way they live currently.
In speaking for myself, I can say that my sense of consciousness is based upon the fact that I have assimilated in some ways to mainstream culture. While I’m conscious of the need to find the beauty in my natural hair, I’m also conscious of the fact that its more convenient at times for me to be get it straightened. While I’m conscious of the negative impact some rap music has on society in general, I’m also conscious of the fact that I love Gucci Mane and if Goldlink’s remix of Crew comes on, more than likely I’m going to cut up.
Simply speaking, in being the Conscious Queens and Kings we are, we also have to be accepting of our shortcomings. It is only then that we can truly be conscious, be true and creatively ourselves.
Wilson, A. (1993). The Falsification of Afrikan Consciousness: Eurocentric History, Psychiatry and the Politics of White Supremacy. New York City, NY: Afrikan World Infosystems, p.4.
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Kambon, K. (1998). African/Black psychology in the American context. 2nd ed. Tallahassee, FL: Nubian Nation Publications.
Find book here.