Author: Molefi Kete Asante*

(To be Distributed at the Meeting of the 8th PAC in Johannesburg, South Africa, 2014)

I have often reflected on the condition of Africans in the Americas, especially in North America, and have concluded that the social, economic, and cultural condition of our population is one of abject dislocation and dismal disorientation. We are not what we should be and not what we want to be; we are the products of our situations, standing, but always in a fighting posture, seeking today as we have done since the end of enslavement the beginning of the upside of our historical consciousness.

I am convinced that once we have gained the upper hand on our consciousness, the liberation of our economic, social, and cultural forces will elevate us to a position of political agency. I am tired of theories about our condition that seemed to me to be unconnected to the ordinary forces of the lives of our people and so in this essay I will attempt the dangerous task of staying relevant to revolution.

The Condition

In the United States, African people are taught the same economics, cultural orientations, arts, philosophy, and history as Europeans who constructed the system of our oppression. There can be no consequence to this situation but that we become imitations of the Europeans. We are given their gods, their divinities, and even their ancestors and made to worship at their altars as if they were ours. In so doing, we obliterate all attachments and all affections to and for ourselves.

As it was in the l930s of Carter G. Woodson who said, ?When you control a man?s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions?he will find his ?proper place? and stay in it.?[i] We have learned to canonize the writers, thinkers, and sages of the West while abandoning all our thinkers to a second or third-tier in human knowledge.[ii]

Thus, the condition of African people in the United States is one of ultimate distress from a psychological perspective.[iii] We are not in control of our own destinies and we are victimized by ruthless patrolling corporate economies that seek to oppress us, use our labor, rob us of our money through blatant consumerism, and poison our environments with ruthless exploitation of our minerals.? Our people are often blinded and cannot see our own cultural and economic demise.

Put another way, we have become the 21st century objects of disdain, abuse, humor, degradation, and exploitation. Furthermore, we have participated in our own mental imprisonment because some of us have defined our oppression as our freedom. Our youth frequently participate in self-destructive behavior that is passed off as art and culture but in the end is the death of culture. The subversion of true liberation is among the worst crimes of the marauding system of human death and our participation, collaboration with the system as its fangs and punishing claws, marks us as pathetic resemblances of the sacred names of our fighters in the past.

This hit-and-miss development in the wills of African people in the United States is nothing more than the system allowing occasional bounces of the ball to break through the barriers and to be called successes. But what is the price of this psychological death?

Part ll is next.

[i] For an in-depth discussion of what happens when Africans are mis-educated read Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro. Washington: Standard, 1931.

[ii] In the book, African Intellectual Heritage, edited by Molefi Kete Asante and Abu Abarry, published by Temple University Press, 1996, there are scores of articles and research papers from the third millennium to the 20th century.

?[iii] This condition has been confirmed repeatedly in the works of Na?im Akbar, Frances Cress Welsing, Wade Nobles, and Asa Hilliard. Almost any works by these scholars will reflect on the psychological condition of African Americans.

*Molefi Kete Asante is the most published African author with 79 books and more than 500 articles, chapters, and forewords. A bold revolutionary thinker, Asante has been called one of the 100 greatest American thinkers. His books, ?The History of Africa,? ?African American History,? ?As I Run toward Africa,? and ?An Afrocentric Manifesto,? are used in many schools and universities throughout the world (See;;; and


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