1. Low self-esteem in Black children is a direct result of what they have not been taught about who they were. Although knowledge of self is essential to academic progress, race pride is even more essential than knowledge of self.
2. The current psyche of the African in the world is due to his subjugation, due to slavery, colonialism and white supremacy… You can’t take self-hating Black people and think you’re going to lead them in a renaissance to reclaim who they are. You’ve got to change that mind. Therefore if we were trained into inferiority, we’re going to have to be trained back into superiority. We’re going to have to be trained back into our normal state of mind.
3. Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder. Our greatest problem after whyte supremacy is ourselves. Our Achilles heel is self-hate.
4. The single greatest period (of Black History) would be the 19th century. From 1801-1899 that was the greatest period of African people since our fall from greatness. We did more from 1801-1899, than we’ve done from 1901-1999 and what we’re doing from 2000-2099. Pan Africanism was birthed in the 19th century. The Haitian Revolution was in that century. American slavery ended in that century. The birth of the Black Womanists Movement. Many of our first authors, our greatest inventions, most of our wars, our Maafa (slavery) revolts our independent communities, the Black wall Streets, Reconstruction, Shaka Zulu, Yaa Asantewaa. Many of them come or were born in that century. Marcus Garvey was born in 1887…during those 100 years.
5. We’re dealing with inter-generational transmission of trauma that is contained in the double helix of our DNA. We inherit the shame and the pain, the grandeur and the guilt of our ancestors. It is in us. So to change that type of situation it’s going to require a lot of commitment a lot of discipline, and a lot of self and collective love that a lot of our people don’t have.
6. The conscious community has an energy about it that it very negative and destructive. Some people just want to sit and find what’s wrong with everybody else. And they pass it off as beneficial. You are not helping by finding faults. You help by finding a solution. Nothing has ever been built by criticism, even if the criticism was right and exact. You’re not helping by finding fault; you’re helping by finding solutions. Nothing has ever been built by criticism, even if the criticism was right and exact. The central contradiction of the Black consciousness movement as it is right now is that the self-education we are getting is not educating us to be a group of philosophical analyzers and criticizers. The more we learn the more arrogant we get, the less humble we become, the less unwilling we are to accept direction and accountablily. If something is going to be done for Black people it will be done by a group certain not to emerge from the Black consciousness struggle. They are too smart to thing that they have to do anything. They are too smart to think they have to accountable to anybody. It is a monster with information but with no infrastructure.
7. Amos Wilson was the greatest Black scholar we’ve had within the past 50 years. His reliance on pragmatic solutions for Black people remains unequal. I think a lot of our scholars focus on one area of scholarship to our detriment, which often isn’t solution-based. There is an over-reliance on health. An over-reliance on history. An over-reliance on culture. It’s understandable. However, what are you building to improve the conditions of our people? Amos Wilson, more than any scholar, I know of, actually tried to change the physical circumstances under which Black people lived. If there was no Marcus Garvey, it would be Amos Wilson.
8. History is the collective memory and experience of a people. I think you have to have a serious history program if you are going to properly socialize African children because our understanding of our past is the foundation upon which our future is projected. Where are the instructional uses of our history? If all we are going to do is glamorize it, we miss one of the biggest benefits of our history and that is being able to learn from the past to project into the future.
9. We don’t have the luxury of being one-dimensional… even though we are in a state of crisis, we don’t act like it. We are very nonchalant about the fact that we are being targeted for extermination! I’m seeing Black folks more concerned with what they wear, more concerned with how they dress, more concerned with how expensive their car is, more concerned with the internet, more concerned with the shows on TV than I am about their existence. How do you explain the nonchalance in the face of danger? Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder. We have been socialized to be desensitized to our own dehumanization. We are the only people who can look at our own pain and trauma and neglect it. Not even neglect it, but laugh at it.
10. Get organized. Three things that all of our great minds did is: Study – you have to educate yourself not to the point where you become so arrogant that nobody can tell you anything. Struggle – you have to participate in some sort of action, some sort of activity that benefits the collective. Whether that’s a study group, a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen…do something positive (like) a rite of passage program. We are born to serve each other. We serve the Most High through serving each other. Serve. What are you doing to serve your people? The third thing is the dissemination of information. We have to educate. Whether that’s a website, newsletter, radio show, a newspaper… we have to disseminate the information because the propaganda war is the most brutal war. Marcus Garvey said more people have been murdered through propaganda than any other means because propaganda kills the desire to believe you can do by putting out information to the contrary. Propaganda is the art of forming people’s opinions for them. That’s why the United States spends over 500 billion dollars a year simply on opinion formation. It’s called misinformation in the service of the state.
These quotes were taken from our interview with Umar Johnson. Read full interview at: https://kentakepage.com/interview-with-dr-umar-johnson/
Dr. Umar Johnson is currently in the process of establishing the Frederick Douglass Marcus Garvey RBG International Leadership Academy in Lawrenceville, Virginia. Please visit his website at http://www.drumarjohnson.com/