Black Africans and the Symbol of Selassie
Posted: Wednesday, June 16, 2004
A response on the thread:
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Garvey speaks on Haile Selassie I
Rastafari Speaks Message Board
I can agree that some people can be inspired to do some deeper reflection on their lives, and even get their first window into African affairs through Selassie. That is easy to see. It is also clear that for many, Selassie is not just a symbol and he did not operate to their satisfaction. I do not agree with many of the positions he took, but I donít spell them out. There are many other personalities that we can examine to look at things another way and make our own judgment.
I am in no way agreeing with the idea that hailing up Selassie is the cornerstone / foundation of Rasta for reasons I have given before. I also disagree with the idea that he is the only or ideal teacher for Africans. But as I said earlier, I see no problem with him as one of our many ancestors whom we can learn from. For Africans to be insisting that he is our supreme godhead is simply no way to unite. There is no way all Africans would ever agree on this for a whole variety of reasons, and insisting on this is really inconsiderate especially when many people will be inspired by different personalities depending on their own state of awareness, and this is totally consistent with the free mindedness of Rasta.
I deliberately try to keep away from extensive criticisms of Haile Selassie because I am aware that there are others around who would use those arguments for a different agenda than aiding the development of the African community.
There was a thread by some Oromo posters that addressed much of this. That thread is linked in the reasoning section found through the articles link above.
Once Africans are receptive to learning from a wide variety of our ancestors then they will not have any major issue.
On the issue of generalizing about Rastafari and Christianity, it is also my experience that the majority of people who embrace Rastafari come to it with a Christian leaning. So I find nothing strange about generalizing about that. Of course the exceptions are in the minority. It is easy to see that if some people have done more research, and also have more experiences with oppression from colonized Blacks as well as the white dominated system then they would bring more fire to the reasoning. The issues to them will not be exercises in mental gymnastics but will show the urgency of their experiences. That is how Africans should react to clear and present danger.
Although all people are free to their views on all these matters. I doubt that everyone will agree on everything. But in saying this I am quite clear that it is important to see through the motivations of people before making alliances to build community.
I am more in agreement with Kelaniís views on Selassie not being the ideal symbol for dark-skinned kinky-haired Africans. I say this for many reasons that I have given before on discussions about peopleís sensitivity to issues as it relates to how it affects the Black kinky-haired Africans. Too often I am not impressed with the moves of people who just do not get it, because they do not feel it from that end of the spectrum. This does not mean that a Blacker person will get it. I am simply saying that I will quicker choose a Blacker more informed person to speak on my behalf over a fairer person. The simple reason is that a Blacker person who has experienced the worst of the system, and is committed to the highest of integrity is LESS LIKELY to neglect the people whom the system negatively affects the most.
I have seen many others who did what they thought to be their best, but they never tackled the issues with the urgency that the Blacker ones expect. It is like they have to appease the rest, and if there are leftovers then the Blacker ones get considered.
Again this is my personal view. I have seen many, especially Black kinky-haired women, who have many negative experiences in this corrupt system, and when they are armed with the ability to express their own views, they will do well in the frontline of any movement.
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