Last week I went to the Fordham film festival and saw the Amistad. To sit and watch a movie about your people being tortured and sold into slavery is practically unbearable. I do not think any person of African decent can sit there without feeling an ounce of rage or a bit of sadness….
I think the part of the movie that bothered me the most was the black on black crime. Blacks selling their own into slavery. I know many people can argue that they had no choice. That it was either kill or be killed. But really though? Where was the loyalty? Was selling your brother really worth those guns? These question are rhetorical now since these occurrences took place hundreds of years ago and have no real relevance now right? It’s not like we are still selling each other into slavery…. Or are we?
The movie itself was great in my opinion. Even though it really wasnt about the slaves on the Amistad, but it was eye-opening. I still cannot skip over that scene though… The scene where Africans were capturing Africans to sell to the white man. If you think about it, the white people needed the Africans to capture the other Africans because they did not know the land or the the language. What those idiots failed to realize was that they too would soon be turned into slaves. They sold out for some guns… The same guns that the white man would in turn use to subdue them…
It almost makes me wonder if this “selling each other out” business is something that is imbedded in us. I mean think about it, we sell each other out daily. We trade each other in for money, power and respect. We tear each other down for the sake of what? A title? Five minutes of fame? We continuously make a mockery of ourselves in front of the blancos and for what?
It seems like the only time we ever band to together is when we need to “revolt” in response to some injustice… Such a beautiful thing when it’s actually done isn’t it? It almost makes you think that we finally achieved what Martin and Malcolm were fighting for. But the truth is we haven’t really overcome much have we?
Give us free! Give us free! Such powerful words. We as people are still uttering these words today… After hundreds of years of “freedom” why are we still asking to be free? Personally I thinking we are asking the wrong people to “give us free”. The better question maybe do we really want to be free? We still live in a society where believe it or not racism still lurks. A society where true freedom may never be realised. As true as all that maybe, I don’t think we need to be our own slave masters. The coonery, although cute at times, only makes us look like idiots in the mainstream. The selling out syndrome that many of us seems to have, makes us look like the savages they already think we are.
So what do we do? What lessons can we learn from the past? Off the top of my head I would say self-love and love for each other. To just think if the Ancestors had refused to trade their brothers and sisters in for weapons, if they had loved their people and their culture enough, maybe the slave trade would not have been so lucrative. It may not have prevented it, but I believe that it would have been different in some way. It’s crazy that we had the upper hand and yet we were shuckin and jivin. Look where all that dancing brought us. But what have you? What’s done is done. We are screwed up, messed up, jacked up and whole host of other things. But we do not have to continue to let the past define our present and future. Society has come a long way from the slave days. Sadly it hasn’t come far enough because we have not let go of the slave mentality. Let us not let history repeat itself again. If you really want them to “give us free” then we need to first free ourselves.