Nationalism has been the primary method by which every national/ethnic group has achieved and maintains power.
In order for the African Community in America to
continue our fight for self-determination and dignity, it is important that we
remind ourselves of the nature of the American dynamic. Essentially, and at the
foundation of the American-European dynamic, is the fact that it is made up of people
of many nations who migrated to this country and continued to fight for and
develop their national interests, inside this country. At the same time they
maintained their economic, political, cultural, linguistic, and social
relationships with their country of origin.
We can witness this phenomenon on a daily
basis by just taking a quick glance at the national/ethnic group practices and
beliefs of the Jews, Poles, Irish, Italians, Germans, Swedes, Greeks, French,
Slovakians, Czechs, etc., and how they have consolidated their political and
economic power in America.
They have all done this through their nationalistic unity on the fundamental
life-giving and life-sustaining issues that affect their interests.
In other words, they have maintained a strong
sense of where they came from, who they are, and where they are going. This
formula has been at the heart of their historical efforts to acquire power in America. We can
observe this same trend among the Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Vietnamese,
Lebanese, Jordanians, and Palestinians who are the new national/ethnic groups
In fact, the Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and other Spanish-speaking
national/ethnic groups are following this same pattern. They are fighting for
nationalism in America,
without calling it that.
When African people in America talk
about nationalism, we are often charged with being racists or anti-white.
However, the historical record demonstrates clearly that nationalism has been
the primary method by which every national/ethnic group has achieved and
Harold Cruse describes this dilemma of the
African Community in America,
in his most profound analysis of our movement, in his book The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual. Cruse
framed the American dynamic in this manner when he said, “On the face of it,
this dilemma rests on the fact that America, which idealizes the rights of the
individual above everything else, in reality, a nation dominated by the social
powers of groups, classes, in-groups and cliques - both ethnic and religious.”
He goes further to explain, “The individual
has few rights that are not backed up by the political, economic and social
power of one group or another.” Therefore, Cruse states, “…the individual
[Black person] has, proportionately, very few rights indeed because his ethnic
group (whether or not he actually identifies with it) has very little
political, economic or social power (beyond moral grounds) to wield.”
In our efforts to acquire Black Power, we
should remind ourselves that the Black
Nationalist Tradition has always been opposed to integration, assimilation,
and accommodation as a solution to the problems of people of African ancestry
In this regard, the Black Nationalist Tradition has rejected the strategies and
tactics of appealing to the morality of white people and their white supremacy
Black Nationalists have been historically
clear that people in power do not teach powerless people how to get power. And
they certainly do not give power away, even though, when challenged, they may
make some concessions.
American-European dynamic is made up of people of many nations who
migrated to this country and continued to fight for and develop their
national interests, inside this country.It is so clear that every national/ethnic
group understands their political, economic, and cultural interest. It is so
natural for them to function in a nationalistic manner in their struggle to
acquire and maintain power. The African Community in America has not fully
conceptualized and reached a consensus on our nationalistic agenda. Many of us
function as if we are scared of really acting out what we really know, for fear
of being called racist. We need to stop denying our own reality.
Being called racist because we believe in,
and will fight for, the interests of our race with undying loyalty should
become the most honorable badge of courage in our community. We should get off this
defensive “trip” when we fight for the interests of our race and some other
national/ethnic group calls us racist. We should know by now, this is a tactic
to sway us away from the path of acquiring power.
Let’s continue our movement “to assert our
own identity, define our own purpose, to make and enforce decisions and to move
into our own national interest.” It is called nationalism!
BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Conrad W. Worrill, PhD,
is the National Chairman Emeritus of the National Black United Front (NBUF). Click here to contact Dr. Worrill.