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Pan-African Identity

Pan- Africanism in the late 19th century was a movement focused on a wide range of political views, ideologies, cultural facts and the complexities of Black unified thought that has been around for hundreds of years. This intellectual cultural philosophy reflects on the people from the African continent and the Diaspora don’t only share a common history -but have an interconnected destiny, past and future. Therefore, we should be unified in working towards a common goal, which is UNITY to be able to fight oppression and injustice as a whole instead of separated as Africans and the African Diaspora. The only way we can reform the system and political institution that is set up against us is if we Unify as one, go back to our roots and start exploring and educating others of our similarities rather than our differences.

The Idea of Pan-Africanism is very relevant today only amongst those who choose to research the movement and understand it. However, we also have a strong group of people who cant trace their history back to Africa therefore the only pride and history they relate to is being Black and they differentiate themselves from Africans because of the experience they went or are still going through. What needs to be emphasized when it come to Pan-Africanism is that the movement is not saying trace back your history and connect to a specific country and represent that country as if you were born there. It is simply saying that If we look back on our history - back to the Atlantic Slave Trade, Pan-Africanism extends beyond just the Continent of Africa, it extends to the scattered Black populations in the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States. Therefore Black people on the Continent and everywhere else in the world share a common destiny, so we should not be ashamed of our true culture and rooted history.

In addition, unity is fundamental to economic, political, social growth and progression; however we cannot achieve that in the 21st century because we are constantly painted a poor image of our homeland. Therefore we feel if we come from nothing why would we claim that as an identity? Rather, we attach ourselves to the identity that was given to our ancestors in America, as they were stripped of their history, culture and freedom. Many of us have come to believe that identify in society is better than being an immigrant or owning up to being African.

Lastly we are unable to unify as Pan-Africans simply because we lack education in areas that are predominately Black “inner cities”, therefore, children aren’t given the privilege to be brought up in a house hold where they can embrace their roots and culture, instead they are lectured in classes about slavery- how they were nothing and will be nothing. So instead of claiming their rightful identity, they gravitate towards what options are presented to them; playing sports, rapping, or criminal activities on the streets. Some claim the streets as an identity more than being African. In order for Pan-Africanism to strive today, we must emphasize the need for unity and collective self reliance. This starts with reeducating the youth because their mind is corrupted from the role Western society has placed them in. Embracing your Africanism, embracing Pan-Africanism, starts with accepting and embracing your identity.

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