Welcome to Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K.

Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K. is a Pan-African Blog with an acronym that stands for Building Leadership Awareness and Cultural Knowledge.

The goal of this blog is to become a "Blog of Black Thought" focusing on matters of social, economic and political awareness through education (re-education), self-affirmation and cultural expression. Above all, this blog will DEMAND respect and appreciation for one another as black men and women.

Got something to say? Feel free to visit and comment on past posts. You can also email this site at opreachblack@gmail.com and follow on Twitter @reachblack.

THE B-SERIOUS BLOG

(Opinions, Observations, and Commentary)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Welcome to Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K.

Let me be the first to WELCOME all of you to my slice of the blogosphere, the place I call home, Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K. The name means a lot to me. It is more than a title, it is a state of mind. Even more, Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K. is a PHILOSOPHY, which claims that being Black in America is a constant evolution; a process by which Black people wrestle with and strive towards reconciling conflicting identities. It is the challenge to define oneself . . . to redefine Black culture through our vision rather than through the looking glass of mainstream America. Far too often we see ourselves through someone else’s eyes. It is this reification, this constant scrutiny, which speaks to the heart of our racial bipolarism. This is the double-consciousness of which W.E.B. Dubois once spoke . . . this compulsion to both love and hate oneself at the same time. It plays itself out in our daily lives. As famed poet, Bassey Ikpi, so eloquently noted,

“What will I teach my children? What will I tell them of where I’ve been? . . . What will they call home and will they hear it if and when it calls them? . . . I can’t stomach the reality of this, my divided culture, African/American. I am everything and I am nothing . . . [my ancestry] quietly begging me to remember; while America slowly urges me to forget.” (Bassey Ikpi, “Homeward”).

Though we wear the mask (as Paul L. Dunbar once wrote), there is nothing more beautiful than those rarer moments of self-determination and cultural pride. Yet, for many, the idea of Black pride remains a mere aspiration rather than an alternative lifestyle. We must begin to think outside of the box.

Indeed, given our long history of racial turmoil - this nation’s inherent sin of slavery, and the color line of the 20th (and now 21st) Century - to be both Black and proud in America is a concept that remains solidly outside of the box. Certainly, Black pride remains outside the status quo. It remains a constant threat to “our” comfort as the Black community has been conditioned to identify with any culture but its own. We are conditioned to believe that success comes via acceptance from someone else . . . to achieve someone else’s standards . . . to be TOLERATED by some other group. Consequently, Blacks are burdened by an inner turmoil that suggests the terms “African” and “American” must persist as mutually exclusive identities.

Let me make this clear. This is NOT a matter of us versus them. Nor is this an exercise in zero sum reasoning. On the contrary, Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K. will serve as a means to provide voice (authentic and sincere) to the ongoing, ofttimes nebulous, discussions of “Diversity” “Multiculturism” and, yes, “American Identity.” The true gift of America is its diversity; different colors, languages, ideas and experiences. Furthermore, the glue that keeps this great experiment together is a firm understanding of PLURALISM . . . to agree without being disagreeable . . . to learn from and embrace our differences rather than abandon them.

Thus, I am NOT color-blind, I am color-conscious. I appreciate differences in cultures and experiences. I look forward to learning from others and enjoy the fact that different groups and ethnicities provide various perspectives to the human experience. For that reason, this blog will look to celebrate BLACK life, not in some twisted form of reverse racism, but as a valuable, indispensable, piece of the human puzzle. America is a salad bowl, not a melting pot.

“BLACK” is more than a state of being. Indeed, “BLACK” is a way of life, a level of consciousness, an understanding of one’s history and a plan for one’s future. Like any other identity “BLACK” must be given the freedom to grow and develop as an end unto itself and not as a subset of some greater hegemony. “BLACK” is a goal, an ideal, that we’ve struggled to attain ever since our ancestors first stepped shackled foot on foreign land.

Therefore, my home is Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K. . . . the mission to Build Leadership Awareness and Cultural Knowledge. Unapologetically, this must be done by first acknowledging the intellect and determination of Black men and women to think critically for themselves and collectively strive towards a better understanding and appreciation of being Black in America. As such, I wholeheartedly believe in the capacity for Black men and women to do for themselves. I am comforted by the fact that history has shown Black people to be of the most resilient, innovative, gifted and politically savvy race of men and women that this world has ever seen. It is time that we realize our strengths and trust in our ability to make the change that we wish to see. A strong Black community is a good thing, not just for African-Americans, but for Americans at large.

So WELCOME. To all who may visit, whether you are Black or White, young or old. I offer my home as a place of love and respect. I encourage us to challenge each other so that we may have a greater understanding of our circumstances and a stronger conviction in our direction. We must begin to challenge the status quo, bringing a solid appreciation of “Black” life to wider discourses on race, religion, politics, education and economic achievement. In the illustrious words of James Baldwin, it’s time to think for ourselves:

“[T]rust your experience. Know whence you came. If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go. The details and symbols of your life have been deliberately constructed to make you believe what [other] people say about you. Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity and fear. . . . [T]here is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them. And I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love. . . . We cannot be free until they are free.” (James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time, 7-10)

Yes, my brothas and sistas, Black pride remains a revolutionary concept.

Be Somebody,

B-Serious

1 comments:

  • Revvy Rev says:
    October 21, 2008 at 6:18 PM

    got here from link at Jack & Jill Politics. I too, am not against other folk but am FOR my people and recognize the need to appreciate and be reconnected to our rich culture and heritage. I will be visiting regularly.

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