Friday, October 2, 2009

Letter from Venezuela - The ASA (Africa - South American meeting)

Well last week was the meeting of all meetings in Venezuela.  The Latin Americans finally got to meet their family from across the river. 

Ive been talking about race down here, and one of the things that has happened in Latin America is that white people convinced these people they were white or the best thing on this planet you could possibly be is white.  So they have all kinds of racial prejudices against black people and against themselves.  There is only one country, from Mexico to Chile where the black people actually know they are black and dont feel they have to jump out of their skin and culture in order "to be somebody".  Thats the one country that the U.S. has blocaded for 40 years, Cuba.  I dont think that blockade was placed on Cuba because of Fidel Castros politics. I think the reason why that blockade was put on Cuba was to make sure, the idea, that black people arent "monkeys" and shouldnt spend their lives as servants to whites, didnt get out.  Its Cubans who train their black people to be doctors and send them all over the planet as a representatives of their country.

Many of the rightwing, white politicians down here really believe that we should never ever ascend to anything but slavery. Most of Latin America was nothing more than a plantation.  Im not saying there isnt some brown among them, but what they really aspire to is the white world of the north.   This was part of societial education, if you wanted to be anything you had better try to be white.

A friend from Gambia told me that in his country, black people who want to pass the bar have to wear white wigs and wool suits in 90 degree heat.  This is all in an effort to chase after that European style of life, in Africa.  As if being a lawyer is all that great.  Because the Europeans in their effort to take over the resources of our countries, have convinced us that the best thing we can do is turn our resources over so that they live well and they will throw us some crumbs.  A job as a lawyer, where we wear white wigs and wool suits. 

I was listening to Rafel Correa, hes the President of Ecuador, as he was speaking at the ASA  and I thought he was going to fly off his seat he was so happy.  They never knew how much they had in common with the Africans, nor that many of their ways of being, was African.  Its like you didnt know you had sister, and one day someone introduced you to a person who had the same features, and mannerisms as you did.

This is the second time they have met face to face.  Many of the Venezuelan look just like the Africans.  Sometimes the only difference is the texture of their hair. The Latin Americans, never really had contact with their own black people and I dont even have to tell you, that meeting was off the hook and off the chain.  Could you imagine they were all sitting around eating fish empanadas, (we call them fish cakes) and talking, and laughing and singing just like black folks do?  Both sides were very happy to meet their family.

I cant tell you how proud I am of my people, for doing this.  Not only for them,  but for the millions of  people who fought and struggled for our freedom.  For the people who were stolen away from their mother land, and forced to work under the most brutal conditions, for the people who had their resources stolen and who were forced into a life of brutal poverty,  this meeting was for them.  Its was a testimony that we are a great and mighty people.  Only a greaty and mighty people could have endured and survived the abuse we have for hundreds of years. And after all of that, then decide, they wanted to meet their ancestors.  Its only a great and my people who could survived.  But we not only survived, we lived and we continue to live everyday and show the world our greatness.

Ojette Brundage []


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