Common Misconceptions About Black Consciousness

black consciousness misconceptions

I see many people on social media who after exhibiting some level of participation in various discussions on the problems facing Black people, get frustrated and lash out against Black Consciousness. They begin to classify all “so-called conscious” people under the same category as if all Black Conscious people are the same. All it does is expose their own level of consciousness to reveal that they never started becoming conscious from the inside first.

First of all, Black Consciousness is not an organization or something to join. Black Consciousness is all about self-improvement by acquiring knowledge about all things including yourself, your history and the way the world works. By increasing your knowledge, you will be able to understand and work to conquer the problems that hinder your personal happiness and the happiness of the people you have a bond with, which are your fellow Black people. All Black people who are seeking to raise their level of consciousness should understand what Black Consciousness is not.

Black Consciousness was started by Ghetto Scholars on Social Media. No, Black Consciousness is not a “Johnny come lately” concept started by Ghetto Scholars. The modern incarnation of Black Consciousness is only a continuation of a movement that began post-slavery with people like Frederick Douglas, Booker T Washington, Marcus Garvey, WEB Du Bois and many others. In the mid to late 19th century there was Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Farrakhan, Steve Biko, Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela and many lesser known scholars who served to inspire the current generation of people a lot of us look to for leadership.

The term Black Consciousness was actually coined by Steve Biko of South Africa in the early 1970s. Biko and other politically active students formed a Black student organization in their university to address the extreme brutality of Apartheid. Through his writings Steve Biko proved that the Pen is mightier than the Sword and that conscious thought is more powerful than violent confrontation. Biko was a very intelligent man who used his pen to metaphorically stab at the conscience of white South Africans. Unfortunately, in 1977 he was killed by the wicked Apartheid security forces. Although Apartheid ended in South Africa Biko is still a Martyr of inspiration for South Africans.

Personally, I first became familiar with the term “Consciousness” from Reggae music in my native country of Jamaica and later in the Hip-hop music of the 1980s. In Reggae music there are numerous sub-genres, one of which is still very powerful and that is Conscious Reggae. In this genre there is Bob Marley all the way up to Chronixx. Conscious Reggae is all about addressing corruption in society by providing inspiration through the music. In Hip-Hop Conscious Rap music addressed common injustices like poverty and police brutality. The message of Consciousness has always been there throughout our history of oppression, its up to us as individuals to take heed.

Black Consciousness is non-religious. Consciousness occurs when energy passing between nerves cells in the Brain generates a Mind field. Black Consciousness occurs when a Black person begins to rationalize about his or her condition and embarks on a mission to change it for the better. One of the most successful vehicles for self improvement is religion. I call religion a paradox tool because you cannot use it to help you if you know the truth about it and it helps you best when it induces you into having blind faith.

The key benefit of religion is self-discipline therefore, to maintain blind faith in the promise of eternal life after death is the ultimate exercise in self discipline. You begin to believe that even the evil things that are happening to you are simply tests of your faith so you persevere in your illusions. At some point however, you begin to see that its either too much to bear or its actually the Devil that’s oppressing you so you begin to fight back. Such were the cases of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.

Isn’t it ironic that the two biggest examples of Black people fighting back against the unjust system of America were religion based? Both men used the self discipline that they gained from religion, one Islam, the other a Christian, to build such huge followings that they even emboldened other Black people to stand up and fight back against oppression. All religions are based on illusions but as was evident, they build self discipline which is a key characteristic required in Black Consciousness. Religious consciousness begins when Black religious leaders begin to use their influence to address social problems.

Black Consciousness is militant and violent. Some of us have the misconception that Black consciousness is about overthrowing “the system” by violent means. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s the way you feel but be prepared to go all out. Violent revolutions have historically been the best way to bring about change in a corrupt society. You will need thousands of like minded people who are willing to die for the cause but don’t get frustrated when a majority of Black people will not join you.

It has little to do with being scared. Our problems are; we do not trust one another and we fear the consequences of acting due to a lack of knowledge and organization. The best solution to our dis-unity and confusion is a strong leader or a strong Spiritual inspiration. Unfortunately, there are no real Black leaders within the Black Conscious community and Black people are too Spiritually fragmented to fight for the ideals of a single god. Farrakhan came close but as is evident, his influence is on the decline.

When you overthrow the System what will you replace it with? All systems are not Black and White. You may find inspiration in hating the White man but consider that there are many other corrupt systems in the world. Even in predominantly Black countries there is hate for authority which means that what you are really fighting for is personal Liberty. Just know that without a strong Conscience, personal Liberty will eventually lead to personal corruption and the corruption of others within the same society as your personal liberties collide with the liberties of others.

Everyone who claims to be conscious are really conscious. There are some people who use the concept of Black Consciousness for profit or fame. Beware of these people; they are not conscious, they are opportunists. A Conscious person is able to use his or her Mind to override the desires of his or her Brain. Read about Desire Dependency for a detailed explanation of this character trait. Truly conscious people are not hung up on Desire manipulating things such as Beauty, Sex, Drugs, Money, Fame, and Power.

Black Consciousness speaks for all Black people. Conscious individuals and organizations do not speak for all Black conscious people like the term Black Community does not indicate racial solidarity. To each his own so if you do not like the message that someone who professes to be Conscious is dispensing then move on. One of the ultimate goals of consciousness movement is to inspire every individual to become a leader in their own right. That way the movement doesn’t die with the death of a leader.

Black Consciousness is Leftist, Socialist, and Communist. There is a common misconception among many Black people that to be conscious means that you have to become a Socialist or a Communist. Furthermore, you have to give up your pursuit of wealth, higher education, family values, and the sanctity of Life itself to focus on the needs of the Black community. The problem with Socialism and Communism is that they are incompatible with the flaws of human nature therefore, they must be legislated or imposed on a society by a dictator in order to work.

Common sense dictates that you cannot force goodwill; it has to be Altruistic. Altruism is the concept of practicing kindness in all your interactions with others. Helping others has to come from your own Conscience and not someone forcing you to do it. The difference between Altruism and Socialism is that Altruism is a conscience builder that also extends to protect all aspects of Life, not just humanity. With Altruism a rich man will find it easier to help and support those in need out of the goodness of his heart.

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