Tag Archives: what is Black consciousness

What Is Black Consciousness?

What is Black Consciousness?

Black Consciousness is an active process in which Black people endeavor to achieve liberty and be self-determined as all people should be. Only in such a state will we then be able to increase our self-awareness to keep pace with the collective awareness of humanity. In other words, Black Consciousness is either personal or universal psychological improvement according to our level and willingness to engage with the life process.

Consciousness is the mental state of being self aware and cognitive. Consciousness has also been appropriated by Black people to represent a person who has taken control of his/her life and choices for self improvement and to fight back against the man-made inequities in life. Black people have suffered greatly in this life, mostly due to our own inability to adapt to change in order to master adversity. Black consciousness is therefore the classification of the process of our adaptation. 

The term “Black Consciousness” was actually coined by Steve Biko of South Africa in the early 1970s. Biko and other Black politically active students formed a Black student organization in their university to address the extreme brutality of the Apartheid system in South Africa. He wanted to inspire intellectual discussions among Black students without the inclusion of savior minded sympathizing white anti-Apartheid activists who were also very active at the time. The goal was to eventually gain lasting changes, such as a Black government and not just appeasements, such as things to keep Blacks working, happy, and quiet while still under oppression.

Personal consciousness involves recognizing the obstacles that hinder our pursuit of liberty and happiness in life. Those obstacles may either be personal or external. Personal obstacles may include lack of confidence and self discipline while external obstacles may include racism and discrimination. External obstacles are out of our control and can only be dealt with by first addressing our internal obstacles.

Self-discipline and self-confidence are two of the most important characteristics that a Black person can possess. Self-discipline is the ability to use ones Mind to control ones Brain. Self-confidence is the ability to use ones Mind to conquer ones Fears. As is evident, both traits depend on the Mind therefore the development of a strong Mind is key to the development of one’s individual consciousness.  

Universal Black consciousness involves unifying like-minded Black conscious people in a common cause to achieve a psychological condition of liberty and happiness for the Black race. Unfortunately, that has not been a very successful task to achieve due to the religious, political, cultural, and ideological divisions that exist within the Black race. Although our differences tend to keep us apart, they are very important to us as individuals. In fact, they are often what helped us to develop our self-discipline and self-confidence to a certain extent.

The key to developing universal Black consciousness therefore, is to find commonality between all the religious, political, cultural, and ideological factions within the Black race. All people want to be free and happy no matter where in the world they live. Those are our commonalities and until we as Black people learn to see beyond our differences our pursuit of consciousness will remain personal and non-universal.