The experience of racism by the Black American and the African is, to be honest, an effect of CONQUEST. We lived or had civilisations that were attacked, conquered and later exploited. We were forcefully subjected to a position in civilization by forces that had no respect for our culture, morals or faith. Most of us today live in an assimilated society, whether on African soil, Asia, Europe or the United States. We learn, pray and trade in languages, scriptures and currencies that we had to acquire. Much of where our culture prevails among others it has been stolen, repackaged and sometimes hidden in plain sight. This is not a plight for sympathy but an attempt to look at the true smear of blackness we dare not repeat because it hurts so much. The truth is, as black people we wear the ultimate insult, DEFEAT AND LOSS OF EMPIRE. We lost not only the military war, we surrendered our people, our culture and our ancestral legacy. We have tried to exist within the terms and penal codes put upon by the society that conquered us and still we fall short of the ultimate currency – RESPECT. We have loved others, made trade agreements, excelled in uplifting non-African societies and still our mightiest are scorned upon mention of our meek. But one of the most useful aspects that has been filtered out of our quest for honor albeit pacifically (considering the cost of violence) is that our strife due to racism may not have been as much a moral defect in the people we live among, but a means to keep themselves ready for (deserved) war – a word which the modern intellectual and scholar dares not speak without being castigated like a sneeze in a plague. Lest he ignore the stability he lives in guaranteed by an offshore military keep other civilizations’ aspirations in check. Basically, racism is just a prolonged war strategy.
History as a subject, has mostly been the study of the WINNERS OF WARS (Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, Napoleon). Up until Adolph Hitler, war was the Theatre of Prosperity – at least by how History has been taught in the West. If you are student of history, you learn that war has consequences. If you study the greatest wars of the last three centuries, you realize that a lot of them involved Africans and African-Americans fighting against or alongside European or Asian forces across the world. In these wars, there are several great battles like the Haitian revolution led by Toussaint L’Ouverture and General Dessalines, The Nigerian push on the Italians in World War II in Somalia, The West African soldiers who fought on the side of the French Army against the Axis powers in Eastern Europe and Asia. We hear of the Tuskegee Airmen, the valiant African-American war pilots who took on the Luftwaffe.
You might want to add to these the contentious slave rebellions such as that of Nat Turner or the anti-colonial operations such as the Mau-Mau in Kenya. There are more but the essence is that consequences of these battles led to huge gains in recent Western Civilisations but mostly gains in Western Hegemony. None of these victories led to the security and determination of a single black civilisation. Instead they cemented the political and military dominance of the Allied Powers. The main outlier here is Haiti who claimed its independence (the battle which led to the Louisiana Purchase) only to be subjected to paying reparations to France as a liberation tax for over a century. This notably decimated their economic prosperity leaving them the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The Nigerians fought as part of the Royal (UK) Military Alliance to fight off the Italians (Axis) and the Tuskegee Airmen fought for a country that held their parents and grandparents as slaves to eventually return to a Jim Crow South. But it must be remembered, we were not a backward people. Our empires FELL.
At the fall of the Roman Empire (circa 530AD), The empires in West Africa, (Mali, Ghana and Songhai) were on the rise. The Moorish lands across what is now the Sahara, from Guinea to Egypt (already 4 millenia old) were already established and had trade and cultural rapports with the incumbent Roman Empire and the Empires across the Tigris. However, just across the Mediterranean to the north, the Roman demise uncovered massive territorial disputes that would torment the region known as Western Europe for another approximately 1400 years. This region went through trial by fire, last of these being the Fall of Third Reich. We see the tribes of Normans, Vikings, Franks, Allamani, Bavarians, Swiss, Gauls, Angles, Saxons, Italians and figure out who gets what. The “boot” split into city-state region eventually returning to the much smaller Holy Roman Empire carving a role into the funding of the Renaissance. You are probably familiar with the regions of Naples, Turino, Venice, Florence, Rome proper, Milan and more. The Normans, Vikings and Gauls battle it out but eventually fall to the Franks under the reign of Charlemagne in the Kingdom of France. The Bavarians maintain sovereignty over the Black Forest as they pretty much did under the Romans but a Saxon faction flees through the Alps eventually landing in the British Isles and colonize and dominate the Picts, the Irish, The Welsh and the Scots (The United Kingdom). The Allamani, the Swiss, and the Romani (now Kingdom of Austria, Hungary, Romania) consolidated territory not too far from where the Poles were perched keeping watch over their regions that had been left out of Roman hegemony. To the West of France was a Moor domain known today as the Kingdom of Spain and Kingdom of Portugal (Iberian Peninsula). There are other Kingdoms that emerged later such as Belgium and Luxemburg but the Netherlands were a Viking stronghold. A holdover from their battles with the Danish Empire. The Vikings eventually made their way into the British Isles as well leaving a memory for the ages. This region went through what is known as the Dark Ages to the Middle Period to the Renaissance to the Romantic, Industrial and thence Modern Era. In order to understand the martial factor in my theme, pay attention to three key periods in this time line. The Dark Ages, Middle Period and the Industrial Era.
During the Dark Ages, the African empires thrived in areas of education, spirituality and trade. You could pretty much refer to it as the African Enlightenment Age. During this time several Africans took their trade, their spices, their methods (along with the civilizations of the Tigris; Byzantine, Ottoman). During the Middle Period, we start to see some Kingdoms amass more territory as in the Iberian Peninsula where the Spanish conquests are leading to more land grabs from the Moors, the Catalan, and the Basques among others. The War for determination of rulership of the British Isles takes shape as the battles among the Vikings, Saxons, Welsh and Scots lead to the extermination of the Picts. The Franks and the Gauls have subjected the Normans to the coast right off the Atlantic towards Brittany. The Middle Period was quite akin to the hit show GAME OF THRONES where power was vacated almost as soon it was acquired. This was a very unstable period in European history as regions which were formerly under Roman rule a half millenium ago were now seeking to establish reigns of their own. Take note: FIVE HUNDRED YEARS LATER. Keep in mind progress does take centuries. The African empires had been thriving and there was better demarcation of territories as the expansive land made the work of boundaries less laborious. Western Europe on the other hand was compact and the contention among tribes was highly volatile so living by the hillside was highly advantageous to regions around the Alps Mountains. This period ironed out through a three hundred year period till the enlightenment age of the Renaissance where we saw the veneration of art and exploration of the material concepts in physics, chemistry and astronomy. (Studies already determined and operational in the African and Eastern Kingdoms). But the enlightenment age did not settle too long. More wars followed and Empires came together and fell apart. The Royal contracts between the French and the British fell apart. The Spanish launched their nautical dominance campaign. Portugal was now an established Kingdom sending out the legendary Prince Henry the Navigator, Italy had Amerigo Vespucci and eventually Christopher Columbus. The race was on for the exploration of foreign territory. I cannot explain what led to martial approach to foreign interest. But it is quite interesting to see how a land of nations that all asserted themselves by blood and fire suddenly found their former transcontinental allies sitting ducks for conquest.
It is like a child vampire who was fed blood from birth who eventually learns that his sharp teeth can grant him easy access and nourishment from the closest person who would most probably be willing to offer him blood – or so he believes.
Long story short, the nautical explorations turn into nautical conquests, turn into Trans-Atlantic Slavery, turn into the Industrial Revolution, turn into the Colonial conquest and culminating in the Fall of the Third Reich. The Allies (United States, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands) won and laid the groundwork of global education in ways that would preserve their advantage. I understand I have used a lot of language referring to nations and kingdoms which does not often exclusively refer to a race. My goal is inject scale into the operations that came upon Black empires and the waves not only of force but the gust of ambition that came with the newer empires above the Mediterranean. To establish perhaps that they survival drive was an adaptation from so many centuries of deadly and transformative conflict that it may have eventually turned into tradition to prepare each successive generation for warfare whether or not they could see it coming because time and again, history showed there was always a battle around the corner for the family farm.
Therefore, in considering the martial perspective on racism, one does not rely on platitudes and compassion to obtain an operational balance. One has to consider that every element in direct opposition to our prosperity is by design. It may not be intentional to the vector we interact with but there is reward mechanism at play which can only be faced with astute opposition and calculated reversal. We may not live in Martial times as in the Middle Kingdom but all empires today were acquired or settled through violent wars. War for the most part is successful strategy. Blood and battle are merely misunderstandings.
To the black and African man, fear not the hatred and scorn of others. To be shocked at the shortcomings of our assimilation is to surrender before seeing the armory. If you can, breathe.