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Poisonous Paternalism: Pundits, Politicians and “Black Leaders” Don’t Speak for Us

Be careful of people who try to convince you that you are a victim. These people are toxic and poisonous, stay away from them. I write this within the context of “African-Americans” but really this applies to everyone reading this article. There are some in this world who get their fulfillment by kneecapping others with their malicious kindness. The false charity of pseudo-philanthropists and counterfeit charity givers is just as mendacious as the Grand Wizard and the current president of the United States.

It is fitting that I’m publishing this article in the heart of “Black History Month”. I did not realize this until recent years, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that opinion leaders—who work for the establishment—are being paid not to advance our interests but to bury us into insignificance. Malcolm X warned about this all along, about the “black intelligentsia” and the bourgeoisie class, who would rather seek acceptance from the system than help build up their people.

Not even Malcolm could have imagined the extent that “black leaders” have been weaponized against the masses. The days of virtuous giants like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Angela Davis are far behind us, we are now led by a new class of moral midgets who are happy to use our pains as bargaining chips to earn corporate dollars and gain social media status. They have made idols of themselves as they spin us into anger sans direction and agitate us to march while leading us nowhere.

They do this because there is money to be made in keeping people dependent and feeding us blue pills of insufficiency. An endless stream of educators freely give out fish but few teachers are found among them. They don’t want us to be self-sufficient because sufficiency means we can do for ourselves instead of having them do for us. This is why I disavow politics; Democrats are just as depraved as Republicans, as they implement policies that impoverish millions, they give us back pocket change and tell us to believe in them. Click To Tweet

This is why the debased, I no longer call them the elites, give us the shortest month of the year and tell us to celebrate “Black History Month” as if our history is segregated from the history of humanity–they are trying to ghettoize us with their paternalism. Moreover, they always portray the history of people who can trace their ancestry to the continent of Ethiopia through the prism of enslavement and subjugation. Don’t fret, what you read in the previous sentence was not a typo. Did you know that the continent of mankind’s inception was once called Ethiopia before it was renamed to honor a most genocidal Roman general by the name of Scipio Africanus?

History is always written by the victors with the blood of the defeated. This is a truth that is as constant as the pyramids in Kemet. Oh you thought the land of pharaohs was always called Egypt? It used to be called Kemet by the people who lived there until outsiders intervened and renamed it. Do you know why this publication is called the Ghion Journal? It’s to give an homage to the Ghion River which was renamed to the Nile River by Jesuit priest named Pedro Páez. Colonizers lead with bibles and religious canons before they eviscerate cultures with bullets and cannons.

They keep renaming nations, landmarks and people for a reason. It’s a nefarious attempt to white wash history and erase our significance. The Ghion River, for example, is the second river mentioned in the Old Testament. By renaming it to the Nile and rebranding the continent from Ethiopia to Africa, despotic men were able to diminish our story and owned our narratives in the process. A people without a history quickly perish as they forget their roots and their connection to their ancestors. You see the picture above, those are kings and warriors who defeated colonialists. This is not a story limited to just my birth land, even those in chains and turned into slaves were royal in their defiance—you are rooted in champions.

Contrary to popular opinion, the history and existence of “African-Americans” is not limited to the horrific era of slavery and oppression. By all means we should acknowledge this crime against humanity that was committed, but to understand ourselves through a limited prism is a prison that dwindles our self-worth. “Black history” traces its roots back to the continent that was the source of human life; being snatched from their lands and placed in shackles did not sever the bloodlines and an abiding connection to home. The decedents of slaves should know that their ancestors were mighty thinkers, warriors and champions who built empires like Axum, Zulu and Ghana. Oppressed does not mean defeated—this too shall pass.

If you notice, during this whole write up, not once did I turn to the “us versus them” rhetoric that has been deployed with lethal efficiency by demagogues. Terms like “white” and “black” were artificial constructs foisted upon humanity in order to keep us divided and pitted against each other. The blame belongs to slave traders and devils who benefited directly by oppressing humanity. Sadly, what we are treated to is a pervasive form of collective judgment as a cottage industry of firebrands on all sides get paid handsomely to whisper antagonism and antipathy in our hearts.

I pray for a new day where we can express our hurts without trying to monopolize injustice. Likewise, I hope for a day where all of us are able to tell our stories without depending on others to be our advocates. Walk way from people that try to speak for you; they are not standing up for you if they are not standing next to you. I’ve had enough of social justice warriors who use injustice and human suffering to advance their own interests only to walk away quickly the minute the camera lights are off.

No more paternalism, let us empower ourselves and realize our significance through our own narratives. The two videos below are my way of telling our stories through our perspective. The first one deals with the resiliency of a people who united to turn back their tormentors from the Battle of Adwa to Toussaint’s insurrection to the American revolution. The second video deals with the mendacity of labelism and the imperative of disavowing imposed identities. The event I’m hosting tomorrow at Busboys and Poets (see details below) deals with these very topics. We need to own our stories because the alternative means false narratives own us.

The reality is that we can do more to further justice and advance our interests by reinvesting in each other and empowering the communities where we live. Emotional manipulators are loosened upon us not to help us but to hinder progress. Protesting is for a defeated people; walking around in cordoned areas and “protest zones” will accomplish exactly nothing. Moreover, stop depending on the rich and famous to deliver us. What makes us think that people living in mansions and driven by chauffeurs want the status quo to change? The change will come from us, the bottom 99%, or it will not come at all.

As you read this article and watch the videos below, I hope what you get out of this experience is the need for us to empower ourselves. Let us work towards a new paradigm where we refuse to be cast as victims and instead view ourselves as victors. The system of greed and iniquities that is robbing billions of their resources and livelihood around the world  depends on us seeing ourselves as helpless bystanders. We are not mere observers, we have power within us. Our story is not constrained by one month nor is our shared struggles limited by color or labels, we are all one people who will one day overcome injustice when we realize our collective might. #PoisonousPaternalism

To respect our differences, to judge progress by the wellness of the least among us and to let kindness not greed be our moral compass::

The Ghion Journal is a reader and viewer funded endeavor. We disavow corporate contributions and depend only on the support of our audience to sustain us. The tip jar is earmarked to go directly to the writer, the link below is customized to directly to the author’s account. We thank you in advance for your kindness. 

Check out this Ghion Cast where I discuss the connective nature of our stories and how colonizers have managed to diminish our significance by white washing history.

I know this video will be jarring to most, but I have yet to encounter one negative reaction from people who watched even for a little bit. This is a video I recorded and edited during the height of my hardship, goes to show, purpose is found through duress.

This is a preview of the event I’ll be hosting this Sunday at Busboys and Poets in DC. Below it is the actual video I’ll be showing before we start the community discussion about race & identity in America. 

Event Alert: Teodrose Fikre Hosting “Race and Identity in America” at Busboys and Poets This Sunday

Busboys and Poets will be hosting the founder/editor of the Ghion Journal as a featured author on February 11th at their 5th and K Street NW location. Busboys and Poets is an iconic bookstore and cafe named in the honor of legendary poet and visionary writer Langston Hughes. The event will be a community discussion about “race and identity in America”, a timely topic given that February is “Black History Month’.

This is a community event that is free and open to all, we highly encourage an advance RSVP to ensure seating.  You can see the event link at Busboys and Poets website by clicking HERE. RSVP by clicking on the picture below.

Teodrose Fikre
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Teodrose Fikre

Founder at Ghion Journal
Teodrose Fikre is the editor and founder of the Ghion Journal. A published author and prolific writer, a once defense consultant was profoundly changed by a two year journey of hardship and struggle. Going from a life of upper-middle class privilege to a time spent with the huddled masses taught Teodrose a valuable lesson in the essence of togetherness and the need to speak against injustice.

Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Teodrose Fikre
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