Black liberation: The role of the oppressor

When it comes to discussing the ways in which people from Africa can liberate themselves one of the first questions that comes to minds is: do White people have a role to play?

I wonder if any other oppressed group spends half the time Black people spend trying to figure out whether the oppressor can join them in fighting and ending their oppression. We are constantly asked to “integrate”, “assimilate”, “blend in”.

Personally, I don't believe that there's a role for them in the furtherance of people of African descent and I'm going to detail why.

First of all, if we intend to create Black/African communities and safe spaces having White people involved would defeat the purpose.

Secondly, it's high time that we solely depend on ourselves and our capabilities. This is pivotal for continental Africans in particular. They may not experience White supremacy in the same way the diaspora does, but its effects (together with neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism) can still be seen.

Mental slavery and an inherited inferiority complex are evils that we're still battling.

Working with people from Europe could make it harder. They too have internalised a superiority complex which would be detrimental to our mission. It would only perpetuate the hierarchy that puts White people at top and Black people at the bottom. We would be the perpetual children who need White people to save, teach and guide us. But no one on earth achieved real liberation this way, they had to fight their own battles.

We need to be temporarily separated from White people. That is the only way we can heal from all our traumas, wounds and recalibrate ourselves. Being in the vicinity of the same people that unconsciously profit and benefit from our pain and oppression is violence. It would be like forcing a rape survivor to live next to their rapist.

It would be intimidating for Black people to speak about certain sensitive issues with White people in the same room and the latter could feel personally attacked. Consequently, we would have to spend too much precious time and energy trying to explain what White supremacy means watching our efforts fall on deaf ears. It would create a hostile atmosphere and more clashes between the two groups.

People from Africa need to feel comfortable discussing these topics. We need to talk and tell other Black people what and how we feel, just like in a therapy session. We need to have those painful conversations in order to heal.

The goal is to live in harmony with every other people but it cannot be the means. In order to achieve unity, we have to be separate. It's interesting to see how much pressure is put on people of African descent to “integrate” and how much White people feel intimidated when they're excluded from our circles. They may think we are plotting something against them, but in reality we're just working for us, learning how to love who we are.

Until both Black people and White people fully decolonise their minds, there is no place for White people in Black liberation (it's called Black liberation for a reason), we would subconsciously perpetuate the system we are supposed to be fighting against.

 No one can save us but ourselves.