28 June 2009

A Jamaican Poem - 'Back to Africa'

I love this poem by the late great Louise Bennett, also known as 'Miss Lou'. This poem is written in the Jamaican patois and deals with Miss Mattie's yearning to go back to Africa.
Miss Lou questions this desire very eloquently. Let me know what you think.

'Back to Africa'

Back to Africa, Miss Mattie?
You no know wha you dah seh?
You haf fe come from somewhe fus
Before you go back deh!

Me know say dat you great great great
Granma was African,
But Mattie, doan you great great great
Granpa was Englishman?

Den you great granmader fader
By you fader side was Jew?
An you granpa by you mader side
Was Frenchie parlez-vous?

But de balance a you family,
You whole generation,
Oonoo all barn dung a Bun Grung-
Oonoo all is Jamaican!

Den is weh you gwine, Miss Mattie?
Oh, you view de countenance,
An between you an de Africans
Is great resemblance!

Ascorden to dat, all dem blue-yeye
White American
Who-fa great granpa was Englishman
Mus go back a Englan!

What a debil of a bump-an-bore,
Rig-jig an palam-pam
Ef de whole worl start fe go back
Whe dem great granpa come from!

Ef a hard time you dah run from
Tek you chance! But Mattie, do
Sure a whe you come from so you got
Somewhe fe come back to!

Go a foreign, seek you fortune,
But no tell nobody say
You dah go fe seek you homelan,
For a right deh so you deh!

19 June 2009

Are Black People allowed to Critically Analyse Other Black People?

I had a discussion with a relative of mine recently concerning black history and some black writers. My relative took particular exception to my criticism of certain aspects of IvanVan Sertima's book 'They Came Before Columbus'. On discussing her objections further it became clear that her real objection was that I could dare to make a critical comment about another black person. Her reasoning was that if, as Prof. Van Sertima had tried to do, the aim was to make more black people aware of their history then if he fabricated a few stories then he should be completely forgiven as the ends justified the means.
Words failed me. Then I understood: 'Oh, you mean like the Bible?' I said.

She couldn't see the link and advised me that she loved black people and anybody who felt it necessary to criticise black people quite clearly didn't. Anyway, Prof Van Sertima's aim was to (having both read his other books) 'enable black people to reclaim their kings and queens and princesses'.
Very much in the vein, it seems to me, as the absolute rubbish espoused by those who revere Haile Selassie and call themselves Rasta. So now we can look to Africa and say we have a black person who is similar to the Queen! It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Don't criticise black people. (A bit like the 'don't snitch' policy, eh?)
I don't think, like my relative does, that being 'spiritual' andwhat I call a 'Designer African' is positive for black people, especially when it is wrapped up in a belief in the supernatural.
Bullshit is bullshit no matter how it is dressed up and black people should not be excluded from any form of critical analysis.

Just in case you don't know: I don't care where you are from - your colour of skin, hair, race, belief system, gender, sexual orientation or anything else - if you are black you will not be excluded from criticism, praise or even indifference. The same applies to any 'group' I come across.
I chose 'black woman thinks' as the name of this blog to enable people to find me in amongst the billions of sites out there, but don't be fooled into thinking that this site is a lovefest exclusively for black people and all other groups will be trashed.

I don't speak for or on behalf of any group. I have my opinions but I am not the voice of 'the black world' or women (what a horrible thought!) and I will continue to try my best to see the world as it really is and not try to ignore things that make me feel uncomfortable or embrace fabricated myths as truth.

I don't always succeed but as the late Carl Sagan said:

“I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies”

What do you think?

14 June 2009

Quote for the Week: Aldous Huxley

This quote could, at first, seem rather depressing. The question is:
Is he wrong? Are we humans, after evaluation of our known history, very different to this description?

"I know of no study which is so unutterably saddening as that of the evolution of humanity, as it is set forth in the annals of history. Out of the darkness of prehistoric ages man emerges with the marks of his lowly origin strong upon him. He is a brute, only more intelligent than the other brutes, a blind prey to impulses, which as often as not lead him to destruction: a victim to endless illusions, which make his mental existence a terror and a burden, and fills his physical life with barren toil and battle.

He attains a certain degree of physical comfort, and develops a more or less workable theory of life, in such favorable situations as the plains of Mesopotamia or of Egypt, and then, for thousands and thousands of years, struggles, with varying fortunes, attended by infinite wickedness, bloodshed, and misery, to maintain himself at this point against the greed and ambition of his fellow-men. He makes a point of killing and otherwise persecuting all those who first try to get him to move on; and when he has moved on a step, foolishly confers post-mortem deification on his victims."

05 June 2009

'Poison Tree'

I was angry with my friend:

I told my wrath, my wrath did end.

I was angry with my foe:

I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,

Night and morning with my tears;

And I sunned it with smiles,

And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,

Till it bore an apple bright.

And my foe beheld it shine.

And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole

When the night had veiled the pole;

In the morning glad I see

My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

~ William Blake

04 June 2009

Showing Off Their Underwear

Is it me? Am I showing my age? Or maybe there is something that I don't understand: the fashion for young men showing off their underwear, usually boxer shorts, at every opportunity.
Now perish the thought that I am one of those types who constantly frowns and tut-tuts at the things young people do. It wasn't so long ago that I was doing crazy things that I don't understand now and didn't then but they were part of my growing up. All of it. The truth is I'm still 'growing up' and learning about life and doing crazy things!

But this need to wear trousers underneath your arse/bum/ass seems very strange. How do they stay up? Who started this trend?
I travel throughout England and see a certain type of young man modelling this trend and I just ponder. It cuts across races and seems to have a hip-hop vibe to it all.
I have to admit, I don't understand it. Maybe I'm not meant to.