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BLACK PEOPLE’S FIGMENT OF THE IMAGINATION?
If it is systemic it is broad based according to its time, space, and driving forces. It is enduring. It is transgenerational. It is endemic. It is prolific. It is a constant. It is predictable. It is routine. It is structured. It is devious: transparent one moment, subtle the next.
If it is systemic it is its own universe. It has its own domain of interconnectedness, its own self-preservation, self-perpetuation dynamics, its own fallacies contra conventional wisdom.
If it is systemic it is the noun system in applied form. The term system defines particular arrangements of processes, objects, and concepts designed to deliver set outcomes; precision assuming fulfilment of given pre-determined conceptual and operational parameters. A system represents methods to follow in order to achieve certain outcomes. A system may be natural or man-made.
If it is natural, a system may never fail to the extent that applicable natural laws remain constant. Man-made systems may never fail to the extent that they do not seek to defy the laws of nature.
Racism is a man-made system of thought and behaviour that promulgates and applies ideas that there is, by divine providence, a non-contestable unequal relationship amongst the diversity of ethnicities comprising the human race on earth.
Racism is a political power instrument. It’s a social control force exercised by elite classes to explain and justify their oppression of the weakened and broken for economic domination purposes. Racism as we know it in our times is an off-shoot from the growth of modern capitalism from the 16th Century onwards.
It functions on the irrational classification of human beings according to physical attributes, starting with skin colour and purported cognitive endowments differentiations in favour of dominant classes.
An arbitrary distinction was introduced to classify light-skinned people of Eurasian extraction as being of higher intelligence with the God-given right and power to dominate others of darker skin complexions.
According to racism postulates, the darker-skinned were meant to be at the permanent servitude of the light-skinned. This justified European colonial endeavours the world over, with Africa taking the brunt of it all through the ensuing slave trade that took multitudes of African people into plantation slavery in the Americas.
Racism appears in different forms all over the world. For purposes of this presentation I look at the Eurasian anti-Black racism. This is in view of the current state of global Black Lives Matter debates sparked by the horrific visuals of George Floyd’s heartless murder in Minneapolis, USA, on May 25, 2020.
Along the way to the Americas, millions of other African people perished at sea. As a total dehumanizing experience, colonialism and the Afro-American slave trade have left an indelible trauma in the psyche of African people in the continent and the Diaspora.
At the same time, the White Power movement that grew out of the Eurasian economic might class in North America continues to use the partly successful crushing of the Black African spirit as proof of their superiority.
Fragility of racism as a system starts already with the man-made divine providence principle. Devine providence has no basis in natural law precepts. It lacks consistency, therefore; opening itself to non-ending enquiry leading to infinite inconclusive findings. Doomed to failure in the long term.
Racism’ systematic application of manipulation and overt extreme violence as tools of oppression have persisted, hence systemic racism.
In the White Supremacy racism against the Black world context, systemic racism is the complete set of conceptual and practical tools devised to sustain the status quo of the racists’ unnatural dominance of the Black race in order to perpetuate the one-sided capitalistic exploitation of the subjugated.
The set of tools sustaining White Power systemic racism have long permeated the amoral fabric of Western society and its satellites the world over. Appearing in unique forms in the Middle East and Asia, the methods of subjugation of the downtrodden are the same, amongst others:
- Part to total disenfranchisement of the oppressed
- Limitation or total denial of access to education
- Limited access to wealth creation opportunities
- Sub-standard living conditions
- Sustenance of squalor through deliberate minimal to zero provision of social amenities
- Application of effective brutality against any real or perceived rebellion: police, military
- Development of a powerful propaganda machinery across society: educational system, culture and sport, media, faith, family
- Devise a state machinery to ensure functionalities of all the above: bureaucracy – INSTITUTIONALIZE!
- Teach, reward, and protect agents of state machinery: impunity
Systemic racism is a living reality. It’s not a creation of novel minds. Neither can it be explained away with rhetoric. We use fine language and sophisticated wordcraft to describe it in order to demonstrate that we know well what we are talking about.
Through our articulation, we seek to give systemic racism a face so that those with eyes to see, with brains that think can have something tangible to relate themselves to as we invite them to step into our shoes to learn about our existential realities.
Systemic racism is a well-oiled machine of bigotry and ignorance. It therefore has to be addressed with superior intellectual firepower if we are going to eliminate it from the face of the earth.
In terms of application and experience, racism is a very personal trip. As an object of racism from birth in formerly officially White Supremacist Apartheid South Africa, I know racism when I see it; I know racism when I feel it. I can smell racism from afar.
My personal sensitivity to racism transcends the active or passive practitioner’s ethnicity. Racism comes in packages as colourfully diverse as the human race is. It’s only about degrees of application, and extents of actual or potential damage caused.
Given my background, it goes without saying that I know more about Eurocentric White Supremacist racism than any other form. And, that is my personal experience, and mine alone. Nothing, and no one else compares to that.
No one can define, no one has the right to want to define for me what racism is or what it is not. Doing so is in itself symptomatic of the oppressive, imperialistic nature of racism. At the individual level, application and experience of racism are relative modalities for the aggrieved.
Systemic racism is racism collectivized. Systemic racism steps over the individual and contaminates the group for eventual total domination, if not genocide at worst. In this case, racism is applied institutionally in one-size-fits-all formats.
Meaning that, for example, in the eyes and power tools dispensation of anti-Black White Supremacists’ worlds, when you are Black you are Black. It doesn’t matter how cultured or uncultured, enlightened or non-enlightened you are with regard to integration or non-integration into these worlds.
You may be a shining star highlighting values of White Supremacist ideology with pride and pomp. But, in the end, when you are Black, you are Black: arbitrarily designated as inherently inferior, primitive, savage, divinely cursed to slave for the Whiteman. It’s just the way it is with systemic racism.
It makes sense, therefore, that, to be effective and produce lasting effects, the anti-racism struggle targets systemic racism states institutions, their functionaries, and their symbols.
Because the systemic racism state is ever so strong and intrinsically inclined to apply immediate brutal force to quell dissent, it’s not strange that carnage and destruction to property shall often accompany uprisings against the system. Contemporary and historical examples of that abound in the USA, South Africa, and several Latin American countries.
In cases of extreme indiscriminate systemic racism state violence against the people as we’ve witnessed in the USA lately, the people’s rage will be such that they’ll even target their destructive energy towards “their own innocent Black-owned businesses”.
Self-harm as a form of expressing frustration, hopelessness against overly strong, insensitive forces resistant to change is called self-flagellation in the Bible, the book of systemic racism proponents, even if they hold and read the holy book upside-down.
Manifestations of the socio-economic collapse of post-colonial, post-slavery societies cannot be understood detached from the overall destructive consequences of White Supremacist systemic racism consequences.
Apparent degeneration of moral and ethical values as evidenced through rampant corruption, sexual abuse and violence against children and women as we see across the world today has a direct link to systemic racism practices over the years.
Racism as relentlessly pushed on by White Supremacists has created monsters in its victims.
Violence begets violence. Those who live by the sword die and promote death by the sword. Is this really the kind of world we want to live in in the 21st Century?
June 30, 2020
IN THE FLESH, IN THE BLOOD
Found myself in her territory
She was in full
Flesh and blood splendour
She was blonde
She was brunette
She was rouge
She was melanin rich
She was petite
She was medium
She was voluptuous
Then I hear a voice say
Keep your mouth shut
She came to me
She kissed me
You are so sweet
Into my right ear this time
My left ear the next time
I held my breath
I was in a straight jacket
I was words
In the book
Of her life story
I’m still in a daze
©Simon Chilembo (17/ 02- 2020)
February 17, 2020
STEPHEN CHAN’S PIONEERING ROLE IN ZAMBIAN KARATE
Accomplishments and Impact in the Transformation of Martial Arts Culture
- This article is in response to a request by my friend and Martial Arts brother, Raymond Mbazima, Sensei, in June 2016, “Could you do a write-up of Professor Stephen Chan Sensei’s Pioneering Role in Zambia – in particular what he accomplished and his impact in the transformation of martial arts culture?”
- The article is an honest account of events as best as my memory serves me. I must apologize in advance for any inaccuracies, or misunderstandings that might arise. The names of the various people mentioned in the article are done so with but only respect and the fondest of memories. I’ll be failing if I didn’t acknowledge many of them as having helped mould the kind of man I am today, both inside and outside the dojo. None of them is directly responsible for my madness, though.
- Regarding the main subject of the article, Stephen Chan, the tone the article has taken is as it emerged from my heart, without fear or favour. That, in line with how my mind has interpreted the execution of his Martial Arts teacher and Godfather role towards me over the years; in four countries, Zambia, UK, Norway, and South Africa.
I have never felt that Stephen was compelled to work with me, neither have I ever felt that I was unduly expected to feel indebted to him for all that he has done for me. Therefore, I am under no obligation, I have no pressing need to aspire to sanctify, or flatter him. There is nothing egotistical to gain, nor intended to.
All this I shall summarize in Stephen’s own words in a correspondence pertaining to the article, “I do hope it is a lot more to do with mutual respect and camaraderie. I always pitched in with you on the floor – so we all suffered together.”
The article here initially covers the years 1981-85, a period of my first ever direct observation of Stephen’s physical presence, and martial arts work in Zambia. It will partially describe my personal experience of training and studying Karate with him as my Sensei at the UNZA Karate Club (UKC) in Lusaka. Little did I ever think then that thirty-five years on, the special student-master relationship would still be going strong; not only with me, but with many others of my generation the world over.
Following Stephen’s footsteps as a diverse collective spread across many parts of the world, the at least five generations of top-flight Karateka my contemporaries and I have produced continue to grow and benefit from his profound knowledge of, and love for the Martial Arts. Above all, perhaps, his broader love for, and service to humanity through his exemplary professional work and career continue to inspire many of us.
Secondly, the years 1986-88 are, in my opinion and personal experience, the period in which the relevance of Stephen’s impact on me would be tested to the limit. It would also test the unity and commonality of purpose in the then Seidokan Zambia core group he had developed at UKC.
Furthermore, this period would, by extension, define whether Stephen’s legacy in Zambian Karate would live on or not. I dare say that the modern Jindokai Zambia/ Zimbabwe family we have today can trace their roots to specifically that period. Had we at UKC failed to keep it together during those two years, the Zambian martial arts scene would have swallowed up Stephen Chan’s legacy for good, I am convinced.
It may be safe to say that Stephen’s work in the wider martial arts fraternity, within and outside the then Zambia Karate Federation (ZKF)’s framework, raised awareness of, and interest in the arts to unprecedented levels in the country. The man was, after all, the nearest living thing to Bruce Lee the people ever saw, came close to, touched, and spoke to.
Stephen made a striking presence on Television Zambia (TVZ)’s Sports Review shows, speaking, as Dennis Liwewe once said, “… fantabulous, beautiful English, indeed!”
The late Dennis Liwewe became a legend already in his own time as a passionate radio and TV sports commentator. If President Kaunda was Zambia’s football number one fan, Dennis Liwewe was in a class of his own as maestro supremo football commentator … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
Simon Chilembo, 6th Dan
Tel.: +47 92525032
June 16, 2016
HOME AT LAST! Part 17
WEALTH MANAGEMENT IN THE DIASPORA
For an ordinary Diasporant with humble origins from their motherlands, with no history of family wealth accumulation over time and, therefore, not born with silver spoons in their mouths; as well as not having been raised with soft pillows under their wings by virtue of family status, influence, privileges, and power, the Diaspora can present unprecedentedly huge opportunities to earn money, create, build, and sustain wealth … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order book on Amazon).
March 24, 2015
HOME AT LAST! Part 16
DEDICATION: To my Brothers, global fraternity of wisdom, my Teachers, my Dear Mother, and my children from other fathers all over the world.
Trees and flowers planted round Chilembo Heights residence have each a name, and a story to tell. The Acacia Lisebo Maria tree is Dear Mother’s life metaphor. Her deep loyalty and commitment to her friends I have yet to fathom. She loves her enemies. Over time, she ever actively seeks to bring them closer to her, if not under her wings. Ever benevolent to the enemies and their offspring, if and when they die she will contribute to seeing to it that they are buried with dignity and honour. Amazing Grace.
Forced to close a protracted intense, mutually irreconcilable conflict on certain crucial matters of principle, the great royal prince, his highness doctor professor Mdadakumbakumba Kumdada threw in a verbal salvo … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order book on Amazon).
February 27, 2015