“How is a black man going to get “civil rights” before he first wins his human rights? If the American black man will start thinking about his human rights, and then start thinking of himself as one of the world’s greatest people, he will see he has a case for the United Nations.”Malcolm X
Since the inception of European hegemony, African people have struggled to have their humanity acknowledged. Their struggles have come in various forms: the abolitionist movement, the civil rights movement, the move for independence from colonization in Africa, and, more recently, the reparations movement. The civil rights movement was based primarily on the philosophy of nonviolence, as opposed to the Mau Mau, a group of African patriots that engaged in guerilla warfare to free Kenya from British colonization. Today, the “hip-hop” generation of African-American leadership must take the denial of human rights of Africans in America to the United Nations.
The fight for freedom and equality for African-so-called-Americans has generally been presented in the framework of civil rights. But in actuality, Africans inside and outside America are denied basic human rights such as food, clothing and shelter.
Africans are victims of unequal healthcare, housing, education, treatment in the criminal justice system, and they have been the victims of police brutality that fits the definition of state-sponsored terrorism. So while the United States is confronting terrorism abroad, it is conducting terrorism against 35 million of its own citizens.
The current cadre of African-so-called-American leadership continues to fight for civil rights, like voting rights, desegregated facilities and other antiquated reforms. Africans are so-called Americans because the Constitution guarantees an equality and justice to all Americans that Africans have yet to receive. Currently, they have a sort of glorified refugee status. Africans in America are refugees; a displaced people from a wartime situation, because of the slave trade. For example, the African community is victimized by gentrification, the removal of poor and working-class people in urban areas to make room for the middle to upper classes. Louis Farrakhan once said, “The only difference between blacks in America and Palestinians is Palestinians throw rocks, black folk smoke rocks.” In order to achieve African liberation, leaders must fight for human rights, not civil rights, as done by previous leaders.
In 1946, W.E.B. DuBois wrote “An Appeal to the World” that called for U.N. intervention in the mistreatment of Africans in America. He wrote the article on behalf of the NAACP but, unfortunately, the organization’s leadership acquiesced to the white liberal establishment. Before his assassination, Malcolm X was advocating taking the predicament of the millions of Africans in America to the United Nations.
Contemporary leadership expects justice from the American government for crimes perpetrated by the American government. This is like a person stealing your property, having them conduct the trial and then expecting justice. The sensible action is to take the case to an outside court. Africans must take their perpetrator to a world court — the United Nations.
This generation of African leadership should connect the denial of human rights to the demand for reparations. A cogent argument should be presented to the world that the slave trade, American apartheid and persistent unequal treatment of Africans in America are crimes against humanity and that remuneration is essential.
Reparations could come in several forms. The first is a left-wing integrationist stance such as equal funding for majority-African primary schools, college scholarships for all Africans and grants for entrepreneurial ventures. Two other proposals have a more nationalistic posture; a state carved out within the borders of America or repatriating to Africa.
The Nationalistic options are superior because they acknowledge that in 400 years America has yet to treat Africans, inside or outside of America, humanely and respectfully, therefore Africans cannot be adequately served by America’s institutions and systems of justice.
Whatever the conclusion of the United Nations, if America chooses to repress this liberation movement (as was done in the 1960′s by groups such as the FBI’s alleged COINTELPRO) or ignore the United Nations as it did with Iraq, then, as Malcolm X stated, “America needs more than a Mau Mau and I’d be the first to join.”