Just like most of the world, I had no knowledge of Ugandan “war criminal” Joseph Kony until the Kony 2012 video went viral.
After receiving over 25 million views in less than 24 hours, I began to wonder how I, an educated black woman, had had no idea about the genocide in Uganda or the man behind the genocide: Joseph Kony.
Of course, I’ve supported initiatives to stop genocide in Rwanda, Sudan, and Somalia, but I’ve always made the extra effort to stay “informed” about the happenings in the African Diaspora wherever “my” people may be.
Whether it’s Brazil, Latin America, The Caribbean, or here in the States, I’ve tried to educate myself on liberating my people for the sake of humanity, but after I watched Kony 2012, I felt like a failure.
As I watched footage of a young Jacob Acaye relive his saddening narrative of being a child soldier and seeing his friends and family fall victim to the hands of Joseph Kony, I began to cry.
Partly because I never want to see someone who looks just like me, especially a child, suffer.
And secondly, because I felt guilty that I am not in Africa helping the thousands or millions of Jacob Acayes.
And of course, there was a natural resentment and suspicion, that yet again, “the white man” has road in with their shiny armor and white horses to come to save Africa, her misery, and all of her complex issues with a sensationalized, simplified story and a “trending” topic on Twitter
But I checked myself quickly, realizing that I can’t be selfish enough to make this an issue about the “white savior” theory.
Feeling the purest guilt, filled with contempt and vulnerability, I started wondering why African-Americans aren’t educating themselves and the world about the state of Africa?
Thoughts began to plague my aching heart – Why am I not in Uganda comforting Jacob Acaye?
Why am I not in Africa helping starving children and child soldiers?
Why have I, an educated African-American woman, not been able to hop on a plane and travel to the conception of my every being?
And then I realized, the issue is one of simple complexity (if there were ever such a thing).
Everyday we’re (African-Americans) plagued with headlines that read murder – black on black murder, specifically.
Everyday we’re plagued with issues of systematic racism that runs deeper than the roots of comprehension.
I sat back for a second and removed myself from the equation, and then it hit me.
African-Americans are disconnected from the rest of the African Diaspora for a plethora of reasons, mainly due to a lack of resources, lack of education, limited financial empowerment, and the dealings of the classic black American “struggle.”
And of course, those of “us” who are blessed enough to be able to give from our miniscule disposable incomes – give, but it’s not about a matter of giving, it’s a matter of changing.
The saying “knowledge is power” is probably one of the most simple quotes with the biggest impact, because with the power of knowledge, change comes soon after.
African-Americans should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and start giving back to their communities, not only in America, but across the Diaspora so that change can promote African growth.
Whether you’re African-American, Afro-Latino, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Asian, wherever can become a progressive group.
I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m tired of living in ignorance.
Not knowing what’s happening to the people whose bloodline resembles mine is weighing heavy on my heart and has cursed my mind.
The guilt ends here.
Change is going to come, and it’s going to come from me.
I don’t know if I’m being an educated black elitist who has taken on the burden of carrying an entire race on my back or what, but I do know that “blackness” is important to me and so is Africa.
If you’re black and feel a tinge of guilt – stand up and make a difference, for not only our people, but the world.
Let’s transcend from murder to excellence.