Are Things Falling Apart In The African American Community?

Chinua Achebe
Chinua Achebe

AFRICANGLOBE – Influenced by the writings of Chinua Achebe (Nigerian Author of “Things Fall Apart”)

“We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely in their proverb Onye ji onye n’ani ji onwe ya: “He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.”

– Chinua Achebe

There is a critical need for African Americans to take charge of their communities to speak out against the injustices of issues that threaten the destruction of African American communities by increasing incarceration, economic poverty, devaluing of education and lack of political influence of and by young AA men and women.

The growing community violence and cultural disintegration on the community level must be stopped before the very life blood drains from the communities that are still an important part of this nation. Despite the efforts to eliminate segregation during past decades many communities are still segregated by zip codes, community boundaries, race, places of religious worship and even schools.

This maybe an unconscious or even a conscious effort to maintain cultural or ethnic heritage within communities, but actions create boundaries of limitations, economic decline and societal isolation. African American youth are still not graduating high school in the numbers they should be and too many make excuses why they are not.

Students that are scholars are teased, ridiculed and bullied by their peers, the very role models we need are criticized.
America is already colonized and conquered; an established nation even at its young age. African Americans have survived slavery, civil wars, biological experimentation, world wars, attempted sterilization and the continuing struggle with incarceration and educational priority.

Sometimes the root is not in the schools, but in the homes of children whose parents are not doing their jobs. To ready to run the streets to the clubs, crab house, dance floors, malls, but no time to take their children to the library, museums and other learning opportunities.

As Larry Henderson grandfather of three states, “The community needs to start listening again to the elders and the educators of the community.”

Chinua Achebe (author) states, “When old people speak it is not because of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because we see something which you do not see.”

The solutions are as diverse as the generational blood lines of Africans brought here during slavery; their offspring are US now called Negros, Blacks or African Americans. As Achebe author of “Things Fall Apart,” states, “something needs to be done.” His story for his people of Nigerian African heritage, the systematic colonization as Achebe describes, “the gap in the
bookshelf” related to a missing piece of information.

A Gap in connection for his country; there is a gap in the African American community that is growing, a sink hole slowly growing with increased poverty, continued generational curses and the birth of babies by children that have no foundation of life for themselves. Why have a child when you’re a child?

The cure in one direction of inoculation is the injection of African American/African cultural knowledge. To discuss the illnesses in the African American community, related to the past greatness of a heritage that was great even before there was European history. African American students need to learn their history HELLO!!!!!!!

The growing poverty levels, homelessness of children, decline of political power, reversal of educational success and the reliance on governmental subsidies is placing African Americans in a position of slavery again. The focus should be on educational opportunities, not increasing of EBT funding (these are being drastically cut); the need for diverse job training not governmental welfare and a refocus of HBCU – Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the areas of STEM and STEAM.

African Americans seem to have forgotten who gave them education when others did not want them. GED programs are increasing their fees and only accessible by computers.

In 2014 GED programs will be digital and more expensive. The “Silence of Blackness” has been too long because there are issues not being addressed and the dialogue is inconsistent and even silenced.

Just as in “Things Fall Apart,“ Nigerian visionaries, African American visionaries like Malcolm X, Asa Philip Randolph, Medgar Evers, and others, they saw injustices in laws, lack of community programs, Black on Black crimes, un-involved parents, children giving birth to another generation of EBT babies and continued systemic slavery.

Visionaries made a decision to change the subjugation, segregation and address the true issues of cultural heritage and cultural pride. The recent Omega Psi Phi dedication to education shows there are those concerned and active, but African Americans must want to change to improve.

American has faced its time of slavery and segregation that comes with colonization, facing the same challenges in many ways expressed in “Things Fall Apart.” Issues are still challenges for Black people, psychological and emotional bondage imposed by African Americans is powerful from African Americans, breaking their own spirits.

All is not lost when looking at programs active and developing, African Americans need to read about their history, their accomplishments and promote their young not just to athletics; but to academics, science, technology, the Arts, STEAM. Don’t just buy Bootleg videos, buy Bootleg books to teacher your children to read, Bootleg math books so they can learn to think critically, Bootleg science books to teach higher order thinking skills. “Ignorance is not Bliss in the 21st century, it is dangerous to cultural growth.”

The publication of “Things Fall Apart” (1958) is over 50 year, even though it is an African story it can still be applied to American story of struggle, sacrifice, death and re-birth.

Chinua Achebe paints a picture that is not singular to Africa, it is a global perspective that is dynamically played anywhere in the world when any type of colonization is attempted. “…when we are comfortable and inattentive, we run the risk of committing grave injustices absentmindedly.”

– Chinua Achebe


By: William D. Jackson