Was Knowledge of Self a Fad?
Maybe it’s me, but it doesn’t seem that consciousness is based on reading anymore…
I hate the slur “Hoteps” with all my heart and all my soul.
I understand the principle behind it, people supposedly kicking knowledge all the while monitoring the behavior of others…and not their own. Men (in particular) who use righteousness as a way of getting in the pants of as many women as possible.
I get it.
But what that term does is two-fold: it devalues the actual term, which means ‘Peace,’ and it discourages anyone from actually pursuing knowledge of self. I know that might sound like a stretch but I ain’t make that image up there, open up Medium, and type a title not intending to talk about it. So let’s talk about that shit.
Growing up Black in the 70s and 80s the word ‘African’ (like the word ‘Black’) was an insult. Added to any word as a prefix — African-ass, or left as a stand alone — African booty scratcher, being called African was fighting words.
And, while it may seem like common sense now, hearing that Egypt was in Africa to us was empowering. “You mean those pyramids were made by Africans?” Was one of the first questions that we asked. It was enough to make the average person curious. Curious enough at least to delve into Egyptian history.
First thing you learned — the natives didn’t call it Egypt, they called it KMT, or the Land of the Black. Next you learned that modern monotheism began in KMT. That the holy trinity is modeled after Ausar/Auset and Heru. And you learn that the first multi-discipline genius, the father of modern medicine, and builder of the first pyramid, the Step Pyramid of Djoser, is Imhotep of the 3rd Dynasty. That was usually where you heard the word ‘hotep’ first — which, as we mentioned above, means ‘Peace.’
This was the starting point for many of people coming into the knowledge of self or knowledge of Black folks prior to being enslaved in America. Perhaps one of the first books we read in the late 80s and early 90s was George G.M. James’ classic “Stolen Legacy.” We were educated to believe that the Ancient Greeks were the pinnacle of society so to read in James’ book that the Greeks STOLE their knowledge from Ancient KMT was earth-shattering.
Some people stayed there, reading everything about KMT that they could get their hands on. Ra Un Nefer Amen’s “Metu Neter Vol. 1” was like a bible for these type but we all at least perused that book.
Many of us kept going. We read every book on African advancements and (our oppressors) that we could get our hands on. We read Basil Davidson’s “African Genius.” We read Walter Rodney’s “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.” We read Ivan Van Sertima’s “They Came Before Columbus.” We read Frantz Fanon’s “Black Skin, White Masks.” And these were just the starter books. If you were of the so-called conscious community, these books were under your belt.
The important thing to note…we READ. Now…we watch videos.
It drives me up the wall.
Erykah Badu made a song damn near a decade ago, “Master Teacher,” and somehow over the last few years the term ‘woke’ has become a part of the modern lexicon. And what does it even mean?
Does it mean that you’ve watched every Red Pill/Blue Pill video available on YouTube? Does it mean that you know who Dr. Sebi is and you’ve recommended some of his treatments? Does it mean that you marched in a Black Lives Matter protest? No idea.
Because I’ve met those people. Sat around a Black Lives Matter protest as members chomped on pig skins. Listened to discussions on the Pills. Know people who have every herb that Dr. Sebi ever recommended…and a lot of those people have never read nan books. I never even hear mention of books outside of Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow.”
And that is utterly confusing to me. We are quick to pull someone’s ‘woke’ card, throw them under the ‘Hotep’ bus, demand their sources, all the while we ourselves have read no damn books.
Not that reading constitutes anything but literacy. Knowledge without wisdom or execution is empty. But knowledge is necessary. Knowledge is the first step. How do you move forward to fixing a problem if you don’t know the root of the problem?
That term ‘Hotep’ is almost an automatic deterrent for anyone seeking to learn knowledge of themselves because the second they open their mouth — people who first start learning are anxious to talk about what they just read — they’ll be smacked with that pejorative term. Reading in general is not something that our community does in mass in the first place.
I know that the process to self-knowledge had to change. What all that knowledge led to more than anything else was debates that once filled college campus quads but then bled over unto street corners and videos. That behavior is reason enough for someone to NOT want to buy what a so-called conscious person was selling.
But the biggest deterrent is the fact that most of us who read all of those books, changed our diets, names, and lifestyles built no institutions for the generation that followed us. Many of us graduated college, entered into our careers, and put all of that knowledge stuff behind us, demonstrating to the youth that the whole knowledge of self thing was a phase.
Well I say, as Allah said to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), “Iqra.” Read (HQ 96:1). Perhaps knowledge as we received it is dead but to those of you all who are following us, you can learn from our mistakes. Learn about our legacy, our history, and who we are as a people. And do what we many of us did not do — build institutions — schools, programs, hospitals, etc. Show that the purpose of knowledge of self is to do for self. And that doing for self is a necessity — not a choice. Knowing about yourself could never be a fad. It’s the foundation for all people. Peace.
Remember…hyperlinks are your friend. Start your reading list by clicking on many of the titles above, you’ll be pleased. Thanks. Management.