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Sticks and Stones and Words

By Hunter Havlin Adams III

Presented by Omni-U Virtual



The speech that follows is republished by permission of Hunter Havlin Adams III


United Nations 3rd Session Permanent Forum for People of African Descent Closing Session: Thursday, 19 April 2024

Speaker: Hunter Havlin Adams, III


Greetings Madame Chair, The Secretariat, Rapporteur, Dignitaries, Delegates, Civil Societies, and all participants, who aim to design, develop, and deploy a fair, flourishing future for all human beings.


My name is Hunter Adams, III, and ‘here I stand’—following Paul Robeson’s Civil Rights Congress’ Ancestral' Remembrance Petition at the UN sixty-three years ago—to address a challenge posed by Psychiatrists, Dr. Franz Fanon and Dr. Patricia Ann Newton: How do we imagine a new humanity?


The night before being sacrificed, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I come here tonight to get the language straight.” (1)


In that way , I have an ask: STOP referring to millions of souls, extracted from soil that sanctified human personhood, as ‘Slaves.’ The word “Slave" derives from “Slav”, the name of the formerly oppressed Eastern Europeans, whose ethnicity became the brand for bondage- a slur that still humiliates. A “slave” is someone else’s idea of someone else’s world.


For example, in 2009, in Lagos, Portugal, after excavating a sinkhole filled with 560 years of trash, buried at the bottom were the remains of over 150 Africans[1]: the First Generation of “negro rescata cautivos” (negro [black] ransom captives) who were, unknowingly, prisoners of a provocative plot.


On 18 June 1452, using the pretentious “just war” judgment, Pope Nicolas V’s executive order, Dum Diversas (in English, until different), deemed future captive Africans (and Muslims) ‘enemies of Christ, actually, ‘enemies of the State,’ thereby authorizing King Alfonso V of Portugal to kick-start the Age of African Plunder, under the Doctrine of Discovery.


Esteemed participants, words matter. In medicine, a placebo (Latin, placēbō, 'I shall please', from placeō, 'I please') is a sham substance, drug, or treatment given to a patient believing it helps them. Less well known is the nocēbō, (Latin, 'I shall harm', from, 'I harm'). Science is understanding how placebos and nocebos- such as expectations, cultural cues, and language- can heal or harm beyond the clinical context, into everyday life, for example, in human rights law[2].


The word ‘‘slave”’ is a nocebo; It suggests something is wrong with you. Its invisible violence denies and denigrates Africans' humanity. It traumatizes. I can never forget decades ago in a Chicago church Sunday school, a white boy blurted out, “You are a slave, like Hebrews were in Ancient Egypt."


That’s not true!The word slave functions as a magician’s trick, but no rabbit is pulled out of a hat, just minds muddled in a vat of conjured ideas of inferiority and superiority[3]. This “spell of inequality” evolved 2300 years ago, out of the Greek philosopher Aristotle's[4] rhetorical political ploys[5]. It has developed into a brain-based science of global inequality[6], [7]. Along with this, public relations pronouncements bind everyone- above all youth and women- to a multi-media matrix of malinformation.


Paraphrasing what Minister Malcolm X said in his ‘Ballot or the Bullet’ speech: “We’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, and led astray.”


In conclusion, from a cultural neuroscience perspective, l offer four recommendations to break this inequality spell.


(1)    In the hallway, before you enter this room, there is a statue of the ancient Nile Valley people’s goddess Ma’at, that the Egyptian government gifted to the UN in 2004. Imagine, 6,000 years before today, an African woman was the archetype of justice. I recommend [that] The Forum establish a working group to reimagine and operationalize this Ma’atic ideal.


(2)    For advancing human rights: I recommend a knowledge (epistemic) justice[8] tract for reframing harmful misbeliefs[9] and mainstream narratives[10] pursuant to the Human Rights Council resolution 47/21 for effecting transformative change for racial justice and equality.


(3)    I recommend that member African states collaborate and establish The African Brain Initiative, as the United States, Europe, China, and Japan have invested billions in such projects[11].


(4)    Lastly, I recommend the establishment of a UNESCO Heritage Site, memorializing the First Generation of African War Captives,[12] in 1444, at the scene of subjection in Lagos, Portugal.


Thank you.


About the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent


BlogNotes:

(1) Clip from speech by Ancestor Rev.Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.:


(3)Doctrine of Discovery.


Recommended Viewing:

“Slave:“ From the Label to the Fable,” Featuring: Hunter Havlin Adams,III


Who.Are You Calling a Slave? Featuring; Hunter Havlin Adams. III


References:

 [1] Afua Hirsch (2020). The injustice of slavery is not over: the graves of the enslaved are still being desecrated https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/08/injustice-slavery-not-over-graves-desecrated-black-history




[3] A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. (1998). The Ten Precepts of Slavery Jurisprudence, Appendix. Shades of Color: Racial Politics and Presumptions of the American Legal Process. Oxford University Press. https://books.google.fr/books/about/Shades_of_Freedom.html?id=NM_rf6TndMsC&redir_esc=y



[5] Lisa Orkin (2000). Archaeologists Find Ancient Greeks Practiced That Old--Very Old--BlackMagic. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2001-apr-22-mn-53984-story.html.


[6] Alexander Lenger & Florian Schumacher (2014). The Global Configurations of Inequality: Stratification, Global Inequalities, and the Global Social Structure. In: Lenger, A., Schumacher, F. (eds) Understanding the Dynamics of Global Inequality. Springer, Berlin, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-44766-6_1.


[7] How to Fix Economic Inequality? An Overview of Policies for the United States and Other High-Income Economies https://www.piie.com/microsites/how-fix-economic-inequality.


[8] Miranda Fricker (1 Sept. 2007). Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford Academic. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198237907.001.0001.


[9] (a) in future communications declare dignity for de-ancestralized Africans as war captives; b) reframe the ‘slave trade’ as a multi-generational, global human extraction and trafficking plot and an illicit multi-faceted financialization enterprise, recalling Winston Churchill’s idea that genocide is a “crime without a name.”



[10] Alfred de Zayas (2022). Countering Mainstream Narratives: Fake News, Fake Law, Fake Freedom. Clarity Press.


[11] Rafael Yuste & Cori Bargmann. (February 27, 2017). Toward a Global BRAIN Initiative. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2017.02.023. [African sustainable development, health, and well-being programs should be brain-society research-based.


[12] On 18 September 2023, The Humanity-Summit group commemorated these ancestors for the first time. 







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