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The Importance of Seeing the World From an African Perspective

By Gimbu Kali Gerald Vernon

Presented by Omni-U Virtual University

When I was teaching, I'd ask my students to tell me what year it was. Then,I'd pose the question: “What if you’re not a Christian, what year is it? I would always get a confused, kind of blank, stare. I believe that,for many, it was the first time in their lives that they had been asked  to question their reality. But, it certainly  shouldn't be the last.

Those who see the world from a European frame of reference- as we have been conditioned to do- would say that the time is designated by the hands of the clock or the date on the calendar . 


According to the current calendar, it is 2022 A.D.( "after the birth of Christ" ).  That date is based on the Gregorian  calendar which was introduced in 1582, by order of a papal bull of Pope Gregory,  to replace the Julian calendar previously in use. However, for non-Christians -Buddhists, for example- that order did not  apply.       

The hazard in seeing the world through the eyes of a dominating culture, is believing that the reality assigned to you by your adversaries is your true reality! Getting caught up in the "reality" of your oppressors is extremely risky and has proven to undermine the cultural and psychological health of the oppressed. 

If we view the world from our adversaries' perspective, we are likely to believe that:

● the history of African descended Black people began-in America- 400 years ago rather than that our history began in Africa  4 million plus years ago; 

●Lincoln "freed" the "slaves,” rather than  that the Maafa [1] has not yet ended; 

● if we work hard, and follow the law, we will reap the benefits of the "dream rooted in the American dream," rather  than that regardless of what we do -or have done- we still have not overcome the obstacles  to "freedom and justice for all!"

What I mean is that, regardless of our educational, financial, or material "success," we can still be racially profiled, falsely accused  and forced to confess to crime(s) we did not commit, and/or murdered -on film and in broad daylight- with rarely any consequences for the offenders.

On a regular and routine basis, Black men, women, and children, among them: Eric Garner, Philando Castille, Freddy Grey,George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor,Travon Martin, Tamir Rice, etc. have experienced  what amounts to state -sanctioned murder since ALL of the aforementioned individual’s cases were ruled "justifiable homicide."  

It is time that we begin to look at the world through our own, African, eyes instead of the European eyes that have distorted our view of reality. 

Long ago, I read that you will never get the right answers if you don't ask the right questions. So, let me ask a few questions: 


¿ Considering all of the psychological , financial, egotistical, material, and other benefits that our adversaries have gotten from being racist, why should they be expected  to stop?  

¿ Do we believe that one day they will see the error of their ways, stop oppressing and exploiting us, and begin to treat us with the same respect, dignity, and reverence that they have for themselves? 

¿ Or, do you mean that they are never going to “give us our freedom or our rights"?

¿ Do you mean that, if we actually want our rights-both civil and human- it's up to us?

¿ Why do we feel that we can  collectively practice a non-African culture -celebrate  European and Euro- American holidays, religion, standards of beauty, submit to  miseducation and anti- social systems and free ourselves of these same things at the same time?

¿Finally, and most importantly: What is - and when will we  implement- our vision for our current and future generations? Your vision tells you the direction in which you should go. It gives you "identity, purpose, and direction" to quote Dr. Haki Madhubuti. 

The bottom line for African-descended Black people is that a people who are not sovereign suffer un-sovereign consequences. We are essentially “without sanctuary.” There is no place where we will be truly safe unless and until we begin to seriously address our collective condition. The ball is in our court. There is no logical reason to believe that things will improve if we continue to view the world according to an unrealistic, non-African perspective. 

We must learn to see our self-evident reality through our own African eyes.  Oppression ultimately requires-and cannot continue without-the cooperation of its victims. The ultimate decision is up to us. We can either continue to collaborate with our oppressors or  commit to working together to realize our vision of ourselves for our community- the Living, the Dead, and the Yet Unborn.  We can’t do both.  

Recommended Viewing 

Recommended Readings 

Ancestor Dr. Amos N. Wilson, The Falsification of  African Consciousness.

Ancestor Dr. Lerone Bennett, Jr. Forced Into Glory.

Kiarri  T.-H. Cheatwood, The Race: Matters Concerning Pan Afrikan History, Culture, and Genocide.

Dr. Na'im Akbar, Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery.


[1] The "Maafa" is a Kiswahili word which means "great tragedy"... It is sometimes  referred  to as the [African] "holocaust".

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