David A. Love
When one hurts, we all hurt. That should be the mantra of Black people and people of African descent across the world, wherever they may find themselves. Given that sentiment, what if the Black diaspora, Black nations and Black folks — wherever they find themselves in the world — came together on the global stage for the purpose of political and economic power and the betterment of us?
A few recent news items point to the need for a united front of Black folks throughout the world. While Africa has some of the fastest growing economies in the world, often they are regarded as charity cases or a rich continent of vast raw materials to exploit, like the old days of colonialism and slavery. We see you, China, Europe and America.
Wealthy white nations are hoarding the COVID vaccine and banning its exports, creating a “vaccine apartheid” where wealthy white nations control over 82% of the world supply of the life-saving vaccines, and low-income nations have secured less than 1%. Fewer than 4% of Africans have been fully immunized, and they cannot purchase the vaccine.
Meanwhile, the linkages between slavery and immigration policy were in full view when we witnessed the harsh treatment of Haitian migrants in Texas, as Border Patrol on horseback, like overseers, whipped these already desperate and traumatized people like Kunta Kinte or a scene out of 12 Years A Slave or Django Unchained.
The Haitian people, who paid a heavy price for daring to overthrow French colonial rule and the shackles of enslavement, have been paying a helluva price ever since. Haiti had to pay France $21 billion in debt as the price of its independence, keeping the Caribbean island nation impoverished and exploited. The specter of the Border Patrol mistreatment of Haitian migrants was triggering to Black Americans, summoning up memories in our collective DNA of those horrific days of the slave patrols.
Black people around the world felt a deep connection to that inhumanity, because we have been there before — shared experiences and shared suffering.
Anti-Black racism is universal. In Europe, Australia and elsewhere, white sports fans taunt Black athletes, call them apes and throw bananas on the field. In the U.S., Black athletes are ridiculed or penalized for taking a knee in protest against systemic racism. And then when we are off the field and out of the game, they taunt us by playing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Our suffering is universal. Black people in the Caribbean and in the U.S. are seeking reparations. And whether we’re the Gullah-Geechee people in the sea islands of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, or in the Quilombos of Brazil, our land is being stolen and threatened by climate change. Black Lives Matter — for Black people in America, in Israel and Palestine, in Britain, and in West Papua, where Black people are still colonized and called monkeys.
Meanwhile, what if the Black diaspora united not only as a reaction to our trauma, but in the name of power? Consider what would be unleashed if the Black diaspora — including African nations, the Caribbean and Black populations in America, Brazil and beyond — created some version of a European Union, or an African Union for that matter, except for the Black diaspora.
Consider a world where all members of a global Black union would have membership without borders, including an e-passport with citizenship and free travel throughout the bloc, and the unlimited exchange of goods and services across the diaspora. A Black Diaspora Union headquartered in Accra, Salvador de Bahia, Kingston, Havana, or Atlanta would have a parliament with representation by all the member states. Respect and tribute to our ancestors, the land and human rights is codified in the founding document, the Diaspora Declaration. The vast natural resources of our indigenous lands would no longer be exploited for profit by others, as they have been for centuries — so the Vibranium stays in Wakanda.
A green tech economy would help preserve the Amazon and the Congo, and promote a clean future for our children. We are building the wealth for everyone. A universal basic income across the Union would mean no poverty or deprivation wherever Black people live. Students can attend the University of Cape Town, the University of the West Indies, Spelman College or Morehouse College free of charge.
The Union invites the nations of the world for collaboration, cooperation and mutually beneficial projects and initiatives. However, non-member nations who disrespect Black people invite sanctions slapped on them, with cookout privileges revoked. Because we said so.
Those who came before us understood the need for Africans, people of African descent and Black people throughout the diaspora to get together and build a future. Marcus Garvey formed the Universal Negro Improvement Association, and Malcolm X formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) modeled after the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the forerunner to the African Union (AU), with this in mind.
Malcolm wanted to bring together the Black people in North America, South America, Central America and the African continent. “We must unite together in order to go forward together. Africa will not go forward any faster than we will and we will not go forward any faster than Africa will. We have one destiny and we’ve had one past,” he said in 1964, calling for Black people to seek allyship among themselves.
The need for Black unity on a global scale could not be any clearer. The 21st century whippings of Haitian people in Texas are proof of that.