Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kujichagulia - Self Determination - Define & Declare Your Community & Culture

HABARIGANI?

The second day of Kwanzaa is about Self Determination; a collectives ability to define themselves as a community and a culture. Older examples in the US, although not Afrocentric, can be seen with the existences of such neighborhoods as "Little Italy" in the Bronx and Lower Manhattan sections of New York City and "Chinatown" which can be found in almost every major city. Places were people of an ethos not only lived together, but maintained their own businesses, languages, cultural traditions, leadership, etc. The rejection of "assimilation" into the so-called mainstream and the embracing of "acculturation" where we as a people borrow aspects of other cultures that work within the frameworks of our lives. Within the Black community, such groups as The United Nation of Islam and the Twelve Tribes are religion- based examples of Kujichagulia within the Black community. The lasting impact and effects of the Black Arts Movement, from the 1960's to the present is an aesthetic based examples of the principle.

One of the unfortunate aspects of Black people in America is our inability to accept diversity within our own community. We tend to draw and maintain deep lines based on place of origin (e.g., Caribbean, American born, African, etc.), religion (Christian, Muslim, Rastafarian, etc.) and a myriad of other differences that we use as a basis to divide ourselves. Being able to embrace these differences, qualities and contributions; and recognize them for the depth and beauty within our larger community is part of what Kujichagulia is about.

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