Our worldview is greatly influenced by our life experiences and early in childhood. Our parents greatly influence how we perceive the world around us and our relationships with others. If raised in a home that was unsafe, it’s likely that we would develop mistrust in our relationships. Similarly, if raised in an safe environment where we felt nurtured, loved, and protected than it is likely that we will learn to trust others. This is a very basic understanding of the Nature vs. Nurture argument that specialists have been arguing about for years. Author Joy DeGruy seemed, to sum up, this theory when she stated in her book that: “We carry our painful experiences into our adulthood, and they become the basis for our worldview,” which is defined as our beliefs, our attitudes, and our response to the natural environment. Just as our parents influenced our worldview, historic racism also influenced our environment. An environment that is unsafe will always produce insecurity.

The topic of Evolution exposes the  our insecurity because it forces us to address the nature Vs nurture argument. Most of us reject evolution in favor of a feel-good explanation of life, not because we understand evolution, but because of hate science, and the premise of a gradual development that is categorally opposed to intelligent design.  We are much more comfortable with pseudo claims of extraterrestrials, astro-projections, and gene splicing than science because it allows us to escape and avoid taking responsibility our problems using science that forced is evaluate what does and what does not work. Scientific literacy is defined as “knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity.”

In itself the rejection of evolution does not equate to scientific illiteracy. However, the implications of having leaders who are scientifically illiterate is  detrimental to our survival and growth. The community must achieve a level of scientific literacy; otherwise, we will never progress. According to the National Science Education Standards defines scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions that are derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. Therefore a scientific literate person can do the following:

• Describe, explain and predict natural phenomena.

• Identify scientific issues underlying decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed.

• Evaluate the quality of scientific information using sources and identified methods used to support a specific position or ideas.

• Form arguments based on evidence and apply conclusions based on the evidence. (Wikipedia)

In the past 10 years the standards used to describe, identify, evaluate and then form conclusions have been greatly diminished by scientific illiteracy. We are no longer encouraging scientific discovery and innovation. But have allowed our hatred, fear, and obsession of the oppressor to dominate our discussions and created an environment where intimidation is used as a way to maintain the status quo. Instead of using scientific problems solving methods, many of the leaders threaten physical harm to resolve conflicts.  In a recent video posted by the self-proclaimed revolutionary leader of the conscious community  “General SETI” in a highly charged emotional five-minute response to Marcus, threatened physical violence. In the video, SETI handed down a warning that anyone who dared challenge his information would be subject to physical violence. He also made  insensitive comment regarding Marcus social status in the community stating “the only thing you can do for me is deliver my newspaper and bag my groceries.” He went on to say that instead of debating, Marcus should be in the “in the third grade, shining his shoes.” By the end of the video, Seti warned that the next time he came in contact Marcus in the streets, Marcus should run the other way. He also made a threat against Ankh warning that if he even dared to challenge him on the topic that “he would break his back.” The entire rant was based on a belief/claim that Ankh armed young Marcus with information on evolution that somehow threatened his position as a leader. A claim that seems paranoid given evolution is a topic that is widely debated in the community and one he Is currently promoting with Pharaoh Allah.
This behavior is an example of post traumatic slave syndrome, a condition that impacts your worldview and decision-making as well as the ability to define problems in an effective, coherent, and logical manner. Instead coming us with solutions, people with this condition will attack, use ad-hominems, and use threats of physical violence as a means of maintaining power and control. It is a condition that will cause a person to act in a way that is contrary to his goals. A condition that we must resolve because it impacts our ability to establish a worldview based on African values with the ultimate goal of unity. Seti a Man who was raised up in “the craft” and taught by Dr. Ben and who has traveled the world with many elders, revealed our failed worldview.

It seems the African community world view is in the Dark Ages similar to that of Europe when the church hunted, persecuted, and killed those who opposed religious doctrine. How did we get to this point and most importantly, what is the solution? When did it become acceptable for us to threaten each other over information? We have to demand accountability from our leaders and intimidation should not be tolerated. We must encourage the youth to study, ask questions, and challenge the status quo. We must develop relationships based on respect, good character, and we can’t allow those stuck in the past dictate our progress.

In conclusion, how we perceive the world around us is substantially influenced by our worldview, childhood, and environmental stressors, therefore it’s important that we adopt sound ideological practices. The human psyche is fragile and highly influenced by our experience. A person who is willing to die with a plan is not a warrior; he is a psychopath with nothing to lose. The only strategy against oppression is a strategy. One of my favorites quotes is “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak”.

Voices of Fire

Nyah Amara

Photo Credit:Bavarian State Theater


Gang Prevention

The National Institute of Justice defines a gang as the following: “an association of three or more individuals whose members collectively identify themselves by adopting a group identity, which they use to create an atmosphere of fear or intimidation”. Gangs became increasingly popular in the 1920s, and over the decades, there have been gangs of all kinds of backgrounds; from the infamous Italian mobs and gangs to the Irish, Hispanic, and African American.

African American gangs make up about 35% of the countries gang, making it the second largest ethnicity involved in gangs (“National Youth Gang Survey Analysis”). The two largest and most known black gangs are the Bloods and Crips; though there are many gangs African Americans gangs all over the country from large cities to small rural towns. No matter where they reside, they are a controversial topic. Gangs are notorious for their involved in violent crimes such as robbery, kidnapping, murder, rape, etc.

The statistics on African American youth gang violence is alarming. Niaz Kasravi, a member of the NAACP, said, “the type of violence we see in poor African American communities of color on a daily basis is heartbreaking and should also be given attention”. In a study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics for the year 2009, had 7,391 gun-related cases- of which 90 percent were males and the majority of which was black males. Along the same lines, a study conducted by the Washington D.C. Violence Policy Center showed that African American citizens are four times more likely to be murdered than any other ethnicity. The root of all of the violence being a crippling economic support for the African American communities, which is what gangs stem from. (Schou 2014).

A poor economy leaves African American families struggling, making their family structure significantly weak. Young boys turn to gangs as a means of protection and support. African American gangs. While it may be true that it offers young boys protection and a sense of family, the true reality of a gang is harsh and violent. In the life of gangs, no one is safe. It is not just the people within the gang, but their families as well. In November 2015, Tyshawn Lee, a nine-year-old boy, was murdered by three gang members of an opposing gang to his father’s. Tyshawn was targeted to get back at his father.

The first step is, of course, educating the youth about the risk factors of joining a gang. By helping the youth understand the cons about joining gangs, it will provide the insight to the harsh reality of the life of crime and help our youth understand their lives are much more valuable. Programs such as the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T) and Preventive Treatment Programs already exist and are working hard to reach out to the youth in hopes to help solve the youth gang problem. Community programs are other excellent alternatives that in provide hope and sense of belonging and family. By understanding the risk factors and using those to pinpoint at-risk youth, our  communities can prevent kids from joining gangs. The African Centered community should take the lead and develop grass roots gang prevention programs our community.

Works Cite

Gorner, Jeremy, and Peter Nickeas. “Man Charged in Killing of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee,   Woman in Gang Feud.” Chicago Tribune. CBS Chicago, 08 Mar. 2016. Web. 21 June               2016.

Howell, James C. “Gang Prevention: An Overview of Research and Programs.” Juvenile    Justice, Dec. 2010. U.S. Department of Justice. Web. 21 June 2016.

“National Youth Gang Survey Analysis.” Demographics. N.p., 2012. Web. 21 June 2016.

Schou, Solvej. “Here’s Why Gang Violence Deserves as Much Outrage as School Shootings.”   TakePart. Participant Media, 30 Jan. 2014. Web. 21 June 2016.

“What Is a Gang? Definitions.” National Institute of Justice