Dr. John Henrik Clarke
There are a handful of scholars who have shaped my intellectual life. Dr. Clarke is one. “Dr. Clarke’s life became a symbol of the qualities we wish to claim, to emulate, and to engender: commitment, self-reliance, communalism, intelligence, scholarly excellence, determination, discipline, conviction and achievement.” Below is repeated his article, “Concept of Deity” (Source: Department of Africana & Puerto Rican/Latino Studies followed by YouTube video of Dr. Clarke.
To hold a people in oppression you have to convince them first that they are supposed to be oppressed.
When the European comes to a country, the first thing he does is to laugh at your God and your God concept. And the next thing is to make you laugh at your own God concept. Then he don’t have to build no jails for you then, cause he’s got you in a jail more binding than iron can ever put you.
Anytime you turn on your own concept of God, you are no longer a free man. No one needs to put chains on your body, because the chains are on your mind.
Anytime someone say’s your God is ugly and you release your God and join their God, there is no hope for your freedom until you once more believe in your own concept of the “deity.”
And that’s how we’re trapped. We have been educated into believing someone else’s concept of the deity, and someone else’s standard of beauty. You have the right to practice any religion and politics in a way that best suits your freedom, your dignity, and your understanding. And once you do that, you don’t apologize.
Nothing the European mind ever devised was meant to do anything but to facilitate the European’s control over the world. Anything that you get from Europe that you are going to use for yourself, remake it to suit yourself.
Where did we go wrong educationally? After the Civil War, the period called reconstruction, a period of pseudo-democracy, we began to have our own institutions, our own schools. We had no role model for a school… our own role model. So we began to imitate White schools.
Our church was an imitation of the White church. All we did is to modify the old trap. We didn’t change the images, we became more comfortable within the trap. We didn’t change the images, we changed some of the concepts of the images, but the images remained the same. So the mis-education that gave us a slave mentality had been altered. But it remained basically the same.
The late Dr. John Henrik Clarke, a pre-eminent African-American historian, author of several volumes on the history of Africa and the Diaspora, taught in the Department of Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College of the City University of New York.