Talking To Our Children

“Our Generation Died When Our Fathers We’re Born”

25 years ago today, Ansel Wong and Akyaaba Addai-Sebbo, as part of the Greater London Council, were instrumental in securing black history month in London. This jubilee year was meant to remember 150 years since abolition, and in honour of it, the following year, the two fellows edited “Our Story: A Handbook of African History and Contemporary Issues.” Of course, this is pedantic, and effectively inconsequential, for even after Carter Woodson’s emphatic 1926 rally, the idea of negro-contributionism remains redundant. As Clarence Walker would testify, although they are in need of fundamental structural revisions and major redistributions of wealth, the people are left with mythological romanticism, and totalitarian group-think which questions the blackness of those who fail to boast “blackness.” Children born into this farce have little to celebrate; they have been failed.

Gifted Child, I must apologise for failing you even before you were born. I cannot make it up to you for the loss you have incurred cannot be recovered. I can only explain what I was going through and maybe one day you will be able to see where I was coming through. I cannot be forgiven for this failure but I at least want you to make peace with it. Only, my deepest sorrow is that you are already broken by this betrayal. It is not something that can be repaired as the damage was done so long ago leaving you with wounds that will not heal, and scars that will not go. Sadly, it is not your problem; it is I who have made a problem for you, and so, if anyone ever asks you to move on and let go, I can only urge you to excuse them as you quietly contemplate the following: “how can I let go of something holding on to me.”

James Baldwin said that we should not learn about the past for the sake of proving a point to anybody as we do not have to apologise for who we are; he urged us to get familiar with our historical antecedents, claiming that without this sense of being and belonging, we would struggle to determine our identities, and find our place in the world. That’s what we’ve been told, but the story’s getting old. Many of us have done this, and continue doing this, but we are none the better. At this time, cash is the topic, money matters; its the motive. If I have no trust fund for you, no advice, guidance and information to provide, then of what use am I; of what value can I be to you. I, I who am so dependent, and with so little stability do not see myself as fit to call you a child, for I am one myself, and so the question remains: when you ask me questions about adulthood, being stuck in childhood myself, what am I to say?

And when you get lonely, despairing as the people leave you, and you find you have no one to lean on, and you ask me where to find solace, I will not know, as I will be asking you, where am I to go?

Having the next generation go through what we went through. That should be our biggest fear


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