On this second day of Kwanzaa, we celebrate and reflect on Kujichagulia [KOO-gee-cha-goo-LEE-ah] (self-determination).
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves instead of being defined, named, created for, and spoken for by others.
Kujichagulia requires that we define our common interests. Like our ancestors, we must be independent, strong-willed and in charge of our own destiny as individuals, as families and as a united community. Self-Determination is celebrated on the second day of the festival.
Pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps despite the challenges and obstacles and determining a better path for all of us; our self-image vs. our stereotypes and assumed pre-judgments.
There is not one Black person I know that doesn’t see a news story about an arrest or a criminal charge and doesn’t pray, “Lord, don’t let that be a black person,” whether silently or audibly. I recently had a non-Black friend implore Black people in his Facebook status not to fight and pepper spray each other over the newly released Air Jordans–and for the life of me, I had no argument. I certainly would have liked to, as I know it’s not just Black folks acting crazy on Black Friday and other big sales event pushes. But as far as the news coverage went, I can’t say I saw one pale face in the consumer crowd. WE ARE BETTER THAN THAT. Even though we are often portrayed in a selfish, materialistic, irresponsible light, I know we have more common sense than to actually fight over a pair of shoes that cost about 1/10 the price you’re paying to create. Ours is an image pulled up for a variety of negative pictures, whether exception or rule, and we have the power to change how others see us. We have to start being our own PR agents—the sooner we see OURSELVES in a better light, the sooner we can work for our collective common good and have others see us in that better light, as well.