W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture: Dr. Toyin Falola

W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture: Dr. Toyin Falola


(people chattering) – Good evening! (chuckles) My name is Gloria Chuku, Chair of Africana Studies. I am delighted to welcome
all of our guests, UMBC students, staff, faculty and senior administration, including President
Hrabowski and Dean Casper. Honored to have all of you here. This year marks the 52nd anniversary of the Immigration and
Naturalization Act of 1965, and since the inception
of the United States, immigrants and their communities have remained the pillars that hold this country. We can not underestimate the strength of immigrants
from African continent. And so today, we’ll be hearing a tiny
piece of that strength that has helped to shape the United States as it is today. I hope you are as excited as I am. Well, before we proceed with the program, I have a few important
announcements to make. Every February, Africana
Studies Department takes UMBC students to a four-day
summit in Washington, DC. There, those students serve as diplomats, representing different African countries. They have the opportunity to be briefed by ambassadors from
different African countries, and, of course, they have the opportunity to learn about contemporary issues of interest to Africa
and African countries. They’ll also have the
opportunity to socialize and expand their networks. Connecting with faculty and students from institutions of higher
learning in North America, South Korea, Africa, and Europe. So, if you’re interested, how many of you are UMBC students? Okay, if you’re interested in diplomacy and in learning about
contemporary issues facing Africa and having opportunities to
interact with ambassadors, please, there is a sign up table outside. Before you leave, write your name and leave your contact
information, your email. We’ve started preparing. The summit is on February
22nd through 25th, next year. One other important announcement
I want to share with you is that on March 26th, Africana
Studies will be hosting its second annual Taste of Africa. Next year we’ll be featuring Africana Studies Alumni Round Table. If you love African food, (audience chuckles) and enjoy African music, it is an opportunity to come out and enjoy with us. Finally, Africana Studies
will be hosting a conference on May 8th through 9th, 2018. The theme of the conference is on women and the Nigeria-Biafra War, reframing gender and conflict in Africa. Please, you are encouraged;
I have some flyers that I will leave out there, do pick one, and UMBC faculty, staff, and
students are free to sign. You have the information; a
link, you click, you register. And you will be treated,
there will be a gala night on the last day, of
African music and dance. So, you’re welcome. Now it is my honor, pleasure, to welcome President Hrabowski to make some few remarks. (audience applauds) – Join me in giving Professor
Chuku a round of applause for her leadership of the department. (audience applauds) I want to begin by
welcoming our guest today, Professor Falola, who brings both a kind of fascinating scholarship, and, I would say, a remarkable humility, given all that he’s achieved. We are looking forward to
listening to you today. I thought I would begin
by giving you my sense of the significance of this department and of the future of those who are touched by this department. Are there some alumni in the room still? If there’s some alumni
in the room stand up, let me see the alumni, give
them a round of applause, would you please? (audience applauds)
Those who are here. And they’re representing
fine professionals. What you may not know
is that we have students from this department who
have gone on to be judges, and lawyers, and social
workers, and scholars, humanists, teachers, a range of areas, and the other one that few people may know is that we’ve had people
out of this department to get into diplomacy. Because the advantage we have at UMBC is you are learning
how to work with people from almost 100 countries. And you get a sense, you’re dealing with different languages,
different cultures, and many of you go back
and forth, the countries. If you have either a
parent from another country or you are yourself from another country, stand up right now. Let me see how many are in the room? Stand up. Of any race, of any nation, stand up. (audience chuckles) Give them a round of applause. (audience applauds) I might have better if I just said if you didn’t come from another
country, you stand up. Interestingly, some of you
had the First-Year Experience and you saw when we had the convocation that about 45% of our new
students have that international. At a time when our country is
struggling to show the world who it is, at a time when
people at so many levels are questioning the significance
of the American Dream of pulling people from all over the world, and at a time when we are needing people to stand up and say, “We
believe in our children, “wherever they are from,” the work of all the UMBC
departments that focus on culture, from Africana Studies to all the others, language and culture, the English, all of those that are doing it, that work is more important than ever, because you will be call on
to speak the truth to power in different ways, as I have to when I’m in Washington right now, and sometimes it is not popular, but it’s the right thing to do. Du Bois was the first African-American to earn a PhD at Harvard;
the first PhD in the country was Bouchet at Yale. Bouchet, in 1876, became the first Black, and he earned a PhD in physics. Could not find a job, died poor. They finally put
something up, a headstone; they finally gave him a
grave there in recent years. But unlike Bouchet, Du
Bois had the opportunity to go all over the world, was born the year of my
beloved Hampton, in 1868. Died, rather, in 1963, the year I went to jail with Dr. King. I’ve always related to Du Bois. I’ve always had ways
of thinking about him. I always was struggling with that notion of the Talented Tenth, when people said it was an awful idea. I don’t think it’s an awful idea, you are the Talented
Tenth; there is no limit to the numbers who can
be, it is metaphorical. It is the idea of the
best, it is the best. And this is what I want
the women in the room to hear me saying: if you don’t know the name
Shirley Graham Du Bois, I want you to Google that name. She was the second wife
of W. E. B. Du Bois, an Oberlin graduate who actually
taught at Morgan a while, who did some work at
Howard, but most important, she, after Oberlin, went to the Sorbonne, became a musicologist, a singer, and most important, quite frankly, she became somebody heavily
involved in Pan-Africanism, and that’s why I think about her today, as our scholar is here. If you go and look ,you’ll
see she was a biographer for Paul Robeson, for Frederick Douglass, but even more important,
she went with Mr. Du Bois, Dr. Du Bois, to Ghana, and
when they had to leave there, when Nkrumah was no longer
in power, she moved around, but she lived in Egypt. And the reason I’m telling you this story, and I should have been
telling it for years, is that my girlfriend at
the time, now my wife, and I were studying in Egypt, and Mrs. Du Bois heard
that two American Negroes were studying at the American University. She summoned in the most gracious of way, with this lovely invitation of the kind we had never seen before, for tea. We ended up spending six
or seven hours that day, and then from then on, she
became this amazing heroine to us; she was somebody
who was so sophisticated. She spoke French, (speaks in French). And this is what I want to
leave you with, she said this. This was in 1969, right
after the death of Dr. King. She said, “If there would be one wish “for the American Negro, “it would be that they would be taught “to understand the important connection “to their African brothers and sisters,” that our Blacks in this
country had not been taught to appreciate how we are out of that soil, of that blood, and that somehow,
until we came to appreciate the significance of the African diaspora, we as a young group here could never be who we could possibly be. So as we listen to this scholar today, I don’t want you just to
think about W. E. B. Du Bois, I want you to think about
that brilliant Black woman who represents the best of our kind. This is at a time when
the Nigerian population, by the way, in this country,
if you don’t know it, is the best educated of all those coming from all over the world. Give that group a round of applause. I want you to hear that.
(audience applauds) Literally, 61%. If the country is at
about 30, 61% of Nigerians over 25 in this country
have graduated from college. So we can be inspired, for
those of you from this country, by what we see from others. And remember this, there
are 30 African countries represented at UMBC. More people from Sierra
Leone than you know, more from Cameroon than you know; they’re around, look around
and you will find them. Welcome this evening and welcome to you. Thank you. (audience applauds) – Good evening, everyone. – [Audience Members] Good evening. – We will be performing for
you, the Jubilee Singers of the music department. I’m counselor Janice Jackson. We will be singing a version of Lift Every Voice by Roland Carter, arranged by Roland Carter. We will be accompanied by a
student, Ellington Carrington, and, enjoy. We usually stand for this, but I’m going to give you a cue to stand. After we do the acapella
section, then we’ll stand and you’ll do the last
verse with us, okay? Hope you all remember. (audience chuckles) (“Lift Every Voice And Sing”) ♪ Lift every voice and sing ♪ ♪ Lift every voice and sing ♪ ♪ ‘Til earth and heaven ring ♪ ♪ Ring with the harmonies of Liberty ♪ ♪ Lift every voice and sing ♪ ♪ A song ♪
♪ Let our rejoicing rise ♪ ♪ High as the listening skies ♪ ♪ Let it resound loud as the roaring sea ♪ ♪ Lift every voice and sing ♪ ♪ Sing a song ♪ ♪ Full of the faith that the
dark past has taught us ♪ ♪ Sing a song ♪ ♪ Full of the hope that the
present has brought us ♪ ♪ Facing the rising sun ♪ ♪ Of our new day begun ♪ ♪ Let us march on, let us march on ♪ ♪ ‘Til victory is won ♪ ♪ Stony the road we trod,
bitter the chastening rod ♪ ♪ Felt in the days when
hope unborn had died ♪ ♪ Yet with a steady beat,
have not our weary feet ♪ ♪ Come to the place for
which our fathers sighed ♪ ♪ We have come, o we have come over ♪ ♪ A way that with tears has been watered ♪ ♪ O we have come, treading our path ♪ ♪ Through the blood of the slaughtered ♪ ♪ Out from the gloomy past,
’til now we stand at last ♪ ♪ Where the white gleam of
our bright star is cast ♪ ♪ God of our weary years ♪ ♪ God of our silent tears ♪ ♪ Thou Who hast brought
us thus far on the way ♪ ♪ Thou Who hast by Thy might ♪ ♪ Led us into the light ♪ ♪ Keep us forever in the path, we pray ♪ ♪ Lest our feet stray from the places ♪ ♪ Of God where we met Thee ♪ ♪ Lest our hearts, drunk
with the wine of the world ♪ ♪ We forget Thee ♪ ♪ Shadowed beneath Thy hand ♪ ♪ May we forever stand ♪ ♪ True to our God ♪ ♪ True to our native land ♪ ♪ Amen ♪ (audience applauds) – [President Hrabowski]
Give them one big more round of applause, please. (audience applauds) – Thank you Jubilee Singers
for that beautiful rendition. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m honored to introduce Dr. Tamara Lewis, who graduated from UMBC in 1992 with a degree in psychology. She is an active alumna who has
served in various capacities with the university, including
member and vice president of UMBC’s Alumni Association
board of directors, and founding member of
the Chapter of Black and Latino Alumni, CBLA. Dr. Lewis is currently an
education program specialist with the Maryland State
Department of Education. As an alumna, Dr. Lewis
recently leads efforts through CBLA and her
sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Lambda Phi Chapter, to give
back to current students through the Second Generation Scholarship. Please join me in welcoming her as she introduces three of
our recipients this year. Dr. Lewis.
(audience applauds) – Good evening. – [Audience] Good evening. – It’s my pleasure to be here this evening to introduce this year’s
scholarship recipients. I had the honor of
sitting with two of them at dinner tonight and they
are outstanding students here. The Second Generation Scholarship
was established in 1987 by a group of alumnae, and has
provided financial assistance to numerous students since then. Students are selected based on level of their community service,
their academic accomplishments, their commitment to the
advancement of minorities, and their unique personal statements. This year, we are able make
three awards of $1,100 each. Our first recipient is Andrea Davis. Andrea is a senior majoring in sociology with a minor in Africana Studies. She’s participated in
community service activities, including the Multiple Sclerosis Swim, and as a volunteer at the
Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, BARCS. She is also one of the Walter J. Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars,
a program which focuses on giving students the tools to be an effective public servant. Andrea excels in academics and has made the President’s List twice, as well as the Dean’s List. She is an active student leader and she serves on the executive council of Omicron Delta Kappa, the
leadership honor society. She is a senior orientation
peer advisor, an executive aide to the Student Government
Association president, a civic engagement and leadership intern, and is the current president
of the Student Events Board. She’s been recognized with the Student Affairs Leadership Award for her many contributions to UMBC. Please join me in
congratulating Andrea Davis. (audience applauds) We have a certificate
to present to Andrea. – Thank you so much. (audience applauds) – Our next award is for Richard Elliot. Is Richard present? – [Audience Member] No. Should he come up now? – You can, okay. (audience chuckles) Richard is a senior with a
double major in American studies and political science,
and a minor in history. He has participated in
student organizations, such as being president
of UMBC’s Progressives, an organization established
to politically inform and empower the UMBC community to become more socially conscious, culturally enlightened,
and politically educated. He works hard to engage young people, particularly of color, and
to get them more involved and active in Maryland politics. Richard is involved with
the Council of Majors for both of his majors, and has
been on the President’s List of high academic achievement. As a McNair Scholar,
his researched focused on examining the nexus between language, politics, and the way the
boundaries of communities are socially constructed. In the past year, he presented his work at several conferences, and is published in the UMBC Review 2017
National Conference on Undergraduate Research Proceedings, and the European Journal
of American Studies. One of Richard’s professors describes him as an outstanding young man with exceptional intellectual curiosity, outstanding writing ability,
and analytical ability, and a strong, growing sense of
professional responsibility. Please join me in
congratulating Richard Elliot. (audience applauds) – Thank you so much. This one’s for Ayana Mitchell. – I’m sorry. You are definitely not Ayana. Here you go.
– Thank you. – Our next and final award
goes to Ayana Mitchell. Ayana is a junior
majoring in global studies with minors in Africana
studies and biology. She is a student leader and is passionate about her involvement. Ayana is a member of the
Caribbean Students Council, and during her sophomore year, served as community service chair, collaborating with the Red Cross to increase blood donations. She’s also a member of the Global Brigades environmental microfinance organization, where she participated in constructing sustainable agricultural projects for a community of farmers in Panama. She’s a member of the Black Student Union and also held the role of vice president of the Africana Council, an organization that aims to be a resource for any student interested in the diaspora and Africana culture. Ayana’s also involved
with research activities, and this past March
was awarded third place in the 2017 Engineering Researchers National Conference in STEM. One of her professors described Ayana as a budding young scholar and activist, and a serious student with
sharp critical thinking skills. Another shared that
Ayana has what it takes to overcome any adversity and challenges that an undergraduate program
at UMBC might pose to her. Please join me in
congratulating Ayana Mitchell. (audience applauds) So, we’re very proud
of these three students and we’re pleased to award
them scholarships this year. Congratulations once
again to the three of you. (audience applauds) – Good evening. It’s a pleasure to welcome our Du Bois Distinguished
Lecturer for this evening, Dr. Toyin Falola. Dr. Falola is professor of history, the Jacob and Francis Sangur Moniker Chair in the Humanities, a
University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the
University of Texas, Austin. Dr. Falola is the author of 23 books, including The Humanities in Africa: Knowledge Production Universities and the Transformation of Society; The African Diaspora: Slavery,
Modernity and Globalization; Colonialism and Violence in Nigeria; The Historical Dictionary of Nigeria; Key Events in African
History: A Reference Guide; Nationalism in African Intellectuals. Dr. Falola is also the
co-author of 25 books, the editor of 24 books, and
the co-editor of 88 books. (audience member speaks away from mic) (audience laughs) And he’s also the author of
numerous journal articles and book chapters. He’s also received many honors. Professor Falola is the recipient of seven honorary doctoral degrees, including those from the
University of Jos in Nigeria, Lincoln University,
and the City University of New York, Staten Island. And he has received several
dozens of lifetime awards, including the Distinguished
Africanist Award, the Distinguished Africana Award, the Excellent Leadership Award, the Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Amistad Award
for Academic Excellence in Historical Scholarship on Africa and the African Diaspora. Lastly, Professor Falola has also served as president of the
African Studies Association and the Nigerian Studies Association, a member of the Scholar’s Council at the Library of Congress, and
as vice president of UNESCO. He also has an international
annual conference and a book award named after him. So please join me in welcoming our very distinguished
lecturer this evening, Dr. Toyin Falola. (audience applauds) – Thank you very much. It’s an honor for me to
be here this evening. The very first time I’m on this campus. I’ve passed through the
main road many times and I’ve seen the exits, and when I was taken inside, I was stunned, astonished. I never knew that it was
such a hidden treasure here. Congratulations. The students are very polite, which is very unusual (audience laughs) in the African campuses. To the students here, I just want to plead that you use the numerous resources. I saw the Sherman Center,
I went through some places. These resources, you have to convert to tremendous advantages. There can be no professor
without students; without you, nobody would be paid, and we hope that you
will advance the project of this university, we pray that you become great, and you are able to pay
back, become generous, so that this place will
produce Nobel laureates– – [President Hrabowski] Amen. – Pulitzer winners,
(audience laughs) and so many people. I can not but thank the department, Wanda, all our great colleagues,
from the dean to faculty, they are all very nice. I had a wonderful discussion with the dean and we had a wonderful meal. Your president is very impressive. Maybe we should make him the
president of the country. (audience laughs and applauds) And I thank the head of
the Africana Department, Professor Chuku, the big crowd, post-dinner, or before dinner. I appreciate you all for coming here and I hope I don’t disappoint you, and if I do, I hope you will
know to go and drink beer. (attendees laugh) The Department of Music,
thank you very much. I was in the choir for 11 years and I once sang that very same song. Thank you very much for
the wonderful opportunity. To the three recipients
of the scholarship today, the Second Generation Scholars, you know they are setting you up. It’s a set up. (audience chuckles) They want you to become greater. They want you to become greater. So this is just a foundation of greatness. May you receive additional
scholarships and awards, and may your future be greater than those who have given you the award. You say amen. – [Audience] Amen. (audience member laughs) Well. When I was invited, originally, I actually wanted to talk about Du Bois, the great man, and hopefully, I will have an opportunity
to come back for a seminar and talk about him, because I’ve also done
work on Du Bois in Ghana. But for those of you who may not know him, I just want to mention two aspects that people do not talk about, and these two aspects are revolutionary. They are grounded in the belief that he was one of the most
preeminent intellectuals of the last century of all
races, any races, no question. And what he did that was revolutionary is that he was the first to
frame the notion of Africa that we have adopted today. So, when you see books on Africa, and some of you brought
my books for me to sign, when we teach African
history, African studies, we all hold Du Bois for that framing. What do we mean? It is not Africans
themselves who named Africa. It is not Africans as we woke up and said, “We want to become Africa.” There was European labeling,
Leo Frobenius Africanus, and then the Bilad as-Sudan, in which the Arabs labeled Africa, cutting off North Africa away from it. It was Du Bois, preeminently,
who fused North Africa with the rest of Africa, and stamped it with the label of Africa, the very first notion that
we have come to adopt. It was a struggle, but bear in
mind, you are so close to DC, I have participated in State Department; Washington, DC does not use
Du Bois’ framing of Africa. What do they do? What they do is to take… First of all, remove Egypt from Africa. It has relocated. They lump it to Middle
East, and if you look at programs in American universities, it is North Africa and the Middle East. They disconnect the Middle East, sorry, they disconnect North
Africa from the rest of Africa. So what is now left in Africa is to return to the pre-Du
Bois framing of Africa, and they use the code sub-Saharan Africa. That code means Blackness. In other words, the very fight
that Du Bois struggled to do, we continue to say, “It is not so. “It is not so.” When we put the five volumes
of African History together, it was one of the very first times in introducing these
books to college students that we went back to put
North Africa back into it. For many of you who do African history, it’s very, very rare, unless
your professors are conscious of it, for them to include
North Africa into it. Each time we do this, we
dishonor the legacy and memory of this great scholar. In Africa and The World, one
of the best books ever written, he was the very first to frame the insertion of Africa
into world history, and together with some people before him, to begin to characterize the legacy in terms of civilization, contributions, and was able to energize a
new generation of thinkers to adopt a larger framework,
a pan-Africanist framework. Unfortunately, that dream collapsed. He moved to Ghana. By 1963 that he died, two
theoreticians were prophetic, Fanon and Du Bois. Fanon was able to anticipate that the way Africans
were doing ethnicity, the way they were doing identity, Fanon warned them that you
are going to get into trouble. Fanon said, “Do a nationalist
consciousness that is bigger, “the way Du Bois was framing it.” That followed that approach, the history of the continent
would have been very different. Extremely different. Fanon saw, like Du Bois,
the rising generation of new African leaders. The pan-Africanist
dream of Du Bois’ vision was sabotaged by the very leadership that he participated in creating, such that when somebody
like me began to say Africa needs to have a
university named after him; there’s no university named after Du Bois. It’s a big betrayal, and this betrayal, we hope that another
generation will correct. We thank you, Du Bois, and
we thank the university for accepting the name of Du
Bois to name this lecture. Thank you very much.
(hands clapping) (audience applauds) I come to this lecture
from various dimensions, and like all lectures and projects, there’s always a history to it, and this history will flesh
out in various dimensions. First dimension: when the United States
got rid of Boutros-Ghali, many of you are too young to remember him. Secretary-General of United
Nations, an Egyptian. He served one term. But he got into trouble in terms of his politics
of the Middle East, politics of the White
House; they got rid of him. So he got tired and got bored, and he was looking for a
project to occupy his time. He sold the idea to UNESCO:
“Why don’t we create “an Afro-Arab summit? “Why don’t we create an Afro-Arab summit? “And this Afro-Arab summit will be dealing “with the issues of migrations.” It was accepted, Mubarak accepted it, appointed his wife as a patron, and we set up a commission, and I became a member, and
we meet in Cairo every year. To discuss what? To make the argument that
if you look at the area around Egypt, the Palestinians,
two million people, move. They move. Where to? Sometimes they move to
oil-rich Arab countries, many Palestinians will move to Libya where they became domestics. So that’s one dimension. The second dimension
is that it is not true, by the time this Afro-Arab
summit was set up, that many Africans were
actually moving to the West. That is not correct. Many Africans were actually
moving within Africa, moving westwards to Ghana, to Gambia. By the 1990s, Nigerian
immigrants, Nigerian ties, had displaced two countries becoming the second pre-eminent
trading partner of Ghana. After 1994, when apartheid collapsed, many people began to move to South Africa, always resembling the Bantu movement that populated that
part of Southern Africa. Many moved from Zimbabwe, began to move, and we began to say,
“How best can we benefit “from this internal movement?” Because people like Du
Bois have been praying for that moment, only that the
way they were praying for it was to build continental unity and to facilitate the argument
that there is no point for Africa to have 52, 53 countries. Bear in mind, this argument had been there in the 19th century. A young man, living in
New York, by the name of Marcus Garvey, had
suggested the creation of one country, United States of Africa. In fact, he drew up a constitution and made himself the president of Africa. (audience chuckles) He came up with a uniform;
there was a constitution. And in the spirit of Du Bois, they did not like those boundaries, so we are very happy about
all this various immigration. Then forces began to come to propel the broadening
of these movements. The broadening of these movements, which acquired force in the 1980s, I have a lecture but I don’t like to read, I like to talk from my head, began to produce new consequences that Africans now began
to move in the 1980s, and they began to move
not just within Africa, and they continue to do
that, but they now began to move globally. In moving globally, the forces
that created that movement was not taken in Africa. The forces that created the
contemporary African diaspora in large numbers was
created in Washington, DC by Bretton Woods institutions: the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the
Paris Club, and lenders. What did they do? In the ’70s, when a country like Nigeria had substantial foreign reserve, they said, “Come and take a loan.” They went to so many countries, Latin America, Africa, and
said, “Come and take a loan. “You can use this loan “to facilitate your development projects.” Many people took loans, and
then they began to ask them to pay back by the ’80s and ’90s. When they were asking them to pay back, the interest for some of these countries became bigger than
their national revenues. It became bigger. They could not pay back. And as they could not pay back, the banks advised the
Bretton Woods institutions that they should create what was called a structural adjustment program. That structural adjustment program became one of the worst
economic calamities of the last century, and
it set the foundation of this global migration,
not just in Africa, in Latin America and the Caribbean, that as economic forces devastated them, as their economies
declined, they now began to make arguments. “Devalue your currency.” They said, “Devalue your currency.” They did that. When I came to this
country for the first time, sponsored by Operation Crossroads Africa, one naira was stronger than one dollar. Today, one dollar is 363 naira. So they said, “Do you need universities?” Commercialized universities. And as the exchange rate collapsed, as patriot scholars began to leave, books became difficult to
get, jobs became difficult, my salary, by the ’80s, by
the time I bought a tire for my Volkswagen, there
would be nothing left. Those economies were devastated. Africans did not do that which
is unusual in world history, that when you devastate
economies, what will people do? They begin with internal options. The men will take to crime, the women will take to prostitution. As they expand those options,
and those expansions began to close, they begin to
look for spots in the world where they can carry those things to. If old societies open to them, they use their skills professionally. If the old societies don’t open to them, they do that which they know best, and by the 1990s, you begin
to have enormous migrations of Africans in various places, within, without. Propelled by these declining economies, they have forced many people to leave, and I will provide the
figures momentarily. As people begin to leave,
more and more begin to leave and others join them, so that by the time we
enter the new millennium, you begin to find large
numbers of Africans that moved, with figures approaching,
when you cumulate them, to those who were forced by
the Atlantic slave trade. So that the numbers of
Africans that have moved from the ’80s to now, internally, outside, assumed a staggering
figure of over 10 million. That’s more than a country that moved. But in that movement,
professionals also moved. By 2010, 2015, 50% of
doctors trained in Ghana had left Ghana. When we break these things
down into disciplines, which I can do, but no
time; take literature. Achebe left, Chiwenga left, Ngugi left, Nuruddin Farah left. So, preeminent intellectuals left. By 1988, a person like me also joined and others left. Now came a different set. ’70s, ’60s, if you send
someone from Kenya and Nigeria to get a PhD in the University
of London or Columbia, that person you would find on Monday. By Tuesday, you won’t find him. Where is he? He will be back in Africa. He will be back in Africa. There was no point. The jobs were good; actually, the jobs were
better than in the West, because it came with a very nice house, you are going to have domestic help, you may end up with a driver, you are going to be promoted very quickly, you are going to do well, and as these economies were devastated, we began to have clusters of population to the extent that
today, there is no place you are not going to find Africans, and there is no place,
from Iceland, Alaska, people coming from hot temperatures able to live in Alaska. You know that is something else. (audience chuckles) Now, as we now find them
in these various places, the best way to now understand it is to say that that which we
call the African diaspora, in the literature, it is homogenized, it is characterized in the same way,
sometimes with variations, but in doing that, a number
of mistakes have been made. Let me quickly correct that
mistake as part of that lecture. You can identify three waves in this movement of Blacks. The first one, which has given name to
departments, to identity, the enforced migration
associated with slavery, from the early modern
economy to the 19th century, producing the great
African-American population, producing a great identity. For those of us who
study American history, the trajectory of this country was actually to become a
dominantly Black population. The forces that made it otherwise is a subject for another day. That identity is very well known. It made substantial
contributions to this society, in terms of building the
foundation of this economy, in terms of expanding capitalism, in terms of infusing it
with creative elements from blues music, to jazz, to limitless creativity. Even up until today, in rap music, in gangsta music, in
everything you can mention. That contribution is very solid,
even if it is unrecognized. We study that in Black-studies programs and in the representation. But as we study that, we
tend to erase a second wave. We have not been writing
about that second wave. We call it the wave of colonization. The first wave, you can say Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson, and the
ancestors, and things like that. In the second wave of colonization, you would think that it’s the first wave that would produce the
first Black president. That was not the wave that
produced the president. The wave that produced the
second president, Barack Obama, was not the diaspora of slavery. It was the diaspora of colonization. People tend to miss that point. During the campaign against
Mrs. Hillary Clinton, remember, she was trying to smuggle into the conversation how Black was Barack Obama? It was a very clever device, and how Black was he was
not about his biracialism, it is about that connection
to the diaspora of slavery. What happened is a phenomenon that has
also not been studied. After 1885, European powers colonized Africa, partitioned it into various countries. As it governed the continent, creating monocrop economies, foundations of a fraudulent
colonial modernity, foundations of a disastrous
political modernity, foundations of a fraudulent
educational system, Africa has begun to understand them, and in trying to understand them, they were looking for avenues of escape. Where will they go to? In looking for avenues of escape in relation to higher education,
the greatest opportunity came for the United States of America. And within the United States of America, the greatest opportunity came from historically Black colleges. We have not been grateful enough to them. Some of us have been saying
that African countries should pay back Fisk, Livingston, Tuskegee, Lincoln; they contributed; Howard,
the Mecca, the Mecca. (chuckles) They call it the Mecca. They contributed tremendously, tremendously, to fulfilling the desire that European governments denied Africans. And I can give you three examples. Banda, president. Azikiwe went to Lincoln, and from there, as a young man, became persuaded by Padmore and Du Bois, developed strong notions
of pan-Africanism, became the first president of Ghana. Azikiwe went to Lincoln, became
one of the best oraticians of liberation, wrote many books, became a preeminent journalist, became the first president of Nigeria. We cannot thank these historically
Black colleges enough, and when Lincoln gave me
an honorary doctorate, part of what I said is, it is not just the United States that should empower those universities. African governments owe
them a responsibility. Do they have the resources? Yes, they do. But do they have the
political correctness? No, they don’t. And you and I have to plead that this kind of political correctness of paying back must be done. But it is in that wave that
this Kenyan came to the US, who became Obama’s father. That wave of colonization, why you did not notice it is because when African
countries became independent, opportunities opened up
tremendously in Africa and they went back to Africa. They went back. They went back. And then, as African countries established their own universities, as opportunities opened
up, there was no need for that expansion to come, but other forces began to
retain this connection. 1957, Sputnik. Civil rights. The rise of Malcolm X. The Cold War. All these began to pressure US government to say that they needed to have
the knowledge about Africa. They began to encourage,
starting at first, American campuses to
create Africa programs, Black radicalism of the civil rights called for the establishment
of Black studies programs. You know many people lost
their lives in that process, violence on campuses, and as that space is opened up, African students began to come, but even those people
began to go back home. The wave that came that
did no go back home are the waves created by the
Bretton Woods institutions: the wave of myself, the wave of the people that we now produce who don’t go back home,
and that is the wave that I am studying now, and in studying this
wave, I have to say that we are just trying to accumulate the data, we are trying to accumulate the data because it is just emerging, and a professor in this campus,
who is here this evening, has added to the literature by writing about the Igbo diaspora. In doing this wave, in studying this wave, it is so new that many of what we know
are grounded in opinions, and it is my study, a few
other studies that are saying we cannot study millions
of people through opinions, and that we have to begin
to look for concrete data. What concrete data do we have now? We have the data by the federal government, the census. It’s good, but it’s not reliable because you already know, not just African immigrants, immigrants in general don’t
want to have anything to do with Customs, with
Immigration, with police, with Internal Revenue Service. So any figures that
those agencies give you, they are always very limited. You cannot be an immigrant in Houston and you see people coming to your house to count the census, you
are going to run away from the backyard. Then we have samples that we collect in several places, like university campus. The president was saying
there’s a number of people from various countries
on university campuses. That data is very good. I’m going to get into trouble
by offending the president. (audience titters) Universities engage in triple counting because of the way they
do their statistics. When it favors universities,
they characterize everybody as international students. When it favors them,
they look for Blackness, they count all of them. When it favors them, they
desegregate that Blackness and locate them in different countries. So when we study data from campuses, we always also have to ask many questions. But those questions
are further complicated by how the students
themselves count themselves, because they do triple counting,
they do double counting. I hold three passports. When you ask me, it is the person that is asking me that shapes the answer that I give. One day I’m a Nigerian,
(audience chuckles) the next day I’m an African, the third time when I do work for UNESCO or United Nations, I’m
a diplomat. (chuckles) So, immigrants count themselves that way. An American citizen can
tell you he’s a Nigerian. In Nigeria, they don’t know
that he’s a Nigerian. (chuckles) In America, because of
scholarship, student loan, job opportunities, he’s
no longer a Nigerian. He becomes an American. So we have a lot of double counting, and it’s a complication
for this kind of research. It’s so complicated that all the figures, we question them, and
collecting them is so difficult. So what did I do? What I did is, spending a lot of money, I began to do what is call snowballing. Snowballing is a form of research. It’s difficult to test it with a baseline, we don’t do it with a baseline. We just say, “Okay, I
can snowball all of you “with a question: “‘Do you like rice?'” I can snowball this
room, and then I can say there are 2,000 people
here, 500 of you like rice, I work in percentages; that’s
what we call snowballing. So I began to do very time-consuming, expensive snowballing research. Houston, Dallas, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Minnesota, and I’ve amassed
enormous amount of data that others have to use for me, because I may not have the long life to use all the data. In doing this, part of
what we are trying to do is to say that we now have an opportunity, a university like yours can do that, to create a new sub-field. It’s a very complicated argument, that we study immigration, yes. In studying immigration, the larger literature is dominated not by this wave that I’m studying. We now have the opportunity
to create what we call a new African diaspora. Contemporary African immigrants, and begin to teach it, and until we begin to teach it, until we begin to map it out in the academy, we are
not going to be able to keep expanding the field. Part of what I’m doing
with this research is that we should convert it into
a sub-field of its own and begin to create specializations in it, begin to award PhDs in it, and begin to tell departments as yours to begin to mount courses in it so that we have a new generation
of students and scholars who will advance this study forward and connect it to the
old African diaspora, connect it to immigration studies, and begin to look for
possibilities that it can arise. Second, that we can begin
to do what we have done in the African Union. The African Union has
redefined Africa itself. In the textbooks, including
the one that I wrote, we break down Africa into North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Southern Africa. The African Union has said
it is now going to have a sixth region. It is now formalized, it is now in the African Union document, which would be the African diaspora. There are returning back
to their day of Du Bois, that we should not
separate Africans in Africa from Africans outside of Africa, that we should merge it, create what is called a sixth region, and in that sixth region, we
return to the older arguments that people have made over and over again, that in developing Africa, we have to tap into the talents of
people outside of Africa. Have other people done it? Yes. And the preeminent
example that people cite over and over again is
the state of Israel, and in recognizing that
those of us who are here constitute the sixth region, we begin to rethink African development. Now we’ve created, say in
a country like Nigeria, the African Diaspora Fund. We are pressuring African governments and Ghana, for instance,
is mapping out how to do it that people here should be able to vote. We are saying that what is wrong with somebody leaving this college, who is from Kenya, to have the ambition that he wants to become
the president of Kenya? We are now making that argument that the education that you receive here should be able to be part
of the development challenge that will move us forward. So, the methodology for this study, as I’ve hinted, is complicated, and until we begin to… First of all, we have
to create methodologies that will acquire respect. We have to create the protocols
that will acquire respect, we are doing that now, and we have to begin to validate it. Validation is a very difficult process. For those of you who are old enough, you will see how in the ’60s and ’70s, the validation of Black
scholarship was very difficult. You see the challenges that
people like Molefi Asante faced, the attack on Black journals,
that they are not scholarship, the use of so-called objective criteria to degrade scholarship. So we have to validate this scholarship, and we cannot validate it
until we take it seriously, work out a methodology to study
it, work out it’s protocol, and begin to validate it, and after that, to say,
“This is how to do it,” and have a mountain
seminars on how to do it. As to whether this can be justified, you justify a sub-field in various ways. Significance, which is
very easy to establish, the number is there to establish it. The number of African intellectuals, African scholars, African
professionals, is so high that there is hardly a
university, any major university in the West, that you are
not going to find an African, and there’s a lot of mobility. There’s a lot of traffic,
there’s a lot of fluidity in this process, and in mapping
out some of the research that I’ve started to do, we
have been collecting ideas about self-identification. We’ve been saying, how do we
know children who were born in Africa, children who
were born in the US, what do they call themselves,
and we have been mapping out in 10 cities, how to do a
process of self-identification, how to work out a methodology that will let us arrive at
issues of self-identification, how to do double counting,
how to do hybridity, multiple identities, and things like that, and the complication of doing all this. When we combine all the statistics, the ones provided by the
American census, sample datas, and a number of things, we begin to map out a variety of characteristics, but we still face one big dilemma, which is different from
that of double counting. It is very difficult in any country to know the number of
undocumented immigrants. In the last campaign, some
people put it at 20 million. It’s an estimate, we can never know. It is so difficult, so complicated, that that will always skew the number. But when we combine all this,
the number in 2012 for Africa, that we can count, one two three four, was 1.6 million. Which began to increase, and we know now where people came from, that in 1960, US Census put African figures at 35,000, the ones they could count: students, those who came for jobs. 1970, the ones they could count, 80,000. 207, 1.4 million, and in the 1970s and
’80s, the number exploded. And why did it explode? It exploded for the following reasons. Africans began to realize that going to Europe was problematic. People from French-speaking,
Portuguese-speaking, who used to go to Europe,
began to come to the US. So if you go to New York
today, you’re going to find so many Senegalese, Senegalese who would have gone
to Europe in previous years. Second, you have the rising
number of refugees in the 1980s, and in the 1980s, you had
people from Liberia, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan who
joined, cumulatively. What we now realize, by last year, is that the
population of Africans double every 10 years, and that by 2022, a minimum of over three million
people will be from Africa. That’s official; we do not know the ones that we cannot count. Not only do we know that, we
know where people come from, that the greater percentage
come from Western Africa, followed by Eastern Africa,
17% from Northern Africa, and Southern Africa, 5%, and we know the largest-born populations
are from Nigeria, from Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia,
Egypt, South Africa. Of these seven, the four
largest were Nigerians, we know their numbers. But we are also fortunate,
we know the clusters, and by clusters, we know
where they concentrate, and if you ask me
questions, we can explain. This concentration: Maryland, DC, Virginia, Massachusetts, New
York, California, and Texas; and the cities of choice: Washington, DC, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, New York, Atlanta. All these are the highly urbanized places, and as the president told
you, we are also able to track using census sample datas,
a number of characteristics and in tracking one of those
characteristics, we are able to know issues around education,
issues around occupation, and issues around some other dimensions. Foreign-born population, second-generation, established population, they
have always been problematic in immigrant-population studies. Some of these, we have
to map out more carefully to leave areas of opinion. So, new studies have been
imagined, in terms of how a few scholars are studying
this representation. We are beginning to have
professional associations. We now can approach the
African Medical Association, Nigerian Pharmacy Associations, we now have insertion into the academy, we can now approach this
subject from churches, as churches are segregated; you can now study African
churches as a community, like Redeemers’ Church of Christ, which we know dominantly
are populated by immigrants, and we are beginning to also
have studies in that direction, and we are also beginning to have specific studies, in terms of traders, in terms of restaurants, in terms of specific
occupations like nursing, and as we are able to cumulate all those, we will be able to answer more questions, construct new ideas,
understand diaspora mobilities, and understand issues of label. As this field develops, we are
beginning to accumulate data in 10 areas, and in these 10 areas, we have issues around migrations, we are beginning to understand
adjustments to old societies and the politics of insertion. It is very, very difficult to understand the politics of insertion because it is difficult
to tease out the evidence. We are able to identify a
small category of exiles, we are able to compile a list of ethnic and national associations where
the government forces them to register, because
they are raising money. We are able, now, to understand
specific immigrant religion, we know there are now
African witches in the US, (audience murmurs) because the notions of
witchcraft have spread here. We are able to identify the variant of African immigrant Islam,
as they disconnect themselves from Pakistani Islam, and
we are able to also begin to understand close ties
of indigenous religion. These close ties of indigenous religions have been there in the
African-American community. Remember, New Orleans, voodoo. Remember, Miami, santeria. Remember, South Carolina,
Oyotunji Village. So these close ties had emerged, and we are very, very fortunate that Africans are sending diviners and indigenous priests. I know the babalawo in DC, I’ve interviewed them. My former vice chancellor, when I was at the university of Ife, by
the name of Wande Abimbola, has his own divination school in Atlanta. As we map out these divination schools, somebody can now do a PhD on
African immigrant diviners in the US. For those of you who
are looking for choices about women to marry, men to marry, I can make recommendations to you to diviners that will give you
the best advice. (chuckles) We now begin to have occupations, you now can do a PhD on African scholars in American universities. We can do that. We can do African cultural spaces. We can do them in terms of consumption, in terms of symbolism, but more so in terms of how they cluster. In Atlanta, in Houston,
Bissonnet is all African stores, and we are now able to
map where people live: Houston, Dallas; we now map
out what we call Little Lagos. That’s what we call them. They are Little Lagos, in
which all Nigerians live in the same neighborhood,
and as they do that, it facilitates our studies. We are now able, thanks to the Internet, to understand Internet nations. These are very aggressive, very dynamic, and those Internet
nations, they’ve enabled us to create a large intellectual industry. I, too, I set up one, and there are members
here, which is called USA Africa Dialogue, comprising
African intellectuals, serious intellectual
debates, serious arguments, a lot of fight, and two books
have been written on the site that are established,
and in establishing it, I have over 10,000 subscribers,
and if you post something, it reaches over one million people. That is enormous amount of
data that is helping us. Then we have issues around
cultural brokerage and couriers. In this cultural brokerage and couriers, a new set of arguments have arisen. What do we call these people? It has been a struggle to label them, and here, I’m going to get into trouble. In the ’50s and ’60s, this problem arose, and some people in the
literature labeled them as Black. But here is the problematic,
and I alluded to it earlier on. In Nigeria, nobody will
call me an African. Why would you call me an African? What will be your reason? That’s not a label. You use an ethnic label. You can say, “He’s an Igbo person.” And in Nigeria, unless I go
to Ghana or Sierra Leone, it is only when people
are fighting sometimes that they will call you a
Nigerian, they use a label. The first time they called
me an African was in England, and I looked at myself,
I couldn’t even quickly process it, (chuckling) because nobody would call
me an African in Lagos. It’s only in South Africa that people will call you an African, which is a code to mean you are Black. So, we now begin to say,
“What do we label this?” The problem is how identities form. Ali Mazrui suggested we begin to call them American Africans, instead
of African-Americans. And on some campuses, you are
going to see some students wearing t-shirts, “Nigerian-American.” So that’s one problematic, that the label, we still do not know this issue of label arising from how new
identities have been formed. That’s one complication. The other complication, we interrogate the issues of the homeland. Remember the Back To Africa movement. The big arguments between
Frederick Douglass and Delany about whether African-Americans
should go back to Africa, especially with the failure
of the Reconstruction following the American Civil War, and Frederick Douglass,
using his intellectual power, made the argument that
African-Americans are citizens, they should not go back to Africa. He won the argument. Delany wrote his book, which
I republished, reintroduced, saying African-Americans should go back. Some did go; American
Colonization Society encouraged their going, and things like that. Subsequently, over time,
that argument was resolved. In the case of contemporary
African immigrants, the debates that the
African-Americans had in the 1860s, they are just having it now. Where should you retire to? If you die, where should you be buried? When they do that, we are searching for the appropriate label to use, and the label that people use is to call them transnationalists. Transnationalists. Transnationalism is a concept
of an ambiguous homeland. This year alone, I’ve been
to Nigeria seven times. I am leaving for Nigeria December 1st to give a convocation lecture. I’m going back first week in January. I’m going back last week in January. If you do that, the question now becomes how do we define you,
and what is your home? In a concept of transnationalism, when you have multiple homes and when you double count homes, they are so difficult for us
in terms of studying identity and in terms of how to
understand your statements when you make them, it
complicates this research, because sometimes, what you tell us will depend on when you wake up. That complication is there, and there is another complication which has cost a lot of money. In immigration studies, it has a template, “Why did you leave your country?” They will mention politics. That template is standard. “Why do you leave your country?” Economics; that template is standard. When we did snowballing samples, we were surprised that 3% in our pool did not conform to anything
in immigration studies. They did not leave Africa
because they are poor, they did not leave Africa
because they are exiles. As we begin to open up this conversation, the entire basis of
immigration studies collapsed. It collapsed. Immigration studies always assume that it is poor people who travel. That, it’s an opinion that
has no validity in data. When we begin to map out
the African dimension of this topic, it is actually
people with income who travel. And then we went back to Central Africa, we went back to West Africa,
to realize that the students who are here who are my campus, are not what the data you
find in immigration studies, that that, leaving their
countries, is induced by poverty. Some of them are induced because they have resources to travel. So we have that problematic,
and we still do not know how to fully analyze it, because it goes against the
literature on the ground, that if you see Nigerians,
they are poor people. I went back to this great theoretician, a sociologist, French sociologist who studied habitus. It’s a very fascinating
argument, and I’m testing it, in which he begins to link behavior to clusters in the population,
by occupations, by ethnicity, by wealth, and how they
act out their behavior. Peter made the argument that
once you form that cluster in relation to habitus,
values begin to form in ways in which it shapes human behavior, and I’m beginning to test that, that as the African elite
try to reproduce themselves, that part of that reproduction
feeds into migration. That is not what
immigration studies tell us. What immigration studies
do is to map out poverty, is to map out poverty, and
link poverty to immigration. What we are now doing is to map out wealth and link it to immigration. There is no poor person, or student of a poor person, who can be a student on my campus. It is $22,000. No scholarship. That is not poverty. (laughs) “Where did you get the $22,000 from?” And as we became shocked, this opened up a new field of research for us. Then we became shocked again. We began to analyze, in
three cities, home ownership. I analyzed home ownership
in Dallas, in Houston, and I did another study in Atlanta over a three-month period. As we analyzed home ownership
from the data supplied to us, we edit out of that data Africans who bought houses with income made from the United States. As we went to sugar land, specifically, using data, we began to realize that more than 3% bought houses not making any money from the US. They didn’t make their money here. Where did they make the money from? The money from Africa. And we flew to Portugal, where the percentage became higher, in which over 11% of Africans
with houses in Portugal did not make a single cent from Portugal. The money came from Angola. The subset of richest Portuguese now are Angolan citizens. They are from Africa. As we begin to cumulate this data, we reach an average of 3% Africans who are not driven by
political circumstances, they are not driven by poverty; they are actually driven by
the fact that they are good in any currency. That opens up another avenue of research, that when we locate Africa in development, we call it a Third World, and
what that Third World does is to homogenize poverty, forgetting that there’s a
substantial First World in Africa, so rich that it’s unbelievable. Two examples. Lagos, real estate: Victoria Island, Leke, there is no American
professor who can buy a house in Leke, maybe Henry Louis Gates. I’m not talking about a house. I’m just talking about land (chuckles), in which an imagined
elite has a lot of money. African cities, a number of major African cities are becoming the most
expensive cities in the world. Very expensive. And as they accumulate this
money from a variety of sources, they began not only to spend
this money within Africa, we now are able to track
them into real estate, and as we track them,
they begin to rupture many of what we assume
in immigration studies, and as they rupture
these, we have to begin to rethink the reasons for immigration, that while we are not discounting poverty, we have to now begin to look for data to broaden our understanding. Some issues I have to
skip because of time; I don’t want them to stop me from talking, as I’m enjoying myself, (audience chuckles) and we’re beginning to
talk about issues of a survivor and incorporation. We know that they are highly educated and we are beginning to pose
a question about success. What do they mean by success and how some of the
datas begin to shock us. Some of these datas are
beginning to shock us. Remember the president praising Nigerians and remember official statistics. Some samples have been
conducted in this city, that Africans do well. No question. But there is a disconnect
between that education and that occupation. There’s a big disconnect in which the degrees do not
correlate to occupations, and as we begin to do specific studies, 61% of disconnect, what do we mean by that? That there’s a disconnect
as high as over 50% of people who have that
education who cannot use it. Either they have a B.A. from one campus and they are cab drivers, or
they have a B.S. in chemistry and they work in hospital, so that you now begin
to see factory workers, nurses, cab drivers,
people in hair salons, store-keeping, who have degrees, but those degrees are
not necessarily connected to what they do, and as
we confront this data, we begin to ask questions about issues around satisfaction, issues around jobs, issues around emotions, and we begin, again, to be shocked that people began to complain
in terms of saying that they have not been very happy, that there are problems
with their success, and that they are having
issues around values. We have also been studying relationships between Africans and African-Americans with staggering conclusions,
and we have been studying issues around those who
want to go back home, race relations, engagement with the home, and as we do this data, we begin to expand the notion that Du Bois raised, issues
around double consciousness, we begin to interrogate it and we begin to find new conclusions. New conclusions that question
the price of migration. Look at that data there
from the snowballing sample. It is frightening. 43% in the Houston survey
say that coming to America has been a big mistake. That is very high. There is no way if you don’t
do that snowballing sample that you are going to say that. 43% is too high, because impression that we get, and the impression that the
old societies communicate, is that things are good,
things are working well, and that things are problematic for them, and as we open this data, we
begin to study issues around do they want to go back home,
how do we measure the impact, and we are talking about, “I’m sorry that I have to do all this,” and I want to close by
issues around return journey, in which we are also shocked. In this return journey, we’re now conducting studies. Those who actually went back
to Africa, we track them, and we are beginning to
track those who come back, and as we track those who come back and as we try to understand the processes, we’re beginning to also realize
that a number that go back also come back, and when
we throw gender into it, we begin to get a surprise that many African women, more than men, say that they don’t want to go back. This opens up a new research
that we are trying to explore. Let me close by saying that a
new field is about to emerge, of which many of you will contribute to, and this field will become
part of Black studies. It would solidify,
contribute to older studies, it will facilitate the understanding of African-American identity, it will restore our
understanding of pan-Africanism, but it will also create
its own new clusters that will allow us to
understand transnationalism, it will allow us to understand
a new generation of Africans, it will allow us to understand issues around transnationalism,
issues around remittances, but more fundamentally, as
we accumulate this data, those of us who are interested
in the development of Africa will begin to stand on
solid ground to make a case for how we can create a bigger link between the United States and Africa, and generate an overall economic impact. Thank you very much. (audience applauds) (Professor Chuku speaking away from mic) I stayed too long. (audience chatters) (President Hrabowski
speaking away from mic) Yes, yes. – It adds considerably to
the talent in our country. The challenge is this. You look at the Ivies, as you know, the most socially prestigious places. Disproportionately, the
Blacks who are there, even as the numbers have gone down, are from other countries,
and even if they’re not from another country, they
grow up with their parents, and we should be inspired by that, but here is the challenge. This is a campus that
has worked really hard to bring in people from other countries, but to also remember that this country has a certain responsibility to
Blacks who have forebears who were slaves in this country, and there’s a need for balance. The indelectable question
is how do we work to help both groups, to support
and empower both groups, and to help ensure that we
don’t again have growing tension between those groups as we see one group doing so much better? I just read the statistics;
3/4 of the Nigerian children in this country, 3/4 of
the fathers of Nigerians in this country have college degrees. (President Hrabowski speaks away from mic) You know that means so much for the future of those children. So what would you suggest
we can do as we work to build relationships between the groups rather than more of the
situation of haters. (laughs) – And I’m very grateful to that question, and the more than 50% that are still here, which makes me very happy. (audience laughs) For those of you who
have not been following this conversation, I want
to add another element to what the president has said, which is that we should tackle this issue not to damage interracial relations, not to produce a set of
Black-on-Black violence, which we saw in South
Africa and in other places, and for those of you who
have been following this, you remember at Harvard,
it became an issue and people said the Blacks
that Harvard are claiming are not African-Americans,
but they are Africans and people from Caribbean. You remember, when I mentioned
issues of double counting, that universities also contribute to this. Cornell, this became an issue, for those of you who follow this topic, in which Black students at Cornell wrote to the university that the people that Cornell’s
admitting, calling Blacks, are Nigerians and Ghanaians, and they are not African-Americans. The data supports that. I came from an older
pan-Africanist orientation. That is how I was trained,
that is what I believe. I am a member of the pan-Africanist coup of the ’40s and ’50s, with
a strong commitment to it. So, here is the problem, and until we solve this problem, the bigger problem that
the president raised cannot be solved: these current immigrants that I’m studying are beneficiaries of the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement, but they do not understand that history. You understand? They did not contribute to
that struggle, you understand? By the time they came,
democratic spaces had expanded for them, schools had
been created for them, the benefits of the struggles
by Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and others are
already there for them to enjoy. Very good. The damage is that they don’t
understand the notion of race and they don’t understand
the notion of that history, and during the annual
Martin Luther King march, you have to physically carry them before they will participate. We have a lot of work to
do, and that work is to say that that which you enjoy, universities
like this that you come, they are products of struggle. Even if you did not
participate in that struggle, it does not mean you
should not understand it, and until they understand it, we will be in a bigger trouble, and that trouble, which will get me into trouble
with some of my colleagues, is that that success in gaining admission and things like that, they misread it. They misread it in ways
in which superstructure has created a narrative. Superstructures always say
that poor people are poor because they are lazy. You understand? That’s the way superstructure
creates the narrative. Contemporary immigrants can buy into that. But what they miss, to go back
to the concept of habitus, is that immigrants who come to the US come with tremendous cultural capital. They come with tremendous
cultural capital. They have a notion of pride
which has not been damaged, they understand ethnicity, which is Yoruba and Igbo fighting, which is different from race and racism, and they are products of reproduction, they are embedded in projects
of mobility, you understand. That cultural capital, people have to understand it, that it makes a substantial difference from being born into a
project house in Chicago. They have to understand that. There’s a substantial difference. Issues of values, issues of
how you’ve managed capitalism, issues of transference. I tell people, it is misleading to
characterize a person like me in terms of the template of Blackness. They’ve been going to school in my family since the 19th century. My father was enormously wealthy. So, indeed, of the nine children of my father, two of them are born, I am the poorest, and I’m making a six-figure salary. You understand? So, I was able, from the 19th century, to produce three successful kids, two of whom are millionaires
today, you understand. Change the history, change the narrative in which I’m from project house, and I carry that forward, it’s difficult. So, that aspect, people like
myself and our colleagues, we have a lot of re-education
of our colleagues and of Africans, going back to the idea of the miseducation of the Negro, that we have to provide
this concrete education. We have that one to do. – [President Hrabowski] I have to say, it’s not just from the
projects of Chicago. (President Hrabowski speaks away from mic) Not that there aren’t
some advantages they have, but the cultural capital is not there. (President Hrabowski speaks away from mic) It is something that very
few people understand, I appreciate what you said. – We have to write about it and say, “Look, these Africans, you also need “a different set of education.” How we are going to do that is
something that my colleagues and I have to talk about,
but it has to be done. Second, when we go to the dimension. So that’s one side. We have to begin to say that what is it that will hold people in terms of understanding that structure, how we can begin to call
that structure into question? The climate today is not good
in terms of the White House, but it is a project that has to be done. Because if we don’t do it, ultimately, all of us are going to be set back, and we don’t want to wait for a situation in which universities
have to begin to respond to political pressure to take measures to do this. I appreciate the question a lot and I just pray that this does not become a major political issue. Yes? (audience member speaking away from mic) So, here is the bigger context. There is no question
that it’s very simple, because they’re always
embedded in bigger contexts. Bear in mind that projects like the
cooperative, similar ones, arose out of seeking
solutions to empowerment. They are liberationist projects. That’s essentially what gave back to them. And bear in mind, after
the Second World War, the rise of the Fabian Party, gestures towards communism,
attempts towards socialism, McCarthyism, and things like that, they created a different kind of thinking that produced that kind of approach. As in the bigger projects
of the left: socialism, cooperative, liberation struggles,
anti-apartheid struggles, they are all in the moment of decline. So what we have, as we speak today, is the seduction of the market. Seduction of the market. In that seduction of the market, forces of collective solidarity are being submerged into
forces of consumption, and as that seduction of
consumption of popular markets overtakes you and I, they change
the dynamics of operations. Cooperative, networking, solidarity, even if you say any statement that gestures towards combativeness, you may get into trouble. So, how do we rethink this? One suggestion is to go back to older ideas of grassroots mobilization. Societies operate on
the basis of a covenant. By covenant, it’s an unwritten rule, what is it that you and I agree to in terms of how we want
to move society forward, the changes we want to do? That covenant in some societies can even be based on the Bible, or sometimes, as in the case of Africa, based on the nation of
Ubuntu, communitarianism, communalism, and things like that. Africans created kinship just to protect the
weaker member of society, so that the stronger member
can distribute resources and elevate other people. Now, I don’t know when you were in school. When I was in school, in college, what they were doing was
to say, “Collect a degree “so that you can send
other people to school.” When Achebe wrote his trilogy, which he connects beautifully, my favorite is the Arrow of God. My favorite is not Things Fall Apart. But the middle one, No Longer At Ease, gestures to the problematic that the community sends this
man to school in England. He came back. And they posed the question, “What are you going to do for us?” The market women donate
small amounts of money, the farmers donate small amount of money. Now you go to school, you got
your B.A., what do you do? That is how I went to school. When I was in college, I was
sending my brother to school. When I left college, I was
sending other people to school. When people go to school now, the first thing they think is,
“What car am I going to buy? “When do I get my mortgage note?” And as those create the core principle of having education, it begins to damage the bigger projects
that give back to ideas that you mentioned, and today,
we go back to Africa and say, “Let’s build a bigger
pan-African solidarity,” it’s going to be a lot of work. I don’t want to sound depressing, because I’m by nature an optimist, but I also understand all this pragmatism, and the time in which we live in, and the struggles that you
and I have to keep engaging. There is always different narratives. We have to overcome the
narratives of silence and move to the narrative of
positive, collective solidarity so that the weaker members can do well. Thank you. (audience applauds)

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