This article is the first of a series that will be about the 5w’s of “black to nature”. We will discuss issues and activities that are necessary to make a transition…, “back to nature”…while being black. Because there has been so much written and media film about living in the country and growing your own food, it will be easy for you to get an idea of who, what, where, when, why and how to do it. What makes this article and those to come, different, is that it focuses additionally and specifically on “black folk” and their need to achieve greater independence by getting closer to nature.
I have spent countless hours and years experimenting with making a transition from a city person to a person living in a natural environment. Admittedly, I still don’t know a heck of a lot; however, after some forty plus years of dealing with this issue, even a rock would gather some bits of soil. The one thing that stands out in my search for a better, more healthy and natural lifestyle, is the limited amount of information that relates to the black man and woman’s quest for a holistic life. Why is this?
In the last fifty years, more and more information has been revealed citing that the black man and woman had been noticeably left out of most history books. Those of you who are old enough to remember this unfolding of truth can recall the days of blacks primarily being depicted as African savages, step-and-fetch it, or clown comics. Then came the black exploitation depiction in films and books about how the black thief, pimp or pompous fool made it big or “finally got a piece of the rock”. Slowly, various forms of media began to display blacks as “somebody”. Black book stores sprang up and assembled shelves of publications by black authors. Lots of stories of both gloom and success were released. We evolved to becoming “black and I’m proud”.
Then the black man and woman became “African American”. Black folk rushed toward integration with white society and embraced the various styles, goals and leadership now spread through modern media forms. Unfortunately, black folk did not own a large share of these media forms. News papers, radio, television, music and now internet mediums were dominated by others. Others have had the greatest hand at depicting America to blacks in America. Some say they still do. This access to knowledge of self has been a disadvantage to black folk and an advantage to “others”. Many argue that it has contributed to a state of inequality that persists even today and that the solution is more integration of black folk into the dominate “others”. Excuse me…I beg to differ.
Fast forward to “black to nature”. Thanks to some wise elders, black folk have been made aware of the great history and ancient wisdoms of many of our ancestors. We now know there was a time when black folk built great civilizations that flourished for many years.
For thousands of years, we built our own homes, cities, systems of government, grew our own foods and educated our own families. In this deep and fascinating history is a key to our sustaining, once again, the truths and ancient wisdoms that have kept us alive through thick and thin. Had we not come through a savage history of slavery, suffering and death, we might have better images of ourselves today. Not withstanding, I believe we can and must substantially accelerate the process towards self determination. We must create our own narratives of history, the present and the future. We must reconnect with nature to truly understand what and who we are. We must go “black to nature”.
The expression “Black to Nature” could be defined as a philosophy or even an attitude. This thinking can be adapted to strengthen understanding that ancient wisdoms of the original people in the planet earth hold the basis of all knowledge regardless of whom or how it has been “updated,” usurped and claimed by the more recent dominate, “other” civilization. So, what do you mean by this assertion Karim?
Look, they say Columbus and others of his race discovered this continent and then they named it after themselves, i.e. America. They said Jesus was with blue eyes and blond hair and hailed as God. We now know that these things were not true. They have a history of distorting and claiming things then putting their name on it. Now, they want to define growing food, without using their chemicals, as “organic”, when really, it’s just natural. They want to define living in harmony with the environment as “perma-culture”, when really it’s just a way of copying our ancient natural culture.
This practice of creating word definition enables the definer to lead and control focus and direction. Furthermore, with the access “others” have had to media and promotion technology, combined with the politics and financial resources gained over years of lying, stealing, slavery, education suppression and human oppression, they inherently continue to subliminally, sometimes unconsciously, strive to maintain advantage or control. They market themselves as the leaders and many of us follow without question. Look at the level of equality following them has gotten us. The dominate, “others”, continue to enjoy the privileges gained from their legacy of ill gotten advantage. It is still vastly unequal and there seems to be no hurry to make the necessary changes that would balance the playing field.
That is why we must establish a new and ancient wisdom paradigm. One in which we reclaim and preserve our leadership in the adaptation of local, national and global transformation. We do not have to reject anyone who tells the truth and is in accord with nature...but in order not to be misguided, (as we had been for hundreds of years)...we must exert leadership within our communities. Our elders tell us that we must “do for self” and that “WE are the ones we have been praying for”. The way we have lived before, and now are being transformed to live again, represents the resurgence of an ancient culture redefined holistically, for modern times. A sort of alchemetic change in lifestyle that can be refered to as going Black to Nature.
Contrary to what is portraied in the media, “others” are not the only ones transitioning to living a more natural life, changing their environment and growing their own food. Black folk, and other people of color are also making this change. Many have lived natural lives all the while but were not recognized as such in the media of “others”. Many new black folks have moved to natural environments both local and abroad. They are experimenting with ways of perfecting their relationship with the earth and with time, they will create a healing methodogy succeeding generations will be able to use. I have advocated getting out of the crowded cities and moving to environments where we can grow our own food, breathe better air and slow down the hectic pace of live that has many of our people suffering from illnesses complicated by stress.
So now that you know the problem, lets talk about the solutions many black folk are engaging in. A good place to start is greater appreciation of FOOD. Food for the body and food for thought. Both are equally relevant. When we think better, we will naturally make choices to eat better. When we eat better, the brain will function better and think better. I have always suggested eating simplistically. Eating better does not mean it must cost more or become a major deal to find it. There are many new diets popping up every day. If you spend a lot of time trying to figure out which one is right for you, “others” will have you running to and fro, changing from this to that, in order to nourish yourself. They profit off of our reluctance to provide for ourselves. Relax, eating is not nuclear physics. Sometimes “how” you eat is just as important as “what” to eat to live.
Uncomplicate things. Strive to become producers instead of just consumers. Learn to grow your own foods. Or, look around for fresh local food. Learn to prepare meals that are simple and healthy. Eat less. Embrace the idea of soberity and clear the mind. Cut back on so many suppliments and foreign items. Exercise more. Slow down, get out of the “fast lane”. Intentionally look for historic ways black folk are applying to make their lives more self sufficient. Use the media to highlight positive things black folk are doing in nature. These are just a few things you can do to begin the journey “black to nature”.
Find peace that will attract blessings for yourself and family,
Abubakr Muhammad Karim