Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Afro and Indo Labels: Afri-centric Analysis

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
May 08, 2013

One of the most current and recurrent vexing and perplexing problems/issues today is the ahistorical, divisive, dysfunctional and Euro-centric modus operandi by Trinbagonians of all societal strata to refer to themselves as Afro and Indo.

The Afri-centric reality is that historiography clearly proves that our ancestors were brought involuntarily and violently from Africa to be enslaved on European plantations in the Caribbean, including Trinidad and Tobago (1516).

Our ancestors were not brought from Afro-Land; they certainly were not brought from Negro-Land, period. In fact, there has never been a Continent or land mass called Afro in world history.

Ergo, the descendants of these original Africans are now African-Trinbagonians in 2013. They are not Afro-Trinbagonians. That's typical Euro-centric thinking. Indeed, since Trinidad and Tobago is apparently moving toward developed nation status, then, now is the time for Trinbagonians "to get with the program" and refer to themselves as their ancestral history dictates --- We are African-Trinbagonians, period.

The Afri-centric reality is that the label/term Afro has long been expunged from the societal lexicon of the United States since 1984. Furthermore, if one were to call an American an Afro-American today, then, automatically that would be viewed as "fighting words" – trust me. This would be considered an insulting and derogatory label.

The salient fact of the matter is that Barack Obama is certainly not America's first Afro-American president. Such a fleeting notion is totally insane and Euro-centric at its core.

Barack Obama is America's first African-Black American president. That's it period.

As the erudite, Afri-centric African-American scholar/historian Dr. Marimba Ani puts it: " You're not an African (Indian) because you're born in Africa (India). You're an African (an Indian) because Africa (India) is born in you. It's in your genes... your DNA... Your entire biological make up. Whether you like it or not that's the way it is; that's the way it is. However, if you embrace this truth with open arms ... my, my, my, what a wonderful thing "for all Trinbagonians to unite/rally around.

On the other Afri-centric perspective, our ancestors came mostly voluntarily from India to work as "indentured servants" on plantations in the Caribbean on 30 May 1845. They did not come from Indo; therefore, they are not Indo-Trinbagonians. In 2013, their descendants must be referred to as Indian-Trinbagonians, period. That's their ancestral historical linkage.

By way of Afri-centric linkage elucidation, there is a current cricket league called the Indian Premier League (IPL) that was invented/originated by Indian entrepreneurs/businessmen in India. And when this cricket competition was played in South Africa, it was still billed as the Indian Premier League.

As such, the crucial Afri-centric questions that immediately come to the fore are: (1) If this same Indian-originated cricket league competition were to be played in T&T, then, would it be suddenly called the Indo Premier League (IPL)? (11).

As a corollary, shouldn't the WICB call/label upcoming regional cricket tournament the Caribo Premier League (CPL), albeit in keeping with the current and recurrent Euro-centric mind-set/tradition?

And taking this totally insane, Euro-centric mind-set further, then, Trinbagonians should refer to themselves as Chino-Trinbagonians, Syrio-Trinbagonans, Lebano-Trinbagonians, Portugo-Trinibagonians, Corsico-Trinibagonians, and so on.

The fact of the matter is that the above-mentioned Trinbagonians' ancestors came from China, Syria, Lebanon, Portugal, Corsica and so on. That's their ancestral heritage, period. Ergo, their descendants today are Chinese-Trinbagonians, Syrian-Trinbagonians, Lebanese- Trinbagonians, Portuguese- Trinbagonians, Corsican-Trinbagonians and so on.

The fact of the matter is that now is the time for the majority of Trinbagonians to recover, retrieve, re-unite, relocate themselves to and with their original ancestral umbilical cord that was severed by the brutal yoke of European colonialism coterminous with African enslavement and Indian indentureship.

Truth Be Told: In terms of Afri-centric historical, linkage analysis, Africa is Our Home-Trinidad and Tobago is Our Destination. India is Our Home – Trinidad and Tobago is Our Destination. Africa represents Our Originality-Trinidad and Tobago represents Our Nationality. India represents Our Originality-Trinidad and Tobago represents Our Nationality and so on.

Now is the time for Trinbagonians to seriously deal head on with and eliminate and permanently eradicate the mental paralysis, induced collective historical/ancestral amnesia and collective lobotomy that Euro-centrism has imposed on them.

After fifty years of putative political independence, now is the time for the majority of Trinbagonians to immediately cease and desist from inflicting/imposing those Euro-centric derogatory labels on themselves. "Get with the program".

In the final analysis, the Afri-centric perspective teaches that the blood that unites us is thicker than the diasporan water and culture that separates and divides us. Furthermore, we might have been brought from Africa and/or come from India in different European slave/indenture ships but as Trinbagonians "to D bone", we can only achieve national unity/identity in the same Pan-Trinbagonian independence boat.

Shem Hotep ("I go in Peace").

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies.

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