Guest speaker Dr. Chike Akua, one of the most sought after speakers at schools and educational conferences around the country, gave a lecture at Clovis Community College titled “What Does it Mean to be Black?”
The educational presentation focused on explaining why the defamation of African-American images through skillful media manipulation, miseducation and cultural identity theft requires a radical redefinition of Blackness and a compelling look at the original ancient concepts of Blackness, which began in Africa tens of thousands of years ago.
Akua is an “educational revolutionary” and a recognized leader on culturally relevant educational materials and instructional approaches.
On Feb. 7 in the college’s Academic Center One (AC1), students listened to Akua’s explanation on how, for many generations, African-Americans have been portrayed with one specific image due to lack of proper education of the culture’s history.
Akua also explained how “cultures have been decentered,” the notion that African-American people suffer from cultural identity theft which he defines as “when someone steals your story.”
“How do you take the people who gave the world reading and writing, language and literature, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science and technology?,” he asked. “How do you take that but then, convince them and the world that they are nothing but a race of pimps, players, criminals and thugs?”
Akua identifies this one of the reason to why many African-American individuals get upset when non-African-Americans call them the N-word even though they call each other that all the time.
“If you call a child ‘stupid’ long enough, they will begin to respond to the notion of them being stupid and then they will begin to act stupid. Black people were called the N-word for hundreds of years, so often, and had it literally whipped and beaten into them,” he said. “Please be clear, none of us should be using that language unless it is to teach why we shouldn’t.”
Akua further explained that there are many manufactured and mass produced images in media all over the world which lack authenticity of the African-American culture. He describes those as “alien images.”
“Most of the world has been exposed to the alien image and not the authentic image. Most people assume the alien images are normal,” he said.
After going into further detail of these notions, Akua asks all those who find themselves watching a black person in television, social media or a movie to analyze if it is an alien or an authentic image.
At the end of the presentation, Akua opened to floor to a question and answer session where he gave students the opportunity to openly ask any question.
Many asked what they could do in order to keep the cycle from continuing into new generations and others asked what they could do to prevent that even though they can’t identify themselves with the African-American culture.
Akua provided some notable advice which included the act of keeping children informed on what the world’s misconceptions of their identity.
“The first thing is to be very intentional, I think a lot of times what happens in American communities is we wait and we don’t know how to have that conversation … what age do we have the talk? I had that talk with my sons before they came out of the womb, I put my hand on my wife’s stomach and had that conversation with [them] before [they] even came out,” Akua said.
Akua has lectured and given keynote addresses at a number of colleges, universities and educational conferences around the country including Southern University, Minnesota State University and more. He has been elected as one of Ebony magazine’s “50 Leaders of Tomorrow.” In addition, he has assisted in leading over 1000 youth and adults on study tours to Egypt, Ghana, Morocco and Senegal through the African Genesis Institute’s Teen Summit 1000 program and has authored and produced several books and DVDs.