AfroSpear Growing Pains

By Maxjulian

July 30, 2007

Category: Uncategorized

16 Comments »

(Crossposted at AfroSpear.wordpress.com)

When this particular thing called “AfroSpear” was created, we didn’t have a three, six, nine, twelve or thirty six month plan. We, the six of us, knew a couple of things: we wanted to do more for Afrikan people in the diasopora. And, we wanted to connect with people in the Afrikan diaspora to facilitate our own growth and that of our people.

We, naively perhaps, thought that we could make a contribution, not by “leading” people, but by providing a place that could function as an incubator for black folks to lead themselves. Think, plan, create, act…and then reflect on the thinkingplanningcreatingacting.

AfroSpear was birthed in April. We’ve come far, but we have so far to go, primarily because we want and need the participation of more of our people. Some have expected the worst out of us and believe that they’ve seen it – from afar. Even a few folks who have come in with goodwill and an open mind have been turned off by our shortcomings.

We understand. We are flawed. We haven’t plugged the many holes in the dyke; of course, we’re still building it as the racist flood waters rush by – over, under and all around us. We’re under pressure to be perfect, to appeal to all of our disparate, unique selves.

How do we make it better? How do we get out of our own way and make this page serve rather than alienate? We need YOU!

I propose that a couple of mistakes be corrected:

1) There should be no distinction between the AfroSpear “Circle/Nation.” We ARE the Circle, ALL of us! The only thing those of us who formed this page should do is facilitate the discussion, moderate the comments, put in our two cents. But our two cents is no more important than yours. Because its all of OURS!

2) Membership & Overmanagement. If you’re black, you are a member. There should be no requirements to “join” this page. Show up and you’re in; if you want to be linked here, BOOM, there it is! I don’t care if people are democrats, republicans, voodoo practitioners…you are one of us. Let’s be an open ended space where the majority feel comfortable communicating and feel like their words have an audience and will be heard and maybe even utilized.

3) Civility and Bans. We want to treat each other here with respect. We know that that is hard for all of us sometimes. I try to use my page for my more “in your face” diatribes, but try to keep the “AfroSpear” page sacred. As moderators, I believe we should keep it clean, as well as real. “Character blassisination,” that masquerades as criticism has no place here; of course, some of the more skilled rhetoricians know how to straddle the line. All I can say is, we should do our best to figure out the difference and ban folk only as a last resort.

4) Brainstorms/Plans/Action. I think its critical to have a “philosophical,” analytical, planning component. Some people are all about action, without reflection, without foresight, without strategy. They just want to “do.” That’s a wonderful sentiment, but in most cases fails miserably. To quote Denzel, “this is chess, not checkers!” My hope is that we use this space to look and then leap, but only after knowing where we’re going and planning for the exigencies that might develop on the way down.

5) Welcome the Fencesitters. There’s a lot of brainpower hanging back, waiting. Maybe they are waiting for us to fail so that they can say, “I told you so.” What kind kind of spectator sport is it to stay detached from an effort to help your people and root for that effort to fail – minus the ingredients you could have added if only you’d wanted to?

Speak. Post here. Pick this thing apart in our faces. This site should be that open that it wants to hear such a critique made to us, not about us. Bring it.

We need all hands on deck. Its about progress, not perfection; we’ll never get far if we don’t have our “stars.” Come Home. HELP. S-O-S!!!

We need to tweak this thing, to make it work. Let’s do it. I’m not wedded to how its done, just that it’s done.

The AfroSpear/AfroSphere/Blackosphere is all the same thing. Let’s keep it simple, open, welcoming and diverse.

Let us be the spot where Afrikans in the diaspora plan and plot our ascent.

16 Responses to “AfroSpear Growing Pains”

  1. Wow! That’s powerful my people. Whatever’s happened in the past is what it is. Personally, I’d like to be linked and I’ll return the solid. This entry almost reminded me of a 10 Point Plan. Anyways, peace …

  2. Jose, DONE! You be linked.

  3. Thanks. Glad to be a part.

  4. bygbaby: nice logo, I second that emotion!

    Reading through the comments I realize that I may not have had a full understanding of how the AfroSpear/AfroSphere were aligned. I’ve reread Asa’s “About” section (I had read it in the past as well!).

    Asa wrote: I wouldn’t say the issue is that we don’t “want all of the s#!t that comes along with saying, “We’re going to chart a course for this group.” I think the issue is that most people don’t want the burden, the responsibility to lead themselves! (much less others)….

    Asa and AfroSpear, I’ve really thought about this one.

    First examining it from a personal perspective. It is true, I personally am a genius at diagnosing other people’s shortcomings!! Not so much with my own. I’ve heard it said (black talk radio, conventions, and so on) that Black people love to go to “Sunday meeting”. We love to talk, preach, speechify. Unfortunately, we’re short on action…at least that’s what I’ve been told.

    Sometimes I’m not so sure. When I think on the potential for what the AfroSpear can become…I’m moved.

    So I’m not so sure that the fact that people don’t want the responsibility for leading themselves accounts for the entire problem. I don’t deny that fact though. I would say that we should not assume everyone is capable of the kind of vision/leadership that it takes to conceive of “an AfroSpear”. Nor is every person capable of leading it once it exists. We are all leaders, but visionaries (a person of unusually keen foresight) are rare.

    I see each of us fulfilling a role. Each of us share the responsibility for leadership and are accountable for whether this vision succeeds or fails to reach its potential. We are each leaders. But I’d like to challenge the Six to at least consider whether or not they have a greater responsibility (or at least a “unique role”?) in bringing this vision to fruition?

    Grace and Peace.

  5. Just wanted to added my two cents. The power of black blogging is not in the number of visitors, as it is the depth we add to our collective base of knowledge. When people google the Afrospear and its various alliances, they access a wellspring of useful information. Date of publication is irrelevant.

  6. FreeSlave, that’s a powerful statement. We need to think together, plan, act, and then look back to see what we’ve accomplished and what we need to do next.

    I second your statement about seeing what we can do to draw our brothers and sisters in and avoid making our spaces alienating.

    Since I was child, I’ve struggled with over-arguing points, and a scorched earth argumentation style. Why I go overboard, I try to go back and apologize and that (along with changed behavior) often is successful.

    We need to be gentle with one another. We’ve come a long way, since few online groups can boast of the integration and collaboration we’ve achieved in just four months.

    I’ve been full of myself at times, but I admit it.

    I think there’s a difference between Black bloggers who are exiles from white blogs (like myself) and those who haven’t been burdened with that online experience. In a lot of ways, my blogging is a response to the white online world, whereas many Blacks’ blogging is more generally a response to being Black in America, with no particular need to pay much attention to what whites are doing online. I envy those people, frankly.

    I think you’re on the right track, too, in terms of flattening AfroSpear hierarchy. Many people are deeply suspicious of established hierarchies and authorities, no matter how well-meaning they are.

    Keep up the good work and keep welcoming people.

  7. Keep it moving! Nothing is perfect on the first run and the mere existence of Afrospear is powerful in and of itself. Yes, more thinking, planning, and getting a clear philosophical approach is necessary but none of these processes are ever complete–in fact, that is the nature of these processes–we are perpetual larvae–we are always in the process of becoming. So keep “becoming” Over the past couple of months I have been integrating more gerunds into my vocabulary when even identifying myself because I am not a “definite.” I am Muslim-ing, I am Black-ing, I am Woman-ing, etc. etc. because trying to force ourselves into inactive definition does a certain discursive as well as material violence. We have to grow and we can’t grow in conceptual incarcerations and cages. Keep it moving (Literally) Afrospear.

    As Black bloggers we have a lot of responsibility, and I have been reevaluating my role in this community as well trying to balance being a full time grad student, a teacher and moonlighting as a writer and artist. I think that one thing that all black bloggers can work on (myself included) is building community, and linking our activism. I would love to see more of us connected to each others struggles, I would love to see more of us engaged in revolutionary acts of love–ie we all spend a lot of time talking about what’s wrong, let’s write more about what we want to see and how we are going to bridge that gap between urgent dreams and our everyday reality.

    Through all that writing–I say keep it going and we learn along the way b/c that is the only way to learn.

    En Lucha,
    Kameelah (East Palo Alto, South Africa, etc.etc..)

  8. Oh! and thanks for having me on your blogroll 🙂 I did not even notice.

    Peas.

  9. I think you are doing a great job , I love your about section , however i feel u should delete the mission statement , because the about section states the same thing .

    Who are the six people that make up afrospear ? or is one person afrospear .?

    apparently you have caused a lot of controversy , over at http://racialrealist.wordpress.com/2007/08/03/assimilate-if-you-must-but-please-be-honest-about-it/ read the last comment on last post .

    Actually it is good the commenter called the poster out though not done maliciously . But I digress , what is all the cia drama , if said poster didn’t like the white man commenting or your approval of it on afrospear. Why didn’t she just disagree , obviously it bothered her so much she had to write a sniper post …

    So egos know no color , and Egos are what started wars , egos are what got us into slavery , egos are what got the world into the state it is today . Somethings never change , history has been written and rewritten but lessons are never learned .

    I give you this piece of knowledge , don’t worry about what you can do or if it is working , or if you will be successful , just stick with your plan and persevere . If you touch people enough to have dialogue whether in afrospear’s favor or not you have been successful in getting black people to communicate even if you want them to drink a tall glass of stfu!!!!

  10. Byrd: Afrospear began with six bloggers, Sylvia, Asabagna, Aulelia, Field Negro and Kizzie. The AfroSpear/Sphere is all of us black bloggers so we’re trying to be as inclusive as we can cuz we want all of our juice. And I will take a look at the mission statement/about sections.

    I’m just trying to grow; seeing other people who aren’t reminds me to keep on pushing. Stay strong.

  11. i do come to your site and read posts , as well as afrospear . I happen to love the name of this blog , it is so right on in today’s climate . I might be a silent visitor but i hear what u are saying !

  12. This is a brilliant idea – one thing though it is very US focused. I just wonder how many others besides myself (I live in Spain) are Africans in Europe, the Caribbean or Latin America. How do we engage with these different Diaspora? Is it possible in one space? I am not sure. Black people in Europe have a very different Black experience as do those in the Caribbean and Latin America. But I think it is politically necessary for our survival to create links with African Descendents wherever they are.

  13. Sokari: Will you join us? We want nothing less than a diasporic hub where we can connect, communicate and strategize with each other globally. We need you and your voice as well as voices throughout Africa.

    Let me know and welcome in advance!

  14. sokari — i live most of my time in england and i am part of the circle and there is another afrosphere blogger (adrianne) who lives in europe too so the scope is widening 🙂

    i think the afrospear is coming along well. just as long as we are patient and let it grow, positive energy will attract.

  15. Great post! You know I’m with you.
    – Peace

  16. Thanks, AAPP. And I do know. Appreciate it.

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