Egyptian-Sudanese-American novelist and poet Kola Boof has been an agent for Sudan’s SPLA and was the National Chairwoman of the U.S. Branch of the Sudanese Sensitization Peace Project. She has written for television and her many books include, “Flesh and the Devil,” “Long Train to the Redeeming Sin,” “Nile River Woman” and “Virgins In the Beehive.” She blogs at Kola Boof. com
A few days ago, a Black American academic calling herself “Dr. Goddess” became so fed up with my refusal to see biracial people as simply ‘black’—she wrote a scathing Twitter essay castigating me as a vicious, foul-tempered mentally unstable racist and narcissist. According to her, I present myself as “an exotic Mother Africa figure who’s fucked Bin Laden” and has come here to divide and belittle the unity of Black Americans.
Claudine Prell Johnson, the Black American woman whose Tennessee-born husband adopted me from Unicef in 1978 and brought me to America in 1979, scoffed at Dr. Goddess’s commentary. My mother immediately reiterated something she’s been telling me since I was a child, “They don’t understand your side, Naima, because our people were imprisoned on slave plantations for hundreds of years and conditioned not to value or respect black flesh or plat hair. They will always put a White face on blackness because that is the only way Black people know how to get over with the general White society. The stinging insult you feel when people like that Hussy say that blackness is a state of mind or a set of cultural behaviors does not compute with our folks. They cannot even imagine this notion you have that fudge cocoa skin, thick features and nappy hair is the most normal and best thing in the world. To an American black, people who come predominately from a legacy of slave plantations and Jim Crow communities, you sound insane. She is light-skinned and I bet many of her family members, just like mine throughout the South and yours in Sudan and Egypt are very light or even white looking. So for her, to have African people saying her blood kin are not the same as her and to say it so boldly and unabashedly, it’s fighting words. She and all of them completely miss your natural instinct to identify and protect your own race because in America blacks were a servant class who never had access to that kind of thinking. Protecting blood is something Whites or Chinese do, not niggers. Of course you’re a nut case to someone like her. Of course she doesn’t feel insulted claiming that someone who looks white should be representative of people who truly live being black. Most of us in this country don’t give a damn about preserving Black blood because we’ve always been punished for it.”
My Black American mother is a product of the American south with her blood spanning from Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and North Carolina. She is a very pretty brown pear shaped woman with a small, soft voice and raven-sharp black eyes that have always been able to see right through me. When I arrived in her care at the age of 7 or 8 or 10 (my age is not known for sure), one of the things she and my Black American father, Marvin Johnson, stressed was that they did not want me to lose the acculturation I already had from my own country.
Despite the ignorance of academics like Dr. Goddess, I already spoke four languages when I arrived in America as a little girl. Unbeknownst to me, my vagina had already been infibulated, I assume at birth. My birth father’s name is written in Arabic on one side of my vagina—the other side, where the husband’s name goes has never been filled in, because I’m safe in America now. But I had already been taught by the Zarpunni (the women’s body of our Covenant) “how to make generations”, the rules of “the bloodberry” (African identity rules); the history of my Egyptian birth father’s family (the Kolbookeks, who spent 120 years breeding the Black blood out of our Sunni Arab-Turkish-Felasha family line) and the history of my Charcoal-skinned birth mother’s tribe/clan, the Oromo, who are part of the great Waaq race (East Africans who worshipped coffee beans and The Crow).
The fact that I came to this country believing “The Crow” to be the supreme symbol of good luck and prosperity (because this is the Waaq-Oromo creed) was something that not only shocked and unsettled my Black American parents—it made them defensive and determined that I remain believing that the sight of Crows landing in the back yard was reason for extreme celebration and tears. To them, Crows were bad luck; a blight against Southern crops! But as my Black American father said, “I don’t want Naima’s beliefs changed. I think God sent her here for a reason. There’s no way someone this young has so much tragedy and bad luck in their life unless they’re being used to bring some kind of message.”
In Sudan, of course, we have the world’s worst of everything. We have genocide, slavery, people starving, mass rape, institutionalized Colorist-Racist pathology dictated by present Arabicized rulers in Khartoum and long ago British Imperialists. Nothing is more hated in Sudan by the elite powerful Whites (olive and Arab brown people) than the Biblical days tribes of the Nuba Mountains and the South—the Charcoal-colored Cushites—from the Jiang tribe to the Chollo, Nuer and Blue Black Nubians.
The fact that I was even let for adoption (which is illegal in Egypt) is because my Arab Egyptian father and my Waaq-Oromo Charcoal mother had been executed in our backyard, in my presence—for the crime of acknowledging our country’s slavery in public and for my father’s campaign in the 1960’s against the building of Lake Nuba and Nimeri’s wood cutting crisis. My birth father’s Whiteness had protected him for over a decade, but once he defended the humanity of Charcoal original people by speaking against the Mullahs and the Khartoum government, he was put out of this world. They even wrote the words “Anya Nya” across his chest with a sword. I was present and stayed with my parent’s dead bodies all night until morning. I was about six years old, but I did not cry much. My mind was blown open forever. I sat there in the utter blackness that is nighttime Omdurman and I listened as their blood seeped into the earth. It was so peaceful; it was as though they were merely sleeping.
In the morning, it hit me that they were dead and gone. But in my heart and mind, I felt possessed by my father’s aggressive rage. I felt that through me he would never die. And this popular saying amongst Jiang (Dinka) tribal women—“If my father dies; I will give birth to him again”—has pervaded me every since.
But my Arab Egyptian grandmother, Najet Kolbookek (who had disowned my father for marrying a ‘charcoal’ African woman), was mortified when I was sent to her after my father’s death. I was visibly Black with wooly hair yet my features were so similar to the Kolbookeks that they could not pass me off as the Maid’s child. People of Kom Ombo, Egypt would surely look into my face and know that I was related to Miss Najet Kolbookek, my grandmother. So she, my own flesh and blood, got permission from the Mullahs and give me, a six year old whose parents were barely buried to Unicef because my skin was “too dark” to fit into a White Arab Egyptian family. Sure, my Uncle Kar and some other family members have always sent me money and kept in touch with me. But obviously the trauma of these events deeply affect and pervade my work as a writer-activist. In America, after being adopted, I spent years in Psychiatric Treatment for having seen my parents murdered and been given away by my grandmother. And because Yellow people like Dr. Goddess have knowledge of this history, they use it as a weapon to silence me by claiming that I’m mentally unstable and don’t know what I’m talking about.
Additionally, like so many jealous Black American female writers and Scholars in this country who don’t appreciate my contributions as a female immigrant citizen and world activist—Dr. Goddess inserts her realm of spoiled American experience and carelessly accuses me of being a liar simply because my crusade in life is one that she feels threatened by. Of course, she and her type never…not ever…specifically point out what lies I’ve supposedly told. They ignore that there is evidence to back up everything I say about my life and career and hardships. In the case of Dr. Goddess, she claimed that several posters on TWITTER are actually “fake accounts” ran by me. These people of course were shocked and are standing by to prove that they are real, that their support of me is from reading my actual work and not anything to do with Dr. Goddess and I having a fight. In fact, one of these women—extremely light skinned single mom @Starchyld2525 is someone far more likely to agree with Dr. Goddess’s views, yet she was accused of being a “fake account” ran by Kola Boof. And this is what weak people do when they can’t fathom foreign unfamiliar thoughts being expressed. They try to silence your voice by accusing you of being bitter or a liar or angry. Just like the F.B.I. (who, along with the NSA, originally protected me from my country but now surveillance and harass me and my family)…just like the F.B.I., the Arab-American business community, the Oil companies and so many other groups who would like to silence my voice against White Supremacist Culture and my work—these Dr. Goddess type academics prefer the broad labeling and smear campaign tactics.
One day, these attackers are Black American female Publishing Editors saying that I should not be published because “she’s not one of us—she’s taking money that Black American women could be earning”…the next day their names are Ron Kavanugh, Kennylicious or the no-talent erotica novelist Zane offering up pathetically manufactured smears about my sexuality; my relations with men; my motherhood skills; my political beliefs. Every lie that can come out of their frightened, insecure, Black American fake-Black-Pride mouths is relayed, gossiped, recycled and stamped as “she needs to go back to Africa” simply because they think love is about having one’s head buried in the sand. They think unity and family are about having no boundaries to one’s home; one’s space; one’s identity; one’s personal history. Well not unless the person trying to enter their space is African or an undesirable image like Alek Wek. Nope. As long it’s Rosie Perez or Rufus Wong or Mariah Carey the outsider is welcome in Black America (“I Am Africa!” gets stamped across their heads), because those folks bring to black identity the utter whiteness that upper class blacks cherish, respect and so highly value. Haha. Anyone ever been to Bettye Saar’s family reunion or lunched with Kathleen Cleaver or had to sit through white-looking Danzy Senna explaining why she’s really Black. Oh god—we African women owe them so much! In fact—we owe you our lives; we should just be invisible now and not exist anymore, right, right? Haha! Because after all, now that the mega-mixed Mulatto imitation Black Woman is here to tie on a Kente cloth and utter a few words of Zulu into Kanye West’s fat head—who needs to see real African women representing their own Black selves anymore? You’ll also notice the chocolate people who tack “Fuentes-Sanchez” on the back of their names yet they come from tenements in Cleveland or Pittsburgh (a city bustling with mixed race babies by Caucasian mothers and a healthy revulsion for the authentic black female image I’m told).
Is there a word for that?
Could it be Nigger? Because that’s what always comes to my Sunni-Egypto Oromo mind while having lemonade on the porch with my Black American mother. And yes, we do this with our shoes off and our nappy roots showing.
We’re just two Black evil bitches who don’t care no more.
“You got that shit right” Mom says while blowing smoke from a KOOL super long and sipping a Pepsi. We encounter a lot of Black women like us. Tired of this particular caveat of western racism that makes it socially acceptable to just erase and delete actual Blackness as though it’s a disease.
Nope. I’m certainly not nice anymore. Not after those romantic Afrocentrics banned me and my books from “Eso Won” in Los Angeles, because what Stacey Ann Chin and Rosie Perez have to say about Black identity is far more important than what someone born Black in Africa has to say about our own race. I’ve become a true S.E. Washington D.C. ghetto bitch (where I was raised) and I sleep good at night because of it.
While the elite powers are busy slinging their anti-Kola smear campaigns, I’m busy asserting myself more and more deeply into the Black American fabric. Of course, that is why the F.B.I. watches and harasses me. But this statement I am bringing as an artist in America, this statement that says loud, clear and unapologetically that Blackness is good and that it should exist as itself; unmolested and beloved just as any other flower in the garden of human existence…is a statement that is crucial for African artists to make in western society. And since I live in America and my sons are Black Americans, it should be made by me, Naima Bint Harith writing as Kola Boof. Yes, it should be made most of all by me. Not because I am Mother Africa (there is no such thing as Mother Africa or Purity, as I’ve written in over a hundred essays, Dr. Goddess)—so no, not because I am Mother Africa, but simply because I am alive and I am here.
By saving my life, by adopting me, the Black Americans are my people, my tribe now. You cannot undo what you’ve done, because back in my twenties I traveled to 50 states in this nation and slit my wrists and put my blood in the ground in each state. These slits on my wrists that people think are from a suicide attempt are in fact from me asserting the Nilotic act of Rem. Some who’ve read my autobiography are aware that I enacted Rem. And this gift of blood; the contribution that I bring is to say that you are already perfect beings and don’t need to dine with White people or have your blood Colonized to look and be more like them. African people are dark, poor and mostly powerless, yes—but we are not inferior to anyone. This whole world passed out of a Charcoal womb; the physical, mental and spiritual—all of it!
So it is true that I do not agree with America or Dr. Goddess about the one drop rule. Black people are not so inferior that just anybody can be us. Our blood is not a taint and our identity is not “a state of mind”—it is a biological reality of human Physics and matter. People who look Black experience blackness depending on how black they are. Back home, after a mixed child is born, the people will ask the doctor: “Are the ancestors showing?”
What they mean is…did the child come out Black or is it Half-Caste looking? They don’t give a shit if the father is George Clooney and the mother is Suzanne DePasse. If the baby has White parents but comes out Black, looking like us the tribe—then that baby is Black! But if the parents are Michael Jordan and Lauryn Hill and that baby comes out looking White or mixed with foreign gazes, then that baby is Half-Caste! DNA matters not. What matters is to what degree is the African bloodberry (the collective; the blackness) are showing.
Either way, the child will be loved and cherished for what it is.
This is not a rejection by African people. It is a simple statement of fact just as a White American mother states true fact when she insists that her mixed child is half of her and therefore partly owes loyalty and relation to the White race. She is correct! Our ancient King Kashta said and it is still true—“There is no way for any soldier to go against its own mother’s people!” If the mother is White, if she is Chinese, if she is Persian, if she is Mexican—if she is another race then so goes the acculturation of the child. Learn the word acculturation and what that means! Doesn’t matter how you raise it; how much black pride you infuse; the child will have obligations to its mother’s people and to her ancestors! As the Ethiopian children’s rhyme goes, “Mothers matter a lot; fathers matter not.” This osmosis is just as real as the lion’s pride. And as African people, we respect those obligations.
African people love our mixed raced children.
Saying someone is “not black” in no way negates the love we have for mixed race children. The singer Seal has stated that his children are not Black. He is not rejecting his children; he is empowering them with truth. I, Kola Boof, despite the accusations of countless biracial, mixed and light people…do not hate or dislike my light skinned brothers and sisters. Naturally as a Black mother of Black babies, I am frustrated by the injustice and totality of Western Colorism. People give “lip service” to the evils of Colorism and nothing more. That makes me hostile, because my children will suffer your evil ways. It is not because I hate mixed or light skinned people. I do not. I love all human beings and truly feel in my heart that mixed Blacks are my blood-related family. They just aren’t Black is all.
But then again…mixing is also how the Moors became extinct and finally defeated. This is how Egypt was destroyed (the intermarriage law that Cesar forced Queen Cleopatra to enact making it illegal for an Egyptian to marry an Egyptian). And no one in Black America wants to acknowledge that. Like idiots, they try to claim that “love” is driving these truly epidemic global genetic bleaching contests. When I see the Jackson family and all those White grandchildren—I see their “historical hatred” of blackness—that’s what I see. Their whole African seed has been obliterated! Apparently, none of these Afro-American scholars (most of whom have White wives) have taken the time to recall a pre-imminent statement of the African warrior: “Extinction is not honorable.”
That is a sentiment held by all normal human beings worldwide. Europeans, Chinese, Africans, Indians…we all hold the view that for a people to stop existing is the height of unforgivable disgrace and failure. And I say it is a disgrace to one’s ancestors when a tribe breeds itself off the planet and ceases to exist! This is why Whiteness and Chinese identity markers are so staunch—purity is the only marker they will accept. It is not racism! It’s called normal self-preservation. You cannot have unity without uniformity. It is normal for one to expect to see his face continued in his offspring. Why wouldn’t a blond with blue eyes want to see his kin continue having blond hair and blue eyes? As King Pihanky said, “Through our children we live forever!”
So what is this absurd notion that Black people should stop existing and be replaced with a buffer race of Yellow people? Has no one in America read historically about The Bastars Colony in Namibia? Explain to me why I, an African mother, am the villain for highlighting the worth, value and beauty of my own Black babies? Why am I the villain for rejecting Slave Plantation Purity Laws and inserting the African aesthetic of our ancient Black forefathers? Have I not sexed enough White and Arab men in my lifetime? Surely, all the men “got some” from Kola during my forty-one years. I did not discriminate—I loved all the men! And every hue and race of female has been a guest in my home; I’ve happily cooked, fed and entertained all my colors of sisters over the years. In my heart, I love all my sisters—it’s THEM who don’t recognize my special suffering in this society based on the same Colorism they benefit from. It’s them who betray and snicker at my Cola-brown image while claiming to represent me—claiming to be superior to me just because their complexion is smiled at and mine is not.
So why am I the villain for correctly ascertaining that authentically Black children cannot be taught to appreciate and love black beauty via Creole images of Beyonce and Alicia Keys? Why is that statement not true and why are there so few positive images of authentic Black female beauty allowed in this culture? Why do the Mulatto Black American Elite support the idea that procreating with dark skinned Black female images is the lowest thing one can do? And since America and the West does indeed promote that view—why am I or any African woman the bitter bitch for asserting and celebrating my own dark loveliness, my own children and my own race?
How dare you demonize me as “bitter and angry” when your whole system is set up to erase and delete my womb and my black babies! What Dark skinned women need to do is get a can of gasoline and some matches and light your evil Tanned White Supremacist asses up!
Dr. Goddess is your typical arrogant Black American academic and privileged light skinned girl. She is sorely lacking in what I consider to be “strategic competence” with regard to motherhood leadership skills. She knows nothing of ‘how to make generations’ and she expects me to bow down to the racist One Drop lie that was forced inside her brain by her White rapist Slave master. Notice that his word on race means more to her than mine! The woman is pathological slave stock. For her to call me “exotic” is a tip off. She’s jealous of my dark beauty. Her tragic Mulatto jealousy moans out from every lie she conjures up about me. I find that she and many Yellow-skinned people make themselves into agents of White Supremacy by denying the invisibility of authentic Black reproductive models in the social media in this country. Additionally, they steal Black identity and make excuses for why dark skinned people don’t need to have physical representation of their own group. The fact that someone would actually question them benefitting from the thing they claim to abhor shocks and infuriates them to no end.
But let me tell you right now…Cultural blackness without Physical Blackness is a fraud. If you’re so proud of your African ancestors and you love Black people so goddamn much, then give birth to some. And let us please stop disrespecting authentic Black identity. There is no such thing as purity. I do not believe in purity. But by the same token—floating a log atop a river, even if it’s for twenty thousand years—will never allow you to call that log a crocodile.
To read more than 30 of Kola Boof’s more controversial essays, check out the collection, “Unplugged & Uncut: The Essential Kola Boof Anthology” (Atlantic Library), which is now available on Kindle