I remember when certain Cubans would tell people orisa was not from Africa. It was relatively common for folks to say, “Sango is from Havana; Ogun is from Matanzas.” Astonished, I would explain how their assertions defied all of West African history and had no validity, according to Odu Ifa. I would challenge them to reveal the sources of their claims. Of course, they could not divulge any such sources because they were non-existent.
Back in the 1990’s, this happened more frequently that you can imagine today. In fact, they had an entirely alternate history that had no basis in reality, but was being presented and accepted without question, wherever their tradition was practiced. I realized the extent to which our people were being misled by playground legends, manipulation and bullying. It prompted me to become a leading proponent of the phrase, “Show me the Odu!”
So when I see African Americans being hung out to dry for claiming Jewish identity, it pains me. I know they cannot produce the documentation to substantiate their claims. Like the misguided Cubans who would have you believe Sango is from Havana, they are mistaking folklore for reality. Unlike the community scholar/activists of old - like JA Rogers, Steve Cokely, Amos Wilson, Chancellor Williams, George GM James - these contemporary brothers are not doing their homework.
Watching a documentary, a 30 minute google search and copying other people’s Facebook posts is NOT scholarship! It is not insufficient to refute 2000 years of documentation. When people - outsiders or insiders, alike - misrepresent orisa tradition, we rightfully stand up to say NO! We use when we KNOW to refute falsehood. In this era, everything can easily be fact checked.
So save yourself the hardship and do your homework!!! Do no speak on things you do not KNOW. Most importantly, calculate your words and actions according to your MEASURABLE GOALS! Sango and Oya work together for a reason; she illuminated the target so that he might strike with PRECISION!
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