Friday, October 25, 2019

Why are Afro-descendants always the consumer and never the business owner?



I recently visited the Panama Canal in Panama City, and Colon Panama. They were both beautiful cities rich in history and culture, but I quickly realized that there was a huge difference between the two.

Panama City was very well kept, modern, and clean for the most part. It had skyrises, shopping malls, hotels, cafe's, and anything you would expect in a modern-day city. It was also very diverse with descendants from many races like Spanish, Indigenous, Chinese, African, American, and many more. They were all business owners, and they all represented their culture. 

Colon Panama, although very rich in culture, and history was very depressing. It was an old city that has been forgotten by its government. Where you walk the streets, and you can see miles of trash and dog shit all over the place. On every block, every corner, and every street we visited in the central part of Colon it was the same. Unsafe structures, that did not look habitable, but they were. Pieces of some of the buildings were missing, but people still lived there. Stray dogs, cats, and even rodents were visible, but the people didn't seem to mind them at all. In this place, there were two groups that stood out among the rest. The Chinese, and the Afro-descendants. Colon, home to the second canal of Panama and the large duty-free was a city built by Afro-descendants. In fact, it is said that 50% of Panamanians are of African descent. So why is it, that in a city that they built, they are the consumers and not the business owners. Why is it that their homes are falling apart, and the streets are filled with trash? In many of the countries, I have visited there is one thing that remains the same, we as Afro-descendants are always the consumers. Why are we so content in living the way that we do? Why are we so eager to make money and leave our homes that our ancestors built with so much sacrifice to go live in a neighborhood with people that clearly don't want us there? We invest our money in their neighborhoods, and we try so hard to fit into their community, culture, and lifestyle. We want our kids, to go to their schools, and learn from their teachers, and we forget to teach them our history, our culture, and our way of life. Our history, our music, and our pride as people are slowly being erased, and we are the cause of that. Of course, there are other factors, but when do we take responsibility for our part? When do we invest in our own neighborhoods, and make them safe and clean again? When do we start teaching our children about our history, our music, art, foods, and everything that makes our different cultures as Afro- Descendants the same. We all came from the same place, but we were separated along the way. The difference is a boat stop and that determined what language we spoke, and what god we looked to for hope. We forgot about our god, our language, and we had no self-identity. We were forced to become Brazilians, Cubans, Dominicans, Americans and so on, and we accepted that we have no worth or value. We live in some of the worst conditions, and even worse we let other races come into our community and open businesses and thrive. We make them rich, and sometimes they don't even give us a job. When is enough, enough? When will we start being the business owners, and not the consumer? When do we take back our pride, and our dignity, to become the strong successful people that we were born to be?       


7 comments:

  1. Very well written, and you are absolutely right. when will the people take the initiative to rise up and take care of the places they came from?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, I for one am working really hard to rebuild and invest in my community. Fighting against gentrification, and setting examples for other members in our community that think if they leave Allapattah they made it.

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  2. I saw a couple of reviews on TripAdvisor about this place, the person said it was ugly and dirty, and very disappointing. It is sad really, but there doesn't seem to be a solution.

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    Replies
    1. The solution is to take pride in ourselves and our community by rebuilding and educating our children. Investing in ourselves, our products and supporting one another.

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  3. Wow I didn't it was that bad. If the government won't help sometimes you just have to do it yourself.

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    Replies
    1. True, but that's also hard. It starts with one person, but it takes more than that, and unfortunately we don't support each other as a group.

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