In the very first Medium article that I wrote regarding the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) movement, I mentioned the fact that the Nation of Islam is led by Louis Farrakhan, who is the son of Caribbean immigrants. I wanted to make the point that an organization which is led by a Caribbean-American has implemented more programs to benefit Black Americans than the many of the supporters of this ADOS movement have done, yet these same people insist on presenting this Black American versus Caribbean immigrant narrative in an attempt to create more divisions among African people.
In a previous article I exposed the fact that some supporters of ADOS never speak about the fact that Caribbean people do support the struggles of Black Americans. By doing so these people create a very misleading narrative regarding the relationship between Black Americans and Caribbean people. I figured it was only a matter of time before the ADOS movement and the Nation of Islam would have public differences because many ADOS supporters would take issue with Farrakhan’s Caribbean lineage, and this has been the case.
I also figured that it was only a matter of time before these disagreements became public because of the past comments that Yvette Carnell made about Farrakhan.
The root of this current disagreement that ADOS seems to be having with the Nation of Islam is because the Final Call newspaper has published a couple of articles which have been taken to be an attack against ADOS. The first of which was an article regarding Mark Thompson and the most recent article is one regarding concerns about the division that ADOS is creating within the reparations movement. Yvette Carnell, Antonio Moore and others have accused the Final Call of writing a “hit piece” when the reality is that most ADOS supporters have refused to speak with the Final Call to present their side of the story. I can attest to the fact that Moore prefers to block people that he disagrees with rather than engage with them, so how can the Final Call be blamed for ADOS’ unwillingness to engage with others?
In my view the biggest difference between the ADOS movement and the Nation of Islam comes down to the tangible results. ADOS have been promoting the “tangibles2020” hashtag, but how many in the ADOS movement have actually built something tangible for Black Americans? This seems to be one of the issues between the Nation of Islam and the ADOS movement. The Nation of Islam has done tangible work, but many in the ADOS movement have not. This was Yvette Carnell’s response to the latest Final Call piece on ADOS.
Yvette Carnell laughs at this because she has no actual experience organizing among the diaspora, so the concept of diaspora unity is alien to her. The Nation of Islam, on the other hand, has membership throughout the diaspora. Regardless of whatever disagreements one may have with the Nation of Islam, one thing that no one can deny is that the Nation of Islam builds tangible institutions, such as the Black Agenda Building which was constructed in Trinidad.
The problem with the ADOS movement is that it is a movement promoted by people that have no real experience with Pan-African organizing and no real understanding of how interconnected the diaspora is, but they insist on commenting on that which they do not know about and as a result they assist with spreading misinformation. The other problem is, as I noted before, the ADOS movement has not produced any real tangible institutions, but insists on criticizing the organizations that have.
Those who support ADOS have accused the Final Call of attacking ADOS and writing “hit pieces”, but no one is addressing the substance of the article. Yvette Carnell herself has stated that she didn’t even read through the entire article. Some of the responses to the Nation of Islam’s articles have been to highlight the fact that Farrakhan has Caribbean ancestry. The ADOS supporters have even done the same thing to me. Rather than address the substance of the articles that I’ve written, some ADOS supporters prefer to highlight the fact that I am not an American as if that alone dismisses the points that I have made. So ADOS is not engaging in a discussion over facts and substance. Rather, the entire debate is framed around who is ADOS and who is not; its tribalism being promoted by people who seem to think that Black Americans are a separate tribe from the rest of the diaspora.
Former NFL player Burgess Owens is an American, not an immigrant. He opposes reparations, so this has never been an issue about Black Americans versus the rest of the diaspora because there are Caribbean people who support the Black American struggle and there are Black Americans who are willing to sellout their own people. It has always been an issue between those who are serious about advancing Black people and those who are not, but the ADOS movement insists on trying to draw the line between whose ancestors were enslaved in America and those whose ancestors were not. And this issue is bigger than just ADOS. We see the same divisiveness among the Caribbean islands and even among African nations. We continue to divide ourselves up based on nationality identities that were imposed on us by slavery and colonialism.
The difference between the Nation of Islam and ADOS is that the Nation of Islam has a long history of working to unite African people throughout the diaspora and has built several institutions for our people both in the United States and in other parts of the world. ADOS so far has offered nothing but more division and lots of talk.
Dwayne is the author of several books on the history and experiences of African people, both on the continent and in the diaspora. His books are available through Amazon. You can also follow Dwayne on Facebook and Twitter.