In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,
“I never understand how Black people whine about having too few Black super heroes but don’t mind not having any Black super powers.” — Onitaset Kumat
Like many African people, when I was younger I was familiarized with white super heroes and was often asked what super power I would want. This is an allegory detailing that thinking of ‘super powers’ isn’t only a child’s game. Every Black person, everywhere in the world, should aspire to have this super power!
The Allegory of the Black Super Hero Program or
The Only Superpower Black People Should Aspire to Have
By Onitaset Kumat
When I was fourteen-years-old, I was among a small group of children selected for a pilot program at my school. A fresh out of grad-school white child psychologist had noticed that young Black children were as interested in comic books and cartoons as white children, so he devised a program to assist children in selecting future occupations for themselves. The program was to encourage Black kids to use their imagination by declaring what ‘super powers’ they would want; after sorting out why that power was chosen, the organizers would explain to the child what skills they needed to make that dream a reality.
I sat in a room of fourteen other kids. One-by-one, we were interviewed by the white psychologist and four white teachers. When the first child said “Flight, to travel to school faster,” the teachers recommended a career in aeronautical engineering to craft a jetpack. When another child said “Invisibility, to walk into the girls bathroom and scare them,” the teachers suggested a career in physics to study optics. Another child said, “Superspeed,” and she was informed of a career in physical therapy. Another wanted to heal people and medicine was the obvious recommendation. A few more children went before me and every white person was impressed with the Black imagination–until it was my turn.
“Oni!” the teachers called me in. “What super power would you like?”
I looked at these white people and asked, “Can I have any super power?”
“Absolutely. Suppose you were a superhero and you wanted to save people. What super power would you want?” the lead psychologist asked.
“And I can’t get in trouble?” I said looking at my teacher who stood there with a false grin.
“No, this is a no judgment zone. We just want to help you pick a career.”
“I know what I want to do,” I boasted.
Frustrated, the psychologist demanded, “Well, answer anyway. What super power would you like?”
I had an answer, but I wasn’t sure how it would pan off. I paused momentarily. Glanced at my teacher and said, “Nigeria.” These white people were confused and asked me to repeat myself. I did, “Nigeria.” They figured I didn’t understand what a super power was. They asked if I understood, I assented and repeated “Nigeria.”
“Oni, a super power is flight, super strength, being able to talk to animals!” my teacher snarled.
But I rebutted, “america, russia and soon china are all super powers; I want Nigeria to be a super power.”
The teachers looked at me with anger. The psychologist, however, still wet behind the ear, asked me “Why?”
I told him, “If I want people to be saved or helped, it’s upon me to have a super power that caters to the people I want to save or help. You white people have america and russia. The chinese people have china. If Black people had nigeria, we wouldn’t need super heroes, we’d have a super power.”
The psychologist couldn’t help but ask, “Do you say Nigeria because you are from there?”
I admitted, “I do not know where I am from. But Nigeria is roughly 15% of Africa’s population. It doesn’t take a high school degree to tell why I think Nigeria should be a super power.”
“You may be seated,” the psychologist blankly told me. I didn’t bother to ask what career recommendation the teachers had. I knew that there was no career in america that would develop Nigeria into a super power. And besides from that, the program was discontinued after I took my seat. Too many Black kids heard of the only super power worth having and the teachers lost all faith in the psychologist; to this day he hasn’t found work.
That’s why, I never understand how Black people whine about having too few Black super heroes but don’t mind not having any Black super powers. It takes a power for a people to be heroic; and if Black people want a super power, their only career option is to be Pan-Africanists.