Table of Contents
As a United States based organization rooted in Pan-Africanism, many of our members have had conflicting opinions about our relationship to the #ADOS movement.
What Is The ADOS Movement?
According to the ADOS Movement Website:
#ADOS was started by the brain trust of Howard graduate and host of the Breaking Brown political show, Yvette Carnell, and UCLA alumnus and attorney, Antonio Moore who hosts the weekly radio show Tonetalks.
ADOS—which stands for American Descendants of Slavery—seeks to reclaim/restore the critical national character of the African American identity and experience, one grounded in our group’s unique lineage, and which is central to our continuing struggle for social and economic justice in the United States.
On the surface, ADOS claims to be an exclusively reparations oriented movement.
According to their website, a reparations recipient in the United States should meet the following criteria:
- That the recipient is able to demonstrate a lineage that ties them both to slavery in the United States, and the subsequent era of Jim Crow.
- That any African, or Black immigrant who came to the United States voluntarily after slavery would not be eligible to receive reparations, and
- That the recipient identify themselves as Black, African American, Colored, or Negro on established legal documents for at least 10 years prior to the onset of the program
ADOS has come to represent a break from other reparations movements in the United States. For example, NCOBRA – The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America – has worked since 1987 with individuals from across the African Diaspora to pass legislation that supports reparations.
Even #ADOS itself has its origins in an earlier movement founded by Norris Shelton. The term – American Descendants of Slaves – is an adaptation of Mr. Shelton’s “descendants of American slaves” — a term he sought to become an official race designation.
We were able to find a 2011 interview with Norris Shelton where he asserted the underlying premise of his movement:
On several occasions, Shelton corrects me by saying “African-American” should only be applied to new immigrants to the country. He believes the term is too imprecise to describe the relationship between the United States of America and its natural-born, dark-skinned citizens who are the descendants of slaves.America's Little Black Book
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Shelton, Norris (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
According to “America’s Little Black Book,” many of the problems that plague African-American communities (high unemployment, poverty, crime, poor test scores) are the result of the economic and mental impact of slavery on these communities. Because African-Americans have not accepted their true identity as the descendants of slaves, Shelton believes, they are as lost as their emancipated forefathers were nearly 150 years ago.
“America’s Little Black Book” says: “When slaves were turned out into the world they were ignorant, alienated, and destitute and, as of yet, none of these inherited conditions have been adequately addressed or debated. Therefore, it’s common sense to conclude that they have never been corrected. Still, the average American chooses to believe that the descendants of those abandoned slaves aren’t still slaves …”Leo Weekly, November 2011
Around 2018, the phrase and ideology reached the mainstream through social media personalities and immediately became a divisive agent between Black Americans and the rest of the Diaspora.
When sensible Black voices spoke out against the divisiveness that seemed inherent in the movement they were attacked, threatened, and labelled ‘other’, ‘non-ADOS’, or ‘coons’.
One such voice was Talib Kweli. He published his findings on the #ADOS movement in a Medium article titled ‘ Why #ADOS Is Trash. Receipts Attached. ‘ where he wrote the following:
As bad as Yvette’s Carnell’s initial unsolicited tweet to me was, her followers were way worse. They collectively decided I was a Haitian immigrant (weird flex) as a way to justify their dismissal of my position. I was born in Brooklyn. My mother was born in New Jersey and my father was born in Queens. We’ve never been Haitian. It became apparent to me very quickly that ADOS was an anti black immigrant movement when scores of ADOS accounts began to harass me, an American born citizen, for being an immigrant.
I was called a “coon”, a “sell out”, I was told to “go back to Haiti”. When I pointed out that Yvette Carnell made a YouTube video entitled “Pan Africanism Is Dead” I was told to “go back to Africa”. One ADOS person threatened to shoot me and several others, including a verified twitter user named Junot Joyner who once lost on American Idol 11 years ago, threatened to show up where I perform to physically assault me.
These bigoted and sometimes violently worded attacks came daily, by the hundreds, for almost a month straight. Supposedly pro-black ADOS folks were using the same exact hateful rhetoric that white supremacists have used on me for years in digital spaces. Something was fishy.
Soon after, the co-Founder of the #ADOS movement expanded the attack from non-African-Americans to the Pan-Africanist philosophy when she live streamed a video titled ‘Pan-Africanism is Dead’.
In that video, Yvette Carnell praised Donald Trump for calling African nations sh*tholes while dismissing the work of Africans and the African Diaspora.
Since then, #ADOS devolved into a full blown attack on anyone who does not align with their anti-immigrant philosophy.
What should Pan-Africans make of this new hashtag movement? One of the principles of Black Consciousness is ‘sankofa’ – an Akan word that translates as ‘go back and fetch it’.
In other words, we look to the wisdom of our Ancestors – and some of the greatest Pan-Africans in history – for context.
Here is what three of the ideological founders of the Pan-African Alliance had to say about the #ADOS movement.
Dr. John Henrick Clarke – ‘We Are One African Family’
Stokely Carmichael – ‘Africans Should Be The Last Ones To Claim America’
Go into any community and ask them what they are and they will say ‘Polish’ without blinking an eye. Yet our community is the only one who will deny Africa until the day we die.
Malcolm X – ‘We Dont Catch Hell Because We Are American, We Catch Hell Because We Are Black’
From the very beginning, United Black America and the Pan-African Alliance was built on the teachings of our Ancestors.
We understood that their wisdom was the result of a lifetime of experience. We honored their lifetime of sacrifice by keeping their teachings alive. And we built relationships across political and cultural borders because we know that unity is our greatest weapon against our enemy.
White supremacy became the global system that it is when the white world united across national borders to work for their shared interests. We would be wise to do the same.