Dwayne Wong (Omowale) posted the notice of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's 85th birthday. I knew nothing about Omowale, so I consulted his Amazon home-page. It states that he was born in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1991.

I have not seen an explanation for his "Omowale" surname, or why he places it in parentheses, but Names.org says that "Omowale" translates to "The Son Who Comes Home" in the Nigerian-Yoruba language. This surprised me, since Guyanans typically speak English, with Hindi, Creole, Spanish, and Portugese ranking behind it. Few Guyanans, if any, speak Yoruba.

Omowale advertises himself as "Pan-African" and has written favorably about Marcus Garvey and Malcolm-X. And like Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, he describes himself as Marxist; but like Ngũgĩ, he lives in the mostly-White, capitalist United States. Like other disgruntled immigrants, he would consider racist the suggestion that he return to Guyana, or to an African nation.

As with Ngũgĩ, he embraces a double-standard. He can promote Pan-Africanism and Marxism all he wants. He likes living here. It takes away from his credibility as a supporter or representative of Pan-Africanism to enjoy the perks of a life in the White, capitalist United States. He can enjoy his life here, but his loss of self-respect will make him more resentful of it.

But more problematic than either of those things, Omowale's perception of freedom does not jive with the American emphasis on individual initiative. In a post critical of the Disney Corporation's efforts to diversify the ethnicity of it characters in animated films, Omowale writes that he considers "collective empowerment and collective freedom" as more important, since they signify "the ability to control the media."

Americans have to recognize the philosophical gulf between Omowale's thinking and the tradition of this country, which equates freedom with individual initiative and permits little restraint on the independence of the media. We have to recognize the limits of tolerance and diversity, when they conflict with our interpretation of freedom.