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In December, my students completed a research project about their ancestors and instead of having a Christmas party, we had a Multicultural Celebration. Students adorned 3-sided boards with the customs, culture, daily dress and flag of the continent or country of their ancestry. They were also required to bring in a food dish to share with their classmates in place of the expected Christmas cookies and cakes. I ate cream pies from Italy, fried plantains from Haiti, empanadas from El Salvador and fried chicken from....Georgia, USA.
I was crushed! In fact 3 "African-American" students didn't even complete the project! But deep down inside, I can't blame them because perhaps they truly don't know what continent their family roots originate.. If your Asian- your family's from Asia.. If your Spanish (not Hispanic, there is a difference) your family is from Spain; Italian, your roots are in Italy. But what about me? I've been referred to as black, but clearly I'm not black like the color! More so a shade of brown!
Okay, let's use the widely accepted term "African-American." Why not just African? Are we afraid of being called what we are or is it because we don't assimilate with true Africans? And what happens when a child is born in...Australia? Do we call them African-Australian? (I sincerely would like to know.) Thus we are left with an oxymoron which means we have no identity. Do recall that when our ancestors, who were true Africans, were kidnapped and brought over, they too were scalped of their identities.
Perhaps this term is just another avenue in which society has mastered a way to divide us as a people. I can recall an intense letter to my father some years back in regards to the "culture" of our people. I called it: Not by choice, but by destiny! My theories address the manner in which "black" people came to exist in the world and how it was determined way before we were given surnames!
If you choose to read Not by choice, but by destiny!, please comment! It would mean so much to me!
Not by choice, but by destiny!
A partially researched view of the evolution of African descendants living in America in the 21st century. The term "black" will be used considering this is an accepted reference to descendants of African slaves.
1. Why are we as black people so divided?
THEN: As thousands of kidnapped Africans laid side by side or rather on top of each other in a 12x12x12 room, they fought each other to breath, they fought one another to eat, and fought to see the light of day . They argued with each other trying to do the same thing: survive in a world unknown and unimagined.
NOW: Why is it that other races and cultures constantly embrace each other while "black" people are constantly degrading one another? The easiest way to defeat an enemy is to divide and conquer! As long as we are thinking separately, we will never amount to anything. "Black" people were the strongest during the Civil Rights when we all wanted the same thing, to be considered equal. Now that we are considered equal, WE are dividing ourselves yet again.
2. Why do people believe that light skinned women are more beautiful than dark skinned women?
THEN: I'm sure you're well informed of how the "house niggers" were determined. The lighter you were the more opportunity you had to work in the kitchen or as a nanny to the master's children. In fact, masters purposely slept with slaves to produce light skinned slaves. Unambiguously creating a sense of inferiority amongst the masses. Light skinned slaves were "cleaner" in the sense of not having to work in the fields and dark skinned slaves were considered "dirty" as they sweat and worked in the heat all day.
NOW: Lil Wayne disgust me with a bar that clearly would be a smack in the face to his daughter, "beautiful black woman, I bet that bitch look betta red.." It is the comments like this that continue to divide us!
3. Why do black women wear weaves or process their hair?
THEN: Most slaves who worked in the house were mulatto or bi-racial creating lighter skin and less kinky hair. They were the "elite" group of the slaves and all others were considered less worthy. Additionally, they were able to travel with the family to ensure the children were kept under control. Their features were so similar to that of their white masters, that they often "passed" as family members.
NOW: Most "black" women are obsessed with flashy things and do things in order to gain the attention of others. I am at fault for this myself- I want to be accepted by others! In order to get noticed you gotta flaunt what you got. The same happened in the slave days. If a slave wanted a better life for her children she had to look the part and give up the goods to have mulatto children. If you've never seen the movie Queen with Halle Berry, this movie puts interacial slaves into prospective. Mulatto children were even raise amongst white children and we're never mixed with slaves as to keep the child from being tainted. Division.
4. Why is the black family so dysfunctional?
THEN: It started the day Africans were kidnapped in the middle of the night. Established as they separated men, women and children. Solidified when they sent Africans their separate ways on boats to different continents and perpetuated when they sold slaves to plantation masters. Since Esteban Du Sable first stepped on American soil, the black family has been dysfunctional.
NOW: On American soil we were never given the opportunity to hold Delegates Meetings in order to establish the Constitution of Black People. We were simply told what to do and when to do it, so when maintaining a family was on our own shoulders, the concept was completely foreign. Although we try, we continuosly fail because our road map was never truly developed. And thus, we travel at different speeds, at different times in different directions. We've lost our sense of community. Together we exist, but as separate entities.
5. Why are black men so promiscuous?
THEN: After the birth of a light skinned baby to the woman he'd been courting, male slaves were forced to accept that they had no control over what their women did when it came to their masters. Instead they had an interest in correcting the problem and began impregnating as many women as possible.
NOW: Initially an effort to ensure the longevity of African blood has turned into a 21st century massacre! More and more "black" women are reported as having HIV over their European equal. Whether we blame it on a lack of protection or a wrong decision, consequently one more woman loses a life and the bloodline of African descendants in America slowly fades.
To be answered tomorrow:
6. Why do black men leave black women to raise black children on their own?
7. Why are black people the face of most entertainment businesses?
8. Why are black women considered angry?
9. Why do blak men find a safe haven in gangs?
10. Why do black men wear jewelry?