To give a slight recap of a 39 page train-wreck, it started out with someone asking why must they be anything other than Black, just because their hair is a certain texture/curl pattern. It was innocent enough, and brought about discussions of race in the U.S. Some of the comments were enlightening. And then there were......other comments.
Not to give light to disagreements or any more attention to certain individuals, but the person I'm referencing believed that anyone who doesn't call themselves African was denying their African heritage. And we're viewed as African and that's what it is and anything contrary speaks of hatred of self and that you're trying to distance yourself from your roots.
*takes deep breath*
Obviously I disagree. Labels are just that, and I think you can't judge or measure a person's motivations by JUST a label. Racial and ethnic classifiers are not the same. I typically call myself Black, which by default, acknowledges that I am primarily of African descent. There is no question or argument there, nor have I EVER tried to deny or distance myself from this fact. You can look at me and see that my roots are more African than European or anything else. But to tell people they are African when ethnically and technically, they are not, can be problematic. Imposing your views as TRUTH is problematic. Having an almost superiority complex because you think you're at some level of acceptance that others just haven't reached is problematic.
- I am an American of African descent. I just say Black, which is inclusive of the fact that I have African blood in me. Calling myself African American and Black, both are technically incorrect, but we live in a country where labels "define" us. Race as a social construct has done nothing but divide us. *sigh*
- I am NOT African, as it is an ethnicity and technically, I am American as my family has been in this country for more than 6 generations. Culturally, I am what America is: a conglomerate of many cultures of the many people who live here.
- By not calling myself African DOES NOT mean I'm denying my African lineage. Far from it. And any assumptions of denial are just flat out WRONG. Plain and simple.
- Being African isn't just being of African descent. I respect my African brothers and sisters far too much to claim an ethnicity I'm ignorant of. Meaning, I know of Africa but I don't not know of Africa in the way those who are African-BORN know of the continent. Me acknowledging that doesn't equal self-hatred. It speaks to someone who thinks BELOW the surface.
I don't know what it is about race discussions in this country, whether it involves the majority and the minority or any other combination in between that brings out such ugliness, but if I've learned ANYTHING from that discussion is that we still have much to work on as people, collectively and individually.
We don't have to agree with each other, but we should be able to have meaningful and MATURE dialog that helps contribute to overall enlightenment. NOT divisiveness. If you're not open-minded to anything that differs from your opinion, it's best to not engage because you won't change anyone's mind and they won't change yours. You're not about learning. You're about imposing your beliefs as truth. Funny how many of the issues in this country's past(and subsequent present) started out with imposing forced beliefs on denigrated individuals.
Food for thought.
What do you all think?