Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Millenial Imagination

In the last semester of my college experience , I took a course that impacted me in more way than I thought it would. The course was designed to reshape and challenge your thinking and encourage you to stretch your imagination in order to bring about social change. The course was called "Millennial Imagination", very fascinating stuff, but without getting into that much detail about the course I will say that there was a passage in one of the books that stood out to me particularly. It was called "Reclaiming the Language"". The concept basically was to take a term that is used and has a perceived purpose or definition and then assessing it and breaking down its meaning
Well I thought of a term that, when I used the "reclaiming the language" technique on it, really didn't sit well with me. This term in "African American". I can't stand this term. I think its a cop out and an inaccurate means to describe all Black people in America.

Point 1

Primarily my issue with this term is the use of the word African. No dis to my African peoples but I'm really not African, wasn't born there and really don't identify with that culture whatsoever. So why would I use this term to describe me? A lot of people would be upset to read this but please "hear me out" (as Dead Mike would say). Why do I have to identify with an entire continent that consists of 53 countries? You hear any white people claiming the whole of Europe? Nope! Do we accept this terminology in order to pay homage to an unfortunate displacement brought about by ignorance hatred and laziness (slavery I mean)? If so, I'd rather not. Honestly I believe that because of the youth of our nation we all as Americans cling so desperately to our "roots" because we feel like it gives us a sense of cultural identity hence, the reference to African American. Africa is made up of countries who all maintain and continue there own individual cultures and for us to claim the ENTIRE continent I feel is frankly a little ignorant.

Point 2

We (American Black people) aren't the only Black people in the world who were enslaved and now reside in another part of the world far away from Africa. Most countries in South America and "the islands' all contain black people with African ancestry who have adopted the culture of whatever country they live in without claiming Africa the way we do. To be quite honest they may be less far removed genetically from their African ancestors. They identify themselves with the country they live and I believe this is a step that needs to be taken in our country. Talk about "Millennial Imagination"! How crazy would it be if we identified ourselves only as Americans (of course this is most likely not an option but just imagine for a second)....I just think that it gets kind of ridiculous when Black people get into explaining there ancestry. I asked this chick her ethnicity and she replied "I'm PuertoRican, Brazilian, and Black." WTF does that mean?!?! That could be a combination of ANY race...

I like to keep it simple and just say I'm Black because to me, Black American is a culture in itself that I am proud to be apart of and If I HAVE to categorize myself by color (which it seems I do) ill keep it Black. I'm not saying that if you can trace back your ancestry that you shouldn't claim it. I just believe that when we stop clinging to the past maybe we can move forward as a collective and truly become that "melting pot" they taught us about in Social Studies. We as Black Americans have worked so hard to become equal here and have made contributions that were and are paramount in our countries success. I say we should claim it. But that just Jonny Casanovas opinion...

Honestly Id love to hear your thoughts on this (i usually wouldn't do this but...) hit the comment box if you feel so compelled. I really want to know others opinions.

No comments: