Black Identity Crisis in America: How do you identify yourself?

Lately,one of the most controversial topics of discussion that has the black community uneasy is Raven Symone’s undermining of her cultural roots in her televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The black community reacted in upheaval by expressing their frustration on various social sites. During the interview  Symone identified herself as being solely an American and not wanting to be labeled as “African-American”. Symone’s preference of being called American, definitely exudes her patriotism, but makes her look (in my opinion) ignorant and unappreciative of her culture. Numerous people of the black community, (Africans,African-Americans,West-Indian, bi-racial,etc.)who had seen or heard by word of mouth, were either  baffled, dumbfounded or you can even say offended. However,the common emotion the black community shares is utter outrage.

It’s sad to know that there was a period where OUR history was disallowed. Black history was not to be mentioned, much less taught. The goal was to assimilate our people and brainwash the minds of African-Americans.It’s heart-aching to know that there was a time in which we didn’t matter, after all the contributions the Black community had done to develop the American nation.

In this circumstance it would seem common, even justifiable for me to join the fellow angered population,but I will not. I believe Raven Symone, just like the large list of “people” (maybe I should call them brown people) who do not want to be categorized as Africans, possess the constitutional right to exercise their freedom of speech. They are allowed to be liberated human beings with their own beliefs, thoughts, and judgement even if “we” (the people who share the same color) disagree.

My personal concern with the black/colored community of America in general, is the need for identification and feeling of belonging. We all know America is a melting pot which is composed of myriad nationalities and cultural backgrounds.However, racial ancestry indeed proves that black/brown people are all direct descendants of Africans. There are so many stereotypes surrounding Africans and I believe that is why there are current “black Americans” who do not wish to identify their selves as African-American. Quite frankly, I perceive their logic as senseless and hypocritical.

  • Why do you not want to be associated with Africans?
  • Is African culture a disgrace to you ?
  • When the word African, precedes American does it make you feel dehumanized or less American?

I just want to say this to all those out there who are Black Americans. The HIStory being taught in American educational systems is not the complete story, it is just a small synopsis of a much larger and in depth novel. So if you think your ancestry begins with slavery and ends with the civil rights movement, then my precious darlings you have so much more to learn.  I say this because I am the product of the American public school system.Each year,since my enrollment in school, teachers taught the same boring, repetitive black history curriculum. The black history lessons became less exciting to me.However, during my junior year of college I took a Black studies course and my horizons were broadened, Although I’d love to list all the things I’ve learned, I will save my readers the agony. Let’s just say the information I acquired within that 4 month course is powerful enough to remain with me for a lifetime.

The point I am making is, if it wasn’t for that course I probably would not want to be categorized as African-American. Then I would be lost, trying to find something to identify myself with.

If you are not African or  a descendant of Africans, then what are you ? who are you?

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