Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why I am proud of an African American Lineage


 From the moment they came out with the term "African American" for people of color I have questioned the validity of  it as it pertains to me. I cannot lie,  initially I took offense to being called African, for I was not born in Africa.  The only insight of Africa I had been told was of an uneducated people walking around a poor country with hardly any clothes.

I never really thought about it,  I considered myself  just a person of color born in America, but as the years went by and I became older and wiser and I began to research my heritage I found that there is a true story of a magnificent people that has never been told, ironically it was left out of the history books.

Today I look in the mirror and I see a caramel colored female with slightly slanted eyes  a perfectly rounded nose and full luscious lips and I see an undeniable ethnic nationality looking back at me.

 I take a look at my Brothers and Sisters and I see rainbow of  colors, beautiful colors of pecan, caramel, brown, chocolate, beige, tan every different shade of brown you can imagine, what a vast array of colors our God has made.  I am proud to be an African American because that is what God made me.

If I close my eyes and listen real close I can almost hear the beat of the drums, the dance of the Mandinka Warriors or of the chants of the Ashanti tribe calling out to each other in a mystical voice understanding every word. They are dancing because they are happy, dancing because they are free, dancing and unashamed because they are made in God's image.

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 We were once a beautiful and proud nation, our ancestors are the magnificent and undisputed, gifted Egyptians of history, the Pharaohs of old, the builder of the pyramids,

the masters of mummification, the original surgeons,  they could cut a body open and close it back up and not a mark would be left to show the incision. Now that’s  intelligence.

The Africans came from this lineage, and even though thousands of my ancestors were taken from their homeland because of jealousy and greediness, and put into small holes aboard ships not fit to hold cargo, somehow they survived, although they were beaten and starved as they made that voyage across the Atlantic, my people strong-willed and  full of pride endured the hardships.

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Free men and women were taken from their country to be slaves to another, for 400 years they were considered to be property of another, although God made them free .  For 400 years they were enslaved, beaten, made to work from sunup to sundown, they were told they were nothing, treated even worse. 

But somehow they survived, they prayed to a God that they could not see, could not touch, but they prayed anyway and  they would sing and dance the tears away.

 There oppressors often wondered, what is it about these people that keeps them going, they would often peek around the corner at the shacks (if they could be called that)on the plantations far away from the big house, but close enough to monitor.  Their shacks were no more than a few sticks put together, they did not have the luxury of a concrete floor, or a wooden one for that matter.

In the summer it was scorching. In the winter it was freezing. They would sit around the fire at night and tell stories of their homeland, they would laugh and dance and pray, yes they would pray,  for  you see it was their belief in God that kept them going, they knew somehow, someway they would overcome. Their oppressors may have taken their freedom ,they may have even taken their children and loved ones but the one thing they could not take was their spirit, their will to survive.

My ancestors endured slavery, hatred, segregation, bigotry, murder by the hundreds, rape by the thousands, separation of love ones, absconded from their kids by force, never to be seen again. We were a nation of bastards, we were not born in America but bought to America by hate.

Thankfully by the grace of God, we have overcome and we are yet overcoming.  Once a people that were forbidden to read or write, once thought of as ignobles with no intelligence or capabilities of learning, we are now inventors, judges, lawyers, doctors, teachers, preachers, authors  and the list goes on and on. We are a people proud of our heritage, proud of who we are.

African American is not who I am but what I am, It is my heritage, my culture, my nationality, it does not matter to me whether I am called Negro, Black, Colored or African American, because my Nationality or the color of my skin does not define me, I am defined by my values, standards and beliefs.

I am a beautifully made creature, brought into existence by God himself, the possibilities are limitless. I am free to be whatever or whoever I choose to be. So why am I proud to be an African American, I'm proud because I was chosen by God to continue the legacy of a Rich and Beautiful Nation.