I am not sure if you guys noticed, but I am Black.
I have been Black for a while, since birth in fact! Which was about 21 years ago.
Maybe a bit longer than that… but my point is that I love being Black!
I also love being American, and I have been both of those things since birth.
Through my decades long journey of being both Black and American I have encountered two things from both Americans and foreigners alike. Those two things are:
- Questioning my “American-ness”
- Affirmations that I am not American, I am in fact African.
Now I got love for my Africans and will gleefully acknowledge the fact that my ancestry is African.
I have to acknowledge the fact that as much as I love and respect Africa and am proud to be of African descent, I am not African.
Many persons of the African diaspora have never even been to Africa. This statistic has been confirmed by numerous online research, including a study done by Harvard Research Group.
Harvard Research Group also made sure to define the African diaspora as “The African diaspora consists of the worldwide collection of communities descended from native Africans or people from Africa, predominantly in the Americas.”. The spread of Africans and their descendants throughout the West was largely facilitated by the Middle Passage. The Middle Passage was defined by an online encyclopedia as ” the stage of the triangular trade in which millions of Africans were forcibly transported to the New World as part of the Atlantic slave trade”.
The Middle Passage was a journey millions of African people made aboard European slave ships during the 300-year span of the Atlantic slave trade between 1600 and 1900. Many of those descendents of the Middle Passage live in Brazil. The second highest population of them can be found in the USA.
This being affirmed, the majority of Black Americans can claim that their ancestors have been in the United States for at least a hundred years, for many of us longer!
This length surpasses that of other European groups whose straight hair and light colored eyes often allows them to claim their American status without question.
This luxury is often not afforded to Black Americans, who were forced for centuries to forget our African roots then have been forced since around 1960 to embrace them.
As proof of the attempted “Africanization” of Black Americans one can point to the push to call Black people “African-American”, forced holidays (Kwanzaa), media frenzy over perceived African attire, among other things.
Suddenly the government wanted us to “Lift every voice and Sing” instead of celebrating that the American flag was still there after morbid battles. A flag Black Americans also fought (and continue) to fight) to protect!
Now, I say this to say that I’m just as American as the banjo player in Deliverance.
I’m going to celebrate my sisters and brothers that were walking to work everyday instead of taking the bus during the Montgomery bus boycott
dream with my brothers that had a dream
and most importantly listen to all the Mamas getting beat by Harpo.
Yes, I am Black. Also I am an American.