I’m An African-American
I often hear Conservatives, whether they are black or white, suggest that Blacks should not call themselves “African-Americans”, because it implies, somehow, that Blacks are trying to separate themselves from the rest of American society. That is far from being true.
Blacks, who refer to themselves as African-Americans, do so as matter of “inspiration” and not “separation.” My reason for calling myself an African-American is because I wanted to develop a positive self-esteem in my children. It is the Left that uses the word African-American for separation.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, Get Ready to Be Challenged and Encouraged, PART 2, the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 (Message Translation), “… I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view.”
Please take a few minutes to enter my world and try to understand things for my viewpoint.
Slavery started in 1619, when the first slave ship dropped anchor in Jamestown, Virginia. Before the United States formally became a sovereign nation in 1776, Blacks were already enslaved on this soil. In essence, the United States was birthed in slavery.
Referring to myself as a Black American or American, without any appreciation of my African heritage, suggest that my “historical starting point” is slavery. It was Frederick Douglass who gave me clarity.
As Douglass tells us in his autobiography, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, as a six year-old, he struggled with the thought that God had ordained him to be a slave for life. Then, he heard the stories from his grandmother, who told him that his ancestors from Africa were a free people. This was an eye-opener for Douglass. He finally grasped the fact that his true “historical starting point” was fixed in Liberty―not slavery in America. Douglass learned he had a heritage of free and productive people―scholars, mathematicians, scientists, architects and innovators.
“When yet but a child about six years old, I imbibed [received into the mind] the determination to run away… I heard some the old slaves talking of their parents having been stolen from Africa by white men, and were sold here as slaves… Very soon after this, my Aunt Jinny and Uncle Noah ran away… From that time, I resolved that I would someday run away.”
Douglass learned, through the power of storytelling, that his ancestors were stolen from their African homeland and sold into bondage. He learned that originally his relatives were free people and not slaves. In short, these stories sparked Douglass’ inborn passion for Liberty. He began to dream of one day being a free man.
One’s awareness of a “positive past” can serve as a great motivator for rejecting slave master or slave government dependency and achieving a “positive future”. For example, at the time of his death in 1895, Douglass had amassed $300,000 in savings—more than $10 million dollars in today’s money.
The one thing freedom activists hold dear is the spirit of freedom. Yet, many of them suggest that I abandon my rich African legacy of Liberty and refer to myself only as an American or Black American. America is my home and Africa is my DNA.
TO BE CONTINUED