- Posted June 1, 2009 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Say it Loud, I’m African, Black, American and Proud
Let me ask a question: “If an orange fall from a tree, roll into the ocean, wash ashore on another continent and cause a tree to grow, would that tree bear apples?” Of course not-- it will bear oranges. Likewise the Africans who long ago “washed ashore” in America, have bore African children every since. From day one when Africans were enslaved and brought to American, they have did everything they could, under the circumstances to not only retain their (our) African culture, make progress in face of overwhelming odds, and we (African-Americans) if you will, have played a major role in the liberation of the black nations in Africa by putting pressure on the U.S. and other governments. I will even go so far as to say that every other minority in America (white women, Hispanics, Asian, Arabs, Africans, etc) have benefited greatly from the suffering and successes of African-Americans in our struggle for freedom. So, especially if you are an African coming to the U.S., part of the respect you get from whites is because of what African-Americans have already done. Although it may be an attempt to divide you from African-American (remember the cause of the massacre in Rwanda?) Imagine coming here from an African country 50 or 60 years ago, you would have been treated just like any other African American. Furthermore, the techniques, slogans, and songs we African-Americans used in our 60’s struggle have been employed by many in their struggle. For example, when Chinese students rose in Tineniman (spelling?) Square, as I observed footage, I seen the song title “We Shall Overcome” on a board carried by a student.
People like Racy (see Black Skin in America, Not Good), and unfortunately some of our African brothers and sisters, and some African-Americans, just have no idea of how brutal the slavery experience was (hanging was the least brutal) and they don’t realize that when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, in 1863, that did not end the oppressive conditions which Africans in America suffered. I’m only 53 years old and I’m from Mississippi and I can still remember the “White Only” signs and all the other awful conditions African-Americans suffered. If you really want to get down to it, real opportunity for the masses of African-Americans didn’t start until after the Civil Right Movement in the 1960’s and the Voting Right Act was passed, I think in the 70’s. Likewise, most Africans countries began to see liberation in the 1960’s, in part because of what African-Americans did here, even while waging our own battle. I also admit and I’m thankful that Africans in Africa, through the United Nations, put as much pressure on the U.S. to assist African-Americans in gaining their freedoms. But keep in mind the Pan-African Movement started with African-Americans. I don’t say this to give all credit for the Pan-African movement to African-Americans, but only to point out to Africans that you have much to thank African-Americans for, just as we have much to thank Africans in the Motherland for.
All of those things Racy say of African-Americans, these things are said about all Africans by those who would have the world believe we are a lazy people. But if African-Americans were so lazy and worthless as many think, then how do you explain that—in face of overwhelming odds and hardships—we have manage to come so far, even helping create the conditions for Obama to be in the White House. You can only get a real appreciation for what African-Americans have done, if you only knew where we have come from. When I say where we come from, I’m talking about the moment Africans were kidnaps, put in the holes of ships, “seasoned” in the islands and then shipped to North or South America as slaves for more brutal treatment. But in spite of all our problems we never forgot our brothers and sisters in Africa. It was African-Americans putting pressure on Washington DC, through among other things such as the Sullivan Principles, to put pressure on South African to abolish Apartheid. We have been politically active in nearly every struggle—including Darfur for African liberation—while handling our own problems. On the culture side an African-American created Kwanzaa which has roots in Africa and is celebrated by some in Africa, America, and other places.
I submit to you the whole world, especially the worlds of people of color (i.e. including untouchables) have been made much better—in terms of how they are treated by America—and white (not just European) people—because of the struggle of African-Americans to defeat white supremacy the world over. For sure America is much better off, even for whites, because of the struggles of African-Americans. But for this we are sometime branded trouble makers. But no, we are not trouble makers, we are problem identifiers and solvers. We have vocally pointed out to America its short comings and made demands and recommendations that would make America serve all of her citizen. As we Blacks sometimes say, we are the conscious of America when it comes to social, human and civil right issues. And since America is a superpower and has much influence in the world, then others should thank African-Americans for what we have done to make this country more fair not only to us, but for everyone, especially other people of color in the world, which is probably three quarters of the world population.
Yes, many African-Americans and others too, after having tried so long, after having been turned down for job after job, after being the victim of every imaginable game in economics, politics, educations, and religion. After all this many African-Americans have just given up and turn to drugs and crimes (these are the African-Americans who get much air time especially in foreign countries) . What do you expect when you steer and hem a people up in ghettos and other red-lined urban areas and deny them basic services, and prevent them from doing for themselves (remember Tulsa, Oklahoma: Black Wall Street). Then send in the police to harass and hold the people in a virtue prison. What you get is people with all sort of social and psychological problems.
But I say that in spite of the entire obstacle we have faced since day 1 of slavery, we indeed have nearly over come. In spite of all that others say about us African-Americans, (mostly out of jealousy, envy and ignorance) there’s no people on earth who have underwent the depth of depravation that we have suffered, yet have rose to the level we have to make all the positive contribution to this country and the world. It was once said that the Black man is the most copied man on the planet. I’ll tell you people have been studying us—Africans—for centuries and using what they find to better their situation, while suppressing us.
But the bottom line for Africans and African-Americans is we are in the same boat—HELLO!—together.