February 26, 2007

As Black History Month Winds Down: Help Me Understand…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 1:19 am

Here on the LifeTrain, we should be diverse enough, loving enough and tolerant enough of each other to have healthy debates to enlighten and justify ourselves. I’m going out on a limb to evoke a little controversy, not to offend but to bring about some understanding if for no one else, at least myself.

p.s. If you haven’t guessed by now…the above was meant as a disclaimer and an a decree that we should be able to agree to disagree at times and still show the love of Christ with one another. I think it’s SO KEWL how God made us all different but the same under the lordship of his son.

My question: I am a Christian first (Born again by the Blood shed by the son of the Great “I AM”). Second, I am a child of Charles & Delores. I am an American male (God Bless America and our Soldiers!) who is B-L-A-C-K, I am a native Ohioan, A BUCKEYE BABY!

As I build to my question let me say that I am thankful for all those who fought ( and died: CLICK ) and continue to fight for the Civil rights for ALL Americans.

I want to carefully acknowledge the blood, sweat, sacrifices and tears of all those people; black people, white people, women, our US SOLDIERS (and the list goes on and on…). I think it is important that we forever remember and appreciate all those people who laid it on the line. In addition let us acknowledge that the fight is NOT over and there are those who continue to lay it on the line so that we as a people, one nation, under God, can Salute “OUR” FLAG. So, having said all of the above help me understand why would we want to be called anything other than Americans…period.

As the Train pulls out of the station this morning can we put down the newspapers, books, MP3 Players and discuss, for instance, why I as an AMERICAN black male would want to be called African American?

I have good reason for saying this. Most black people aren’t actually from Africa. They were born here, right in the good old USA. So they are Americans. Not anything else. If I meet someone who moved here from Africa, I would probably say they are an African-American. But everyone else is American.

I think it’s kind of sad that we as a people separate ourselves this way. I think many blacks complain about the separation of the races, and yet some of us insist on calling ourselves a name that completely removes us from the general population. We teach our children to be color-blind, but we force them to notice color by saying “African-American”.

I feel strongly that we as people should acknowledge those who bleed and died for our rights to be treated as equal Americans and not insulting them by embracing a country that as far as I know does nothing to embrace black Americans.

Also, Africa is a nation of continents… Would it not be more accurate to say something to the effect of being Kenyan American, or Nigerian American…which is it, the list goes on and on …Egypt etc. etc.?

Further to my point, I am reminded of a television interview I saw many years ago. A reporter from one of the major US television networks (I forget which one) was interviewing black British athlete Kriss Akabusi after being a member of the 400 meters relay team that took the gold medal at the 1991 Athletics World Championships. The interviewer started off with:

“So, Kriss, what does this mean to you as an African-American?”

“I’m not American, I’m British”

“Yes, but as a British African-American …”

“I’m not African. I’m not American. I’m British.”

This went on for some time before the reporter got so flustered that she gave up and went to interview someone else. I guess more than anything else it demonstrates the potential absurdity of political correctness — this reporter was so tied-up with the idea that the “correct” term for someone of afro-caribbean ancestry was African-American and not Black that she couldn’t cope with the fact that many black people are neither African nor American.

I am an American…God Bless America, and all those who want to come to America to be “AMERICANS”.

Ok …”ALL” my Brothers and Sisters, Black, White, Asian…etc etc. Lemme here from you. All you have to do is click on “comments” and add your two cents.

3 Comments »

  1. Interesting. I think that the whole “African-American” thing came about in the ’80s when we Black and proud Black folks were trying to get corporate jobs. The applications listed all of the other multiculturally and politically correct categories of race, like Asian-American, Latino, Mexican-American, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, Native American, etc. When it came time to check our box, we were still what James Brown said we were.. Black. Some people probably felt that the term “Black” didn’t meet the politically correct, upper crust of society, movin’ on up to the East side, IBMish, one-foot-in-the-ghetto-and-one-foot-out definition of who we were.

    Personally, I consider myself to be Black. I do not identify with Africa because I was not born or raised there. I do not feel the need to go back to Africa to get my identity. It’s sort of like working your tail off to buy a house and pay it off, then claiming that it’s someone else’s. Our ancestors worked their tails off to contribute to every single facet of American history and culture, and we deserve the right to have our own identity. White people don’t claim to be “British Americans” or “Irish Americans” or “European Americans” or anything else for that matter. They’re just White. It’s only minorities who have to get so hung up on the specifics.

    So that’s what I am too.. Black. And that’s it.

    Anyway, that’s my take on it.

    Comment by Gerri — February 26, 2007 @ 7:13 pm

  2. Interesting thoughts, Bro. Chuckie. My background is Irish, Cherokee, French, and English, so does that make me an Irish-Cherokee-French-English American? (And, that’s just what I know of! I probably have some other mixes in there.) In the dog world I would be a “mutt.” But, bottom line, I am an American… to me, that is what being an American is all about, the fact that we have such a diverse background of ethnic pasts, yet all get “rolled up” into this thing that we call “American!” So, whether we are white, black, brown, red, or any other color (green for my alien friends) we are all people, and we are all equal under God. And THAT is what matters! All God’s children, all seeking His best!

    Comment by Dr, Bill Bailey — February 28, 2007 @ 11:49 am

  3. This is a great website, I will share it it with others..

    Comment by Gerri Sims — January 5, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

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