The media was inundated with the slogan BLACK LIVES MATTER. There were multiple protests after what happened to Mike Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York. I don’t want to discuss these situations specifically, just wanted to point out that, yes, BLACK LIVES should matter. ALL LIVES SHOULD MATTER.
I am not happy about any of these murders. Yet, we as a society created what is happening now. We are all a little responsible. America has never been honest about race relations in this country – NEVER. We have never had honest dialogue. You can’t expect people from multiple ethnic groups to come to a country and just meld together and there not be issues…especially when some of those people were forced here.
The Africans were expected to mimic Europeans from the beginning – it was not OK to be anything that resembled African. The Africans were not allowed to keep any part of their culture. Every other ethnic group that has come to this country has been allowed to keep some part of their culture. Even the Jewish people still were able to keep a lot of what made them Jewish. The Native Americans were still able to hold onto their traditions as well. That is the part a lot of people don’t get. Black Americans are probably more American than anybody because we don’t have a country to go to and say that’s where my great-great-great grandfather was from and this is the language he spoke.
Therefore, black culture started in America. Remember: there is distinction between black Americans and Africans. I personally do not use the term African American because it does not appropriately describe me – I am not from Africa and don’t know the country or tribe of any of my ancestors. I am an American. Even an African will tell you how American I am (true story). The term African-American needs to be retired anyway. A person can either be an American of African descent or a native African – those are the choices.
Raven Symone, from The Cosby Show and That’s So Raven fame, said it best in an interview with Oprah back in October. She said she doesn’t believe in labels and that is what hurts this country. She was right. I’m a little older than Raven and been saying the same thing for years! Raven stood up and said “I’m not African American.” She basically said society is not going to label her anymore. She is an American who is of African descent and European ancestry. I applaud her for speaking up on this issue because it needs to be done. If we get more Raven Symones speaking out this country will be what he should have been years ago.
America is notorious for wanting to categorize everything – if they can’t put you in a simple box than they get uncomfortable. Black slaves had “relations” with white indentured servants which created a lot of biracial children. Eventually an anti-miscegenation law was created to stomp all of it out. It also created this new idea of ignoring the white history of these biracial children. That is how we deal with things in this country…that is why President Obama is still considered a black man by society instead of a biracial man. The silly laws put in place hundreds of years ago still affect people today. I’m glad more young people are standing up and saying “you can’t tell me how to identify myself”. Whether they are biracial, gay, or whatever it is.
Race relations can’t get better because people don’t want to be honest. The truth is many Europeans treated brown people terribly for many years in this country. Brown people were told they are only supposed to speak English, straighten their hair, dress the way we dress, believe in our Christian faith and this was suppose to make people all live in harmony for how long? The young people are rising up and fighting back now. They are letting older Americans know you can’t keep this up. Brown people will no longer be told how to wear their hair because it makes you comfortable, how we are supposed to dress, what God to believe in, and that we can’t claim our European ancestry.
Once we get past this…we can get better. I hope the best for 2015.