Today is the last day of Black History Month. As it draws to a close, I still ponder a conversation I had with someone coming from Austin. He said Black people need to stop with the African Studies classes and just focus on being Black. He said we're too far removed from African ancestry for it to matter to us. I could have run directly off the road! To this day, I still can't decide if he was being sincere or fucking with me so we'd argue in order to keep me awake. Either way, it's been bugging me because some of the things he was saying had some validity and was not just fluff. Since, I've been doing research on it and I have this to say:
If it's a fact that past traumas can be encoded in our DNA (genetic research), how can it be argued that our African ancestors’ customs, culture, and ways are not relevant to us...Black Americans...today? We are being traumatized by society in the 21st century for innate behavior that WE don't even understand or know where it came from! White people don't want us here, Black people are ashamed of each other (both ghetto and bougie), and Africans don't want to associate with us because we're too much or try too hard to assimilate to the point of insult. So where do Black people fit?
This month, I noticed that every Black History program I saw or heard about represented AFRICAN history (dress, leaders, warriors, cuisine, language, spirituality, dance) with a minute infusion of a few redundant well-knowns to represent Black history. What are we really supposed to be celebrating? African History or Black History or both? We're so lost! Just searching! Blindly! Where's the rule book?
Well, I went off to search for clarity.
I learned that if you go to trauma therapy, you're assigned to directly confront your pain caused by the past and any pain you feel now is a direct reflection or symptom of past trauma known or unknown to you. So with that being said, it seems to me that there is no way Black people will get to the "just be Black people" utopia that was suggested if we ignore the trauma, history, culture, education, and idiosyncrasies of our ancestors from Africa. We just cannot. Because if we ignore it, not learn it, or learn from it, then we will never understand the mindset and behaviors of "us" today and why we do the shit we do! We're torn!
Some of us try to fit into society and basic Black culture based on "societal norms," but whose norms are we assimilating to when our intuition forces us to want to act in other ways that we don't understand (i.e., dancing, being boisterous, language, music, etc.)? Our shit was snatched from our people and attempted to be erased from all we knew! So whose rights from wrongs or couths and uncouths did we learn/are we learning?
So my position is the same: can learning our history, our AFRICAN history, teach us a lot about ourselves and who we are supposed to be, maybe would have been and possibly will be, before we were reprogrammed and lost? Or is it too late? Should we just learn how to be humanitarian toward each other and try to assimilate into the world in which we now live as simply, Black people?
Blogging is my impulse to answer questions people didn't ask me and write about truths people don't want to face. From wellness to politics, sports and death, if it's "writable," I write about it!