WARNING: NO KNITTING CONTENT FOLLOWS!!!
This month is February and so that means it's African-American History Month in the United States. I have many things to say about this time of year and I figured why not tell you guys.
For the past 500 years, the history of the Western Hemisphere has been a clash of different peoples from different places. Some from Europe (by curiosity, or for more riches, or to spread the word of God), some from Africa (most likely by force), and some that were already here (Indians, or as I like to call them, Indigenous people). Years later, as a result of these clashes, countries were formed and more different people started to come. Some from China and Japan (they went to places like Cuba and Brazil). Some from India (most of them went to Jamaica and Guyana), and even more Europeans (like Italians and Germans that went to Argentina and the United States).
Presently, we live in a world in which race is paramount to describing not only how you look, but who you are as a person. This bothers me to no end because even if the assumption of me is a positive one, it's just an assumption, not a fact. Basing the personality or characteristics of a person on their physical features is poor judgement and leaves the observer less knowledgeable of that individual than before they even saw them.
Recently, the head coach for the Indianapolis Colts, Tony Dungy, became the first African-American to lead his team to the Super Bowl and win the big game. This is great and all, however, when does Tony Dungy stop being African and start being called just "American"? When does someone stop being Chinese-American and can be simply called "American". Not to be cynical, but why do those that identify themselves as "white" are the only ones allowed to be non-hyphenated "Americans".
What we need is a re-evaluation of who we are as a people and how we all got here (Americans) so that we can properly name ourselves. Though I was born in America, the culture I grew up in was Guyanese, yet in some applcations, the only option I have is to be "black" or "African-American". The reality is that my skin is not black, I've never been to Africa, and the only thing American about me is my birth. It's not enough to say "I'm Black" because it is vague. There are "black" (I call them, "people of African descent") people in Columbia, Haiti, and Brazil. And though they do share a common ancestor, "black" people from these countries do not share the same culture. They don't even speak the same language!
So where am I going with this? What am I trying to say? I think it's important to know where you come from. I also believe that it is necessary to look at the past objectively, and not blame present-day descendants of people who have done bad things to your ancestors in the past. Let's all not allow diversity to be a dividing factor, but a means to mutual respect, genuine interest in each other's cultures, and a learning experience for all involved.
So, what do you guys think? I would really like to know. And don't be afraid to not agree with me on this one. I figured that this blog was the perfect place to get my message out there.