Intercultural Life at Lake Forest College
Black to Africa
By Monisha Dillard ‘12
I was reading an article on the website colorlines.com when I came across the following comment in response:
“PS I’m black- not African American, just an American who has darker skin.”
I really don’t have too many words in response to this, but I just wish that I could sit face to face with this individual to really evaluate how truly ridiculous they are and inquire if they know the depths of their stupidity.
…ok, I won’t say stupidity. I won’t devalue any one’s feelings. But, come on!
“American who has darker skin?” Where does this person believe the darker skin came from?
AFRICA! That’s where!!!
I’m so tired of hearing people reject their ancestral roots in Africa. By disowning Africa, African Americans everywhere are boldly stating that slavery didn’t happen. Why yes, our ancestors anxiously awaited to board the lovely cruise ships of the 1400s in search of a new world and a new life where they could rid themselves of all culture and traditions only to leave their descendants even more lost, confused, and withdrawn. That’s exactly what happened.
And when that was happening purple cows were flying in Antarctica.
Ok, I’m going to chill with some of the sarcasm.
But seriously, in America we do not talk about, deal with, or accept responsibility for slavery; only one example of genocide that occurred on American soil. Because we have not dealt with our disturbing past, a whole population of people is left making comments and embracing mentalities that detach them from the little bit of culture that African Americans can identify with. Yes, it’s the whole continent (because Africa isn’t a country), but it’s as close as many of us will ever get to knowing where our people, our ancestors, our families come from.
It’s just really sad that many choose to neglect the past. I don’t understand why so many African Americans even choose to wholeheartedly embrace a country (U.S.) that doesn’t accept or support the little culture and presence that we have created for ourselves this side of the Atlantic Ocean. I believe that we can only claim to be American by place of birth, but this place that we call home, that we blindly cling to as our full identity, treats us like the ugly ducklings. Yes there are benefits to being American and there have been many examples of cultural acceptance. Yet, even in the age of a Black/African American/bi-racial President, the way that the media portrays African Americans tends to be less than desirable.
As for me, I’m African American. I will never denounce the struggle of my ancestors and the glorious pride of the queens and kings unwillingly dethroned to build this country without any gratitude or even an apology. When America won’t accept me, my skin says that the golden sun of Africa will.
…but what do I know?