AfriGeneas Writers Forum
Our Past, Our Present, Our Future
I came across a statement that, in my opinion, says much about the outcome of slavery in this country.
In essence, the passage identified slaves as 'orphans' who had lost their ancestors and history through the very act of being captured, and removed from their homeland and all that was familiar. They came from disparate tribes, with conflicting languages and customs. As a result, they were forced to invent a culture that united them, and that culture became the historical context within which their modern-day descendents should be viewed.
My remembrance of Alex Haley's production of 'Roots' also presented the public with this view of the captured African's predicament. In Alex Haley's epic, I was able to visualize a shipload of 'bodies' being transported to they knew not where, without even the benefit of a common language that could assist them in providing succor for each other.
What tremendous obstacles these people were able to overcome, only to have their achievements sidelined by the current debates such as who is 'black' enough, who has a 'plantation' mentality, or what the meaning of 'African American' is.
I apologize to them all, whether they are my ancestors or not. I, too, have been guilty of falling into the trap where common sense is relegated to a dark corner from which it is ignored.
At the same time, I pay homage to those black people who, while they may not have been slaves, also suffered tremendously from the effects of discrimination. In my opinion, whether they were slave or free, they ALL deserve my undying loyality and gratitude.
P.S. Sorry to expound like this, but this is something I felt the need to express.
It is my habit to write down words and phrases I come across in my readings. The thoughts I paraphrased above reflected some of my thoughts on whether I should be called an 'African-American' or a 'Black American'.
I came across more notes, which I believe are from the same novel. The author expressed the view that because each plantation was its own little world, slaves could not rise up as en masse to revolt against their enslavement because 'evolution needs leaders and communication', something the slaves lacked.
Another notation I made was that, to a person who is purely African, we appear as shades of a rainbow in browns, not African like themselves.
My thoughts now are that the author's statements not only speak to the outcome of slavery in this country, but also to our lack of a solid identity with a particular country. This brings up the thought: what future do these circumstances predict for us and our future generations?