For my non-Black relations, this is going to be a blog post directed at the Black population around the world. For those who are asleep and those who are awake. And if you do not identify as Black, however feel, understand, and recognize Black cultures, I thank you for you are evolved in many ways others have yet to discover in themselves. All in all we are each other, a reflection of one another.
Of present, I refuse to be entertained any longer with movies portraying slavery; the white man raping black women or whipping black men. It seems that this is the only portrayal of the black and white dynamic that is historically remembered in the US. I know this is based on painful truth, but I have had a great dose of this one side of our relationship. It seems like it benefits the psyche of some today; maintaining the struggle story to keep the roles of the oppressor and oppressed in place. Of course it can crossover to economic and gender status too. Of late, I much rather see something about the Black hero, the powerful, mighty Black woman or man, who is the mystic master of mantras, the great warrior of Black martial arts or the facilitator of family cohesiveness.
Yet to heal our wounds and to bond in healing we have got to admit, there are a Black people who have existed and exist as heroes. Where are they? Why not their portrayal? I know that the Black race has suffered and continues to on subtle levels that many may not care to admit or are just too blind to see. I am relieved to say, I found a hero today.
A handsome young man stopped me in my tracks, a so called African-American man, and asked me if I knew anything about African spirituality. I responded I knew a thing or two and am infinitely a student. Once he knew from my accent that I was African, he mentioned that his family taught him to only see his American side and deny his African side, as if to be ashamed of it. Our conversation covered many topics, but one that stood prominent for me were his recent feelings about his lack of connection to Christianity. He had lost conviction in identifying with the portrayal of the theology, which he concluded was from a non Black voice. Ultimately I told him all spiritual faiths converge at some point to one source. We have a choice as to how to walk on a path to that convergence. Then he said, he recently watched a documentary that educated him like no other on the history of Black people. Something he could not receive in his high school history class. He said all this time he walked around without knowing himself, his roots. He grew up in a rough neighborhood where drugs, a difficult lifestyle and people’s emotional relationship to the Universe might as well be dead. He spoke of his desire to be connected to Africa, to a source of spirituality that served him and his new understanding. That he lacks finding leadership and community, because so many Black people are lost mind, body, soul. I encouraged him to buy a ticket and travel there. That I saw in him what I wish so many more young Black people in the US would aspire to be. To seek the truth about Blackness, to be proud of the identity, to be a change as needed. Wow! He truly touched my heart center. He was awake!
Then his difficult question, “Would my African ancestors be upset if I continued to pray to a Christian God?” My reminder to him was this: “Remember, that you are the descendant of a person, man or woman, who may have been snatched from their homeland innocently, without warning. Underdressed because of the tropical sun, captured onto a boat like chattel, going through an experience of trauma on the trip across the Atlantic, arriving somewhere possibly cold with a different topology in their underdressed garments and sold somewhere. Can you imagine the strength in you? That that ancestor was able to withstand the treatment of being subhuman, placed in a land he/she was unfamiliar, forced to work in ways we’d never know, and most importantly to adapt to a climate and food unknown? That ancestor is in you! If that isn’t powerful, then I cannot tell you what is. I myself cannot withstand the winters with layered clothes and comfortable housing and shoes. That my brother, is power, spiritual power! Your people are POWERFUL!” He smiled in recognition.
My final suggestion to the young man on Christianity, was to seek out Christianity that satisfied his identity and to continue to study African spiritualities to find his path. My first guidance was the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
As a so called African woman, I want to say, I have had enough of the divide of Black people from each other. Black people are not all saints as other races included. I am compelled to express that I for one have lack of tolerance for many Africans from the continent judging Black people in the Americas, I have impatience for Black people in the Americas to not see themselves as a powerful people who should focus on gratitude for their ancestors’ strength and struggle leading them to a great opportunity, and I have even less tolerance for all races (ethnic groups included) who have a master plan on divide and conquering each other.
My children are African and African American. They’re Black. They are a symbol for me to remember that the past unites with the future, basically the Adinkra word, Sankofa.
Black people wake up! We’re all connected. Our powerful and proud roots are an important color in the scheme of life’s canvas far more than the slavery story or the oppressed story. Let’s make many movies with Black superhero’s and Black quests for Black knowledge and truth. It’s about time!
Black Roots in a Cup
Freshly ground Ethiopian Coffee roasted beans (green beans are best)
A pinch of salt
Add a bowl of roasted peanuts to accompany the drink.
High in antioxidants and caffeine, coffee is native to Ethiopia. The word coffee is derived from an Arabic word quwwa meaning power and/or energy. Traditionally it is drunk in ceremony without sugar or milk as suggested above. In joy!