I have the blood of my father running through me, therefore I could never turn a blind eye to political or social injustice.
He was the one who taught me who I was and gave me pride in myself as a Black woman.
When I was young I had sort of an identity crisis…
You see I went to school with kids who didn’t look like me nor share any of my background or experiences.
All I saw on tv and read about in school was White American culture.
My child mind absorbed what i saw as all of their great accomplishments, the ideal of the blonde haired blue eyed woman as the epitome of beauty, and the white male as the epitome of power.
I didn’t realize it then but I had absorbed a sense of self hatred.
The subconscious feeling of not being good enough and not worthy of having and achieving certain things.
In my mind, I wasn’t beautiful with my deep brown skin and dark eyes and features.
In fact I was nothing but a slave, only 3/5th of a person according to the Constitution and they just set my people free a mere 100 years or so ago.
I remember the embarrassment that I felt sitting in class reading about all of the accomplishments of European cultures and then the only thing I read about myself was that I lived in jungles, was brought here as a slave and Abraham Lincoln freed us. The End.
I wanted to be white so bad.
Embarrassing to admit but it was true.
I don’t know at what point my father noticed it….
I never said it…but he surely saw and felt it…and HE WASN’T HAVING THAT.
I remember my dad sitting me down and telling me that it was overdue time for me to learn who I was.
He explained to me that I came from a rich cultural heritage and how people of African descent had been here in America before the Mayflower landed on Plymouth Rock.
He began to explain to me all of the rich cultural heritage that we had and continue to have…and for the first time I felt pride and that it was ok and even wonderful to be my beautiful chocolate African descended self.
He gave me 3 books to read that changed my life forever – Before the Mayflower, They Came Before Columbus, and the Autobiography of Malcolm X.
If you haven’t read them…Read them. And give them to your children to read.
No matter what your cultural background they will expand your perspective iand your worldview.
Ladies and gentlemen this is why I am so adamant about multiculturalism and people educating and learning about each others cultures instead of acting as if their perspective and their cultural reference is the only one that exists.
I know from my own experience the damage that it does on both sides.
Thank you daddy for the legacy of pride and love of self.
I love you.