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"African American" Identity

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Time Zone: EST (New York, Toronto)
Messenger: HumbleLion Sent: 11/5/2016 11:39:17 PM

FOREWARNING: this post is less about rastafari livity and more about a crisis and phenomenon Ive noticed recently

Recently, I was putting in an application and a section was there saying "state your ethnicity/race". The options were the normal, average, run of the mill options: white, native american, Hispanic american,Asian/pacific islander...and of course black/African american.

As a person who can trace their roots back to both Haiti and Barbados,I have some root of identity and am lucky to have that bit of information (even though my true true African identity has been torn from me..and many others). Yet given the fact that for a few generations now, my family has been living in the united states....essentially I am "African American" from a cultural and ethnic perspective.

Ive had to answer these type of fill in the bubble questions before but for some reason this time it just struck me. What in Jah's world does the term "African/black american" even mean. Well, what the standard seems to qualify to mean- in context- is that I am an American... and my skin is 'black'. It means that I am the descendant of slaves brought to america long ago.

The obvious dilemma is that this is not entirely true. And, to make the topic even broader - for many other African Americans.. the term simply has no weight. It is like a filler, a place holder for our true identities. Upon realizing this I felt restless, out of place and nameless. History has proven to strip many "African Americans" of a true identity. A person that comes to this country from Japan is thus called a Japanese american and the same way a person coming from Kenya is now a Kenyan american..... hypothetically, theoretically speaking (going of american law and the standard in this country)

But us... the African Americans, have no home.. no specific label that gives us a sense of belonging.. somewhat. For a long time the term African american has been satisfactory for me and i never quite realized that it was just a place holder for my true homeland ethnicity. Also i would like to point out that i am extremely proud (being a member of the African diaspora living in this section of the world) of the achievements and advances that MY people here have made. In no way do I wish to distance myself from the culture or identity here that has been created by my and many other.. forefathers. yet at the same time... I don't feel quite whole. Not quite at ease with the term "African American". for it simply does not capture the essence of I .. nor many others.

In conclusion, I pray that Jah - can impart to me some of the answers and give us stolen peoples. However all of us living in the "new world" are stolen peoples lacking a true homeland. But it seems that for african americans... we lack not just a homeland, but a nation as well.

Anyone else feeling what im feelin ???
If you have a perspective or a thought that can help I&I and community out - or to open up the conversation... let it loose.

Jah Tafari

Messenger: GARVEYS AFRICA Sent: 11/6/2016 4:37:05 AM

Fix: American African

Anywhere in the world as long as your a blackman your an African

Messenger: RastaGoddess Sent: 11/6/2016 9:54:59 AM

Greetings HumbleLion,

INI appreciaLOVE your post. Very well written!

Afrikan People, at home and abroad, have been (mis)defined and labeled by Babylon for hundreds of years. In fact, there have been debates on this forum regarding Afrikan People worldwide. Are we "Afrikan " by degrees of melanin? Hair texture? By place of birth? By culture and tradition? By geographical location? By mindset?

Though history will show us that East Indians are descendants of Kush, specifically the "untouchables", some will not define or acknowledge them as being "Afrikan". Same with our Aboriginal brothas and sistas from Australia, though the stamp of Mama Afrika is clearly undeniable.

So while Peter Tosh reminds INI that "as long as you're a black man, you are an Afrikan ", others feel that our diasporic family is too culturally removed from Afrika to be defined as such. While others feel that physiology defines us. In other words, brown skinned people with straight hair (Indian or Aboriginal) do not define an Afrikan. Same with some of our blond haired Melanesian family...

Then we have those that fit the physical "profile": black skinned, kinky haired, broad nose and full lips "Afrikans" that are so whitewashed and loyal to "massa", that they will not hesitate to bring us harm, or death.

Let us not forget that Afrikans are also NATIVE to the Americas, long before the Trans Atlantic slave trade. Meaning some are more "American" then many who define themselves as such.

I am a daughter of AFURAKA. They cannot define us by complexion, features, eye color,hair texture, place of birth of geographical location!

Messenger: Voodooruuts Sent: 11/6/2016 10:57:14 PM

Sometime I like to say American African but you can Identify yourself as you see fit. Define yourself dont give that power to anyone else! Their is over 2-300 tribes in Nigeria alone we couldnt possibly identify as all of them, they all dont even know of eachother so you know about us knowing them.
Identifying with the two continents acknowledge where u stem and where you developed. For I America is all of the Americas not just the USofA. Dont forget during enslavement we got shipped around between North South and the Islands.

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