skrewhed

Identity Theft.

We are not 'black'.

If you read this and feel as if I’m ranting, I am.

My whole life, I have been lead to believe that I was just ‘Black’. I’ve never even given it a second thought until a recent trip to Toronto. A girl came to me and asked “What are you?” and I replied almost with a duh  that  I was “Black”. She laughed. I was confused. She went on to say “Duh we are all black, I mean where is your family originally from, what are your roots?” I had no answer, outside of saying that I was an African American, without even realizing that she was asking about my ethnicity. In light of the moment, I played it cool, but I have been thinking about that ever since. Ive made the same mistake that many of us have made before, of confusing race and ethnicity, and honestly I don’t feel like it’s my fault for being confused.

Think about it.

Do you know how ignorant it really sounds to call yourself black? A lot of us, including myself, have seriously misunderstood the concepts of race and ethnicity. Race is essentially a color identifier: you’re either white or non white. It has been socially imposed and is essentially hierarchical. You have no control of how your race is viewed by others, and here it’s almost as if the two are intertwined and one in the same.

No other place uses and emphasized on races as heavily as America. It’s as if your ethnicity does not matter at all. I want to know my real ethnicity , I want to know where my ancestors are from on both sides of my family. I know I’m not from here. This is not my true place of origin. Its unfair that we can’t pinpoint where we are from. I hate to say that all I know is that my ancestors are from Africa. Africa is the most diverse continent in the world. Kenya is a country. Nigeria is a country. Ethiopia is country.  Africa is NOT a country. Imagine a white person being taken away from America and referring to themselves as being North American. That could be Mexico. That could be Canada. That could be Jamaica. Do you see where I’m going with this?

I’m not usually a jealous person, but I can’t deny my jealousy when I hear a white person say “Yeah I’m Irish and my great great great great grandpa was the Duke of Manchester” or something  like that. I can trace my family lineage up too my great grandmother and great grandfather who were immigrants from Antigua and Turks and Caicos in the 1920s. And thats only because they told my grandmother where they came from. There are no records for them.

The fact that we were even taken is a problem to begin with, but could they not have had the decency to at least take records of what they were taking. Did they not realize that they were disrupting a heritage, robbing an identity? Was there no consideration of the future? Did they not think that we too would eventually want to trace our roots? Are we any less human?

I could go on, I probably will another day.

I love being ‘black’, I love our culture. But I hate being confused ethnically and incorrectely identified as ‘black’. But I don’t also do not like  being simplified to being an African American, just because that’s where we needed up. I know that’s not who I really am. I want to know where my ancestors were stolen from. I want to know my real identity.

This is for everyone who is confused or has been confused. Don’t settle.

 

By Keith Haynie, Editor in Chief

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4 comments

  1. Keith, I am so happy to see you really using your voice. I always knew it was there, even when it was hiding in class. I am so excited for all the bright things in your future, because you seem to be using your present for such a purpose.

    This blog is something that I think a lot of people probably share your view on. The history of my ethnicity isn’t the same as yours and I won’t pretend that isn’t true, but even as a ‘white’ American, I have always grown up with classmates and peers that knew their lineage and history, and I was and still am totally clueless. People will say of my maiden name, “Oh, it sounds English,” or “I think its from Wales,” but no one knows for sure, especially me. My grandparents never seemed to know and eventually I stopped asking growing up. But I too was always jealous when they were so knowledgeable about generations upon generations of lineage and ancestors, and I could only go back 2-3 generations, all to dead ends as far as where ‘we’ came from and when.

    It is such an important part of our history, all of our histories, and I agree that we are victims of identity theft, even if for differing reasons. With each generation, it seems to be more blurred, and eventually forgotten as significant. It is very interesting to encounter people from other countries, because it does magnify the focus placed on race in the US as compared with other countries. For every two steps we go forward, we unfortunately go one step backwards.

    This is a great perspective to this issue, and sadly a very true one. I look forward to reading your future posts, and thank you for sharing with me. This is one proud English teacher moment right here 🙂 You have certainly surpassed your “Back to reality..” moment. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mrs romig for reading into this and having a positive reaction too it! I’ve always appreciated your acceptance of my writing, no matter how different or ‘out there’ it was! #IBjournalInspired Lol!

      Like

  2. I am extremely proud of you and this blog really speaks volumes it’s definitely a must read for many young and old of all races. Great job with Keith and continue the work!

    Liked by 1 person

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