Being African American

Entered on August 7, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: legacy, race

(Final Reflection) Being African American and avoiding stereo types

In my family, growing up proud of my culture was a most and made me strive to become the best person I could be in today’s society. It motivated me to help as many of my friends develop a strong and positive racial identity, recognize that they are part of a very special community, and learn the information and skills they need to grow in today’s society into strong adults. Whether we like it or not a many African Americans lacked the confidence to face the world problems which face our community. Sooner or later, in one way or another, we have to make choices about our life as sure as they have to make choices about friendships, sex, clothes, cars, and a career. If they don’t know our proud history, they won’t be able to make informed, positive decisions about their future.

Today, the rift is between those who are black and proud and blacks who would rather camouflage themselves within white America to get ahead. I understand that acts such as celebrating Kwanzaa, buying black or even seeing beauty in girls with natural hair are not important to some African Americans because those things won’t make them rich and powerful like Oprah, Russell Simmons or P-Diddy. They won’t get us a good job, a nice home, an Escalade, or a plasma TV.

I also often think that we need to be aware of the paths that America’s legacy of racism has cleared for us. There’s the one for the lazy, the uneducated, the criminals, the homeless people or those receiving government assistance of some kind. And there’s the one for those who can rap or play sports, perhaps most dangerous and damaging of all, for the folks willing to shuck and jive their way to the top of some diversity deprived company or government appointed job, compromising chunks of themselves along the way just to make it.

Being proud will insist that African American’s speak with proper english, keep their hair cut short, don’t wear baggy pants or platinum grills. Work Mondays through Fridays, give our kids American names, and don’t have too many kids. Assert that the playing field is level and by all means, don’t do embarrassing things in front of other people.

I want my family members to know that the beaten paths of the racist history are not the only ones open to them. Because my ancestors survived Jim Crow, because my brother served proudly in the armed forces, we as proud African Americans can do whatever we want. We can work for a Fortune 500 company and make enough money to stay looking clean everyday. We could be the first member of our family to graduate from a predominantly white university, if we want to, or we could do as some would have it and avoid college altogether. It’s up to us to be proud and better our culture of African Americans