After years of nationalistic black separatism, I have come to accept my Americanness. I once felt a deep shame and embarrassment being connected to such youthfully obsessed, fearful, patriotic, psychotic people. I unconsciously fell into the notions of white supremacy — I overlooked the beauty, grace, and accomplishments of black people. Falling into the one-sided notion of our dirtiness, lack of love for ourselves, and screaming for economic and political power without contributing to the work already being done.
The country, culturally, is a conglomeration of Native American, European, and African culture; every one of these cultures played a role in shaping this land. The denial of this fact would be perpetuating a lie Europeans have attempted to protect; the notion of this being purely a white country and there are no other influences. On this land we have produced some of the greatest people to ever exist: Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Ralph Emerson all walked this land, created on this land, and used their strength to develop the characters we know them for on it. White supremacy infests our brains like a cancer, and requires a complete change in our ideology to notice its affects. Our entire identity requires examination, the myth of black wretchedness, the myths of white purity and exceptionalism, and the myths that the natives created no culture and developed no civilization.
Simple crimes are used as justification for the murder of black bodies; jogging, counterfeit $100 bills, whistling, sleeping are all used as excuses our executions. I subtly released my sadness associated with blackness when I started recognizing the revolutionary acts committed to divert the myths of our invisibility. When I began paying attention to the music, the hair, the language, and the subtle facial changes we used to recognize and speak to one another, I gained a deeper respect my people.
Why does the narcissisms and naivety of whiteness produce such a murderous and denying group of people that seemingly feed, or depend, on the ritualistic death of black bodies. My separatism came from recognizing the heinous murders of my brothers and the despair produced inside me watching them scream for their mother. I rejected everything American, a lot like Eldridge Cleaver. I rejected individualism, consumerism, fast food, haircuts on black bodies, and American fashion. I dropped the American and became purely African in spirit, but I was soon met with despair over my condition of knowing so little about the history of Africa and even less about the effects of colonialism. They seem to not notice the inherent and intrinsically pathological condition they continue handing to their children.
I was devastated that my Afro-centric identity was thrown off balance by the discovery that my connection was only spiritual and historical, but I had no clue about the size, many nations, cultures and lifestyles of the land that would’ve been my home. I was stranded in a country that seemed to hate me and romanticized a country that I have never been to. This country displayed no examples of my experience and books were banned that attempted to rectify my mental health against the myths of white supremacy and white beauty. I became a carbon copy of white people because I began reinforcing a myth of blackness that was divisive and took other people’s cultures and claimed they all came from a mystical Africa. While whites have been absolutely arrogant, malicious, and dangerous; we can not neglect the experience of living in this country.
We created the blues, and our fashion, art, and dialect comes from an experience that we must respect but not be trapped by. Our oppression can be seen as an opportunity to become more human than the oppressor. The existence of such an evil only demands the best and most creative mind to destroy the American born dragon. The white power structure has continued to survived on the distance between minority groups, and the acceptance of minority groups on stereotypical assumptions of each other. We have to close the gap of otherness and learn that are differences and similarities in culture only create an opportunity of growth and humanness. However, with all this being said, I am not asking any structures or hearts to change, but demanding the individual to recognize the importance of becoming everything that is meant for him. The difficulties with destroying this inbred ignorance became desirable once I accepted the country. It took an examination of the turmoil and an appreciation of this experience to value my complexity and the psychological dilemma with being an American. We all depend on one another, but my individual life is not devoted to the state, and my individual life will not be at the expense of my brother. All people will have to realize the discipline love requires because one can grow deeply in despair believing all the myths around the fairy tales associated with color. We must be willing to live like the men and women that truly embodied the principles of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, WEB Dubois, Harriet Tubman, Nikki Giovanni, Toni Morrison, John Brown, and Phillis Wheatley.