*At the close of another Black History Month, will you wait until next year to study or to share history of Africans in America, or will you continue the study and dissemination all year long?
And if you are a conscious Black man or woman, will you study the history of the African beginning with slavery or beginning with the start of civilization?
When it comes to Black History, most Africans in America start studying sometime around the beginning of the slave trade and bring it through to about the middle of the twentieth century.
The divergence really comes down to consciousness, because perception is reality. Whatever we perceive ourselves to be comes into existence.
We are the only people in this nation who continue to redefine ourselves based on things outside of our consciousness.
I split African people from Black people in consciousness only. This is because they have two different ways of thinking. The Black man across the planet has embraced such titles as Negro, Colored, Afro-American, African American, Haitian, Jamaican, West Indian, Brazilian, etc. All of these titles are basically false, because travel to a land named “whatever” does not make you a person of “whatever” culture, or alter your cultural identity to “whatever.” There is a physiology, a psychology and a spirituality that Africa delivers to the African across the globe.
From nation to nation, we can feel the same musical rhythms, we can feel the same history of attack, oppression, separation and confusion and we can feel the same spirituality if we embrace these things. No matter where you happen to be born on the planet, there are things within you that make you the physical and spiritual manifestation of Africa. You can reject this ideology and become American, Canadian, or whatever, but reality is not your friend and you will continue to be confused while failing to evolve.
Black people who define themselves based solely on their land of residence are defining themselves based on self perception, which is sad, because all of the lands outside of Africa continue to reject us, even as many of us attempt to embrace them.
People argue that we built America, and it is a great nation, so we should claim it as our own. I agree with that to a point, but because of the beautiful, rich and lengthy history of Africa, I would rather align myself with that continent than any nation.
As an American, Black history begins with slavery. African history begins with civilization.
Originally, the first civilizations sprung up off the coast of river valleys in the eastern region of Africa, such as the Nile. Africa became the center of mathematics and science, as well as religion. Our legacy has been obfuscated and stolen, but it is still there for us to claim.
The invasion of so-called Western Civilization brought confusion, including the confusion centered in our very definition of self.
We can embrace being Black, but only with the understanding that the most fundamental portion of being Black is being African. The most fundamental portion of being African is being balanced. Balance comes to us based on where we start our study.
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2001 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at [email protected].