A couple of weeks ago I came across an article written by Jesse Washington (The Associated Press) entitled ” Some Blacks Insist: I’m not African-American“. I’ve heard some Blacks say that they’re not African before, but I’ve never heard the term “African-American” denied. Let me tell you why African-American is the perfect term for me.
In 2006 I visited Africa for the first time. I was blessed to spend time in the beautiful country of Zambia. During my stay there Zambians would greet me in their language and quite naturally wait for my response. Once I opened my mouth they would all be shocked to learn that I wasn’t Zambian, but indeed from the U.S. I know it must have been confusing for the Zambians, but it was even more confusing for me.
When I came back to the states I went through a major identity crisis. My whole life I had been told that I was African-American, but had no connection to the continent of Africa. On the other hand, I was a Black woman living in America, a country that at times can make African-Americans feel far from home.
I came to the conclusion that I AM AFRICAN-AMERICAN. I don’t have to speak an African language or know how to make an African dish, but I’m still African. Just look at me. Look at my skin, my features, my eyes. I am African, and although my values may not be rooted in African culture, slave-ships and oceans can not rob me of my heritage. I am also American. My African ancestors built this land, from the share crops to the White House. America may have turned her back on her foster kids by creating Jim Crow Laws, but I continue to stand tall on the shoulders of every person (known & un-known) who marched, prayed, and fought for us to see a better day.
I will NEVER deny my African heritage or my American roots. It is who I am…African-American.