I am facing an identity crisis as a melanated woman. To say that I am Afro-, African-, and Black-American or plain American is not enough. I know that what I was taught in my history classes throughout my educational career is not the truth. As an adult, it is my responsibility to teach myself the history of my ancestors to better understand my ethnic origin. I started this journey in 2017 because my higher self magically knew the time would come when I needed to fully envelop this thirst for knowledge. I began to read books given to me before I started college in 2010: Know Thy Self by Na’im Akbar, The Mis-education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson, and Black College Student Survival Guide by Jawanza Kunjufu. Now, I know that this is the time to fully quench my thirst. I am blessed to have the experiences that encouraged me to share my vulnerability because it has allowed me to evolve.
Tracing my family tree became a very depressing task. Eventually, I gave up because the records are not available due to destruction and my ancestors deeming it not necessary to keep such records because of systemic degradation of their values, beliefs, cultures, and rituals. I can only say that my roots trace back to southern America when Black/Negroes were sharecroppers. This information was not enough for me to reclaim my identity. Some years later, I found more information in government treaties that were not ratified by the Senate and therefore gave empty promises to Indigenous people of America. There was the Dawes Commission that enacted the Dawes Act 1887 which stripped communal lands of the Indengious people or American Indians and allocated such lands to heads of families and households. This act forced capitalist ideologies on their property which did not exist in their culture previously. And let us not forget that non-natives were able to bribe government officials with five dollars to claim native heritage and land as their own. Deceitfulness at its finest. The establishment of the census aided in the destruction of my ancestors’ ethnic origins. So who is to say that all of my ancestors came off of a slave ship? It is very plausible that due to the limited technological advances of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries that a limited number of “Black/Negroes” sailed from West Africa as slaves. That means that America already had “Black/Negroes” that were considered Indigenous to the American soil as I read in They Came Before Columbus by Ivan Van Sertima. To perpetuate confusion and erasure of self, European settlers grouped all melanated people the same and forced them to change their names, adopt a foreign religion, and live as property. So it is fair for me to ask: where did my ancestors originate? and what tribe do I belong to?
So, I began to dig deeper. I was constantly fighting a spiritual war within myself. I started to read self-help books such as What Happy People Know by Dan Baker, Ph.D., and Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. I was content for a while. A wave of unresolved anger erupted out of me. I knew that I needed to educate myself more. With the help of my loving partner, I was directed to an unorthodox journalist, Dan Calloway, and his website, I’m Just Here to Make You Think. I purchased the following reads: We Charge Genocide by William L. Patterson, The African Origin of Civilization Myth or Reality? By Cheikh Anta Diop, The Teachings of Ptahhotep, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I gained valuable insight into hardcore evidence that distinguishes white supremacist history from my untold black history. It is very saddening that no one can admit that brown-skinned Americans are continuously subjected to genocide till this day. It is considered normal. It has occurred for centuries because no governmental body, even the United Nations, will hold the government of the United States of America accountable for erroneous and heinous crimes towards people of color. It is like it’s not happening and I am living in a dream.
This feeling of despair turned me to spiritual, self-healing books catering to women of color, particularly black women. I love Queen Afua. Her books Sacred Woman: A Guide to healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit and Heal Thyself for Health and Longevity let me know that I am not alone in this battle. I really appreciate the book Pussy Prayers by Black Girl Bliss because it gave me that strong feminine energy and highly promotes self-esteem for black women. I also realized that I am heavily connected to the earth and need to live by a cycle other than my menstrual cycle. So I picked up Lunar Abundance by Ezzie Spencer which has given me my life back in a sense that I do not see my life as a linear calendar but a cyclical one. I live in a cycle where I know that I am allowing myself to have time to rest and reflect and a separate time to be active in my intentions. I feel more at ease knowing that I do not need to rely on a vacation or a weekend to give myself time for self-care.
My ongoing identity crisis may not end but at least I am healing the wounds slowly. As I digress, I know that I have shared with my community books like Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, and A Terrible Thing to Waste by Harriet A. Washington. I feel that these books can be read by any person and are totally relevant (and by relevant I mean leading up to events in 2019). I am excited to read more books such as the Isis Papers by Frances Cress Welsing, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Dr. Joy Degruy, and Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington. I will further educate myself with historical and religious documents that are not constantly interpreted and fixed for misunderstandings, confusions, and controlling the masses. I welcome any and all discussions because that is how we will all evolve. I am tired of others making excuses for not doing the research and not questioning any and all claims that appear on our media outlets. We should not feed into the propaganda but instead, learn to heal ourselves and therefore we can learn to facilitate the healing of others. The human race must evolve conscientiously before we drown in our own ignorance. Peace, love, and blessings. XOXO