What Does This Mean?

Does it mean I should listen only to music made by Blacks or African Americans?

Should I play basketball, rap and dance?

How about where weave, braids, dreadlocks?

Should I be a gangster, or sassy with my fingers snapping?

Or should it mean that I just happen to be Black, and I just happen to be American but a world citizen just like you?
NorthWind NorthWind
26-30, F
11 Responses Dec 19, 2006

To me being African American is not wearing weave,dreadlocks playing stereotypical sports that blacks are reputed to be excellent in. Snapping your fingers or listening to rap. It's about remembering your history ,how it all started on the soil of Africa and ended in the southern fields of American remembering the men women or children who slaved from sunrise to sunset as chattel beings who were born as slaves and died as slaves. Under horrific conditions they strove with great strong will, so someday, I would be born into a world of freedom. Being African American is to honor your past no matter how painful it is to read and conjure images of it. Being African American to make a vow never to raise an hand in violence against another black man, woman and child it means TO RESPECT THE LIFE FORCE OF YOUR RACE. Without RESPECT for your Black race EXISTENCE weave, dreadlocks, sport games music and dancing don't mean a damn thing. So remember that and go on and be a proud black world citizen!

I've asked the same questions and just pretty come up with that people should act their own way regardless of how they look on the outside. That's why I hate stereotypes. They limit people's intelligence.

Thank you for writing this.

very well put. There are so many different sides of black american and each of them deserve to be embraced. Embraced your own Black American Experience. don't allow anyone to sterotype you.

I don't see anything wrong with playing basketball, wearing a weave or dreads, listening to rap, or music made by blacks. There is nothing wrong with that. <br />
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And people that are are sassy and gangster usually are so because they needed to protect themselves from voltures growing up in the throes of a violent neighborhood. America has turned ghetto life into a stereotype and made it the laughing stalk of a nation in an effort to sweep its dirty little slavery secret under the rug. people in the ghetto ( that nobody wants to be associated with) are the people suffering the most when the government wants to experiment with tax increases and budget cuts. It's usually the libraries, schools, after school programs that shut down and close their doors in the down trodden areas of America first. And it's easy to do when the rest of America looks down on the people that live in the ghetto. When you despise a place and it's people it's easy to look the other way. Realize that not much has changed. Structural violence is still being used against blacks in the ghetto.

as others have said here, JUST BE YOURSELF....<br />
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My philosophy in life has always been this:<br />
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"......no matter what you do, think, or say, someone, somewhere, will criticize you for it......SOOO why not just do what you think is best for you?....<br />
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I'm 69 now and look back with some amount of pride that I was able to live by this.....oh yeah, I had some 'crap' from others over the years, but all in all, it's a good way to live!!!<br />
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So don't get caught up in all the stereotypes that are thrown around about your race.<br />
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Just be yourself, first, last and always,,,,and to hell with what the others think!!<br />
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Good luck to you.............you are only you and should only BE you, for the rest of your life!!!!!!

"Nobody can be you but you." and "I do me better than anyone else." Oh yeah! Isn't a main purpose of life finding out who you are and becoming the best you can be at being you? I think it is.

totally agree......and I like the sayings you offered; never heard them before, and I know it all!! (just kidding!! lol)

I too hate the phrase African American. I have never thought of myself as being Irish, Scottish, or German or Native American nor do I claim any cultural or political allegiances to any of the 3. What my ancestors were and what I am are 2 (actually about 5) different things.<br />
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If one looks at a map they will find that Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Saudi, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and South Africa are all on the continent yet when these people migrate to the US, they are not referred to as African American even though they are.<br />
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In 2007 a white man ran for president of Kenya. He was defeated, but he was nominated to run meaning that he was African. My Judo instructor is South African of Anglo-Dutch decent. Africa is every bit as ethnically, politically, culturally, economically, and religiously diverse as Europe so why am I on the same category as the east European Jews, Bosnian Muslims, Irish Catholics, etc. I refuse to use the phrase. I think that these "politically correct" ethnic terms are perpetuated by the government via the mass media to keep Americans from truly uniting. The old divide and conquer method "United we stand, divided we fall"....We are falling now.<br />
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I no more expect the BLACK man in the cubicle next to mine at work to wear a loin cloth and throw spears at zebras than he expects me to herd sheep while wearing a plaid skirt. I do not want to be referred to as being European and therefore refuse to use the stupid *** phrase "African American"

You did not go far enough back in history. The white in Africa did not originate there nor was it betrayed in masses and sold into slavery around the world. If you were to come to America from Africa of your own free will, then I would not call you an African American. My skin is not black and I do not like that descriptor either because I do not fit the stereotype associated with being called a black woman. My friend from India has darker skin than I do and straight black hair like an Asian person. My African friends who have American born children do not call their children African Americans. They are American and their parents are African by country name, Nigerian, Kenyan, and etc. Some even state the tribal name, Yoruba, Ibo, Zulu, and etc. For whatever reason American government agencies need to keep track of races in the USA, and they had to choose a simple labeling system all people would understand. In the 1960's and 1970's American Black people did not like being called "Negro" but it fit with Caucasian. Now look at where we are on this matter. Are you black not of Hispanic descent? Look at the 2010 census form. How many races did you claim? Man, where they really trying to nail down how many different Asian descents live here, or what? African American is a label with a distinct meaning to me, and I was offended by you calling the label stupid because it has relevant meaning to me. You are entitled to your opinion, as am I, and to me African American means an American family history was torn by slavery, and mine was. If yours was not, then you can label yourself whatever you want or just opt out of labeling altogether. You can now decline to answer or choose other. :-)

I apologize if you were offended, but I have seen terminology as such previously mentioned as being divisive and not very well thought out. My point was that you and I probably have more cultural similarities than you and Mandigo Babafume or I do with some guy wearing a kilt and eating potatoes

I listen to all kinds of music, I can't play sports even if my life depended on it, I can't rap either. I can dance and I love it but I have never danced to fit in. I've never worn weaves (I had a removable extension ponytail once), braids nor dreads. I've never hung around criminals either.<br />
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I, like you am simply a person who happens to be black (ancestors from Africa). I was born, raised and still live in America. As much information I know, at least my great, great grandparents were born here too.

ITA...I feel the same as an AA we have so many things we are "supposed" to be...but most important we have to be us!

You don't have to be a stereotype. We have enough people in the world doing that.

Thank you Emerald for your nice comment.

Just be you! That's the greatest accomplishment!! But I like how you present this story, and make us think. I'll give ya a " high five" for this one!! :)