Speaking as someone whose father's family is from the Carolinas and moved north during the Great migration while, at the same time, my mother's family moved to the U.S. from Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados . . . Black Americans are struggling, but we're not lost. We're finding and creating ourselves. We're continuing the great, noble labor undertaken by OUR ancestors. Our glory days are still happening and will be for decades to come. We're ascendant, not stagnant. As we build and renew our culture, so the culture of the world is built and renewed.
We are not the lost stepchildren of the West Indies or of Africa. We could be allies, if everyone could quit the white supremacy talking points about Black Americans having and being nothing that came from nothing and are on the brink of falling into nothing. I assure you, that white people who are so inclined look at Black skin WHEREVER it’s from and whatever culture it celebrates, and only sees a n*gger. Whether their name is from France, Ghana, or East New York.
That’s not a view that needs perpetuating but rooting out and excising. Holding up to the light so that its ugliness can be seen for what it is.
Black Caribbeans and United States-born Caribbeans are not somehow endowed with a bigger, beautiful, more complete past/history than ADoS. Ask any Black person from the continent of Africa, regardless of nation or culture, about a Black person from the U.S. OR the Caribbean, and who or what that person's history is worth. If that Black ADoS or Caribbean's history is as full and rich and complete as their own, and . . . I doubt the person from the Caribbean would like the answer they get. The Black American wouldn’t like it either, but nor would they be surprised. We’re used to getting looked down upon by everyone . . . even fam.
Divide-and-conquer is a decrepit, tired game that does not need Black people's help to be played.
Caribbean history and heritage is not somehow objectively more special and heroic than Black American history. Nor Black British history. Or Black Nigerian history, etc. The fact that ANY group in the diaspora survived white people out to make money and be better is . . . AMAZING. We ALL deserve props for that. Every BIPOC who's survived does, if the divide-and-conquer goes this deep, that even people who weren't born and raised in shithole America have bought into the rhetoric. I usually HATE to call something divisive as a descriptor, but insinuating that Black American history is that of a lost, straggling tribe is VERY divisive. It drives a wedge between folk along the diaspora apart.
I'm not saying one shouldn't say what one really thinks but consider the (I’m presuming) thesis of this piece: dismantling ignorant white supremacist twaddle one brick at a time is worth the effort when we care to and the ignorant person cares enough to want to do better. Followed by the implication that Black Americans don’t have a “beautiful” history and traditions, cobbled together from the cultures from whence they came—traditions that could have gotten them KILLED for passing them on, but they found ways to pass them . . . MY ANCESTORS found a way because their history and culture meant so much—makes for irony of the worst kind.
Off-handedly denigrating the people who'd be the first to open their arms to someone in that SAME STRUGGLE isn't exactly goal-oriented, if what I presumed above is one's goal. And it's falling into the very trap which is on lament.
"Your history as a group is deficient and sad, and not nearly as awesome as my own . . . now, let's work together to build a new world where we’re all valued and free. . . !"
. . . said NO ONE who was productive at achieving a common goal between outwardly disparate groups, EVER.
Words matter and so do opinions. Words that align more closely with white supremacist lies than with what Black Americans know and feel in our souls--OUR SANKOFA--aren't as likely to be considered relevant to anyone's truth and struggle, and efforts to value where we come from and who we are. Except for that minority of Black folks who follow in the footsteps of white supremacists and see ants when they should see people . . . whether they're looking from a height or from right here on the ground.
No shade, sister. Just truth and Real Talk. And I don't think YOU meant shade, but I don't think that even now, with your addition to the essay, you realize how hurtful this is. And I can't expect you to . . . as you said, it's not merely an intellectual issue concept. It's largely experiential and emotional/psychological, and you're viewing it with an outsider-eye. BUT that eye is still closer to what it sees than it is to the white supremacy that is the root-cause of both struggles. So, what you're still implying (and telegraphing) with what you choose to say and not say and, by extension, what you may genuinely opine as reflected in your words—that can pile damage onto damage. Not because the implication is true or because I think it is, but because white supremacy has told THE WORLD that it is; and so much of this world has happily bought into that lie. Even skinfolk. Because who doesn’t like being better than someone else? Even if only by one bare, imaginary step?
The very last people BIPOC need enforcing such a society-wide evil—whether accidentally or on-purpose—is kinfolk. Or people who mean to be, and who ultimately (I hope) mean well.
I enjoyed your article, otherwise, and marvel at the greatness of spirit and generosity that allows you the tenacity and grace to persevere in your marriage. You have a good mind and heart and voice. Strong and clear, I think, on all three counts. So, PLEASE, don’t fall into this trap. And don’t let yourself be pushed, either.