So I turned and looked at him, and said ummm, well… And then I told him that “our ancestors are from Africa. All black people here in America are descendants from African people, and that since it was so long ago, we just don’t know who those descendants are.” He then said, “oh, where all the great kings and queens are from, right?” And I smiled and said, “yes”. So his inquiry seemed to be satisfied and he walked away content with my answer. But I wasn’t as content. I started to think about how we are the only race that don’t have a home. Mexicans, Arabs, Chinese, White, they all know exactly where they come from, and some still have and know their family who lives in these other countries, and where they can go back, if they want to. They know that they are from Ireland, Germany, Sweden, China, El Salvador, Mexico, Brazil...etc But us black people, all we know are the black people here. I started to become sad, because we don’t have a culture that has traditions, rituals, language, special dishes, clothing...etc But then I started to think, we do. We have our own personal culture right here in America. We may not do anything like the Africans do, but we do things our certain way. We have a broken english that we understand (they call it slang, but we call it communication with friends), we have a certain way we cook (that we all enjoy), we may celebrate their holidays, but we do it our way (bbq in our backyard with the music blasting, and you may catch us doing the hustle, we have a certain way we dress, we walk, a certain handshake, head nod, dance. We are black americans, this is our country, our culture. We are from America, our home. And although it is messed up here, sometimes it’s good, sometimes its beautiful.
I didn’t go back and talk to my son about my new-found epiphany, because that will have to be a truth he finds out for himself. Some things can only be experienced, and this is something he will have to experience for himself. I found out for myself that I know exactly who I am, and I am not ashamed, embarrassed, or apologetic. Why would I be? I am a beautiful black woman, with full lips, wide nose, with skin that has been kissed by melanin, that has the breath of my GOD in me. My country is America. America is the only country where my known family resides, and so I call it home.
How are you teaching your yougsters?