Sunday, 2 October 2016

1st, drop the word "Black" from our African tag

                                           
                                                 
African
activepens.com

She's French, they are Mexicans, he's Indian, they are Chinese, you are North American, his cousin is British, our neighbors are Australians, they are Irish Canadians, we are Polish 2nd generation Americans, she is a Canadian citizen of middle eastern descent.

The above cuts through a range of skin tones but have you ever heard anyone above tagged "Yellows" or "Light Browns' or "Pales" or "The Carton Coloreds!"? The question then is this, why are people of African descent tagged "Blacks"? Research on what has been historically associated with the word "black"  is thought-provoking, see, for example, the words, "blacklisted" and "black sheep of the family". 

"Black" has been used to depict the presence of evil, dirt, and secrets. In the Roman culture and in Africa, black is the color of death or mourning, it has been associated with the devil, hell, death, and sinBlack and white have often been used to describe opposites; particularly light and darkness and good and evil. In Medieval literature, the white knight usually represented virtue, the black knight something mysterious and sinister. In American westerns, the hero often wore a white hat, the villain a black hat (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black).    

Blacks People of African descents are called "Blacks" because they have dark skin tones, which is absolutely a lovely skin tone that never breaks, but, what happened to being called "Africans" or "African Americans" or "African Canadian" or "Jamaican" or "Ghanian" or "African descent"?                          
                                                              
In December of 2008, Jesse Jackson and some other Blacks African descent leaders came together to decide that the African race is fine with being called African Americans (https://www.jstor.org/stable/2152175?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents), why then has the word "blacks" stayed? 

As blacks a people of African descent, moving forward, don't accept the word "black" as defining you, leave colorism, and color definition to laundry grouping. Change happens with our daily conversations, eliminate colorism from your daily discussions whether in describing yourself or others.

Don't say, Black,   Say African, African American, or African descent. We can now move forward, there is a whole lot to a name. 

Jumoke Odepe
Toronto, 2017

                             





Written by Jumoke Odepe

No comments: