“What’s your nationality?”
Just black. Black mixed with mo black. Maybe some Native American. Dab of ranch. My initial reaction is to say black as if that’s not the thing that’s already apparent. No racial dolezal needed over here. (I dated a lot of West Indian women, they family LOVE that question…now I think about it I think I’ve only been with 2 Americans #randomfacts). “Just black” serves as the default for African American but not really because you don’t really want to rock with being American, you know, cuz slavery. To be an “African”-American is to concede that you have no idea where you’re from…even if I were to do a genealogy test, it’s not like I can then just carry on this entire culture from a continent I never been. With each generation growing farther and farther apart from the land of which they were taken…eventually you just have to accept that you’re an American. Hoteps can keep deluding themselves into thinking they were pharaohs, we can just cherry pick from “African” cultures and claim as our own (I’m looking at you, Kwanzaa), but you still are viewing things as well, an American. Let’s say I’m Senegalese…does that mean I suddenly I’m going to eat maafe and speak Wolof? No, sadly I probably identify closer to white Americans; I barbecue on the 4th, drink beer and watch football, eat bacon, get obnoxiously patriotic during the Olympics, and know at least 3 Bruce Springsteen songs. Merica. (Although given the current state of affairs, I think I’m just going to identify as Wakandan… Hail King T’Challa, King of the Dead, Champion of Bast, my Black Panther.)
These days as I know more first generation African-Americans and immigrants the more prevalent it becomes that I’m “African”-American? an American of African descent? Or am I just a black American. To be Black/African-American gives credence to the idea that Africa is just one giant country.(Still looking at you, Kwanzaa). The reality is if I and a Nigerian-American both go to Nigeria. They are “home” and I’m just a tourist in kente and a medallion. But I’m dark-skinned so I won’t look like a 53%er on a Eat Pray Love trip.
That isn’t to distance myself from my ancestors, maybe I’m a descendant of a king, or maybe just a goat herder. I have no way of knowing for sure. Some use it as a way to cope; they long for the history that was stripped of them. It’s not my place to tell them whether or not they want to hold on to their African identity. (No matter how ridiculous I find their memes). Admittedly, I had an Afrocentric phase, never went full hotep thankfully, so I get the sentiment of wanting to connect. But I know and don’t know where I came from and while I appreciate African culture, it isn’t mine. Do you, tho. (You can at least buy African tho, you getting a Chinese screen printed Dashiki and now you are of the sun God, cut it out)
Perchance that’s ignorance on my part; who knows, when I eventually do go to the motherland I might feel a sense of home and belonging I never felt before… In the meantime, that feeling comes from a video of this gospel rendition of Bodak Yellow. It comes from the black history I read about, the black history I’ve witnessed, the black history that’s still to come. Black Americans have a culture. A great culture (with a fucked up beginning we’ll never forgive you for). One that doesn’t need to cling on to African or white American roots to thrive. (once again, sup Kwanzaa). But maybe everyone just have to make their own peace with it at their own pace.