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  • Writer's pictureNIRMA

Seeing Past Black and White

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

The benefits of seeing past black and white creates a more unique and individual expression of the self. To group people to broad categorization groupings and definition not only undermines and takes away from that individual’s self and establishment here but also of their identity as well.

Individuals who are called African Americans are more than African Americans - they have roots - they have origins, those of which should be proudly celebrated and established in everyday terminology. An African American with a lineage or trace to their historical roots to countries like Ghana for instance, individuals that migrated from this area should be accurately called ‘Ghanian African American’. Somebody who does not know their lineage roots should be named something like the ‘New African Americans’. The importance of such naming terms brings a greater conversation to the forefront, one that distinguishes people by acknowledging their unique background and roots. This type of naming convention is not new, it can be attributed to historical contexts when sacred tribes people gave respect tot their familial origins by naming their offspring; 'the daughter of, the father of' etc. This unique tradition holds value to the preservation of our anthropological and sociological makes.

Another example and one I can speak more accurately on is that I am not a ‘White American’, I identify as an 'Eastern European American' - a statement and testament giving respect to my authentic roots and arrivals from my own personal journey and past, and that of my family's, in addition to a long awaited US citizenship establishment. We should we celebrating our roots and culture, our overcoming of brutal battles and wars - because we come to stand in the moment we are the peoples who have overcome, if it is not us then our grandparents or great-grandparents and so on and on. To chalk people up to a juvenile and shortcoming terminology of this or that is a failure to society and culture as a whole. In a world where technology and capitalism has dominated all spheres of our existence by the way of simplifying broad groups for easier manipulation. Creating app responsive robots to greedy capitalist power structures and corporate ladder games - we fail ourselves and our generations to come. In a world that is built as a mosaic of exquisite diversity, proper naming conventions celebrate the individual identity and this should be the bolded bottom line to our domains. Of existence it is what we go through and originate from through experience and being that make us the individuals that we are. It is the food that is cooked in our homes and the traditions and holidays that are celebrated that create, sustain and build community and togetherness of celebrated origins through diversity. If we do not have culture - true authentic culture - we have lost ourselves and taken away from true connection and prosperity. Our divinity is in the differences that we carry, our thoughts, values and actions that are a product of our makes and the creation of ourselves. We find truth when we align with our past and our ancestors, authentically speaking. I truly believe we could fix this world of racism, sexism and all other divides by bringing this truth to the forefront of our conversations and facing the reality of it by taking the time to get to knowing and learning us. Only then will connection bloom and community prosper. There would be no more blocks to understanding once we are able to open up to each other in this vulnerable way of our true selves.

Another powerful statement and point to this is within the individual and intersectional identities and expression thereof that we possess and in so create impossible divisions that we will start prioritizing the fact that we stem from various geographic origins, histories, traditions and customs. A nation that connects on the intersectional levels rather than a mere - black and white identity scope. Again this is leaving out the Hispanic, the Asian, the Middle Eastern peoples. We cannot be simplified to terminology that undermines our very existence and the arrival thereof. The more detail, the better, the more knowledge on cultural evolvement and existence the more prosperous we all become as a more united nation and world where everyone is seen and heard.

The different areas of identification I believe to be is within gender, sex, race, religion etc. - it is the extra detail to the very groupings that are based upon origins. Culture is a beautiful thing that does not get used in today’s world. Personally, culture to me in America falls under the mostly common social terms and references to “pop culture”, “gun culture” that which are all capitalist induced references to economic gains - when have we become easily influenced and become a product of manipulation that is sociologically produced in the very system that is trying to keep people separated and pitted against each other in economic mobility games.

When we the peoples start to recognize the importance of our roots we will start to see an authentic expression that will deteriorate the facades that capitalism has created, in all spheres and sectors of our existence - of our selves, our society, our economy and even government. The beauty in representation is that the very thing - needed to bring the right topics and conversations to light - to take away from the marginalization or the overlooking of one identity over another - but instead one that brings with it a story a rooted narrative to the thoughts, values, principles ideas and actions that come from the latter system of power structures of discrimination.

If we do not know our past then we should make a unique and conscious effort to explore and learn that part of ourselves. As an intrigued sociologist and driven anthropologist, I believe there is nothing more valuable than the very things that created and shaped us. This is also to say that it is not all pleasantries and beauty - many if not all of us have parts that are not celebrated or spoken as they are painful truths and recounts. What if we changed the narrative: say for instance we are able to look at a midwest white man with a grandfather who was an ex plantation owner, with such histories that are not celebrated but they should be know, for it is within this truth that lies the key to the future of necessary change. The change will come with a conscious waking, enlightenment and perception change of our thought paradigms through the restructuring of the understanding of today’s issues at hand.

When we start to even separate ourselves from just being called American - then we too are giving respect to the fact that we do not accept a nation that was built on blood, sweat and tears - without proper accreditation and reparation. This land has seen wars, slavery and brutal atrocities and torture - some ancestors more than others - with that we see a new change in social understanding and tolerance - we begin to not only take a stand against immorality and injustice but we take a stand against a capitalistic, patriarchal, supremacist system that has ruled generation after generation. Taking a step toward truth and authenticity, representation and origin - we come to find all that we really need for social, economic and political change. Knowledge is power, knowledge is key - individuals matter, their stories and experiences matter as we are all uniquely created and raised, and through our understanding of ourselves will come the individualization of another world that puts individuals in front seat of their lives. Culturally awakened and understood.

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